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  • in reply to: Sunday writing chat prompts for 11 Apr 2021 #7245

    Tamera pulled up to a dead end road, which shouldn’t really be a surprise since she’s hauling two kick-butt off-road vehicles. She hopped out of her elevated truck with an unexpected grace and unlocked the gate that was blocking our way.

    I slid over on the bench seat and drove through, leaving her enough room to shut the gate and swing up into the passenger seat. “There’s a parking lot up to the left, pull in and park.”

    It was awkward to drive her truck. She was shorter than me, but I wasn’t about to adjust her seat for a few hundred meters.

    She directed me where to stop and then hopped out before I’d shut off the engine to start releasing the straps holding the two big all terrain bikes in place.

    Without needing to be asked, I do the same on my side of the vehicle. I watch her expertly back her brother’s bike off of the trailer and then followed her directions to set up ramps so she can unload her bike from the box. I helped her gather the straps and toss them into the backseat of her truck before grabbing my bag.

    “That was slick.” I said as we stored the ramps and locked her truck. “I can’t do that with my trailer since the wheel covers are a couple of inches too close and would get in the way.”

    “My brother custom-made this trailer to avoid that problem.” She said as she loaded up a bunch of stuff into the wide case at the back of her bike. Honestly, that looked custom made too.

    She snapped the lid closed, and I realized I’d been so distracted that I don’t know what’s in it.

    “Ready?” her eyebrow raised at me while I stood like an idiot beside her brother’s ATV.

    Not willing to highlight just how scattered I felt, I nodded and strapped the helmet she’d tossed at me on my head. “Ready.” I said as I hopped on the bike and started the engine.

    I followed her through a well-ridden trail bordered by tall trees and lush undergrowth. The defeat I’ve been feeling over the past few months shook off my shoulders with every jolt of the machine underneath me.

    Ahead, Tamera slowed and pointed to the right. In the trees was a momma deer and twin fawns, still young enough to have spots on their backs.

    Tamera called out to them in a soothing voice. “Sorry for interrupting you Momma, we’ll be out of your hair in no time.”

    We passed by the trio slowly, idling our engines as much as possible, so they wouldn’t be as noisy. It amazed me they just stood there, watching us pass.

    Tamera looked back at me with a huge grin on her face, which forced her cheeks to squish against the sides of her helmet. Her eyes sparkled with glee before putting her ATV in gear and leaving me in her dust.

    in reply to: Sunday writing chat prompts for 4 Apr 2021 #7242


    “So what are you going to do now that this is all over?”

    “To be honest, I don’t think I’ve allowed myself to even think about it.” He took a sip of his wine. “It was as if I was afraid that making plans would jinx the outcome.”

    “On paper there was enough evidence that we had to recommend charges, but none of us actually believed Sunny.” I played with the charm at the bottom of my wineglass. It was the boot from Monopoly. “She seemed too smug and jumped at any question that could cast you in a bad light. She kept piling it on as thick as she could, even though her mother insisted you were a nice guy.”

    “All because her mother wanted out and wanted me to be the bad guy and do the breaking up so she didn’t have to.”

    My heart went out to this guy. After all the BS, he was still standing. “So back to my question? Only let me rephrase it. What are some of the things you’d like to do now that you’re free and clear?”


    “What are some of the things you’d like to do now that you’re free and clear?” Tamera asked.

    “I think first off, I’m going to sell anything I convinced myself to buy to give the kids a better childhood. It was never a question of ‘Can we afford that?’ I could. Well, I could while she was working and paid for the day-to-day stuff for her kids.”

    She tilted her head. “Like what?”

    “I have a thirty-eight foot travel trailer, a side-by-side ATV, a four-wheel-drive SUV to haul the trailer and the four of us.”

    “You bought all that for them?”

    “I upgraded what I had to accommodate them.” I took another sip of my wine. Oddly, I wasn’t as agitated as I would have expected from this conversation. “I had a perfectly good twenty-foot trailer to take camping, but she found it cramped and didn’t enjoy roughing it that much. I also had a single seat ATV but I couldn’t take more than one person with me and I loved taking them to picnic with me out at this waterfall I discovered out in Mission. Hence the bigger bike.”

    “So, everything you have now is just an extension of what you already had, you just needed to make room for them.” She nodded, understanding in her expression. “If you get rid of all these things what will you do?”

