SULLEN: Sullen By Anne Nassar

Word Count 493
By Anne Nassar
Neither of them really understood what it was to lose somebody. Her grandpa had died, but he lived far away and she only ever saw him on holidays. He’d lost an uncle, but the uncle had been a drug addict and his mother forbade him to come around. And of course, they couldn’t know if they’d lost anybody or not. They operated on the assumption that their relatives were alive and well somewhere. The town had, after all, been evacuated. And there was no way to get in touch with anybody.
They missed their parents, their siblings, their friends. But in a way, it was fun to be free. They did what they pleased. They helped themselves to cars, boats, bikes, clothes. They broke in to different houses and stayed until they messed the place up, and then moved on.
She loved having him all to herself. No bitches to be jealous of. No stupid friends of his to put up with. He, though, got a little bored of her company on occasion. She really wasn’t very bright, and she could be really spiteful. He found himself thinking about other girls he had dated previously. But they weren’t around anymore. So, he had to make do.
And most of the time, they were fine. The fights only started when food got scarcer. There was still food, but it was all can stuff and not even peas and carrots or corn, but lima beans and beets. Canned potatoes – who knew that they canned potatoes?
He was considerably bigger than her and his larger body required more fuel. She thought they should split the food equally. He couldn’t make her understand that this wasn’t fair. One day, she got so pissed off about food that she ran away.
He didn’t immediately follow her. He just didn’t feel like it. But as dusk came on, he started to get a little nervous. There were still animals around. He walked around town, bellowing out her name. Finally he found her, sitting on the beach in the shallow water.
He was so relieved to see her that he forgot to be mad. Something had happened, though. There were lines in the dirt on her cheeks where the tears had run down. Seeing him, her bottom lip quivered and she covered her face with her hands.
You ok? He asked, what is it?
Look at me, she said, sullen, combative.
He looked for cuts, bruises. But there was nothing amiss.
Look at my belly. Look at my boobs.
Suddenly he understood and said, oh, f–k, no.
I knew that’d be your response, she said bitterly.
What do you want me to say? It’s not a good world to be born into, now, is it?
No, she said, but nevertheless.
I’m fine with it, he said, but we’re going to have to go inland.
Why? she said, looking panicked.
Because the food’ll run out eventually.
The honeymoon’s over, she said.

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