Monday, June 24, 2013

Haleighanna's Hands: Short Story Submission for Somerset Place

Photography by Andrea C. Jenkins featured in Life Images 2008
For information about the contest, click here.

Thought I would take a chance on something new! Somerset Place, the blog of (publishers of Somerset Studio among other incredible magazines), is running a contest for a short story inspired by the photo above. Below is my submission. (Forgive the formatting issues!)

Just Grab and Go

Mary was solid, like an anchor--steady and constant. People counted on her. She knew a lot. In the office, she was the one people went to with questions. At church, people shared their problems with her because she knew things there too. She was a problem solver.

Mary believed in efficiency. A full day of tasks and meetings, even Saturdays. Every moment accounted for. Conversations had a purpose--pleasant but with a point. She liked that about herself.

Her home was organized and efficient. Clean, but generic. Everything in its place. Everything matched because beige and gray go with beige and gray. Her closet was full of black. Everything black. It made the morning go faster. Just grab and go.

A normal day. Emails read. Check. Calls returned. Check. An unremarkable day, similar to any other day in the past twenty-five years…until the budget meeting. There amid the figures and projections, with her hand on her chin, she found it. A hair. Not a soft hair, it felt more like stubble. For the next twenty minutes she ran her finger over it. Again and again. She no longer heard words. When it was over, she ran to the bathroom and there it was. The hair.

For the rest of the day, Mary tried to concentrate, but it was was a lost cause. She had tried all afternoon to pull the hair out at her desk, but it she couldn't quite grab it. After work, she bought her first pair of tweezers. And a magnifying mirror so that she could find any other hairs that were lurking.

At home, before she grabbed the mail or took off her shoes, she was in the bathroom. It only took a second to pull it out. She stared at the black hair in her hand and there was relief. Then she wondered how long it had been there. She finally rinsed it down the drain.

Walking into the closet to change, she stopped. Other than the beige walls, there was only black. Black had been easier, but tonight, for the first time, she realized that there was only black and black was the absence of light. In the living room and bedroom, there were only shades of gray and beige.

All the color had drained out of her life. She sat on the bed and she cried.
The changes were small. A blue T-shirt here, a pair of green jeans. Then patterns. Then patterns next to other patterns, sometimes matching, sometimes not. "Good morning" became "What did you do last night?" Then talks about books and movies.

The dreams started. Full color, high-definition dreams. Dreams that did not include budget meetings or black clothes. Dreams that were all her own.

One remarkable day, a day unlike any she had in her twenty-five year career; a day unlike any in her forty-nine year life. She grabbed her new blue flowered bag, packed her clothes, and started something new.
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