Around the World in Sixty Steps by Connie Millard
She recognizes the footsteps of the mailman, the slight dragging of his right foot that accompanies every step. Knows the meaning of every yip and yap of her neighbor’s dog, for food, for release. Anticipates the hiss from her furnace, the gurgle from the toilet. She welcomes a surprise chirp from the smoke detector or a sudden settling of the floor, any break from the endless, predictable concert of her life.
She unfurls from her futon, moseying the twenty steps to her kitchen, monotony fueling her need to open the refrigerator. Wafts of pungent onion, lingering like an unwelcome guest, thrust stomach acid into her throat, bitter and meaty.
As she traipses another twenty steps to the bathroom, she thrusts her hands in her sweatshirt pockets, gravitating to the random objects she hides in their depths—a thimble and a rock—rubbing them like talismans. In the mirror, she chats with the only face she knows, but soon runs out of things to say.
She trudges the remaining twenty steps back to her living room, past the unmade futon to the apartment’s one window. She closes her eyes, surprised by the tiny breeze kissing her cheek, and synchronizes her breaths to the sounds of her clock.
She caresses the rock.
She hurls the rock.
She shatters on impact.
Connie Millard once made the final callbacks for the tv show, Worst Cooks in America. After much perseverance, she now spends her time writing in between stirring risotto. Her work has appeared in Tales to Terrify, Ran Off with the Star Bassoon, and Goats Milk Magazine, among others. Find her at conniemillardwriter.com & @connieluvcoffee.