Monday, May 4, 2009

A MOVING MOMENT - Short Fiction

This short story is in response to

How it works: Raven supplies two sets of words (or phrases) to use in a piece of writing. One can choose the ten- or five-word challenge ---or combine both into a fifteen word challenge. Since this was my first attempt, I went with the mini challenge this time. 

Mini-challenge words:
pancakes and syrup, flat tire, mongoose, this place looks like a bordello, first dance
(Words from the challenge are in bold face in the story.)


        That Friday wasn't my best day. When I arrived at our landlord’s office to sign the papers to renew the lease on our apartment, I was informed that the lease was not going to be renewed. Our landlord’s son would graduate from college in a few weeks and had been promised the first available space. We were the lucky couple to loose the apartment we had rented for the past eight years. Parker and I had twelve weeks to clear out.
        I had a flat tire on the way home. Then my husband called to say his meeting had run late. He missed his flight out of Chicago and wouldn’t be home that night. I had to get up at 4 am the next day to meet him at the airport. I didn't sleep well.
        At least Parker treated me to an early breakfast. Over pancakes and syrup I gave him the bad news about losing our apartment. He took it well, but what I needed was several shots of whiskey to add to my large mug of black coffee. Too bad the 24-hour Denny’s didn’t have a liquor license.
        We had often discussed buying a home, but we hated the process of moving, so we had stayed on at our apartment, mainly out of inertia.
        I worked at home as a freelance graphic artist, so my hours were flexible for making real estate appointments. The first house I viewed was at the dead end of Mongoose Street. When I saw the red-flocked wallpaper, orange shag carpet, and ceiling mirrors in the bedroom, I thought, “This place looks like a bordello.” I made a quick U-turn and left with the real estate agent trailing behind. Although that one was the worst, about ninety percent of the homes I visited were simply awful.
        I guess there is no such thing as a perfect house, but I finally found one on tree-lined Aurora Lane that suited us well. I liked the freshly painted honey-beige walls, hardwood floors, the family room I intended to use as my studio, and the large kitchen with new appliances. When Parker viewed it with me, he loved the back yard patio and the three-car garage. We owned only one car, but he figured he could store the tools we would require as homeowners in the other two bays. My husband insisted that the purchase agreement include the vintage stop light that had been installed in the garage by the previous owner. When turned on, it flashed from green to yellow to red. It may have been a little tacky, but it had a certain charm.

        So, we spent the next hectic weeks signing papers and packing our belonging. We moved one Saturday in August. Once the movers left, I collapsed on the sofa, hot and exhausted, while my husband ordered Chinese delivery for dinner.
        I dozed until the food arrived. Parker said he’d set the kitchen table, so I closed my eyes again.
        “Hon,” he called from the kitchen a few minutes later. “Before we eat, will you come to the garage for a minute?”
        Reluctantly, I pulled myself from the couch and dragged my achy body toward the garage. There, my husband had the lights turned off, except for the stop light. With just the flashing lights and an old radio tuned to an oldies’ station to fill the empty space, Parker took my hand and asked, “In our new home, may I have the first dance?”

(short story ©2009, C.J. Peiffer)

1 comment:

Stephen said...

It was a very realistic story with a happy ending. I liked it. I thought the part about the stop light was nice, too.

Stephen from Scottsdale, Arizona, USA