By the Numbers

By the Numbers

How does one rekindle a faded love?

David had been buried in work and statistics so long, he and his wife had forgotten how to communicate. They just need to take that first step…


Miscellaneous Fiction Literary Romance
Flash Fiction Short Story

Love is nowhere, Abigail Mortin thought to herself. If it were anywhere left, it would be right here with her husband she no longer knew how to relate to, but she couldn’t feel love when she looked up from her kneading dough at the tired middle-aged man frowning at the kitchen table over a newspaper.

David had been buried in work and statistics so long—just a few more months, he had always promised, and they’ll wrap up this project—but by the end of those eight years when David finally dragged himself out of numbers back into the real world, they had grown apart. He knew only numbers. Abigail could not share his love for them.

Paper rustled. She watched her husband stand and walk over to her, put one hand on her hand.

“Are your hands clean?” she sniffed, kneading with a little less vim.

“Teach me how to make bread,” David suddenly said softly.

Abigail glanced up in sharp surprise. “You’ve never been a baker,” she pointed out, perhaps a little harsher than was warranted.

But David pressed his hand a little more firmly onto hers. “Please.”

It surprised her, the quiet desperate pleading in that voice. She looked up at him, uncertain, more uncertain than she’d been when he took the job as City Statistician and buried himself in a deluge of work she simply couldn’t understand.

Perhaps— Perhaps.

Her heart and body softened, enough, and she nodded. Baking. She pulled out the numbered measuring cups and spoons she never used—always been taught with a pinch of this, a handful of that—but that he would understand. It was a start. It was enough.

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Miscellaneous Fiction Literary Romance

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4 Responses to By the Numbers

  1. arliddian says:

    I love how this short piece paints a picture of an entire relationship, and the long hard road ahead that begins with this single step, this single gesture. Lovely.

    • Liana says:

      There's a saying that I love, you can't keep putting one foot in front of the other and not get there. Thank you for stopping by and commenting. Marriage is worth it, and love is so much more than emotion.

  2. Kabobbles says:

    I like that he made an effort to reach out to her, to understand something she does and that he's almost desperate to do it. I also like that she made an effort to find a part of it that he would understand.

    • Liana says:

      I love it when people in a committed relationship are willing to do the work for it, to keep it, maintain it. This was a bit of an original reflection on my own response to a lot of comments on "The World Turns 'Round" which seemed to totally miss the point of why our wants/happiness have nothing to do with whether to do the work involved in making a once-healthy relationship come back to life. They thought the female main character was motivated by guilt, but it wasn't that at all. Love is a choice...

      And getting off my soap box now.

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