    “I’m sure my old trailer is long gone. I’ll probably find another one around the same size. I can’t take my current glamping behemoth into the back country.” I thought of my dust covered four-wheeler in the back of my garage. “I’ll sell the side by side and pull out my old bike and then sell the SUV. My truck is fine if I’m the only one going camping. I can haul my ATV in the box and be all set.”

    “Will you sell them privately or at auction?”

    “I’m in no hurry. I’ll probably trade in the trailer for a new one and sell the other two vehicles outright.”

    “And then you’ll be rid of her?”

    I hadn’t thought of it that way, but yes. Then I will be rid of the last of Lillian’s shadows. I clinked my wine glass against hers. “Yes, then I will be rid of her too and have reset my life.”

    in reply to: Sunday writing chat prompts for 28 Mar 2021 #7209

    It’s been a week since my court dates and three more until they deliver the verdict. I’m going stir crazy.

    Perhaps, I should have forced myself to go into the office and be around people instead of wallowing in self pity and fear for the future while attempting to work from home. Thank God the initial set-up rush for this project was over. My foremen and project assistant are handling the day to day while I coordinate the over-reaching details.

    Finally, my cabin fever grew to be harder to cope with than the risk of an unpleasant encounter with one of Lillian’s friends.

    Over the past months since the accusation and separation, I’ve taken great care to shop in areas where she wasn’t likely to be. The last thing I wanted was to run into Lana. There was nothing moderate about her. She didn’t have a medium setting, Lana was loud, opinionated, and seemed to be much more offended about this whole situation than even Sunny.

    But, I needed groceries and I needed to get out of the house. So I drove from my place in Burnaby over to a grocery store just over in Coquitlam. It was far enough away from Lillian’s parent’s place that I hoped I would be safe.

    Up and down the aisles I went, loading whatever caught my eye into my cart. There was nothing like the comfort of food that mended feelings. Gooey cheese, chocolate, ice cream, they all worked. Hey, don’t judge, chocolate isn’t just for women. My cart was like an orgy of goodness, waiting to happen.

    I was in the cookie section when I heard someone say, “Oh Shit.”

    I looked up and there stood Tamera, halfway down the aisle. Damn, she looked good. Her cheeks were flushed and her hair was a bit wild. I smiled. “Hi Tamera. Good workout?”

    She looked down at her yoga pants and oversized hoodie and smirked. “Hot yoga, good guess.”

    The image in my head when she said hot yoga was definitely X-rated. I put more of my shopping cart between us to make sure she didn’t see my physical reaction to my mental image. Not only was it inappropriate, it wouldn’t help convince her of my innocence regarding the court case. I should be old enough to control an errant woody.

    “We probably shouldn’t be seen talking, even though the hearing is finished.” She said as she backed away.

    “Yeah, that’s probably wise.” I nodded. “I can’t afford to have anything go wrong.”

    “I was nice seeing you again.” she said and then immediately grimaced. “Well, at least this time was under better circumstances.”

    “Yeah, that’s for sure. Have a great rest of your day, Tamera.”

    “You too, Rick.” She turned and walked back up the aisle.

    And yes, I watched. At least, until the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I had an uncanny feeling that someone was watching me. I turned around to see but there was no one there. Unease settled into my stomach. I finished shopping as quickly as I could. Equally sad and relieved that I didn’t ruin into Tamera again.

    in reply to: Sunday writing chat prompts for 21 Mar 2021 #7201

    Disorder in the court.

    Yeah, I know the phrase makes no sense, yet it keeps repeating itself in my brain, which incidentally is full of disorder. I know I’m here, in the chair beside Max, my lawyer with a judge staring down at me from her perch above the rest of us. But, I still can’t believe I’m sitting here and this all isn’t a bad dream caused by late night television and a bad batch of clams.

    I sit still, taking it all in without hearing a single word. I’m like a performer acting solid, sure and calm while inside I’m wasting away with grief. There is no way I’m coming out of this. Sunny has manipulated this entire affair to ruin every aspect of my life, just because I dared to break-up with her mother.

    I want to be anywhere but here. It doesn’t have to be a tropical paradise, hell forty-below in my underwear sounds like heaven right now.

