WOE: To the Moon

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He had been so proud of her that first day, watching her pick out the perfect outfit and making up a packed lunch for her, hearing the shake of nerves in her voice and sending a text message at lunchtime just to make sure all was well.  He was the one who believed all along that she could do the job, who encouraged her to apply, who told her to reach to the moon.

He remembered those first few months when she would hurry home and they’d cook some dinner and spend the evening together.  He loved those moments, something precious to look forward to at the end of his own long day.

Then she started spending time with her colleagues, coming home later, not eating with him.  For a while he had been glad that she had friends, something and someone outside of the narrow confines of home but it had become a niggle.  He still wasn’t sure how he felt exactly, maybe there were words that he wasn’t prepared to admit to, things like ‘lonely’ and ‘abandoned’, maybe even jealous.  He hadn’t been jealous; he knew that.  But now?  He mentally pieced together the jigsaw and realised how her attitude had changed completely.  It wasn’t just how much time that she was spending outside the house but how she was so eager to leave, how she didn’t seem interested in what he had done that day or how he felt.  Then there was the whole thing with her mobile.  He wasn’t allowed near it, snapped at for passing it over when it sounded, suspected of always looking over her shoulder when she texted.  She’d withdraw and take a call, reply to a text message.  He was hurt, he admitted.  But not jealous, she had promised him that it was only work friends.  He had to believe in her still.  Thinking otherwise would itself be a betrayal.

There was no telling anymore what time she’d come home but he always made dinner ready, hoping.  He missed the evenings that they used to spend together, chatting or watching something on the television.  He missed her.  Something had changed in her but he didn’t know what, not yet.

She had told him that she needed space.  Space for what?  Bemused, he’d agreed all the same, letting her go and do her own thing with people he’d never even got to meet.  At the weekends when they had always planned to something particular together, they used to have so many shared interests, she was always going out now with these friends, leaving him behind.

It was nearly time, the earliest that he could expect her.  He sighed, feeling heavy in his heart, unformed and unbidden questions rising for which there were no answers.

He wheeled himself up to the window where he could see the road, see her coming.  He would ask her how her day had been but expect no conversation.  Whenever she did come home.

~

I haven’t written any fiction for so long, you’ve got to have the right ‘head’ on but this story has been whirling through my cobwebs lately and this week’s Red Writing Hood prompt gave me the encouragement to share, all I had to do was fit in the phrase ‘to the moon’ and aim for 500 words.  495, I must be getting better at this word count business!

Apologies to my subscribers for another double dose today!

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood

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41 thoughts on “WOE: To the Moon

  1. Oh. How sad! You show an amazing depth of emotion in this piece. The ending is a nice touch as well. I’d love to know more about where this one goes!

  2. There’s something so wonderfully steady about him, it makes the perceived betrayal painful even before you reveal the additional truth about him. He’s so internalized, it very much highlights how alone he feels.

  3. It’s a difficult situation to write and I give you props for relating it with such dignity. You gave a strong voice to a man with a weak sense of self, despite his handicap, and his need to keep the woman he loves happy. Well done!

  4. I also really loved how the wheelchair detail came at the end. I like how it shows that he doesn’t define himself by that one facet. Very nice.

  5. Busy in here today, IE! Lovely to read some of your fiction. It always has an effortlessness about it. Great piece, dealing as it does with feeling apart and estranged, in ones own home…

      • I love how your blog is set up, the colors, the flower. I find it very peaceful. Mine needs work, but I just recently set it up so haven’t had the time to spend on it because I immediately jumped into 2 writing prompts. One for WOE and one for Writer’s Digest. I will get to it eventually.

  6. I like that the detail about the wheelchair is at the end and not elsewhere in the story. It makes us focus on the relationship and not the disability. The hiding of the phone is so telling and just a reminder of how technology is changing things in our daily routines.

    • I didn’t want to overemphasise it, it’s only part of his identity overall and I’m glad that it helps focus the piece on the relationship, the action I suppose. Lives have changed an awful lot because of this new technology and whether it’s a good thing or not will always be debated! :)

  7. I like the role reversal, too. Although, I imagine most women wouldn’t be as understanding as this husband. I thought he was too passive until you revealed the wheelchair. That detail changed the whole tone. Why he was always home and why he wanted her to get out more and why he was left behind.

    I want to read more of this story.

    • I think you underestimate some women, there’s a moment on the brink when tolerance and patience and belief are still there. It’s when they’re pushed off that the understanding goes. It’s funny how you feel that a male character should be less passive, it’s been interesting to see other’s people reactions to this chraracter. Thank you for reading. :)

  8. I have to agree with jesterqueen about the roll reversal. It is so often the woman in that scenario, waiting, wondering and worrying. This was different. I loved the story!

      • I agree with the others and I would like to read more. My life has been a picture in role reversal. Upon my divorce my ex-husband got custody of our 12 year old son. The only thing that would have made that worse was if I had to pay child support which many women do nowadays. I regained custody when he was 16 though so I did have some years as a single parent and he didn’t pay child support either. Gender roles can be an interesting subject.

        • It doesn’t sound like yours was a positive experience with custody but sometimes I think that it can be dangerous to assume that the mother is best place to be the parent awarded custody (custodian?!). There was an interesting post on the subject over at Purple Persuasion just the other day. It is interesting and whether those stereotypes help or hinder too. :)

          • I don’t think this reply is going to sync with the others since there was no reply button on the last post, but we will see. I agree that mothers shouldn’t always be the ones to get custody. I didn’t fight him when he demanded (yes demanded) custody for 2 reasons: 1. I couldn’t take care of myself at that point so I wasn’t fit to take care of a 12 year old boy and 2. I thought a boy would be better off with his father. I was wrong on one point. At the age of 16 he requested to come live with me even if I wasn’t in a good financial situation. He went to 3 high schools, but he graduated, got a great job as an apprentice and is now 25. We all made it through!

  9. Gina

    I, too, love the role reversal, the encouragement her gave her and questioning her would be a betrayal. Unfortunately the signs were there and he still attempted to believe in her. Breaks my heart for him…his loneliness and the change in a once wonderful life.

  10. Love the reversal of expected gender roles here. AND I love the way the story suggests an affair and shows how the husband keeps himself in denial. I think for me Scott being touchy about his e-mail or phone would be a warning sign, as would my getting touchy about such things be to him. It isn’t that we are all the time in each other’s stuff, but that he sometimes needs me to hunt something up on his home computer and send it to him (easiest way to do this is on his own e-mail so that if the ‘send’ doesn’t work, it’s still in his folders) or I need him to drum up a text message. It’s sort of part of our ebb and flow. So seeing that disrupted for this couple is a strong sign of something Wrong with a capital W

    • I had this piece already in mind but as it’s sort of personal/memoir inspired, I was holding back but it kind of clicked, I just had to add that one line, so a little bit of cheating. Thanks. :)

  11. Oh, the reveal about the wheelchair is so nicely done. You capture so much of the separation of our culture….we drive to work, escape to our smart phones, and forget how to notice.

    Or, in her case, it’s deliberate.

    Lots to chew on here.

    • Thank you for visiting and commenting, I like how you describe it as ‘the separation of our culture’, perhaps she is still ‘forgetting’ to notice, distracted. I don’t know and I hope not. I’m still chewing! :)

I'd love to know what you think, concrit is especially welcomed on fiction pieces. Thank you.

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