Friday, October 2, 2009

I've always wanted to be a multi-drafter

but most of my writing is done single-drafter style. Mult-drafters seem to have more fun. So I'm taking LDSP up on her Friday Writing Prompt. Hold on to your keyboards folks. This could be really bad.

(Dear LDSP, I'm know I'm supposed to start my piece with "In this one you are" but that is such a weird starting line for me. I'm taking this in my own direction. . .)

Every time she saw the picture on his dresser, Stacey got angry. Her jaw clenched, her shoulders tightened, and she had to remind herself to breathe. She knew it was irrational but seeing that perky, smiling woman staring at her--with one arm around John--she just got angry.

She tried logic. "John, it's such an old picture! After all these years of marriage, can't you just put it away?"

She even tried being honest with him. "Honey, I know it means a lot to you, but for me. . .well, I just . . . I'm just tired of looking at it. It's like she's mocking me."

Most recently she took the picture and hid it, thinking he might not notice. It took John less than five minutes to find it and restore it to its place of honor on his dresser.

This morning she took the picture into the bathroom and held it next to her face in the mirror. She couldn't believe how different the two reflections were. The woman in the picture was so young--no bags under her eyes or on her hips--there was even a little childish roundness to her face. Her smile held hints of laughter and her eyes seemed to meet the future without flinching. Stacey suspected it was lighting of the shot, but the woman in the picture was practically shining. Shining hair, shining teeth, glowing skin.

Stacey's own face was exhausted. Not only were there bags under eyes and on her hips (she silently thanked her five children for that), but her hair was short and her teeth were more mother-of-pearl than shining white. There was no way she could measure up to the woman in the picture. Stacey had done too much and worked too hard. Too many sleepless nights. Too many loads of dishes. Too many children suckled. Too many arguments with John.

In the picture, John was basking in that woman's radiance and whenever Stacey saw him look at the picture part of that radiance seemed to fill him again. She couldn't remember the last time he'd looked at her that way. For all of that, she couldn't remember the last time he'd actually looked at her. Stacey wasn't angry; she was jealous.

But no matter how many times she tried explaining it to John he just didn't seem to understand. Whatever she said his answer was always the same:

"How can you jealous of yourself? That's the woman I married. That's the woman I love. And I plan to look at her as much as I want."

It broke Stacey's heart, though, having to compete with herself that way. She knew she wasn't that woman. She knew John was living in the past. She knew she had changed. She just didn't know if John could love those changes.


Mindy said...

Fabulous. And sad. :(

angie said...

wow. i like it.

Kelly said...

Great job! The editor in me noticed you accidentally dropped a word in the penultimate paragraph. Picky me. But I really like this!

Lura said...

Nice piece of writing. My heart goes out to Stacey. I hope I never feel that way...

LDS_Publisher said...

Thanks for taking the challenge. Good job. I could relate. I believe I have a couple of pictures like that around my house too.

Coffinberry said...

Ouch. The pain is palpable. It feels like a dam ready to burst, a heart like water balloon overfull where the least touch will explode leaving all around it soaked and dripping.

It is what the absence of hope looks like.