    Every minute ticks by in slow motion as the lawyers cross-examine Lana, Lillian, Jackson and Lillian’s mother Renee. Finally, after what feels like several lifetimes later, day one of my trial comes to a close.

    Gail lingers as the prosecutor leaves the courtroom. Now it’s just the three of us. She asks the question I’m afraid of. “What are you feeling about Rick’s chances to beat these lies?”

    Max doesn’t seem surprised at all by her bluntness. He’s met Gail several times over the past few months and is glad I’m not going through this alone. He’s told me a few times that if the rest of my friends are like her. I should have them all here with me for support.

    “Honestly, I think Lillian helped us.”

    My head jerked up from where I’d been picking at the edge of the defendant’s desk. “How?” I didn’t hear her say she thought I was innocent.

    Max turned to Gail, “If you thought Rick had harmed your daughter, what would you have said about him on the stand?”

    “I would have torn him a new one?” Gail said. “I would make sure the judge knew what an SOB he was.”

    “Yes. Exactly.” Max pointed his finger at her. “You wouldn’t tell the court how he was a nice guy and a good provider. You wouldn’t let me distract you with questions about how he looked after you and your kids. You’d be champing at the bit to nail his ass, not telling the court how worried you were about him losing his job and going to jail.”

    in reply to: Sunday writing chat prompts for 14 Mar 2021 #7191

    My phone buzzed at my elbow as I caught up on some of my administrative clerk-work now that Joey was in bed. I frowned at the name. Why was Arif calling me?

    “Hey, what’s up?”

    “Hi Allison.” He had a rueful laugh to his voice. “I need to tell you something, just so you and Dave don’t waste time misunderstanding each other.” He let out a huge breath. “And yes, I know I’m pulling a Gail right now. But I like both of you and I think you could be great together.”

    I started laughing, not even trying to feign my amusement. “Arif, are you… matchmaking? I thought you hated that bullshit.”

    “Trust me, I do. But, in my defense, Dave has misunderstood something about you and it’s a fifty-fifty crapshoot whether he pisses you off before he can get himself straightened out.”

    “Seriously?” My phone and computer dinged with a notification of a private message on the SPA forum.

    “You told him you were on the same parenting forum.” I nodded as I opened the message and then realized Arif couldn’t see me. “Yeah. He knows.”

    “And then you made a comment about going all se*y mama bear on his butt.”

    “Yeah. It was funny. He and I have talked about how over the top she is.” I read Dave’s message and then glared at the screen. “What the absolute f***?” almost missing what Arif was saying.

    “Dave has mistakenly come to the conclusion you are SMB.”

    “Wait. What!?” I was pissed. “How could he possibly think I’m her? And why is he talking to me about it?”

    “He doesn’t know you are ALVIE. He thinks Alvie is a guy.” Arif was already laughing. “He hasn’t clued in that Al-Vie is short for Alison Vietz. Then you made the crack about SMB. Remember, you’d just had your hair and nails done on the day you met him and the girls made a fuss. You couldn’t get together with him because you had to go to Joey’s school the same day that SMB ranted about her kid’s teacher. The pieces fit.” Arif sobered. “He’ll figure it our but he wasn’t in a good place when we met up for a drink. I was hoping to get ahead of the misunderstanding by suggesting he talk to ALVIE before he did anything else.”

    “Oh. My. God.” I couldn’t help it, this was hysterical. “Arif?”

    “Yeah?” he said cautiously.

    “Thank You?” I was still laughing. “This could have gone sideways really fast. He’s already emailed me.”

    “What did he say? Please, I have to know.” Then it sounded like a slap on the other end of the phone. “Damn It. Now I sound like one of the girls.”
    “Did you just facepalm yourself?” I asked. Not even bothering to hide my snicker.

    “Yes.” He said. “It is with much regret I have assimilated to the matchmakers.”

    Still laughing, I read from my screen. “Hey Alvie, Need your advice. I’ve sort of started seeing SMB and think I need to dump her now that I realize she and SMB are the same person. Any advice?”

    “Thank God I called and didn’t try to remain stoic and aloof and let the chips fall as they may.”

    “Thank You Arif. I have no idea how I would have responded.” This was true.

    “It never occurred to me that Dave didn’t realize I was Alvie. I would have assumed he’d been dating Naomi too.”

