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Tiaras and Trucks

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Without Thinking

Chilled wine slid from the golden bottle into her glass, more than a restaurant would call a pour but not enough to warm to room temperature before she was finished. Sipping on her way to the living room, she shrugged off her cardigan, letting it drop to the arm of the low couch as she sank into her favorite corner.

A well-worn paperback lay on the other side of the couch, and she flipped through it until she found a favorite passage, settling into the story of old friends. The din of her first grade classroom rolled from her shoulders into the silence of her apartment, the familiar words dancing in front of her eyes soothing her nerves more than the buttery sweetness of the wine.

Her eyes drifted closed for a moment, and she congratulated herself on skipping her semi-regular happy hour date with a few colleagues.

Jarringly, her neighbors' dogs began to bark, and she felt knots returning to her shoulders. 

Left alone behind the cellophane thin walls, they weren’t likely to stop their discordant symphony until they tired of their own noise, which seemed to take infinitely more time on the days Stella wished the most for silence.

A frown creased her forehead as she reached for the remote, flipping past Friday evening television to the music channels, needing something to balance the barking more than caring what seeped out of the speakers.

Resting her wine glass against the arm of the couch, she let the music fade into the background and tried to fall back into her book.

Ten, twenty minutes passed, and the dogs stopped barking.  The music suddenly seemed too loud against the silence.

She reached for the remote again as the harmony finally reached her consciousness.

Forgetting the remote, she reached for her phone instead, pressing the familiar name and trying to breathe.

Her book fell open in her lap, wine gently trickling onto the pages, her mind on other words as she mentally pieced together glib opening lines.

He answered too quickly, his voice wary and unsure.

She searched for any vestige of hope in the “hello,” swallowing and reaching for something vaguely casual to say.

“I made a mistake,” tumbled out instead.

And the music filled the surprised silence between their breathing.

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood
the prompt:
let your character be inspired by music

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20 Comments:

  • At February 3, 2012 at 9:10 AM , Anonymous Jackie said...

    Mistake.... such a cliff hanging way to end this. What mistake did she make? Who was it that she was talking to on the other end? Boyfriend, brother, dad...

    So, I am a bit confused... did she spill the glass of wine?

     
  • At February 3, 2012 at 10:49 AM , Anonymous idiosyncratic eye said...

    This is beautiful, so evocative and filled with so many hints and suggestions that I really think you should develop it.  :)

     
  • At February 3, 2012 at 11:39 AM , Anonymous Barbara Gildea said...

    Nicely done! I love \how the piece really focus on evoking stillness and harmony, even as your narrator searched for these things... And then - leaves us with a jarring note. Excellent way to play with tone and reader expectations!

     
  • At February 3, 2012 at 11:53 AM , Anonymous Cameron (CDG) said...

    The attention to detail here is marvelous, Angela.

     
  • At February 3, 2012 at 12:03 PM , Anonymous Kir said...

    this was just so good: deep and layered, it soaked into me much like her wine.

    I am thinking she left him, but I'm not sure. It feels like that, like she has something to apologize for or rectify and I like characters like that.

     
  • At February 3, 2012 at 1:07 PM , Anonymous Karen @ Time Crafted said...

    Love the rise and fall of the music's volume, though the remote was never used.  Love the last line. :>

     
  • At February 3, 2012 at 1:33 PM , Anonymous le chef said...

    A. Maze. Ing.  Very fluid and visual. "Chilled wine slid from the golden bottle into her glass, more than a restaurant would call a pour but not enough to warm to room temperature before she was finished. "  That line set the scene better than anything.  If it's possible, I think I am in love with that line.

     
  • At February 3, 2012 at 2:18 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Oh, thank you :)  I'm glad that set the tone for you and helped you connect to the piece :)

     
  • At February 3, 2012 at 2:20 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Well, she was balancing the wine on the couch, tucked near her legs, and as she got distracted, it spilled a little.

    Maybe we'll find out more about her next week... :) (I'm thinking a significant other.)

     
  • At February 3, 2012 at 2:20 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thank you!  I think I'll see where it goes for at least a short story piece :)

     
  • At February 3, 2012 at 2:21 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thank you so much.  I liked the idea of the music subconsciously pulling at her, even as she tried to quiet her own mind.

     
  • At February 3, 2012 at 2:22 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thanks Cam!  I do like a nice detail :)

     
  • At February 3, 2012 at 2:23 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Yum...wine...wait, did you say something? ;)

    I think you're on the right track.  She definitely has some things to atone for in her relationship.

     
  • At February 3, 2012 at 2:24 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thanks Karen.  I wanted it to be a catalyst without truly being in the forefront of the piece, so I hope that worked here.

     
  • At February 3, 2012 at 5:53 PM , Blogger Renee McKinley said...

    Nicely done! I like the roller coaster tension levels.
    Would love to know what song triggered her. And of course the rest of the story.

     
  • At February 3, 2012 at 8:09 PM , Anonymous Lance said...

    This seems like 800 words because it's so detailed and deep. I hung on every word. I like how this "sounded", meaning that I could hear it taking place. This is one of your finest pieces. I would love to read more.

     
  • At February 4, 2012 at 3:46 PM , Anonymous Kelly K @ Writing with Chaos said...

    You describe a scene in a way I can only dream.

    The ending left me a little confused and wondering what mistake she was talking about.

    The only thing I would change, is get rid of the word "jarringly" (I'm starting to understand the "kill the adverbs" advice of King), because in a true case of irony, the word jarred me out of the story and is not required at all. 

    I cannot believe how many details you released about this character through the description, in such a subtle, flowing way I didn't even realize all of the backstory I learned.

    Well done.

     
  • At February 5, 2012 at 7:40 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thanks so much Kelly.  I don't know what the mistake is yet, either.  I know she's currently not in a relationship with him, and I imagine she did something to either make him leave or aybe is just referring to their break up in general.

    Thanks for the honesty about the "jarringly!"

     
  • At February 5, 2012 at 7:42 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thanks Lance; that's a great compliment.  I might expand it more; I am caught in the mire of working on my NaNo piece and a little stuck right now.

     
  • At February 5, 2012 at 4:24 PM , Anonymous Nancy C said...

    I like that throughout this, there's a sense that she's trying so hard to pretend everything is normal...and yet, it's not. The details you select...the dog, the pour...it all shows her avoidance, and her eventual succumbing.

     

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