Flickering Images

by Louise O’Brien

The flickering images on the TV screen comforted him. He had long ago stopped hearing the accompanying sounds. He had clung for years to the habit of turning the volume all the way up but he had alienated lots of people that way. Not to mention the number of volume knobs he’d broken. One fell right off the set into his hand from having been turned too many times.

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The Affair

by Louise O’Brien

“There’s a little bit of excitement in this,” she thought as she rang the doorbell. Most of the time she pretended not to be excited about things. Not when she met someone new. Not when she went to a party. Not even the first time someone asked for her hand in marriage. She figured that way she would never appear disappointed when things didn’t work out. No one would ever see her face crestfallen upon finding out something or someone wasn’t that great, wasn’t worth getting excited about. She hopped from one foot to the next in the cold, waiting for him to answer the door.

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Everything Crashes

by Louise O’Brien

I want to get over you. But it’s not working out that way. I have no delusions about who you really are, but my heart does. My heart has plenty of delusions left. She still believes you are coming back. She still waits for the phone to ring in the middle of the night, for the letters that never come. She’s still waiting for you to realize that life without her must be as empty as she is without you. You’re still inside her. She hasn’t been able to shake that.

The Initial Encounter
I barely noticed you. You were flapping around the party, trying to get people to pay attention to you. You’d already spoken to me three times. I was having a hard time remembering your name as you approached me for the fourth time. I plastered a smile of greeting on my face and searched my brain for a memory of something you’d said in the last couple of hours.

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Pull Up a Chair, Girlfriend

by Louise O’Brien

As I, and the rest of the calendar-abiding world, begin a new year I have established some male prototypes and warning signs with which to spot them that should be applicable to everyone’s life. They should be – but truthfully they are gleaned from a year of pain, shame, betrayal, heartbreak and comic displays of dramatic, emotional turmoil that only a breakup can provide an individual with. Therefore, they are intrinsically personal and probably only applicable to other similarly disturbing matters of the heart. But I came to the conclusion, with some help from a friend, that “on every street in this world there is a woman going through what you are going through right now.” So I could be doing some good here. Mostly this will probably turn out to be therapeutic and self-serving. Oh well, you’ll get over it. Pull up a chair, girlfriend and let me tell you what I know.

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As Soon as She Descends

by Louise O’Brien

They make the rounds every week, beginning on Wednesday, directly after work and meet for a drink – for the girls something in a long-stemmed glass, a Martini, a Cosmopolitan; for the guys, imported beer, maybe a gin and tonic. They talk about the same people, who’s dating who, who got promoted.

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Clubland 2001

by Louise O’Brien

There’s quite possibly more to it than all this. We probably have more to live for than the extended weekend that has become our lives. We aren’t a cohesive group. We don’t all share the same ethos or standards or even the same taste in clothes, drugs, music, politics. We argue more than we agree. We step on each other’s toes to get to men, to get to the bar, to be the first to get on that comped list, in that VIP lounge. But once the doors swing open, once we descend the staircase, pull back the curtain leading to the main floor and smell the distinct aroma that is a mixture of testosterone fueled sweat and the powder that pollutes the air when prescription tabs are exchanged – that is when we know we are home. And the rest stops making sense. The world is our oyster, we have a thousand lives to lead before daylight, let alone before noon when we will actually emerge from this womb. The night has begun.

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