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by Sue.
    in reply to: Sunday writing chat prompts for 7 Mar 2021 #7182

    Dave met up with Arif at a dive bar in the same neighbourhood as Kamila’s place.

    He had so many questions about apparent Alison’s dual personality that he needed help to figure this mess out. Nothing he knew made sense. So he organized a night out on the patio to talk to someone who knew Alison better than he did and who had the added benefit of being engaged to her best friend.

    “So, you think Alison is this chick online who calls herself S Mama Bear?” Arif looked as puzzled. “That doesn’t sound like Alison at all.”
    “I know. Alison seemed so grounded at the picnic but then I remember the girls going on about her hair and nails. That matches the impression I have of SMB.”

    “SMB?” Arif raised his eyebrow.

    “I’m not going to keep saying S Mama Bear on a public patio. Alvie and I have abbreviated her name to SMB cause it’s also a long-assed name to type all the time.”

    “Makes sense.” Arif took a sip of his scotch.” For a dive, this please had a good selection of top shelf indulgences. “Anything else that makes you think Alison is SMB?”

    “SMB was online b-ching about how she was going to go to the school to scream at the principal for blaming her son for misbehaving, then it was the ‘other kids’.” He used air quotes around ‘other kids’. I saw that just after Alison said she couldn’t meet up with DJ and I because she had to go to the school.”

    “Okay.” Arif seemed to consider this information and then asked. “Who is Alvie?”

    “He’s another single dad on the forum. He and I chat a lot via DMs. He thinks SMB is as obnoxious as I do.”

    “His name is Al-Vie?”

    For some reason, his question made my collar feel a little tight. “Yeah. Why?”

    Arif suddenly had a twinkle in his eye. “Have you run any of this past Alvie to see what he thinks?”

    “Nah, I suppose I could. He said he met someone the same weekend I did. So, he already opened the relationship topic.”

    Arif nodded. “Yeah, I think you needed to talk to Alvie about that S Mama Bear chick. I think he’ll have some good advice since he’s already familiar with her online persona.”

    “You don’t think it’s Alison, do you? Even though she told me she’s part of the forum and quoted SMB to me.”

    “Oh, look at that advertisement. Is that a Cactus Club coming to this part of town?”

    I looked and couldn’t see what he was talking about. When I looked back, he seemed to be struggling to contain a laugh. “Nope, it was just a poster on the bus advertising the one in Burnaby.”

    “I don’t know. It just doesn’t add up.” I took a swig of my beer. “I’d love to get to know the woman I met the other day but if she’s anything like her online persona, I don’t want her near me. I especially don’t want her anywhere near my son.”

    “Well, I figure the ball is in your court.” Arif pointed his finger at Dave. “The only thing you absolutely can’t do is ghost her. She’s Kamila’s best friend and an honorary part of our group. The girls really like her too. That alone should tell you there is more to the story. I can’t see any of the girls, Kamila included, having any patience with someone like SMB.”

    I gulped the sip of beer I’d just taken. Arif was right. Even if Alison was SMB, there had to be a reasonable explanation.”

    in reply to: Sunday writing chat prompts for 28 Feb 2021 #7132

    test post

    in reply to: Sunday writing chat prompts for 14 Feb 2021 #7123

    A few hours later.

    ARIF: Put your apartment keys on a separate ring, wash them with soap and put them in a baggie. When you’re done, text me.
    ME: WHAT? You can’t come here.
    ARIF: Don’t question, just do it 😊

    What the hell is he doing I asked my empty apartment. He can’t come into my place. I have COVID-19. I am in quarantine. As if to prove my point, the urge to cough up the little that’s left in my lungs overcame me and I slumped against the counter, barely able to keep myself from sliding down to the floor.

    ARIF: Do you have the keys ready?
    Gawd this man is persistent. The fact that he’s even here is a sign as to what type of character he has. I’m sick and whatever he’s up to is going to help him take care of me. Apparently, he didn’t hesitate to jump in, despite him being a self-proclaimed germaphobe. He deserves a place in the Nice Guy, Hall of Fame.
    ME: Give me a minute. My lungs are trying to referee the battle between my body keeping them intact and COVID trying to expel them.
    ARIF: Okay, let me know when they’re ready. Oh, is your heat on? Windows open?
    ME: No heat. I’m all sweaty. Windows are open for fresh air. Keys are ready.
    ARIF: Perfect. Buzz me up.

