Story A Day: Day 15: For the Greater Good

Prompts

Rewrite your First Person story from Week One

 

For the Greater Good by Sojourner McConnell

 

I have been a banker since graduating High School. I attended Night school while working at the bank to get my degree in Accounting. I was used to sad stories, stories of the downtrodden, the hopeful and the unworthy. It was one of the duties as a personal banker that I did not like. It was a normal day when I had the meeting with Roger Banks. I knew his father well, and I knew more about him that he might imagine. I was sorry to hear that Mr. Oliver Banks, his father and one of my clients, had passed away. I knew that it would be hard on the son as the trust fund would not transfer over to him. I had heard some unsettling news of his sense of entitlement from his own father’s lips. O

liver Banks always felt like he had failed his son by not making him more financially astute. Oliver was always embarrassed by Roger’s belief that he did not have to work hard for anything.
When young Banks showed up at my office this morning I was not surprised. Even thought he had never felt the need to come to me before, I expected him to come find out about his inheritance. I knew he had been given an ample allowance by his father. I had set up the trust fund originally.

 

When I saw young Roger in the lobby, I prepared for begging and pleading to release more funds. I did not relish the thought of explaining to him that he had been basically cut off without a penny.There were details that I was not privy to in the will. Those were not under my scope as personal banker.

 

I welcomed Roger when he was reaching my office. He looked sad, angry and a little bewildered.
He held out his hand and said, “Hello Mr. Conrad, thank you for meeting with me. I believe you were my father’s personal banker?” I shook his outstretched hand as I told him, “I was sorry to hear about your father. He was a good man. We shared a lot of afternoons together going over his finances. Let’s talk in my office.”
We entered my office and I motioned for him to take a seat. “I am sorry to hear of your father’s passing. I enjoyed working with your father. Oliver was a wonderful man.”
He began to speak with a shaky voice. “Thank you for seeing me, I am in need of some advice, and finances. I am here because you did know my father. To be up front and frank with you, Mr. Conrad, I need finances in order to complete his wishes in his will. He wanted me to continue his good work, and I feel compelled to do my best to accomplish his last desire.”
I listened to him and when he slowed, I encouraged him to continue.
He took a breath, his eyes were cast down and his head bent. His tone was quiet but sincere. “My father had a secret life, a part of his life that he never told anyone about. He had been born a twin. His twin was not a hard worker like Dad was. Dad and Uncle Carl were as different as day and night. Carl kept getting in trouble as a teenager and young man. By the time he was twenty five he had been to prison for grand larceny. He was given twenty years. When he got out, he was expected to be reformed and be willing to stay out of trouble.”
When he stopped speaking once again I prompted him to tell me more. I wasn’t sure what this had to do with me, but I was indeed curious. I simple said, “Go ahead, Roger.”
Nodding his head, gathering his thought he did speak again. “There was a problem in this. There was nowhere for him to go. My mother did not want him to come live with us. She didn’t trust him. It was sad, but she believed he would rob us blind. He ended up homeless and on the streets, supplementing his income with petty thefts. As you might have suspected, he was arrested again. Once again there he was spending more time in the local jail until his court date. Months went by and he was calling collect to the house. Occasionally getting through to my dad, most of the time being thwarted by my mother. My Mother never wanted him to be in her world.”
I could see he was nervous. His hands were fidgeting in his lap and his voice was raw with emotion.
“Why I am here meeting with you, is to ask for funds to open this halfway house. Fully funded and supported by a foundation I am to set up anonymously. This was the test my Father has put in place with his will. It states that I do not inherit enough to live on much less support this foundation unless I can find the funds to complete this project. I have come to you, with no credit of my own, to ask you to fund this project with the understanding that once the home is built and opened, I will have all the funds needed to pay the loan and support the foundation. If I am able to secure this loan from you, then many men will be helped. Taught to read, taught to make their resume, balance a checkbook. They will in essence be given an opportunity to thrive after prison.”
I tried to not let him see that his story was affecting me greatly. I kept my hands on my desk as he finished speaking.
“The project must be done anonymously. I am not even sure if they will appreciate me confiding in you, but I am asking you to respect my confidence. But I need this loan desperately. My uncle needs it. He is to be released in one year and that is my deadline on finishing the house.”
When he concluded, I nodded to him showing that I understood what all he had shared with me. I felt honored that he had confided in me and I assured him I would do my best with the board. I asked him to give me one week. I went to the board and without sharing the details of his conversation, I guaranteed his loan personally. I assured the board that they would get their money back if we were to back this project. It took almost three full days, but I was able to persuade them to agree.
On the afternoon of the third day, I called Roger. I could tell he was anxious, I could hear it in his voice and he had picked up on the first ring. When he said his expectant “Hello” I responded.
“Hello Roger, This is Elijah Conrad.” I could hear his breathing heavy and rapid through the phone. I went on eager to tell him the good news. “I hope you realize how much talking I had to do to get your loan approved.” I took a breath and could hear his own intake of breath.
“ I did not tell your story. I assured the board that they would be paid back. I guaranteed that fact to the board. We did it Roger! The loan is approved and the project can start immediately. I have promised you to help you and I hope you realize that means I will never tell your story to anyone, ever!”
I ended the call after a few more moments. I felt that deep satisfaction that comes with doing something for the greater good. I heard from Roger on occasion over the next several months. It was almost one year later. I believe it was eleven months, to be exact, that I received a letter in the mail.
The letter had a sturdiness to it that comes from card stock. I saw there was no return address and I grew very curious. Once I opened the envelope I could see that it was an invitation to a ribbon cutting. A smile began to crawl across my face. I read the words once, then once again.

