Friday Fiction #3: The Aftermath

Every Friday this month, I will be posting fiction as part of a Friday Fiction challenge from my friend Molly Field at her blog Grass Oil. If you missed the previous two installments, here are the links:

January Fiction Challenge #1: Lesson Learned

January Fiction Challenge #2: Althea

Amanda was a mess for years after the car accident that resulted in the deaths of two of her young children. She didn’t take it well at all. And she felt it was her fault that her daughter and son died. Her husband didn’t help the situation. As a logically thinking man, he couldn’t help but deal with the facts that led up to their deaths. Amanda let Ella sit in the front seat even though she wasn’t thirteen yet. Amanda let Anderson sit in the back seat without his booster because she was in a rush and Ella was complaining and trying to persuade her to allow her a special ride in the front seat. She knew about the safety guidelines, but she didn’t think anything would happen on that one time she was lax on the rules. Richard couldn’t help but blame her for the accident. He wanted more than anything to turn back the time so he could put the booster seat in the back and make Ella sit in the back seat too, regardless of her complaining. They went to counseling and were trying to move past the blaming, but Amanda had a hard time with the guilt on a day to day basis.

Every morning, she had trouble getting out of bed. She couldn’t fall asleep at night because of her racing mind, and Robert and Brad were still in school, so she got up early to help them with breakfast. Steven graduated and joined the army. He was always on her mind too. She hoped he would come home safely, and she often thought of the little girl he fathered but never met. It took tremendous energy for Amanda to keep her mind focused on the day to day instead of the past or the future.

She popped pills to regulate her moods, and she drank alcohol to numb the pain and escape to lighter places in her mind. She was under the care of a psychiatrist and a marriage counselor and an individual counselor and was trying her best every day to function.

She reconnected with a former flame on Facebook and agreed to meet him for lunch one day. It had been twenty years since they last saw each other, but it seemed like yesterday. Their connection was just as strong as it used to be. They laughed and shared memories and filled up on salads, pizza, and wine. She realized that school would be over soon and she needed to pick up Robert. He asked her if they could get together again sometime with a flirtatious grin, and she returned the smile with an answer of “maybe.” They hugged each other and went their separate ways.

Pulling into Robert’s school zone, she was suddenly pulled over by a police officer. She didn’t realize she was speeding because she was on her phone checking messages. Because school zones are cell phone free zones, and she was going almost thirty in a twenty zone, this particular officer was not very pleased with this driver. He could smell the alcohol on her breath, so he gave her a breathalizer test and tested her gross motor skills. Amanda was mortified this was all taking place in the school zone where other parents could see it. She failed every test and was taken down to the station and booked with a DUI.

English: School zone sign in Latham. Taken by ...

English: School zone sign in Latham. Taken by me on 20th January 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Richard came to pick her up when she sobered up. He was furious and disappointed and confused all at the same time. Once they got in the car, he asked her “so do you mind telling me what the hell is going on with you?”

“I don’t want to talk about it Richard. Can we please just go home?”

“Don’t want to talk about it? Amanda, I just picked you up from the police station….after you being so drunk that you got a DUI and a ticket for speeding and being on your cell phone in a school zone. What am I supposed to think? Honey, there is something serious going on with you. What can I do to help?”

“You can be nice to me. Stop blaming me for everything!” She cried.

“What? I am nice to you? Where did that come from? And what were you doing today?

“Why do you care? You’re always so busy with work and you only care about what I’m doing when something goes wrong.”

“Please honey, stop being defensive and let’s talk about this. What did you do before you got arrested? Where were you?”

“I don’t want to talk about it. You wouldn’t understand.” She wanted to tell him the truth, but she knew he would get angry with her. She took some deep breaths and thought about things. She realized just how bad things had gotten. She missed the old days when she and Richard spent more time together, when the kids were little and they were all happy together.

He breathed deeply too and kept driving with a cool head. He didn’t want there to be any more problems that day or ever. He answered in a loving tone of voice, “take your time and tell me when you are ready…and I promise to try to understand and be nicer to you. I love you.”

Here is the prompt:

“Your character commits a crime. (What is the motive?) Your character’s husband/wife/SO, discovers your character changing dealing with the evidence, and wants to know what’s going on. Write the conversation. What happens next?”

Visit the other blogs to see what the writers did with the same prompt:

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37 comments on “Friday Fiction #3: The Aftermath

  1. I think the interaction between the husband and wife feels real. The defensiveness, the silence, the husband trying to be “nice” and not push too much. Nice job!

    • Thank you! I think she is torn too and is wondering the same thing. She is in so much pain she doesn’t know what she’s doing.

  2. Self hatred and self guilt often leads bad places – I feel this woman’s pain. However….its like watching a train-wreck about to happen. I wanna root for this woman’s recovery!! Excellent story!

    t

  3. Oh, Amanda. You’re just going down like a lead zeppelin. I thinks she’s really going to freak out when she sobers up and realizes she could’ve killed her third kid.

  4. Susanne: I, too, want to smack her upside the head! But I also can’t even fathom the pain. A woman in Orange County (just a few miles from our home) lost her three children while driving when a truck driver collided with her mini van (on his cell phone talking). She was on suicide watch for quite awhile. The same year I became pregnant with my second baby, she was blessed with triplets. It is an amazing story that reminds me of your story! Looking forward to the fourth installment.

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