21 comments

Nov 24, 2020

Fiction Drama

“We dream of a brand new start, but we dream in the dark for the most part. Dark as a tomb where it happens, I’ve gotta be in the room where it happens.”

The dining room had earned itself a fresh coat of paint since the last time Adriana had seen it. It was an off white color, the type of white that turned into a pale yellow the longer you looked at it. In reality, it wasn’t that bright, but it was a stark contrast to the darkish green Adriana had grown up with. Of course, over time that paint would peel and reveal a lighter green Giovanna would deem “too bright,” but she never made a move to repaint it. 

Of course, now it was an even lighter color. A color that hurt Adriana’s eyes the longer she stared at it, wondering if the yellow would transform darker if she focused on it more. At least both contrasted the mahogany table, a red so earthy Adriana could almost smell the wood off of it, despite its many years trapped under a thin layer of glass. 

The old table rattled, as Eva picked up her fork and started scraping against her plate, breaking the silence. 

“Oh, would you stop it already?”, a loud voice from the other side of the table said through a heavy sigh. “Honestly, Maria. Teach your daughter better manners.”

“Alice, she’s eight,” another, deeper voice said from somewhere closer to Adriana. It was the voice of her brother, Carlo. They were close growing up, but these days spent more time apart then together. “Give her a break.”

From the corner of the mahogany table, Alice frowned, politely wiping her face with a lace trimmed napkin. “I wasn’t speaking to you, Carlo, I was speaking to Maria.”

To Adriana’s left sat Maria, a young woman who had just married into the family. As soon as Adriana had seen where she was seated, she knew that Alice was angry with her. Everyone on Alice’s bad side sat to the top end of the table. Maria was on the very end. Adriana was next to her. 

Maria seemed like a perfectly nice woman, around Adriana’s age. Her daughter, Eva, despite her bad table manners, seemed perfectly nice, too. Adriana wasn’t particularly close with Maria’s husband, but she knew that they had Eva before they were married, and therefore were on Alice’s bad side before she had met her. 

As for herself, Adriana had moved from Italy to the United States the previous year, after spending a few years going back and forth so she could still work at her job in Rome. Her sister must have leaked the information that she was moving there full time. Alessa wasn’t always the most trusted secret keeper.

Eva frowned, and started to rub her eyes. Adriana reached over to hold her hand. Being the only kid at the table was hard enough, add that to seeing your mom being criticized? It wasn’t a situation Adriana wanted to be in, that was for sure. 

“Leave Eva and Maria alone, Alice,” she said, squeezing Eva’s hand tighter. “They’re just as much family as anyone else here.”

Alice laughed, a gust of wind from the window blowing her long brown hair.  “Oh, Adri. You think I’m any less mad with you? Ale told me about your little travel ventures being permanent now.”

Ah, shoot. So she did know.

“At least you’re still working here. I don’t know what we would all do if you weren’t.”

This time, it was Adriana’s turn to frown. Even worse, she thought she was sticking with the family business. This was a serious problem. The only person who had ever left the family business in Alice’s generation was her aunt Giovanna, and that ended in tears for everyone involved. Giovanna had since moved to Canada, but Adriana kept away from her, not wanting to get on Alice’s bad side. 

Well, too late now. 

Adriana sighed. Better to rip the bandaid off instead of keeping it on while the wound had already healed. 

“Actually,” she said, holding her breath. There was no going back now. “I got a new job.”

The whole table was even more silent than before Eva started eating. Even Alessa and Carlo turned towards Adriana in shock. 

“A new job?”, Alice said, her voice shaking. “And what is this job that keeps you away from your family?”

Adriana opened her mouth to speak, but she was quickly cut off by the sound of Alice’s fork being slammed down on the table as she stood up. She seemed to loom over Adriana from the opposite end of the table, like a predator over its prey. “Never mind,” she said, angrily.  “I don’t even need to know. Get out. You can even move a little bit north and join Giovanna in Canada.”

Adriana pondered this reaction. Of course, some sort of outburst was expected, but not like this. No one was ever just kicked out. Not even Giovanna. Then again, most issues faded away with time, like a candle on a cold day. Slowly melting, patiently burning. 

“I teach Italian,” she said, trying to remain as calm as possible. This earned Adriana a knowing nod from her brother, who had always known about her love of children, and a smirk from her sister, who had known about the position from the moment it opened. It was a great way for Adriana to learn more English while still being able to share her beloved native tongue with a younger generation. 

Alice frowned again. “I think,” she started, carefully articulating her sentences, “I think I asked you to leave, Adri.”

Adriana sighed. Silently, she stood up, put down her silverware, and let go of Eva’s hand, which she hadn’t realized her fingers were still gripped around. If Alice wanted her gone, gone she would be. She was not going to apologize for chasing her dreams, after all. 

Still, her hands were shaking rapidly, as she pushed in her chair, a matching mahogany design. The type with the swirls at the top that Adriana used to push her fingers through when she was younger. She would miss those chairs.

The people would still be in her life, for the most part, but not the mahogany table and chairs with the pretty swirls. Those would be memories dying in time. 

