Recently, I posted chapter one of “Daria’s Tale,” a story I have been working on off and on for several years now. Mostly in between other projects.
I was hoping to get some feedback. I wanted to know if it is too pompous? Is it relevant? Is it at all entertaining?
The post garnered a couple of likes and one actual comment. So I decided to go ahead and post chapter two and see if I could get a little more feedback.
So, here it is. I hope you enjoy it.
Chapter 2: Finding what You are Looking For
“Hello. This is …”
That was all Daria heard before she hung up the phone. She let go of the handset as if it were a hot potato. She missed the body of the phone and the handset hit the counter top with a crack. Luckily, it did not actually crack.
It had taken her days just to work up the courage to place the call. Now she would just have to work up the courage to talk to the person on the other end of the connection. She wondered how many interminable days that would require. She sat for a few moments, barely breathing, with her eyes tightly shut.
When she had left the bridge several nights ago after her encounter with Andrew Nolan, she had tucked the business card he had given her into an outside pocket of her purse. Why she had even taken her purse with her that evening, she did not know. Habit probably.
It wasn’t until much later that night, when the meatloaf and mashed potatoes with asparagus on the side had been eaten and the dishes cleared and washed that she thought about the card. Her husband, Louie, was sitting in the living room watching some silly sitcom with a laugh track on the television. So she went into the bedroom and took out the card and read what was printed there for the first time: Nedra Ellsworth, Spiritual Guidance and Life Coaching. There was a phone number, email address and physical address given as well. The card was a serene blue-green color and when she turned it over, she saw that there was a mandala on the back. It smelled ever so slightly of incense. Sandalwood maybe.
It can be very difficult to find what you are looking for if you do not know exactly for what you are looking. Daria conceded that a spiritual guide might be just the thing she needed. But then the rational side of her, the one her father had tried so hard to foster, would come out and tell her it was all hogwash. She could picture him, though now long dead, standing before her and telling her that spiritual guides are charlatans and that all that bunkum was just a sleazy way to cheat people out of their hard earned cash. Or in her case, her husband’s hard earned cash.
Sitting at the breakfast bar with the windows of the dining area bright behind her, she stared at the telephone before her. She looked into her spotlessly clean kitchen with everything in its place and wondered if perhaps the bathrooms needed touching up. Or maybe it was a good day to go out into the yard and begin to clean up winter’s debris and get ready for spring to flourish. Anything but picking up the phone and dialing that number again.
Daria and Louie have a fairly traditional sort of marriage. He earns the money and she manages the household. Louie has always wanted it that way. He has a stressful job in middle management with thirty people under him and five above him. When he gets home from a difficult day at work (and to listen to him, you would think every single day was difficult), he doesn’t want to have to think about whether or not the house needs painting, if the plants need trimming or tend to some plumbing or electrical repair. He wants that all handled so he can spend a couple of hours in front of the television and then go to bed. On the weekends, he wants to play and do man-things which often do not include Daria. Daria often reflects that what he really needs is a housekeeper … but then he’d have to pay her.
Daria loves Louie and she is pretty sure he loves her. And besides, what would she do if she were to leave him. She has no skills to speak of, beyond being a housewife. She has no résumé. Who would hire her? But the thought has crossed her mind a time or two. That and the idea of getting a job of her own and money of her own. But Louie would probably never let her do that.
In a fit of uncommon resolve with any number of odd thoughts flitting through her mind, Daria picks up the handset of the phone once more and dials the number from the business card. She has decided that she definitely will talk to Nedra Ellsworth, and Louie and her father be damned.
The phone rings twice at the other end and a very pleasant and low pitched voice says, “Hello, Daria.” Daria is so shocked that she once again hangs up the phone and sits there staring at it with as much consternation and fear as if it had suddenly morphed into a hand grenade. Daria says out loud to herself, “Well, that’s it then.” And she unplugs the phone from the wall jack and heads outside to clean up the last of the fallen leaves that had not all blown away over the winter (she doesn’t believe in gathering them all up and putting them into plastic trash bags where they will do no one and no thing any good) and see what else might need tending. A couple of the bushes along the drive could use a little trimming back before the growing season takes off.
She finds that the irises are beginning to grow. She works the leaves she gathered into the soil of her small vegetable garden plot and pulls the few weeds that have sprouted. Soon, she reflects, it will be time to plant the peas and set out the tomatoes. And maybe cucumbers would be nice this year. Before she knows it, it is time to go inside, clean herself up and begin preparing dinner. Louie requested lasagna and that always takes a long time to make.
P. S. Hey, dad. I think about you all the time. Maybe not every day anymore. But especially on this day. Today marks 51 years since you departed this earth and I still miss you. Thanks for all you taught me. Love you.