Sunday, August 18, 2013

Wilma Stone’s Vacation, Write…Edit…Publish

Write…Edit…Publish is a new blog replacing Romantic Friday Writers. For their first monthly challenge we were given the task of sending a character(s) on vacation. Word limit for this flash fiction is 1,000. Please head over to Write…Edit…Publish and follow the links when you have finished to enjoy all the other excellent stories. Please leave a comment so I know you stopped by.

Wilma Stone’s Vacation

Wilma Stone stood, grabbed her insulated tote and headed for the lunch room.  She had worked at the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood, Colorado for twenty-eight years. While other employees had complained whenever a government freeze affected their salary, Wilma arrived early and applied herself.  Now she’d been promoted three times and made a comfortable salary and received five weeks of vacation a year. However, she rarely left for more than a few days at a time, even when her husband had died ten years ago.

Those were difficult times. Her husband had been diagnosed with a tumorous cancer cell in the brain; three months later he was dead, leaving Wilma with huge medical bills and two teenage children. His life insurance covered the burial expenses but nothing else.

When the children went to college two years later she sold their home, paid off the medical bills and bought a condo in Lakewood, Colorado, close to her job. Having lived in Thornton, Colorado this move saved her an hour travel time each way. Both Thornton and Lakewood are suburbs of Denver, a huge metropolitan center.  Now she had a lovely two bedroom condo. No more shoveling snow or mowing the lawn. Perfect for Wilma.

When she reached the lunchroom she sat close enough to hear what the young girl at the next table was telling her friends.

“Glenwood Springs is so worth it,” she said. Wilma didn’t know her name.

“We stayed at the local hotel, sat in the hot springs, went shopping all over town, look at this great necklace I bought.”

Wilma saw the artist detail on a fine silver chain.

“I’m going back as soon as I can,” the girl ended.

Wilma’s last true vacation had been her honeymoon. Her husband, Fred Stone, met up with friends and left her alone to go deer hunting.  She shuddered from the memory. It was time to replace the past with something wonderful.

Wilma ended the day with memories fresh in her mind. Fred had been the best fiancé a young girl could ask for, but married life had proven him an intolerable brute. His nickname was Flint and so all his friends had referred to her as Mrs. Fred Flint Stone. An endearing name at first that quickly became irritation personified. Their life together was one exhausting routine.  When she arrived home, well after Fred, she was required to cook dinner. The same dinner; Sunday, Spaghetti with meatballs, Monday, Fried Chicken with baked beans and coleslaw, Tuesday, Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and green beans, Wednesday, leftovers from the three previous nights, Thursday, Pizza, Friday, Fish. Saturday was Fred’s poker night. After cleaning the house and grocery shopping she had to make cookies or brownies, provide beer, sandwiches and nuts. While the men gathered on the main floor she spent the evening in the basement playing games with their children. But even this was interrupted when Fred yelled that they needed more beer. So upstairs she trudged, opened the refrigerator and took them each two beers. The dining room where they played poker was right next to the kitchen, but Fred never did anything.

Wilma sat at the computer and made arrangements online for her trip to Glenwood Springs, located right off of I-70 about three hours’ drive from Lakewood. Satisfied she walked to her bedroom and lifted the picture of Fred that she kept face down in her closet. “I’m taking a vacation to Glenwood Springs Fred, without you.”  She smiled and put the picture back.

Tree weeks later she arrived at Glenwood Springs, settled in her hotel room, stood on the balcony overlooking the hot springs and smiled. An entire week just for her. After enjoying the hot springs she settled herself at a local eatery for a nice meal.

“I have lived and gone to heaven,” a man’s voice said. “If it isn’t Wilma Parks.”

Wilma looked up and recognized her brother’s best friend from high school, Jason Waterhouse. She’d had a crush on him and he had flirted shamelessly with her only to break her heart and marry another woman.

“Wilma Stone now.”

“That’s right, you married. How’s the old man?’

“Dead,” Wilma said. “Won’t you sit down?” Her smile was genuine and felt good after so many harsh years when tears fell more often.

Jason sat.

“How about you? Is your wife here someplace?”

“No, we’re divorced.”

“Oh, sorry.” Wilma turned her attention back to the menu. Another charmer who had been abusive, she’d end this little reunion quickly.

“Susan met up with a former girlfriend from high school and they ran off together. Before I knew it she wanted a divorce. Left me with our handicapped son. He got hit by a car. Sorry, too much information, sorry.” Jason  peered at the table while Wilma studied him revising her opinion.

“Is she gay?”

“Who, Susan? No, she just didn’t want to be tied to Robbie anymore.”

“I’m so sorry,” Wilma said. “How is Robbie?”

“His health has gotten worse and I had to put him in a home. Miss him a lot.” Jason swiped his eyes with the back of his hand.  “Are you here for long?”

