modern art

Leaving Home by Samuel Dodson

When I left home this morning, my children were watching television in silence, whilst my wife brushed her hair in the mirror we bought together at university. This year’s spring had arrived with the colour of autumn, and the sun seemed brighter somehow, as it fell through the leaves saturated with orange and red. 

As I sat down in the unnecessarily heated seats of the car – a gift from the company – the sound of Alexander; the neighbours vicious little dachshund trilled through the windows. After noting that I was running five minutes early, and reasoning that it was pointless to return inside for all of three minutes before leaving again, I thought it best that I sit in the car with the engine running. It was then I caught glimpse of a terrible spectre of a figure in the corner of my wing mirror, and looking over to my right I locked gaze with Alexander’s owner, a fifties suburban housewife trapped in the twenties. I smiled at her, somewhat awkwardly, and when there was no glimmer of movement in her facial muscles, I turned slowly away so that I once again found myself staring at my locked front door. 

For a measure of time slightly longer than a moment, I sat there. Unmoving, remembering the documentary last night about the frozen neanderthal girl, who had been covered over millennia by layer upon layer of snow and ice; after falling asleep inopportunely during an avalanche in the mountains. Noting with a glance to my right that the neighbour was still watching me, I extended my arm and flicked on the radio. The date filtered through the pixels; 11th Sept. 

The voice of the news anchor echoed through the speakers which needed fixing, filling the car with the ambience of a conversation taking place in a cave. Before I had tuned in to what was being said, the front door suddenly opened and my wife stood there, half ready, looking into my eyes with an almost surprised hatred. Alexander was now barking louder than before, and seemed to be almost in the car with me. In a commotion of rapid reflexes, I put the car from the company into reverse gear, lifted the hand-break and pushed the gas pedal – cursing my American-isms as I did so – to the floor whilst lifting the clutch. 

There was a small, yet immeasurably painful, bump. Followed instantaneously by a loud and earth shattering whelp. Then there was a shrieking that I thought for a moment was coming from my own mouth, but realised that it was the neighbour, who had run toward the car and was now clambering without a trace of elegance over the hedgerow between our gardens. I was staring into the eyes of my wife, and my teeth felt as if they were falling into my throat, as I listened to the news anchor on the radio let his emotion betray him.
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