Measured Response


I haven’t posted a flash piece in a while so here goes:

Measured Response

“It won’t fit.”

Cara caught the smug tone of Everett’s voice when he said those words. She expected his lousy attitude, but that didn’t make it any easier to deal with. After 12 years of marriage, his negativity caused immense aggravation, more now than at any time before. But she persisted and asked him to try again.

“Did you even measure the space before you bought this monstrosity?” He stared at the new refrigerator standing in the middle of the kitchen, failing miserably to hide his frustration.

Cara’s patience was strained. “Do you always have to assume I’m an idiot? Of course I measured the space. You could have taken some interest in making the purchase of the new one, but then you’d have to take some responsibility for the damn thing not fitting.”

The delivery guys were hesitant to bring the refrigerator in to begin with after seeing the space it was to go into, but Cara told them to leave it there anyway. The dimensions were so close. She knew Everett could figure out a way to make it work. But Everett was being difficult and negative and expressing his “can’t do” attitude that made Cara want to throw her hands up in defeat. Of course, she wouldn’t. She was too stubborn to give in to him. Plus, she knew there had to be a way to make the refrigerator work.

She looked at the cabinet beside the space intended to hold the fridge and noticed the edge of the countertop overlapped the cabinet by an inch or so. “Can’t we cut the countertop off about an inch to get the space we need?”

“It’s not that easy Cara. You think you can just cut something off and poof you’ve solved it? The refrigerator is too wide by a half inch and too tall by 1.5 inches. Even if I did cut the countertop off, what am I supposed to do about the cabinet above?”

“Can’t you trim it, too?”

“I’m not a carpenter! You expect me to be able to fix all this shit – well, maybe I can’t!”

Everett’s temper rose to an unhealthy level. He threw his weight against the refrigerator and started pushing as hard as he could, attempting to shove it into the space until it was wedged in so tight it would go neither forward nor backward.

“Well, that’s just great. You’ve got it stuck now.”

Everett didn’t care to hear a word of complaint from Cara at that point. This is the way it always was with her, though. She never knew when to stop. She pushed him until he was ready to explode. He slammed his fist into the side of the stuck refrigerator, leaving a noticeable dent in the white casing.

“Look what you just did! Are you insane? Even if we wanted to return it, we can’t now!”

“We can’t anyway because I’m sure I just left a scratch all along the side when I shoved it in here.”

“I don’t understand you at all.”

“Well that makes two of us Cara, because I don’t understand you at all either. I’m not sure I ever have.”

Cara sat down in the floor. A strange, silly laugh escaped her lips that soon turned into a weeping cry.

“What? Now I get to be the bad guy who always makes you cry? Great.”

“No Everett. I just realized that this refrigerator is like us. It’s big and cold and stubborn and won’t fit where it should. That’s what we are – cold, stubborn, and we don’t fit, not together, not anymore.”

“What are you saying Cara?”

“I’m saying that you were right all along – it won’t fit. No matter how much you shove and push. No matter what you change or move, it will never fit. Just like us. All we’re going to do by trying to force it is cause more damage. Is that what you want to do?”

Everett looked at Cara. For a moment, neither one said a word, but they knew. It was over for them. Cara stacked the paperwork to the new refrigerator on the table and left the kitchen.

Everett fumbled with the tape measure and started to re-measure the white box in front of him.  Forget it… what’s the use?


PhotoPin: photo credit: <a href=””>Chapendra</a&gt; via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;

15 responses »

  1. It’s often the smallest things that lead to big realizations, in this case, an ill-fitting fridge signaling an ill-fitted relationship. At least that’s been my experience. Wonderful piece.

    • Very true! Another couple might have simply laughed at the absurdity of the situation, teased each other about it and went on about their lives. Thanks for stopping in and commenting! 🙂

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