The Fifteen Minute Novel 2023: Day 22

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 22: “It is however done,” her father continued.

“It is however, done,” her father continued. “May we move past it?”

Gwen nodded.  “She paid me for the dress and the alterations,” Gwen said.  Her father took this as a sign of her forgiveness.  It wasn’t, but Gwen decided to let it go.

“Now, I realize that the end of the year did not go as you planned.  I know you worked hard on your courses and were planning to continue your study at the community college. Is that still your plan?”

Gwen was saved from a reply as the waiter returned, this time with their appetizers.  She stayed silent, thinking until the waiter disappeared again.  Her father did not care for overt shows of emotion.  They made him uncomfortable.  He believed the world should be attacked with logic more than feelings.  Telling him Lisa broke her heart as much as Toby did would be pointless.

“I don’t know,” Gwen said when the waiter retreated again.  “I had a plan…”

“But several of the pieces it was contingent upon have been removed?” he asked shrewdly but kindly.

Gwen nodded.

“Would a break be in order?”

“A break,” she asked.

“Your grandparents have asked if you would like to stay with them for a while.”

“They have?” Gwen said.  It was a such an unexpected thing that she stared at him.  When her mother was alive, they sent cards with checks for all appropriate holidays, mostly birthday and Christmas.  After her mother died they sent cards with checks for her birthday, Christmas and the anniversary of her mother’s death. The cards were always signed, ‘Your loving Grandparents.’  There was never any note or letter enclosed.  Gwen could count on one hand the number of times she saw them in person and if pressed wasn’t entirely certain she knew their full names.

“Yes,” he said.  “The call came as a surprise to me as well. I sent them notice of your graduation and that seemed to remind them that time passes and that you are no longer a child.  I believe they want to get to know you.  They mentioned both you staying with them for the summer or even a gap year if you were interested.”

“Oh,” Gwen said.  Her father turned his attention to the appetizer and Gwen did the same.  They ate in silence as she thought it over.  It had been a while since she thought of her grandparents as people.  The cards seemed to be signs they were still alive, but the last time she actually saw them was her mother’s funeral.  They seemed kind but too wrapped up in their own grief to really register anyone else’s presence.  They arrived the day before the funeral, stayed at a hotel went to the church, cemetery and reception and then left again.  They were shadows that flickered at the edge of her life.  It was difficult to contemplate them as actual people.


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