Tag Archives: frustration

Madison (A Story of Connections)

Madison peered out the window from the back seat of the car watching the rows of stores and people passing by as they sat in traffic. A little black dog ran by, followed by a much bigger dog, and she wondered if they were playing tag.

“Mom?”

“Yes Madison?” Madison was her name because she was born in 2004, and every girl born in 2006 was named Madison, or so it seemed.

“I want a hamster.”

Her mom sighed as she looked for parking.

“What brought this sudden idea on?”

Madison saw a boy she knew from school and waved, but he didn’t notice her. She wondered what the shovel was for.

“I saw that pet shop where they have all the black hamsters.”

“Honey, I’ve told you a million times that isn’t a pet shop. It’s an art gallery.”

“Then why do they have so many hamsters?” She frowned a bit. “And I don’t think you told me a million times.”

Her mother chuckled but tried to hide it. “You’re right.”

“It’s probably more like ten. I just forget.”

“Well, if you want we can stop there and look at the hamsters. Mommy needs to go anyway and pick up something she ordered. If only mommy could find a parking spot,” she added, more to herself or God or fate than to her daughter.

They drove in silence for a few minutes. “Did you think about it yet?”

“About what, honey?”

“The HAMSTER.”

A spot opened up ahead so she put on her turn signal as she waited for the car to get out.

“I don’t know. I think you’re allergic to them.”

“You think?” Madison didn’t remember ever hearing this before.

As she pulled up towards the spot another car jumped the medial strip and stole it from her.

“God Da-“ she started to say, then regained control of herself for Madison’s sake.

“What happened?”

“Nothing.”

She continued driving as Madison debated if she should ask about the hamster one more time.

This story, along with many others, all tie together in smaller, and sometimes larger ways. Feel free to read the collection by choosing “Stories of Connections” in the categories box to the right.

Anhedonia

“Sometimes I swear you’re so negative you might be anhedonic.”

“What?” he asked me with a sullen look on his face.

“You can’t even be happy over the little things, simple everyday items. Like – what’s your favorite food?”

“You know it’s pizza. Come on.”

“What did we have for dinner?”

He sighed and looked away.

“Well? We had pizza. From your favorite place. Where the sauce is on top of the cheese. Did you say anything positive while we ate? Afterwards? Anything?”

He continued to look away.

“I swear I can’t take much more of this. I’m not even sure you enjoy having sex with me. When was the last time you put the moves on me? Do you even know?”

“Sure, it was last week. After your cousin’s birthday party.”

“That was two months ago. Two. Not a week.”

He looked out the window at a car passing by. He turned his attention back to me.

“What did you call me earlier?”

“Anhedonic.”

He opened his laptop and started typing.

“Are you Googling it?”

“No. Yeah.”

I smiled a little despite myself. “Well I can save you time. It basically means you don’t have the ability to experience pleasure in the normal, everyday things human beings enjoy. It’s a sad way to go through life. You weren’t always like this.”

He closed the computer and looked me in the eye for the first time in a while.

“Maybe I was faking it when we met. Maybe I have always been like this. What do you know? I could be the world’s best actor.”

“Could be, I guess.” I looked away, out the window at a couple walking by and holding hands. “I think I want out. I can’t date someone like this. You sit around, you do nothing but wait for me, and you don’t attempt to make yourself happy. I try all the time. I surprise you with pizza, I force you to go for walks – even when our friends come over to play games you’re miserable and barely speak.”

He frowned again, got up from his seat, and went to the fridge. He opened it, looked around inside, and stood there with the door open.

“What were you looking for?”

“I dunno. Nothing.”

“Hungry?”

“Nah.”

“Thirsty?”

“Nah.”

I tapped my fingers on the table as he shut the door and returned to his seat.

Rhubarb

He’d just returned from the market, and she was rooting through everything.

“You’ve gotten everything on the list?”

He looked away as if he hadn’t heard.

“Hun?”

