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Fiction Friday/Me Monday combined: Part One of short story “Roadside”

My niece captured me perfectly #portrait #black&white #snapshot

Hello Everyone, I hope you had a lovely relaxing weekend? I’m offering you some Fiction here, so feel free to skip this post if that’s not yer thing! This piece won tiny accolades in several small writing competitions here in Australia, although it’s a few years old now. It’s too long for a single post though, so I’m going to split it into parts, then link them together each week.

Let me know what you think, G xO 

 

“Roadside”- Part One

Lucy’s silver waterfall hair tilts when she moves. The tiny peace badge on her jumper glints. She leans like a rusty hinge to stroke the cat, book forgotten. Elegant fingers smooth the purring animal. She always wears gloves when gardening, and marinates in moisturiser every night. Like Cleopatra, she wishes she could bathe in milk. She knows she looks good for her age, but still bristles against seeming ‘invisible’ to anyone under thirty. She can remember wearing miniskirts, and going braless to parties, brave and ready for the freedoms the new birth control pill could bring. To be seen as an ‘old woman’, slow to cross the road sometimes, makes her blood yell with rebellion. But despite strong legs from cycling now that she’ll never drive a car again, her spine aches.

She joked once that the ache mirrored her soul.

In the kitchen, husband Eris has a cake in the oven. Spicy ginger and orange, her favourite. She loves a piece after yoga, or while listening to political debate on the radio, arguing opinions between mouthfuls. She nearly choked on a walnut in the carrot cake one day, but insisted it was the Prime Minister’s stupid policy remark that really caused her problem.

Eris is battling the weekend cryptic crossword. It’s guaranteed to keep any chance of Alzheimer’s at bay he claims. Certainly worked for his Mum, still beating him at gin rummy, aged eighty-nine. But he’s stuck on twenty-five across. And Lucy’s sulking through the baking scent, bricking out his tendrils of conversation.

The cake timer ticks.

He lowers his pen. ‘I’m sorry to upset you Lu. I know we’re both in this together. And that it’s rotten. But I’ve got my needs too y’know.’

Silence.

‘God you’re a stubborn woman. Can’t we talk about it, please?’

Nothing.

The smell of the cooking cake meanders. Lucy’s cat purrs, slinking across the floor, while another two sleep on a windowsill in the late sunshine. The timer ticks on.

‘I know you’ve got the tree. And it comforts you.’ He moves into the living room. ‘But I’ve got nothing. I just want somewhere to go. Can you leave the damn cat alone and look at me?’

A tree stands tall along a straight road, sentinel on the only corner for five kilometres. A ring of wildflowers in pink and white hugs its base.

 He slides the animal gently away with his foot as it twines around his legs. He doesn’t really like cats, although they live with four.

‘Don’t touch him! And don’t touch me! I hate you!’ Blowing the lid off her temper, Lucy pushes past Eris. She shoves open the kitchen screen door, and slams out into the garden.

 

…To be continued…

27 Comments

    • Thanks Widds 🙂 It’s pretty hetero, inspired partly by a sweet old couple I met at a funeral, but I love the way it unfolds (though I say it myself haha) : )

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It’s really good. I’m there. I feel like I’m watching them. I want to know what the issue is but I’m enjoying the slow unfolding too. It is very well written and you draw her character very well.
    The mirroring of the pain in her soul is wonderful. Looking forward to reading more.

    Liked by 1 person

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