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American Bedtime Contemporary

Jackson sat at the small table outside of Starbucks, while New York City zoomed by, the usual busy city feel on a Spring afternoon. He lifted the lid of his decaf latte, oh the smell of coffee! He sipped and breathed in the aroma of life around him, watching the two little shitzu's sniffing for tidbits of sweets. He checked his Smartwatch for the time, Lilliane would be here soon, he thought glumily, his mood changing now from blissful to gloom. He had been dating her for awhile now, almost six months and he really liked her exuberant personality and beauty - she was fun, but now he had to break the news to her.

Jackson got a promotion and would be moving to L.A. now, his job as a top executive was taking him to a new level.

"Are you kidding me? Yes - of course I will take the position, it would be an honor", he replied at the meeting of CEO's last week. And he signed the contract, he would be leaving at the end of the month, Lilliane would be pissed to the core and back.

'Be honest with her, no long distance relationship works, and your starting a new life in L.A., Lilliane is fun but not the kind of woman who will move out with you.', he knew her well enough to make that kind of assumption.

Lillianne, well what could he say about her that could describe a beautiful free sprit beauty, her long legs, her laughter that shook a room around. She was the kind of woman who made heads turn walking into a room, lighting it up like the fourth of July, even on a rainy day, in jeans and a t-shirt she was stunning, bigger than life.

"Darling sorry I am late, traffic, you know how Manhattan is on a Friday afternoon, oh what a gorgeous day, let's take a walk in Central Park?" She pleaded happily. She had been to her mother's, and just found out a wedding was in store for her brother Rob, a construction company owner with a child bride, a woman ten years younger, ok good luck with that, Jackson shook his head. He personally would not have done something like that, he was a more no-nonsense kind of a guy.

"Lil, I have to tell you something......", He began to speak, lowering his voice even though the traffic beside them grew louder suddenly, more intense as the seconds passed.

"Oh, I have an appt to get my maid of honor's dress at Saks, they just got in a new shipment of the Spring lines. I cant wait, won't that be fun, you do have a tux don't you?", She began to check her cell phone then which was buzzing off the small table, to Jackson it sounded like a freight train rumble.

"Yes I have a tuxedo, remember we went to the opera last month?" He answered defiantly, oh she could act so precarious at times, she knew he had one.

"Mom, I know, don't worry, the florist will have all the patterns to choose from, and yes, a vegan cake, I know Catherine is a vegan." Lilliane was looking at her nails, bored, listening to her mom rattling on and on about the wedding plans.

"Lil, there has been a ......", Jackson was ready to scream now.

"Oh yes, thank you, and could I have a carrot muffin? And a bottle of water?", Lil told the waitress who came to their table wearing the green and white uniform in his face, like, hello, I am trying to break up with my woman here, thanks. The feeling of defeat was endless, tiring, Jackson checked his watch again for the afternoon appointments, briefings on his new position. The two little dogs had long gone now, traffic was still rolling by, New York was still breathing life in the sidewalks, bustling with people and noise.

"Lilianne, I got a new job." He came right out and said it, but, once again she was on her phone, not having touched her muffin, she was texting now, with fervor and her long well manicured nails flashing in red shine in front of him, he felt like a dot. Those little dots you saw at the end of those old movies when it finished, fading to the demase. He stood up, waved her off, and decided he would have to send her an email, this conversation was going nowhere fast, he grabbed a taxi, and as he tried to wave goodbye, she was still texting on her phone, oblivious to anything else.

Jackson got back to his office and opened his laptop to begin the email, this would be the only way now to communicate with her now.

My dearest Liliane, he began.

Unfortunately, I have some sad news and it breaks my heart to have to send you an email but I tried to tell you earlier today at Starbucks. I have just gotten............

Darn, his red button was flashing on his personal phone line.

"I have Mr. Thornton here to see you, should I send him in?" Blair asked him, the receptionist temp who had been there a week.

"Oh right, I forgot about him, yes send him in. " Jackson forgot to put this meeting on his watch calendar. So much for Smartwatches, they are only smart if you make them smart.

The meeting lasted the rest of the afternoon, and he was ready for dinner and a run. Liliane hadn't even texted or tried to call him since lunch, he would finish the email later at home. Jackson stopped and had a quick bite at the taco place, then the subway home to Brooklyn. He was tired, a run would rejuvenate him, after a shower he would lay in his bed and send the email then.

But he fell asleep, he was so exhausted, his legs felt like rubbered weight - he barely noticed any feeling from his usual workout high, sleep was inevitably comforting.

April 12, 2021 16:19

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8 comments

Palak Shah
10:03 Apr 15, 2021

I love the way that you have written the story. Well done !!! Could you please read my latest story . Thanks :)) ~Palak Shah

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Marianna Mills
12:46 Apr 15, 2021

Thank you so much, glad you liked it, yes will read your new story too.

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Nina Chyll
11:21 Apr 14, 2021

I'd say the main issue with the story was the ol' telling vs. showing conundrum. The emotions of the characters are indicated, but they're described in a way that makes it difficult to imagine. Here's an example: "his mood changing now from blissful to gloom" - it would be nice to describe how that manifested itself. Did he have a lingering half-smile that got wiped off and replaced by a frown? (This is of course just an idea). In fiction, stories benefit from avoiding abbreviations such as appt - always use full words, unless the characte...

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Marianna Mills
12:19 Apr 14, 2021

Thanks so much for reading, yes I was "telling" vs showing, I was focused more on the prompt idea being the fact that he was frustrated and I figured the reader would get on the same edge train as he was by the end of the story. In writing it - my idea was that it was going nowhere, the interruptions endless......I appreciate your input and advice. cheers

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Nina Chyll
13:06 Apr 14, 2021

Ah, I see the punchline now! Thanks for clarifying.

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Marianna Mills
13:55 Apr 14, 2021

May I ask you something? When you write a story here do you write and redraft or do you go for the first shot? I know it is so important to re-write stories, I do rush mine more than I should. Just wondering how other writers work. I jot down notes as I write and form my character outlines as well on legal paper.

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Nina Chyll
14:42 Apr 14, 2021

Of course you can ask! And thanks for sharing some thoughts on your process. I tend to write short stories quite slowly and then let them rest for a couple of days before going back in. Sometimes quite a bit changes and sometimes not, but a short story I plan out quite extensively in advance (although never on paper) so usually, I end up mostly with cosmetic changes.

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Marianna Mills
14:48 Apr 14, 2021

That is a good way to do it I shld try that, I tend to do that with the prompts, I will take a few days to think about it and then give it a whirl, now I am starting to read them out loud as well. Going for a nice walk or some meditating before writing helps me as well. Gheers have a great rest of the week!!

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