Saturday, February 9, 2008

My first short story in a long time.

Sheila clutched the pack of matches in her hand and looked around - gleaming pots and pans, the latest appliances, a shiny granite kitchen counter and spotless floor tiles. She would miss it all so much. Sheila liked putting meals together and rated herself 7 on a scale of 10. Her friends loved her innovative cuisine. Problem was, her friends dropped in only occasionally. And her family was a different game altogether. She was tired of them telling her what to make and how to make it. The worst came from her husband whose self-professed culinary skills she had yet to experience.

For 13 years she had slaved and tried harder each time he made a "suggestion" which invariably began with "If only you had..." And she did exactly that the next time, waiting for approval which never came. What did come was another round of "If only you had..."

Things had disintegrated in the past week. Nothing had come out well. The new recipes had gone down the drain, literally, and not down anyone's throats, except her own. Her boys were getting almost as belligerent and critical as her husband. That really hurt. She wanted them to respect her. But perhaps her desperate need to be accepted did not exactly inspire respect.

The kerosene had smelt odd on her skin earlier, considering that high-end perfumes were her sole indulgence. But perfumes couldn't do what the kerosene would. And yet, when she opened the box and plucked out a match to end it once and for all, it seemed all wrong. She darted into the bathroom for a quick shower, dumped her clothes in the washing machine, and put away the can...


The blaze had died down. The firemen were rolling up their hoses. Sheila's husband stood in front of their house, shell-shocked at the scene. "I don't know how the gas could have leaked. I'm so sorry," she sobbed. She really was. Sheila had turned that house into a home and given it her all. And got nothing in return.

"It's okay," said her husband. "Thank God the fire brigade came as soon as they did. Or else we could have lost the entire house."

"What will we do now?" she asked, gazing at the remains of her kitchen.

He sighed. "Maybe we could stay with your parents for a couple of months until we can rebuild this part of the house? I hate your mother's cooking, but what can we do?" Sheila looked into his eyes fearfully.

"It's alright," he assured her, patting her shoulder. "Think of it as an extended vacation."

Sheila smiled hesitantly. Bingo.

Note: This is my first attempt at writing fiction in more than a decade. If anybody has any suggestions to improve it, I will be more than grateful. Thank you.


Raising Mercury said...

gosh.. that was a good story, i could really feel the emotions of angst and frustration...indeed the need for a short vacation, to take a break from it all! perhaps, you might need one too? do take a day off =) pamper yourself =)dont even have to bring anyone along, sometimes you just need to be alone and get all the horrid-ness out of your system.. from your entries, it seems that you have been pretty stressed up lately, i know im no Dr Phil, im practically a stranger, but girl, think you need some time off =) you deserve it =) hope your family sees you for the beautiful courageous person you are! hugs...

Richard said...

Great Job on your first attempt to write fiction. I look forward to your next post! Keep on keeping on!

A Lost Writer said...

@raising mercury: many thanks for your inputs...have left a comment on your blog. please do keep coming back. :)

@richard: thanks so much for dropping by. i hope to continue 'practicing' and will remain grateful for feedback.

i know this might be too much, but if you could have some of your friends read this and if they could give me some feedback, it would be really really nice.

Once again, thanks, and please do keep coming back. :)

SueC said...

Hello....this is my first visit to your blog, but it certainly won't be my last :-).

I really enjoyed your short story. The tension and shock followed by sharing her relief came across extremely well. Looking forward to reading your next entry.

A Lost Writer said...

@Sue: Thank you so much for the encouragement. Please do keep coming back. :)

dunno said...

i think you have the talent for longer stories,i really enjoyed that's amazing how many people are living in silent desperation and need a way out.your character is all about that.

keep up the good work

A Lost Writer said...

Thanks, dunno. I'd say you're awfully perceptive. When I did write (in another lifetime) I always had stories planned out and the "short" stories were long-ish. But I could never finish them and still have heaps of diaries with half-done stories in them. This time, I needed that boost that comes with completing a task. Because as they say: A goal without a plan is just a wish.

Keep visiting! Cheers. :)