I am SO excited! For ages, I have been developing this story in my brain. I have really wanted to write something worth posting on AP. Something that I would follow through with, and not give up on. I want this picked apart, and be given brutally honest comments.
Just to give a foreword, this story is about a woman who's husband died. She has one daughter. She lives in Alice Springs which is a real place in Australia. It has a population of about 25,000 but I only want my fictional place to be 1,000. Small town, hot temperature, in the middle of the Australian bush. The story is about how she realizes everything doesn't have to be perfect.
The paragraphs with this ** are meant to be flashbacks. I couldn't get the whole thing to italicize.
A little blurb first:
Ainsley-Kate lived a perfect life. In a perfect world, with the two people she loved the most.
But then that world was shattered. Like a mirror. Into a million shards.
And no longer was anything perfect.
Live the life of Ainsley-Kate, as she searches for a future and a hope. As she learns, everything doesn't have to be perfect.
It was Kristen who kept me going. I never realised it, but it was always her.
The pounding of the computer keys, the ticking of the clock, and the warmness of the coal heater…that’s what made me feel comfortable. That’s what helped me to forget.
If I got too busy, caught up in work, then I wouldn't have to remember.
If I didn't remember, then it would all go away.
I was trying to pretend.
And that’s why I worked like mad.
Someone rapped on the glass of my office door.
“Come in,” I said, barely glancing from my screen.
A gust of warm air rushed through the doorway, as my colleague, Dale, opened it. I winced as the hinges groaned. They needed an oil manicure.
“Those hinges really need fixing.”
“Yeah.” I lifted my head to see him inspecting the dirty blind shades.
He sighed. “Darlene wants to see you.”
“Okay.” I leant back in my easy chair, and almost unconsciously started pounding at the keys again.
“Like, now, Kate.”
“Coming, coming. I’m coming.”
Sweet, petite Darlene was “boss” of the entire newspaper building. Her office was scented with the perfume she used everyday. It was from Paris, or so they told me.
I marched into her office, only to gag at the over-powering odour of her supposed from-Paris perfume.
“Hi,” I mumbled, wishing to be anywhere else but this suffocating office.
“Did you wanna sit down?” Darlene motioned towards the peach-tinted chair opposite her desk.
“Sure.” I noticed a new pillow on the chair. Covered in cat print. Cats. Darlene loved cats.
“Kate…I, um, wanted to know the reason you’re working so hard.”
“So you’re pleased with my work?”
“No, no. No. I was just wondering what inspired you…a book? A quote? I know a few workers here could certainly use a bit of motivation.” She adjusted her neat bun, wound into her thin brown hair. “So?”
“No motivation, really. I just sort of realized that things needed doing around here.”
“Ah. I see. So, um, Kate, why don’t you take a break?” Her cat, Missy, curled up beside her on a pile of papers. I was disgusted. I hate cats.
“What the heck for?”
Darlene threw her hands up. “A reward for all the hard work you’ve done! Everyone needs a break sometime.”
“Really, Kate, I insist. You could spend time with, ah, what’s her name? Kristen. Yeah.”
“Darlene, seriously, I’m fine. Anyways, I have a huge article that needs editing. So…excuse me.” I got up, away from the cat cushions, and made a beeline for the door.
“Kate…” Darlene fiddled with the turquoise ring on her skinny thumb. “Do you want to get a coffee after hours? Like…like we used too?”
I remembered sunny afternoons, chatting under the tree that overshadowed the small café. They were nice days. But that was in the past. I shrugged away the warm memories.
“As I said, this humongous article is waiting for me. Maybe tomorrow. Bye!”
Work left me drained.
I usually drunk three mega cups of coffee a day, but it didn't help. Neither did the energy drinks the office had stashed inside the staff freezer.
I pulled my car out of the asphalt parking lot. I turned on the radio, only to turn it off again. I hated news updates. That’s all it ever played.
Dusk was falling as my little car sped along the streets. Alice Springs had way too many gum trees along the road, but no one really cared. Or really, no one bothered to clean them up.
That’s how the accident happened. All because everybody was too lazy to leave their air conditioning.
I slammed down on the breaks, realizing I was in my driveway. I left the car unlocked. No one would steal it.
I turned the handle of the great oak door. It was …hobbit-like.
“Ha, the handle’s in the middle!”
“I know, right? That’s why I bought it, honey. You know why?”
“And now I will proceed to carry my elf-bride across it!”**
I walked on the creaky floor boards, remembering the laughter it produced years ago. The books that lined the walls were filled with fantasy novels. How he liked them. How she takes after him.
My heels made dull clicks on the floor, reminding me of reality.
My stomach rumbled. I realised I hadn't eaten since my weetbix for breakfast. I was starving.
Dumping my bag on the hallway unit, I looked around the lounge room.
The house was neat. Cleaner than I’d left it this morning. Kristen must have tidied it.
My sweet, 16 year old, baby Kristen.
**“What do you want to call it?”
“Whatever you say, honey.”**
“Kristen? Are you home?”
I heard giggles, mixed with boyish laughs, coming from the kitchen, for an answer. I cringed.
My sweet, baby girl…
Who had a boyfriend.