Leading the

China let herself into her sister’s apartment. “Where’s Brian? I didn’t see his car.”

Sally clicked off the TV. “Bar.”

“Again?” China tugged her suitcase in and then locked the door. “He’s not going out to avoid me because I come so much, is he?”

“No.” Sally patted the couch. “It’s his letdown at the end of the week.”

Every week?” China perched on the edge of a cushion that swallowed her.

Sally shrugged.

“Doesn’t that worry you?” China reached down and unhooked her shoes, then wiggled her toes free and rotated her ankles.

“Nah.” Sally leaned back into the sofa, her small body enveloped in its too-soft folds. “He’ll get a cab.”

“And I’ll be happy to run one of you up to get the car in the morning, but I meant… doesn’t it bug you to spend every Friday night alone? You could go with him. I can let myself in.”

“It’s boring. Him and six other drunks talking shop all night.”

“It seems like you’re ignoring a problem.” China picked up the remote control and turned it over in her hands.

“You’re single,” said Sally. “You don’t get it.”

“But I’ve dated…”

“Marriage isn’t like dating.” Sally’s voice rose for a moment, but it quickly softened. “Marriage is as much about being willing to not-see as it is about loving each other.”


“And I’m not the only one closing my eyes. You see that spot in the wall?” Sally pointed to a jagged hole in the plaster.

“My God, did he…”

“Brian didn’t do that, Sis. I did.”

“But you’re so quiet.

“You know how angry I get. Sometimes, the rage comes up in me like the tide, and my hands have to do something or I’ll choke.”

“But that’s…I don’t believe you could have done that.” China heaved herself off the couch to study the wounded wall.

From her cocoon in the sofa, Sally chuckled. “Now who’s the blind one?” she asked.


I’m in blind love with Trifecta this week. Come play with a community of outstanding writers if you have time to write 333 words or so. Or, if you have something longer that you’d like to get feedback on, submit it to the new critique program. Take a look and see what you think.

About jesterqueen:
Jessie Powell is the Jester Queen. She likes to tell you about her dog, her kids, her fiction, and her blog, but not necessarily in that order.


Leading the — 19 Comments

    • Many thanks! When they talk in my head, it really helps. I was so grateful for the shrink in Lexington who understood perfectly that I wasn’t confessing to further mental illness when I said that “of course I hear people talking all the time even though they aren’t there”.

    • Oooh feet? And no. I cannot comment about the giant holes in the plaster in our first rented house, which we repaired well enough that we even got our deposit back.

  1. I’m not sure who is more blind. China is naive to think her sister could do no wrong, but Sally is acting like everything is ok with the marriage. Great writing!

  2. Oh, Jessie! Did this hit a nerve with me today, or what?? But it’s so true! In order to make a marriage work, there are things that we must be willing to not see….
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    • And the flipside of that is also true. In order to be humans, we have to know our own limits and take off the blinders when it gets bad. I think Sally’s blinders may be on a little too tightly, both about her husband and herself!

  3. I *LOVE* how you implied blind rage, blind drunk, all sorts of blindness (not-seeing) without actually coming out and using the word until the very end. So, so, so well done.
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  4. Yeah, I can not see some stuff if I have to. The holes in the walls would bother me a bit though. Unless I’d done them. 🙂 Thanks for linking up this week, Jessie. I read your comment that you worry about hitting us over the head. I don’t think you do that, and I think your writing style works well. That being said, I also think it works well enough where you can rely a bit more on showing. I get the sense that we’ll be able to follow you wherever you take us. You’re good like that.
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