The game of life is the game of boomerangs. Our thoughts, deeds and words return to us sooner or later, with astounding accuracy. – Florence Scovel Shin
I love this quote. It’s a great prompt if you’re ever in a writing rut. I actually had a hard time deciding what to write about, but I ultimately went with the below response. I will definitely use the quote again to hopefully jump-start other stories. As always, please feel free to comment or leave feedback here or via email. Thanks so much Jules for the challenge!
Angela had a lovely home nestled in a cul-de-sac behind the iron gates of Roslyn Park. Its jagged beige skin and russet trimmings languished on the perfectly manicured lawn, still longing, after all these years, to be kissed by the summer sun. Curtains the color of sunset ruffled on the edges of its wide-eyed windows, daring anyone to look more beautiful or serene.
I hated going there. My heart always thudded a little faster as I drove closer; my hands always slipped on the wet steering wheel as each house I passed got bigger and bigger. I’d vacillate between the urge to shove a large chocolate bar in my mouth or vomit.
I was driving there that particular Saturday afternoon because Angela had given birth to her second child: a bald, rosy baby girl, who already had a diamond cross around her neck and a gold bracelet on her wrist. I had picked up a pink bunny with floppy ears and a three-pack set of onesies at the mall, each covered with some clever statement about having the #1 mom or being daddy’s little girl. Really, what could I possibly give a one-week old with diamonds?
My stomach began to turn as I veered onto Chestnut End. I had tried a few things in the past to curtail the anxiety: a jog around the park, a chat with the best friend, a Snickers bar, sex. I regretted them all, except maybe the jog. None ever seemed to work. This is simply how it had been for the last five years, and how it’ll continue to be until either Angela decides she’s bored with domestic bliss or Tom finally realizes we should be together.
Because we should be together. He had loved me once. Years ago, when he spent his days playing video games and fixing bicycles, and I spent them secretly wearing makeup to school and reading Teen Beat. He was always either in his mother’s garage or in my living room, fiddling with some chain that needed to be tightened or playing a new game on the latest console. I tried hard not to laugh when his fingers banged on a controller, furiously tapping at the latest secret fighting combo or passcode he’d uncover.
The night before I left to NYU, he told me he loved me. I couldn’t quite understand why. Maybe because I was a little older; maybe because I never paid him much attention; or maybe because I was just nice enough that he confused that with love. My sister wasn’t surprised. He had told her he loved me whenever they played Street Fighter against each other, or rode their bikes in the park. I had said he was better off loving her, and she laughed at me.
It seemed like a lifetime ago. And now here I was again, on my way to his home to see his new baby.
I parked the car and did the usual ritual: pulled the flask from my purse, took a swig of vodka, and prayed I wouldn’t make a fool of myself.
I walked slowly up the front walkway entrance, making sure my heels didn’t get stuck on any crevice. Angela opened the door before I had a chance to ring the bell.
“You made it!” she hugged me as I got to the door. “I saw you pull up. Did you hit traffic or something?”
“Yeah,” I lied. “Weekends are always bad, you know.” I handed her the pink bag with the bunny and the onesies. “Just a little something for Lucy.”
“Thank you so much,” she leaned in and kissed my cheek. “Tom just stepped out, but he’ll be back soon.” She inhaled deeply. “We have a really important question to ask you.”
I froze. I realized there was only one important question they could possibly ask me. I was about to protest when her three-year-old son ran to the door.
“Tía Carla!” he shouted, as he wrapped his arms tightly around my legs. I leaned over and gave him a kiss on the head.
“Come inside,” said Angela, inviting me in with a wave of a perfectly manicured hand. “Ready to meet your niece, big sis?”