CW: A Girl From the Apple Orchard (4/12)

Previously

On

“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.

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

galaxy.

With love,

Your Owl.

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.

Roy…

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...

Until then

Love,

Laura.

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.
[Source: BlogBattle]

***

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!

Stay golden,

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***

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30 thoughts on “CW: A Girl From the Apple Orchard (4/12)

Add yours

  1. Aha! I was looking forward to reading part 4 to see where this was all going. And it’s going good! I didn’t enjoy part 3 as much, but this change of direction back to Roy was an unexpected bonus. It caught me by surprise again, but in a good way. The pacing was good and the emphasis on Roy’s emotions and thoughts was great, and it lays the groundwork for what I’m sure will be some interesting revelations. Big thumbs up from me!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Clever way of using “owl” 😀. The petnames some people use, eh?!
    I ask J every morning “Did you sleep like a baby moose” (did you sleep well). Can’t even remember where it originates from, but it just became a habbit 😅

    A man showing emotions?! Big plus and something I have yet to witness in real life

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Very insightful and full of depth! I was expecting we would return to Laura and the woman on the throne, but this bit with Roy was very enjoyable. I liked the line about how he was able to shed some sadness in the shower – gave me the imagery of tears mixing with water droplets. I also really liked the part where he mumbles “Coward” and retrieves the note. We’re left wondering if he referred to Laura, himself, or in a way, both. Looking forward to part five!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Laura and the woman on the throne comes next month. I quite enjoy the alternating chapters (or parts) of Laura and Roy.

      I’m glad to hear that the imagery of tears mixing with water droplets came to mind. That was the intent.

      A-ha! I like you questioning the ‘coward.’

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ahh, lovely. I like the psychology of it, how Roy draws a line between his mother’s death and his wife leaving him, and his internal conflict and fears. It makes him feel more like a real person to me. I also like how he observes that he ought to take note of the wording of his wife’s letter because she’s a writer. 😆

    I (somewhat, sometimes) like proofreading though, so I’ll submit two typos: “He worried that by having an offspring, he might have condemned him to the same faith.” (I don’t think faith is what was meant… Unless the world is actually some religious dystopia where kids without mothers get forced into the church. I really don’t think so though. Also, a question: I’m not exactly up on my grammar and punctuation and whatnot, but isn’t using pronouns of the same gender in the same sentence to refer to different people one of those technically improper things? It’s not like it isn’t easy to tell who you’re referring to though.)
    Second typo: “he prayed that it had more to do with her career, or there lack of” (‘There’ instead of ‘the’, is all.)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s great to hear that Roy feels “real!” I was worried I might overdo him a little. Glad that wasn’t the case.

      You know, I find that, in this story, more than others, I drop hints of me as a writer. My partner pointed out a time or two (in heated arguments) that my words are supposed to be more… polished/ precise because I’m a writer. I beg to differ. We use words to create different interpretations 😀

      I absolutely adore your proofreading, and I’ve told you that before. So, please, I welcome it.

      Thank you for quoting this bit. It definitely does not read easy. I changed him to them. I’ve been using “them” for years but have recently read something about that not being recommended. Writing rules seem to change too quickly for me to follow them 😛

      Changed to “lack there of.” Thanks for the edits 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I figured you were channeling some of your own experiences, what with Laura’s writing struggles and the kid on the train. I like your… interpretation (😜)… of what it means to be a writer. Though, ideally, I suppose we’re aware of all those different interpretations. There’s a difference between writing and talking though. With talking, there’s less editing, and less time for measuring. It’s harder.

        You may have told me so before, but I still worry about being a jerk, especially since my own writing rules are a little sideways. 😅

        Liked by 1 person

          1. I wish you luck. Generally when I try slowing down to deliberate my words, I wind up saying nothing. Of course, that’s mostly because by the time I get my mind working again, the conversation has already moved on.

            Nothing’s wrong with it, per se. It just isn’t necessarily what most people expect.

            Liked by 1 person

  5. I think you’ve done a great job of humanising Roy. Left alone to care for a child — it’s hard to not sympathise with him. No matter how grave Laura’s situation, she could have communicated with him as opposed to this mess. I like how you paused between the cliffhanger last time — took your time to focus the camera lens elsewhere. Nice build of tension! We all want to know about that woman on the throne…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have to admit that I enjoyed the ‘building tension’ part. The woman on the throne comes back next month.

      Laura’s situation is complicated. Sometimes people just don’t know what to say.

      Thanks for your feedback, Joshua!

      Liked by 1 person

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