The Fifteen Minute Novel 2023: Day 24

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 24: He held out a greeting card in an envelope.

He held out a greeting card in an envelope. Gwen put her fork down and took the card.  She opened it and saw the glitter covered congratulations on the front of the card.  She opened it and saw the inside simply said Love Dad.  There was a check inside and Gwen blinked when she saw the amount.

She looked at him and he smiled before quickly looking away.  “There may be things you need at your grandparent’s house,” he told her. “They have not had anyone live with them in quite some time. I don’t know how prepared they are for it.”

“I see,” Gwen said. She wondered how much preparation dealing with her required.  She liked to think she was rather self-contained and capable of dealing with herself. “Thank you.”

He nodded and returned to eating his cake.  Emotions were never his strong suit and as Gwen finished her own desert she wondered if part of Sharron’s overt displays of emotion were done to make up for his lack of them.  She remembered him tearing up at her mother’s funeral, but that was the last big display of emotions she saw from him.  Even when he told her he was marrying Sharron and that she was moving in with them, he relayed the facts in a straight forward manner. 

‘But I suppose I wasn’t that emotional either,’ Gwen said. 

Mrs. Lewis knew before she did and sat her down to have a chat about her father’s upcoming marriage.  It was a conversation about her father’s happiness and it prepared her for the conversation well before Gwen had it with her father.  If he showed any emotion during his announcement it was relief that she was taking his decision so well.  Gwen was calm and accepting because Mrs. Lewis explained that he needed to move on with life, despite her mother’s death.

The next afternoon, Sharron joined their home and family.  Their wedding was a small one that took place at the courthouse while she was at school.  They had then gone away for the weekend while she stayed with the Lewis family.  When they returned her father went back to work, she went back to school and no one ever mentioned a time when Sharron wasn’t there even though Gwen heard all sorts of gossip elsewhere.  Until the dress incident, Gwen never mentioned what she knew about their affair starting before her mother’s illness. 

Gwen finished the last bite of her cake and realized that this might be the longest amount of time she spent with her father alone since he remarried.  She hadn’t spent much time with him before then, so she didn’t feel much of a loss when he remarried.  It wasn’t like she was losing him. 

Before her mother took ill he spent the bulk of his time at work.  As her mother was ill most of Gwen’s life, Gwen remembered more of the nurses and housekeeper who looked after her than she did her mother.  After her mother took ill, Henry spent time at work and at the hospital once her mother could no longer remain at home. 

After her mother died, he spent more time at work coming home to sleep.  The housekeeper and Mrs. Lewis made sure she was taken care of, claiming he was, in his own way, grieving. Then when he married Sharron he worked and then occasionally went out with Sharron. By then it was habit for Gwen to go with the Lewis’ and so that remained.  The housekeeper, Joanne remained working until her husband Roger retired and the two of them decided to move to Florida to be near the ocean.  Gwen was fourteen then and before Joanne left she made certain Gwen could take care of all of her own personal needs, from dinner to laundry. When they were in private Sharron mostly ignored her and when they were in public she acted like the doting mother.

Gwen always knew her father loved her, but they weren’t close. She didn’t think he was really close to anyone, including Sharron.  As the meal ended, the check was paid and they got ready to leave, Gwen realized her father didn’t know much more about her than her grandparents did. 

Out of the restaurant, they each had their own cars and drove back to town separately.


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