Short Story Sunday #2

11 Jan

Title: The Writer and The Mother
Word count: 1900.

The Writer and The Mother
Sandra Charmer was seated on a soft chair with a laptop in front of her. Warm fuzzy socks covered her feet and a hot steaming cup of coffee was resting near the laptop. After what happened the last time she had a cup of liquid so close to her computer, one might think she’d have at least learnt something. Oh well, that’s’ a story for another time.

She was typing away and wore a smile of her face. Such days were rare-days that oozed of nothing but inspiration and juicy ideas. She was in the zone. To hell with writer’s block; in that moment, the words were flowing from her like a river. She’d been at it for hours and now that she was going to impress her editors with her latest idea, all she felt was pride and joy. Her son was in the next room watching cartoons.

Being a writer hadn’t always been easy for Sandra. There was a time when she almost gave up on it all and settled for a 7-6 job. It was hard, and it was depressing. Something had to be done to pay the bills. Sacrifices had to be made. She’d lost all hope of ever having her work out there. That was when she’d first gotten out of college. A major in English with a 1 year old son, no husband or boyfriend to speak of and her family all but non-existent. Life seemed bleak. It was a trying time.

The upside was that she’d managed to get a job in a quaint little library in town and though it was close to something she loved-books- it wasn’t quite as satisfying as she’d have liked. She wanted to write, her fingers itched with the need of it. She wanted to share the world as she saw it in her eyes, she wanted to touch people’s lives and inspire, using nothing more than words.

So for a year, she worked her little bum off and managed to pay the bills. The library wasn’t half bad. She could afford a sitter for her son, she could put food on the table and life went on. Boringly. All the while, she’d write a couple of words after work and as time went by the words increased and increased until it became something that resembled an actual novel. Believing in yourself can breed the most amazing results.

Her big break came almost a year after that. After trying and failing with each publishing house she approached, she finally decided to go the non-traditional route and just put her book online. Social media was a gift she was grateful for and thank the heavens for ebooks. Working in a library had come in handy as well because she found it easy to tell readers about her book. In such situations, you have to use every weapon at your disposal. The fact that most of those readers had blogs was the icing on the bibliophile’s beautiful cake. Her book got more love than she’d anticipated and the e-book that was selling for nothing more than peanuts at first got a major boost and she actually made some money. It’d felt so good.

Then like a really good dream you wouldn’t want to wake up from, she’d gotten approached by an actual publishing house. It was small and up and coming but it was still a publishing house. You have to jump at every opportunity that presents itself to you, no matter how small. She was finally going to lose the ‘self-published’ tag and she couldn’t have been prouder. It’d all felt surreal to her. Her next novel was published and just like the first, it’d gotten the buzz it deserved. Sandra was making her mark on the literary world.

For a while at least.

Not all books turn out to be best sellers and no matter how much of your blood, sweat and soul you pour in your work, sometimes it’s just never enough to make the dent you need or want. It’s the unfairness and cruelty of life.

All these happenings sort of got her accustomed to a certain way of life and shaped her to be the writer that she’d turned out to be-Which brings us to this most eventful day that had started with her bathing and feeding her son. Sandra was still typing when her phone buzzed. It was the editor and owner of the publishing house, Edna.

“Hello, Edna. So good to hear from you.” She said, her smile was still on her face. It was a good day after all. She’d typed so much that she couldn’t have been prouder if she tried. She had a good feeling about her latest work in progress.

“Sandy, I’m afraid I have some bad news.” Edna said, “You know how I care about you, right? Thanks to your books, my business was a major success.” Her voice made Sandra hold her breath. What could be so bad that Edna would call personally?

“Okay. What’s the problem?”

“The sales of you last books have been less than satisfactory. We’ve talked about this before but now, we can’t just keep ignoring it.” That didn’t sound good. It didn’t sound good at all. “The series just isn’t gaining the momentum that we would like. We’re going to have to let you go.” Edna said.

The air felt thin as soon as Sandra heard the last part. She knew that after the success of her first two books, the others were a bit…underappreciated. Readers found them lacking. The series wasn’t close to even having a 3.5 star rating. But to be let go? That was just awful.

“Edna, c-come on. I’m working on a fantasy YA. I know it’s still a work in progress but it’s good. I can feel a best-seller coming up. Don’t do this. You have t-“

“Sandy, please.” Edna pleaded. “Don’t make this harder than it already is.”

“Hear me out at least. I know what my readers like and this book will-“

“The decision is final. I’m sorry.”

