Hello, this week is all about character. We did some hard work that paid off. I get to live in my character when I'm writing, when I'm on my daily walk, as I prepare lunch, even in the pool this afternoon. But, I have to tell you, this short story came from a dream, at least some parts of it. I am enjoying these exercises in writing and I always want to kow what you are thinking.
SURPRISE, SURPRISE, SURPRISE
I walk in the jam packed cafe feeling nervous. It’s nearly lunchtime. In line, I order a double latte, decaf, one cream, one sugar, keeping in mind I’m still breastfeeding baby Bruno. The barista smiles and repeats my order loudly above the crowd’s noise making sure to offer me their daily special. Turkey, lettuce and tomato on rye bread, mayo or Dijon, which I kindly refuse. I find a table in the back part of the restaurant so I can watch as people come in.
As entertainment, I sip my coffee slowly while eaves dropping on my “coffee mates”. Mom hates it when I do that, but even when I explain my delight in objectively observing people, she still dismisses it as an unhealthy thing to be doing. I see no harm in it. Even Oprah says to be vigilant in strange places. I’ve been doing this for years now and become a master at noticing, without being noticed.
In this instance, as I sip, I look up just so and discover someone observing me. I’m not quite sure, so I wait a little, fiddling with my cellphone to keep her suspicions at bay. I look again and I then notice how beautifully polished this woman is. Her face is symmetrically perfect as far as I can see. Her light blue eyes remind me of Cooper’s powder blue “blanky”. Oh and the soft blue dress she’s wearing invites anyone, male or female for a longer look. Just a glance around me and I know we are all admiring Miss Vogue. I don’t even want to see her legs at this point or her Stiletto shoes. They must be long and muscular where they need to be. I’m praying she won’t get up and leave, it will just floor me if she does.
Right about now, would be a fantastic time for Tyler to get here, so I can be the one to surprise him for a change. The clock says twelve fifteen. My coffee is still warm, but if he doesn’t get here soon, I’ll have to order something to eat. So, I make my way casually to the ladies room. In there, I look over my make-up in the mirror while pondering on that sugary pink gloss Miss Vogue efficiently painted on her lips earlier. Would the effect be the same on mine? I already know I couldn’t pull off that whole pure immaculate look even in a lifetime of trying. I can hear mom revealing to me what I already know, your lips are full enough, and you don’t want to attract attention to them or yourself, right sweetie.
Before I know what I can do with myself, Miss Vogue enters the ladies room, I can see her in the mirror but she can’t see me. That’s when I dash and lock myself quickly in the stall behind me. Feeling caught, I flush the toilet, pull on the toilet sheet roll and wait so she knows I had a legitimate reason to be here. The room is quiet but for a few fogged out sounds of music and conversations.
I then hear her talking to her phone, like she’s giving it an order. “Call Big Boy” I wrap my hand on my mouth for fear of bursting in laughter right then and there relieved to learn that Miss vogue has a little kinky side to her. “Right, she whispers softly, I’ll be coming out of the ladies room. “ And “mwah”, she kisses the air and hangs up. I get up and out of my stall quick enough to see only the back of her blond highlighted hair, cut in a line so straight, you’d think her cutting edge hairdresser used some kind of laser beam over her back. You know the kind a carpenter uses to level his cuts.
I smile at the picture I see of the carpenter in the glamourous beauty salon in my mind’s eye while I wait the expected time lapse to go back to my table.
What I’ve never understood is how I made it to my table standing. Though I felt like the scene before me brought me to my knees. It took all I had to grab my handbag and get out, unnoticed from them. The dumbfounded look I glanced in the man’s dark eyes was familiar. The jerk in my wrist still hurts as I pulled away from the strength his hand gripped on me. I had missed that sure grip for three whole years. Not that my husband had ever been physically violent with me in all the years we’d been together. It’s just that his hands had always been loving even when strong.
Now, I sit in my parked car with an ache inside that almost kills me. Our son Cooper is four, Bruno, three months old, our make-up baby as Tyler lovingly referred to him. My phone keeps giving out loud vibrating buzzes every minute. Still I can’t answer it when I see Tyler’s name light up on the phone screen. I want to give in here. I feel I could do it. Drive straight in the big red brick wall in front of me in the parking lot. It looks too easy. So that is when I let dad’s warm voice come to me in a resounding plea. Onward now, roll them sleeves up my darling, we need to get Cooper a new blanky.
Peggy Elms, writer.
September 25, 2017