Did I tell you I really dig photo prompts?
Well, I do. Photos have always interested me – there’s so much STORY behind them and the great part? Is that the interpretation is endless.
As usual, any fiction I post on this blog is inspired by true life events – either from my life, something I’ve heard or something I’ve read. In fact, it’s safe to say that the fiction I post? Is my way of telling you what’s really on my mind.
With a little dramatization thrown in for good measure. *grin*
Are you ready? Let’s get started …
Picture prompt for this week:
Thanksgiving Dinner, originally uploaded by jlewis581.
Gwen softly fingered the blood red leaves on the poinsettia plant. The leaves felt like well-worn silk – there were some spots that felt a little fuzzy, other spots were smooth and thinning.
“Do you think she’s being controlled??” she asked the man on the sofa.
“I think you’re making a mountain out of a molehill, Gwen,” the man said and snapped his paper in irritation at her interruption.
She sighed and idly rearranged the plant. “I think he’s manipulating her. I just can’t believe she’s not coming down for Christmas. I mean, I could understand it if she had to work but …” she shook her head and turned around to face her husband. “What about the girls? Don’t we deserve to see them?” she choked back a sob at the thought of not seeing her granddaughters.
“Gwen,” the man said patiently and lowered his paper so he could see her over the top. “We don’t know what’s going on. I really think you’re jumping to conclusions.”
“But,” she sniffed, “ever since she got together with that,” she paused and tried to search for a word that would describe her daughter’s new boyfriend, “man,” she spat the word out deciding it was probably safer to stick with a more generic term as opposed to the non-Christian description she had in her mind, “came into her life, she hasn’t been the same. She hasn’t called,” she ticked the reasons off on her fingers, “she hasn’t emailed me. She hasn’t given me a straight answer about anything since he started coming around. She won’t even let me talk to the girls!”
“You talked to them last week!” he said, a note of exasperation in his voice.
“No I didn’t.”
Her husband put the paper down and gave her a straight, pointed look over the top of his glasses. “Gwen Michelle Lane, you most certainly did talk to those girls last week. I was sitting right here and heard you!”
She shrugged and stuck her lower lip out in a small pout. “It wasn’t the same.”
He continued looking at her, not saying a word.
“It wasn’t!” she said defensively. “Normally, they talk my ear off, and giggle. My lord, those girls can giggle whenever they get going. I can’t remember the last time we talked and they didn’t giggle over something.” She broke eye contact with her husband and looked down at the small table, idly tracing a finger through the light layer of dust that had accumulated since last week. She made a mental note to dust before the children arrived.
IF the children arrived.
“Maybe they just didn’t have anything to laugh about.”
“Exactly!” She said, excited that he was coming around to her way of thinking. “I think there is so much sadness in that house since” she waved a dismissive hand “what’s his name came into the picture that, well,” she paused and bit her lip, suddenly unsure of her argument, “that they’ve just been …” she shot him a frustrated look, “different, that’s all.”
He grunted and she continued.
“Look, I can’t describe it, okay? A mother just knows these things. Something’s not right with Samantha and the girls, I feel it.”
“Alright, assuming for a minute you’re right, and” he held up a hand to stop her when she started to say something, “I’m not saying you are. But just because I’m in the mood to argue with you, let’s say you are. What was her reason for not coming down again?”
“She said,” and Gwen couldn’t help but roll her eyes, “that what’s his name had to work the day before and the day after Christmas and she didn’t want him to spend Christmas day all by himself.”
He nodded and continued to look at her.
She defiantly held his gaze.
He finally huffed after long seconds passed. “And?”
“And that’s it?”
“Well,” her superior expression melted into uncertainty, “yes.”
“It’s a new relationship, Gwen. Don’t you remember how hard it was for us to do anything separately when we first started dating?”
Despite her concern, she smiled softly. “Yes, I remember.”
“Well, it’s the same thing for her. She wants to spend as much time with … what IS his name anyway?” he asked while arching a bushy brow at her.
“Kelvin,” she supplied with a long-suffering sigh.
“Right, Kelvin.” He snapped his fingers. “I knew it was something weird like that. Well, she just wants to spend time with Kelvin. After all, it doesn’t sound like the man is going to get a lot of time off and she wants to make the most of it.”
“But what about the girls?”
He sighed. “That is unfortunate.”
“I can’t stand the thought of not spending Christmas day with our granddaughters, Randy. We’ve spent every Christmas with them since they were babies!”
“Well,” he put the paper down and struggled off the sofa cushion to stand up. “Times are changin’. They’re getting bigger. They may not want to spend the holidays with a couple of old coots like us.” He slowly hobbled over to her.
Gwen shook her head and looked distracted. “I don’t think that’s it. I just think he’s turning their lives upside down and Samantha is so relieved to have someone else take charge for a change that she’s allowing him to control her.”
Randy placed his arm around his wife’s small shoulders and hugged her close to him. “Samantha has had a really hard time since the divorce, Gwen. Let’s cut her some slack, okay?”
“Did you hear he took Dana’s books away?”
She nodded firmly before continuing. “He felt like she was spending way too much time in her fantasy worlds and not enough time in the real world. In fact, he cut up her library card!”
Randy’s brows arched. “That seems a little extreme.”
“That’s what I thought. She’s a bookish-sort of person. She enjoys books. She’s a good girl. She doesn’t do drugs, she’s making good grades, she doesn’t hang out with a bunch of trouble kids, she’s always in by curfew …” she shook her head. “It’s just not right.”
“What does Samantha say about all of this? I thought she was encouraging Dana’s interest in books. Didn’t she even say something about pursuing a career at the library?”
Gwen rested her head against her husband’s shoulder. “That’s the weird part. She agrees with Kelvin. In fact, every time I ask for her opinion, she always refers to what Kelvin wants. It’s like she doesn’t have her own mind anymore. It’s creepy.”
“Well, I’m sure there’s more to the story. We don’t really know ….”
His words were cut off by the phone ringing. Gwen snatched a tissue out of a nearby tissue box and quickly wiped her nose before answering.
“Grandma?” A small, female voice asked.
“Yes? Is that you, Dana? Speak up honey, I can barely hear you. Why are you whispering?”
“Grandma?” the voice sobbed. “I’m so scared!”
Christmas song #11 Linus & Lucy by The Vince Guaraldi Trio