A Home of New Beginnings
Founded by the Father’s Brother Foundation

A sense of pride came over me. I knew at that moment that I had made a good decision indeed. It was with great happiness that I attended the ribbon cutting of the halfway house that Roger had successfully opened. I knew I would never tell anyone the secrets that Roger had shared. The house would open just in time for his Uncle to be released from prison. I felt confident that with the support of his family, it would be for the last time.

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Story A Day: Day 12: Meeting of the Minds

The Prompt

Write a story with the flawed protagonist

Meeting of the Minds by Sojourner McConnell

Ronald Jackson had always been a man that wanted to be successful. He had attended the local college and was happy to report each semester that he had made the dean’s list. He was proud of his 4.0 grade point average.

Ron, as his friends called him, was popular with people his own age and usually was popular with his Mother’s friends. Until he opened his mouth and blurted out exactly what was on his mind. No matter how inappropriate that thought was. His mother had tried to teach him to keep some thoughts to himself, but it never quite took. Ron did not even realize he did this.

He did not realize it, even after his mother pointed it out to him that he had hurt Joyce Cloverton’s feelings when he saw her in braces for the first time. He had blatantly told  her “You look like a rabbit chewing through its cage!”

When Ron was being social, his parents and friends would cringe when he would blurt out some random idea. They had a lot of opportunities for him to embarrass them. Yet, it never seemed to embarrass him. He always acted as if he were doing someone a favor by speaking out.

Ron walked into the conference room, dressed professionally and looking his best. He noticed a few people already seated at the large oblong oak table. He proceeded to his own chair on the far end. Pouring himself a glass of water he straightened his papers and sat down. Glancing around he saw that there were two new people that he had not seen before. He looked from one to the other trying to figure out why there were new people in the monthly meeting.

“Who are you two and why are you here? His voice was not harsh, but it did come across as brash and simply rude.

The woman in the blue skirt, crisp white shirt and blazer, looked up at him and responded. “ I am Gail Bentley,  your new Marketing Director. She pointed to the man next to her in the white shirt and blue and black striped tie.  This is Brad Singer, your new Financial Director.”

Gail raised one eyebrow at Ronald. ” We haven’t had the chance to meet you face to face. She applied a polite smile to her face and gave him a slight wave. “Hi.”

Ronald looked at her with a shocked expression, “I didn’t hire you. I would have remembered if I had agreed to new Directors!”

Gail looked at him directly, “Surely, you remember sending us an employment packet, Right?” She asked with a little lilt encouraging him to see the humor in this misunderstanding.

He pushed his light colored hair back in a frustrated motion before asking. “What are you two about? I am calling security!”
Ronald reached around and picked up the phone on the edge of the table behind him and pressed several buttons. Gail and Brad could hear the security officer through the phone as he answered and assured their boss that he would be right there, to remove the trespassers.

Ronald Jackson, mumbled in a louder voice than necessary before hanging up, “I will not be made a fool of by these two upstarts.”

Gail and Brad, looked back and forth at each other, quite confused and bewildered. Neither said a word but Gail fidgeted with her badge. Her officially provided badge, she thought. The badge handed to her personally by the head of Security, she remembered. What the heck is going on. Is the President of Manufacturing mental? She asked herself.

Her mind racing in confusion and she felt herself getting a little ticked off. “I am not sure I would have agreed to be come the new Marketing director if I knew that the President of Manufacturing  was insane” she whispered to Brad. He let out a little laugh that he immediately tried to cover with a cough. It didn’t really work that well and he could feel Mr. Jackson’s eyes on him, once again.

