At first, I thought my scars were the reason why he’d changed.
He was sat on the edge of the chair, shoulders arching towards his ears, with his face close to the computer screen. Faint murmuring came from his headphones. He’d already turned off the main light, so he wouldn’t disturb the others in the house who were asleep. Another late night.
Moonlight spilled through the window and onto the floor. The lamp warmed the room. His chair creaked as he shifted. I thought he was getting up to go to bed, but instead he rubbed his eyes, stretched, and coiled back into his stiff position. He hadn’t finished working yet. Usually, when he was in here working, his eyes were alight. Now he was drained.
He never used to spend so long at the screen. He preferred pencil and paper to his tablet, but he’d been like this for months now.
It happened suddenly. He stopped leaving the house. At first, I didn’t mind because we spent more time together and spending time with me meant he was doing the work that made him happy.
Then the new desk arrived. My replacement.
I didn’t understand it. I was still sturdy. My legs held weight, there was no rust on my hinges, and though I’m decades old, there was no fault with me. Except, maybe, the scars. The new desk had no scars. And it was flatter, whereas my back was sloped. Better for resting on.
The computer arrived after, positioned on the new desk, on the opposite side of the room to me. What I’d once thought to be my replacement was simply an unwelcome addition, thieving his devotion. With his gaze and his hands occupied elsewhere, I was left covered in in a fine layer of dust.
Straightening abruptly, he dragged his hands through his hair and stood. The room darkened as the computer powered down. The work must finally be done, though there was nothing to show for it.
Clenching his teeth around a yawn, he shuffled into his slippers and approached me. Drawings hang from a string above me, dry long ago but not touched since. He looked at each of the drawings, before glancing at the clock on the wall.
“I’ll make time tomorrow.” He promised, running a wrinkled finger along the largest of my scars, where black powder is trapped.
Though I’m forever bloody with paint and pencil, I miss earning my charcoal bruises.
Prompt “What Your Desk Thinks About At Night” is from 642 Things To Write About by The San Francisco Writers’ Grotto.
My take – “Working from home, a man is up late at his computer, drained and miserable, while his old artist’s desk and artwork sits forgotten.”
What do you think? Love it? Hate it? Think it’s dumb? Comment and share!