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Tiaras and Trucks

Friday, April 8, 2011

Finding Her Rhythm

This week's Red Writing Hood prompt was: Someone has stolen something from you (or your character). Something of tremendous value. What will you do to get it back? Or will you give up?

I introduced Greta in
The Godmother, and I thought of her when I read the prompt. This week I experimented with a twenty minute time limit for the piece. I don't know if that's a reasonable goal for me, because I didn't have time to edit, so I don't think the tone of the two pieces is really consistent. As always, I welcome concrit!


Through the door connecting her bathroom to her bedroom, Greta’s eyes compulsively landed on the nightstand. Even with the drawer closed, she could see the pink and white thermometer nestled next to the little calendar, temperatures written in red ink, trying to find some sort of pattern in the numbers.

She had purchased the thermometer with the hopes and prayers of a bride wishing to become a mother, and she had been shocked at the ease with which she fell into the habit of sliding the plastic under her tongue, still half asleep, recording numbers that soon became predictable.


Finally the month came when she didn’t need to record temperatures anymore, when the test was positive, when her prayers were answered.

But then there was the dull ache that became a sharp pain before becoming the cramps that brought her to her knees in the steamy water of the shower that washed more than water and blood down the drain.

Now, her divorce was finalized, her annulment papers meandering their way through some ancient hierarchy at the Vatican, and there was no reason Greta needed to record her temperature every morning.

Her doctor emphasized that it could take time for her body to find its normal again, but Greta had been encouraged by stories of women who slid effortlessly back into their menstrual patterns. Her miscarriage had ravaged her marriage and her faith and her dreams, and she desperately needed to feel like her fertility hadn’t been stolen as well.

Seven months later, she couldn’t yet see a pattern, a thermal shift, or any sign of normalcy returning to the little calendar in her drawer.

Tearing her eyes away from the drawer and her thoughts away from the worries that her fertility might be another casualty of the miscarriage, Greta left the bathroom. Her new running shoes were next to the front door, still smelling more like rubber than sweat. Quickly, she pulled the laces snug and slid her earbuds into her ears.

She ran with music that was too loud, unsafe in a city of fast drivers, and she would have been slightly embarrassed if anyone saw the selection of sugary pop and thudding hip hop that accompanied her on her runs.

Greta welcomed the jolting impact of her feet striking the ground, finding a rhythmic pattern that was comfortable and reassuring. Sweat began to build along her hairline as her muscles warmed up, her stride lengthening while she kept the rhythm of the bass, her legs pistons propelling her body forward. Music flooded her senses, numbing her thoughts to anything but her breathing.

One day, maybe, she would run without music. One day, maybe, she would shower without clenching her teeth. One day, maybe, she would rediscover her dreams of becoming a mother. One day, maybe, she would find comfort in the temperatures recorded on that little calendar.

Today, though, she had to believe her body could do something, anything. So today she ran.

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12 Comments:

  • At April 8, 2011 at 11:23 AM , Anonymous Denelle @CaitsConcepts said...

    This was so vivid and captured the emotional wreckage a miscarriage can leave behind so, so well . The last two lines? Perfect. I love this piece.

     
  • At April 8, 2011 at 2:34 PM , Anonymous Kir said...

    Oh...so many emotions, so many I identify with and others I don't, but could feel them, was running with you, temping with you. This was such a great piece.

     
  • At April 9, 2011 at 8:26 AM , Anonymous Mrs. Jen B said...

    I just love this, I really do. The time limit did not work to the detriment of the story one bit. You conveyed the emotions and frustrations so well.

     
  • At April 9, 2011 at 8:36 AM , Anonymous Kelly said...

    Oh, I liked this piece! Especially the running shoes...smelling like rubber instead of sweat...I never thought of that smell or description, but you nailed it.

     
  • At April 9, 2011 at 2:08 PM , Anonymous Ilana @ Mommy Shorts said...

    What a well written powerful piece! I am so sad for this woman. And as a runner, I can relate immensely. I use running often for therapy.

     
  • At April 10, 2011 at 8:35 PM , Anonymous Andrea B. said...

    Oh, I loved this. I mean, I was so touched by it. I really loved it. I remember your other piece, and this one truly touched me more, in such a different way. So fantastic and I hope we get to see a lot more of Greta [I totally typo-d "great" for a second there!] and watch her develop her strength and continue to grow. This was beautifully written. Thank you for sharing it with us.

     
  • At April 10, 2011 at 9:41 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Oh thank you! I am interested to see where her story goes, too! Since she popped into my head for the first piece, I don't really have a well thought out plan for her yet...

     
  • At April 10, 2011 at 9:42 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I am sad for her, too. Running is theraputic for me as well, so I can relate to her (and you!) in that regard!

     
  • At April 10, 2011 at 9:43 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I love that new smell of running shoes. It's kind of like the inside of a new book for me!

     
  • At April 10, 2011 at 9:43 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thank you so much :) I think I am going to try to work with these prompts within 30 minutes from now on and do the editing when I start pulling the pieces together.

     
  • At April 10, 2011 at 9:44 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thank you so much. That feeling of being betrayed by your own body is such a strange emotion.

     
  • At April 10, 2011 at 9:45 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thanks Kir! I had my own love/hate relationship with that little thermometer as well.

     

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