It was a day like any other, yet different than all the rest. The heavy fog rolled in swamping the small brown house on the hill. Inside six people lay sleeping, snug on their blanketed beds. One of those six people was Audrina Westgate, who tossed and turned through the night. Her dreams casting a light sweat upon her skin.
She couldn’t roll the cigarettes. The machine kept jamming. The cigarettes came out halfway done. In frustration she pushed the machine aside, near tears. Aaron sat down and rolled her five good cigarettes. On his first try. With no issues. Her frustration settling, Audrina placed them into a small plastic cigarette container which she sat down on her night stand. She ran to use the restroom before they left. Only gone for a moment she grabbed the cigarettes as she rushed to get ready to fly out the door. Glancing into the pack she saw that they were destroyed. Crumpled cigarettes lined the case, wet tobacco clinging to its sides. There stood Landis with a handful of broken cigarettes and a sly smirk on his face. AGGGGHHHH!!!! She screamed. Running to the machine, she needed to make more fast so that they could leave.
“BEEEPP! BEEEEPPP! BEEEEEPP!” The alarm tore through her dreams saving her from the torment of struggling to roll cigarettes again.
Audrina leaped off of the floor and slammed the alarm clock off. Oh did her head pound, likely from being up far too late the night before. It was a good movie though, she recalled on her way to the kitchen, it had been a long time since she was able to watch an entire movie. The sweet aroma of fresh brewed coffee hit her nostrils just as she turned the corner into the dining room. Yes, she had finally remembered to set the coffee pot the night before, she thought, smiling to herself.
She retrieved a cup of coffee and opened her laptop. Her heart ached to go immediately to her online social media site but she restrained, fearful of appearing too eager, as though any one would notice, or even care. She clicked on a few other sites but could no longer contain herself. The evening before she had sent him a message. The one who made her heart flutter a little on the inside. It was just a simple picture, one that made her instantly think of him as she scrolled along. It was funny and light hearted and who couldn’t use a little funny, light hearted in their lives… There were a variety of reactions he could have though and it teased her curiosity to discover which one had manifested.
She logged on and saw two messages blinking brightly. She avoided them for a moment, letting the anticipation pleasurably torment her just a little longer. Finally she could no longer take it and she clicked the message. He had replied! Her first fear, that he’d have no reaction at all, dissipated. It was a short reply. A single acknowledgment that he found the picture mildly amusing. Surely not the best reaction that could have come about, and she knew that he was capable of far better replies. Also, she knew why he held back from his usual quick witted retorts.
Audrina closed down her laptop. Well enough, she thought to herself. Today wasn’t a day for writing for Audrina. Something in her tangled mind twisted all her thoughts. Distorting them from clear words to garble she could not yet translate. Riley and Raye woke up a little early that morning though and she made good use of the extra time getting them ready for school and off on the bus. Walking back into the house she found Aaron wide awake and raring to go for the day. Though odd, she surely couldn’t write in front of him. She could never write in front of him. The casual way he would appear over her shoulder reading each thought, each word, as it trickled through her brain and down her arms into her hands. Rather, she moved on to her other tasks of the day.
Going into her room she quickly folded up the blankets from the night before and stacked them in a neat pile in the corner of their room. Since everyone in the house was awake already she vacuumed and started a load of laundry. With the day well on its way, now she could write, but first she needed some cigarettes before she sat down and stewed over making sense of the tangled thoughts that twirled through her mind.
She went out to the dining room and pulled up a white lawn chair to the side of the dining room table that the rolling machine sat on.
“Did you leave all this tobacco in here last night?” She shot at Aaron accusingly.
“Yeah I sure did.” He grunted back.
“Well it dries out all the tobacco,” Audrina replied knowing full and well that he did not leave it out.
“Must be a day for you to be a bitch huh?” Aaron slammed her direction.
Was he serious, she raved inside her head. She was being a bitch because everyone was drying out the tobacco that she had to buy for them. Why was it her responsibility to buy everyone the crap anyway? They all got money randomly, they couldn’t even chip in. When she was out were they going to help. Audrina fumed as she struggled further and further to roll the dry tobacco in the machine.
