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This is quite short. I'm sorry for that.

SONG - ONLY THE LONELY - INDIANA

I honestly have no idea how this whole thing happened. I was standing outside wrapped in a t-shirt too big to be mine while Ulrich stood next to me, shirtless and panting as the smoke from the kitchen windows gradually reduced. I tried not to make eye contact with him or his (very large) six pack and chest full of tattoos out of sheer embarrassment and some shame at my pervy behavior. The kitchen had nearly burnt down for goodness sake. This was no time to be led astray by my genitals.

"So good thing it's only the stove," Ulrich said. "The rest of the kitchen is fine."

"Good to know," my voice was hollow. I didn't dare look at him to answer. For the second time in my life, my tanned face had actually turned beet root red.

The first time was in college when my date and I got interrupted in his car on the side of the road for getting too frisky. The officer was his cousin. Hence the reddened face. Now for the second time in my life, that same level of embarrassment had fallen upon me.

It was that serious.

I heard nervous throat clearing beside me. I risked a peek. Ulrich was scratching the back of his head. My heart skipped a beat when his eyes almost caught mine. My grip on the make shift blanket got tighter.

"You ok?" Ulrich asked.

"I think so," I was not ok. I was far from ok. This whole incident just reminded me how utterly useless I was. What possessed me to think this was a good idea? I'm never touching a stove for as long as I live. Or microwave.

Ramen noodles be damned.

It was a good thing that nothing past the stove got burnt. Mom and Dad would have kicked my ass into pancakes. Good thing they had both gone on a cruise two days before. All that was left was to convince Doris to keep her mouth shut and say nothing.

"I'll go back to my bedroom now," Ulrich said crossing over to the front door, still shirtless but also avoiding my gaze. His expression was controlled and unreadable. He didn't shout or yell at me as anyone would expect. He reacted at the incident but after the fire went out, he went back to that stoic persona like nothing had happened. It was the third most frustrating thing that had happened to me all day.

The smell of smoke was faint outside. My guess was that it was almost gone from the inside too. I didn't even want to think about the inside of the oven. Cleaning it would take a day and a half.

Accidents happened. Everyone knows that. But accidents of this magnitude only occurred to idiots like me. All because I closed my eyes for just five minutes. Let me narrate this whole ordeal from the top:

I'd come home from the store, the incident with Gina still fresh on my mind. Ulrich was upstairs doing whatever he did typically giving me time to create the illusion that I had sweat over a hot stove. I roamed around the kitchen for thirty minutes then popped the chicken pot pie into the oven and went over to the living room with a glass of wine in hand. I checked my emails from work and held in urge to stalk Philips' Facebook profile. Sadly self-restraint was not my friend.

My fingers remained steady scrolling through his feed as my chest fell from seeing his new relationship status.

Philip Hull is now married to Michelle Hull.

His status said: Still recovering from the honeymoon (insert winky face)

There were several comments from people congratulating them and wishing a happy marriage. I was not surprised. Most of Philips' friends hadn't exactly approved of me. Gender wise and others. I was not a high rolling corporate player and therefore not refined enough for their company. Talks about shareholders and market value were wasted on me. No wonder we got divorced. We truly had nothing to talk about.

However I doubt that Michelle will be much different. From my knowledge was an air hostess who'd become acquainted with Philips during one of his many travels. I didn't think she'd be up for corporate talk either.

The profile showed a picture of them all cuddled up and smiling on top of a rock in some tropical location. I wondered if it was in Aruba they'd taken it. Philip and I had gone there for our honeymoon. Perhaps he had decided to be unoriginal and take her there too.

Michelle was gorgeous as ever; slim supermodel hips, smallish pearl shaped face and long dark tresses capable catching any man like a rope and never letting go. She was the kind of woman who fit his personality perfectly. Docile, accommodating and socially appealing.

I was none of those things.

As expected, the sight of my ex's happy family made me reach for more wine until I got drowsy and closed my eyes for a little nap. A little nap turned into twenty extra minutes until the smoke detectors began beeping loudly to wake me up from sleep. I jumped off the couch and ran to the kitchen already filled with smoke. The water sprinklers Doris installed began pouring water from the ceiling. I tried to navigate the fire extinguisher when Ulrich arrived. He shouted at me to leave, found the extinguisher and doused the oven completely.

He then ushered me out unto the patio and surrendered his surprisingly dry shirt when I started shaking like a leaf. The whole thing happened quite quickly that I was unable to really understand what the hell had just happened.

Ten minutes of standing outside and it all came back to me in one painful glaze. I walked back into the kitchen. The smell of smoke still lingered but not overbearingly so. My clothes are hair were partially wet. I could imagine the fit that Zen was surely going to throw once he came back the next morning. My eyes began to tear up.

Normally not many things made me cry. A bully stealing my toy as a kid, my favorite uncle dying in my teens and the season five finale of PLL. That was why it came as a complete shock to myself when the sight of the oven made me burst out in tears like a little kid. I leaned over the granite counter and wailed loudly. Somehow it had come to me in that moment that my disastrous attempt to warm up a pre made dinner spoke volumes about my real life.

That no matter how much I tried things would never truly go my way. I'd be stuck in a rut of meaningless physical relationships and a severely uncreative job I'd begun to resent.

I wanted a happy marriage, a dream job and all round wonderful life.

Was that too much to ask for?

Apparently it was.

I cried leaning against the kitchen counter until I felt a warm, comforting hand pressed against my back. With my tear streaked face, I turned to see Ulrich standing behind me.

 

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