I've been really hesitant to dive into another short story. Ok, that's kind of a lie. I've been writing little stories here and there for the last couple of months. I've had every intention to share them with you, and then, that voice. I hear the voice. The one that says my writing sucks, that I don't know shit about dialogue, the voice that says, save yourself from the embarrassment. You have that voice too, although, it may not tell you that you are a crappy writer, we all have the voice. Today I finally said eff the voice, and decided to start a new journey with fiction, Short Story Saturday. For now I think it will be a twice monthly thing, so I'm not too overwhelmed. And I'd like to invite any other story tellers out there to join in. If you write a little something, or have something written that you would like to share, share it. Just leave a comment with the link. There are no editors here, no agents, no content police. This is a safe place. At least I hope it is. Let me know what you think and if you look forward to more Short Story Saturdays.
Elizabeth Calderon was five when Jack Lewis kissed her square on the lips in the kindergarten lunch line. Why would he do such a thing? Michelle her best friend said it was because he liked her. Alex Oliver said it was because he dared Jack to kiss a Mexican, whatever that was. At five Lizzie was sure of two things, she wanted to be a ballerina, and she didn't like kisses from boys on the lips.
When Lizzie turned ten she no longer wanted to be a ballerina but a lawyer. Lawyers made money and lived in nice apartments, like on LA Law. She also noticed that on TV, lawyers didn't have to worry much about money. A big apartment and lots of money seemed like a a dream worthy of dreaming. If she had money she could help her mother pay the mortgage, because when her mother talked about the mortgage, her voice changed, and Lizzie didn't recognize it anymore. At ten she was sure that being a lawyer with a fancy apartment would solve all of her mother's problems.
At fifteen, Lizzie wanted to go by Liz, desperately. She spent her days slouched, trying to conceal her chest, ever since Sam Jensen asked if she stuffed her bra in front of the entire freshman PE class. She didn't, but no one believed her. How could she explain that she went to bed one night a 34A and woke up the next morning a 34C? Her mother was no help either, telling her in a few years she wouldn't be sorry. But she was sorry. Liz measured her days in class periods, mix tapes, and episodes of My So Called Life. She was sure about three things, she hated PE, Sam Jensen was an asshole, and high school sucked.
The night Liz turned twenty she got drunk and had sex with Mason Young on the filthy floor of his fraternity house bedroom. Liz had no idea what was really happening until Mason busted his way in. It was short and painful, and she was pretty sure there had to be a better way to spend your twenties.
Three days after turning twenty five Liz met James Walker Harrington at Melissa Espinoza's engagement party. Convinced she was destined to be a bridesmaid and never a bride, she wore her black work pants and a ponytail. As she ordered a gin and tonic, she heard a voice behind her say, That's an old man's drink? When she turned around, she saw the face of the voice and knew she really didn't need one more asshole in her life. Even if that asshole happened to be pretty handsome. Liz realized that the only sure thing in her life at the moment was the gin and tonic.
Liz celebrated her thirtieth birthday with a breast pump, dirty diapers, and a screaming baby. Her birthday wishes included a nap and a shower. With a four month old at her side she ate a pint of rocky road ice cream and watched horrible reality television. She prayed that her husband would leave work early and take the baby for the rest of the night. He didn't. Liz was struck by the idea that she enjoyed her rocky road more than Mr. Harrington. At thirty Liz loved her baby, hated her breast pump, and was pretty sure motherhood was not her calling.
On the eve of her thirty-fifth birthday Liz typed away on her laptop, writing a story she didn't know she had. Reflecting on how quickly she hit her scary age. That number had seemed so far away just a few years ago. With two kids and almost six years of motherhood behind her, she was exactly the kind of mother she always wanted to be: good, but not perfect. After eight years of marriage she was exactly the kind of wife she always hoped to be: supportive and loving.
As Elizabeth Calderon Harrington turned thirty-five she was sure this was exactly the way it was supposed to be.