    I did as he asked, even though I had no idea what he was planning. I didn’t have to wait long before he knocked on my door. I opened it a crack and saw him clad in a mask, gown and gloved. He even had one of those surgical caps over his hair.
    “Arif, what are you doing?”

    He handed me a can of industrial branded disinfectant through the opening. “Take all of your blankets from your nest on the couch and your electronics, chargers, whatever else you’ll need, into your bedroom. Then spray down all of your surfaces, including your bathroom, go into your bedroom, close the door and then text me.” He wiggled the fingers of his gloved hand. “Keys please.”

    I handed him the baggie and he shut the door in my face. “What the hell?” Still not sure of what he was up to but recognizing that I was on a deadline of sorts I rushed around my apartment to do as he requested. By rushed, I mean walked like an ancient tortoise in between bouts of coughing that left me on my knees for several minutes before I could gather my breath enough to continue. Hours later, at least that’s how long it seemed, I texted him.
    ME: Feel like I’ve run a marathon. I am collapsed on my bed.

    The front door to my apartment opened and I heard him moving around.
    At least I assumed it was him since he had my keys. Honestly, I was so exhausted I really didn’t care.

    “Kamila.” He said at my door after the shuffling and thumping stopped. “Babe, you need to stay in your room and only use the connecting door to your bathroom. Oh, and knock before you use the connecting door, just in case I’m in there.”

    “Wait What?!” I sat up coughing. When I could catch my breath again, I said. “What have you done?”

    “I’ve moved in until you’re better.”

    in reply to: Sunday writing chat prompts for 7 Feb 2021 #7108

    Let me just state for the record, I really like Arif. He’s not only sweet and thoughtful, he has this edge to him that makes me think he’s so much more than he lets on. Damn, after that slip last night about chocolate and foreplay, I could barely concentrate on our conversation.

    I adjusted the lighting to shadow my face,. I didn’t want him to read the wayward thoughts reflected in my eyes before I was ready to promote him to being more than just a friend.

    Let’s add that to the list of ways the pandemic wasn’t helping the romance along. It perforated the road to happiness with roadblocks like no touching and wear a mask. Everyone was jumping aboard the panic express regardless of whether the vehicle was on solid ground. Don’t get me wrong. I understand the basic science and don’t disagree with the restrictions, it just makes me a little green with envy at all the half-baked disbelievers. If I didn’t believe, Arif and I would be a lot further along than we were now.

    Then again, if we didn’t believe, we both probably would be sick right now. There have been families in both of our buildings, placed under quarantine. It’s a minor miracle we’re still healthy.

    And… I jinxed myself. The next morning I woke to a fever and tightness in my chest.

    It scared the absolute crap out of me.

    How the hell was I going to do this? I lived alone. Sure, I just got groceries the other day and my cupboards were full of boxed food and cans. It was going to be impossible to replenish the perishables in my fridge.

    in reply to: Sunday writing chat prompts for 31 Jan 2021 #7077

    ANNOUNCEMENT: Due to the continued restrictions to help combat the pandemic, we will not be able to hold our annual Rainbow Recreation Day. In its stead, we suggest that families meet together within their bubble and practice the events for a date in the future when we can all gather together again.

    DHANNAH: Well, that bites. My child was looking forward to hanging out with the other kids.
    ALVIE: So was mine. Kids are growing bored because they can’t play with their friends as much as before. Summer break kinda bites the big one this year.
    DHANNAH: I hear ya. My co-workers and I have created a bubble but even then, the kids can’t get together very often.
    BENTLEY: Is it safe with your coworkers?
    DHANNAH: As safe as any. We’re mostly single parents and we already spend workdays together. It feels like it would be less risky to include our children than to spend time with another, not already connected family.
    ALVIE: I agree with Dhannah, that sounds safer since you’re already crossing paths.

    “Mom.” Joey distracts me from the forum. “There’s only one ice cream sandwich left. Can I have it?”

    “Can you have it….what?”

    “Please, Mom. Can I please have the last ice cream sandwich, please?” he giggled as he threw his little arms around my neck and gave me a big sloppy kiss.

    “Since you asked so nicely, I guess you can have the last one.”

