Friday, November 7, 2014

Book Friday: Free Short Story

This is a short story I wrote several years ago and set aside for whatever reason. Came across it recently and as I read a book idea was born. Of course, there will be LOTS of major changes. But this may give those who don't write a glimmer into the minds of authors and how a short story, or even an idea, blossoms into a book.

Also, this little ditty has never experienced the evil red pen of an editor, so please ignore the glitches you think need changing. Raw writing, especially in fiction, isn't always perfect.

By Lizzie T. Leaf


   “Mom, you need a transition man.”

   Shelia Martin looked at her daughter in dismay.  Even as a married woman expecting her first child, Carrie could at times still amaze Shelia with what popped out of her mouth.

   “What are you talking about?  Where on earth did you come up with an idea like that?”

   Carrie repositioned herself on the sofa, placing a pillow under her very pregnant stomach.

   “John and I discussed you last night.”

 Uh-oh, Carrie and her husband’s discussion about Shelia meant trouble.  She mentally prepared herself for the lecture coming.

“You’re a young woman, Mom.  Since Dad died you have no life.  Come to think of it, you didn’t have much of one when he was alive.  Basically, you lived his life, doing what he wanted to do.  He’s been gone almost two years, and when we were talking last night, we came to the conclusion you need to start dating.  You know, someone that you don’t really care if he calls again, but gets that first dreaded date out of the way.  Helps you transition back into a social life—hence a transition man.  If he lasted awhile, that wouldn’t be so bad either.”  Shelia’s mouth dropped. The inane suggestion came close to creating a panic attack.  She inhaled deeply and willed the pounding in her chest to slow.

“After all, you’re only fifty-four and a little sex would be a good thing.  Sheila pursed her lips and studied her for a moment.  “Though I don’t see you as one night stand material.

“Now, we really need to talk.  Things are different in the world for the single woman of today, Mom.  There are a lot of scary things out there, and different diseases.  You have to make sure you’re safe; that the man uses protection.”

  Protection?  Good grief.  A sex talk from her daughter!  When had the parent-child role reversed?

Knowing her face was as red as it felt; Shelia shook her head in wonderment. Changing the subject, she watched Carrie once again try to find a comfortable position for her stretched belly.   

   “I can’t believe my baby’s having a baby.”

   “Now Mom, don’t go getting all teary eyed again.”  Carrie pushed into a sitting position.  “I’m hungry.  What do you have that isn’t good for me?”  

   The one sided conversation did bring Shelia to the conclusion she needed to get a social life on some level.  Her days were filled redecorating the house as she had always dreamed of doing, or reading. 

She didn’t remember when most of their friends stopped calling.  The couples that had been their social network when Tom was alive, she realized were really his friends.  Now that she was no longer part of a couple, the rules had changed.  It definitely was time to establish new friendships. 

   “But how?”  This was the question Shelia mused over when she stopped by her favorite bookstore coffee-cafe.

   Looking around for an empty table she saw only one seat. “Excuse me. If this isn’t taken may I share your table?” 

   The man glanced up from his book, “Help yourself,” and returned to his reading.

   Shelia assessed her table partner—definitely over fifty, probably pushing sixty; an average, safe looking guy.  What the heck, may as well go for broke.

   “Nice day,” she tried to put a smile in her voice. 

   “Yeah,” he grunted, not looking up.

   She glanced at his book cover.   “I’ve read that book.  Isn’t it great?”

   “That’s what I’m trying to decide.”  He gave her a withering look and buried his nose in the pages again.

   So much for meeting people.   She picked up one of the books from her stack and opened it.

   “Excuse me.  May I share your table?”

   Shelia glanced over, realizing Mr. Friendly had left and the chair across from her was empty.

   “Sure.”  She looked up into eyes so blue they would’ve made Paul Newman green with envy.  The complete package was just as good—early fifties, tall, muscular, hair with heavy touches of silver around the temples and a smile that took her breath away.

   “My name is James Anthony.   Jim to my friends.”  

His deep voice was as smooth as butter. Their eyes met and thoughts that a soon-to-be grandmother probably shouldn’t have, danced through her head.  Hello transition man, popped into her mind as he seated himself.

   “I’m Shelia Martin.”  She heard herself saying as she drowned in those glorious blue eyes.

   “Great book.”

    She noticed he referred to the one she had open. 

   Returning his smile, they settled into a conversation about favorite books.  Suddenly the four letter date word wasn’t so scary.  Who knows, maybe when she got home she would be able to call Carrie to tell her she had found her transition man.  Yes, one could hope, especially when Jim asked if she’d like another cup of coffee.