Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ruth's Never-ending Story Meme

IThis is Ruth's Meme. It's taken me awhile to write my chapter. (Sorry Ruth!) If you have a good idea, for Chapter three, I would be delighted. (I have never done this before!) Meanwhile, here are the rules:

Put a link to this post. Label the Link "Chapter Two." and to Ruth's "Chapter One. "
Write your own installment and label it "Chapter Three." Remember to leave it unresolved.
Come leave a comment on this post when you're done. I will list links to all possible versions of the second chapter at the bottom of this post.
Anyone who writes a version of Chapter Three should leave it open-ended and invite people to create Chapter Four. Etc, etc.
Let's see what happens and how far this goes.
P.S. There is no time limit on doing this, but this post will drop into the archives in about a week.


As I look back now, I can see that this small strange dream marked the beginning, a turning point. But of course at the time, I didn't know that yet. All I knew is that, for the first time in a long time, I felt acutely the deep hole of time since my father's death. All of a sudden I could see him quite clearly: his gray work shirt with the pocket protector and screwdrivers in it, the earnest way he like to talk to customers, with his hands clasped behind his back, the black curl of hair just on his forehead.

I poured myself a cup of coffee, picked my morning paper off the front step, and sat down at the kitchen table, alone. The house was quiet. I was alone, as always. I didn't think of myself as a loner, a solitary person, but in that moment, I listened to the clock ticking, and I thought, I am alone. Has it always been like this?

I'll be honest: if I'm not quite "old" yet, I can safely say that I'm bordering on "elderly", anyway. My retirement looms, and I look at that horizon with a mixture of anticipation and dread. M&F Insurance has been a sort of family to me; the work hasn't been exciting, but I know all of the people, and I feel that we don't just work together; we are a part of each other's lives.

But that morning, after the dream, I wondered if that was really true; how connected was I to anybody in my life, really? Shirley at the desk next to mine, who had pictures of her children taped to her wall, Fred in accounting who, once, long ago, asked me out -- Mary down the hall who keeps three extra pairs of shoes in her desk, and likes to slip out 10 minutes early on Friday.

I sipped coffee and read the news with moderate interest. There were rumors of wars, like always; the president was traveling to Europe, I saw. I read a story about an enterprising young boy who earned money selling lemonade and giving away kittens; he was saving his earnings to send his brother to a special camp for MD. There was another story of corporate embezzlement. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Just as I was turning to the obituaries, the phone rang. No one ever calls me, I thought. I wonder who it is.


Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Oh, this is interesting. You've taken her much farther into the future than the other Chapter 2 creators did. I really like the specifics about the father--the tolls, the black curl, and especially the hands clasped behind his back.

I think you capture the flavor of "cubicle work" quite well in such a short passage. And the narrator's dawning realization of being lonely.

The phone call and the hint of foreshadowing in turning to the obituaries makes me want to read more.

I hope someone picks up your thread and writes a chapter three.

Ok, the links are going up over at my blog. I've added a permanent box for the story links so people can keep playing over time without rooting around my blog.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Uh, that was supposed to be tools, not tolls. I haven't eaten breakfast yet, so mark it down to low blood sugar.

And I forgot to say the most important thing: Excellent installment. Thanks for playing.

Jiff said...

Cool! I would like to read more....

Anonymous said...

Oh another wonderful one! Gosh everyone is so talented. I'm getting interested in doing a chapter 3 or 4 now. Ruth said we could! It's just so fun! And the chapters are all so excellent and so very divergent. I love this one. I can almost envision this woman. Does the same things day in and day out. Always knows where she is at 4pm on Sunday, that kind of thing. Spaghetti on Wednesday, and soup and sandwich on Saturday. LOL.

RevDrKate said...

Diane, I wrote and posted a Chapter 3 for your Chapter 2. I'm not sure I got all the linking right...hope so. This was such a good antidote for real life which was sad today with visiting L. I'm so glad I saw this.

RevDrKate said...

It is actually chapter three and I had just titled it wrong on my post....long day. I think it's all straight now...maybe.

RevDrKate said...

Any more thoughts on doing Chapter Four? She's haunting me a bit...and plot lines are running in my head.....