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Drama Creative Nonfiction

As the lazy Sunday morning clouds rolled in and blanketed the sky the clock ticked away getting closer and closer to Mary’s eleven o’clock meeting. She scrambled around her bedroom for the black leather boots she bought last week practically in the dark as the area was dark due to the natural lighting. Stepping towards the open closet door she knelt down on the hard tufted carpet floor and plunged her arm into the pitch black depths. After just a few seconds of flailing her hand back and forth her nails grazed the smooth exterior of the boots and pulled them out. Gripping them tightly Mary strolled down the short hallway and down the glossy wooden stairs.

“Morning hun.” Mary’s husband, Eric, spoke in a cheerful manner as he poured pancake batter into a frying pan. It almost annoyed her how much of a morning person he was.

“Morning.” She said with a yawn, as she dawdled over to him. She then pressed her rosy red lips against his stubbly cheek and wrapped her arms around his waist and leaned on him in a momentary daze. 

“You're all dressed up.” His head tilted over his shoulder getting a short glimpse of Mary with her long, dark hair flowing down the smooth lavender blouse. “You going somewhere?”

“Yeah, I'm meeting Eldon for coffee.” She slowly released herself from her husband as her bare feet began to lead her to the front door. “I shouldn’t be too long.”

“Alright.” He set down the batter covered ladle on the granite counter and followed his wife to the door for one last goodbye. 

Just before she bent down to slip on her boots she felt her husband’s embrace warm her body as she tangled her arms around him.

“Do you need me to drive you?” he asked still cheek to cheek with her.

“No, that's okay. It's just down the street.” Following her words Mary proceeded to zip herself into her boots that covered her almost up to her knees. 

“You know a lot of people would think it's strange how close you are to your ex-husband.” He let out a small chuckle as he pulled his arms together over his chest. “It’s nice though to know that when we get a divorce you might still wanna be friends with me!” He almost threw his head back with laughter while a grin formed on his face, pleased with his comedic ability.

“Yeah.” Mary’s lips turned up a little following his joke as she reached for her chocolate brown coat on top of the standing rack. Noticing her husband had left for the kitchen already she tugged at the large white door and exposed herself to the chilled outside air.

The coffee shop was a sauna compared to the unusually cold weather outside and washed over her abruptly as the little doorbell chimed. Immediately she patted down her hair all tangled and a little wet as she eyed up the room wondering if she’d be the one to save a table. She turned her gaze to the corner of the room and saw a lightly grey haired man with a dark grey suit jacket and glasses sitting next to a window. Finishing up with finger combing her hair she moved towards him with a comfortable smile and slid into the seat across from him.

“Hi.” Mary’s words were whispered with excitement as she brought her hands together interlocking them on the cold black table.

“Hi.” said Eldon as he slid a plastic cup of coffee towards her. “Two creams, one sugar.”

“Thanks.” She responded impressed. “I can't believe you still remember my order.” She took the cup into her grasp and gently lifted it to her lips burning her tongue a little.

“I know it's been five years since we were together but there are some things i'll never forget about you.” His eyes drifted to hers watching her wipe the coffee off of her lips.

Mary laughed quietly. “I like how you still pretend it was real.”

Eldon joined in on her giggle. “Well, I still have to pretend around my parents and the media can never know.”

“Oh yes, the media.” Mary gazed out the window fondly noticing the empty streets. “I'll truly never miss being followed around by that swarm of people shoving cameras and mics in your face.” Leaning back into her stiff chair she stared at him almost like a childhood photo. “I can't believe I put up with that for two years.”

“You didn't have too.” with his eyebrows raised and his hazel eyes soft he reached out for her hand that cupped the side of the steaming coffee. His fingers were cracked and thick compared to the soft, pale hand in his.

“I know.” Meeting his eyes she saw desperation and loneliness painted onto his face. There was no escape from his busy life of holding up half of a billion dollar company alongside his dad and being thrown into conference meetings around the world. As luxurious as it sounds maybe Eldon had a change of heart and wanted to take another path but he was in too deep to leave and his family had done so much to get him here. “I wanted to. I knew how much pressure your parents put on you to get married and knew that you would never be able to give up your schedule and settle down.”

“Yeah,” Eldon retracted his hand and adjusted the collar of his jacket. “that was my dream.” His tone was flat with deflated enthusiasm.

“Was? Is that not what you want anymore?” Her forehead wrinkled as she sat up a little straighter.

Eldon stumbled over his words as he averted his stare to the lineup of antsy customers. “I...I don't know.” He thought of how angry Mary must be for wasting those years of her life in the spotlight, for him to keep his lifestyle, when he knew that she’d rather be watching a sitcom on an old couch with a husband and kids. His eyes found themselves glued to the muddy, brown, tile floor with guilt seeping into his stomach and draining his appetite.

“Eldon?” Her voice drew him back to reality. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine.” 

“Are you sure?” Her fingers swept a loose strand of hair behind her ear revealing a milky pearl earring. “You don't look very well.”

“Yeah, I'm fine. I’m just...not in the mood to be here much longer.”

