I first wrote this piece in the summer of 1993. I remember driving down the street, on my way who knows where when the song came on the radio. Immediately a scene (the opening scene of the piece) popped into my head. I imagined the final piece as a stage play but when I wrote it, it came out in short story form.
It’s a dramatic piece. Before I hit my stride, I tended to write more horror, drama. Not so sure when the “chick-lit” side emerged, but it’s nice to know I have both styles inside me. Anyway, I decided to “publish” it here because I wanted to get your reactions to it (intent). Feel free to comment on each section as its posted, or feel free to wait until the end.
Original title: No Ordinary Love (inspired by the Sade song of the same name). Eventual title (to avoid copyright infringement): A Mother’s Love. I found them to be one in the same.
She comes into the dark silence of the living room, turning on the stereo to her favorite jazz station. With a sigh, she settles into the big rocker facing the front door. She sits uncomfortably in the chair, her head laid to the side. Hoping the rocking motion will help some, she begins to tip the chair forward and back in time to the rhythm playing on the radio. She tries to use both the motion and the music to distract her from her thoughts but to no avail. There’s little peace for a mother these days, little peace indeed. The gun in her lap weighs heavily on her legs. Tears track slowly down her cheeks. Where did it all go wrong?
She was new to seventeen when her mother cut the apron strings quite abruptly. She suddenly found herself free to do just about any and everything with just one warning, “Don’t go getting yourself into any trouble. If you do, don’t come crying to me. You’re just about grown now. Time you took more responsibility for yourself.”
She didn’t run wild as was expected of girls her age in that neighborhood. Instead, she set about being the exception to the rule. She got herself to and from school on time, got her first part-time job to make sure she had her own money. She did her own laundry and made her own meals. She was a model teen ager in a neighborhood and time where teen pregnancy, dropping out of high school and drug abuse were the norm.
Going to the party hadn’t been her idea. She knew what kinds of trouble house parties invited, but Tammy convinced her she should go, “Think of it as a break. Lord knows you need one. And besides, you-know-who will be there.”
You-know-who happened to be Jeff. She’d harbored a crush on Jeff since the seventh grade and where most of the boys her age had already chosen some less than savory life paths, Jeff was still in school and seemed to have a plan. Adding fuel to the fire was the fact that puberty had been especially kind to Jeff, building and toning his body, keeping the acne gods at bay so his face was one of the few that remained unmarked. She’d seen him right before school had ended her junior year. He was bathed in golden sunshine, sitting on one of the tables outside the cafeteria. Her crush morphed to love in those few seconds. Here it was the beginning of summer and the chance of seeing him at the party was too good to pass up.
She had been at the party for just a few hours. She was intent on watching the crowd for any signs of trouble, her mother’s warning circling her subconscious, keeping her ever vigilant. She hadn’t even noticed Jeff until he was right in front her. His appearance momentarily shutting her mother’s voice off cleanly.
“Why are you standing over here by yourself?” He reached and took her hand into his. The contact left her fumbling for a coherent thought.
“Uh…well, I uh…”
“C’mon, let’s dance.”
They danced and talked the night away. Looking back, it amazed her that in just that one moment her whole night changed and how another single moment, one night a month later, changed her whole life. He said he loved her, again effectively silencing her mother’s words in her subconscious. So, when the make out session took a turn for more explicit expressions of endearment, there was no warning voice to be heard. There was no questioning the swiftness of his declaration or the depth of their feelings for each other. He said the words so it must have been love.