Saturday, May 15, 2010

Fiction Friday: “I knew it was a mistake the moment it was over.”

A Conversation

"How did you know?"

Tabitha raised her head off the couch and gave Holly, her therapist, a look of disdain.

"How did I know?" She said, "Really?  How does one know these things?"
"You tell me, Tabby."
"It's just a gut feeling.  A sinking in your belly."
"Right, well tell me what happened."
"It's too much.  We only have an hour."
"If you didn't want to talk about it, you wouldn't have started our session with a confession that you knew it was a mistake."

Tabitha took a deep breath and tried to relax on the stiff couch. I thought these things were supposed to make you feel comfortable, but I always end up feeling silly. Like a single panel cartoon, imagining the clever caption, Tabitha thought.

"Well?" Holly said.

Tabitha brought herself back to the moment and began the tried and true talk therapy.

"We were having lunch at that little cafe on 4th Avenue.  They have an amazing cranberry melon salad, not to mention the wine list, which is probably what got me in trouble.  We were sitting on the patio in the cool spring breeze, smoking, pleasantly sated, just watching the ants scurry back from their hurried work lunches.  It had to be the wine or the cool breeze or maybe the whole moment."

"Go on," Holly said.

Tabitha brushed her short hair from her face, blew a few strands from her eyes, and continued. "I just blurted it out.  'Let's move in.'  Then I started rambling on about how Sam and I had been together for 6 years now.  How we both pay top dollar for our own places.  Going on and on about how his location is closer to everything.  Mentioning how much I love to wake up and have my morning coffee in the breakfast nook overlooking Central Park. He let me spew excuses and explanations for a good ten minutes before giving me that look."
"What look?"
"Oh, you know.  The take a breath woman look.  I felt so silly and wished I could take the last ten minutes and just click delete. Then, the sun came out from behind a passing cloud and I put my hands up to shield my eyes from the glares off the shop windows across the street.  When I could feel the darkness of the clouds closing back in, I looked across the table to see Sam's reaction. Only Sam wasn't sitting across from me with martini in hand."
"Did he leave you right then and there?"
"That's the crazy part.  That's why I wish I had just kept my tipsy mouth shut. Maybe if I had a few drinks before our sessions, you wouldn't have to prod me so much." Tabby let out a nervous laugh.  "No, he didn't leave.  I looked around for a second and the next thing I know, he's on his knee next to the table.  I thought this isn't happening.  Oh but it was.  He pulls out a gorgeous blue velvet ring box and proceeds to propose to me right there in front of God and everyone.  People were staring and uttering little ahs of sickly sweet admiration.  I was mortified.  Sitting there in my new Chanel top, trying not to topple my wine glass or just pass out.  He had this whole thing planned.  Waiting for the perfect moment.  A beautiful day spent browsing the art galleries, walking through the park, and culminating in that patio lunch with the amazing salad and unadulterated people watching.  I guess it worked, because I fell right into his trap.  Romanticizing the spring afternoon and turning my thoughts to our future together."

"Let me see if I'm understanding you.  A gorgeous day spent together, fine wine and good food.  You obviously wanted to up the relationship.  A storybook proposal. Well, what was your response?"  Holly said.

Tabitha popped up from the couch. Spinning around, her hair taking a few moments to catch up with her momentum, she held out her left hand.  There sat a stunning 2 karat princess cut diamond atop a simple white gold band.

Tabitha smiled, "I knew it was a mistake the moment the words came out of my mouth."

Try your hand at [fiction friday]


  1. Yes, I know it's technically Saturday, but I just couldn't resist the topic. I kept skipping over the [fiction friday] email in my inbox yesterday, not wanting to spoil my efforts with too much thought. So now that I have a free moment, here it is. I had a great time composing.

    This is not my usual style/feel for a story. Maybe I've been reading too much Cosmo while on leave from work?!?

  2. When the story came to a close, you left me wanting more. I can't help but wonder why it was a mistake. I would have loved to hear a continuation of dialog during the therapy session.

    Thanks for sharing

  3. wow, this is AmAzInG. it seemed like there was a tension, and that the story was heading to a resolve. but, the way you ended it left me wanting more and with the feeling that the REAL tension had only just begun. what a twist, & what an impact on the reader! although, i DO feel you toyed with me a bit lol.

    great job, can't wait to read more.

  4. I suppose I owe my readers an apology for the early break. Freewriting often leaves gaps for us to later fill.

    Thanks for the feedback. I'm not sure what Tabitha will say next or what she will do with this dilemma. Maybe I will write a continuation. I'm also curious to find out what happens next.

  5. Loved it! I'll be checking out your other pillowbook entries.

  6. I like the mystery that the ending leaves. It certainly feels like it belongs in a longer piece, but the fact that things remain unanswered is wonderful.
    A good read where the uncertainty in the character is evident.

  7. Why was it a mistake? Leave me wondering! Geez!
    Good work.

  8. John - thanks for reading & giving some feedback. Please see my earlier apology comment. I think I will have to continue this story in a later post.

  9. Very nice! You've done well with dialogue, something that I struggle with. I think I'll reread a few times to get the rhythm of it. I like it.

    What I like about the ending is you don't really know if it is a mistake or not. Is there something real she is worried about, or is it just panic at moving the relationship further? Definitely a good hook.

  10. Thanks so much for the feedback. I'm finding [fiction friday] to be an invaluable resource not only for freewriting ideas, but also an opportunity to hear the thoughts and feelings of other writers.

    I really fell into this page and can't wait to "finish" this story.


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