Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Little Bit of Fiction… Comical or Sentimental?

A few weeks ago I mentioned that our October writing challenge was "An Out of the Ordinary Day." The potential and ideas are limitless with this one. Happy, sad, comical, serious? We could write about whatever we wanted.

In September, I was surprised at how like minded my brother and I were in tone and underlying meaning... not sure if we are quite so similar this time. You may laugh or you may cry. Either way, it was good fun to write.

And so, without further ado, an out of the ordinary day....

Amy’s eyes popped open with a start. It was the kind of awakening that occurred with the sub conscious feeling of oversleeping. Grabbing her cell phone from the side table, she rubbed her eyes and focused on the time, 7:25. Oh crap, she thought as the jumped out of bed.

There was a brief moment of deliberation between spending twenty minutes primping or stopping by her favorite coffee shop on the way. She chuckled a little. Who was she kidding? It was a no brainer. Coffee always took priority on a morning like this.

Running to her closet she grabbed a black pencil skirt, the first shirt her hand touched, and a pair of pumps. Getting dressed while brushing her teeth was an art she had mastered long ago. Pulling her hair up into a messy bun on top of her head she was out the door by 7:33, simultaneously sleepy eyed and put together.

Driving on auto pilot, she went over her eight o’clock in her mind while slapping on a little mascara. That helped, she looked alive at least. Red lipstick. That would do the trick. Smearing it onto her lips in a quick and proficient way, she glanced quickly in the mirror. Not too bad for having just rolled out bed. Still, she was thankful her meetings only took her to lunchtime.

Ten minutes later and she was pulling into Joe’s Coffee. No parking available. Really? There was a no parking zone right in front on the side of the road. She debated for a second. It would really only take her five minutes to grab her coffee and go. Would she get in trouble between now and then? Parking quickly, she glanced around self consciously before running into the shop.

She got in line and peered around to see who was working this morning. Lovely. It was the dragon lady. Amy had been going to this particular coffee shop and she could swear that this woman didn’t know how to smile. Customer service was obviously not her strong suit, and here she was, working in a coffee shop. Amy was pretty sure that Loretta, that was the dragon’s name, hated the sight of happy people. As a rule Amy was a happy person. They say smiles are contagious… but so far nothing rubbed off on this barista.

“Good morning!” Amy said as she reached the front of the line. Her salutation was accompanied by her biggest, brightest smile.

Loretta took a moment to bring her eyes up to Amy, as if she was determining whether she could ignore the ten people in line, slip on her “I hate people” shirt, grab a chocolate filled croissant, and take twenty in the back. A couple grunts later and she brought her eyes up to meet Amy’s smile.

It was a strange moment. Amy wasn’t even sure what exactly occurred. The dragon’s face relaxed a little and she almost looked like she was pleased to see her overwhelmingly happy customer.

Amy felt a little encouraged, as if all of her months of silently reaching out to this unhappy person was being rewarded. After ordering her drink, she decided to take it a step further with some casual conversation, “Beautiful day isn’t it?” she smiled brightly again and looked into Loretta’s eyes kindly.

A transformation occurred on Loretta’s face. Her eyes brightened and her mouth began to tilt upward. She nodded a little.

Amy smiled bigger, “Have a good day!"

The dragon’s face changed completely as ten shades of off white spread from one cheek to the other in a great smile, “You too. Off to the office?”

Amy assented as she reached for her latte, “See you tomorrow.”

She walked out of the coffee shop, smiley and full of life until her car came into view and she stopped short. There, walking around with a ticket book in her hand was stern looking police woman. Glancing over, she saw Amy approaching. “Is this your car miss?”

Walking briskly over with her most apologetic smile, Amy made what excuses she could. She was running late for work, had overslept, was only in the shop five minutes, she would never do it again. Affecting her sweetest smile, she shrugged her shoulders and waited for the outcome.

To her surprise and relief the rotund woman slapped her ticket book shut and let out a low chuckle. “Well, you wouldn’t want to be late for work. Just park where you are supposed to next time.” With that she walked away, chuckling to herself the whole time.

Amy didn’t have time to think about the strange encounter. Ten minutes later and she was sitting at her desk.

The morning flew by in a quick succession of odd moments. She had two meetings with two very different men who simultaneously carried a presence of awkwardness and confidence. They each entered her office with self assurance, and yet they struggled to maintain eye contact, they didn’t know where to look, and they returned her smile in an uncomfortable manner. While making her notes she couldn’t help thinking that in a different environment, when she was not expected to be the very essence of professionalism, they would each have made an interesting character study.  

