Jul
7
2011
She Was The One

The Saturday morning beach traffic they’d so carefully avoided by driving down on Friday trapped Emily as she drove back from the grocery store. She had promised the kids frozen waffles  but then forgot them at the store. Going back for the waffles took considerably longer than she wanted it to, but she sighed and tried to stay in vacation mode.

The beach house was still quiet when she got back. If the kids wanted to sleep in, she wasn’t going to stop them. It would give her a chance to be alone with Todd.

But she couldn’t find him anywhere inside. Emily walked out to the patio overlooking the beach and saw Todd sitting on top of the picnic table. He sat with his elbows resting on his knees and his face in his hands just watching the ocean. Her mood lifted at the sight of him. The swish of the waves coming in masked the noise of her return and unnoticed, she felt compelled to watch him.

Emily’s eyes followed Todd’s gaze as he watched a woman running on the beach. She smiled and rolled her eyes. It wasn’t unusual for Todd’s head to get turned by a beautiful woman.  Emily wasn’t the jealous type. Todd had opportunities to be with other women, they’d even had a brief period while dating when their relationship was open. But he chose her.

Still, after fifteen years of marriage and two children, Emily kept a mental list of desired self improvements. Maybe someday she’d even have time to work on some of them. The kids kept Emily plenty busy. While Emily was fulfilled by caring for the family they’d created, she understood why Todd might sometimes enjoy a little eye candy. Emily was “Mom” now. Hell, most of the time Todd referred to her as “Mom” too.

She was about to make her presence known to Todd, when she noticed him sit up as the runner on the beach got closer. Emily studied her and couldn’t see anything particularly striking about her, nothing that would grab Todd’s attention. She wasn’t in any physical distress. In fact, Emily thought, they looked sort of similar. They had the same hair color, some of the same features. The runner was obviously more fit, maybe a touch younger. She just looked fresher somehow. Emily doubted this woman’s significant other called her “Mom.” The thought made Emily’s hand involuntarily try to smooth the flyaway hair she forgot to comb before shopping.

Emily’s next breath caught in her throat when she heard Todd call out,

“Kelly?”

The sound of Todd’s voice startled both Emily and she who might be Kelly.

It took Kelly, for certainly this was Kelly, a second to register Todd before the slightest smile of recognition passed across her face and she said, “Jesus Christ, you scared the shit out of me.”

“No, it’s Todd,” he said in his signature smart ass way, which would have made Emily laugh, but simply made Kelly tease, “I know who you are, dumbass.”

The bantering continued and Emily really wanted to hear what they were saying. She strained to hear them, but nothing could drown out the thought overwhelming her.

That’s her. She was the one.

——————————-

Red Writing Hood is a writing meme from the Red Dress Club. This week’s writing prompt was: “The most frequent advice I come across for amateur writers is, “Write what you know.” “What you know” doesn’t necessarily always mean “your comfort zone.” For this week, take what you know out of your comfort zone. Try a new genre, a new time period, a geography you’ve only dreamed of, fantasy or historical instead of contemporary fiction, try the male POV if you usually write women. Or vice versa. Switch it up. See where it takes you.” Word count limit= 600.

This post is a work of fiction and it was the most difficult post I’ve written to this point. I’m always so impressed at TDRC writers’ fiction posts, but I have steadfastly avoided fiction and clung to memoir. So when I saw this week’s prompt to do something different, I took it as a personal challenge. Out of my comfort zone, indeed!

Constructive criticism is welcome, but I implore you to break it to me gently as I am a delicate flower and fiction virgin.

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25 Responses to “She Was The One”

  1. Andrea
    Thursday, July 7, 2011 at 11:27 pm #

    I really liked this. I could feel her watching him watch the other woman. I could sense exactly what was going on in her mind. I also felt a little bit sick at whatever her realization was when she knew who Kelly was. Blech. But I liked it a lot, well done. :)

    • logyexpress
      Friday, July 8, 2011 at 10:26 pm #

      Thanks! I wish I had a few hundred more words to use!

  2. Carrie
    Friday, July 8, 2011 at 12:36 am #

    I thought you did a great job with your first attempt. It’s a little stiff and you tell more than show but just keep at it :)

    I really loved the ending. That was a great line

    • CDG
      Friday, July 8, 2011 at 6:26 am #

      So glad you posted it!

      You capture her internal conflict well. I love the list of “self-improvements” and the detail about how Todd calls her, “Mom,” too. (If my husband ever refers to me as “Mama” when our son is around, I may strangle him). The kids wanted frozen waffles–it’s what we do, brave the traffic to get them.

      My only complaint is that I want to know more clearly who Kelly was/is to the narrator. It’s clear she and Todd have a connection (yikes!) but is this past, present or future?

      Stupid word limits.

      I hope you had fun with it, and that maybe you’ll come back and play fiction again!

      • logyexpress
        Saturday, July 9, 2011 at 12:14 am #

        Thanks for the prompt this week, CDG! It was hard, but I’m glad I tried fiction. I was sorry to leave it cliffhanger-y (especially since I’m not sure I’ll ever follow up!), but when I tried to write it “all,” I was at over 1000 words! I kept trying to cut it down to “finish” the story within 600 words, but I couldn’t seem to set it up and explain Emily’s realization about Kelly in 600 words. Maybe I’ll play around with the rest of it in a future post.