Brad spoke quickly trying to defuse the situation that was rapidly escalating. “Sir, I am sure there is no need for security. I have my badge right here, it shows my name and title and a picture too! Would you like to see it? Show him your badge too, Gail.

Gail rolled her eyes and pretended she did not hear Brad. She wasn’t about to show this nincompoop her badge. How dare he act like she was a trespasser. She had been working here almost a full month and was not about to be made to feel like an interloper.

“I’ll just wait for security!” Her tone made Ronald glance back at her with a scowl.

He kept ruffling his short hair with one hand while aggressively tapping his fingers on the desk with his other. He pounded his hand on the desk decidedly and stated.  “I would never hire a woman for the marketing position. Especially a pretty woman. Why, that’s just asking for trouble!”

At the sound of muffled footsteps everyone looked over to the door where Ronald’s brother Jonathan stood.

“Ron! I see you have met our newest employees!” Jonathan nodded to both Brad and Gail before coming in and slapping Ronald on the back. “We were sure lucky to get these two. We had to get a headhunter involved to sweep them up before anyone else could. I can tell you, we had our work cut out for us. But they agreed and now we  just need to make sure they stay happy here. I can count on you, can’t I, Ron?”

Ronald was looking a little green as he sputtered his agreement. “ye ye  yes.” composing himself he added.  “Well Jon, to tell you the truth, I didn’t know we had hired anyone new. Maybe someone should have told me. I may have prematurely , called security. We might need to cancel that call.” Ronald mumbled loud enough to be heard by the entire room, ” I still say someone should have told me.”

Gail looked at him with fire in her eyes. “I did tell you, Mr. Jackson. Remember? Right before you called me a trespasser.” The look she was giving him said that he could play nice or she would tell all.

Ronald decided he would play nice. He gave her a brilliant smile. “That you did. I should have listened. I am sorry. He looked down for a moment then looked up with a gleam in his eyes. “But you didn’t have to be so rude about it. Did you?”

“Look who’s calling the pot black.” Gail blinked that she had actually spoken the words. It was not like her to blurt out thoughts like that. For some reason this man pushed all her buttons and made her behave badly.

Ronald looked back at her bemused face and smiled. “Perhaps you are right. But I did say you were pretty, didn’t I? Surely that counts for something.”

Jonathan cringed when his brother said that out loud.  Is he trying to get us sued? This is incredible, she is as blunt as he is. Does he even notice it?

Jonathan almost laughed at that moment, because he could see the future and it included two outspoken people, working closely together maybe even starting to like one another.

Oh, just wait until he told his mother.

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Story A Day: Day 9: Nigel’s Past

The prompt

Write a story based on the Ugly Duckling structure

Nigel’s Past by Sojourner McConnell

Nigel was a handsome lad. He always looked his best, best clothes, perfect hair and expensive shoes. These were the things that mattered to him. He was sixteen and he had everything going for him. His parents were able to provide a lovely home with a room of his own. He had the best computer of all his friends. He liked to show them what all his computer could do. He had three hard-drives so that he could hold all of his pirated movies.

 

“There is nothing wrong with downloading them, I mean if you know where to go, they were free. I just know where to go.” Jamie, his friend just shook his head.

 

That’s not right, Nigel. Stealing is stealing.” Nigel did not believe that for a moment. He had the best that money could buy.

 

“Who really cares if I am watching movies that were still at the movies. It isn’t anyone’s business and if you don’t like it, then you can go home.”

Jamie went home that night. He did not want to stay there when Nigel was in one of his moods. When Nigel was at school or at football practice he was as nice as they come.But he had some terrible moods when he was feeling better than everyone else. Feeling like he was above the rules.

 

 

Jamie talked to his dad that night, “I just don’t get it. Why he doesn’t see that he is doing something wrong.”

 
“He doesn’t have parents that teach him right from wrong. It is a sad thing, more than a bad thing. He will one day realize he has to be aboveboard and honest if people are going to trust him and want to do business with him. He is a bright boy, he will learn.” His dad hoped that that was the case, for Nigel’s sake.

 

The next two years Nigel and Jamie stayed close friends.  They studied together and planned on attending the same college.  They even wanted to go into business together. They had grown up together and could not see themselves not remaining friends .  Nigel had come to depend on Jamie for instruction and guidance, where he could not from his own parents. His parents believed that they marched to a different drum. Nigel struggled with the different rules that they enforced and the rules Jamie insisted were better.

