Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Wayward Wind

Thirty-seven years

37 years, since she’d said I do, and folded herself up and put herself away along with her wedding dress and veil. 37 years of making beds, and doing dishes.  Cooking oatmeal and darning socks. 

And now, as she was about to hang out the laundry, she was mulling over Marvin's words.  What he’d said at breakfast while raising his coffee cup to her in a mock toast.

“Emma,  after all this time, you’re still as dependable as a Maytag washer!”

He’d said it after taking a swig of the Folgers she’d poured for him.  Snorted in amusement at his own wit.  She was so mad she’d wanted to spit in his mug.

Emma looked across the length of empty clothes line, and then at the basket piled high with wet clothes.  The poles at either end of the line were already sagging, as though the mere thought of the weight of all that washing was too much to bear.  She knew the feeling.

Dependable.

A dictionary full of words and that was the best he could do. It was the best he could do because he didn’t really know her.  Not the way she’d hoped, 37 years ago, that he would want to know her.

A quickening breeze whispered through her hair.  Tickled her legs and flipped up the hem of her dress. Took her by the heart and lead her into an ecstasy that dared her to remember-to remember when she was young. 

Thirty-seven years is a long time to be married.  Longer when the person you are married to doesn’t know you at all. Doesn’t know that memories of what might have been and longings for what could be, blow in on a wayward wind. 

 

The wayward wind is a restless wind
A restless wind that yearns to wander
And she was born the next of kin
The next of kin to the wayward wind

 

This piece was inspired by one of my favorite Patsy Cline songs, and this week’s Trifecta prompt.

ECSTASY (noun)

1

a : a state of being beyond reason and self-control

b archaic : swoon

2

: a state of overwhelming emotion; especially : rapturous delight

3

: trance; especially : a mystic or prophetic trance

 

Photo credit here.

45 comments:

  1. I was completely transported to this one moment in a long life.

    Her melancholy took on a life and a weight or its own for me, something tangible almost.

    That last line is wonderful, sad, perfect.

    Sigh. Lovely as always.

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    1. Thank you so much Jennifer! Your comment makes me sigh:)

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  2. I think so many of us could identify with this piece. You just want her to go seek out happiness and adventure.

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    1. Thanks Lisa! I know what you mean-that she can still have the life she'd hoped for...

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  3. This sentence: "37 years, since she’d said I do, and folded herself up and put herself away along with her wedding dress and veil."

    Seriously, one of the best opening lines I've ever read. So much is packed into that sentence. So well done, Valerie!

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    1. Melissa-thank you so much!! I'm totally flattered!!

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  4. This is just superb! Different and yet so relate able! I love your writing style. It's a pure pleasure to read. Oh I see you have a fiction blog. Excellent! I'll check it out.

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    1. Linda-thanks a million! I appreciate that comment, and I'd be honored to have you read anything I wrote:) I'll be reading more of your wonderful work too:)

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  5. "Took her by the heart"...such beauty in those words. The rawness of your story leading up to that point made it that much more beautiful. Sad and so well written!

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    1. Thanks Maggie! I'm so glad you like this:)

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  6. I would have said this was a melancholy tale but her anger and feeling of disillusionment was nearly palpable. Again, well done!

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    1. Jacqueline-Thanks for reading and making such a thoughtful comment too! Anger and disillusionment sum Emma up perfectly.

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  7. Aww, how sad! I have a feeling that many women probably know how this feels. I have faith that I will not be one of them, though! I have almost been married for 7 years and my husband has never called me dependable haha! He uses better adjectives for sure :) Loved this piece, Valerie.

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    1. Tammy-from what I've gathered from your comments about your husband he's a real keeper! Not like Marvin and his limited vocabulary at all;) I'm so glad!! Thank you so much for reading!

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  8. Ahh I liked this and am so sad for her. B

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    1. Thanks B! Emma needs her own Hero:) xx

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  9. This is wonderful! Heartbreaking, even though I want to shake her for tolerating it for 37 years. But that's what you did, and still do, when no other options are available. Beautiful writing!

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    1. steph-thanks so much! I wonder how many women like Emma are out there...We just have to hope they find a way to make the best of their situations if they can't ever change it.

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  10. Dependable's bad enough, but like a Maytag washer??? Really, Marvin.
    Opening sentence rocks, and you made the laundry sound like slave labor!
    Terrific story!

    bit of crit: The story is so good that the slight awkwardness of the last line makes me mention it. Read it out loud and I think you'll hear it. The idea of memories and longings blowing in on a wayward wind is excellent.

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    1. Thanks kymm! Not that Marvin would know how to use said washer;)

      Thanks for the concrit-I changed a word, and the flow of the sentence is smoother now. Let me know what you think:) I appreciate the feedback that I get from my fellow writers, because it really has helped me improve my own work!

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  11. I agree with steph. This is so heartbreaking and frustrating at the same time. I want to scream at Emma. "Get out! There's still time!" Poor Marvin. What a dummy.

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    1. Intarsia-thanks for your comment! I'd like to write more on this theme, exploring what options a woman, say in the 20's or 30's might have had...

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  12. Oh, he didn't say that! If my husband said those words to me, he'd be wise to sleep with one eye open :) This is so sad because she signed up for marriage- love and devotion...and it seems like he wanted an awesome maid. Only one of them got what was desired.

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    1. No kidding Janna! Thanks for your comment!!

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  13. Oh superbly sad. I hope that wind is the herald of some inspiring agent of change (though what a forward way of grabbing her attention if so)

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    1. Thanks Thomas! I hope so too, for her sake:)

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  14. Oh this was so beautiful and so well written. I could feel the wind that"tickled her legs,flipped up the hem of her dress." The hurt, the question..everything was so relatable, so understandable. wonderful job.

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    1. Thank you so much Ramsha! I so happy that you liked this!

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  15. You know what, Valerie? You made me want to cry.

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    1. Ted, that makes me happy-not because I wanted to make you sad... but because it means that I was successful in getting the sadness of her situation across. So thank you!! :)

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  16. This is so moving and sad. So many people are in this situation. The use of ecstasy and the clothesline metaphor were perfect. Well done.

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    1. Thanks lumdog! I only wish those folks knew how to make things better!

      I always appreciate your comments;)

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  17. Oh no he didn't. :0

    I'd hang him out to dry for that! She should go with that wind and be free of him (:

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  18. This almost brought me to tears. I want her run away with the wind, and perhaps not be so "dependable".
    Well written, obviously, to make me teary.

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    1. Thanks Renee! I want her to run away with the wind too:)

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  19. Very nicely done, Valerie! Yes, many marry and still don't know each other and others marry and know that person's heart at that moment, which never changes.

    You.crack.me.up! Now I didn't say a purse 'you had stolen'for over 20 years? hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

    Good one.

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  20. Great imagery, especially at the end. Nice writing!

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    1. Thanks so much! I appreciate that!

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  21. Oh Valerie, this is so beautiful and so sad. What a great job you've done bringing us into her world. I really hope she dumps the laundry and walks off into the wind!

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    1. Thank you Suzanne! I hope she does too!

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  22. Oh Emma. You need to catch the next train outta there, honey. Or have a long, long, long chat with that husband of yours.

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    1. No kidding! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

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