February 19, 2015

Why is it that everything somehow looks worse in the middle of the night? More threatening, somehow. The world seemed to manufacture shadows, dull fuzzy blobs of darkness that trailed her down the hallway and into the kitchen.

Everything looked worse. The normally cheerful couch somehow managed to look broken-hearted and just plain sad, if a couch could be said to be broken-hearted. And the carpet looked drab and gray. Ok, to be fair, the carpet was drab and gray – the night wasn’t having much impact on that one.

She was certain that the bags under her eyes looked about three sizes larger than they normally did, darker and heavier. She was certain that they looked purple and bruise-like, even worse against her pasty white skin, which had paled to a shade she’d probably call middle-of-the-night white.

Never look at yourself in a mirror in the middle of the night, dear reader. There’s nothing to be gained there.

You think gremlins are the only ones who become less attractive after midnight?

Clearly, you’ve never seen yourself, hair bedraggled, zombie-eyed, face middle-of-the-night white…. Quite frankly, it’s just better not to.

So she wasn’t looking in a mirror. She knew better than that. But the strange, glowing light from the refrigerator wasn’t doing her any favors.

The hours tossing and turning had led her here, to this crossroads.

It didn’t look promising.

Some carrot sticks of questionable age and quality.

Some celery that she probably should’ve thrown out a week ago.

Some yogurt that looked about as cheerful as she felt.

Some prepackaged lunch meat.

And… cupcakes. Sitting in their airtight Tupperware container like obedient children waiting to be taken to school. Double chocolate banana cupcakes with peanut butter frosting. Elvis cupcakes, she’d called them, when she’d brought the batch to work. These were the stragglers.

She could pretend to debate in her head. Pretend that there were calmer, wiser voices at work in the back of her mind, shouting, “Take the Greek yogurt!” or “Wouldn’t those carrots be good with the hummus?” or “You should really be concerned about your blood sugar!”

Maybe those voices were present. She pretended to mull it over in the freakish glow of the refrigerator light.

“Screw it,” she said, reaching for a cupcake.

Writing Prompt:

(write for) 10 minutes * conflict * nocturnal

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