“A week, what about you?”

“I live here, this is my restaurant.”

“You’re kidding.”

“Nope.”

Wilma didn’t believe she could love a man again, but each day brought new adventures;  Soaking in the hot springs with Jason, shopping at local stores and dinner at his restaurant each night. Laughter came easily as they remembered the adventures in the past and created new ones to treasure. Still, trust came hard for Wilma. At the end of the week she returned home.

Two months later Jason called. He was in town, would she see him? Three months after that they wed. Now Wilma’s life was full of joy. She retired from work at 50 and helped Jason in his restaurant. Life had never been so sweet and dinner was cooked by professional chefs at Jason’s place.

Word Count: 999
I had to cut out a few details to get within the word limit. To those who know me, no, this is not my life. Glenwood Springs, Colorado is a real place along with both Thornton and Lakewood. Also the Denver Federal Center is located right off of Kipling and 6th Ave. The Denver Federal Center was equipped to take President Roosevelt during WWII in the event that Washington D.C., was attacked. Lots of people work there today. This flash fiction could be made into a longer story if I was interested but then something fantastical would have to happen to the characters. It is mostly telling rather than feeling the story through the characters and I apologize for that as well. I’m out of time to do more tweaking.

I do hope you enjoyed my story anyway.
Nancy

To read other submissions click here.

16 comments:

Denise Covey said...

Hi Nancy. Yes, I enjoyed the story, but as you say it is a lot of telling. But you could chop our some of that telling and make it more mysterious. I think it starts a little slow, with too much backstory. You could have weaved some of that throughout the story, I think.

In a way, it is still a fantasy, don't you think? Here I was trying to figure if this Jason guy was the real deal, but it seems he is.

Thank you for posting for WEP. Your entry -- the first -- is treasured by me!

Denise

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Nancy .. well done - I enjoyed the story ... and the way the two male characters obviously had such different approaches to life ... one took and one was prepared to love ..

Thanks .. fun to read - Hilary

Summer Ross said...

Good Morning Nancy,
Great little piece -Love the name.
~Summer

N. R. Williams said...

Thanks Denise. If I'd had more time I would have upped the show.

Hi Hilary
glad you enjoyed my story. Thanks for coming by.

Great to see you Summer. Hurray for characters. Thanks for coming by.

Nancy

The Armchair Squid said...

A nice tale. I think the best part of your story is the conversation at the table between Wilma and Jason. We learn a lot in a very short space.

Trisha F said...

I think with the limited word count it's not easy to make the pacing of such a drawn-out story believably slow enough. But you definitely have something to work with here - I agree that this could be the start of a longer work, even just a novella.

At first was I was reading, I wondered if it was going to be a bit like that Margaret Atwood short story I read recently about the woman on vacation who "took care of" abusive men.

Sally said...

I am so glad it worked out so nicely in the end and she was able to love and trust again.

michelle said...

A wonderful tale.
Wilma's journey was far from smooth, but she was fortunate to find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!
I wondered about Jason. Thank goodness he turned out to be the "real deal". I think that she was one of the lucky ones.
Writer In Transit

Nilanjana Bose said...

Enjoyed the story. Glad Wilma found happiness the second time. The end felt a bit abrupt to me, but that's probably because of the word count.

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Armchair
Thanks

Hi Trisha
I'm not familiar with Margarete's story, glad you enjoyed mine.

Hi Sally
Had to do something nice for Wilma.

Hi Michelle
Word count cut the story short.

Hi Nilanjana
True

Thanks everyone for coming by .
Nancy

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Aw, looks like she'll finally get a happy ending.

Shell Flower said...

I could definitely see this as a novel. I agree that there is a lot of backstory up-front, but this could be more easily dealt with in a longer work, if you were so inclined. I would like to see Jason's perspective, too. Nice to meet you! I worked in Lakewood Colorado at Sur la Table for about three weeks once. LOL.

The Armchair Squid said...

Thanks for stopping by and for following. Happy to return the favor.

Kriti Bhatnagar said...

Hi Nancy!

The story was sure a true reflection of the never ending possibilities which at times get veiled under facts and norms.
Loved reading it!! Looking forward to read more of your interesting tales!

Keep wondering...keep writing!
~Kriti~

Lisa said...

I liked this story, liked her spunk in deciding to do something for herself, and then being so well rewarded for it! I don't think it needed all that you put in about her previous husband, and the words could have been used more at the end to finish the story out. I agree that the talk at the table was very good and made me like both characters. Thanks for sharing! Lisa

N. R. Williams said...

Thank you Diane, Shell, Arm, Kriti, and Lisa for coming by, reading and giving valuable feedback. In truth I know better than to have all the excess but for some reason this time I couldn't get past it.
Nancy