The Narrow Spaces Between

The Narrow Spaces Between

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Annie Summers had been doing the dishes when she had to sit down for a minute. She wasn’t tired— she was just tired of doing the dishes. They never stopped! She’d be on the last pan and, glancing to her right, she’d see a forgotten coffee mug that hadn’t made it into the dishwasher. That would lead her to gaze behind her where she’d see the cereal bowl and spoon her son had left on the counter. There were always more.

She plunked herself down at the dining room table and stared at the muffin crumbs that had dried into hard little pellets since breakfast. Of course, there were more that had dropped onto the hardwood floor. She felt them poke into her feet when she sat down. Still, she bent over to look underneath her and confirm they were there. From her vantage point under the table she could also see someone’s dirty socks in the living room, left for dead, in front of the couch. And there was the missing remote, too, lost for days, peeking out from under the couch.

On and on it could go.

She sighed. The house was never clean, but she would miss the mess, she knew, when life left the house.

When life left the house, the between spaces where she rested for a few stolen minutes before being called upon by work or kids or dishes or laundry would be too big. It was in these narrow between spaces where Annie still found the possibility to Become. It was in the between spaces where she still felt the optimism of tomorrow and the unconscious hope of youth. But when life left the house and the between spaces were no longer between but one big open space, she would not have enough belongings to fill it and there would be no leverage to gain from a lot of other stuff crowding in on her from which to push herself off. She would drown in languid torment, stupidly and unremarkably.

“Well,” she thought, brushing the crumbs from the table into her hand, “I’d better get back to doing the dishes, then.”

Andrea Lawless

About Andrea Lawless

Andrea Lawless is a grant writer at the University of Missouri, Columbia, her alma mater. Originally from St. Louis, she taught English in Seoul, South Korea for several years after college, and eventually came back to Columbia where she and her husband are raising 3 children.

Andrea Lawless is a grant writer at the University of Missouri, Columbia, her alma mater. Originally from St. Louis, she taught English in Seoul, South Korea for several years after college, and eventually came back to Columbia where she and her husband are raising 3 children.

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