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The Listener

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“You know what I mean?” I asked, furiously stomping around the kitchen. It was a rhetorical question. Ruby looked at me from the couch where she sat. Her eyes watched me as I paced back and forth. I rolled my own. She never was one of many words. “Whatever. Anyways, it just really p***es me off how he never calls me back. He never even texts me. It’s like ‘I know you have a phone–USE IT!’ Sheesh. It’s like he doesn’t even know that we live in the twenty-first century!”

I angrily tossed some silverware from the sink into the dishwasher. Most of it made it in, but some of it clattered on the hardwood floor, making Ruby jump.

“Oh, relax,” I said to her. “You’re not the one with a technologically inept boyfriend.” More silverware clanged about. Someone had to do the chores around here. All Ruby did was eat, sleep, and sit there on the couch. She didn’t even bathe that much. I shuddered, reminding myself to shampoo the couch next.

Ruby sighed.

“I know, I know.” I knew exactly what she was going to say. “‘Lucy, you’re just getting all worked up again, it’s nothing to fuss about.’ Well, guess what! I’m sick of being out of the loop!”

I reached for a plate in the sink. Ruby hid her eyes in the couch pillow.

“I won’t break it,” I said, trying to make my voice sound calm and serene; two things I certainly did not feel at the moment. “I like these plates more than I like him, anyway.”

Ruby sighed again and closed her eyes, as if all this was giving her a stress headache.

“You’re going to tell me to break up with him aren’t you?” I gingerly placed the plate in the dishwasher. “I would if I knew where he was!”

Naturally, Ruby didn’t say anything, and neither did I. I merely stood at the kitchen sink, fuming amongst the suds. Oh, what I would tell him if he ever answered the phone...

Ruby got up from the couch.

“Where do you think you’re going?” I wasn’t finished talking and she was the best listener I had.

She didn’t even give me a passing glance. Ruby walked from the living room into the kitchen to get a drink of water.

“Screw that,” I scoffed. I reached into the cupboard above the microwave and pulled out my other boyfriend, Jack Daniels. I poured myself a sufficient amount. Ruby shot me an incredulous look. I glared back at her from behind my glass. “Don’t judge. It’s not my fault Jack is always easy to get ahold of. Besides, Mom and Dad won’t even notice.”

In response, Ruby grabbed a tennis ball and dropped it at my feet. She waited there, expectantly.

“Seriously?” I asked, annoyed at her lack of sympathy.

She pushed the ball closer to me. Ruby was silent, but she was very persistent. I guess I had to admire her undeniable determination. I picked it up and tossed it down the hall. Ruby went scurrying after it, overturning all the rugs in the process. She returned in record timing, the ball back at my feet.

I tossed back what was left in my glass.

“Listen,” I said to her. “First, I’m going to need a few more of these.”





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