I am working writing more because, well, it’s fun for me to write, and I miss it when I don’t. In an effort to do so, I will publish (most of) those pieces here, even in very early drafts, even if I am unsure about them, even if they end up being more about the process than the product…because why not? (Oh and did I mention I have never really written fiction before besides an awful attempt known as “Fresh Bread”? Ha! Here we go!)
She curled into the slim arm chair, facing the window that looked east and faced the streets of her new neighborhood. The mug warm in her hand, the house quiet, the weekend before her. She relished this time of day even when she was still in the city, the calm before the monsoon of the day. It seemed her days were filled with the unending curl of meetings, chain-smoked until 6 p.m. Her sleek apartment, view of the city, even salary were not enough to make her want to stay any longer.
A trip to Colorado was all she needed to feel grounded again. She came for a long weekend, took one look at the mountains, and felt at home. The snow-capped, rocky mounds were enough to make her feel as if her heels were dug deep into the earth, where they belonged all along. Unshakeable, strong, and steady, all goals she had for herself. The surrounding farms reminded her of childhood and the cities had enough culture to quench a thirst. The motivation to get here, live here, raise her child here engulfed her entire being until she sat in that very chair soaking it all in: After months of headache to make it happen, they were finally in this place. Life could begin anew.
Sophia bounded down the steps, jumping head first into her mother’s lap.
“Read to me, Mama,” she said. She pulled a Richard Scarry book off her shelf, next to the chair. Sophia leaned into her mama, Sarah, and they both fell further into the chair as if hugging the day before them.
Sarah began part-time work at a local non-profit that Monday morning. She had no idea what to wear. She stared at a closet of black, designer outfits and could not choose a damn thing. Too fancy. Too urban. Time for a new wardrobe. Chalk it up to another item on the to-do list, after the preschool search, and the unpacking of boxes.
Sophia held tightly to Sarah’s neck as she said good bye that morning. The sitter was delightful, young, full of energy. There would be no lingering sadness, but the initial good bye was hard in a new house, new neighborhood. Sarah kissed Sophia’s hand and pressed it against her check. She promised homemade mac and cheese for dinner and her favorite game–hide-and-go-seek–when she got home.
The days churned as if making fine butter. Sarah enjoyed her work, Sophia loved her days playing, excited to start school. They were creating a lovely little existence together. An existence Sarah had secretly envisioned once the divorce settled two years prior. Mike was a nice guy, sure, but not a loyal husband. He broke her heart with that revelation. He did, however, remain in contact and loving to sweet Sophia. In fact, he was visiting that next weekend from D.C.
In an effort to appear united, Sarah agreed to meet him for breakfast. He was planning to take Sophia on an adventure: art museum, the zoo, and swimming at his hotel. His buddy was there whom Sarah had never met. She had heard often of Dylan, but he was an allusive figure all the years of their marriage.
After pleasantries, small talk, and brief laughter over Sophia’s stories about animals that could talk and songs she made up, Sarah kissed her daughter and said good bye to her ex-husband and his friend. They agreed to meet again on Sunday afternoon.
The weekend began with good intentions: renew an exercise pledge, read a book, sleep in, even catch up with friends. But, she really just missed Sophia and found herself slipping into a deep sadness. She was glad to be here in her new life, but didn’t like it as much without her daughter’s presence. As difficult as it was to admit, there was nothing to distract her from the reality of her new world. Change had set in, change she had desired and she was happy.