Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Write, Edit, Publish. Utopian Dream Challenge

This challenge for Write, Edit, Publish is titled: Utopian Dreams. Pretty picture.
To read what others have written go here.

Write, Edit Publish is a blog hop that challenges writers, poets and artistic members to post a story, poem or something other than that. Started by Denise Covey the two big wigs that run the show are Denise and Yolanda Renee. Both are talented authors. Denise writes Romance and Yolanda writes Mysteries. So it's time to let you all read my story.

Flash fiction is a form of writing to help authors tighten their prose without losing content, traditionally 1,000 words or less. Enjoy.

Beyond the Gate

Disappointment tailgated me like a road rage driver out for revenge. I’d had so much ambition when I was young. I would be a success. My plans included a thriving and well paid career. A loving husband. Brilliant and devoted children. I wanted to be, no, I needed to be more successful than my siblings. I needed to prove that I was somebody.
I have a career. I make good money, though not as much as my brother. But then, he is a man and I am woman. I have a husband who is faithful. He’s a yes man and doesn’t argue with me. I like that. He makes good money though he isn’t advancement material. Still…what is lacking? Romance. A girl shouldn’t complain, right?
My children. Well…one should accept what has been given I suppose. Still, I could want more. They both struggle. First in school and then in their choice of jobs. Neither attended college. I pushed them to, but they refused. Neither makes a third of what I earn. They value what I never did, the simple joys of life. My brother’s children both have degrees. They both have ambition. Where did I miss the mark? 
I must face the fact. I’m a failure. With that thought I made a margarita, my third, and sat down to watch a thin and beautiful woman push a line of jewelry on the TV. I liked this jewelry. I often bought something, but tonight my mind wandered and I remembered the dream. In it there was an arched wrought iron gate and I could see a garden beyond. I’d had this dream every night for a week. It felt like a memory, yet I couldn’t put my finger on it. And why would I be attracted to that anyway?
I finished my drink and went to bed.
Thursday dawned as thousands of Thursdays had in my life. There was nothing unique. Nothing out of the ordinary. I drank a breakfast shake and headed out the door. Getting in my BMW I headed downtown. An hour later I was diverted from my usual parking spot by construction.
            I found a spot five blocks away from my office building in a neighborhood, parked and locked my car. I didn’t wear walking shoes to the office. Dressed professionally, I wore high heels. I considered taking the shoes off, but I didn’t have a spare pair of panty hose, so the trudge in heels was necessary.
            I wasn’t alone. Perhaps a dozen others were preparing to walk the side street as well. I eyed them, but they seemed as aggravated as I was. I slung my purse over one shoulder and prepared myself for the trip.
            I allowed a number of people to get ahead of me. I didn’t need their company. I only knew one of them and I didn’t like him. His name was John, and he whined about every task I handed him. I went a different way even though it would take longer.
            Two blocks later I came to the gate. The same gate in my dream. I was sure I’d never driven or walked along this street before.
The wrought iron was perfection. A filigree at the top of the arch, the gate was between two brick pillars and left open, beckoning. Beyond I could see a pathway that wound between trees and flowerbeds. It seemed separate from the house, a land to itself.  
            The scent of magnolias filled the air and one bush hugged the brick pillar and peeked between the iron bars. I felt pulled. I wanted to enter. I wanted to abandon my life, my disappointments. I took a step closer, than another one. I reached the gate and touched the cool iron. I could almost hear a chorus of voices calling, “Come…come…be welcome. Utopia awaits. Let your cares slip away. Dance with me under the moon.”
            I must resist. I have responsibilities. I am a successful business woman, wife and mother. Yet the pull.
            I had reached the top of my profession. There wouldn’t be another advancement, no more raises and I had to deal with men over me who could care less about my needs. Of course, I didn’t care about those below me.
            My husband. Yes, I loved him. He loved me more as it should be. He also lived in his own world and never helped me with the housework, or cooking, or grocery shopping. He didn’t even attend any of our children’s after school functions. Of course, neither did I. My career was number one. Number One! And for what? To appease a group of people who didn’t give a rat’s ass about me. Well, I didn’t care about them either.
            My children. Both are grown. They have their own life and they don’t have much time for me. I give them ample advice especially after downing several margaritas, but they roll their eyes and ignore me. Both have married sub-par humans. I’ve given up on them.
            My thoughts wonder to my sister. I haven’t given her much thought and no time for years. She has very little in material goods and she has suffered. An abusive marriage. She once asked me for help and I denied her. The nerve. She never amounted to anything. Of course, I knew she never would. But, now, after years of hardship she was happy. She valued her children and she even stayed married and her husband has turned into a good man. Her family is close. Not like mine.
            So…what is there for me?
I stepped beyond the gate.

