Burnt Toast

A hollow ding rang throughout the kitchen, as the pieces of burnt toast jumped out of their would-be crematorium.


“Christ almighty, Karen” I said as my frustration grew. “Couldn’t you think for two seconds and get my breakfast out before it gets ruined?”


Karen just sat there, her silence a resounding act of defiance. The lack of a response made me angrier than any retort could have.


“You just sit around the house these days, least you could do is not ruin my fucking breakfast.”


Karen kept quiet, but I think I saw her expression change. I went too far, especially considering the source of my gripe. Even I was able to realize that in the moment.


“I don’t mean to get so angry; I guess I’ve just been on edge recently” I confessed. The tension in the room seemed to ease. “Since that fight on Tuesday you’ve just been so quiet; I mean, I get it, but come on this is getting ridiculous.”


Ah shit, I thought to myself, realizing my emotions had gotten the better of me during what could have been a turning point. Instead, we were back at square-one, with Karen sat in utter silence.


In my head, I was punching through the kitchen wall into the living room to relieve the pent up anger and frustration. In reality, I buttered the burnt toast, after concluding I had no time to make anything different.


I took a bite and found a way to get through the whole process of eating it. “I’ve always been awful at timing this toaster,” I said over my shoulder, hoping to get some sort of chuckle, a starting point.


“I don’t know what to do Karen.” I opened up, hoping to build on the humorous quip prior. “I just feel so mad all the time, and I have no where to put it. I feel mad and defeated.”


I looked over to the table.


“I miss us, Karen. Nothing’s the same, not since you left the apartment Tuesday night, and you know it too.”


Karen was silent, but I could feel that this silence was one of agreement, even if futile.


“I love you Karen.”


There was a knock at the door, an abrupt gavel on my conversation. I quickly move to the door and unlock it, finding my brother waiting for me on the other side.


“Are you ready to get going?” he asked softly.


“Yeah just need to put on my shoes,” I replied.


I bent over to lace them up, and afterwards adjusted my tie in the mirror. I gave one last look to the kitchen. Karen was no longer there, leaving as quietly as she had sat there.


“Okay, I’m ready to go.”


My brother nodded and turned back down the hallway. I grabbed my keys and started to pull the door close.


“I’ll be home soon Karen,” I whispered under my breath.


I closed the door and locked the deadbolt. I caught up with my brother and we walked the hallway together. He mentioned the apartment smell, asking if I had burnt something.


Just the toast is all.


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