April 19, 2014

Life's Disappointments- Another Perspective

This week's prompt was to rewrite one of our old short stories from the perspective of another character. I took into account some of the comments made by classmates in workshop and tried to give Megan a more likable personality. [Somehow everyone thought she was racist ...?] It may be interesting to reread the other version first. -Enjoy!

Life’s Disappointments- Megan’s View

How to Make the Most out of Your Life! A Guided Journey through Self Discovery –Part One Chapter One: Appreciation…  It can be easy to overlook the many things in life which are …

The tin bell rings as the door is shoved open. The middle aged lady slides into a booth. Another customer. My book will have to wait. I look around. What a dump. It was never like this when Harold was alive. My dear husband ran this place beautifully, with the delicate precision of clockwork. I’m trying the best I can but can never seem to get anywhere. I’ve just about had it- between incompetent employees, the coffee machine always in need of repair, the broken dishwasher, and the customers. They have no respect. They never seem to care, spilling their coffee and sugar and crumbs in all corners of the little shop, the teens carving their names into my tables and benches or scratching it into the bathroom mirrors. I underline appreciation. I need to work on that. The clock ticks high up on the wall, it is getting late. My feet are killing me. My knuckles are sore and raw from scrubbing.  
            I stuff my cleaning rag into the deep pocket of my apron. It’s dirty again. My apron. “Can I get you something, honey?” I ask politely. She informs me she’s waiting for someone. I miss that, having someone to come.
My book in one hand, my dingy bleach rag in the other, I return to the counters…
On the page below, write a list of the things you are grateful for… 1) I’m alive 2) I’m not dead 3) I’m not a ginger. 4) … this is tougher than I thought. Perhaps I really do lack appreciation.        
The wretched bell chimes again. When will my day be done?  I swipe the pad and paper off the counter and swiftly shove it into my pocket. I toss the bleach-soaked rag onto the counter in its place but the scent still lingers. It clings to my skin, my clothes, my hair. It just clings.
            The machine is broken and the filters hardly filter, I warn. They ignore me and order coffee anyway. With furrowed brows and a silent tongue I fetch their drinks. The customer is always right. Especially when they aren’t.
            The women are somber and hardly speak, except to one another. Each one mid-thirties, they sit together and talk quietly in a mix of Spanish and English.  I retreat to my little spot behind the counter. Like every day, I just want to read and be alone. The old man does not seem to notice. The late afternoon light shines on his greasy head. He leans in over his half eaten sandwich as he speaks. I nod politely as the grouchy old man mutters something about the weather and everything not being like it used to. “Yeah, I hear ya’,” I force a smile. My eyes immediately find my husband’s picture on the wall. “You’re right. Nothing ever stays the same.” I say with a sigh.
            “No, no, no.” he insists, shaking his head fiercely. “I mean that,” he tilts his head, motioning towards the women, “the immigrants. They’ve changed everything!” he rambles between bites. I turn my back to him and roll my eyes. What an idiot. I can see in the reflection of the toaster that one of the women in the booth has raised her middle finger in response. His face is filled with shock and I must suppress my laughter. With a single motion, he stands, tosses a few wrinkled bills on the counter, and heads for the door. Good riddance.
            After a few hours, the women leave too. I shut the blinds, bolt the door, and flip the sign to Closed. One by one, I shut the lights off until my little spot behind the counter is all that is lit.

Chapter Two- Being Patient … It is important to remain patient with others…  

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