It's so far from what I was planning I want to stomp my foot on it. Alas, that would mean either 1.) stomping my laptop or 2.) stomping my jump drive, neither of which do I want to do. Anyway, it wandered so far from its original intent that I pretty much just stoppped writing on it, rather than try and corral it back to having anything to remotely do with the prompt, my original plot, or my theme. Whatever. Frustrating.
The TCE prompt had to do with hangliding.
The light that spilled above the window sill to Susan’s room was calm, a gray and pink sort of light. Good enough for waking up, she supposed, if absolutely required. She also supposed it was not truly her room; apparently it remained her husband’s room, though he never seemed to be at his house, his home. Not that she could actually seek divorce; her lawyer had warned against that. Instead, no, she was here. Atop a tangle of white bed sheets, looking through the white window sill of their white house in their white neighborhood where nobody had any problems at all. One of the babies screamed somewhere within the house.
Today was Susan’s week for the playgroup mothers. She swung her feet to the carpet. Despite it all, if she were pressed during an interview she had to admit always loving this old house; her home. It was thoroughly Dutch colonial in its layout, materials, feel; thoroughly her grandmother’s river cottage, should her dead grandmother ever chose to be reborn and build a giant monstrosity of a house in the middle of a terrible stinking city. But it was lovely and white and quiet with dozens of wood-floored rooms and a gentle sloping ceiling hidden among the elm trees, and a good near half to the reason she married her husband. Though that was long enough ago now to cease to matter.
“Why don’t you just pretend it’s flying,” Greg had asked. The sun had been in her eyes, so she’d closed them, standing at the edge of the rock cliff over the water, a quick so-called getaway three days before their wedding—really it was to tell him she was pregnant. She’d hoped to trap him by an “accidental” pregnancy to make sure he wouldn’t back out of the marriage, but then she read the prenup. “Nothing like it,” he’d said. “It’s just like hangliding, it won’t be that bad. Have you ever been? Of course you haven’t; I’ll take you this weekend. First day of our honeymoon.” She’d turned her face towards him then, but hadn’t opened her eyes so all she would feel was the sun, the July sun, baking her thin eyelids. That was the morning she’d taken the test, but tests could lie. The sun didn’t lie. She was to marry Greg at the end of the summer, but they’d hurried things a month sooner so she could wed when “the church had an opening”; before she began to show. “I’ll take you tomorrow,” he said again, and then she grabbed his hand and yanked him horizontally in to the air, praying that if one of them were to dash their head upon the rocky cliff bottom, it would be him. The baby wouldn’t have had a head yet.
But the both surfaced, and she married, and she bore his child and many more, and before long he disappeared behind airplanes and androids and affected sighs. All by her own doing.
The yellow pink sun still pushed the grayness of predawn away slowly, laboriously. Sunrises were just slow enough, rose just fast enough, to bring her even closer to crazy these late days of summer.
“Senora Suan?” The woman’s voice was thick as it carried over the carpet from the doorway. “Buenos dias Senora Susan, buenos dias. Would you like me to be clean around you, Senora?”
“No.” Certainly not. She had the playgroup mother’s meeting this morning. “Did you remember that book I told you about?” Susan stretched.
“Si, Senora. The Senora Morgan book? Si.”
“Yes. I’m sure you would like it very much.”
“Si, Senora,” Alma said. “I already read it now, as you say.”
Janie stood, holding her arms out as waited for Senora Alma to bring her her robe. “Is it difficult for you, the language?”
“No, Senora, no. No difficult. Es only…is only…mas o menos. Para good, soon, I think. I like, Senora, I like.”
No matter. This woman surely needed every little bit she could get when it came to civilized society, even if it was the tale of a woman on a walkabout with naked natives all around.
“Good. Please let Juan know I am on my way down,” she told her. The woman scurried off to the intercom.
The air was cool at the coffee shop on Creekside. Susan sat straight-backed in the wrought iron patio chair, listening to her babbling circle of ninnies, Timora with her frizzy perma-blonde hair, simpering Kayla, Donna, who seemed to notice nothing, and Twyla, the bastard of the group. Of course they, the wives, never deigned to mention Twyla’s less than optimal birthrights; it wasn’t as if she’d picked that set of circumstances after all, and she’d certainly found a way around them. All the women save Susan had their children and dogs in tow; all the children were still in diapers—including Timora’s, who’s eldest was six and had only just started the district Montessori school. Timora’s breasts were still heavy with the milk she gave not only him but his three younger sisters, but that was another thing of which the playgroup mothers never spoke. After all, if wasn’t as if Timora chose to be a ninny, or to raise her babies as breast-milk-fed-freaks. They all just played their roles.
“Oh, lawd’s, I need a manicure,” Twyla said, stretching long limbs so that her fingertips flicked into the patio furniture of the shop as their children ran between the maze of tables and chairs. “They look hideous. Slavelike.” She flicked her nails at the other ladies.
“Surely not,” Donna said, faithfully. Donna was an even bigger ninny. Married for money when there was none, and then let the hubby refinance six times, all the way right until the crash. Damned fool, that’s what she was. But not as if she’d picked it, after all.
“Yes, my dear, what a terrible thing to say,” Kayla added. “You look beautiful.”
“We all just need a touch up from time to time.”
The women laughed.
“I feel so useless,” Susan said. “There’s no reason for me to get out of bed in the morning. No reason at all. No reason to live.”
The women stretched and yawned into their coffees alternately.
“Did you see Dr. David’s new classic,” Donna cawed over her Styrofoam cup. Apparently emotions were another thing off the list of appropriate subjects for Thursday coffee. “It’s some VW thing or other. Handsome cute little convertible; I’m so jealous we have to live next door. Maybe Doug can buy one for ourselves, and then I won’t have to look at his anymore.” The bank was practically threatening to repossess the grass on Donna’s perfectly manicured lawn. Not the kind of thing she noticed though.
“I saw that,” Kayla said while her daughter ran inside to kick the wandering baristas in the shins. “I liked the face lift she got better than the car he got. Looks more American.”
“Shame on you!”
They all laughed, all except Susan. Susan wondered why she was there. After all, Senora Alma’s mother had her kids today anyway.
“I’m leaving,” Susan said suddenly, standing up from the table so fast that the iron dragged across the concrete patio awkwardly. “Come to my funeral.”
“Oh sweet Mother Mary, not that again,” said Kayla. Susan stalked away.
“Oh sweetie, come back,” Timora called as she flopped out her right breast for her boy to drink. “I want the left one, mommy,” Taylor said, crossing his arms over his polo. She switched breasts and he buried his face in her cleavage. “You’re the darling host, Susie Q! You can’t leave!”
But she had.
“Well!” said Twyla. “Can you believe that?”
Donna lifted her gaze from Timora’s breasts.