Counting Games

I count cars that go by my window. Dogs that bark at night. How many times someone says the word ‘and’.

The gas station smelled like rain and oil. My stomach hurt. I thought of you after the attendant said hello when he really meant  go away.

Screw you, I thought.
Hey, I said.

There are six yellow cars on my street. Seven if you count the cab that often stops by the house across the street. The one with the green shutters and the empty planters. That one that always creeped you out.

My hands hurt from scrubbing the kitchen floors and walls and counter tops. The fridge is full of moldy boxes of take-out Chinese. Yesterday I found my missing pair of shoes in the back of the closet.

1, 2, 3 steps from the sink to the stove. 8 from my bed to the closet. 25 from the hamper to the washing machine.

It’s supposed to snow today. It will give me an excuse to be late for work. Nobody questions tardiness in inclement weather. Except Bob. He’s a dick.


52 steps from the back door to the car. 16 bundles of Sunday papers on the lawn. 2 bottles of whiskey hidden in my desk.


I wore my blue shirt today. It matches my eyes. You said you liked it, once. I put my hair in a French twist. At lunch I changed into the sweatshirt from my gym bag, put my hair in a ponytail and ate my tuna. You hate tuna.


27 people in my office. 16 trashcans on the first floor. 12 offices. 29 desks, if you count the one the microwave sits on in the break room.


My head always hurts. I throw back Advil like you used to beer. My curtains still smell like smoke. My sheets smell like cats. My pillows, like you.


16 steps from the living room to the basements steps. 2 lawn chairs on the back porch.  1 towel hanging next to the shower.


The mailman left your mail in our my box. I put it in a paper bag for you. Wrote your name in cursive with blue sharpie. Packed it into the trash can under the cans of tuna.


Only 6 pills left. Half a bottle of wine. 4 days until I get paid.


4 thoughts on “Counting Games

  1. You have such a way with words. I wish you would continue this story! I want to see where it is going. I hope you enter a writing contest, or two or three. 🙂 You’d totally win.


  2. Each one of your stories are so different, and I enjoy each one in a different way. This one reminds me of my schizophrenic work days in the pharmacy, day after day, counting pills and the most random thoughts in my head, none of which either make sense or are in any way connected.
    Somehow, counting is very peaceful. I count pills, I count stitches in my cross stitching, and count notes when I play my piano.
    For some reason, this story makes me feel sane.
    Thanks, Tzipporah.


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