Andie woke up in the wee hours of the morning with words and images spinning in her head. She had had too much to think last night and now she could not sleep. It was Blake’s fault and she glanced at the lump beside her in the bed, debating whether or not to wake him up and share the pain. Damn right she would. He should have said something when his friends were plying her with shots of Bukowski and Carver. Blake knew she couldn’t hold her literature. Andie elbowed him in the ribs. “Honey, I can’t sleep. I’m sick.” The lump snorted, a small interruption in its rhythmic breathing. She gave it another jab. “Honey, I don’t feel good.”
Blake moaned through the covers pulled over his head. “Go to the bathroom then.”
“Not that kind of sick. I had too much to think.”
“Jeezus Murphy.” Blake rolled out of his side of the bed and staggered down the hall for a pen and notepad. By the time he returned, Andie sat on the side of the bed, head in hands. He offered her the pen and slipped the pad of paper onto her lap. “Do you want to write here? Or can you make it to your desk?” Andie spewed words all over the paper in blue ink. It was a mix of print and cursive that spilled outside the margins. “Here, I guess,” said Blake, more to himself than her.
Ten minutes later, Andie was on her fifth page and the wretched writing looked like it would never be done. Blake wondered if she’d be okay. He rubbed her shoulders with one hand and held back her hair with the other. Glancing at the half-formed scenes, characters and story arcs – all dripping with gerunds – it was enough to make his own literary gorge rise. She finally stopped writing long enough to shake out her hand.
“Are you feeling better?” Blake asked. “Can I get you anything? Water, Aspirin, a thesaurus?”
“Not funny,” said Andie.
Blake sighed as she resumed her work. A bad bout of logorrhoea was nothing new, he had spent more than one night soothing Andie through a writing jag. Last time he’d had to take her to an emergency writer’s retreat; such were the dangers of loving a writer. Blake just nodded and smiled whenever his coworkers complained about the difficulties of dealing with a wife who had PMS or menopause.
Hot flashes? Night sweats? Try dealing with the mood swings of a frustrated writer.
With a shudder, Andie finished her scribbling.
“Done?” Blake asked.
“I hope so.” She dry heaved a few last adjectives before dropping the pen. Andie rested her head on Blake’s shoulder. “I’m sorry,” she said with a halfhearted laugh. “Modifiers are always worse coming up than going down.”
“It’s okay. Better out than in,” Blake whispered. He tucked her into bed, grateful the writing fever had broken. Andie drifted off to dreamless sleep and Blake collected the papers scattered at the bedside. He put them on the desk in her office. It was a mess, but she’d make sense of it in the morning.
Hermine Robinson lives in Alberta, Canada where winters are long and inspiration is plentiful. She loves all things ‘short fiction’ and refuses to be the place where perfectly good stories come to die. Hermine is married with two children and most people know her by her nickname “Minkee”.