Short Stories

An Unexpected Surprise

I’m quite positive that the window beside me is now cracked. But a sight like this would evoke a glass-shattering scream from even the toughest of men. My eyes widen. My chest tightens. My hand numbly drops the handbag and newspaper to the tiled floor. My heart beats loudly in my ears. Tears build in my eyes. Bile makes its way up my mouth, but I painfully swallow it back down causing tears to roll down my cheeks. I wipe them away furiously.

How could they do this to me?

Then again, how could I not see the signs. Their secretive smiles, inside jokes, absurd reasons to avoid seeing me or to hang out altogether. Hell, I have even caught them hanging out together alone at the supermarkets and cafes. But not once did I think this would happen. I clench my hands to stop them from shaking. Lord, this is not what I meant when I wanted my sister and my boyfriend to get close!

How could I not see that this had been bubbling under the surface?

So many clues that I have naively overlooked for weeks. Initially, I viewed their spending time together as bonding and it made me so happy to see them getting along. They share the same interests, sense of humour and most importantly, love for me. Or so I thought. They have completely crossed the line.

Millions of questions run through my head. ‘How did they do this? Why did they do this? When did they do this?’ But I don’t need their explanations. I already know all the answers. I shake my head and take a step back to scan the different colours scattered everywhere. The pungent smell is too overpowering.

Everything is going to change from today.

The secret will soon be out. Everyone will start looking at me differently, majority in amusement, and a chosen few with sympathy.

You see, I have now fallen into that clichéd category most people fall into at the start of the New Year after weeks of complete and utter indulgence.

The cold air raises the thin hairs and goose bumps on my bare arms and the concealed florescent lights does nothing to warm me up, despite being left on since I pulled the door open three minutes ago.

I glare back at the Post-It note stuck against a red tomato that is conveniently at my direct eye level. Elegant and feminine. ‘You asked. We delivered.’

This is the worst kind of betrayal imaginable, initiated by an innocent rhetoric question.

‘Can you help me diet?’

This is not what I meant. I envisioned Jarrod and I going on hikes, followed by picking up a box of Krispy Kremes on the way home, or signing a gym membership with Ronnie which we will forget to use in two months. But never did I think they would take it so seriously.

Should I be offended that they have taken it seriously?

I can no longer find the cakes, fizzy drinks, pizzas, pastry’s and, where’s the box of Ferrero Rocher?! It does not matter how far I search inside the fridge, the beloved food I bought yesterday to keep me sane has mysteriously disappeared, and in its place are a range of different colours and shapes. Strawberries, bottles of water, a cartoon of eggs, a whole chicken, pasta.

A lot of things say ‘gluten-free,’ is that a brand?

This is hopeless.

The deeper I look equivalence the more alien things I find and the more scared I become.

Almond milk, kale salads, avocados…what are Chia seeds?

I am getting a heart attack just looking at this stuff.

I need a drink, but strangely my bottle of wine is gone. Empty to be exact. I guess Jarrod and Ronnie took it upon themselves to finish the bottle while cleaning out my fridge this afternoon whilst I was at work. But they were kind enough to leave their glasses in the sink for me to clean.

I pull out my phone from my jacket pocket and dial Ronnie’s number.

‘This is Ronnie, sorry I can’t come to the phone right now…’

I then try Jarrod’s.

‘…Please leave a message after the beep.’

I growl and hang up. If only I had still that Ferrero Rocher box.

Their days of avoiding me are over.

My phone beeps. It’s a text message from Ronnie.

‘Hope you liked your surprise. Wear something pretty for tonight.’

My eyebrows crinkle in confusion. We did not make any plans for tonight. Maybe she is waiting for me at her home. But ‘wear something pretty’? She wants me to be dressed up while I kill her?

I let out a deep breath and look at the fridge again in sorrow. Ohh, my precious….

I end up staring back at the Post-It note which is stuck to the tomato. I pull it off to curiously find another Post-It under it. This handwriting contrasts the previous note, it is neither elegant or feminine but is largely written almost completely covering the yellow, small-squared paper. I can barely make out the entire message.

‘Got another surprise for you. Come by my house when you are done screaming. Love you x’

I send a quick message to my sister. ‘Tonight you escape unscathed.’

Not even a minute later, I get a response.

‘Tomorrow you will be showing off Jarrod’s other surprise.’

I doubt it. If it’s a freaking juicer, I’m stuffing him inside my fridge.

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