Ophelia


I slip into the black dress; smooth it over my hips. 

“What Mommy doing?”

I glance in the mirror.  “Getting ready for work.”

“Why Mommy work now?”

Because my friends tell me I’m wasting my life, I think, applying eyeliner.  “To help Daddy pay for college.”




“What that?” Lauren points to the mascara. 

“It makes Mommy look pretty.”

She wrinkles her nose.  “Mommy pretty already.”

I smile.  “Thanks, Lovey.  But my boss won’t think so.”  I tie the apron on and kiss my children goodbye.   My mother-in-law tells me I’m making a mistake as I hand her the baby, blinking back tears.

* * *

At the hotel, I vacuum and dust and change sheets; I scrub toilets and empty trashcans.

A woman emerges from room 232.  She presses a pamphlet into my hand.  “Reject Satan,” she whispers before padding down the hallway to summon the elevator.  I knock at her door; call out “maid service” before using my passkey and wheeling the vacuum into the room.

The door slams shut.  I whirl around to face her husband. 

“It was your fault,” he tells me later, dragging me down the back stairs and out the hotel’s emergency exit.  He shoves me into the back of his car and drives to the river. 

He binds my arms; fills my apron pockets with stones.  “I’m sorry to do this,” he says “but I can’t afford the scandal.” 

“My kids…”

He pushes me in.  “I’ll write a suicide note and leave it on your cart.  I’ll tell your children you love them.”    

Like Ophelia I float on a river of expectations.

Unlike Ophelia, I am not mad.

I slip my arms from their bindings; remove the stones from my pockets; swim to shore.  The water drips from my hair, smears makeup into my eyes.

I return to the hotel and use my passkey to enter his room.

He is sleeping.

I make it eternal.

I will plead insanity.

He, of course, will receive a Christian burial.

For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Kameko Murakami challenged me with "Like Ophelia, I float on a river of..." and I challenged Grace O'Malley with "No one knew where it began and where it ended."

I also used this piece for this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge.  The word was scandal.

Labels: , ,

Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Ophelia

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ophelia


I slip into the black dress; smooth it over my hips. 

“What Mommy doing?”

I glance in the mirror.  “Getting ready for work.”

“Why Mommy work now?”

Because my friends tell me I’m wasting my life, I think, applying eyeliner.  “To help Daddy pay for college.”




“What that?” Lauren points to the mascara. 

“It makes Mommy look pretty.”

She wrinkles her nose.  “Mommy pretty already.”

I smile.  “Thanks, Lovey.  But my boss won’t think so.”  I tie the apron on and kiss my children goodbye.   My mother-in-law tells me I’m making a mistake as I hand her the baby, blinking back tears.

* * *

At the hotel, I vacuum and dust and change sheets; I scrub toilets and empty trashcans.

A woman emerges from room 232.  She presses a pamphlet into my hand.  “Reject Satan,” she whispers before padding down the hallway to summon the elevator.  I knock at her door; call out “maid service” before using my passkey and wheeling the vacuum into the room.

The door slams shut.  I whirl around to face her husband. 

“It was your fault,” he tells me later, dragging me down the back stairs and out the hotel’s emergency exit.  He shoves me into the back of his car and drives to the river. 

He binds my arms; fills my apron pockets with stones.  “I’m sorry to do this,” he says “but I can’t afford the scandal.” 

“My kids…”

He pushes me in.  “I’ll write a suicide note and leave it on your cart.  I’ll tell your children you love them.”    

Like Ophelia I float on a river of expectations.

Unlike Ophelia, I am not mad.

I slip my arms from their bindings; remove the stones from my pockets; swim to shore.  The water drips from my hair, smears makeup into my eyes.

I return to the hotel and use my passkey to enter his room.

He is sleeping.

I make it eternal.

I will plead insanity.

He, of course, will receive a Christian burial.

For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Kameko Murakami challenged me with "Like Ophelia, I float on a river of..." and I challenged Grace O'Malley with "No one knew where it began and where it ended."

I also used this piece for this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge.  The word was scandal.

Labels: , ,

28 Comments:

At April 10, 2012 at 3:08 PM , Anonymous Tara R. said...

Did not see that coming. Taut and riveting, fast paced, but very well done.