 
When graduation day came, Nigel and Jamie were both excited to share the day. They had worked hard for this diploma and nothing could put a damper on the day. Until the Principal, Mr. Glenn called Nigel into his office forty five minutes before he was supposed to walk.

 
“Nigel, it has come to my attention that you may have cheated on one of your exams. Do you have anything to say for yourself?”

 
Nigel looked over to his parents and his expression was pained and scared. “I did not cheat, Mr. Glenn. Who said I cheated?”

 
Mr. Glenn looked across his desk at the young man and shook his head, “I can’t tell you that, but your English teacher, Mrs. Davenport, said that your grade was exactly the same as Jamie Carmichael. You are his friend aren’t you? Did you copy off his paper? Did you just happen to look over see the answers, and jot them down on your own paper?”

 
Nigel was upset, mad as well as scared. How could he prove that he did not cheat, that he would never cheat on a test.

 
“I did not cheat, Sir. You can ask Jamie, we studied together for weeks preparing for this final exam. Ask him if you don’t believe me!”

 
“I plan on asking him. You can count on that. He will not be able to graduate if he made the answers available to you. Are you sure you do not want to confess anything? Now would be the best time, Son. Before this goes any farther and involves other people.”

 
Mr Glenn had requested that Jamie be placed in the vice principal’s office until he could question him. He stood and left Nigel and his parents in his office and went over to the office that housed Jamie and his parents.

 
Jamie, Mr and Mrs. Carmichael. I wish I could say it is a pleasure to see you, but we have a serious problem on our hands. Do you know what this is about, Jamie?”

 
“No sir, I have no clue. Can you tell me? Have I done something wrong? Forgotten to turn in a book to the library?”

 
“Oh it is much more serious than a library book. You have been accused of providing answers to your English exam to Nigel. What can you tell me about this?” Mr. Glenn sat back in the vinyl chair and folded his hands in his lap, awaiting an answer.

 
“Cheating? Nigel and I are being accused of cheating? I have never cheated a day in my life. I have always been honest. I study , I study hard and I can not believe anyone would think I would cheat.”

 
“Well,Jamie, the truth is, we think Nigel cheated off your paper. There is a question about if you were aware of him looking at your paper. As Nigel’s Friend can you unequivocally state that he would not cheat?”

 
Jamie swallowed hard, the memory of Nigel taking movies off the illegal website played vividly in his mind. He had told Nigel what he thought and called it stealing. Do I think Nigel was a thief and a cheat? The question rolled around in his mind over and over.
He tried to remain calm and he glanced over to his father. He could see the doubt on his father’s face. Jamie remembered that he had told him about Nigel’s movies.

 
Jamie looked at Mr. Glenn, swallowed and said. “No sir I do not believe Nigel capable of cheating on an exam. He has too much honor. We studied very hard together for this exam. Going over each chapter’s notes and end of chapter questions in the book. We did not cheat. I am positive.”

 
Jamie’s father looked at him and quietly asked, “are you sure? I remember there being questions several years back about some movies. Remember what you told me?”

 
“I should have told you before today, but Nigel found out that something he had been doing was not right and the next day he showed me where he had removed everything he had downloaded into his computer. He realized he was doing wrong and went out of his way to fix it. He is not a thief. He is an honorable person. I trust him with my life. He is not a cheat, we did not copy off each other. You have my word.”

 
Mr. Carmichael nodded then smiled. Mr. Glenn there was no cheating during this exam. I know Jamie and he knows Nigel and his word is good enough for me.”

 
Mr. Glenn stood and nodded at the family. “Your story matches up with what Nigel stated. You are free to go to the graduation. I will leave you now and go tell Nigel that he is free to go through with the graduation ceremony. Thank you for your time and your honesty.”

 
Nigel saw Jamie and hurried to him. “Did they accuse you of cheating too?”

 
Jamie nodded, “yes they did. Now they know it is impossible.”

 
“How do they know it was impossible?”

 
Jamie threw his arm around Nigel’s shoulders before speaking. “Because I told them you were too honorable to cheat on a test. I gave them my word, and since I am your best friend and know you better than anyone else, they knew it was the truth.”

 
“But what about those movies, didn’t you think I would cheat if I stole those movies?”

 

Jamie smiled, “No, I remember you removing them. I remember the day you learned that it was wrong to steal. I know you do not steal or cheat, and I assured them of that. My dad believed me, and Mr. Glenn trusted us to tell the truth.”

 
Nigel straightened his cap and gown. His face was bright with emotion.  “Lets get in line. It is time to Walk!”

