Tuesday, May 10, 2016


For context, this short-story was for my college writing class. Dormant was entered in the 2016 Humber College League for innovation Literary Competition.

Warning: This story contains mature subject matter. 

Ed and Lilly were in his bedroom, a bedside lamp turned on to illuminate the young couple in the middle of the August night. He was sitting on the chestnut brown chair his father pulled from the basement storage and gave to him before moving into his new home. He hadn’t sat in it for years, not since the days when he still had school recess. It felt bigger.

She was alone in bed. He could tell the sheets were fresh, the smell of lavender filled the room. Ed hated any odor from the mint family.
“What time do you have to go to work tomorrow?” she asked him.

“I don’t know,” Ed replied. He hadn’t broken his stare outside the window for nearly 20 minutes.

“Do you want me to set an alarm?” she said.


Twenty-two minutes earlier, Ed and Lilly attempted to have sex for the first time in almost two weeks. Rarely did the couple go to bed at the same time on account of their opposing work schedule. This routine had become routine over three months since Lilly switched to full-time. The two would be lucky if they saw each other at all on a weekday.

She got out of bed and approached the chair from behind. She wanted to comb her fingers through his hair, wrap her arms tightly around him. He jumped the moment her skin touched his. He glared at her for a second, then recoiled in his seat, and continued to stare outside the window.

Lilly sat crosslegged on the floor beside Ed, and asked him if he was okay. Sometimes he would spill out his emotions in a tsunami of tears and short breaths and flushed faces. Sometimes he would say, “I’m fine.”

“I’m fine,” he said.

He got up and walked to the bathroom, simultaneously taking off his undershirt and boxers. He turned on the shower and immediately stepped in.

Ed, wearing only a towel, walked into the bedroom while Lilly stood in front of the mahogany-framed standing mirror. Her hands were playing notes along her skin. She was staring at her reflection. She was talking aloud, but not directly at Ed. 

“I have no breasts. Why did I have to get my mother’s breasts?” Lilly asked. 

Ed rushed to Lilly to wrap his arms around her. His towel fell on the way, his bare skin pressed against her back. Her skin was smoother than he recalled. 

“Lilly, you have the most beautiful breasts,” Ed told her. His hands moved up her thighs.

She was staring at her feet. “At least she could have given me her hips. I’m a No.2 pencil. She’s like goddamn sand through the hourglass,” said Lilly.

“Just like our lives,” he replied. “Or something.” 

“Or something.” 

He sat on the bed. He remembered middle-school, looking through his father’s drawer for loose change but instead finding a jar of Sildenafil marked as hypertension medication. Christ, he thought to himself, is this going to be the rest of my life? 

She laid beside him. The two were sharing a bed without touching; Ed at the foot of the bed, Lilly sprawled horizontally by the pillows. 

“Listen, Lil,” Ed said aloud. He was biting his lower lip. He could feel his eyes water. Tsunami incoming. “I love you. I don’t know what’s wrong with me right now.” 

Lilly stared at the forest green ceiling. There were white spots along the edges. The job had never been finished. How much longer would it have taken to finish it, she thought. Half-hour? Forty-five minutes? 

Ed continued coming up with reasons for his no-show performance. Stress from work, student debt, declining mental health, anything he could come up with on the spot to make Lilly sympathize with him. Just understand, he thought. Please understand.

Lilly had reached her limit for the night. She knew he wasn’t going to perform and she wasn’t in the mood for a three hour conversation about intimacy. 

He held his head in his hands, unable to make sound. She looked at him with a degree of sensitivity: there wasn’t that same vigor she once knew, but the feeling was there. Whatever it was. 

She put her hands on his shoulders, more for Ed’s comfort. He didn’t move this time, still mute. Head in hands. 

She exhaled and closed her eyes. The breeze had died but she was still getting slivers of the cool air that lingered. She rubbed his back at a golfer’s pace. 

A wave of heat splashed her body and the shade of darkness under her eyelids brightened. She opened them. The sun was rising. Hello, Monday.

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