Guard Your Heart: A Short Story

Mary let out a sharp sigh and stepped away from the curtain. She was fuming and sizzling inside. Again. Someone had parked in her designated parking space again. She’d let it go before, but today, this evening, she wasn’t having it. What part of ‘private parking’ couldn’t people read? It incensed her that people could do that without thinking – just claim spaces that weren’t theirs and ignore signs as though they were privileged. Mary would never do that, and therefore didn’t feel others should.

She stormed into her living room and looked around for a pen, and a piece of paper. Blood coursed through her veins and her hand slightly shook. Finding a pen and tearing off a page from a book she found lying around, she wrote in big bold letters: This parking spot is assigned. Please do not park here again. Thank you. Neighbour.

Matching out of her townhouse and a few metres down the road she stopped by the offensive vehicle and snarled at it. Pinning the note between the window and the wiper blade, she walked back to her place. Her landline was ringing and she rushed to grab it. It was Mike.

“Hey, hey you,” She sounded breathless and her heart beat but now to a different tune.
“Hey, uh, listen, won’t be able to make it tonight, something came up. What are you up to Saturday?” Mike sounded distracted and Mary pictured him running his hand over his hair, probably staring at a stack of papers on his desk.

Disappointment licked at her like a flame. Saturday? It was Sunday night. She had to wait another six or so days to see him? Taking in a deep breath, Mary quickly scanned her memory and rearranged her schedule. “Nothing.” She smiled into the phone. She liked that she did that with him, was able to show him how accommodating she was, and how good she was at keeping her ill feelings to herself.

“Nice. Yeah, we might be able to do something on Saturday, I don’t know yet, I’ll give you a shout, ‘kay?”
“Yeah, sure.” Mary’s voice ebbed and her heart began to descend into the pit of her stomach, somewhere where she buried how hurt and alone she felt whenever Mike put something else before her. Five years later, and she’d never gotten used to it. Probably never would. But for as long as she loved him, she’d always make sure she had a space for him, a place he could call home.

Mary drifted back to the window and pulled the curtain away with her fingers. She listlessly looked out into the parking lot, staring out at the dark starless sky and then moved her gaze down to the white paper that fluttered in the breeze, stuck on the car that trespassed against her.  So much for clearing the space, she thought. Still, it wasn’t right–private parking was private parking, and one shouldn’t feel liberty in showing up and taking up the spot whenever s/he felt like it.

Something about that bothered her, the way one walked in and out of clearly assigned spaces. Mary shook her head and dropped the curtain, walking back to the living room to sink into the living room couch with the book whose page she’d torn off. It was going to be a long night, and even longer week. The last time Mike had been busy, he hadn’t shown up for over two weeks. Still, she’d kept his spot cleared for him, so he’d know he always had a place, and maybe one day would just stay.

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Guard Your Heart: A Short Story

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