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Story A Day: Day 11: Little Matey

The Prompt

Write a story in which the setting is key

 

Little Matey by Sojourner McConnell

The worm, moist, droopy and slick, hung from the hook as I tossed the line back into the green water. The little dollop sound that the hook entering the water made was the only thing breaking the silence. The sky overhead was the most vivid blue with little marshmallow puffs of clouds floating about changing shapes every few minutes. The breeze had the vague scent of lavender wafting across the boat.

I looked at my one man crew on the tiny rowboat and realized that the day was just about perfect. My grandson with his blond hair standing straight up in a little crew cut, was perched on the far end of the boat. In vivid contrast to the river, his bright orange life vest was secured. He looked so frail with that large stuffed vest around his stomach and chest. His eyes darting across the top of the water skimming all around for a fish of any kind. He was a mighty fisherman for a little tyke.

Mica took it upon himself to be in charge of the chest containing the river water and the fish we had already caught. It had been a productive day out here in the great outdoors. As always we kept our eyes pealed for water moccasins and snapping turtles. The rules were that no one dangled any appendages in the murky water. The water had a bit of a fishy smell that kept my nose curling when I caught a whiff. The aroma of fish drowned out the lavender every time.

The sun was warm on our skin and succeeding in making us drowsy with its magical relaxing properties. If someone bottled a warm sunny day, no one would ever have insomnia again. The little rowboat was floating in small circles making bullseye designs on the still top of the water. The only sounds were of bull frogs croaking on the chore and an occasional duck or goose that would fly overhead. The hawks that we could see dotting the sky made no sound at all as they soared high above.

It was days like today that made me happy to have this little guy in my life. Even if it was only for one weekend a summer. It was all worth it.

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Story A Day: Day 10: Help, Police!

The Prompt

tell a story using the Hansel & Gretel story structure

Help, Police! by Sojourner McConnell

 

civic

Julia was stunned! Her car had been stolen! She had only parked here for a moment while she ran into the bank. Storming around the parking lot she knew she needed to call the police. She also knew that she had left her phone in the console. What a bloody mess.

“I know I locked the car, I always lock my car.” She fumed as she stalked into the bank. Taking a look around she found a window that did not have a huge line and stepped behind the woman with the lime green pant suit. The teller could call the police for her.  They always were so friendly and helpful, they would call for her.

It was only a moment later that her eyes began to water and her throat felt like it was closing on itself. She politely coughed once, twice, then a third time before realizing that she must be allergic to the perfume of the woman standing in front.
Gasping she stepped out of line and while wiping her eyes, Julia got in line behind a tall thin man that did not seem to be wearing any loud offensive cologne. She looked over to the woman in the lime suit and saw that she was already at the teller.

“Darn it” Julia muttered. “This line is not moving at all. I wasn’t even in here this long last time.” Julia became aware of the fact that she was mumbling out loud and people were watching her. She just wanted to crawl away and bundle up in a ball and cry.

She basked in the self pity for a moment then straightened her spine. Julia, in a loud voice proclaimed, “ I need someone to call the police. Now please. My car has been stolen. Does anyone have a cell they will use to call them, please?”

Julia added on the please, even thought it wasn’t in the polite tone she would normally use. It came out as a bit sarcastic and for that she was sorry, but no one was responding to her pleas. As she lifted her hands in aggravation, the tall slim man in front of her pressed a phone in her hand.
“Just dial 911. It is unlocked.”

Oh! Thank you! Thank you! Julia barely had time for the second thank you before the emergency operator answered.

“911, What is your emergency?” The puny voice cried out in her ear and she almost laughed at the man’s voice. He sounded so weak and frail. But she remained straight faced as she reported that her car and her phone had been stolen.

“We will send a unit as soon as one becomes available. What is the address?” She asked in her loud clear voice for the address of this branch, and was met with silence.
The teller that was now available in the other line said, “I only know the P.O. Box, sorry.”

“All I know is that it is the branch on the corner of Main St. and Castille Ave. Surely that is close enough to an address, isn’t it? Julia was starting to feel her face heat up, she knew she was about at her breaking point.

She stepped outside the bank and wandered over to the parking spaces on the side of the building. Sitting on the curb she waited for the police to arrive.

“What kind of car is it?” Julia looked up and there stood the tall slim man from the bank. She wondered for a moment how he looked so cool standing outside in the heat in his suit coat. He reached into his inside pocket and pulled out a narrow wallet, flipped it open and showed her his detective badge.
“I’m Detective James Ralston, sorry I wasn’t able to help more in there. I am on a case and can’t really be much help. But I can put in a word with the officers when they respond. If I have your information.”

