Scream


It's Saturday.  The day of rest.  Linda is in the kitchen setting out some steaks for dinner.  Today she is allowed to put the large padlock on the mini-fridge in the breakfast nook without consequence.  Dale doesn't bother her about it.  He knows the combination is written on the back of their print of "The Scream" above the mantel.  To move the painting, though, shows that he really does have a problem, so he gives Linda her day of rest and the artwork is undisturbed.
      It's dark now.  They still don't understand family dinners.  Linda will finish cooking and bring a plate up to her daughter Amy.  Dale will eat later, after the steak is room temperature.  He'll say, I've had better steak.  Remember when I grilled that really good steak in the garage?
      They will sleep in separate beds.  Most Saturdays, Dale falls asleep in the recliner and Linda retreats to the room they used to share together.  She turns on a fan, even in the winter, so she can forget the sounds of her home.  The fish tank in the basement.  The downstairs television.  The clanking of the furnace.  Dale's snoring.  The steak on the stove hardening like butter.
      Amy sits on her bed scribbling in a notebook.  She uses a night-light because the bulbs on the streetlamps are burnt out.  The city has forgotten them.
      On nights when the moon is full, she likes to sit by the window and watch the neighborhood boys walk down the street, their faces illuminated by a dusty haze.  They are from Pennsylvania.
      She writes romance stories and pretends the boys in the window are potential suitors.  As they get farther down the street, their outlines vanish, leaving only the soft orange glow of cigarettes.  Her eyes follow.  
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