Slowly melting, patiently burning. 

(Authors note: Hey people! I wasn't sure if I was gonna write anything this week, but an idea for this story came to my head, so I decided to write it. I might even write something else if I can come up with anything creative. Well, I guess this was a little out of my comfort zone, as I usually write more fantastical and sad stories, but I enjoyed a simpler approach this time. The ending seemed a little jarring to me, but I still like it, so please tell me your thoughts in the comments (I feel like a youtuber, lol). And...I guess that's it! Thanks for reading!)

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21 comments

Scout Tahoe
05:25 Nov 29, 2020

Lovely! I’m part Italian and the language is beautiful. I like the messages coming from this story. And I also like that you stepped out of your comfort zone. Very good. Some critiques, though: >I agree with Waverley, perhaps reconsider putting the author’s note in the story. Put it in the comments. >”Oh, would you stop it already?”, a loud voice from the other side of the table said through a heavy sigh.” No comma after Carlo speaking. I’m sorry your stories aren’t being approved. At least we can still read them when visiting ...

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Maya W.
12:44 Nov 29, 2020

Thanks Scout! Good to know that my stories aren't offending anyone of the actual ethnicities of my characters. I released one for these prompts last night where in my author's note I asked if people found it distracting from the story, so I'm waiting on more replies for that.

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Zea Bowman
14:15 Nov 24, 2020

First of all: 20 submissions! Congrats! Second: prepare for a very long comment and probably boredom! :) Wow! You really pulled this story off well! I myself was going to write a story for this prompt, but try to have the characters save the business even without a family member wanting to continue it...but this story gives me a whole new perspective! I love, love, love, love (and a thousand more loves) your title and the way you used it in the story...very creative and meaningful. I took five minutes before reading the story to stop ...

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Maya W.
14:37 Nov 24, 2020

Hey Zea! Thanks so much! Yes, I am a teenager, lol. I will definitely implement those as soon as I have the chance (I'm in class right now). Also, I'm glad you liked my title and could find meaning in it! The working title for this story was The Mahogany Table, but I'm glad I changed it. :)

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20:33 Dec 02, 2020

Congrats on 20 stories! Looking forward to more. :) Critiques: If you put a question mark inside the quotation marks, then no comma is necessary after. Here are some places you put an extra comma: “Oh, would you stop it already?”, a loud voice from the other side of the table said through a heavy sigh. “Honestly, Maria. Teach your daughter better manners.” “A new job?”, Alice said, her voice shaking. “And what is this job that keeps you away from your family?” The title is wonderful and that quote at the beginning too. Your des...

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Maya W.
22:31 Dec 02, 2020

Thank you! Yeah, others also said that, so I'll keep that in mind. I look forward to writing different types of stories in the future! Also, I have one more story you haven't read yet, and I feel really bad asking you to read more, but I'm really proud of it and I think you'd like it!

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23:09 Dec 02, 2020

Ah, got it! And oh, nice! Exploring different genres is fun. Wait, really? Which one did I miss? I think I read them all...

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Maya W.
00:06 Dec 03, 2020

Oh, uh, I think it's the most recent one. Maybe you read it and I forgot...

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20:26 Dec 04, 2020

Nope, I've read it, liked it, and commented. :)

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Maya W.
20:38 Dec 04, 2020

Haha, I see that now. Well, thanks so much for reading all my stories! I'n working on a new one now, but it's not really my style, so we'll see if I end up posting it. I'm pretty busy with bunny adoption stuff, too.

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Waverley Stark
09:11 Nov 27, 2020

The beginning really brought in your readers! The story is very well written (are you really a teen? Wow!) and the plot moved at a good pace. The last line was really good, a perfect way to end the story. Only thing: I'd leave an author's note for your bio. It takes something away from the story, and Reedsy judges have been reporting teen writers. The age limit is eighteen and for the judges it's irritating that some people don't follow the rules. Not me, I promise; I'm just reporting what I've heard. Fantastic job!

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Maya W.
10:48 Nov 27, 2020

Thank you Waverley! A few weeks ago, my stories weren't being submitted to judging. I sorta guessed it was related to me telling my age, but idk. Do you mean that I should stop writing author's notes, or write one explaining that? I'm a little confused.

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Waverley Stark
17:01 Nov 27, 2020

I just think that authors notes aren’t always necessary. Maybe you could try leaving an author note in the comments instead of the actual story. Bio was probably the wrong word for it!

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Maya W.
17:14 Nov 27, 2020

Ah, okay. I'll think about that!

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Akshaya Sutrave
04:23 Nov 25, 2020

Hi Maya! You did a great job with your story! The way you described all the characters and showed their personalities through their actions! I really liked the title and the quote at the beginning.

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Maya W.
14:30 Nov 25, 2020

Thank you!

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Akshaya Sutrave
16:08 Nov 25, 2020

Welcome!:)

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Hi Maya, Great work, loved all the details you put in. I loved your title you gave. All the characters seemed so real! BTW, thanks for reading my stories!

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Maya W.
22:42 Nov 25, 2020

Thanks, and of course!

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Hi Maya, do check out my latest story!

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