“Um ok, sure. That sounds great. It is a Honda civic. Silver with black interior. Do you think that is enough to help?” Julia swung her hands between her knees in a nervous manner waiting for the police to arrive. The detective wandered around while he waited with her.

Detective Ralston said, “Miss, what’s the tag number?”
Julia looked confused for a moment then nodded and told him, “125”
“SMK” Detective Ralston finished for her. Once again Julia looked stunned.

“Yes, exactly! How did you know?”

He pointed over to the adjacent parking lot, where a silver Civic with the license plate 125SMK sat facing away from them. Julia jumped to her feet, raced across the square lot and across the walkway.

“Oh my god, oh my god,” she kept repeating as she ran. Racing into the other oblong lot straight up to her car. The Detective was right beside her, with a smile on his face.
“I take it, this is yours?” Julia nodded at his words, still overcome and almost unable to make coherent sentences.

“How did I miss my car. I mean I walked all over that lot over there.” Julia ran her hands lovingly over the roof of the car before sticking the key into the lock and opening the door.
“I will cancel the call for you. You have a great day, Ma’am.”

Julia looked up at him and stammered, “Th…th thank you! I can see now why you are a detective! You are a miracle worker!”

Detective James Ralston laughed once then shook his head. “Nah, just observant. Glad you got your car back.” He walked back toward the other lot as she climbed into the drivers seat.

Julia cranked the car then grabbed her phone after he walked away.

“Mom, you are not going to believe what just happened to me.”

 

Story A Day: Day 8: Our Journey

The Prompt

Write A Story With a “Cinderella Story Structure”

Our Journey by Sojourner McConnell

Today makes three years since this journey began. My story is simple but in order to explain why I am where I am today, I need to start at the beginning.

Four years ago, I married my Prince Charming.  Daniel McGregor was a man that I met at the university and we had so much in common it only made sense that we get together. We knew it was love.

When I introduced him to my parents they were concerned that he was Catholic.  My parents had been very adamant about raising me agnostic. They never tried to convert me to any one God or religion. They also did not try to convince me that he did not exist. God simply was never mentioned one way or another. We hoped and wished, but did not pray. Now I had found this lovely man that was a practicing Catholic. My parents were afraid that I would be brainwashed. They tried to talk me into finding another man.  They tried to talk him into accepting me as agnostic without converting me. The pressure was intense. His parents always were inviting me to go to mass with them and my parents insisting that I not blindly follow them into a decision about religion.

Daniel and I played the game with our collective parents until it became a point that looked to break our relationship.  I took a few weeks away from Daniel in the summer months to get my head together.  I went to a friend that was studying psychology and was planning on opening her own office in town.  I spoke with her and poured out my heart to her. She had me look inside myself and see if I was so set on making my parents happy that I would push away the man that I said I loved.

I took that and examined myself for weeks.  The pain was real and being away from Daniel was what made my decision for me.  He wasn’t forcing me to convert he was willing to love me just as I was.

One week after I returned to Daniel at the college we decided on a civil ceremony, invited both sets of parents and had a simple wedding.  It became a day of love, without the pressure of a religious ceremony.  It was perfect for us.  Or so we thought.  Our parents became unruly and rude to each other at the small reception and said terrible things to each other.  Things were said that could never be unsaid, or forgotten.  Both sides had alienated the other. Our own parents had effectively placed Daniel and I right in the center of the conflict.

Daniel and I faced this problem together as a solid, united front. We became estranged from our parents.  They refused to see that they had caused this by being stubborn and opinionated in something that was not their battle.

From that moment we kept our own company. We spent holidays at our own apartment sending cards to both parents but not agreeing to choose one set of parents over the other. That has worked for the past two years. Our marriage is strong but we miss having our extended families in our lives.  The years apart were painful, but it felt like the only decision to make.

One year after we were married Daniel and I made the decision to start a family.  It was an exciting time for us.  We had a small house with the perfect little room that we planned to use as the nursery.  Each month we felt the disappointment that was growing each and every month.  After almost one year, we went to another doctor, a specialist. He ran several tests and came to the conclusion that with fertility drugs we could probably conceive in a matter of months.

15 months after the wedding we began the fertility treatments.  They were not overly complicated, but it did involve medicines, calculations, charts and timed responses.  It was a stressful time for both of us.

For me it became a time that I wanted my mother to confide in and to lament the losses, the sadness and the hopelessness that I occasionally felt. They had caused a breech that I couldn’t in fairness to Daniel cross. So I went through this struggle without the support of my mother.

