Where were you last night?
The exercises that I’m completing in my writing challenge are still focused on beginnings. Today, the exercise was to write from a given opening line. Here is my effort – it is free written, totally unplanned and unedited:
“Where were you last night?”
I opened the fridge door and peered inside, buying some time. That sounded casual enough, I thought, but I could hear the trap behind the words.
“Hannah? I said, where were you last night?”
Definitely a hint of warning this time. Sighing deeply, I straightened my back and came out of the fridge holding a shrivelled orange in one hand and an out of date yoghurt in the other.
“Why is there never any food in this house?” I asked, walking past her and sitting down at the table. She didn’t reply this time, but the question hovered between us, choking the air like humidity before a storm.
I dug my fingernails into the orange rind, pulling out tiny chunks as a time and dropping them onto the glass table top.
“I think you know where I was,” I mumbled, staring down at my pickings. She didn’t respond. I looked up and she was staring at me, stony faced, no flicker of reaction at my words.
“What? No lecture?” I leaned backwards in my chair, folding my arms across my chest. I reeked of orange.
“I told you what would happen if you went back there again,” she said quietly. She stood up and walked towards the door. Without turning back to look at me, she said “you can go and pack your bags now.”
She didn’t even slam the door when she left the room, or raise her voice. I hurled the orange at her retreating back, tears pricking my eyes. I think I hit her but she didn’t turn around. My mother really was done with me this time.