Helping Hands, Part 1

[It’s been far too long since my last fiction project on this blog, and today’s as good as any to start a new work. Like many of my stories, this one’s been kicking around in my head for many years, and it feels good to finally commit to getting it out.]

Ven sat on the chair that he would soon carry down to the van he had rented for the day. The living room was a field of cardboard boxes and plastic crates, filled with the belongings (mostly books and electronics) that Ven had accumulated over the past six years. His roommate had moved out the prior evening, both of them agreeing not to assist in the other’s move, and Ven had finished packing by 11; when he had woken that morning to the quiet and empty rooms, he no longer felt comfortable in the apartment where he had lived in the two years since he had graduated.

Late morning sunlight reflected sharply off the bare floor. Ven took out his phone, checked the time — 9:54. If Quentin and Bonnie-B were their typically selves, they’d arrive in exactly six minutes. A thought came to him, or more exactly returned once again, to call or text the Richardsons, tell them they shouldn’t bother themselves, he really didn’t have that much stuff and could handle the move on his own. But what had Aidan told him at the bar the other night? You need to let them help you get your skinny little ass down to the city. And no, I’m not available.

The young man rose from his chair, side-stepped past the boxes and crates on his way to the bathroom. He didn’t need to relieve himself, he just needed to move, work out some of the anxiety he was feeling. His caught his reflection in a mirror, and paused, examining his face. He thought he looked terrible, not having shaved in two days, or showered after packing his toiletries yesterday. His hair had grown into rough brown tufts, like a weed-infested field; he was weeks overdue for a trim. He couldn’t look like this for the Richardsons, they were always so clean and well-groomed, like they were perpetually ready for a family portrait.

He ran the faucet, wet his fingers and began stroking his hair, when he felt his phone vibrating in his pocket. He took out the device, examined the incoming message. We’re here! Ven sighed, and without responding to the message, quickly exited his apartment and began walking down the stairs to the entrance.


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