Fiction Friday #4: The Gun

Every Friday this month, I’ve been posting fiction as part of a challenge by my friend, Molly Field, over at her blog Grass Oil. Today is the last installment of the month. If you missed the first three entries, here are links. If you haven’t read them yet, you might want to catch up since this is part four of the same story.

Fiction Friday #1: Lesson Learned

Fiction Friday #2: Althea

Fiction Friday #3: The Aftermath

     After Amanda‘s arrest, she and Richard went to bed without speaking. She retreated into herself and didn’t know how to handle the embarrassment. What would everyone say about her? Why did she have lunch with an ex? What would she do to make things better with Richard? How would she go on day-to-day with so many problems?
The next day, she got up and helped Brad and Robert with breakfast and the before-school routine. She and Richard were cordial but superficial to each other. He was obviously upset with her and worried about her at the same time. He left for work without a kiss, and the boys left shortly thereafter.
Once she was alone, she went back to her bedroom and sat down on the bed. She opened the drawer in the night stand, pulled out a piece of paper and a pen and started to write, “My dearest family, once you read this note, I will already be gone. I am sorry for the pain my death might cause you, but I think in a few years it will become something you can get used to. I can not forgive myself for the past, and I know you can’t either. I haven’t been happy in so long.  Please know I love you, and I’m sorry.  I just can’t go on like this any more.” She folded the paper in half and propped it up on the bedside table. She looked out the window and took a few minutes to contemplate the garden of roses growing outside. Life goes on, she told herself, they will be fine without me.   She looked back over the past couple of years and wondered what happened to her family. She wondered what happened to herself. She pulled the pistol out of the drawer. She held it carefully in her hands, and it was as if her whole life flashed in front of her eyes.  How could she ever fix all the problems she created in her family? She blamed herself for losing Ella and Anderson, and she knew Richard and Robert had never fully forgiven her for what she did. Their marriage had never been the same since the accident.  How could she face people after what happened at school?  Maybe it would be easier for everybody if I wasn’t here she thought to herself.

HS2000 9mm Pistol

HS2000 9mm Pistol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Amanda never wanted to have a gun in the house. She didn’t have a father growing up, so she was never exposed to guns as a child or young lady. It was never a question in her house. Richard felt it was a necessity to have a gun in the house. He wanted it for self-defense (in the case of home invasion) and for hunting. They owned some land where he frequently went hunting and camping, and he really enjoyed going there to pursue his hobbies.
When she met Richard, she learned of his interest in guns and tried to understand it (even though it was new to her). Part of marrying someone is accepting who they are as a person not changing who they are.  Amanda firmly believed in the importance of each spouse maintaining some individuality in the marriage. She felt strongly that there are some things that are deal breakers like cheating and beating, and other things are part of the territory of marriage that you put up with. You accept certain things about your partner so you can live a peaceful happy life together. So she accepted Richard, guns and all.
She was most worried about having guns in the house because they had children. There were stories all the time in the news about kids who accidentally shot themselves, siblings, and/or friends when they played with a parent’s gun. There were other stories about teenagers who had lost their minds, taken their parents’ guns, shot and killed people in public places like schools, stores, and movie theaters. She really didn’t want her family on the news in a tragic, avoidable story.
They agreed to keep most of their guns in a safe, but Richard insisted on keeping a pistol in his night-side table drawer so he would be able to get to it quickly in the case of emergency. The safe with his rifles was in their closet, but he didn’t want to lose precious minutes if confronted by an attacker in the middle of the night. He signed Amanda up for shooting classes, and she braved the experience to show interest in her husband’s hobby. Once she learned how to handle a gun, she felt empowered and prepared for the possibility of being face to face with an intruder. She thanked Richard for exposing her to a whole new world and could barely believe the dichotomy inside herself as she grew to appreciate something she also feared and disliked.
All of the sudden, her phone rang. It was Richard. He was able to schedule a marriage counseling appointment for them that evening. He wanted to talk to the counselor about the arrest and what led up to it. When he asked what she was doing, she answered, “uh, nothing really, just thinking about things.” She hung up the phone, put the gun away, and threw the note in the trash. Not today she thought to herself.
She ordered pizzas for the boys and put Brad in charge of watching Robert for a few hours while she was at the counseling appointment with Richard. Brad was practicing guitar up in his room and choking down bites sausage pizza in between songs. He shooed his little brother when he came into his room to listen to him play. “Go find something to do! Mom and dad will be back soon. Don’t you have some games to play or something?”
Robert played video games for a while, and then he decided to make a video of himself as his favorite character in his new game. His parents weren’t home, so he sneaked into their room and got the gun out of the drawer. They didn’t know that he knew it was in there, but he did. His big brothers showed it to him before and made him swear not to tattle. He set up his camera and got a kick out of seeing himself on the screen. He pointed the gun right at the screen then right, left, up, and down so he could see it from many angles. He made tough faces and felt like a tough guy. He could still hear Brad playing guitar upstairs, so he knew he wouldn’t get caught.
Amanda was telling Richard about having lunch with her ex at the counselor’s office. Brad just nailed the solo he was working on in his room when out of nowhere, there was a BANG! Brad stopped playing and looked around wondering what just happened. It sounded like a firecracker. He paused for a moment and then realized he knew exactly what that sound was.
“Robert?” He screamed as he started running down the stairs._______________________________________________________________________________________

     Here is the prompt:  “Invent a / your character (who) has two personality traits that are completely incompatible, that don’t fit together at all. For example: this character is incredibly messy and is also a total perfectionist. Or: this character is a pacifist and also has a really explosive temper. Or: this character believes in strict, traditional family values but is promiscuous by nature. You decide. Then think of a situation in which these two sides of your character would be in direct conflict with each other. Write the story / scene.”

