Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Story-Time Tuesday - Living Fiction

Jenny Matlock
If you missed where this story started just click here to read it or simply click on the Story-Time Tuesday link at the top of my blog to take you to previous chapters.

Living Fiction - Chapter 42

Here's where Chapter 41 left you.

Wow. Okay. I was really getting into some deep stuff now. I sat back up to see how Jessie was taking all this. I peered through the dim lighting at her to read her reaction.

Her eyes were closed. Her breathing was soft and regular.

She had fallen asleep.

While I was revealing my soul to her, my daughter had fallen soundly asleep.

I got up from the couch quietly. I gently lifted her feet onto the couch cushion and tugged off her shoes.

Edgar wiggled around and opened one eye at me. “Go to sleep, Edgar,” I whispered.

I pulled the fuzzy quilt over them both.

And then I went upstairs to bed.


I must have gotten ready for bed on auto-pilot, because when I opened my eyes the sun was streaming through the bedroom windows. Auto-pilot must not have included closing the curtains.

Lying in bed, I reviewed the non-conversation I had with my daughter the night before.

Sometimes it seems like the best advice you get comes from someone just listening. I thought back to all the stuff I had said to Jessie. It’s probably a good thing she had fallen asleep without hearing the analogy of my life living inside Roosevelt’s nostril. Geez. How does stuff like that even get into my head? Through my own nostril? Ha! Sometimes I just crack myself up.

After a second of laughing at myself I sobered up, realizing that since she had fallen asleep she might still be expecting me to have another ‘free’ conversation this morning. I’d have to hide upstairs until she left for work, or it would take some serious manipulation to avoid an explanation of all the things I’d said I’d done…but hadn’t.

I’d have to…

Hey. Wait just a second here.

Do you know if I’d spent half the time doing most of the stuff I’d fabricated, I could have actually done them? Well, not the belly dancing, but the rest of it. I could have actually written on my blog and went to grief counselling and joined some kind of organization where I really would be working on a craft bazaar by now.

And if I’d actually done those things, maybe I wouldn’t be feeling so lonely with no-one to share my thoughts with…

And then maybe, just maybe, the current highlight of my life would not be a scruffy little dog that…

Scruffy little dog! Heavens! I’d totally forgotten about Edgar! I glanced over at the clock and realized Jessie would have already left for work.

Poor Edgar! He was probably starving! He was probably having a nervous breakdown by the door waiting to get outside!

I threw my robe on and rushed down the stairs into the kitchen. No Edgar! I looked in the living room. No Edgar! I shouted upstairs for him. No Edgar!

Then I noticed his leash wasn’t hanging on the hook by the door AND the paw print dog poo pick-up bags were missing as well.

My daughter wasn’t the only one with keen powers of observation.

Obviously Jessie was going to work late today. I decided to skedaddle back upstairs and stay there until she’d left. Why go into all the drama again? I was just going to do us both a favor by hiding out.

I procrastinated for just a moment, enticed by the smell wafting from an almost full pot of coffee. I would have made my escape safely back upstairs, too, if it wasn’t for my ‘From Texas with Love’ mug. It wasn’t in the cupboard. Coffee just didn’t taste quite the same out of my other mugs. As I was rummaging through the dishwasher to find it, I heard the front door open. I was trapped! I couldn’t run upstairs without Jessie seeing me so I slammed the dishwasher shut, unlocked the kitchen door, and stepped out onto the back porch.

Flattening myself against the wall beside the door, I waited. I could hear Jessie and Edgar chatting away in the kitchen. Technically, I could hear Jessie talking to Edgar but I knew he was answering her with his little head cocked to the side and his brown eyes shining brightly.

I realized if any of the neighbors saw me, they would think I had driven even farther off the highway of normal. But it was early still, and I hoped no-one would be glancing my way.


