Friday, April 20, 2007

Entry #4

Unwanted Life
by Terri Lynn


Twice I turned back towards home. And twice I merged back onto the highway in my original direction. Even though I had come 1,200 miles, the last few yards were the hardest. I paused where the blacktop gave way to gravel and reluctantly followed the driveway with my eyes. The cool air coming from the car’s vents only added to the chill I felt as I looked at the small house. The yard was overgrown with weeds; the screen door swayed in the August breeze.

My hands were clammy on the steering wheel and I realized I’d been holding my breath. Letting it out slowly, I took my foot off the brake and continued up the drive. Flashes of a past life came in waves: second hand shoes, homemade dresses, the sickly sweet smell of bourbon, mother’s worn, red hands, raised voices, the sting from father’s belt, hiding in the storm cellar until their black moods passed; unwanted images of an unhappy life.

I stood on the sloping porch, my fingers paused above the doorknob and I wondered again why I had come. As a child I felt nothing but fear and dread in this house, as a teen-ager I escaped, as an adult I swore I’d never go back. They were both gone now, there was nothing here for me. Yet, here I was. I took a deep breath and pushed the door open and stepped into stale air and silence.

12 comments:

Jaye Wells said...

You express the emotion well and I felt the character's tension. My only concern with this piece is it's all exposition. You're telling us about the past without much happening in the now. Perhaps this would be a good jumping off point for a longer story.

Bernita said...

You've left us wondering.
Why?

Jude said...

This works well. I liked it. Felt the emotion fully.

klgilbert said...

This was so very compelling - sad and haunting. I loved the ending.

Scott said...

I actually get this character. I really do. I've even gone back to a childhood home that didn't hold any particular fond memory for me.

You really packed a lot into this one.

Beth said...

I want to know why as well. The first two lines seem rather odd together. Twice ... And twice ...

On the whole, it had good rhythm and description.

bekbek said...

I liked this a lot. I understand the point of some of the other comments --it is easy to see this as a beginning, rather than the actual story. But I saw it a different way on first reading, that this is a final coming-to-terms. Step over the threshold and believe the hurt is really gone at last, in the still air.

Both end and beginning, perhaps.

mr. schprock said...

I felt like I was right in the car with the narrator. Very effective. Nice job.

mermaid said...

I think I disagree with most of the comments here. I'm no writing expert or care to critique it either.

'They were both gone now, there was nothing here for me. Yet, here I was.'

A decaying home, a decaying heart crying, no screaming and demanding to be clean again. Of course she'd go back 'home' to find the answer.

Terri said...

Your character is very real, and to me this little story makes perfect sense. Great 'flashing images' in the middle, there.

September said...

powerful stuff - good work

jason evans said...

I loved the beginning scene--exiting and re-entering the highway. A great way to show doubt and hesitation.