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

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Thanks for reading! Peace out.


At The Stroke of Midnight Where were you last night when 2012 turned into 2013? Is that where you’d wanted to be? image I was at the Four Seasons With my husband last night. It was exactly where I wanted to celebrate New Year’s Eve. We had our first kiss at the stroke of midnight when it turned 1999, so this was our fifteenth time spending new year’s eve together. We checked in, and I hit the spa for a massage and then relaxed for a while in the jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, and intermittent dips in the cold plunge. We had drinks with friends and then went to the dinner party. It was an elegant affair with a roaring twenties theme. After dinner, there were s gambling tables in the bar area and in another room there was a DJ, a dance floor, a few more bars and desserts. At midnight, we were dancing. Fun times! Thanks for reading. Peace out and happy new year!


Life as a Married Mom

Two movies in two days, both with the same lead actress and plots about being married parents. In This is 40, a couple faces middle age, parenthood, and marriage. In the Change Up, a single slacker and a married lawyer switch lives by accident after wishing for each other’s lives. In both movies, the characters learn to appreciate what they have and how to fix problems common in every family.

Let’s face it. Life is hard. Being single is hard. Being married is hard. Having children is hard. Being childless is hard. It’s hard to be a kid. It’s hard to be a student. It’s hard to have a job. It’s hard to be the parent of adult children.

It’s tough having quality time together as a couple and/or family, and its tough finding time to be alone. Meeting our own needs as individuals is difficult, much less meeting the needs of spouses, children, and parents.

Our jobs as parents require us to have all our shit together enough to provide for, care, guide, and nurture the little people we created. We shape and mold them emotionally, spiritually, physically, financially, and psychologically. If we are too busy or unhappy with own own lives, they pick up on it. It affects their sense of self. It affects family dynamics.

As with everything in life, it seems that the answer is always balance. As adults, we need to take care of ourselves first or we are no good to our children. Do we sacrifice for them? Of course we do. But if we don’t take the time to meet our needs first, we won’t be able to give to our children in a quality way. And we won’t be able to be happily married while we raise them.

Both moms and dads work hard to provide financially for families. We have different needs, but it’s important we allow ourselves some down time when we are not working to pursue our interests, socialize, and exercise. It’s important we care about what we eat and how much we sleep so we can feel our best day to day. We need quiet time to reflect and develop ourselves spiritually. We need friends and fun. We also need alone time, both as individuals and alone time as parents.

Holidays together exaggerate family dynamics and intensify expectations and tempers. A college aged kid wants to come home for the comforts but doesn’t want to be treated like a kid. Little kids misbehave when they eat too much sugar, stay up too late, and are bored because adults are talking. We try to give them what they want, yet we try to teach them that Christmas is for giving, not getting. We try to make things special for them, but we also need to be consistent with expectations and consequences.

We have to remember we made these little people and act accordingly. We need to remember that life is precious and we create our realities. A yoga teacher once told me,a “where the feet go, so do the hips.” It’s the same with the mind. The way we think is reflected in the world around all of us. It’s up to us to be strong, balanced, and loving. It’s up to us to communicate. It’s up to us whether our kids have happy memories from childhood. Nobody is perfect, but finding the fine line of balance can make life feel perfect.


Daily Prompt: My Hero

My hero is my husband. I grew up without my dad and always wanted to be a wife and mom. I craved what I didn’t have – a functional family unit. My first marriage failed, and then I was a single mom for four years. I wanted to remarry and have another baby to put a family back together for me and my daughter. That idea was scary to most guys I dated at the time. But he stepped up and committed to creating a healthy family life with me. He wasn’t afraid to love my daughter like she was his own. And he was ambitious with goals of getting us a nice house and a good job as a lawyer.

We got married and had a daughter right away. I was teaching and tutoring while he went through law school. We planned to have a little boy, and I stopped working when my husband found a job at a large firm in DC.

We moved to Texas, and he moved to a smaller, more family friendly law firm. My oldest daughter turns twenty this year, and she changed her last name to my husband’s. He is her hero too. When we both needed someone to step up to the plate and love us and provide for us, he was willing.

Because of his hard work and caring attitude, I have the opportunity to stay home full time (in our beautiful house) and focus on the children. He also supports me in tutoring math part time to pursue my professional interests. He is the rock of our family. He works hard to provide for us and takes special measures to help out with the kids and all the work and logistics of running a house and a family. We are truly a team, and I don’t know where I would be without him. He is definitely my hero.


