Wednesday Write-in #43


Welcome to the Wednesday Write-in!

CAKE.shortandsweet runs a write-in every week to writers to practise their skills, and get chatting to each other about their work. Everyone is welcome to join in, and the more people you tell, the more everyone will get out of it.

Prompts

dilate  ::  avalanche  ::  stamp  ::  pedal  ::  change of address

Guidelines

There are no hard and fast rules, but here are some brief guidelines:

  • You can use the prompts as inspiration or try to work them into your story somehow. Use as many as you want.
  • When your story is done, post it online (your blog/twitter/in a comment here), tag with #wednesdaywritein if you like, and comment with a link so we can read it.
  • Please take the time to read and comment on as many other stories as you can.
  • If you want to write a poem, a script, or something completely different, feel free.

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Any questions? Otherwise, have fun writing!

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37 thoughts on “Wednesday Write-in #43

  1. ‘Did.’
    ‘Did not.’
    ‘You did too.’
    The little girl’s face was bright red and her eyes dilated with anger and she stamped on Matthew’s sandcastle causing an avalanche of sand and pebbles down into the moat. He had taken ages to build it with turrets and roads and a flag on top. His plastic soldiers were in position awaiting attack from the enemy Ninjas and now everything was spoilt. It was so unfair. He hadn’t taken her shells; he had found his own. Near to tears, but big boys of ten didn’t cry, he kicked at the remains of his creation until nothing was left. He might as well go home.
    Matthew threw his toys into the beach bag on top of his towel and found his bike where he had left it propped against a tree on the lane. Pedalling furiously he was home in ten minutes. As he arrived his mother was at the front gate chatting to the postman. ‘No, I can’t help you,’ she was saying, ‘they didn’t leave a change of address.’
    ‘Matthew! You’re back early,’ she said giving him a hug. ‘Guess what? We are having new neighbours and they have a little girl just a bit younger than you. Won’t that be nice?’

  2. Here’s mine for the week
    Little Jack
    I’ll never forget the day I found out. And what a way to find out! I thought I’d never get over the shock.
    Sweat tickled as it trickled down the crease in my back between my burning shoulders. The pedal up the hill to the Post Office felt steeper, like someone had tilted the world and rearranged all of the angles.
    I was tired. There’d been so much to sort out. Then there were all those extra shifts. Been working hard to save for this my whole life I suppose. Maybe I was getting old. My daughter was a teenager now after all.
    “All this rushing around would be worth it,” I thought to myself on the last trek up the hill, “This move will be good for her. “ Like me, she’s hardworking and determined and this change of address would allow her access to schools where she’d be surrounded by girls just as ambitious as her.
    When I get to the Post office there is a queue of contrary customers snaking out the door. I stand in line and claim my territory behind a girl with a baby in a pram and two toddlers. It’s so typical that on a day like today when I’m tormented by a bout of hot flushes (or tropical moments as I prefer to call them) that I’m stuck behind a whole crew of snotty-nosed whingers. The young mother stood staring blankly ahead, seemingly oblivious to the avalanche of noise dribbling from the demons beside her. I flap the envelope of documents in front of my face for some relief. With a rush of blood to my throbbing head, I pick up a delinquent dolly and place it back in the pram, retracting my hand quickly for fear of being bitten. The mother doesn’t notice. She looks irritable and short-tempered like the joy of her youth had been pared away by the rough complexities of life. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her; her life cut short by a premature pregnancy and abandoned relationships. There were so many like her around here. I checked my watch. The queue didn’t seem to be moving and I had work to get to, unlike a lot of others in front of me in the queue.
    I got to the window eventually.
    “Well you can’t just turn up and expect me to have all the documents ready. You have to request them.”
    The power-tripping’ pen-pusher came from the same poverty pit as me, I opened my mouth to appeal to her better nature but
    “Take this form and fill it out. You’ll have to come back later Mrs O’Driscoll.” With a swish of the page as it landed in front of me I was dismissed.
    “Next?”
    I free-wheeled down the hill so I wouldn’t be late for my afternoon shift. I rang my bell intermittently to eliminate potential dangers. The wind whooshed against my face cooling away all the fury of the Post Office, sucking away all the sound until there’s nothing left but the sound of the gust whizzing by.
    After my afternoon shift my husband drove me back to the Post Office. I left him to sit in the car. He was no good with a pen and paper.
    The place was deserted and the mood was different, friendlier and less haughty.
    “Oh I’m sorry Mrs O’Driscoll about earlier, we were very busy.” her tone was more confidential.
    As I filled out the forms, Mrs Post Office kept up a steady stream of tittle-tattle. Her head rotated quickly so her ears could catch every crumb I uttered. Her small eyes squinted from behind her glasses that sat midway down her long beak nose to read the address I had just written.
    “Oh that’s where you are moving to. How posh!”
    People around here don’t like when people get too big for their boots and I searched her tone for that but it all seemed measured; there was no resentment or envy. No doubt she knew already about our move and this feigned surprise was an act to lure me in so I’ll reveal something, a juicy morsel for her to pass on.
    “I heard about your daughter. Is that why you’re moving?”
    “What about her?”
    “Isn’t she in the family way?”
    I could feel my pupils dilate in shock when she said it to me.
    “No she certainly is not.”
    I wanted to gather every stamp in the place, spit all over them and shove them down her smug throat to gag her. I wanted to use them as a plughole to stop her breathing her venomous tittle-tattle around. I wanted to tell her that she was just jealous because her precious Amy was never going to make anything of herself because nothing good ever came from those flats.
    But I didn’t.
    I finished signing the forms, shoved them back at her and stormed out without another word.
    It turned out that we’d been so busy with the move we hadn’t noticed a little bump forming and growing.
    “What do you mean you are pregnant?” I couldn’t believe she had been so stupid. Did she know what she was throwing away? How could she? She was too young.
    “I’m having a baby.” She explained from under the bunch of crumpled blankets on the sofa.
    I felt dazed. Everything that held me firm seemed to evaporate and float away.
    I wanted to scream at her.
    “And who’s the father? Some anonymous donor from the flats I suppose!”
    But I didn’t.
    “Oh Una, what about your fresh start at your new school? All your dreams.”
    “I dunno.” She shrugged. Her slouched shoulders told me that my disappointment was too much for her to bear.
    She’d a heavier burden to carry now. I decided to lift mine from her. I sat into the sofa beside her and put a tentative arm around her shoulder. I told her it’d be ok. She felt as fragile as a bird as she cried into my open heart. I held her until she finished crying.
    Three months after our move little Jack joined us in our new house.
    Looking back, I can’t believe that day I’d found out I thought my world was collapsing around me. Now, I wouldn’t change him for the world. Where would we be without him? A big house like would feel empty without the electricity of him around the place. He keeps the place alive with a purpose and routine. We are only blessed to have him.
    Una is the best mother in the world. She’ll be back to school in September and I’ll look after him in the daytimes. I am buzzing with the anticipation of autumn afternoons in the park with Jack. It’ll be much more exciting than hovering office blocks! Jack is such a fun-loving boy and you can see it already, he’s determined, just like his Granny.