She had not reached out to me in this time either.  Both sides of this awful predicament stayed firmly ensconced on their own side of the battle. Never once did anyone contact us offering to a meeting of the minds.  Daniel felt the same pain about the distance with his family.  We only had each other and we hurt.

The month that we did conceive we were elated. That joy only lasted for nine weeks before we dealt with the loss of our baby.

Daniel and I grieved in silence for six more months before the specialist, Dr. Wilson, offered a procedure that would hopefully allow me to conceive and carry a baby to term.  We had been traveling back and forth to the hospital for almost five months when the first signs for hope emerged.

I was sick quite sick for days.  At first I didn’t even bother to talk about it. Then I had this little thought in the very back of my head.  As the days went by, that tiny little thought turned into a hope.  I shared that hope with Daniel.

Daniel did not know what to think, he was afraid to believe I was pregnant. We had been so disappointed in the past, more times than I care to mention.  Days when we had prematurely thought we might be expecting had only led to disappointment and extreme sadness. Daniel and I rarely even spoke about children now.

We took a trip to the drug store in town and picked up the self test kit.  No way could we wait until later. We had to know, now. Daniel and I agreed that we would not be upset if we were not expecting this time.  We promised that we would hold it together.  The doctor would not keep treating us much longer. We were running out of money and insurance was no longer an option.

With test in hand I went into the bathroom and Daniel waited right outside.  No way was he leaving me now he said. He was as invested as I was.  With the five minute wait ticking slowly by, we sat on the side of the tub, little tester in hand.  Finally there it was a vivid strip showed up in the center.

“No freaking way!” One of us said it; I am not sure who it was. It might have even been both of us at the same time. We often did that anyway.

I accidently dropped the tester and it clacked to the floor. I didn’t even care. I was so excited. This meant s much.  Now my work was just beginning. I had to safely carry this baby to term.

Dr. Wilson had been giving me injections that would assist my body in carrying a baby to term, so we felt a little glimmer of confidence this time.  For weeks, I ate well, resisted anything to drink other than milk and spring water. I was feeling more confident, more hopeful.

At Dr. Wilson’s office the day of the ultrasound, I was nervous and Daniel held my hand. He was always there, supporting and encouraging me. Daniel was always allowing me to lean on him when I felt breakable.  Today, I felt very breakable, and he could tell. He held my hand as they lubed up my stomach with the cold gel before sliding the wand over the tight skin.

The grey screen began to contort and change then the technician said there is the heart.  I could see the little fluttery thing on the screen.  It was difficult to make out, but as she pointed out more and more parts of this tiny life that was growing inside, I could recognize my baby.  Head, legs, fingers, nose.  One by one they came into view and I was overwhelmed. I suddenly missed my mother. I missed that she was missing this.  I missed Daniels mother was missing this.

I realized I would reach out one more time to them both.  I would make it my responsibility to stop this war.

With pictures of each little part labeled, I told Daniel my plan. I told him what I was compelled to do.  He once again said that he would accompany me and support me.  I expected no less of him.  That is who he is.

Once I reached my parents house, I walked slowly up the stairs holding tightly onto Daniels warm comforting hand.  My heart was beating so erratically in my chest; I worried about my health and that of the baby.  I knocked on the door. I knew that my parents would be home. They were creatures of habit and this was always when they were home watching the news together.

I was not disappointed when my Mother opened the door.  She looked shocked to see me. But there was a light in her eyes.  A glimmer of something I hoped was happiness to see us.  I knew she did not know I was pregnant. We had not shared any news until we were sure that I was far enough along to safely deliver.

I could see the moment she recognized my belly.  Her eyes widened and tears formed instantly.  She called out to my father and he walked into view.   We still stood on the stoop. She had not invited us in. I was unsure of my reception at this point. Yet, I was still determined. Daniel continued to hold my hand and had not said a word. He simply had a polite and friendly smile on his face.  He wanted this to work out as much as I did.

My mother stepped out and pulled me into her arms. The tears fell unchecked down her cheek now and mine mixed with hers as we hugged cheek to cheek. She kept crying “My baby, my baby.”

Daniel was watching, I could see him through my tears as he stood to one side waiting, wondering how this was going to end.  It was only at that moment that my father slapped Daniel on the back and said “come in, son.  Let’s go in where it is warm.”

The next three hours went in such a rush of memories, hopes, fears and apologies, that I was shocked to find it had grown so late.  We left with the promise from them that they would make right what they had said on our wedding day.  They wanted to be a part of this baby’s life.  They apologized for being so hard headed and hard hearted.  We accepted them at their word.