Mary twisted her smile uneasily. “Okay.” she stood up and brushed down her coat then reunited her hands with the hot plastic coffee cup. “Well if that's all that's bothering you we can go back to my place. I'm sure Kat would like to see you again.”

“Are you sure Eric won’t mind?” He stood up about half of a foot taller than Mary and followed her out the door with his cup resting in his palms.

“Of course not. He knows how good of friends we are and I know how much Kat enjoys seeing you.”

Eldon and Mary strolled up the cold sidewalk through the strong gusts of wind for almost eight blocks. The houses they passed were beautifully average consisting of one small garage, no more than two floors, and yellowy green lawns. Eldon was taken aback of how much he loved staring at them. The white chipped doors and cheap flower beds called to him, he wanted this life but the woman in front of him had given up so much so he wouldn’t have to settle for this. She put herself in magazine photos and news articles all to create the illusion of being a married man but only now he realized that he didn’t want that to be an illusion.

Mary creaked open the heavy entrance door and ushered Eldon inside the tiny tile entrance. The breeze was shattered at the door by the warm and sweet smelling air. They placed their coats onto the rack as the pancake and syrup aroma wafted to their noses.

Mary’s husband scooched off of his stool and made his way to the door “Hey honey. I see you brought Eldon!” He outstretched his hand towards the neatly dressed man. "We have a few pancakes leftover if you two were hungry." He pulled his hand away and brought it to his thigh where little Kat grabbed his left leg with both of her arms and grinned so wide she had to squeeze her eyes shut.

"No, that's okay." Eldon spoke in a very proper and respectful manner. "I'm only stopping by for a few minutes." 

Just then Kat released herself from Eric's leg and took a few small steps forward standing before Eldon.

"I'm this many now!" She shouted proudly as she stuck out her hand with all five fingers sticking up.

"Wow!" Eldon replied, his face shining with glee as he bent down and scooped her up. "You look older already!"

Mary giggled as she stroked the silky strawberry blonde hair dripping down from her daughter's head. "You really have a way with children."

“I don't know about that but I sure do love this little one.” Mary hadn't seen him this happy since the last time he visited. As joyful as she may have seemed her heart couldn't help but crumble.

As Eldon set the joyus little girl back on her feet, Eric stepped away to the kitchen with his daughter dawdling after him. The colour drained from Eldons face almost the second he saw Kat leave. He knew he wouldn't see her again for what would seem like an eternity. His head turned almost automatically over to Mary staring blankly out the distant living room window.

“When are you going to stop lying to her?”

His words shocked her and forced her gaze over to him.

“What?” She spoke weakly.

“You know well what I mean Mary.” Eldons eyes frightened her and his face was tight and stern. “Are you ever going to tell either of them?”

There was no escape from this debate and deep down she knew this was bound to surface someday she just didn't think it would be so soon.

“...no.” Her voice was ashamed of the words it breathed.

Eldon scratched his chin and shifted his body towards the wall. The steam flowing out of his ears was almost visible. Mary stared at his shimmering black shoes and hoped he would walk out that door and never come back.

“I want to see my daughter.” He remained facing the grey wall. “I want her to wake me up on the weekend and ask me to make her pancakes. I want her to hug me goodbye on her first day of kindergarten. I want her to tell me she loves me.” Finally turning back towards Mary, his eyes looked like a weak twig dam holding back a river.” I want her to know that I am her dad.”

The pit in Mary's stomach surged up a wave of guilt and sorrow forcing tears down her face.

“I...I…” Nothing came out. There was nothing she could say. Nothing she could do. Nothing that would take back the five years Eldon never got with Kat.

“Stop lying to yourself to salvage this fairytale!” His fingers were clenched into fists by thighs. I'm sorry you never had a perfect family with Eric but you can't lie to them anymore. His eyebrows softened and his fingers released still white from pressing them so tightly together. “It's not to them and it's not fair to me.” 

Mary dragged her fingers under her eyes at an attempt to stop her mascara from running.

“You've got one week to tell them...” Eldon shuffled over the entrance mat and rested his hand on the knob. “Or I will.” The next thing Mary heard was the thunderous shut of the door and the crack ripping in her heart.

Three days later Mary found herself hunched over a navy fabric suitcase, next to Eric, open on her bed. Her fingers grappled at the thick pile of shirts, pants, and underwear as she exhausted herself searching for her favorite pink turtleneck making sure she didn't forget it.

“What day did you say the moving truck would be here, babe?” Asked Eric busy flipping through his assortment of dress socks.

“Next week but I thought it would be nice to stay in a hotel til then and give you a break from being my chef” She said with a laugh trying not to sound frantic or panicked. “Also, Eric, I want you to call the school and make sure that Kat has been enrolled for September. I really think she'll like the school there. I think it’s so important to give Kat the best experience and I know that won’t happen if we stay here.”

September 04, 2020 03:03

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2 comments

Alwyn Mc Namara
06:04 Sep 10, 2020

This was an enjoyable read. I really liked the way you developed the characters and storyline. Im not really sure how it related to the prompt but regardless of that, it was still an engaging story. Well done.

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Jaymie R
21:53 Sep 10, 2020

Thank you so much!

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