    “Thanks Mom. You’re the bestest mom in the entire, whole world.”

    I did a pseudo bow without moving from my cross-legged position on the couch, I waved my arm with a flourish to the side, nearly making my laptop into a lap-topple-to-the-floor in the process. “Thank you for appreciating my magnificence, oh thou son of mine.”

    His laughter made me smile.

    All things considered we were doing all right. This was a tough time, especially for a six-year-old. It was a delicate balance between telling him enough about the threat of Coronavirus, hoping he’ll understand and be safe without scaring him so much that he’s afraid of everything.

    Thank God for the online forum for single parents I found. We try to keep ourselves anonymous, hell we don’t even say what gender our children are unless it’s relevant to a specific issue. Although some of the names give it away. I went to middle school with a Dhannah, I often wonder if that’s her on the forum.

    “Wash your hands when you’ve finished your ice cream. I don’t want sticky fingerprints everywhere.”

    A laboured sigh comes from the kitchen. “Yes, Mom.”

    in reply to: Sunday writing chat prompts for 24 Jan 2021 #7069

    I stood off to the side, slightly behind the bleachers as I waited for practice to end. I needed to talk to Dean about Tamera’s visit.

    I didn’t know if that was Sarah’s end game or if she was going to do something else to cause issues. She wasn’t just trying to cause problems between Dean and I. Sending Child Protective Services in my direction on a wild goose chase seemed to create a more vicious picture of her motives than I thought possible.

    Since I’ve known her, Sarah was all about having control. She ruled the team’s parent group with an iron fist, but this went so far beyond that.

    I briefly considered she was trying to impress Frank by disrupting my relationship with our kids. Sure, Frank had initially been an ass, but he’d settled down once the hurt of our separation lessened.

    When practice finally finished, I motioned Dean over to the side of the field away from the parents. I didn’t want anyone to eavesdrop on our conversation. I felt like I was a ventriloquist without the doll as I told Dean about Tamera’s visit without moving my lips. I was crying by the time I finished my explanation.

    “But, you said Tamera would make sure they filed this as an unfounded claim.”

    “Yes.” I wiped at my eyes. “I’m so scared though. Look at the shadow she’s thrown over me. This is on record if Frank ever sued me for more custody.”

    “Well, here’s a bright spot.” he took my face in his hands and wiped my tears gently with his thumb. “They banned Sarah from attending team practices. If she comes to games, she has to stay on the bleachers with the other parents. If she doesn’t, I am required to make an official complaint about her recent behaviour toward me.”

    “What? Why?”

    “I can’t go into the specifics, it’s not my story to tell.” he said. “Suffice it to say, Sarah has lost her credibility, and it’s on official school record.”

    “That’s good I guess. I just don’t feel safe anymore.” I looked up at him. “She came after my kids. What kind of person does that?”

    “A very lonely, bitter person.” He wrapped his arms around me. “I suspect Sarah is at the beginning of a huge reality check.”

    in reply to: Sunday writing chat prompts for 17 Jan 2021 #7056

    I can’t believe I’m doing this. How do I let myself be manipulated by my sister? Probably because I know she’s only trying to look out for me. Since Mom died and she got engaged it’s like she’s gone on a mission to ensure I find a love like she has so I don’t feel like she’s leaving me behind. Now that it’s just the two of us, she doesn’t want to leave me feeling insecure.

    She forgets that I’m thirty-four too. We’re fraternal twins. She’s the adventurous one and I’m studious. She’s blonde, tiny and a bubbly spirit while I’m tall, buxom and the observing type.

    I hate to disappoint her but I’m looking forward to her leaving for her honeymoon so I can have peace again. I love her with all of my heart but being with her has become a grind. I’d rather stick to planning her wedding that worry about dating. I have a good life. Would I like to get married and have a family? Of course. Is it a priority? Nope.

    Nevertheless, here I am, at the Sunny Sunday Bar & Grill, waiting for me date to arrive. As always, I’m early. Rule # 1 for blind dates, always order your own drink. I take a sip of my Old Fashioned and keep one eye on the door and another on the sunset. Knowing this is just a waste of time. Sure, I’ve talked to this guy online for the past couple of nights. There’s nothing about him that piques my interest but he’s one of the few who didn’t immediately send me a dick pic. He would do well enough to meet for a date and satisfy my sister.

