Short Story Sunday 149: Energy


            Victoria watched with half-shut eyes as her three-year-old son bounced on the couch on the other side of the living room. She was slumped in their armchair, her elbow propped on the armrest and her head resting in the palm of her hand. As the time was heading for eleven o’clock, she was having a hard time trying to keep herself awake.

She opened her mouth wide in another massive yawn, but Ryan didn’t seem to notice. N fact, she wasn’t too sure if he knew she was sitting in the same room as him.

This had never happened to before. After dinner, every night, Ryan would play quietly in the play room while Victoria cleaned up from dinner. She only allowed him to play with certain toys, calming things. She wanted him to begin winding down for the night.

Then, once she was done cleaning, she would begin to put him to bed. They would go upstairs together; he would dress himself into his pajamas with Victoria’s help, then they would brush his teeth, and Ryan would pick out a book. Victoria would tuck him into bed, read him the bedtime story, give him a kiss and a hug, shut off the lights, and walk away.

Ryan always fell asleep right away as soon as his head hit the pillow. But tonight was different.

Victoria lifted her head off of her arm and a slight wave of dizziness came over her. She groaned knowing that she was exhausted and wondered why Ryan wasn’t feeling as crappy as she was.

She stood up from her chair and walked out of the living room. Ryan watched her get up and leave, but he didn’t say anything. Usually she wasn’t able to leave a room without him wondering what she was doing or where she was going. This time, however, he just smiled as he watched her leave.

Maybe, Victoria thought to herself, Ryan will get bored quicker if he realizes that he doesn’t have an audience.

She went into the kitchen and made herself a cup of coffee. She knew she shouldn’t have been drinking the caffeine at such an hour, but she had no idea how late she was going to stay awake for. There was no way she was going to fall asleep before her three-year-old child. That was just asking for trouble. Besides, desperate times called for desperate measures.

As the coffee sputtered out of the machine, Victoria noticed her cell phone sitting on the kitchen table. She walked over to it and picked it up. She had no text messages or phone calls. Usually she had heard from her husband by now. He worked the night shift as a security guard at a college campus. There was usually never anything going on so he and Victoria would chat until Victoria was too tired to keep her eyes open.

“Maybe if I just send him a quick text…” Victoria muttered. Though if he didn’t reach out to her then something must have been going on at work. She knew that he was training the new guy to help him out with the night shifts so he would only have to do overnights three times a week.

She sent him a message anyway. If he was busy, he just wouldn’t reply. No harm done. But she needed the help. She had no idea what to do with their son. She had no idea why he was up so late with so much energy.

Victoria poked her head back into the living and Ryan was now on the floor spinning in circles. She sighed hoping he didn’t make himself throw up on their rug.

She turned back around and grabbed her coffee, putting a little cream in and a spoonful of sugar. She looked down at the sugar and added another half spoonful. She was going to need all the extra boosts she could.

She turned around leaning her back against the counter and held her mug with both hands close to her lips. She breathed in the scent and smiled at its warmth. Victoria was going to take her time and finish this cup of coffee. If Ryan wasn’t ready for bed by the time she finished, she was going to march in there and just throw him into bed. She was out of ideas and out of options at this point.

When she was halfway done with her coffee, though, the living room suddenly became quiet. She cautiously walked across the kitchen tiled floor and poked her head back out into the living room. She gasped and couldn’t help but smile when she saw Ryan passed out on the floor in the middle of the room.

Victoria let out a sigh of relief. She took one more sip of her coffee before putting it down on the kitchen table. She looked up at the clock on the wall in the kitchen. It was 11:30. She rolled her eyes, but went into the living room, picked up her son, who was now snoring, and brought him upstairs to bed.

After she tucked him in for the second, and hopefully final, time that night, she closed his bedroom door and went over to the bathroom. They had left the light on and she never got a chance to check it out.

That night, Ryan wanted some privacy as he went to the bathroom and brushed his teeth. Assuming her three-year-old was fishing for some independence, Victoria respected his wishes and stepped back as he closed the door.

So, when she peeked inside the bathroom, she was absolutely shocked to find candy wrappers littering the floor.

She gasped. Victoria always kept a stash of chocolate in her bedroom closet. How in the world did Ryan get to it? How did he even know about it?

Victoria was disappointed and angry that Ryan would do such a thing. Then again, she couldn’t help but smile. Her son was being sneaky just like she used to be when she was his age. She was only glad that three-year-olds didn’t exactly know how to lie and cover up their tracks.

Victoria gathered up the wrappers. She was going to save them and talk about it with Ryan the next morning. That was going to be a fun conversation.

Words: 1,054

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