Daniel talked all the way home about the change of heart with my parents and we agreed to confront his the following day.  He wanted to have reconciliation also.  He wanted his parents to be as happy as we were about the baby.

The next morning we went about our regular daily schedules and met after work.  On the trip to his parents house we again discussed how important it was for them to be willing to apologize and forgive my parents.

When we pulled up in the driveway at Daniel’s parent’s house, there was a familiar car in the drive.  I was puzzled as was Daniel.  We got out of our own little sedan and walked together to the door.  Again Daniel was supporting me and comforting me with his reassuring hand in mine.

As Daniel reached up to knock the door swung open and there his parents stood.  They were both looking at us strangely with eyes red and damp but a wide smile on their faces. My own parents were standing behind them.  My first reaction was that they had told Daniel’s parents the news about the baby, until Ramona, Daniel’s mother screamed and reached out to my stomach.  She cupped my belly with both hands and stood there screaming for several seconds.  It was pretty obvious that she had no clue there was a baby on the way.

Daniel was grabbed up by his father and surrounded by his big beefy arms.  It almost took Daniels breath away to be squeezed in such a manner.

“Forgive us Daniel, Forgive us Lisa. We have been fools. Stubborn opinionated fools.”

Mr. McGregor stopped speaking and Mrs. McGregor took over. “Lisa your parents came here tonight to tell us they were sorry.  We are the ones that are sorry. We were unforgiving and wrong.  Now we see there is a baby. Can we please be part of your lives again?”

Daniel and I stood there, crying for a second day on a row happy delighted tears.  We cried for the missed opportunities and for the future. We cried mostly for the family that this baby boy we had decided to name Ethan was going to have four very loving devoted grandparents in his life.

Today, I am lying in the hospital maternity wing. Ethan is in my arms and Daniel is sitting beside us on my bed. Standing around the bed are four very exhausted grandparents that have been here all night waiting to greet the little angel.

Ethan waited until the day before his due date to arrive and he is a healthy seven pounds.  Today I feel like we are the happiest people on the planet. Through all the bad, the pain and the heartache we all now have Ethan to brighten the rest of our days, together as a family.

 

 

 

Story A Day: Day 7: Accusations

The Prompt

Write a story containing only dialogue

Accusations by Sojourner McConnell

 

Accusations by Sojourner McConnell

“Where have you been?”

“If it’s any of your business, I have been over at Johnny’s house. “

“Does Mom know you went there?”

“No… Why should I ask Mom? It is only two houses down. I’m not a baby!”

“What are you, stupid? Haven’t you heard the talk?”

“You better not be calling me stupid! What talk?”

“The talk about the murder, it’s been on the news and at school. Don’t you ever pay attention to things going on around you?”

“Are you serious, a murder? Who was murdered? I pay attention, unlike you who only knows about Fingernail polish and Fairies!”

“Miss Callahan, you know old Miss Callahan on the corner, in that spooky old house. And what’s wrong with Fairies?”

“When did this happen? Where was I? You are seriously talking about Miss Callahan. that lives next door to Johnny?”

“Yes, yes I am! They found her Tuesday morning. There were cop cars everywhere. Didn’t you see them?

“No… I didn’t see anything like that. It would have been kind of cool to see that. Why didn’t you tell me? Girls, I swear…”

“It’s not like boys are any better. It was probably a boy… maybe even Johnny that killed Miss Callahan.”

“Johnny wouldn’t kill anyone, it was probably a burglar. I heard she had money hidden in her house.”

“Well if Johnny didn’t kill her, then why didn’t he tell you about the murder? Hmm?

“Yeah! Why didn’t Johnny tell me… Wait a minute; you can’t go blaming Johnny for any old murder. He didn’t do anything!” You’re just jealous that Johnny is my friend and not yours!”

“Jealous? Why would I be jealous? I don’t want no murderer for a friend.”

“He… is…Not…A…Murderer! Stop saying that!”

“You can’t make me. I have heard things”.

“If you don’t stop saying that… I am going to tell Johnny what you are saying and he is going to wallop you. “

“Cause he’s a murderer.”

“He is not a murderer. You better stop saying that. I am telling Mom. MOM! MOM! Where are you? Julie is calling Johnny a murderer! I am not talking to you any more, Julie; you’re the one that’s stupid!”

“I still say he is a murderer. You can’t prove I said anything. Go run to Mom, Luke. You’re a tattletale!”

“MOM… Where are you Mom?”

 

Today was day 7 and I think each day gets a little harder.  Still committed to a Story A Day!  

I hope you enjoy. 

Vicki