    • logyexpress
      Saturday, July 9, 2011 at 12:03 am #

      Thanks, Carrie. I know what you’re saying, RE: the telling. That’s why I don’t generally do fiction. When I’m making something up, I feel this need to explain everything…probably to myself as much as the reader.

  3. Lance
    Friday, July 8, 2011 at 6:42 am #

    For your first swim in the deep end, you did very well, ma’am.

    The ending and that line were worth the price of admission. Hope you try more.

    • logyexpress
      Saturday, July 9, 2011 at 12:16 am #

      Thanks, it was definitely out of my comfort zone to have to make up content.

  4. Lisa @ Two Bears Farm
    Friday, July 8, 2011 at 8:19 am #

    I think you did great with this! It felt real and it flowed really well. Maybe you should try fiction more often 😉

    • logyexpress
      Saturday, July 9, 2011 at 12:17 am #

      Thanks! I’ve been thinking all day about how I could “finish” the story so maybe I’ll try fiction again.

  5. Abby
    Friday, July 8, 2011 at 8:59 am #

    I agree that this was pretty great for a first-attempt. Hell, it was good regardless. I also wanted to know who Kelly was, but thought maybe you were saving that for a second installment. At any rate, I stink at fiction and know how difficult it is, so I applaud you for stepping out of your comfort zone and sharing. Great post :)

    • logyexpress
      Saturday, July 9, 2011 at 12:24 am #

      Thanks Abby. I actually owe this attempt to you…I was going to skip the prompt this week, because I knew that “out of my comfort zone” meant fiction, and good lord I don’t do fiction. But then I saw your fiction post and it was striking. It inspired me to be brave and try my hand at fiction too. It was taking me about 1200 words to tell the full story to my liking. So I cut it in half.

  6. Tina
    Friday, July 8, 2011 at 9:50 am #

    What a punch in the gut that was, at the end. Great job!

    • logyexpress
      Saturday, July 9, 2011 at 12:25 am #

      Thanks Tina! That was what I was going for, glad it came through.

  7. juliemooreonlife
    Friday, July 8, 2011 at 11:49 am #

    I could feel her insecurity. I hope you write more cause I want to know who Kelley is too?

    • logyexpress
      Saturday, July 9, 2011 at 12:26 am #

      Hopefully I can rework the words I had to cut into another post explaining Kelly. Thanks for reading!

  8. Galit Breen
    Friday, July 8, 2011 at 11:57 am #

    Eeek! Your first fiction- pure fab! I love the characters, the set up and fo sho want to know more!

    The set up really resonates for me as a married couple, the frozen waffles, being called Mom by everyone.

    This line -He sat with his elbows resting on his knees and his face in his hands just watching the ocean- was especially descriptive and peaceful.

    YAY for you!

    • logyexpress
      Saturday, July 9, 2011 at 12:30 am #

      Thanks for the vote of confidence, it means a lot coming from you. I love the story you have going on your blog. I’m both antsy to keep writing this and anxious…this piece took me a lot longer than my usual memoir stuff.

  9. Lex
    Friday, July 8, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

    I walked through the beginning alongside Emily. I could feel all the things she felt & I connected with her on a solid level. One of the most important things in writing is the connection to the reader.

    The language is expressive & open. I am not digging the word limit, gah! When Todd reacted more than expected, the rest took me on a ride & finished with a crescendo. I want to read who Kelly is &, even though Emily’s thoughts have her paralyzed, I want to know if there’s anything to it…

    Wonderful piece! It’s a great venture for your first piece of fiction.

    • logyexpress
      Saturday, July 9, 2011 at 12:35 am #

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Lex. The word limit really hurt, no matter what I cut I couldn’t get the full story out. It was frustrating, because I definitely had a reason for telling this story, but I wasn’t able to make my point. So now I’m left with the terror of having to revisit this, because I think it’s going to bother me not to finish it.

  10. Mel
    Friday, July 8, 2011 at 6:25 pm #

    I am still straining to hear what they are saying to one another over the crashing of the waves! Great job!

    • logyexpress
      Saturday, July 9, 2011 at 12:37 am #

      Thanks, what a nice comment! I think one of the reasons finishing the story scares me is the rest of it is in Emily’s head. For me, what Todd and Kelly are saying isn’t as important as what Emily’s gut is telling her and why. I think writing that part will be harder than the set up.

  11. Katie
    Friday, July 8, 2011 at 8:47 pm #

    First of all, HUGE props for attempting fiction! I recently attempted memoir, and I suck at it, so I know how hard it is to write outside of your comfort zone. Second, this is an amazing first attempt…well, an amazing ANY attempt really. Your flow was really good, as was your dialogue. I loved that you left us wanting more, curious about this Kelly and what she represents. I already don’t like her :)

    Nicely done!

    • logyexpress
      Saturday, July 9, 2011 at 12:42 am #

      Thanks so much Katie, this was definitely challenging, but an interesting change from what I usually write. Now I’m curious to check out your memoir.

  12. DM
    Saturday, July 9, 2011 at 2:08 am #

    YAY!! This was perfect, and admit it, you had fun! Fiction is FUN! I want to see more of this story. Please?

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