“A Girl From the Apple Orchard”
1) We meet Laura on a Saturday, deep in thought in her home office where Roy thinks she is writing her book. Instead, we learn that she is trying to write a letter explaining why she is about to leave. Her thoughts take her far away, and only a loud noise brings her out of the trance. Upon investigation, Laura learns that it was only wind slamming the previously open window shut. Relieved, she tries to write, but nothing satisfactory makes it onto the paper. A pile of discarded balls of paper surround the trash can. Roy returns home with groceries to make dinner. When Laura confesses she was not able to write anything, he comforts her by saying she will do better next time. [Click here for more of Part 1]
2) Roy returns with groceries on another Saturday afternoon to a quiet home. Assuming that Laura is writing, as per usual, he unpacks the bags and begins to make plans for dinner. After a while, he grows slightly agitated and looks for Laura in her office. In the dark room, all he finds is what looks like a gift bag placed on the desk. In the meantime, we learn that Laura is on a moving train, but we are unsure of her immediate plans. Her fellow passenger – a young boy keeps swinging his legs and kicking her in the shins, but his mother does not even seem to care, excusing him as: “just a kid.” Laura gets up and walks out in search of a more peaceful seat. Then, we jump back to Roy who is finishing reading a letter from Laura. There is a teddy bear for Tommy in the gift bag. When Tommy runs into the room and tells Roy he is hungry, Roy puts the gift away and tells his son they will get pizza for dinner and watch TV. They leave the room, the letter, and the bear behind. [Click here for more of Part 2]
3) About a week or so later, Laura fires her gun reflexively and kills an enemy combatant, which leads to her being chased by his compatriots. As she runs away, she trips and falls down a hill, but manages to get up quickly and runs towards the forest where she hides and tends to her injuries. Unfortunately, shortly after, she is apprehended and taken away on horseback. Her captors bring her in before a woman on a throne. [Click here for more of Part 3]
Although Tommy had probably been asleep for well over 15 minutes, Roy was still seated on his bed with a book in hand. The little boy’s chest falling and rising was hypnotic. These days, Roy concentrated on anything that would keep his mind occupied, away from the pain of thinking about Laura.
“Damn it,” he cursed at himself for breaking focus.
Roy got up slowly to make sure Tommy did not wake, put the book back on the shelf, and then switched off the night lamp, leaving the fluorescent stars on the ceiling as the only source of light. In the doorway, he turned around and looked at his son once more.
“He’s such a beautiful angel,” he mused before lifting his head up to the ceiling. “He needs a mother!” he thought almost angrily before leaving the room.
He did not ask much of God for himself, but, like any parent, he wanted the best for his child. Roy knew what it meant for a boy to grow up without his mother because his passed away when he was barely three years old. He knew how much his father had to struggle to raise him by himself. He did not want that reality for his kid.
Standing in front of the bathroom sink, he splashed some water onto his face, wondering if he was cursed, unable to ever have women in his life without them leaving one way or another. He worried that by having an offspring, he might have condemned them to the same fate. Roy barely recognized himself when he lifted his head up and looked into the mirror. His empty eyes were underlined by dark semicircles, his cheeks hollow, and his lips chapped. He had not felt inspired to to take care of himself in a while. Tommy was his priority.
“I should take a shower,” Roy thought having noticed his greasy hair. “For Tommy,” he whispered, stepping into the tub.
The warm water caressed Roy’s skin, allowing him to relax a little bit and shed some of his sadness without anyone witnessing it.
Once nice and clean, Roy made his way into the living room and turned on the TV. He did not sit down to watch it, however. Instead, he took a landscape painting off the wall and removed its backing. There, he found a pink piece of paper folded in half. Sitting down on the sofa, he read:
“My Dearest Roy,
When I look into your eyes,
I see a galaxy
made of great, bright stars –
just like you and I.
We will shine for all eternity.
Together as one
It has been a while since he read these words – a wedding vows draft no one knew he kept. “Some vows” he scorned before placing the piece of paper back into the frame.
Then, he pulled out a note from his jeans’ back pocket, placed it gently on the coffee table and took a deep breath. It was a note Laura left behind on her desk. Even though he read it once before, he could not recall what words Laura used to communicate her leaving. And words were important. “Especially those uttered by a writer,” he thought.
He hoped she did not make excuses, and instead, that she owned up to what she decided to do. He knew she had not been happy, especially as of late, but he prayed that it had more to do with her career, or lack there of, rather than with him and Tommy. After all, Laura did often tell him how he and Tommy were the light of her life, and he believed her. There was this spark in her eyes whenever she would say it. Aside from that, he could see something else behind those eyes. Maybe a hint of sadness. But also, most definitely – joy.
I’m sorry I’m such a coward… I couldn’t say ‘Goodbye’ because I knew that the pain I’d see in your eyes would cause me to re-evaluate my decision to leave and it’s not something I could afford…
And what would I tell Tommy anyway? He deserves better. I’ll leave it up to you to tell him whatever you want.
Please know that I HAD TO go. Not for me, but for YOU.
Things will be better. Soon. I’m sure of it...
P.S. Please give Tommy a hug and a kiss from me.”
Roy crumpled the note and tossed it in the trash.
“Coward,” he mumbled, pulled the paper out of the bin, and placed it back in his back pocket.
“Why do they all leave?” he sniffled before getting into bed.
“Write a story inspired by the word ‘owl.'”
– prompt used for this CW piece.
P.S. As always, you are more than welcome to use this prompt to inspire your post. If you decide to write something, be sure to pingback to this post so that I can get an alert and check out your piece. (A post on how to do pingbacks can be found here.) If pingbacks are not your thing, feel free to simply leave a link to your piece in the comment section below. The more, the merrier!
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