    “Sylvia?” A smooth voice says beside me.

    I look up to see someone who is definitely not who I was expecting. Ted, my date, was tall too but that’s where the resemblance ended. Ted was blonde and veering toward a dad bod. This guy was taller, darker and had a body broad enough to make me feel small and dainty.

    “Yes, I’m Sylvia.” I said and gestured for him to sit down. “But you aren’t who I was expecting. I don’t know what to think.”

    “You look much better than the photo Lisa sent me.” He said.

    “Who is Lisa?” Now I really didn’t know what to think. “I’m supposed to be meeting a fellow from…” at that moment Ted walked in and in an instant I could see his photo had been taken several pounds ago, he was looking Dad bod in his rear-view mirror. While I’m not terribly superficial, hell I’m not exactly svelte myself, I do value honesty. I sighed, “I’m supposed to be meeting him.”

    We watched while Ted walked over to a woman sitting at the bar. From the back she could easily be mistaken for me. When she turned, I could see she was pretty and almost model thin. “Sylvia?” he asked.

    She nodded looking as confused as I did.

    “Well,” he said beside me. “I guess the choice is yours. You could stay here and I’ll send him over to have dinner with you.”

    “We were just going to have dessert.” I said.

    “Dessert was exactly what I was thinking about when I saw you come in.” He grinned. “You can stay here for dessert with him or we can get out of here and get to know one another while they figure out the mix-up.”

    “She’s the one you were supposed to meet?”

    He let out a breath, “My sister-in-law thinks I work too much. I was meeting a friend of her friend to get her off my back.”

    I laughed. “Same here. My sister is getting married and is afraid I’ll be alone. Ted was the best of the guys I met online.”

    “So, what do you say?” he held out his hand to me. “would you like to go somewhere quieter to get to know each other?”

    I glanced over to Ted and the other Sylvia and saw that they were laughing. “Sure. Let’s go.” I put my hand in his and let him guide me out of the restaurant.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by Sue.
    in reply to: Sunday writing chat prompts for 10 Jan 2021 #7042

    It wasn’t arrogant for me to be confident in my abilities. I had a freakin master’s degree in child psychology and a bachelor’s in social work. Perhaps my greatest qualification if you want to call it that was personal experience. So, it is with all of that in mind you can understand my irritation as I listen to Sunny, the teenage girl in front of me.

    Whether I reflect on my own reactions or the ones in countless journals, this girl doesn’t exhibit any of the normal markers of an abuse victim. Especially not to the extent of harm she’s claiming. In fact, she’s portraying all of the hallmarks of someone who is lying.

    But that’s not my role. I am not the judge. I am the fact finder.

    If you listen to all of those sappy romance stories, love is what makes the world go around. In my line of work, it’s usually money or manipulative behaviour. As a child protective services case worker, I’ve seen far more of the shady side of life than I expected. Sure, I had a neighbour’s dad threaten to hurt my little sister if I told on him. That was nothing compared to the utter shit people did to kids to get back at a spouse or just take out their frustrations on the object of least resistance a.k.a. their child.

    There was an air of smugness in this girl’s answers which led me to think her agenda had nothing to do with righting a wrong. She reeked of payback.
    Next, I interviewed the Sunny’s mother. Now, that woman was a wreck. After a few questions though, it was hard to gauge what she was upset about. She seemed surprised at the tone of questions regarding Rick, her partner. He wasn’t the girl’s father but he’d been part of their lives since before she was born. Apparently, he’d gone to school with Sunny’s father.

    Rick was nice. Rick took care of them. She couldn’t imagine Rick would ever hurt her daughter. No, she didn’t think Sunny was lying.

    That bothered me, her answer about her daughter lying came just a hesitation too late to be convincing. I knew that I’d have to interview other members of Sunny’s family before I could make any sort of recommendation. I needed to have a better all-round feel for the family dynamics before I would add my professional assessment to my report.

    But, of course, budget and staffing restraints meant that it wasn’t me who interviewed the other family members. I barely had time to duck into the interview rooms was others took notes. By the time I came back to the case, they were recommending charges be laid for Child Interference.

    in reply to: Sunday writing chat prompts for 3 Jan 2021 #7037

    After Mikail goes upstairs to get settled, the irony of the situation strikes me. I muffle the sound of my laughter because I’m not sure I could explain to to him if I tried and truly, the explanation fell into the category of TMI. If this was going to work, I needed to keep him at arm’s length.

