Drama Fiction

“Opportunity knocked. 

She was too busy changing diapers, sweeping crap off the floor, chasing children, dogs, useless men.

She heard the banging but was just too exhausted to answer.”


“Opportunity knocked.

She opened the door and said, “Go away, I’m too busy.”

Essie Coleman.

“Opportunity knocked.

She held her nose, opened the door and said “You stink!”

B.J. Smith


Fear caressed Ginny's slowly beating heart. It’s icy fingers twined and curled, slowly spreading a numbing poison that left her in a near state of paralysis. 

She had a few tricks up her sleeve to deal with this enemy, an array of weapons well designed and honed through use over the years. 

True, most of this arsonal ended up being double edged swords, many leaving her dripping life energy.

Head bowed, shoulders hunched, she sighed as she contemplated the choices before her. 

Sex, alone or with others, hmmmmm, sex?  

Drugs/Alcohol? Well, been there, done that.  


“YES” shouted Ginny. “Shopping, a perfectly harmless way to escape the enemy.” She wildly brandished this weapon and excitedly began looking for her keys. She stopped only long enough to grab a list on the front of her fridge. "I need a few groceries and maybe I can hit the food court for supper and find a new friend or two."

Ginny set off for the mall, plotting her course, circling the buildings looking for the handicapped parking spot closest to the food court.

She rented the mall’s electric scooter and set off for an adventure. That vague hole in the pit of her stomach began to fill. Each store she explored eased her feelings of uneasiness and began to seduce her into believing everything was okay. She happily completed her small shopping chores and knew it was time to begin the next level.

Her final indulgence was to settle herself at a table in the food court waiting for the right stranger to get within snaring distance. 

Once caught, this person would be the captive audience that helped Gin forget about her formidable enemy.  

Fear, the foe that lurked relentlessly, just outside the periphery of consciousness.

Ginny spied her catch, a lovely, round, soft, Metis woman from the north. She set about adjusting her lures, using her charm to slightly stun and bamboozle her unsuspecting prey. 

She nonchalantly chose the empty seat beside this woman and within minutes her tales of woe began.

She started somewhere in the middle, letting loose well buried resentments for her last husband. 

Feelings of power washed over her as she descended deeper and deeper into the abyss. As she passed through ever more complex layers of consciousness, the fear began to vanish. She found herself revealing details of what perhaps should never have been discussed, at least not in public and certainly not to a complete stranger.

“Mahkitoon,” the Metis stranger silently muttered. Somehow the Michif translation of ‘blabbermouth’ felt much more satisfying in the woman’s mind.

Ginny, oblivious to the woman’s thoughts, continued with her story.  

“He was a bit of a rascal, but I loved him dearly. He always claimed I forced him to marry me. In a way he was right.”  

Ginny sighed remembering the torture of getting on the train, ready to take her six thousand miles away from her heart’s desire. 

At the age of twenty-four she had moved from her Vancouver Island home to live in the far east, Fredericton, New Brunswick, or F’ton in eastern vernacular. 

She had made a geographical escape. 

Her small hometown reputation had become somewhat burdensome and a huge obstacle in her quest to reproduce.

She had pretty much exhausted the cache of possible mates on the Island and hoped that casting her line in fresh waters might snag a catch.

It was here in the east that she met Joe. They began an intense relationship that seemed to hold much promise to fulfill Ginny’s desire. Joe professed a deep love for her and she believed he had the necessary qualifications to assist her in beginning a family.

As the affair progressed and her subtle hints turned into persistent nagging, she realized Joe was not going to be an easy catch.

“I had to pack up and head back west, pretending to begin my life anew. Though a rather hollow threat I prayed it would scare Joe into wanting to start a family with me.” There was still a tender scar on her heart remembering the image of Joe waving goodbye to her.

“It worked. After three months on the west coast, he begged me to come back.”

“He begrudgingly offered marriage as the bait.”

Gin sighed, remembering the calls from Joe trying to convince her to return. She firmly held her ground, refusing pleas that didn’t include marriage.

 When Joe finally waved the flag of defeat, she quickly began packing for the journey back.

 “I took the bait and returned to New Brunswick to marry him.”

“ Things worked well for a while.”

“ Oh, we had our ups and downs, but there also was a lot of fun and some pretty good sex!”

The stranger carefully shifted in her seat, eyes furtively scouting out an avenue of escape. Gin appeared not to notice and forged on.

“In my attempts to get my husband to the west coast we ended up in Saskatchewan. I eventually realized he wasn’t going to budge off the prairie and so I settled into life in Regina.”

Gin frowned, remembering the many fights, her desperate attempts to get pregnant and that nagging suspicion that time was running out.

“ Four years later we had our first child, followed by two more.”

 Life seemed good. That was the outer picture, but for Ginny, the reality fell far short of the mark.

“ True, there were always undercurrents.

“My weight for one thing.”

Ginny trembled remembering the pain of her body morphing into the land of morbid obesity.

“ Then there was my nagging.”

“ His silence, and my increasing need for more communication pushed him further and further into retreat.”

Again, the pain surfaced as she remembered Joe’s steady withdrawal.

“ As he ran, I dropped deeper and deeper into depression. I guess the extra burden was just too much for him to handle.” 

The Metis woman furtively glanced at her watch, hoping Ginny would pick up on the clue.

Ginny’s brow furrowed, as she continued. “Many in my family agreed with him.

I’d been warned for years that I was going to lose him if I didn’t make some serious changes in my life.” Her frown deepened.

“You know, I did try. Eventually I just lost track of all the diets I began and ended. Towards the end, his comments became snarkier and snarkier, like his complaining how much my therapy was costing us.”

Echoing stabs of pain emerged as she remembered the annoyance in his voice. “Couldn’t I just handle things on my own? Couldn’t I just stop eating? How about exercise, move more?”  

Her husband’s final blow, “Why not talk to your mother? She has lots of good advice on how to lose weight?” 

This last weapon in Joe’s arsenal would drive Ginny into bed

Here, she would find solace in the embrace of sleep. 

Ginny failed to take note of the rather confused and glazed look on her captive’s face. She leaned in with a conspiratorial glance around to make sure no one else was listening and dropped her voice several octaves.  

“He was right, you know. I did gain quite a bit of weight and severe depression was an almost constant companion.”

“It must have been hell for him to have to tolerate that.”

“ Can you really blame the guy for finally giving up and throwing in the towel?”

Ginny paused dramatically, composed her face into a suitably sober, serious facade and whispered, “What he forgot to tell me was that he had a few secrets.”

“ Like his indulgence in multiple affairs over the years, some with a mutual friend, and... that mutual friend was a man.”

The glare from the stranger's shell-shocked face finally alerted Gin that perhaps she’d revealed a little too much information. 

She closed her eyes, took a deep breath preparing to backtrack a little. 

In that brief moment, the stranger grabbed her belongings and by the time Ginny opened her eyes, was already rising to leave. 

She sighed, knowing once again she’d blundered across muddied boundaries.

This seemed to be the story of her life. 

She thought about ordering more food. 

She thought about casting her line out to hook a new fish, instead she sat quietly, holding back tears. 

The food court, the crowd of people who filled it, began to disappear. She gazed off into space and began to remember. 

Her longing to find just one door, one window, with peace on the other side slowly faded as door after door, window after window spread before her into eternity.

Opportunity after opportunity knocked, she was simply too tired to answer.

June 10, 2021 15:35

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