The Fifteen Minute Novel 2023: Day 23

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 23: It was difficult to contemplate them as actual people.

It was difficult to contemplate them as actual people. Yet here they were asking if she wanted to stay with them for a summer or a year so they could get to know her.  At the moment she hardly knew herself and wasn’t sure what to think.

“It might be good, you know,” Henry said.  The appetizer plates were cleared away and their entrees were brought in.

“Good to get to know them?” Gwen asked.

“Yes, I suppose,” Henry said.  “It would be good for you to get a chance to know them.  But I was thinking more along the lines of good for you to go someplace completely new for a while.  You would have a chance to think, to decide what you want to do and to plan your next moves.  You could try it for the summer and then reevaluate in the autumn.”

Gwen nodded and for a moment the two of them ate in silence.  The thought of someplace completely new was both daunting and welcome.  She wouldn’t know anyone and wouldn’t be reminded of Lisa and Toby’s betrayal.  No one there would remind her of it and continue to ask her how she was doing.  She remembered the picture of the ring she saw on Lisa’s finger in the photo she sent.  Lisa and Toby were engaged.  There would be a public announcement and an engagement party soon.  They would want to have it before all of their friends went off to college or started jobs post-graduation.  There would be a series of parties, bridal showers and other gatherings.  There would be wedding planning with talk of Lisa’s floral arrangements, music selections, venues and a million other details, everything finally culminating in the actual wedding. 

If she stayed there would be no escaping any of that.  It would be a constant reminder of the betrayal.  ‘And every time mention was brought up they would look to me.’  Gwen imagined the pitying looks when Lisa was seen going to the florists.  The silence when she passed the bridesmaids talking about their dresses and which groomsmen they were walking down the aisle with.

‘It would be like graduation only a hundred times worse,’ Gwen realized. 

“Perhaps it wouldn’t be bad to be away for a while,” Gwen said.  She frowned.  “As long as it doesn’t look like I am running away.”  She didn’t want to have anyone think she was hiding.

“I think it would just look like you were visiting your grandparents before you got on with your life,” Henry said.  “I don’t think it would look like you were running away.”

Gwen nodded. “Then maybe I can go for the summer as a trial?”  Gwen suspected that the wedding and all its additional bits would take the entire year to get through, but being gone at the start would help everything fade before she had to face it. 

“I’m sure they will be pleased to hear it,” her father said.  Their entrée plates were cleared away and desert was brought.

“I wasn’t certain what gift you would want for graduation and given the current state of flux I decided money would be a better option,” he told her as they started in on their chocolate cake.  He held out a greeting card in an envelope.


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