Wednesday, 16 May 2012

'Harmless Habit?' by Laura Fernandez-Kayne


The day David returned to find Melissa's empty wardrobe he knew that she had finally beaten him to it. She'd departed from David's flat and, hopefully, his life.

David knew he only had himself to blame; he was the one with the habit, he accepted that. He'd tried to stop, many times, and at first Melanie was enough to keep his attention. Tall, slim, curly red hair, large brown eyes – he hadn't been able to keep his eyes off her. On a dare, David had offered to buy her a drink, astonished when she'd giggled and agreed. Melanie was a hair-dresser and the complete opposite in personality and tastes to David's previous girlfriends. But, he'd reasoned, maybe a change was a good idea.

They had managed to build a relationship on a shared love of bad jokes and worse films, although David had never been completely sure if Melanie understood that they were so bad they were good, or if she just didn't get the irony. She liked fashion and shoes, trashy magazines that David just wanted to crack up over. With hindsight, David thought it wasn't terribly surprising that he'd found himself slipping back into his old ways.

Twitter, on-line forums, games such as World of Warcraft all started to creep back into David's free-time, with less devoted to Melanie. He did try to explain, but she just got annoyed that he'd rather play games than talk about the latest in the Jordan and Peter Andre saga. She refused to be persuaded. Even when he made her favourite meal and opened a bottle of Lambrini.

Then she began to play hardball. Refused what she called 'bedroom privileges', told David it was for his own good. She feathered a fingertip over his lips and down his chest, before retreating, and he decided the sacrifice would be worth it.

For a month or so, it worked. He tried really hard, and she was loving and rewarding of his efforts. Life was good. But she was always calling out to him from atop his desk, dark and lifeless, dusty and abandoned. Slowly, secretly, he started up his habit again. Just once a week at first, then twice, and then every other day. One hour a day, when Melanie was still at work. But then came the day when he lost track of time, and she arrived home, expecting dinner to be cooking but instead found David in the middle of a World of Warcraft quest. So, he cut back, again. But again he only lasted a few weeks before succumbing once more.

And now Melissa was gone. David could only feel relief. He had his life back, no more hiding. With a smile, he returned to his desk, to her. And found her screen smashed and her keyboard scratched beyond repair. With a yell of anger he acknowledged that Melissa had finally won.

1 comment: