My Monday motivation for you is a reminder to enter my weekly writing challenge . For this, you two have choices:
Last week, to get your writing week kick-started, I gave you the beginning of a story. What happened next was up to you.
A lot of you clearly enjoyed this. Here are your stories:
But then she heard the rattle and click of the letter box and the slap, slap, slap of letters falling to the floor.
She took another slurp of coffee and tried not to spit it out; she must have been sat there longer than she realised because the coffee was cold.
She pushed herself up and away from the table and walked to the front door.
She knew it would come today. He’d sent a one line email saying so. But it still hurt. And the email just made it harder. Why couldn’t he have rung? She missed his voice more than anything.
She knelt by the door. Yep. It really was there. She fought herself for a minute and then let out gushing sobs.
She knew from the start it was a two year deal. She had the £30,000 pound cheque sat on the side as proof. Once those 730 days were over so were they. He would have his citizenship and she her freedom. But she had hoped it wouldn’t be the case. There were signs of course. Signs he might love her. The notes he would leave. The glances across dinner. The soft brush of his hand across her neck as he helped her into a necklace.
She didn’t want her freedom or the check anymore. She just wanted him. But worst, she thought he had wanted her.
But the envelope told her different. He had never loved her. It was just a business deal.
She reached for the envelope hands shaking and ripped it open.
She paused, confused. She thought it would have been on formal paper. That’s what lawyers used right? This was a divorce after all.
Her heart tightened. Butterflies surged through her stomach.
She ripped the letter open and stared at the hand written words blinking rapidly.
LIZZIE, I’M SORRY. I MADE A MISTAKE. I KNOW THIS WAS ALWAYS A BUSINESS DEAL, BUT IF YOU FEEL HALF WHAT I DO MEET ME AT LA ROUCHE TODAY AT 11. YOU STOLE MY HEART, AND NOW I WANT TO STEAL YOURS.
She glanced at the clock 10:30… She could make it. She grabbed the keys and ran out the door.
Melissa Barker Simpson took off where Sacha finished and propelled the story in a completely different direction:
Lizzie made it to La Rouche with a minute to spare. She took that time to catch her breath, to control her racing pulse, and finger-comb her unruly hair. None of it helped. The moment she saw him her courage faltered.
She wanted to call out to him, but she was incapable of speech. The hope was like a drum beat in her chest.
Dragging air into her lungs Lizzie stepped forward, willing Jacque to turn. It would be the perfect moment, she could already see the scene playing out in her head; though the musical accompaniment was a little over the top.
A smile curved her lips at the thought, because she knew it would make him laugh. She loved to make him laugh.
Feeling stronger now she took another step, ignoring the harassed looking pedestrians who dodged round her on the path.
The words were drowned out by the explosion. For a moment all she could see was a sea of red, and black, and then she was engulfed by a wave of agony so powerful she was blind to everything else.
Francesca Aniballi wrote a moving story:
She picked up the crumpled letter from the coffee table and read the poem again. She recognised it as a translation of Apollinaire’s “Il pleut”:
It’s raining women’s voices as if they had died
even in memory
And it’s raining you as well marvellous
encounters of my life O little drops
Those rearing clouds begin to neigh a whole
universe of auricular cities
Listen if it rains while regret and disdain weep
to an ancient music
Listen to the bonds fall off which hold you
above and below
She paused at “auricular cities”, cities full of sounds. But then she went over the last lines and the signature glaring at her from a blank space. She dropped the letter again. It was final.
He had left the letter in her pocket, giving her a quick peck on the cheek, leaving her stunned in the glorious morning sunshine, as she placed the daffodils on the windowsill.
She had thought, everything would be alright.
For a moment, her instinct had been side-tracked: a quickly vanishing spell cast on her by the web of light.
She had known it for some time.
Even so, she had buried her sense of foreboding under her to-do lists.
John was not coming back. He had found a new way of telling her, because she never listened.
