Losing friends – a short story

The radiator always reminded her of him. The distinct little scratches in the pipe work and the gouges in the skirting board behind. She gave a weary sigh and sat at the table, cupping her hands around her hot coffee mug. It had been four months now and she was starting to feel lonely again. Her eyes scanned around the kitchen. Everything was sparkling and spotless, even the floor. This was always what happened when she started feeling low: excessive cleaning. The sun couldn’t even find any grime spots on the window as it shone through and lit up the yellow walls.

But again, she was drawn to the radiator. How had she met him? The café? No, no she met him in the petrol station when she had been ‘struggling’ with the air hose as she tried to pump her tyre up. He’d swooped in and shown her what to do, completing the task for her. When they bumped into each other again in the shop, it seemed rude not to exchange numbers. He’d helped with all sorts of jobs around the house after that as they got to know each other. Shame he couldn’t sort out the skirting board now he was gone.

As she stared at the laminate flooring just beneath the white metal, she tried to remember what he had looked like on the day they had met but she drew a blank. She could remember the last day though. His dark hair was too long – made him look scruffy. It didn’t help that he had been so warm that his sweat had matted it and made it stick to his forehead. Stubble covered the lower half of his face and even his clothes were scruffy. Red marks circled his wrists as the metal bit into them. At all times, his eyes tracked her around the room. She’d liked that about him, always attentive and alert; it made it more enjoyable when she caught him off guard.

The mark just below his right eye was proof of her success. He hadn’t moved an inch when she struck – too dumbfounded to believe it she supposed. When he awoke to find himself handcuffed to the radiator, he never said a word: he already knew it was pointless. It hadn’t stopped him from trying to pull the pipes away every time she was out of sight. She was sorry to see him go in the end but it had been time for them both to move on.

Now as she sat looking at the radiator, the loneliness started to weigh down on her again. Time to find a new friend.


A short story written in responses to the ten minte promts by Putting My Feet in the Dirt https://puttingmyfeetinthedirt.com/2019/06/01/june-writing-prompts-2/


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