(I truly meant for this to be Flash Fiction, but the story just developed. Sorry about the way – over word count.)
Grandma June huffed at Natalie, her granddaughter visiting her at home.”You’re not getting any younger, you’re thirty-eight. You can’t barely have babies anymore!”
Natalie rolled her eyes at Grandma June,”Gran, I’m an elementary school teacher. I like going home and not having to worry about kids.”
June sighed,”It was that man, you were supposed to marry. He’s a thief and stole your heart; I’m right aren’t I?”
Natalie ignored June’s question. She hated when her Grandma or anyone, talked about Christopher. She’d never admit he was her one.
He hadbeen since she was in grade ten and Christopher an attractive senior in high school. It was when he had first asked Natalie out. They’d broken-up, having had incompatible lives with Christopher away at university soon after.
Then, seven-years-ago, they’d ran into each other and started talking and dating again. Natalie had convinced herself this was finally it. Sadly, a few weeks before the wedding, Christopher had disappeared; the memories were agony for her.
Two-week’s later, Grandma June called Natalie up to invite her to a wine and cheese night she was hosting for her neighbours. She had tried to decline but June was adamant Natalie attend.
She arrived at her Grandma June’s surprisingly lively wine party, in jeans and a white t-shirt. She had barely bothered to apply makeup as Natalie had come from the gym and was worn out.
“Oh you came,” Grandma June said excitedly, approaching Natalie as she let herself inside. She hugged June and kissed her cheek, as June poured Natalie a large glass of red wine and filled her plate with bread and cheese. She winked at Natalie and left her alone in a small sitting room to rest before joining the other guests.
“Natalie?” A deep voice said. She turned on the sofa towards the sitting room door. Christopher’s voice shocked her, she had almost doused herself in red wine. His familiar timber filled Natalie with great pain. She peered up at him feeling raw, as if he’d only left her yesterday without explanation.
Tears began dripping down Natalie’s cheeks; she was crying and couldn’t stop herself. Christopher immediately sat down on the sofa beside Natalie and pulled her close; he wiped her tears away with his thumb. She tried to jerk out of his arms, but he wouldn’t let her move.
“I’m not letting you go, ever again,” Christopher swore.”I can’t explain much about why I had to leave you, only that I didn’t have a choice.”
Natalie shoved him hard, “You have nothing more to say, nothing at all?”
Christopher was noticeably upset, “I told you I worked as an IT consultant. But I could never tell you or anyone who I worked for until recently. I worked for Special Forces in the army and I was called out to a job. It’s the only thing I can’t about. The job lasted years, and I wasn’t allowed to contact anyone. We saved countless lives, but it was awful what I did to you and being without you. I’m sorry.”
Natalie rubbed her swollen eyes, “You’re a liar Christopher. You could’ve mentioned something, anything. What do you want now? To stay for a while and then leave?To rip me apart again?”
Christopher buried his face in his hand, before gazing up at her: “I’m out now Natalie. I swear to you I work for regular businesses now, nothing to do with Special Forces or the army. I’ve no more secrets other than experiences of war and blood. I came back here for you, I even moved into a house on your Grandma June’s street. I hoped somehow, you and I could be together again. I love you.”
Natalie made a sound of frustration. Emotions of both anger and feeling relieved assaulted her. Despite her anger at Christopher, Natalie knew inside, there would never be another man for her but him.
To Christopher’ surprise, Natalie moved to sit in Christopher’s lap and be closer to him, to breathe in how delicious he smelt.
“Marry me now and we can do whatever celebration our families want later. I’m still mad at you Christopher but you’re it for me. I’ve always loved you and always will. If you can be with me and never leave me like that again, I can forgive you.”
Christopher nodded at Natalie, saying: “I promise.” He held Natalie tightly and kissed her lips hungrily.
Suddenly, there was a loud knock on the sitting room door and Grandma June walked in, a smile on her face. June’s boyfriend Nigel was with her and so was the local United Church minister.
Natalie looked at Christopher, “Did you do all this?”
Christopher shook his head, squeezing Natalie tight and kissing her cheek. He pulled out a beautiful sapphire and diamond ring set from his pocket. He slid the engagement ring on Natalie’s finger, and Grandma June handed Natalie a ring which had been her Grandfather’s wedding ring.
June smiled at Natalie and Christopher, a gleam in her clever blue-eyes. All was at it should be, she thought as her and Nigel witnessed her granddaughter’s wedding ceremony.
This writing 101 prompt is to experiment with word count. I usually, don’t limit my posts unless I have to. Some of the hardest pieces I write can only be 100 words long. But since I have a choice, I’m going to write and see what comes out.
There is a beginning and and an end to a story. Then there is the inbetween. Often, the inbetween is the part of the story we skip over, we miss the everyday mundane details of our characters lives which would bore many readers. But it is fascinating that in real life, the simple and mundane acts in life can be the most meaningful:
Everyday for the past three or four-years, my Dad cuts up a bowl of fruit for me in the morning. He started to do it when a Chinese student was staying in our house to finish her last two years of highschool and later attend University where we live.
Sometimes, the student didn’t eat her fruit, so I would eat it when I woke up later in the morning. One day I ate a bowl of fruit left on the table and my Dad came back from his run:
“Did you eat the bowl of fruit on the table?” he asked me.
“Yes, I thought it was Cristina’s and she didn’t have time to eat it,” I said feeling like a little child being scolded.
“I don’t mind cutting you a bowl of fruit Amanda but that was my bowl of fruit. I cut it so it would be ready when I came home from my run.”
“I’m sorry,” I said alarmed. “I wouldn’t have eaten it if I knew it was yours.”
“It’s no trouble; I’ll cut an extra bowl of fruit it the morning. It’s not any extra work for me.” My Dad said smiling.
Cristina (the student) has moved out but almost every morning when I wake up around 10:30am, there is a bowl of fruit waiting for me.
As my Dad allows his grown-up daughter to live in his house (on cheap rent) because of her health, he cuts this same daughter fruit for breakfast. They’re both simple things, but they let me know to him even though I’m an adult, I’m still his little squirell and he loves me a great deal. They are mundane acts which demonstrates my Dad loves me more than any grander gesture could.
How many times do we go by those we love in our lives, not demonstrating our love? Yes in their hearts our loved ones know we love them. But it’s small gestures each day which truly show what we feel for our loved ones. Hugs and pats on the back; saying you love them or appreciate something they did out loud; little treats such as baking or buying them their favourite cookies or ice cream; doing something to make a loved ones life easier; or doing things they appreciate. Simple mundane tasks and moments of thought. The inbetween is where life counts.