one

A short story I submitted for a fiction assignment. Critique is quite welcomed. <3
I divided the story into seven parts so that it wasn't one huge block of text; the seven parts all happen in the same sitting.

Every snowflake is another reason for Marisa to stay inside. The snow has been falling for an hour now, and it already has begun to coat the sidewalks and tree branches with its frigid whiteness. It is the slushy snow, the kind that mingles with the mud and does not live up to the magical Christmas expectation of what snow ought to be. It will likely pile up on the windows of Marisa’s car; she reminds herself that she’s lost her gloves and will end up with frostbitten fingers if she tries to clear the snow away. Going outside will be detrimental to her health, she knows, and her health must be protected at all costs. Catching some sort of cold could easily lead to pneumonia. And that is why she is staying inside.

Marisa readjusts her blue comforter so that it completely engulfs all her body except her head, which peeks out just enough for her to see the screen of her laptop. She has just begun the third season of How I Met Your Mother, which is not a waste of time, because there are few other things she can do, what with the snowfall occurring outside. Marisa’s tea has long since cooled down; she always drinks tea, because caffeine would probably make her anxious. She doesn’t know this for sure—she’s never actually tried coffee—but she can predict the outcome.

A reminder pops up on her screen with a friendly ding! “Jenn’s Piano Concert,” it says. Jenn’s Piano Concert. Funny how they’re just three words—just three strands of syllables, all strung together—and yet they are enough to usher shaky, oxygen-deprived memories back into Marisa’s mind.

Marisa reaches for her inhaler, then remembers it’s in her purse on the counter, right by the apartment door. It’s on the counter because she needed her wallet to pay for the Chinese food delivery, she reminds herself. Not because there is a tiny chance she’ll go to the recital.

It takes several minutes to gather the gumption to heave her legs over the side of the couch and walk to the counter. Her frame is small, after all the hours she spends running to impress her own image in the mirror, but that hardly makes it easier for her to shlump over into the kitchenette, which is arranged ever so meticulously. Marisa’s small collection of pots and pans hangs right above the resting place of Marisa’s bright white purse, which has not been discolored by hefting it around places. Firstly, she doesn’t go much of anywhere, and secondly, even if she did venture out of the apartment more often, she would be cautious about just where she set her purse. Marisa straightens a pot that is hanging at a crooked angle from its peg on the wall, then grabs her purse and digs around for her inhaler. Once she finds it, she grasps it with her almost-trembling fingers. She isn’t supposed to use it unless she’s coughing, she knows, but it still helps. Maybe it’s partially psychological.

She shakes the inhaler to stir the Albuterol up, then exhales all the nervous air out of her chest. The liquid inside sloshes around, and she shakes it more vigorously. Something about the action is comforting, maybe knowing that the Albuterol is currently in a state of greater chaos than she is right now. She raises the inhaler to her lips and fills her lungs up with its promise to help calm her down.

The End

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