It’s Fiction Friday, and this is a new month with a new theme of renewal and luck. If you missed the first eight episodes, the links are below. And please visit the other blogs below to see what they wrote with the same prompt.
Things were getting better for Richard and Amanda. They were communicating better and spending a little more time together on the weekends. Brad and Robert were doing well in school and seemed happy enough. While things seemed good on the outside, they all had independent lives and challenges. They each struggled on the inside with all the curve balls life threw at them. Like everyone, they experienced life in polarities of light and dark, love and loss, togetherness and isolation. Their trip to Maui was amazing because nobody had a schedule or work to do. Now that they were back home, they got caught up in the busyness of every day life. Amanda and Richard started drifting apart again. He came home late after work and spent time in his office most nights. She ran Robert around to his activities, took care of dinner and the kitchen, helped the boys with homework and made sure they got to bed at a decent time. And then she would collapse in exhaustion in her darkened bedroom. The soft, cool sheets were so inviting, and her memory foam pillow fit the curves of her neck perfectly. She nuzzled under the blankets and fell asleep by herself most weeknights, both appreciating the quiet time to rest and missing the romantic time with her husband. She’d wake up early again the next day and start the same cycle all over again.
Amanda didn’t feel great on a day-to-day basis, and although she was working on developing a positive attitude, it was work. She made a vow to release the past and intended to keep it. Yet she was not yet living this new life. She was unsure how to move forward. It was as if she was being born again. A new Amanda was emerging, but it was a slow process.
She didn’t know what it would take to get her out of the rut she was in. She reflected upon her upbringing and her counselor’s advice that she mother herself just like she mothered her children. It was so easy to say, but so hard to do. Every day, she made sure her boys had a hot healthy breakfast, plenty to drink, and a few snacks stowed away in their backpacks to consume later in the day. She frequently lectured them about nutrition and safety but didn’t set the same standards for herself. She wanted to make changes but didn’t know how to. Richard was always so busy at the hospital, he didn’t have time to talk when she called. She had to find ways of filling her time on her own. She didn’t want to go back to work full-time as she loved being there for her boys after school, but she felt isolated staying home.
Amanda decided to sit in meditation and breathed deeply in and out releasing tension and opening herself up to fresh energy. Meditation was one way she could learn to live in the moment. It helped her relax and feel more peaceful and positive. She envisioned a golden light shining through her body and imagined her racing thoughts were balloons that she released into the air.
Twenty minutes passed. It was a sunny day outside, so she decided to hop on her bike and get some fresh air. Exercise also helped her feel good. Doing small things to take care of herself every day was so important and so rare. She felt invigorated as the wind blew threw her long brown hair, pulled back in a messy ponytail. The sidewalk by her house led to a park nearby, so she followed the path into the grove of cottonwood trees. Ducks and herons sat by the lake, and little turtles poked their noses up through the surface of the water. Ahead of Amanda on the trail was a group of older people, and as she took in the beauty of nature around her and approached them from behind, she mentally prepared herself to go around them. She had always taught her boys stay to the right on trails in case other people are coming from the other way or so people could pass them from behind on the left. But this group of aging asian men and women filled up most of the path, and she began to wonder if they would hear her bike and adjust their positions so she could pass. As soon as she was in earshot, she heard them speaking and immediately recognized the Korean language.
Although she never spoke Korean, she heard her dad speak it and over time eventually learned to recognize its characteristics even though she didn’t understand the language. His funeral was completely in Korean, a bad memory for many reasons including that his friends didn’t know he had a daughter. Hearing Korean opened up old wounds automatically, but Amanda also felt a strange kindred spirit with Koreans she encountered.
She passed them on the left, waved, and said hello and smiled. They were surprised and looked at her in bewilderment. At that moment she turned her head around and tried to get control of her front tire. It got caught in the space between the concrete path and the dirt. Suddenly, her bike teetered beneath her and she lost balance, falling hard on her left side. Her left knee was bleeding, and her left wrist was bruised and sore. The Korean seniors gasped in surprise, still confused. Then, they turned forward and kept walking as Amanda sat there embarrassed and hurting.
There was nobody there to help her up or to kiss her boo-boos. Just like her dad wasn’t there for her when she needed him as a child. She hadn’t crashed her bike in as long as she could remember. What luck; just when she was trying to take better care of herself and leave the past behind, she got caught in a literal rut and opened up new and old injuries at the same time. Amanda did the only thing she could do. She got herself up, brushed off the pain, turned her bike around and got back on it. Once she got home, she went back to bed to get some more rest before it would be time to start her shift as a mom again.
Here is the prompt:
Prompt #1 — Stuck in a rut. March is green, but winter still comprises 2/3 of the month. Spring is not until the tail end. So this prompt ensures our character is stuck in a (metaphorical or literal, you decide) muddy rut: frozen in a place that despite all his/her inner urgings, s/he can’t move forward or look backward. Why? Describe the inertia using dialogue, imagery, whatever it takes.
Visit the other Friday Fiction Femmes Fatales’ blogs to see what they wrote with the same prompt:
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