By Marc N. Kleinhenz

She came in, a grocery bag under each athletic arm.  It was hard to tell whether she was still mad or not.  Then again, it was always hard to know which way her temperament was blowing.  I suppose it’s one of the things I always loved about her.  I suppose.

Sale on granola, her voice carried from the kitchen.

Wow.  That’s great, honey.  Goddamn rabbit food.  God – she had better not have forgotten the Mountain Dew.

But no Mountain Dew.  Sorry.  Oh.

I was already on the next round of Black Ops when she stopped unpacking.  Did you manage to do that thing today?  Or are you still too hurt from your injury?

Ouch.  My one stab at basketball, and this was how she repaid me.

Have I ever told you, honey, I heard myself saying, how much I love you for taking care of me?  In sickness or in health?  Did my tone always sound so forced?  So sickly sweet?

Silence.  Anita?  Oh, well.  Zombies were piling up; the call of duty waits for no man.  Or granola bar.

That’s when I noticed she was doing her best impression of Death incarnate in the doorway – unmoving, unblinking, unnerving.  She knew staring contests were one of my weaknesses, although I gave her my best Han Solo over the mound of half-finished manuscript pages on the coffee table.  What?

Can’t you think of anything to say, for Chrissakes?  Or write?  Wow.  Did her voice always sound so sour?  I had always told her that we went together like peas and carrots, me and Anita, but a plate of stinky Chinese chicken might have been more like it these days.

She had already padded down the hallway and back again, a bottle of water clenched in hand, before I could even sit up.

For the love of God, she said, squinting her eyes closed.  You can’t say anything and you don’t do anything.

That was it, the last chip to unleash the torrent.  The words were a flood – how she (grocery shopping aside) hadn’t been too understanding of my current condition, how she could go from zero to bitchy in two seconds flat, how she constantly split infinitives.  Oh, and how she always left her fingernail clippings scattered on the carpet and the recyclables on the kitchen counter for me to take out to the garage.  There might have been two or three other well-placed zingers in there, but, in the end, all I could really do was sigh.

Goddamn wired jaw.

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Marc N. Kleinhenz is a gaming journo who has written for Gamasutra and TotalPlayStation, where he was features editor. He co-hosts the Airship Travelogues podcast for Nintendojo and has had his creative writing published through Alterna Comics and Asylum Ink magazine, among others.

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