30 Days of Truth: Day 7-Someone Who Has Made Your Life Worth Living

I’m dropping the ‘for’ at the end of this sentence on purpose. I don’t think it belongs there.  Grammar aside, this question is well worth asking and answering.  My first thought was my husband. I gave it a couple of days, and my answer is still my husband, Joe.  He makes my life worth living.  I kind of don’t like this question because to me all life is worth living.  But if you are going to ask me who is the most important person in my life and who is the person I couldn’t live without, it is definitely Joe.

I met him in 1998 when he was a personal trainer at a gym (I was his 12:30 appointment one Sunday) and I had just moved to Reno, NV for my first teaching job.  We clicked right away, became quick friends and running mates.  I broke off an engagement with another guy (the guy I moved to Reno with) because it didn’t make sense to me that I was to marry him when I spent all my time with my best friend Joe from the gym.  I was clear with Joe about my goals, to be remarried and to have another baby.  Sierra was six when we got married in 1999, and we had Zoe in 2000.  Let me talk for a minute about being a single mom with Sierra trying to find a new husband.  I was never at a lack for dates, but what was lacking was the kind of guy who was not afraid of commitment and fatherhood.  Joe stepped right up and loved Sierra because he loved me.  Amazing.

We married in 1999, had Zoe in 2000, and moved to Virginia in 2001 so he could start law school.  We had Thomas in 2004, and then I stopped working to be a full time mom.  In 2006, we moved to a bigger house in Texas, and just this year he made partner at his law firm in Dallas.  Although I returned to work for a few years, I’m now back at home full time and tutoring math part time.  Joe supports me in whatever I want to do.  Even as a stay home mom, he supports me in having ‘me’ time, and he helps out with grocery shopping and cooking now and then to give me a break.  He works hard for us to enjoy a nice quality of life.  He is my best friend and an excellent father to our kids. He spends time with them one on one so they can develop healthy relationships, so the kids can grow up assured that their father values them, something I lacked so much in my youth.

He made all my dreams come true and fathered two beautiful children with me.  He wants me to be happy, and he’s there for me when I need him.  He is smart and challenges me intellectually.  He is sweet and loves me just the way I am.  He believes in me, and he says that I bring out the best in him.  Of course we have our issues and little fights like every married couple, but without Joe my life would fall apart.  He is my person, my rock, my soft place to land.  He makes my life worth living.

Chick Fil A, Same Sex Marriage, and My Position

Today is August 1, 2012.  It’s support Chick Fil A day.  They have recently been featured in the news because they have donated millions of dollars to anti-gay groups.  When the CEO was asked to comment on his donations to anti-gay charities, he said they operate on biblical principles (closed on Sundays) and support the traditional definition of marriage as it’s stated in the bible.  In the bible, marriage is defined as between a man and a woman, and it is a sin to be homosexual.

We are all entitled to our opinions and free speech regarding same-sex marriage and everything else under the sun.  People who are eating at Chick Fil A are doing so to make a statement that they support the corporation’s position against same sex marriage, and whether they realize it or not, they are financially supporting the corporation and all the charities they donate to when they purchase from Chick Fil A.  Some people are making it a freedom of speech issue, but what it really boils down to is do you support where they spend their dollars, not freedom of speech.

Chick Fil A is not alone in supporting controversial causes.  For example, KFC supports tiger habitat destruction.  McDonald’s gets beef from the rainforest (where rainforests are cut down to provide land for the cattle to graze).  Tuna fisheries used to kill dolphins in their fishing nets.  If consumers are informed about where the corporations spend their money, they can make informed decisions about whom to support.  When the public became aware of the dolphin kill problem, they along with watchdog groups like Greenpeace put enough pressure on the industry to change their fishing practices and label cans of “dolphin-safe” tuna.

Is it possible to be pro traditional marriage and pro same-sex marriage at the same time?  I say yes it is.  This is where religion and science have some crossover.  I am heterosexual and married to a man.  I support traditional marriage.  But it’s not because of the bible.  It’s because of science.  A species is defined as a group of organisms capable of producing fertile offspring.  It’s not judgemental.  It doesn’t say sex has to be between a man and a woman, but men and women make up the human species because the males and females are capable of breeding and producing viable offspring.  Traditional marriage is scientific marriage.  Men and women make babies and get married to share the workload in raising those babies.  That’s the evolutionary reason for mating for life.

I support homosexuals’ rights to same-sex marriage and I also support traditional, scientific, offspring producing marriage.  Since much of the debate revolves around redefining the word, marriage, perhaps it could be solved by calling same-sex marriage just that, or maybe call it gay marriage, or some other verbage that sets it aside from male-female-offspring-producing marriage.  There is a win-win solution.  I don’t see anything wrong with homosexual people who are committed for life to each other having the same rights as heterosexual couples.  Love is love is love.

Will I support Chick Fil A today? No thanks. Now that I know they funnel millions of dollars to anti-gay groups, I don’t think I will give them any more of my dollars.  But should you eat there? If you support that cause, go for it.  It’s not a free speech issue. It’s an issue about the power of the consumer dollar.