Empty cups

imageUncertainty wakes, rises, puts on a dress, washes her face and administers makeup; moves from the bathroom into the hallway, on to the kitchen, where she is blinded by light. Last night’s dinner sits in the sink, stale and menacing, covered in ants: creatures that smell a meal on washed-up plates, dine for hours on empty cups.

Indecision joins her, filling the kettle with tepid water, placing it on the hob to boil, taking four slices of factory bread from the artificial sheath that contains them, slipping them – slowly, carefully, ever so securely – into the metal contraption that cooks, painting their surfaces caramel brown and various shades of black.

The light flickers, the kettle whistles, the toaster clicks. There is comfort in action, reassurance in order.

Anxiety enters on impatient feet, circling, pacing, crying out in tones are far from dulcet, bereft of endearing; although her mother might love them, perhaps?

Uncertainty sighs and moves to the cupboard, extracting a plate and a bowl; taking a packet of something vaguely meaty, pouring it in; filling the empty hollow with dried-up balls that chime as they connect.

Setting it down with a tap like the rapping of fingers, the patter of rain, she begs a window of space from the creature that hounds her. The air, however, has other ideas. It hisses and cracks.

As she searches for purpose and meaning inside a present that is deceptively labelled, longing for a destination which manages to be both familiar and exciting at the same time; Indecision deliberates the tangle of life, feeling bitter and cheated, freshly abandoned.

Meanwhile, Anxiety circles, carving rivers of worry into the floor.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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