The Fifteen Minute Novel 2023: Day 18

Welcome to the Fifteen Minute Novel. Each morning I spend fifteen minutes writing on a singular story line. Each morning starts with the last line of the previous day. The goal is to get a (very) rough draft out of the simple story idea and to avoid letting the story idea languish in limbo forever, actually writing it out. This is the third year I have done this writing experiment and each year I learn just a little bit about myself and the way I write as well as creating a framework for the story. But without further ado…

Day 18: She only had to wait until the others were done.

She only had to wait until the others were done. As she waited, half listening to the other names being called, Gwen realized that there was a dinner planned for after the graduation.  Her family, Lisa’s family, Toby’s family and Ron’s family were all going out to dinner at the Steak House.

‘There is no way I can sit through that,’ she thought. She looked over and saw Ron patiently waiting in line for his turn on stage.  While she didn’t get a full recap of the event, she doubted that he and his family would want to join them either.

‘I wonder if anyone has told Toby and Lisa,’ Gwen thought.  Given that they both thought she was still arranging things for them last night she doubted it would occur to either of them naturally. ‘Hopefully their parents will think of it.’

Gen thought of Lisa’s mom.  She was closer to her than she had ever been to Sharron. Gwen realized she would probably never speak to Mrs. Lewis again. ‘Just add it to the list of things I’ve lost,’ Gwen thought.  The thought brought a lump to her throat.  She swallowed it back and tried to let it go.  She didn’t clap for wither Toby or Lisa.  Lisa looked over at her after her photo was taken and frowned when she saw Gwen wasn’t clapping.  When Ron walked across the stage, Gwen made a point of clapping for him. She was pleased to see the bulk of their class did the same and he smiled broadly at the lot of them.

And then it was through.  The closing remarks were made and they were released.  Graduation caps were thrown in the air and while Gwen pulled hers off of her head, she didn’t feel the need to throw it. She stepped to the side and found her father and Sharron walking towards them.

“Oh we are so proud,” gushed Sharron.  She was teary eyed and her smile was wide.  She grabbed Gwen into a huge hug and didn’t seem deterred by the fact that Gwen didn’t hug her back.  Sharron gushed and fussed over her, seeming to need to straighten Gwen’s gown and adjust her hair.  She kept darting looks around the room making certain that those around them saw her actions.

“Sharron, that’s enough,” her father finally said.  Sharron looked at him and then stepped back. 

“Of course, I shouldn’t make such a fuss.  I just can’t help myself.” She looked over Gwen’s shoulder.  “Well and here is Lisa,” she said.  “Don’t you just look so lovely.”

 “Thank you Mrs. Barrett,” Lisa replied.  Gwen stiffened but she turned and looked at Lisa.  Lisa was standing with her parents. Mrs. Lewis smiled at her but couldn’t make eye contact.

“We are heading out to the Steak House,” Lisa said.


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