 
At April 10, 2012 at 6:01 PM , Anonymous Lance said...

wow, so strong and muscular and tight. This was really like being punched in the face with great writing.

Loved it.

 
At April 10, 2012 at 8:24 PM , Anonymous Clickclickshutterbug said...

Wow. Really good twist!

 
At April 11, 2012 at 12:25 AM , Anonymous JannaTWrites said...

Oooh, I like the twist at the end. I think she can get the job done!

 
At April 11, 2012 at 5:43 AM , Anonymous jaum said...

Best line "I make it eternal" Story builds from the normal to the unusual to the twist and kicker at the end. Great read

 
At April 11, 2012 at 9:10 AM , Anonymous Elizabeth Young said...

This is deep, very, very deep, and I haven't had my coffee yet, but it verifies my thoughts that women with small children shouldn't work outside their homes!

 
At April 11, 2012 at 10:31 AM , Anonymous Amanda said...

Great post! Lots to think about - I too like "I make it eternal." I love the conversation with her daughter at the beginning; it makes her plea for her kids more meaningful. And the makeup smearing into her eyes works well as a reminder of that conversation as she applied it.

 
At April 11, 2012 at 11:58 AM , Anonymous Kgwaite said...

Thanks, Amanda. I'm glad you noticed the makeup. I nearly took it out.

 
At April 11, 2012 at 11:58 AM , Anonymous Kgwaite said...

Thanks, Elizabeth!

 
At April 11, 2012 at 11:58 AM , Anonymous Kgwaite said...

I didn't like writing this one.

 
At April 11, 2012 at 12:00 PM , Anonymous Kgwaite said...

Thanks, Janna - The reference to the burial refers to the speculation over Ophelia's death and if she'd be entitled to a Christian burial. Not sure if it worked.

 
At April 11, 2012 at 12:00 PM , Anonymous Kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading.

 
At April 11, 2012 at 12:01 PM , Anonymous Kgwaite said...

Thanks, Lance.

 
At April 11, 2012 at 12:01 PM , Anonymous Kgwaite said...

Thanks Tara! Looking forward to finishing reading the Trifecta entries tonight.

 
At April 11, 2012 at 7:43 PM , Anonymous November Rain said...

Whoa, so much said, with so little detail. Very nicely brought about, the "Christian burial" was a perfect last line.

 
At April 12, 2012 at 2:46 AM , Anonymous Kameko Murakami said...

Ooh, you did some great stuff with that there! I absolutely love it.

Dark and fantastic at the same time.

 
At April 12, 2012 at 10:16 AM , Anonymous Carrie said...

Justice! Though I wish we could have had a bit more as to WHY he chose her. It wasn't super clear to me except maybe he was stark raving mad....

 
At April 12, 2012 at 6:45 PM , Anonymous Rachael said...

Very surprising! After the conversation with Lovey at the beginning, I wasn't expecting the middle at all!

 
At April 13, 2012 at 6:06 AM , Anonymous Lexy3587 said...

wow! I guess it was a mistake to go back to work? Great image - tied up, rocks in her pockets.

 
At April 13, 2012 at 8:07 AM , Anonymous Trifecta said...

Oh, that was a tough post from II and you dealt with it brilliantly. good work combining both prompts. Hope you can join us for the weekend prompt which is already up on the site. It's community judging this weekend, so get your entry in and get voting!

 
At April 13, 2012 at 6:26 PM , Anonymous Bran said...

i like this. awful dark.

 
At April 13, 2012 at 7:31 PM , Anonymous Kgwaite said...

I know! It's horrible!

 
At April 13, 2012 at 7:32 PM , Anonymous Kgwaite said...

Thanks - Just got my piece in.

 
At April 13, 2012 at 7:32 PM , Anonymous Kgwaite said...

Thanks - The original Ophelia was weighted down by her clothing - Wasn't quite sure what to do with this one.

 
At April 13, 2012 at 7:33 PM , Anonymous Kgwaite said...

I wasn't either! Sad and scary.

 
At April 13, 2012 at 7:33 PM , Anonymous Kgwaite said...

I think he chose her because it was convenient.

 
At April 13, 2012 at 7:34 PM , Anonymous Kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading. Tough prompt!

 
At April 13, 2012 at 7:34 PM , Anonymous Kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading!.

 

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