When her last appointment for the day left her office she decided to call it a day. Her shoes were hurting and her shirt was itchy. Plus, she hadn’t eaten anything since the morning, if a latte can be considered eating.

“Weird day….” She mumbled to herself, shutting her front door. Heading to the restroom, she took a mental inventory of the fridge, trying to determine which meal would quickly satiate her every growing hunger pains. Washing her hands, she examined her tired eyes in the mirror. Sighing, she gave herself a quick once over. Then she started. Her eyes popped open. Oh no…It couldn’t be….

Bringing her face closer to the mirror, she opened her mouth to display that beautiful smile, about which she got so many compliments.

All the blood drained out of her face as her whole day… her whole weird day flashed through her mind. The dragon lady, the police woman, the awkward gentlemen… oh dear.

There, spread across her two front teeth, was a great smear of bright red lipstick.

 The End

I opened my eyes suddenly. I wasn’t at home; I wasn’t even close to home. I looked around timidly, the sky was black as night, yet, it was bright as day. I was standing in a field of white roses a subtle tick, tick, tick noise coming from somewhere just out of the corner of my eye. Orbs of light were in every direction, and when I say “orbs” I mean orbs. There were no lamp posts, no bulbs, just floating balls of light. I think this was about the time I got really confused.

Around that time, I saw the door. I don’t know how I didn’t see it before, a giant door the size of a cathedral, splintered and white as paper, the only thing here besides me in a field of white roses; wait, no, red roses.

The tick, tick, tick, noise was getting louder and louder. I looked around to see if I could find it, no success. It wasn’t there, it didn’t exist, yet, it was chasing me. I could feel it, pounding my brain, with the ever so subtle tick, tick, tick. I was scared now, it couldn’t find me, if it found me I’d be gone, but gone where? Maybe this is where; a field of white roses that aren’t white, and a door that is just beyond my reach. 
I was scared now, the ticking noise was almost upon me, I couldn’t breathe, and all I could do is run towards the door. It was further then I thought, I ran and ran, yet it only seemed to get further away, and smaller, and smaller, but I couldn’t stop, I needed to get away from the noise. I ran until I thought my lungs had burst and turned to water, and thorns from the flowers cut me deep every time I took a stride. And then, suddenly, I tripped, over what? I don’t know, maybe it never existed. Flat on the ground, I look up to see the door almost touching my forehead, yet this time it was different. It shrank so much while I was chasing it, Instead of a cathedral; it was only as wide as a book, the knob was polished gold, the door decorated to look like a clock.

I reached out in a desperate attempt to escape the ticking noise and opened it, and then, I woke up.

I jerked up frantically, breathing hard. I looked around, the ticking noise was still there, but it was just my clock. I was in my apartment, not in a wasteland of roses, although, this was a wasteland of its own; old, dusty, and small. I only had enough room for my bed, a Television, and a mini fridge. “another dream” I whispered to myself. To get my mind off of it, I decided to get ready for work.

I left the house a couple hours early, it felt nice to get away from my old dusty room. I decided to walk to work that day. The sun was shining, the air was cool, and there was a slight breeze, perfect weather. I don’t know why the dream troubled me so much, but it was finally starting to fade. I thanked the wonderful surroundings and all the distractions. The colorful lights, smells and especially all the people waking up and getting there start on the day; a man rushing to get his cup of coffee, strutting into the store like it was his goal in life, A woman with a cigarette in one hand and a cell phone in the other, rushing to her car like her life was on the line, people just going along with their daily lives. The sidewalk pavement thrummed like a living thing beneath my feet, with cars busily sailing past me happily escorting their drivers to work. The hope of a smile flickered on my face for an instant, and then it was gone.

I found myself at work suddenly, as if I woke from a daze and the real world jumped on my back as quick as it could. I sat there, looking at the papers on my desk, wondering, just wondering. The ticking of the clock over everyone’s head stared me down like prey. 

Some days I’d never notice it. The dull grinding of gears and the soft monotone melody of the second hand, but these days it was always on my mind. My days were getting shorter, yet staying the same; Time was passing me by.

Work felt structured and dismal, a place where dreams rot next to the stapler, and home felt like the countdown. I used to look forward to work; I’d hum a tune and sign papers like it was nobody else’s business. Now it just felt like my life was draining slowly into my savings account.

The wandering of my head stopped suddenly. It was five-o-clock, time to go home.