    That thought sobered my mood. I threw out the tissues Mikail had used to wipe Jared’s face after he ate his ice cream. I watched my husband as he napped on the couch. He had no idea how close he came to dying.

    I quietly put his boots and jacket away before retreating to sit at the kitchenette table. Mikail had brewed me a pot of tea before he left to give me a bit of space. I pulled out my phone and picked up where I’d stopped reading. “Love is what happens when you aren’t looking.”

    Sounds fair. I wasn’t looking for Jared when he found me. I was content with my life and happy to be single. Even though my life can’t be considered happy right now, I’m where I need to be and can still find moments of joy despite the sadness of the situation. Mikail’s presence over the next week or so, is a Godsend. His help will definitely fall in the good column.

    Although, I had to admit, the girls with all of their romantic notions weren’t completely out of whack with their idea about how preposterous an excuse this could be for us to get to know each other better. This was reminiscent of a perfect setup for those ridiculously novels we’re all addicted to. Guy falls in love with a girl so hard that he helps her care for her ailing spouse. God, I’m romance novel fodder.

    I sighed and looked out into the backyard. Just as long as I don’t believe the hype. This isn’t a rom-com. This is my actual life. The guy can’t get the girl because the girl in question is still married. End of story.

    in reply to: Sunday writing chat prompts for 27 Dec 2020 #7002

    In the past three months, I’ve been busy. First thing I did was purge my house of junk food, sugar and all other empty carbs. I’d kept up with some exercising as I served as a hospice, but it wasn’t nearly enough to combat the weight gain that came with being more stationary than in motion. So far, I’m down three sizes.

    I fought my way back to being able to interval-jog five kilometres. My goal by the end of six months Post-Sean was ten. It was impossible to ignore how much better I felt.

    To help in my quest for better health, which had become a priority, I had employed multimedia. Alexa woke me each morning with a rousing song to get me moving. I had a laptop set up downstairs set up with another set of speakers, extra heavy on the bass, to play a schedule of videos to keep me honest and not miss arm days. I excel at leg days, so I never miss them.

    Then I force myself to spend an hour sorting through the house. I wanted it on the market by the same six-month deadline as the ten kilometre run. It’s the elephant in the room that Sean’s kids and I don’t talk about. I’ve tried to broach the subject indirectly, but they refuse to bite. I understand this is their childhood home, but I don’t want or need a house this big and none of them can buy it. It’s a damnable situation.

    I don’t want to alienate Sean’s children, but it was never our plan for me to keep it after he passed. My real estate agent champing at the bit. He has buyers lined up for this neighbourhood. “How long do we have to wait until you’re ready to sell?” He’s asked me more than once.

    That’s probably why I’m taking so long to get the house ready to sell. Reluctance to upset Sean’s adult children who are still actively grieving. I knew it had been a mistake to hide Sean’s condition from them, but he insisted. He didn’t want them to worry about his health. He’d been able to fake it until he was close to the end.

    His kids are still pissed at me.

    This may sound heartless. I probably sound like a cold-hearted bitch. My defence is that while Sean’s kids thought he was going to life forever, I was watching him lose ground every day until I prayed his excruciating pain would end. His death brought us both peace.

    Hiding his pain from his kids did a huge disservice to them. He didn’t give them time to accept and say goodbye. Three months later and they’re still hurt and angry.

    As always, I understood where they were coming from and allowed myself to be their verbal punching bag instead of defending myself. Each time hoping they’d realize I was in pain too. This wasn’t the first time I allowed myself to be in this position. As I’ve said before, I’ve always been the caretaker. Just once I’d like it to be the exception to the rule and have someone step in and care for me instead.

    Sure, Sean’s kids list their father, but damn it, I lost my husband too. Surely, that has to count for something.

    I look around the clean garage. I’d started the great-house-urge there. I figured the stuff stored there would be the easiest to organize or dispose of, and then I’d have a base to work from as I sorted each room in the rest of the house. I was over halfway done, which meant that I could contact the realtor sooner than later. Maybe once the house was gone, Sean’s kids would ease up on me.

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