A few readers have requested that I share some of my fictional work on this blog site. And, since I have found my spark again and started working on my second novel (yay me!), this week I decided to take the plunge and share a bit of fictional writing to change things up a bit. This is an excerpt of something I have been poking away at (not a novel, I don’t think). Feedback and comments are welcomed, as usual!
**Please note: This text is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
The wind whipped through the trees, rustling the fall leaves and sending them swirling, whirling into the air. I believe it was that exact moment when everything came together and I knew that I had to leave.
There was nothing more here for me. There was definitely little remaining of the family I had desperately tried to maintain. Other than a few casual friends, more acquaintances really, there was absolutely nothing left.
I made the decision at that very instant as the wind seemed to blow through me. That was exactly how I felt – that life was going past me, through me like the wind, as if I didn’t matter, as if I didn’t even exist anymore. Maybe it was true. Maybe I didn’t exist to anyone.
I clutched my coffee cup with one hand and held my sweater closed with the other as I walked from the street where I had put my six year old son on the bus only five minutes earlier. Everything seemed to suddenly shimmer with clarity and certainty.
I knew it now. I heard it in the wind as it tousled my hair and nuzzled against my cheek.
It whispered, ‘Go’.
It didn’t take me long to pack a bag for each of us, a variety of clothing, a few toys, and, of course, Nate’s favourite teddy bear. He never left home without it.
I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. All I knew was if I didn’t leave now, this very day, I wouldn’t be able to face another one. The thought was unbearable.
I felt calm, yet panicked. I knew that it would look odd me picking up Nate so soon from school as the bus would have just delivered him and other children like him to the front door. I would have to sign him out again from the office with some excuse of a forgotten dentist appointment or the like. This wouldn’t be anything new to the head secretary who worked there. It wasn’t a far stretch to consider me a bit scatter brained, and I was sure I had been called that and worse.
I had heard the rumours and the whispers, the sighs and small looks of pity bordering on disgust. I hadn’t been able to shake them. They had stuck to me like glue. Sticks and stones will break bones, but words will tear down and destroy.
I could hear those words now, even though all the good moms had put their children on the bus and were now at home doing yoga or at the gym doing pilates or a spin class. The ones who had their own careers would’ve been at work hours ago, making the money that it took to live in this neighbourhood and to maintain this social stature. I could hear their whispers, their murmurs as they watched me walk up the steps to the school still wearing the same sweater, faded yoga pants, and messy pony tail which I had woke up in. ‘Crazy bitch’, they taunted me.
It didn’t matter. None of it mattered anymore. All that mattered is that Nate and I had to leave.
It had been surprisingly easy. Taking one look at my disheveled appearance, the secretary had shaken her head not so discretely at me as I mumbled through an apology of forgetting yet another dentist appointment. She had paged Nate into the school from the yard and a few moments later I was buckling him into the car seat of the SUV.
Pulling quickly out of the parking lot, I headed immediately towards the highway. No one would be looking for us until at least the evening but I wanted to get on the road and get as far away from here as I possibly could in the daylight.
It seemed almost foolish in a sense, as if I was fleeing for my life as well as Nate’s, but I suppose in a sense I was. I wasn’t in any immediate physical danger, but I knew that I had been dying a slow, painful death where I was, death by drowning if I may, and I was growing incredibly tired of treading water.
It hadn’t always been this way. At one point I had felt as if I had been dropped into a fairytale. Ours had been a regular ‘Prince Charming saves the princess’ type of story. That feeling of glorious happily ever after had dissipated slowly but surely, doubt creeping in just as the darkness always comes at the end of the day.
I knew from the beginning that I would never fit in, that I could never be the good doctor’s wife and fill the role that was expected of me. I had tried, Lord knows that I had tried, and it wasn’t all Ben’s fault; it really wasn’t. He had tried too, and I believe at one point he did truly love me. We had been in love when we had married, when he had whisked me away into his world of white picket fences, homes that were too large with too many rooms, and vehicles which I had never even heard of.
I had tried to be a perfect wife, doing what was asked of me, accompanying him to fundraisers and social events. I had tried to wear the perfect dresses, achieve the perfect hairstyles, and say all the right things. I had tried, I had really, really tried.
Then one day I stopped trying. I woke up that morning and decided to stop.
As I drove along the highway, leaving behind the life we had once lived, I listened as Nate told me about his latest favourite TV show. Before I knew it he had talked himself to sleep and I had been left alone with my thoughts.
No one else would understand this. I was literally walking out on what appeared to be a perfect life to anyone on the outside, to anyone who didn’t already know the truth. It was far from perfect though. There was no such thing.
There were days over the years were I had stood in the middle of the kitchen and had felt completely lost. There were weeks where I had stood in front of each window in the house and had cried like a child who wasn’t allowed to go outside and play with the other children. There were moments when I had locked myself in a bathroom, ready to pull my hair out in frustration because Nate was throwing yet another four year old tantrum, rocking my body back and forth on the floor in disbelief that this was now my life.
But then there were moments of pure happiness, although those moments had been few and far between. I held our wedding day close in my heart because on that day I had felt that Ben truly loved me and believed, and, perhaps more importantly, made me believe, that I was good enough. The nine wonderful months when I had been pregnant with Nate, my beautiful Nate, I had been so happy because I knew that I was no longer alone. The day that Nate was born and I held my son for the very first time outside of my body I had known that things would never, ever be the same again.
I had been so happy when we had Nate. He was my perfect boy, my angel child. I loved him, cherished him, and protected him with the love of a tigress mother. There was nothing in the world more important to me than my baby boy.
I hadn’t noticed right away. Maybe the warning signs had been there all along for all I had known. Or maybe I hadn’t wanted to notice that anything was amiss. Perhaps maybe I hadn’t even cared.
Ben started spending more and more hours at work, working longer and later than usual. Even with a new baby at home he put in hundreds of hours of overtime and took on more and more new patients. We hadn’t needed the money, even with me not working, but Ben had insisted that this extra income was exactly what was necessary for our little family.
It wasn’t rocket science and it didn’t take a genius to figure it out; it had been obvious to everyone else but me for almost three years before I had clued in. I wasn’t a stupid person – I just didn’t want to see it I guess.
Dr. Benjamin Henry Lloyd, general surgeon and M.D., was having an affair on me, Isabella Violet Lloyd, his wife of eight years, and mother of his then three year old child, Nathan Benjamin Lloyd.
He had been cheating on our family.
And here I was, three years later, finally driving away from the life which had threatened to overtake me, a life which I had learned to hate. I could still hear the whispers and the mutterings, but they were growing fainter the further I drove. I had to strain to hear them now, their voices had been almost silenced.
I didn’t have a clue where I was going or what I was going to do. I was trusting in the fact that I would know exactly where I was supposed to be when I got there and that everything would fall into place. It was a high hope, but it was all that I had.