“What?  Yeah.”

“Okay, good.”  She placed everything on the counter: the artichoke hearts and cheeses on one side, and the baking ingredients on the other.

“Is there another bag?”

“Nope.  That’s it.”

She started sifting through the different items, searching.

“Hun…”

“Yeah?”

“Where’s the rhubarb?”

He looked down at the linoleum floor, avoiding eye contact.

“Where’s the rhubarb?”

He tried to look away, but she followed his gaze.

“Did you forget the rhubarb?”

“Can you stop saying rhubarb?” he asked.

“Where is it!?!”

“Okay, well, I didn’t want to tell you, but I have no idea what rhubarb is. So no, I didn’t get it. Can’t you make the pie without it? I’ve never even heard of it; how important can it be?”

“You want me to make rhubarb pie without the rhubarb?” Anger was in her voice. He looked away again.

“Um…yeah, that probably wouldn’t make sense.”

“Well? Why didn’t you just ask someone!”

“Ask them what rhubarb is? I didn’t want to look stupid, that’s why!”

“What is this, like asking for directions?”
“No,” he said defensively.

“Wait, you DO ask for directions!  What the HELL?  Why didn’t you just ask someone what rhubarb looked like! Or where they had it!”

“I looked all over the damn produce section, and couldn’t find it! What did you want me to do? Magically learn what it was?”

“Well, did you ask someone?”

“Yes.  I asked the man who worked there.  He didn’t know what it was either.”

She put her hand on her hip and gave him an angry look.

“Okay, that was a lie.”

“Wait, why didn’t you just call and ask me what it was?”

“I thought you’d make fun of me.”

She grabbed at her hair, pulling it a little, and growled. He tried to leave.

“Where are you going now?”

“I was going to Google rhubarb so I’d know next time.”

“Aren’t you afraid Google will know what a dummy you are?”

He stopped in his tracks and cringed a little.  She knew how to insult, that was for sure.

“No!” he said in a childlike voice as he ran from the room.

Inspired by the word rhubarb, sent to me by Elle.

A Cathartic Conversation

or Sometimes You Just Need to Vent

“Did you ever notice you never finish anything you start?”

She looks over her shoulder at a dusty, half-finished dress and returns her gaze to me.

“Huh?”

“Besides that dress.  Not what I was talking about.  But that too.  It makes the dining room look messy.”

“You know I’ve been down lately.”

“Yeah, I know.  You hate your job.  I know.  So look for a new one?”

She flops over onto her back, resting her head on the arm of the couch and stares at the ceiling.  A bad sign.

“I look almost every day.”

“And nothing?” I ask.  I feel more like a parent than a lover, a huge turnoff.

“Nope.”

She sits up again.  Here comes the subject change.

“I need a car.  My new goal is to save up for a car.”

Oh lord.

“Um, you barely make your half of the rent now and it’s always late.  Where will you get money for a car?  Or insurance?”

“I’ll work more.  Get more hours or something.”

“And school?  Last week you said you wanted to go back to school.  We’re already getting attacked by annoying reps from schools, not to mention the mailers.”

“I’ll have to put that off for a while.”

“Like the dress.  And your blog.  And becoming a vegetarian, remember that one?  You brought home steak the second night.  And everything else you start.”

She flops back down onto her back.  Ceiling again.

“What kind of car should I get?”

I want to scream.

“Are you happy?”

She actually turns and looks at me.

“I dunno.”

“What do you mean?  What makes you happy?  What makes you get up in the morning?”

“You.”

I can’t take this.

“What else?”

She thinks about it.

“I dunno.”

“Well I think you need to make yourself happy.  And stop depending on me for all your happiness.  I can’t take it.”

“Well it’s not like I have lots of friends here to go out with.  I just moved here.”

A year ago.

“A year ago.  A whole year.  Do you even try?”

She folded her arms like a child and frowned.  I can’t take it anymore.

“We need to talk.”