Saturday, May 10, 2008

Not what she'd planned

She'd had it all figured out. Grow up and leave her past behind. Go to college, get a great job, marry a great husband, leave the great job to stay home and raise a couple of great kids. Heck, she'd even bought one of those cute retro aprons to wear with the idea that even if her food sucked she'd look like good making it.

It started out alright. She'd gotten the degree, landed the husband, had the kids, everything was right on schedule. She cooked healthy meals, kept the house and children clean, ferried them around to playgroups and kindermusik and soccer. She spent months planning their annual vacation, searching for the perfect rental accommodation within walking distance of the perfect family-friendly beachside promenade. She kept her husband's work shirts perfectly ironed, and made sure she brought the perfect dish to the company picnic. Everything was perfect. Life was perfect.

And then one day the telephone rang.

There was so much static on the line she could barely hear the voice on the other end. After endless rounds of "who? what? WHERE???" she realized it was her husband, who was in Cleveland on a business trip. Except he wasn't in Cleveland. He was calling from Tahiti. Hold on, he was what? He's not supposed to be in Tahiti, he's supposed to be in Cleveland. What the hell happened to Cleveland? After a few more attempts she finally understood. There was no Cleveland. There had never been a Cleveland. There was only Tiffany, his 23 year old, 110 pound secretary, and Tahiti. And some tiny inn he'd apparently bought in Papeete. He wasn't coming home. Ever. But you don't even speak French, she said. No, but Tiffany does. We've got it all figured out.

They've got it all figured out. Great, just great. And when exactly had all this planning taken place? While she was ironing his shirts? While she was driving their children, the children they were supposed to raise together, to playdates and soccer? While she'd been baking a pie for his damn company picnic?

With just one phone call it had all come crashing down. He'd gone off to live his fantasy, and hers had gone up in smoke. What the hell was she supposed to do now?

This is not what she had planned. Not at all. All of her hard work and this is how he repays her. Damn him for that, she whispered to herself. She opened the phone book to divorce lawyers, promising herself that she'd find one that would ensure he could never afford even an "I went to Tahiti..." t-shirt, let alone plane fare home to see his children.

Two could play at this game. She'd see that his little fantasy turned into his worst nightmare. She wondered how much little Tiffany would like him when he's just a penniless 45 year old man who's losing his hair...

26 comments:

poppy fields said...

I love your stories. There's a book in there just waiting to get out.

shubd said...

Lovely story !

The way her fantasy gives way for his fantasy to exist ..and then her fantasy of sweet revenge is created to end his !! Does this means only one fantasy can exist at one time? !! :)

Shannon said...

Great story and all too true for many!

anthonynorth said...

I enjoyed that.
Now you've got to do a 'revenge' story as a sequal :-)

angie said...

Ooohhhhhh.....love how you integrated both writing prompts!

gautami tripathy said...

Have you ever considered writing a book?! If not, do it now!

Julia Smith said...

I'm with Shubd - in your story it does seem that only one fantasy can exist at one time. And I agree with Poppy Fields and Gautami - give fiction writing some serious thought.

Robin said...

To me, it's more that his and her fantasies couldn't coexist, rather than that a sequential thing. His wants and hers were mutually incompatible.

I'm not sure I've got it in me to write a book. The few fictional pieces I've written are a page or two at the very most, and most less than that. Thank you for the vote of confidence though, it's an intriguing idea I must admit.

keith hillman said...

You are a great storyteller! I so enjoyed this

Just Jen said...

hehe...i love the last line! penniless bald man...LOL...sweet
look I made it back here in less than a month! lol

Domestic Spaz said...

I loved this... it reminds me of a piece one of my friends wrote a while ago that I also loved.

You are infinitely talented. :)

And thanks SO much for the site! I'm checking it out now.

Granny Smith said...

I hope she got what she deserved (big settlement) and that he got what he deserved (that,s obvious, isn't it?).

Great short fiction.

margalit said...

This actually happened to my other friend Robin. Her father up and left her mother and 4 kids and ran off to the Caribbean with all the money and his secretary, never to be heard from again. Robin's mom, whom I know really well, rebounded in a big way after years of tough existance, moved to NoCal, ran a tech recruiting business, and ended up doing better than she would have if the jerk had stayed!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Nice take on the two prompts! I'm going to combine them, too. Keep your eyes open...

Becca said...

Great storytelling, Robin!

This rang all too true to me - my mother lived this one for real. I could write this book too.

Janet said...

it sounds like a life story I wouldn't want to live through!

Rambler said...

nicely woven story..

GreenishLady said...

Oh, when the fantasy comes crashing down! You did this really well, Robin. You know, you can write fiction without having to write an entire novel. That's why they call short stories short! You're doing it, and doing it very well.

anno said...

What fun! I loved that line about promising herself that she'd find one that would ensure he could never afford even an "I went to Tahiti..." t-shirt, let alone.... I'm with everyone else who'd like to see you writing more!

ell said...

Wonderful, well-written story.

I agree with the others; give fiction writing a shot. It doesn't need to be a novel. You could submit to short fiction anthologies or even do a collection of your own.

danni said...

love the unspoken irony and the flow of your composition - great good story1

Fairly Odd Mother said...

More, more! I want to know what she does next!

Phyllis Sommer said...

ooh, i love it. a new series???? what happens next!?

GoaldeeBug said...

*shudders* That was creepily real!

Great story, love it! I'll be checking out more of your blog :)

Cheers

one more believer said...

...excellent story... the perfect wife, mother, lover... ahh, not so perfect now... penniless bald man.. yeppers, now that sounds like revenge...

This Eclectic Life said...

OMG! You've GOT to publish some short stories!!