I’d forgotten about Millie. Millie seemed to have an uncanny knack for always catching me at the very worst time. Millie saw me. Of course. Millie, came teetering across the driveway wearing an outfit I had only seen previously in lingerie catalogs. The cheap kind. The flowing canary yellow gown and robe was trimmed with lemon yellow feathers. Her high heeled slippers glittered in the morning light. It took me a moment to realize that they were covered in yellow sequins. Who knew that sequins even came in that retina bruising color? Instead of Princess, she held the morning paper in her hand. As she got closer I realized that she had already applied several coats of nuclear pink with a heavy hand. The blinding pink color almost, but not quite, balanced out the forty-seven coats of blackest black mascara clumped onto her fake eyelashes.

Good golly. Did this woman actually go to bed like this?

“Yoo hoo, Pearl! Oh, good morning!”

Trapped again. I decided to just go back inside amd face Jessie but, of course, she was no longer in the kitchen and wiggling the door handle I realized I’d locked myself out of the house. Again.

“Yoo hoo, Pearl! Yoo hoo!” She tottered closer.

Darn! Darn, darn, darn! And then she stopped.

“Yoo hoo! Pearl! Put the coffee pot on. I’m going to run on home and get Princess. I was just telling Myron this morning that I so, so, so needed to come check on you and catch up…my heavens…your daughter’s here and that good looking young man was here and…”

It took me a moment to realize that the good looking young man was actually Jay. Was he good looking? I hadn’t really noticed. Well, okay. Maybe I had noticed just a teensy bit but, seriously, he was so cranky that I would never, ever actually think about him… like… well… like ‘that’… you know?

Millie was still talking away, “…and Myron said to me, ‘Millie, you should just run right over and check on Pearl, and take her some of this coffee cake, and don’t hurry back… at all!’. Myron is so, so, so thoughtful. He always encourages me to visit neighbors. He has such a kind heart…but Pearl, I’ll be right back, okay, put that coffee pot on and do you have any fat free half-and-half because that’s really what I prefer in my coffee although…hee hee…it’s kind of funny if we have fat free anything with the fat filled coffee cake I’m bringing back to share and…”

“Millie,” I gritted out through clenched teeth, “I’m thinking it might be too early for company, you know?”

Millie looked disparagingly at my faded flannel robe. “That’s okay, Pearl. You so, so, so don’t have to doll up for me. Maybe you should get something fancy, though, just in case that good looking fella comes back to pick up his dog. What is that dogs name anyway? Something kind of strange, I remember. Not a regular dog name liked Princess, you know? What WAS that dogs name?”

Apparently Millie didn’t even care what Edgar’s name was, because she teetered back across the driveaway still talking to herself. At the end of the driveway she turned and waved, “Be right back, Pearl! I’m so, so, so looking forward to visiting!”

“Yeah, me too,” I muttered sarcastically. Millie was gone, though. And even if she was still present, I doubt she would have listened to me.

How do you learn that skill?

How do you learn to talk so people listen? And to get your own way in almost every circumstance? How do just steam roll over everyone like that? Up until now, I’d always thought of Millie as an irritant, but maybe Millie actually had something to teach me.

But I still wasn’t going to go around wearing bright yellow bird feathers and sequins. No matter what.

I turned around and knocked loudly on the door. If I was going to learn from Millie, I needed to fortify myself with caffeine before she arrived. I knocked again, even more loudly.

Edgar’s happy bark let me know Jessie would soon be there to let me back inside my own house.

To be continued on Tuesday, July 5.

(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.

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Ms Sparrow said...

How I admire your style and prose.
I wish I could write like that!

Susan Anderson said...

Such a fun read, Jenny.

"retina bruising color"



Ames said...

Millie is certainly a colorful character!~Ames

Ms. A said...

Another great chapter!

Judie said...

Oh, no! Please don't tell me that she's locked herself out of the house!!!!

H said...

If Jesse has already dashed off to work, Pearl could have to spend quite some time with Millie. Goodness - what a thought!

People Who Know Me Would Say: said...

sequins in a retina bruising color???? I'm still laughing my butt off!

You can really telllllllllll a story girl!

Anonymous said...

Pearl may as well give it up because she is never going to be able to hide. Another great chapter sweet Jenny. Hugs

Lourie said...

HAHAHAHA Sounds like Millie's husband wants her to stay out of his hair. If he has any left. LOL