This piece of flash fiction was written for Writer’s Digest’s 2021 February Flash Fiction Challenge Day 4. Two hours were spent on this piece; this is the second draft of the story. The prompt: “Select a kitchen item and write from its perspective.”
The day your parents brought you home, all swaddled in pink, squishy, and red, you were very, very angry. You made it be known to the entire household of your displeasure in the only way you knew how, by wailing at the top of your lungs.
Your parents were helpless and now a little deaf. They cooed, they carried, they walked, they rocked, they preyed, they begged. Yet still you kept screaming. The neighbors came by to complain at one point, and I learned colorful new words that day from your mom.
That night your mom carried you into the kitchen. She was as close to sleepwalking as someone could get without actually being asleep. She mumbled incoherent nonsense to you, all other words in the English dictionary having failed her.
You were still very angry.
Your mom sunk to the floor, resting her back against me. Despite your wails, exhaustion took her.
Still secure in your mom’s arms, you wailed and wailed.
I had only been in this household a few weeks—an unexpected, unwelcome, but necessary purchase. Your parents seemed kind enough. They made sure I was moved in properly and fit into place without being dented or scratched. I wondered then, if as part of the household, if I should help with your rearing?
But how? I had no limbs with which to hold you, no voice with which to sooth you, and no locomotion with which to move you. So, I did the only thing I could: I hummed.
Most of the time I ran silent. But, by firing up my auxiliary fans, I was able to fill the kitchen with a faint, hopefully calming, hum.
You quieted almost immediately.
Your curious brown eyes glanced around for the source of the new noise. They eventually landed on me, a towering stainless steel monolith. You gazed at me for many minutes, suddenly seeming completely content with your life. So content, you fell asleep.
It took three more very long days and nights before your parents discovered my hum calmed you. They spent a great deal more time in the kitchen after that.
When you were seven, you snuck out of bed in the middle of the night seeking a snack: deviled eggs.
You had deviled eggs for the first time earlier that day, and you devoured four of them before your parents said no more, otherwise you’d get sick.
You gently pulled my art-cluttered main door open, removed just enough of the plastic wrap to uncover the edge of an egg, and slowly slid it from the plate. You nibble the edge of the egg before biting into a full half of it. Your eyes closed in delight.
And then your dad stubbed his town on the bookcase as he always did, a muffled curse echoing up the hall and into the kitchen.
Your eyes expanded wide in fright. There you were, standing in the middle of the kitchen, bathed in my light. Panic overtook your face.
I cut the power to my light. Darkness enveloped you.
You stood silent and still
Your dad emerged from the hall. He glanced into the kitchen and . . . yawned. Then he headed for the door leading to the garage. He disappeared into the garage and soon muffled classical music drifted through the walls.
I turned my light back on. You stared at me, your eyebrows scrunched together. “Thank you,” you said before gently shutting my door. Half eaten deviled egg in hand, you left the kitchen, returning to your room.
At age twelve, you came home from school red in the face, dried tears on your cheeks, and your eyes bloodshot. You held your stomach as if it ached.
Never had I wished more to have had locomotion to go to you and limbs to hold you. I wished to yell, “Who would dare upset you? Who would dare harm you? I shall topple upon them whoever they are and then trap them in my freezer, entombing them in a cold grave for all eternity.” I was powerless to do any of that.
You slumped to the kitchen floor, your back against me, pulling up your knees and burying your head in your arms. You started crying.
I turned on my axillary fans. My hum was the closest I could come to a hug.
You calmed. Even now, after this many years, my hum still worked.
“Today was really scary,” you said. You pulled out a note from your backpack, staring down at it. It looked to be from your school nurse’s office. You looked concerned? Or troubled? “Then it was just embarrassing. I didn’t think it would be that . . . painful. Or that much blood.”
I had no idea what you were talking about. You sniffled again, and I feared you would cry again.
I popped open the freezer door above you.
You startled, but after a moment you wiped your nose and stood. Peering up into my freezer, a small smile lit up your face. You reached in and pulled out the tub of your favorite ice cream: rocky road.
You closed the freezer door and patted me. “You always know just what I need. Thank you.”
When you were newly nineteen, you announced you’d be moving out and that you already had a line on an apartment near the college you had been attending for the last year.
I felt, I felt . . . I didn’t know what I felt. Whatever I was, I didn’t like it.
For one week I ran cold to the point that most items in me froze. The next week, I ran hot, causing the once frozen meat to go bad. Whenever someone opened me, I flickered my light menacingly. I ran my auxiliary fan until a bearing went out, causing an obnoxious clicking to permeate the house and annoy everyone.
How could they let you leave? You might have been grown, but you were still too young to go out there on your own, interacting with strange appliances.
What was this house without you? It would be so empty now. So . . . lonely.
I didn’t want you to leave.
I was . . . sad.
Then moving day came. I couldn’t stop you. I had to let you go.
I remained silent as I watched you, your parents, and your girlfriend remove all your belongings from the house. My temperature remained constant, keeping the bottles of water at perfect temperature for when you needed the hydration. Then went your furniture: desk, dresser, nightstand, drawing table, and bed.
The day was nearly at an end, the time for goodbyes nearly upon us.
Would you even say goodbye? It would be foolish for a human to do, to say goodbye to a thing such as I.
But then you walked into the kitchen pushing a hand truck . . . a hand truck designed for moving fridges.
Then your dad walked up. “You sure you want to take this one? It has been acting up recently. I think the old girl might be dying.”
“I’m sure,” you said. I almost lost power at the conviction in your voice.
“Your mom and I wouldn’t mind giving you the new one.”
“No. I want to take this one.” You smiled at me as one smiles at a loved one. “My new place wouldn’t feel like home without it.”