Word count: 940

Note: I know people like this character, but this isn’t about any one person. Rather it is a story about our choices and how we value others. N. R. Williams

If you want to leave a critique you may. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. May your New Year fill you with Happiness. Nancy

I found this post and highly recommend it. The Hard Truth About Publishing: What Writers and Readers Need to Know.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Nancy - how many of us know families and people like these, or we don't even know them ... we come across them in life ... I hope she 'recovers' and can travel the journey her sister has taken ... she definitely doesn't need to be so selfish ... and it's the time of year to care.

Well done ... have a happy and festive time and a good 2017 - cheers Hilary

Pat Hatt said...

People who value things and status and such truly tend to have nothing in the end. So busy getting there and staying there they can't do or see anything else. Is it worth the gold watch, if that, and kick to the backside out the door when they retire? I'll leave that to them. Good story indeed.

Yolanda Renée said...

There are too many people like this, but I have to wonder just where that gate leads. Hell is sometimes of our own making.

Thanks for participating in the WEP Utopian Dream Challenge. You're writing is always flawless, inspiring, and thought provoking.

Wishing you and your family a lovely holiday season and a blessed New Year!

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Hilary
We do run across these kinds of people. Thanks for stopping by.

Hi Pat
It's not worth that gold watch, I think. Thanks for stopping by.

Hi Yolanda
Thanks for the praise. I needed it since life has been a little hard on the writing front.


Elephant's Child said...

Such a sad tale. Such a familar tale. I wonder whether she will be able to accept what she finds beyond the gate... I hope she can.
I hope your Christmas and New Year are filled to the brim with all the wonderful things she has denied herself.

Denise Covey said...

Hello Nancy. You've captured a view of many in our world, struggling with their aspirations and dreams, being disappointed when it's not quite as it should be, and their loved ones fail to see the worth of said dreams. You've captured this feeling so well. Now I'm excited to see her going in that gate. What will she find? Did you really have to leave us hanging???

As always, Nancy, thanks for joining us for WEP. I'm so happy that those of us who took on the challenge have found the time to think about Utopian Dreams and craft a great entry.

Merry Christmas, Nancy, and a happy writerly New Year. May you reach publishing nirvana, er, utopia.

Olga Godim said...

Great story, so well written that it engaged my emotions: I hate the protagonist. She is such a heartless bitch. I don't feel even a smidgen of compassion for her. Whatever she finds beyond that gate, she probably deserved it.

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Elephant, yes it is sad. Hopefully she will find peace and forgiveness beyond the gate.

Hi Denise
This was a hanging story. Left there for all of youu to imagine what she will find.

Hi Olga

Perhaps she finds her heart, long buried by ambition.

Thanks all for coming by.

desk49 said...

Yet is the grass greener
On the other side
When that gate closes
Will she live or die

Your ending was great but I would have
Put an evil spin on the end.

The detective looked down at the body.
“That makes three murders in the area
This month,” he told his new partner “but
this is the first one I’ve seen with a smile.”

Nilanjana Bose said...

Such a sad, wasted life. We all know people like her, unfortunately. Very convincingly portrayed. Enjoyed reading the story. Great job!

Pat Garcia said...

An engaging but sad story. It shows the coldness that happens in families when people based their happiness on things. But more than that it shows how dissatisfaction and the inability to accept oneself brings about chaos. One is always competing, never giving and never really receiving.
Have a Merry Christmas and a beautiful walk over into the new year.
Shalom aleichem,
Pat Garcia

N. R. Williams said...

That's an idea, desk.

Hi Nila
We do indeed know people like her. Glad you enjoyed the story.

Hi Pat
Thank you and the same.


LuAnn Braley said...

Reminds me of a Thanksgiving dinner at my MIL's house. She went on and on, praising her sisters' children for being 'young and successful', and mentioned a couple of times how much money they made. Whereas her son (my husband) and I have made our children and family a priority, and followed professions for reasons other than the pay. Back then, I felt 'small'; now I don't give a toss.

Sounds like the character is searching for 'something more', either in a margarita glass or behind that gate ... and I don't think she knows it. She's been 'taking stock' of her life before she goes in a different direction.

Reading the before/after would be very interesting!

N. R. Williams said...

Hi LuAnn
It's sad that some strive their entire life for success, usually determined by money, and miss all the important things.
Thanks for coming by.

cleemckenzie said...

I like that you left us exiting or entering a gate. That was excellent.

J Lenni Dorner said...

I love that it's about choices. Great story. Nice job.

N. R. Williams said...

Thank you, Clee.

Thank you, J. Lenni


D.G. Hudson said...

Choices are what drives our path through life. We make these unwittingly sometimes, but their impact is still the same. What you put first in your life can have results you never imagined. Whether that is love, career, or fame, something is gained but usually something is also lost. An excellent story for illustrating this. I've thought about this before, how most people realize this too late. Great entry for the challenge.

farawayeyes said...

Wow, what a sad story. someone who has so much and really values nothing. nA most interesting twist on the Utopian Dream. One man's dream another nightmare! Well done.

N. R. Williams said...

Thank you, D. G. and far away.

Nasreen said...

Yes, there are many people going through life like this. Wishing you and your family a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

N. R. Williams said...

Thanks Nasreen. You too.