This post was written for the Yeah Write fiction challenge grid but did not get much feedback. Am now linking to Friday Fiction – First Drafts | Nikki Young Writes and would welcome constructive criticism as to why this short piece of fiction may not have ‘worked’ for readers.
The letter lay open on the table, a grenade dropped into our mundane lives. All the words we had spoken lingered accusingly in the still morning air of the battered kitchen. Sipping my coffee I mulled the plans we had made to renovate. Such excitement and togetherness, building a home, looking forward.
He would be at work now, basking in glory, graciously accepting his colleagues congratulations. How many would wonder what he had done that they had not?
‘This is something that I have always wanted!’ he had shouted, bewildered at my intransigence.
‘So how come you never mentioned it?’ I spat back, recoiling at my unexpected vehemence.
The dreams we had shared lay discarded in the shadow of an opportunity he expected me to celebrate. The bottle of champagne marked a line in the sand that I could not bring myself to cross.
‘You don’t even like your job!’ he had countered, ‘You do nothing but complain about incompetence and waste.’
He spoke eloquently then of the comforts his increased salary would provide; of starting a family, as if children would give me something to do, a gift he could bestow for which I should be grateful. This was not how I had envisaged us making such a momentous decision.
His insistence had hurt, that he did not recognise that we should have chosen this road together.
‘What happened to that impulsive girl I married?’ he had demanded. ‘Why can you not understand that this could be fantastic for both of us?’
I wondered what he thought was in it for me.
Life is more than a spacious home and a new car. I know better than anyone how much my job sucks but it gives me the independence I require. I have no wish to be married to his great and glorious career.
Hurt and bewildered he had asked, ‘Why do you need independence from me?’
I had tried to rally my thoughts, to help him understand why I was fighting this plan. It was not the move that I feared but going so far with someone who I suddenly felt I barely knew, someone who considered it reasonable to uproot my life without asking.
‘Have you any idea how much of an honour this offer is?’ he had countered. ‘You cannot seriously expect me to turn it down.’
And I didn’t. The still, small voice in my head was suggesting a more radical plan.
I had meant it when I promised to stay by his side for ever and always. I had made that promise to the man I loved, who had honoured and cherished me. Where did he go?
I would not be able to keep this house. The idea of starting again was scary but not as scary as moving to the other side of the world with an arrogant stranger.
He would think that I was asking him to choose, that he still had a choice. His words had pushed me beyond that.
I wondered if I was making the biggest mistake of my life.