    • ‘delinquent dolly’ is fantastic. Really good observations and descriptions. The owl like description of the pen pusher is very effective, too.

    • I’m delighted with the ending of this; I was so hoping it wouldn’t go the other way for poor Una! What a great Mum she has. 🙂 Really great writing, too – I adored the image of the daughter weeping into her mother’s open heart. Hits the nail on the head exactly. Well done!

    • What a great mother/grandmother going from judgemental when it’s just any girl to positive and supportive when it’s her own daughter hitting her with teenage pregnancy. Lovely story.

  3. Pingback: Wednesday Weekly Write-In | Tessa Sheppard

      • Thank you so much! I wasn’t sure how I was going to incorporate all of the prompts, but I always try. It worked out great. 🙂

  4. Hope the first sentence keeps its shape. Here goes:

    1,2,3,4,5,6,7, up, 8.
    back and
    down

    Only 7 steps up to my doorway since I changed address.

    1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8. Repeat. I am clicking my teeth all the way down the hall, having clicked them all the way down the street.

    I don’t know why I am riddled with eight given the infinite alternatives.

    I round up,
    round down. 8
    is how everything should finish
    or things go wrong.

    I step over the boxes in the living room. It is on my list to unpack, but I have many lists.
    An avalanche of to-dos incapacitates me.

    I am on the exercise bike now. I pedal counting the revolutions. It keeps things in order, for now.

    I am not thinking. I am counting.

    On eight.

    • No, it didn’t!
      Please just read it as ‘1,2,3,4,5,6,7 back down and up, 8!’ I was trying to make it look like steps going down and then up.
      And forgive my terrible IT skills. Thanks.

    • It’s a neat little piece that makes me wonder about who it is and what kind of person are they, etc. Fun to read too. 🙂

    • WordPress can be a total pain when you’re trying to do something innovative with layout! I’m sorry your story didn’t appear the way you wanted it. I know how you feel, believe me!

      Anyway, I really enjoyed your piece. I can relate to your narrator, I loved the premise, and your sentence ‘An avalanche of to-dos incapacitates me’ pretty much describes my life, most of the time. Excellent!

      • Thank you. I liked that line, too. It sums me up. Glad you liked the premise. I actually really liked this one myself. Will go back to it. Thank again.

      • Yeah, I know, you’re a patient bunch and thought I’d give it a go. Thanks for reading.

    • All these lists – is she a Virgo or just slightly autistic / paranoid? Quirky and really interesting to read.

      • Thanks so much. I was trying to depict Obsessive Compulsion. She is warding off her anxiety using the counting as a temporary form of relief. It needs some work, but I am so glad you found it interesting.

    • I really like the frenetic energy to this it keeps the pace up. I know someone who does something like this. I love the way the narrator is obsessed by rounding everything off to 8 and then I really like this line:”I don’t know why I am riddled with eight given the infinite alternatives.” Pity the formatting didn’t work but I can picture what you were doing.

  5. Pingback: Wednesday write in 43, falling. | Brassduke's Blog

  6. Apologies, can you delete my last post? Thanks!

    Anew…

    The sound of snow tumbling, roaring downwards, rang like thunder in unprotected ears.

    My eyes dilated as I entered the shade of the mountain refuge; my refuge.

    Av a
    lanc h e !

    I reached out in the darkness for my trusty steed, swung my leg over and with a stamp on the pedal, and a roar in my ears, made haste through the doorway.

    The thunderbird behind me turned to silence as I raced ahead of her engulfing, deathly stream.

    Amidst the terror a smile crossed my face.. Perhaps now I’d need a change of address

  7. Pingback: Don’t Do It | patrickprinsloo

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