Continuing on with Story Time Tuesday and fiction, I decided to go an entire different route then Tales from Home. I wanted to use a different voice and meter and write along a more "commercial" formula. The chapters in this are quite a bit longer so I'm going to break each into two parts. I hope you enjoy this. I continue to feel oddly shy about posting this work which seems crazy in light of the fact that I bore you with my blah, blah, blah the rest of the days.
With no further ado...
I give you...
Writing Fiction - Chapter 1A
My name is Pearl and I am a liar.
I didn’t plan on becoming a liar. It just kind of happened.
But maybe being a liar is better than what I really am…a lonely old woman.
Sometimes I think I need to invent a new formula to determine “true age years”. You know? Like those calculations that say a 7- year old dog is really 47-years old. Maybe the “true age” for a 60-year old woman with a broken heart is 81 ½- years old. And no, I don’t mean ‘81 ½ years young’.
Before I became 81 ½ years old, I’d always prided myself on being kind and compassionate. I’d thought I was quite skilled in my ability to help my friends and family through their darkest moments with a smile and a phone call. I’d been proficient in the manufacturing and distribution of ham and scalloped potato casseroles accompanied by a little note and a brown sugar pound cake. “Remember you need rain so you can have rainbows,” I’d write confidentally in black gel pen. “Keep going, things will get better,” I’d inscribe to those in sorrow. I’d really believed those words I’d written with such surety. I still do. I just no longer believe they apply to me.
Before I became 81 ½ years old, I’d known all the euphemisms for dying: pass away, pass on, depart this life, succumb, meet your maker, pushing up daisies, bought the farm, deceased. I could talk with the over-perfumed, mascara-running women at calling hours and funerals without ever actually saying the word, “death”.
Before I became 81 ½ years old, my husband was still alive. And I’d been on the giving side of the euphemisms, not on the receiving side. It’s unbelievable how many miles exist between those polar opposites. And how many tears.
I passed through the weeks immediately after my husband began ‘pushing up daisies’, on his way to ‘meet his maker’ ‘before plowing his last row at the farm’, in a zombie like state. Remember back in 1968 when “Night of the Living Dead” began playing at the movies? Remember being afraid, but also slightly incredulous that such a thing could be even remotely possible? Remember thinking, or perhaps saying, “Yeah, that could only happen in the movies”? Well now I think that movie might have been written by someone who’d just experienced a huge loss. It’s the only way the director could have possibly gotten something so ludicrous, so right.
If I’d have bothered re-costuming myself and learned how to apply gobs of black and white pancake make-up during that zombie-like time period, I suspect I could’ve easily been cast as an extra in a remake of that movie. Then maybe I would’ve felt as though I had some true companions in my grief.
But the thing is, at least for me, I didn’t want companions in my grief. I wanted to be left alone with endless time to curl up in the fetal position and feel sorry for myself. I wanted to forego showers and combing my hair in favor of inane TV re-runs. In a perfect world, my grief would have been accompanied by decadent pastries and flaky pies; warm, yeasty fresh-baked breads and a bucket of butter, and gourmet pizzas oozing cheese and grease – all via unlimited deliveries to the front porch.
Scalloped potatoes, with or without ham, never gave me comfort. Even when they had that crispy topping of buttery corn flakes.
(c) 2010 Jennifer R. Matlock
This publication is the exclusive property of Jennifer R. Matlock and is protected
under the US Copyright Act of 1976 and all other applicable international, federal, state and local laws. The contents of this post/story may not be reproduced as a whole or in part, by any means whatsoever, without consent of the author, Jennifer R. Matlock. All rights reserved.