“What am I supposed to do now? Writing is all I know.” She thought about her son and all his needs. She thought about how it would be if she couldn’t write any more. It felt like she was being asked to cut off a piece of herself. An arm or a leg. It killed her, inside and out.

“Listen, over the years we’ve become friends and I care about you but this isn’t personal. I have to think about my company. We can’t keep making loses. I’ve put it off for long enough because you’re my friend. Because I owed you that much.” Edna’s voice was laced with so much sadness and sincerity that it almost broke Sandra even more than she already was.

She wanted to plead. She wanted to ask for a second chance. She would work harder and push more. She’d make sure that her next book would be loved. She’d do anything. Anything was better than being let go. It felt like she was once again letting her dream slip her by. It shattered her.

With a lump in her throat she managed to say, “Thank you. For the chance you gave me. Even if it was just for a while, at least I lived my dream.” It was a miracle that she was even being coherent in her thoughts and words. He mind was slowly turning to mush. Comprehending the situation was getting harder and harder.

“I really am sorry.” There was a deafening silence as neither one spoke, “this isn’t the end though. You’re a talented writer. Something will give. Take care okay.” Edna said and finally hung up. The kind words well appreciated, they were welcomed but they still didn’t ease Sandra’s aching heart.

Sandra just sat there for a few minutes, the phone still held to her ear. Through teary eyes she looked at the computer screen, her potential masterpiece stared back at her. The room felt like it was spinning. How was she going to move past this?

Bottling it up wasn’t helping and being frozen and glued to her seat was becoming a pain. So, she did the one thing that came into her mind. She shoved the cup of coffee away and screamed. She screamed and hoped it would hurt less. The poor mug hit the ground and smashed into a dozen pieces that scattered all over the floor and the beverage spilled everywhere. Damn. That was going to stain. Great, just great.

She heard the pitter-patter of tiny feet behind her and then the sweetest voice reached her ears, “Mom, your favowite cup is bwoken.” Her son, Chris, said. He was inching closer to her.

“Sweetie, please don’t get any closer.” She wiped her tears and walked to him. Upon reaching him, she knelt so that she was almost at his level. “There’s broken glass everywhere, you’ll hurt yourself, okay?” she gave him a smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes.

“Mommy, what’s wong? You have tears.” He wiped the trail of wetness with his small, chubby fingers. Her son had never seen her cry and the realisation that he could notice something like that undid her.

“Nothing, sweetie.” She hugged him and held him close, hoping and wishing that he could feel her love and care from that very hug. “I just got something in my eyes. That’s all.”
She broke the hug and ruffed up his hair. “Now, be a good boy and let mommy clean up this mess.” She gave him a smile, no point worrying her son. As a mother, sheltering him from such was her duty. “Go and watch your cartoon. Once I’m done we can watch Finding Nemo together.”

His face lit up upon hearing that and then he turned and started rushing off. After a couple steps he stopped and ran back, ”I wove you mommy.”

Sandra hadn’t planned on shedding any more tears but hearing that led to them pouring out shamelessly. She hugged him tight and then kissed his forehead. “I love you sweetie.” And she did. With every single part of her. “Now go, mommy has to clean that mess up.”

He left and she remained squatting there. Thinking. Wishing. Her son was the light in her life. Her everything. There were times when days got so stressful and hard but looking at his tiny beautiful face always brought a smile to her face. He was her joy. He washed all the pain and hardness away with nothing more than him simply looking at her with his big eyes full of life and potential.

Eventually, she got up and started picking up the broken pieces of the mug. She was extra careful not to cut herself. Though she doubted anything could match the pain and hurt she was already in.

She loved writing; it was a part of who she was. From the second she’d written her first story when she’d just been 8, she knew it’s what she wanted to spend her life doing. She didn’t want to do anything else. It’d become a huge part of her now that it felt almost like breathing. A necessity. So, what was she going to do now? She had enough money saved up to continue living a comfortable life. What about when she runs out?

For her son and her dream, she would climb a freaking mountain. For her son, she’d pick herself up and try once more. For her son, she’d get a 6-6 job.

-Till next time-

So short stories are hard. Tell me what you thought. Yeah, I can’t remember the last time I was near a toddler so I may have embellished on the dialogue. lol

Follow me on twitter Dee@The perks

-Dee

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One Response to “Short Story Sunday #2”

  1. phoenixgrey85 January 18, 2015 at 12:10 pm #

    A touching story. I really felt for Sandra.

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