Blog, fiction

33 – A Short Fiction Piece

cottage
Image by Stanly8853 from Pixabay

The walk to the mailbox was never a pleasure for Carrie. There were no letters from friends or a note from home. Not even an invitation to one of those dinners where they gave you free food in exchange for a too-long marketing presentation about a timeshare she could never afford. She wondered if anyone had invented a combination mailbox/trash-can since most of her mail ended up there anyway.

There it was, the long white envelope of death. Carrie knew what it said before she ever opened it. Even so, she still held her breath like a little girl waiting to see Santa. She slid her pinkie under the flap and tore it open. Her eyes skimmed the page dimming as she read the all too familiar words.

“Thirty-three ‘we regret to inform you’ in less than 60 days. This could be some sort of record.” As painful as it was, this was the only mail she kept.

The breeze picked up speed and shifted directions. It would be raining soon. Carrie sat on the porch swing and watched the thunderstorm building in the distance.

Darren was right. Darren was always right. He was older and smarter and had a good head on his shoulders. She had listened to these accolades most of her life, but especially since her father died her senior year in college. Darren swooped in and carted their Mom off to his place in the city. He saved the day. Again.

It was no wonder he was successful in business. He was cutthroat and a bully. Dad always saw it but Mom never could. When she died only a year later, Darren was named executor and in charge of Carrie’s distribution from the estate.

Luckily, Dad’s sister – Aunt Irene – could see the handwriting on the wall. She deeded her small cottage and it’s adjoining two acres to Carrie and moved into a small condo in Florida insisting she never liked the place anyway. Otherwise, Carrie would have been 25, on her own with no place to live.

There was no mortgage and the sales from her small organic garden kept her afloat. She often felt like giving up, but her father’s words always kept her going. “You’re going to be a great writer someday”.

Someday? After 33 reject letters from 33 different sources, she was beginning to doubt it. She had completed a book she loved but finding an agent and a publisher these days was tough. She thought about self-publishing but Darren made sure that would not happen.

”I cannot let you spend your inheritance on such frivolous pursuits, Carrie. This is why Mom left me in charge. It’s time for you to grow up and get a real job.” She could not manage her share of the estate until she turned 30. That seemed so far away.

Carrie filed her new reject in the filing cabinet, the folder already bulging. Why was she keeping those stupid things? As she closed the drawer, another folder caught her eye. It was simply labeled “Dad”. She pulled it out and opened it, seeing the letters her father wrote her when she was away at school. He challenged her, asked the rhetorical questions designed to inspire her. As she read them, they made her think deeply about her life and her opportunities  – even if they had not done so before.

“Damn, I miss you. Your positive outlook. Your reassurance. Your inspiration.” She stared at the folder. “Why did you have to leave me?”

Over the next few months, Carrie buried herself penning a response to each of the 60 letters. It was therapeutic and made her feel less alone.

*****

As the autumn leaves reached their full color, Carrie walked to the mailbox as she had done almost every day since she moved in. Another letter from a publisher, but this one felt different. Thicker somehow. Her palms were sweating as she tore the envelope open.

The publisher loved the proposal she sent them. The samples of the letters and the responses she had written to her father were compelling. They wanted to see more. They wanted her to work with an editor.

No matter what happened from here, she knew she had found her voice and her way. She now understood why she had received 33 reject letters. For the first time, she had been brave enough to leave her heart beating on the page.

She smiled pressing the letter to her chest. “Daddy, everything is going to be okay.”

Blog

Monday Missive – Christmas is a Go!

We are finally ready to welcome Christmas. The house is decorated and we have a selection of SiriusXM channels of different types of Christmas music I can play on my iPad or through our internet radio (I am enjoying Acoustic Christmas). We have the subscription on hubby’s truck that allows us to play it on other devices. Nothing left except just enjoying the holiday.

  • Yesterday was my grandson’s birthday. It is so hard to believe he is 8 years old! He was always my little cuddler, but I am afraid after the pandemic is finally over (I am hopeful) he will have outgrown me snuggling with him on the couch.
  • Speaking of hard to believe – We have 6 grandchildren. 3, 8, 11, soon to be 14, and soon to be 17 and soon to be 19. Time is moving at a rapid pace and there is simply no way to slow that clock down.
  • So, yes, we are decorated and ready for Christmas. Most of our packages are being delivered directly to their destination this year so we have relatively few to wrap. Good for us, bad for the parents.
  • Speaking of packages, we ordered a starter electric guitar for one granddaughter as a combination birthday/Christmas gift. The shipping was a mess. After days on chat with The Guitar Center, the package arrived! You would think that was a “Yay” moment, but unfortunately it arrived in pieces. Long story short, it was returned for a credit and a new guitar selected, but what a mess! This may be an insight into part of the reason they are filing for bankruptcy – or perhaps this is a side effect of the filing.
  • I am hopeful of getting back in the jewelry studio today. I had to order a “third hand” because the one I had somehow disappeared. I am hopeful this one will do the trick. The base contains a strong magnet rather than a wing-nut to adjust the angle. It comes with cross-lock tweezers to firmly hold an object in place for soldering. Fingers crossed.
  • My decluttering and cleaning is progressing. I hope to keep things orderly. What is it about horizontal surfaces? Some scientific principle I am unaware of – that any horizontal space must be filled? No? Just my house?
  • The virus continues to rage and there is no leadership currently in the US to combat it. I saw an article this morning about a mass hospitalization of 300 people in India. Not Covid or any of the suspected possibilities. Some thinking this could be water contamination. Suddenly very thankful for my little independent well.
  • I was helping a friend get back into her WordPress blog after being absent from blogging for a while. She came back to the block editor. I had forgotten how frustrating it can be for people who started with the good old original WordPress.

That’s it for me.