The Rough Patch
The branches of the apple tree throw faint shadows around the kitchen, dancing across its walls and surfaces. Under the sun’s scrutiny, the kitchen table displays it scars, the gloss of its oak veneer marred by the dents and cracks of four decades of service. She sits alone at the table in a straight-backed chair, wrapped in her dressing gown and an outsized cardigan. In her hands she holds a mug of half-drunk tea that is now quite cold. The clock on the wall behind her ticks the passing of time, but she does not hear it. She is staring across the table at the wall opposite, where a small patch of rough plaster is dappled by the late morning sunlight. And she is remembering Frank.
He is red-faced and shouting, his breath a cloud of alcohol and spittle. On the stove is the pot of chicken stew she has left to simmer. She jumps back as he sweeps it off the cooker, flinches as he smashes his fist into the wall, cries out as she turns and slips and smashes her hip into the corner of the kitchen table. Now it’s the next morning, and Frank is filling the hole in the wall with plaster. He winces as his hand manoeuvres the trowel, smoothing everything over. Later still, and the smell of fresh paint mingles with the scent of the roses that fill the vase on the kitchen table. The wall is almost as good as new.
She sips her tea and is surprised to find it cold. Her eyes return to the patch of wall and she watches the sunlight play over its surface. One moment the light catches it and every ridge and bump casts a shadow; the next, the patch is in shade, almost invisible.
She gets up from her chair and walks stiffly over to the cupboard next to the cooker. Leaning in, she digs around and pulls out the old pan. It had been her favourite, and she had kept it despite the dent and the shiny replacement that Frank had bought her from Woolworths. In the bottom of the pan there is a thin layer of dust and the husk of a dead spider. She tips the spider into the bin, and washes the pan out under the tap before placing it on the hob. She rummages in the vegetable drawer of the fridge and arranges what she has gathered on the table, then fetches a knife and a chopping board. Refilling the kettle, she puts it on to boil and sits back down in her chair. She picks up an onion and begins to peel.
para 1, sentence 1, typo: 'it' -> 'its'
para 2, 'dent' to 'hole', because I've used 'dent' too many other times.
Last edited by Matt Q; 08-23-2019 at 01:30 PM.