Brigit's Flame competitive writing community: November Week 4
Compulsory prompt: The End
Title: "Hail the Victor"
There are still impressions in the carpet from the couch. He steps around where it used to sit and drops into his recliner, one of the remaining pieces of furniture in the room that now seems much too big. The coffee table is still there, but its matching end tables are gone. Their impressions in the carpet frame the couch’s void, making the empty space seem all the larger.
Of course the television is gone. He knew he had no chance of keeping that. Not that it matters; if he still had it, he wouldn’t feel like watching it. So instead he takes in the rest of the room, much darker now that the lamps that sat on the end tables are gone.
There, in the drywall, is the patch that doesn’t quite match the rest of the walls. That’s where he once became so angry at her during one of their fights that he punched a hole through the wall. He was never able to find the proper paint color to cover the hole, and so the mismatched spot was born, a scar to remind of the wounds inflicted in that argument.
He actually forgot about the spot on the carpet. Once she got so angry at him that she smashed her wine glass over the edge of the coffee table and threatened him with the stem. Days later, when things cooled down, they rearranged the furniture to cover the stain that wouldn’t come up.
Funny. Now that he thinks about it, he can’t remember what either of those fights had been about. Actually, now that he’s sitting in the empty room, with the peace and quiet that he spent so many nights hoping for, he doesn’t remember what any of the fights were about. He supposes that it doesn’t matter, now, what caused the fights, only that they happened, and he and she both fought dirty. Neither one of them was ever willing to give up ground, to admit defeat, to compromise. It seems silly that the things that seemed so important then are so pointless now.
What he does remember is the origin of the small smudge on the otherwise perfect ceiling. When they finally saved up enough for the down payment on the house, they splurged and bought a bottle of moderately-priced, non-vintage, domestic champagne. Neither one of them knew how to open it, so the cork had hit the ceiling and nearly put his eye out. They had laughed so hard.
Don’t forget about the fights, he reminds himself. Remember how bad they were. How loud and violent each of you became. Life wasn’t nearly as happy as that night with that champagne, so don’t bother kidding yourself.
The fighting is over, now. There are no screaming voices, no accusing shouts, no blame being thrown around like sharpened knives.
No happy laughter. No squeals of joy. No come-and-get-me teasing.
He presses his face into his hands and his chest shudders. “Hail the victor.”