I was in my bed suddenly, it was late, I stared up at the clock, knowing that tomorrow was just going to be the same. At least I could find solace in my quiet room, in my warm bed. I felt comforted, slowly falling asleep. If only I knew what was waiting for me in my dreams.

Money, so much money, falling like rain, covering the ground for miles, it was beautiful. I smiled bright, brimming with satisfaction. I did this, it was me, I finally succeeded. I laughed, and skipped and played happily. 

Sparks of light dazzled the air; little red fireworks nearly blinding my vision. Smiling, I heard a faint noise, but when I realized what it was, my smile faded. I turned slowly, and there it was, my clock. Terrified I looked around for any way to escape. There was none; the clock ticked more and more relentlessly, Till every subtle tick sent a shockwave through my entire body. It knocked me down, I was barely breathing, every pound of the clock knocking the air right out of me. My eyes squinted open and I gasped. The sky was on fire, little pieces of money-paper erupting into flames and soaring towards my face, surrounding me with fire. Every little tick of the clock beat me down further and further into the ground, and the fire threatened to engulf me. I closed my eyes in utter hopelessness, tears streaming down my face, but then, I heard a voice. “Are you going to open your door” she said, and I looked at her, smiling at me, holding out her hand, like she’s just going to pick me up and carry me out of this hell storm. I reached out and touched her.

My eyes locked open and I was back in my room. My door bell rang and I nearly screamed. I rushed downstairs and opened up the door before it had time to ring again. It was her, the girl from my dreams. She was a delivery girl, holding out a large package. She had soft blue eyes, a devious smile, and black hair in a tight messy bun.“So, are you going to sign for this sir?” she said, trying not to laugh. That’s when I realized how odd I must seem, A full grown man answering his door in his P-J’s, and simply staring at the lady with a very confused look. Slowly I came to my senses, though, and said “oh, yeah, sorry you just look very familiar.” 

As you might suppose, I was incredibly confused. Walking back into my house with my brand new Hoover vacuum, I came up with a clever plan. I walked straight from my front door to my computer and bought another vacuum.

Four weeks, and five vacuum’s later. I had a date.

My eyes opened wide. My day off, the day for my first date in years, and I didn’t have a single nightmare. . . I looked in the mirror, wearing a white button up shirt and slacks. I tried to smile, but it just looked rusty and forced, and although I didn’t have any nightmares, my hair was certainly a nightmare.

Getting ready and cleaning around my house like a madman, my heart pumping with anticipation all day. If I sprayed any more air freshener in my house I would probably pass out, so I resolved to spend the remainder of my day watching the clock, ticking sadistically. 

It was time, finally.  I walked towards her door, a small apartment on a lonely street; my hands tightening with every slow step, and adrenaline pumping through my veins. It was the most alive I’ve felt in years. I knocked on her door, every knock resounding quieter and shyer than the last. “Just a minute!” she yelled through the door, as I heard scuffling around and nervous rummaging, and then her eyes were looking directly at mine, bright and wild. Her hair was still a mess, yet it was perfect, cascading so curiously down her shoulders, shining in the night light. Wearing a little blue sundress, I felt like a dirty old dog compared to her beauty.  I felt even worse giving her the small rose I had picked on the way to her apartment; a pathetic thing, with the petals already wilting and thorns on the stem, yet, when I clumsily said hello and handed her the flower, her smile made my worries melt away.

We walked around the carnival, dazzling lights and noises and games all around. I could see her eyes flit from one thing to the next, joyfully enjoying every little detail. We played games, and I won her a little plush elephant, she wrapped her arms around it happily and smiled at me, which just made me try again and again to get her more. I failed, but she was still just as happy with the one.

I found myself staring at her, wondering how with just the littlest things, she could still have the purest, most hopeful smile. She noticed that I was looking, and smiled that same very smile at me; my face red, and adrenaline pumping through my heart, for once in what felt like years, A real, genuine smile appeared on my lips. After that I just couldn’t get rid of it.

After so long of being so terribly mad at time, it finally decided to go easy on me, the night felt like it lasted an eternity, and I could just feel myself falling in love every second of it. Taking her home very late that night, I knew things were going to be different from here on out. 

The truth was, I was nearly on the verge of giving up. In pursuit of my job my greed overcame me. I lost who I was, I lost my friends, I lost my family, and after so long of trying, my wife left me. I was alone with nothing but a well paying job.

After nearly a year with this new girl, a few things changed. I quit my job, I moved to a different place, and got a new mindset. I finally knew who I was again, I could finally smile again, and it was all because of her.

The End

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