“Well of course no one worries about drying the shit out cause Audrina will just buy more,” she spat back at Aaron, suddenly in the sour mood he had accused her of. Ten total cigarettes rolled, half dry tobacco and half fresh, and none turned out. By now Audrina was so infuriated at Aaron’s audacity to call her a bitch because she wanted people to take care of what she paid for, for them to smoke as well, that she flipped. Crumpling up the heap of faulty cigarettes, she threw them aside, and stormed off to her room.
“Throwing a little tantrum huh?” Aaron further degraded.
Stewing too badly to bother replying, Audrina started sorting the laundry pile in her room. In an angry huff, she tore through the pile in record time. Having nothing left to do but sit in her stewing anger she slumped over in a corner of their bedroom waiting for the washing machine to finish so that she could switch loads.
After a few moments of listening to the gentle whirling of the machine she heard the cigarette rolling machine making it’s smooth noise of a perfectly rolled cigarette. Figures, she thought, that asshole rolls them without a problem. Maybe he should smoke them if he can roll them so well. The thought of telling him so as she rushed out to buy a pack of real cigarettes tore through her mind. Knowing the huge argument that would ensue she thought of how he would kick her out. She would cry. He would threaten to take her kids. She would think of running to her moms. The thoughts spun through her mind as she lived the option out in her mind.
Finally she settled on the fact that she couldn’t get her children to school every day if she rushed off to her mom’s, and Riley was gunning for perfect attendance. Besides, she would be back at Aaron’s within a month or so anyway. That’s how it always went down and she gave in to the fact years ago. Plus, she couldn’t leave him. Leave him in a home he couldn’t pay for, bills he couldn’t afford, taking his suburban because it was the only vehicle they had. No matter how badly he made her feel sometimes, Audrina could never leave him to lose all she had worked for. To lose all he had. Besides, as she sat there and fumed, he was out there rolling her cigarettes. She slowly started to drift off to the gentle whirring of the washing machine.
Finally the need for another cigarette over rode the stubborn refusal Audrina held of accepting the cigarettes that Aaron had rolled. Plus she was freezing and her hoody was in the dining room draped over a chair. She stalked out to the dining room not daring to look at Aaron, slipped her hoody over her head as her eyes scanned the table for the cigarettes he must have rolled for her. Not seeing them anywhere, she grabbed the nearly full cigarette she had stubbed out in the ashtray from earlier and snatched up the empty plastic cigarette case and her lighter off of the table. The pack felt a little heavier than it should and she gave it a light shake just to be sure. Yes, that’s where he had put them. She slammed the pack into her hoody pocket pretending she hadn’t noticed, spun on her heel, and went back to her room.
It wasn’t long and her refusal to acknowledge Aaron began to falter, as it would when two people live together. Simmering down, she was too spent to attempt writing now and her medicine as well as the horrible headache she had began to take it’s effect on her. She fought it a little longer but ended up falling asleep on her carpeted bedroom floor.
Audrina drifted in and out of sleep for a few hours. Cartoon theme songs screaming through her dreams and waking her. Shrieks from the children. She heard the washer click off and thought about getting up to change the loads, but that was as far as she got before dozing off again.
She finally awoke to an oddly quiet house. All the lights were off. The television. The washer and dryer had long since stopped. She heard gentle laughter from the children and hushed whispers from Aaron and Jack. Rising off the floor she stumbled into the dining room where Aaron had the fuse box ripped from the wall as he worked to replace it with a larger one. The house was a mess but Audrina was too tired to care. Realizing she couldn’t get a cup of coffee since the electric was shut off she sat down at the dining room table talking to Aunt Wanda while she watched Aaron work.
With no electricicty Audrina’s options to busy herself were limited. After her cigarette she returned to her bedroom quickly reminded of the land mines of sorted laundry piles that were scattered across the dark blue carpeted floor. With nothing else to do she set about folding and putting the laundry away. Done quicker than she thought she smiled at the mere feeling of accomplishment having all the laundry done for a moment.
After Aaron got the larger fuse box back in he and Audrina left to run errands, getting back home long after the children. Dinner was late, as were baths. Somehow miraculously the children were in bed on time, though the house was left a disaster, Aaron and Audrina slipped off to their room. They watched a movie, taking a quick intermission to have a round of passionate sex, all thoughts of their earlier fight long since forgotten. With a relaxed smile on her face, Audrina snuggled under her warm electric blanket and was fast asleep. One more day of her life put behind her.