He had walked out of the door and out of her life with a light step, a delicate smile painted on his lips.
*the translated poem comes from How to Read a Poem, by Edward Hirsch.
Jane Basil had this to say:
‘I find myself in a silly mood today…’ So please take a look at her ‘silliness’!
Adhin Shamina joined in with a thought-provoking story:
Still, the house had an unusual quietness that she felt while having her cup of tea, sitting on the veranda. She remembered that evening when she was making her braid for the last ceremony of her daughter’s wedding. It was the same feeling when she used to get her ready to go to school.
That evening, she remembered too well the same brightness on her face, the same sparkle in her eyes and the same enthusiasm she would have for new experiences of life. Lizzie was happy for her darling daughter. After the last stroke of the make-up brush, she got up. Lizzie accompanied her to the reception table where her beloved husband was waiting.
When she took off her hand from her mother’s and walked towards her husband, Lizzie realized she was no more her baby, but then a young woman, someone’s wife. She was going to start her own new world. Lizzie realized her daughter was not going to need her anymore. Lizze felt her heart pounding, as if hearing its each and every beat.
But as her daughter was going intothe arms of her beloved husband, Lizzie remembered her own wedding day twenty five years ago. It was the something wonderful to start a family when two people shared the God gifted feeling of love, trust, respect and mutual understanding. But simultaneously, it is also true that great patience is needed to maintain these virtues in a relationship. A person needs to live his life according to his will but when two people share a life, there is always a thought not to hurt the other person by one’s action. Such maturity comes with living. But she had a little fear in one corner of her heart. Despite her compassion for others it was also a fact that she had not seen much conjugal life because her father died when she was only twelve. It was the age when she was about to begin to understand family life. Lizzie had done her best to never let her feel the absence of her father. And she could only pray to God that her daughter met her duty well as a wife and that no situation hurt her.
When the clock stroke five times, Lizzie shifted her gaze onto the clock. Her loneliness deepened because at that time her daughter used to return home from work. But since her wedding, things had changed. There was no one for whom Lizzie would be waiting for. Yet Lizzie believed she had to and would get used to that. It was just another stage of a person’s life after all.
Richard Nicholson brings this to a close with a heart-wrenching story:
The letters from the bank and solicitor had both arrived in the morning post, just as the rain began to fall. She knew what they both contained and didn’t bother opening them. The bank confirming that they weren’t prepared to advance her any more funds for her ailing book shop, and the solicitor giving details of her bankruptcy proceedings. Lizzie sat staring at the carpet as if in a trance, cursing Amazon, Waterstones and the other online book sellers who between them had effectively wooed all her regular customers. Even those who had stayed always managed to comment on how the book they were holding in their hand was cheaper online, before putting it back on the shelf.
She opened the one from the bank. It was from “Roy”, the bank’s business relationship advisor, “Hi, Lizzie, I’m Roy”, had been very smiley and positive when they met, two months previously. With a wry grin she remembered how “Roy” convinced her that everything would be fine. Just a few questions about the current state of the business, her revised business plan, and of course, what other forms of income she had. That last one did slightly concern her as she had none. But “Roy” was so zealous and positive she dismissed it and began believing that everything was going to be alright. “Just need to run all this passed the underwriter, but it looks fine.” he told her before leaving. That was the last time she saw “Roy”. After that it was phone calls and emails, always asking for just a little bit more information, then the wait for the decision which eventually came.
She looked at the bottles on the coffee table. Paracetamol and vodka. She knew it was going to happen one day, she’d thought long and hard about it. But, still sitting, staring down at the carpet again, she was surprised how it had all come together so quickly, in just a couple of hours. The paracetamol and vodka bought only that morning when she’d enjoyed her last feeling of the sun on her face. Only she hadn’t known that at the time. Then the two letters, both arriving on the same day. That day. She hadn’t been expecting that. Thoughts, decisions, action…
The solicitor’s letter remained unopened. If only she had read it…