Flash Fiction 3rd Place: Cracks Are Proof Enough by Adrienne Howell
There’s a crack come in our driveway. I’ve watched it grow, spread itself, creep and widen like cracks do. It were only hairline when I first saw it and I only clocked it then ‘cos I had me head down. I weren’t standing tall ‘cos down is how I were feeling. And there it were – a definite crack in the tarmac – summit like halfway between our front door and gate.
Sign of trouble ahead, I thought. It’ll only get worse. Them effin’ cowboys skimped on the foundations.
I were in half a mind to go back indoors and drag Paula out. Show her the crack. Explain that you don’t have to have to see the effin’ foundations to know something’s going wrong. Cracks are proof enough. But in me head I could still see her peering in the mirror, picking up pots of this and that, filling in her cracks and yelling she wanted more from life. Christ! I’ve worked damn hard to see she’s got more than most. But I weren’t never going to win an argument with Paula, so I kept going for the pub. Never showed her the crack. Never mentioned it and neither did she. Don’t suppose she even noticed it. She would have tottered out the house in them high heels, head up and hell bent to get to that sodding evening class and Mr. Sodding Wonderful Tutor. She believes all the blarney he spouts. I try to put her right.
‘Paula,’ I says, ‘book learning ain’t everything. Has he got a place like this? We’ve got it good you and me. Don’t go and spoil it now.’
But she don’t listen like she don’t see cracks. She only listens to that big girl’s blouse. I bet he don’t know one end of a hammer from t’other. He’s all talk and she soaks it up. She soaks up his blarney like that crack in the driveway soaks up rain. And rain don’t help a crack, just makes it worse – bigger, deeper, wider- so I gotta keep me eye on it. There’ll come a time when it’ll need filling in. Cracks need filling in. And so do some people.