“Get out. Get out of my house,” she spoke the order in a neutral, nearly conversational fashion, surprising even herself.
The man shrugged on his coat, finished the last gulp of his wine and contemplated her glare. He turned to leave. As he grabbed the door knob, he shot back,”I’ll call you tomorrow, then, okay?”
“Whatever,” she stated as she closed the door after him.
She poured herself another glass of wine before checking the oven. Gosh, it smelled so good! What's wrong with that guy? She had made this over-the-top dinner for him, to celebrate their engagement, and now he was gone.What's wrong with me? she thought to herself in exasperation. What about this food?
Well, Celeste decided, it took me all afternoon to prepare, it smells delicious, no reason to let it go to waste!
She took a big whiff, as she pulled the salmon from the oven. It smelled divine! She set it on the counter to rest for a minute while she took the freshly prepared salad from the fridge and the vinaigrette dressing she had made from scratch and some roasted veggies. She also made dessert.
Celeste wasn’t much into cooking. She never really made an entire meal from scratch, but she had been inspired to try something new to follow the new stage of their relationship. This was unexpected, both the informal break-up with her fiancé, and the beauty of this meal! She looked at the meal she had created and felt pride in herself. It looked wonderful! Celeste grabbed her plate to fill it from the counter, then thought better of it and decided to present the dishes on the table as planned. She picked up the second table setting, though. She wanted to peacefully enjoy her creation. His presence wasn’t necessary. She put all the food on the table in the fancy serving dishes, filled her glass, lit the candles and sat down to enjoy.
She took a bite of the sweet salmon, then the salad she had prepared topped with her dressing. She scooped up a bite of the roasted vegetables, tasting all the flavors. She had done this on her own, and it was wonderful!
Celeste slowly ate her food, her mind drifting as she thought about other things she wanted to do. Things she had put off too long in trying to give her everything to a relationship instead. She had never realized what a one-sided relationship it had been. Her thoughts drifted to how many times she had given up her choices, her opinions, remaining silent instead in deference to him. It was just easier than putting up with his surly attitude whenever she disagreed. He was a good man. It wasn’t like she hated his choices. But look at all she had done! She was simply getting tired of his disregard. It had come to a head when he showed up late tonight, again. She decided to speak up, and again, he blew her off and pouted. She didn’t need that, so she told him to leave.
She had made a chocolate mousse for dessert. Celeste decided to put a serving into a bowl and curl up on the couch with that and her wine and pervasive thoughts in front of a movie she had planned to watch with her fiancé. Oh, heck! He probably wouldn’t have liked it anyway! She thoroughly enjoyed the Rom-com alone, choosing to have a second helping of mousse. Celeste decided she would go out to eat on her own tomorrow evening - to a restaurant of her own choosing. Maybe she would even be gone when Kevin called.
She was excited, and a little bit nervous at the thought of it. On that note, she cleaned up the leftovers from her dinner, then went to bed. She felt almost free! It had been so long since she didn’t have to share her space, or fight over blankets! She snuggled in and went to sleep.
When she awoke in the morning, it occurred to her that maybe she should be feeling more sad. Yeah, she felt sad, but she also felt relief. What was up with that? She cleaned her apartment and went for a brisk walk in the Autumn air. Maybe the breeze would help her sort out the jumble of thoughts going through her head.
That evening, Celeste surfed the Internet for a place she wanted to try. She settled on a Thai restaurant. Something she had always wanted to try, but never appealed to Kevin. Spicy was not a taste he enjoyed.
Celeste arranged for a Uber, put on a nice dress and shoes and went to the restaurant.
She hesitated when she reached for the door of the restaurant, almost turning to go back home instead. She gathered her strength in a deep breath and pulled the heavy door open, stepping inside. Upon entering the building, she looked around, butterflies fluttering in her stomach.
“Table for one, Ma’am?” A hostess asked.
Celeste took another deep breath, summoning her courage, and answered confidently. “Yes. One please.”
Celeste followed the young woman. As they meandered through the busy dining room, she felt like all eyes were on her. She lifted her chin, finally reaching a small table in a back corner. Where Celeste took her seat. “Your server will be with you shortly,” said the hostess as she handed Celeste the menu.
Soon, her server showed up with a glass of ice water and a wide smile. "What can I get you to drink?” He asked with a heavy accent.
“Red wine. A glass of red wine would be nice, please.”
“Okay. I will be right back to take your order.”
She took a sip of the ice water and studied the menu. She really didn’t know what to order. This was all so unfamiliar.
The waiter brought her wine. “What can I get for you?
“Well, I really don’t know. This is my first time here. What do you recommend?”
“I would suggest the sample platter. That way, you can try many things and decide what you like.”
“Sounds perfect! I’ll take that.”
He went to put Celeste's order in to the kitchen. She sipped her wine, feeling more at ease already. People weren’t actually looking at her, the waiter was nice and she felt excited about trying something new. She noticed the other diners enjoying their meals.
When the food was placed in front of her, she carefully dug in. The waiter came back with a requested second glass of wine, and filled her water, also. She smiled at him and asked for the names of some of her favorites from the platter in front of her, and a box to take home what remained. She wanted to savor the rest, but she was too full now! She lingered at the table, enjoying the rest of her wine and her own company. She mulled over her own thoughts in silence, uninterrupted.
By the time Celeste rose from her table to leave, she was devising a plan for the future. HER future.
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Keila, critique circle here, the story has some promise with the premise, where I feel it felt short was the details. You had plenty of room left to add richness to her world. For instance, when her fiancé left instead of - The man shrugged on his coat, finished the last gulp of his wine and contemplated her glare. He turned to leave. As he grabbed the door knob, he shot back,”I’ll call you tomorrow, then, okay?” It could have been something like this; Kevin grabbed his sport jacket from the back of his chair and slung it over his shoulder...
Thank you so much! You are spot-on. I love your suggestions! Even what you suggested as additions makes this a much more interesting and informative picture. 😀
Thanks for your kind words. I look forward to seeing further work in the future.
Hi Keila, I liked the story, I also liked the start, dropping right in with her kicking him out. It left things unsaid and unexplained, who was he, why was she kicking him out, which were revealed as the story progressed. It would have been easy to start with the fight and leave nothing to the readers imagination. I thought the line, where she clears away his table setting "His presence wasn’t necessary." was a good thought and put you into Celeste's way of thinking. For a suggestion, while the description of the food and her thoughts wer...
Yes! Excellent suggestions! I can definitely see where this story could benefit greatly from adding detail to the environment. Thank you for reading, and offering your feedback!
Hi Keila! Well done on writing a good character study of a woman on the brink of change. Nicely done with dropping us into action in the first sentence and slowly revealing the importance and meaning of that first interaction. And then giving her a few obstacles to overcome (her fear of going out on her own), which makes us want to root for her. A few suggestions for revision. The verb tense changes a fair amount in the few paragraphs, flipping between past and present (e.g, "Whatever," she states. And the paragraph starting with, "She ...
Thank you for your suggestions! It is all supposed to be past tense - obviously, I missed a few - an "easy" enough fix - and the reference to him as "boy" - well, I wasn't to sure about that one myself, just didn't know quite how to say it, but I see your point - I like your suggestions of mixing up "she" & "Celeste" more - I think in the beginning, I was thinking I wasn't going to give her a name, but then decided she needed one - and adding a little more for tension is good - thanks again!
Cool, all of those are pretty easy changes, and you have time before the story is approved. :)