Welcome back to Sunday Snippets. I was trying something different today; attempting to take an ordinary snippet of life and make it readable. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated 😉
“Last card.” The gentle slap of the jack of spades, on the in-play pile, punctuates my words.
“You’re kidding,” Seb groans incredulously, poised over his cards.
“Sor-ry,” I sing, remorselessly.
“Hmm.” His eyebrows are doing that thing that makes me all gooey inside: it’s a kind of delighted fluttering; a sure sign that I’ve amused him somehow. He smirks casually and lays a second jack, lovingly, over mine.
“Fuck!” I’ve got to pick up ten cards and he only has two left. As I deal myself ten, his gaze wanders around the unfamiliar room. He’s never been here before and shamelessly gawks at all my idiosyncrasies: the giant textbooks, hulking on the sideboard;
the hand-crocheted flowers on the mantelpiece; and the overstuffed bookcases that dominate one wall.
“What’s with the green square?” His eyebrows are at it again. I’m not surprised he noticed it. If anything I’m surprised he didn’t ask me earlier. In the centre of one wall, unceremoniously placed beneath a wall sconce, is a foot wide square of unevenly applied, greenish paint. The pattern of the wallpaper is easily discernible underneath. It looks like an enthusiastic toddler did it.
“Well…” My hands pause in their reordering of cards as my gaze recalcitrantly follows his. The green square made sense to me when I did it. I’m not sure if I can explain it so that it makes sense to him. “It goes like this: I wanted to see if I liked the colour (I do); I also wanted to know if the paint would cover the wall-paper (it doesn’t). The paint is quite expensive (nothing like the cheap and cheerful brands I usually go for), so I didn’t want to waste it by trying to paint the whole wall and then discovering that I didn’t want it after all.” I glare at him, trying to force the sense of my behaviour into him by sheer will. He laughs, still waiting for me to sort my cards out.
“It’s why I’ve got a huge pot of white paint. I’m going to paint over the wall-paper (and the one bright red wall) with the white until you can’t see the flowers any more, and then I’m gonna use the green.”
“Ah,” he nods. “Are you going to re-stick the bits that are coming away from the wall?”
“Erm…” I hadn’t been planning to. Is that what I’m supposed to do? “Won’t the paint make them a bit sticky anyway?” I peer at his hands expectantly, willing him to lay a card.
“Not really,” he chuckles, tossing out a five of diamonds.
“Oh.” I manage to get rid of three cards. “I don’t suppose it matters that much. I’m only here for another eighteen months. Not sure why I’m decorating at all to be honest.”
“Crap.” He glares at the card in his hand. “Forgot to say last card.” Two penalty cards for him.
“Suck it!” I lay another three cards, triumphantly. Only five left to his three.
“So why only eighteen months?” He’s confused by me as usual. We’ve known each other for eighteen years but sometimes I make as little sense to him now as when we first met, I think.
“That’s when I finish my foundation degree. I’ll have to move somewhere else for my third year.” I don’t expect him to know how that frightens me.
“Spades,” he mutters, laying an ace to change the suit.
“Where do you think you’ll go for that?” I lay the queen and king of spades. Only three left.
“Not sure, really. It might depend on what my grades are like.”
“Last card.” He nods as he drops the two of spades, daring me to match it.
I can’t. Two more cards for me. He better not be able to lay that card.
“Where would you like to go?” He nonchalantly lays his final card on the pile, eyebrows dancing. He knows I hate to lose.
“It’s not so much about where I go, as what subject I want to do. I’d stay where I am if they offered the right course but they only do a PGCE – which is teaching – and I don’t wanna be a teacher.” I shudder, grimacing at the thought of me in front of a room full of people.
“Fair point.” He smiles as he gathers up the glossy rectangles and shuffles them into order, his deft hands gently tucking awkward corners into the pack. “Wanna play again?”