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Tiaras and Trucks

Friday, June 10, 2011

She'll Understand

She quickly called her brother before her mother had a chance. News travelled fast in such a small family, and she wanted to be the one to tell Paul she wouldn’t see him tonight.

“Do what you need to do,” he said simply. Kindly. Without hesitation or judgment.

“I love you. Tell Louise…” Greta’s voice trailed off, torn between the realization about what she wanted and her sense of obligation to her family.

“She’ll understand. I have to go, though. It’s crazy around here,” Paul’s laugh charmingly mingled irritation and adoration, a combination Greta assumed he juggled on a daily basis living with her sister-in-law.

“Kiss Elisabeth for me,” Greta said before hanging up, hearing the love in her own voice outweigh the pain that stabbed her heart at the thought of any baby.

She intentionally thought about her goddaughter as she pulled a towel off a shelf in the linen closet, new since James had moved out. The shocking pink plush had leaked into the washing machine for weeks, but the color turned her mood up at least a few notches every time she used one. Picturing Elisabeth’s perfect, chubby cheeks, Greta buried her face in the towel, ready for the inevitable tears.

Needles pricked the back of her eyeballs, but her tears never made it to the surface. Instead, she grinned involuntarily as she thought of a newborn Elisabeth happily gurgling breast milk onto an impossibly soft blanket the second before Louise’s shutter snapped shut, the ruined shot somehow sweeter than the one now hanging in the small gallery.

“She should hang those,” Greta said aloud. “Maybe people should see the spit-up.”

Water cascaded through her hair, warm bordering on hot, soothing her aching muscles. She couldn’t remember exactly when she had stopped needing the water to be scalding in order to feel clean, in order to forget the feel of the water turning cold around her as she crouched in the corner, unable to find the strength to stand. For so long, she had automatically thought of that particular shower every time she entered the bathroom, poking at the memory as if closing the curtain without crying was some type of betrayal.

Paul’s words bubbled to the surface: “She’ll understand.”

No, she wouldn’t. Louise wasn’t going to understand. Paul had believed the words as he spoke them, though; Greta had heard the honesty in his voice without even trying. If he believed his words, it meant that maybe Louise would at least try to understand.

Maybe there was a chance their relationship could begin to piece itself back together after it had fallen apart in ugly chunks since Elisabeth’s birth. No, Greta corrected herself, since the miscarriage. After the miscarriage, Greta hadn’t been able to look at Louise, or Louise’s growing-by-the-minute pregnant belly, without feeling waves of pain that crested into resentment before breaking into regret for what she had lost.

What she had lost.

With that thought bouncing back and forth in her mind, Greta again braced herself for tears. For the second time, the tears didn’t fall, and this time she hadn’t even had to blink them back into submission.

Steam billowed out of the bathroom as she sashayed into her room, singing bits and pieces of the Lady Gaga song she had cranked louder during the hardest part of her run. Without thinking, she pulled the pink thermometer out of her drawer and tossed it towards the trashcan.

“Ovulation schmovulation. I’ve got better things to do with my time,” she said, testing out the idea aloud.

Now she just had to discover what those things might be.

The Red Dress Club prompt this week was to write a scene that includes a happy ending - it doesn't have to be the actual END of your story, if you're working on continuations, but it should include at least one challenge for your hero to overcome.

This is a continuation of Greta's story

This one was tough for me, because I felt like Greta finished last week in a pretty good place.  I almost gave up, but a few well-timed and encouraging tweets from Kelly (@DancesWithChaos) helped me get something together.  So thank you Kelly!

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  • At June 10, 2011 at 5:01 AM , Anonymous Kir said...

    Morning!!ok, I loved her BRIGHT PINK towel..I could see it!

    and I love that her tears are at bay, she's going to do things on a whim now, for herself, her grief a little 'less'.

    it was SOOOOO good Ang! I love love loved it.

    I wonder what she'll do now? hmmm??? :)

  • At June 10, 2011 at 6:57 AM , Anonymous Iam VictoriaK said...

    Normally a story with this kind of theme would send me for the tissues but I could read that there was growth or change coming slowly though the story that I didn't feel sadness for this character just some hope for her.

    I'll have to follow the link and read the other bit of her story now.

    Vikki :)

  • At June 10, 2011 at 7:59 AM , Anonymous jentos23 said...

    I can't wait to see what Greta does next...I like that she's beginning to heal.
    Glad you didn't give up :)

  • At June 10, 2011 at 8:31 AM , Anonymous Mama Wants This said...

    I'm really starting to love Greta. I like the optimism, it suits her. :) Can't wait to see what's next!

  • At June 10, 2011 at 8:43 AM , Anonymous Amy said...

    I love this Greta! She deserves to find some peace!

  • At June 10, 2011 at 2:52 PM , Anonymous Terry Stoufer said...

    So many things to keep you reeling with emotion for the character here. I love Greta...but I REALLY love her brother.

  • At June 10, 2011 at 4:25 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Paul's a pretty amazing brother!  I'm glad he is able to be supportive, and really her sister-in-law isn't as bad as she has seemed in the past.

  • At June 10, 2011 at 4:25 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    She will :)  She just had to start to realize she deserved it.

  • At June 10, 2011 at 4:26 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Oh, thank you!  Hopefully the optimism works for her!

  • At June 10, 2011 at 4:27 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I'm glad, too.  I see the light at the end of the tunnel for her.  I don't know what it is exactly, but there's light :)

  • At June 10, 2011 at 4:28 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thanks Vikki, and I'm glad that you could sense the growth here.  I wanted there to be a feeling of optimism here, so I guess I accomplished that.  I hope you like the other parts as well.

  • At June 10, 2011 at 5:36 PM , Anonymous Cheryl said...

    Yes! She's coming back to life! So happy!

  • At June 11, 2011 at 10:46 AM , Anonymous Jennifer said...

    I loved the gambit of emotions and behaviors that Greta ran in this piece, the struggling (successfully) not to cry, the correcting of herself, the self awareness of her resentment. All of these made her journey towards a better place utterly believable, completely unforced.

    I loved the pink towels detail, how they made her feel, how they dyed her washing machine and most importantly how color can change/heighten out mood.


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