Fears of the Heart

fiction
Weird BOxes

“You were out again.” Scarlett says.

Gaige looks up from the laptop monitor, a dull expression on his face as his mind catches up and processes the words. “Are you accusing me of something?”  He asks, his brow furrowing. “I went for another walk.” His gaze drops back to the screen where he’s mousing through a tiled page of still photographs displayed in a browser window.

“No—” She replies through tightly articulated words. “—but you are supposed to be resting.  I mean, you’re arm—“

“I’m fine. Really.” He lifts the slinged arm up level with his shoulder and shrugs limply. His eyes are still fixed on the laptop. “It doesn’t really hurt today. I’m fine enough to go out for a walk, if nothing else.”

She winces slightly and purses her lips. “I don’t think you should be going down—“ a pause “—there. And besides, I’d like to know where you are when you disappear for an hour at a time.”

Gaige lifts his eyes from the computer and steadies them on his girlfriend. She is leaning against the doorjam of the small office, hugging herself with crossed arms and holding him back with a sad, serious stare. “If you know I’m going down there what’s the problem? Am I supposed to sign out now, or what?”

Scarlett’s face drops to a scowl. “That’s not fair. You—“ she pinches the corner of her lips as if fighting off a tear “—you could have died. And I worry. Shit, Gaige —“ The pitch of her voice raises perceptibly. “—I barely sleep anymore, I sit here and watch you obsess about running videos, and now you’re out wandering and revisiting the scene of where it happened and —”

Gaige takes a deep breath and releases it as an audible sigh. “It was an accident. Accidents happen. I —” he shakes his head “— won’t go back if it bothers you that much.”

“I just want to know where you’re going.” She winces. “If nothing else, it’s a courtesy. For me.”

“Fine.” 

“You promise?”

“If I go back to where the tree fell I’ll tell you first.” He says, but when he looks from the laptop screen back to the door she has already walked away.