Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tales on Tuesday... All in the Family

Nessa of,
The Chrysalis Stage, hosts a weekly writing theme called Tales on Tuesday. Tell a short, short (500 words or less) story based on the weeks theme.Each theme will be the title of a TV show to provide some inspiration. Your story does not have to have anything to do with the TV show.

n Jackie's ninth birthday she realised her parents had been apart for some time. Before that day, it hadn't occurred to her that married people actually spoke to each other or occupied the same room for more than a few minutes at a time. Mr and Mrs Fontaine rarely spoke to each other about matters other than their daughter or household matters. Mrs Fontaine kept the house while Mr Fontaine kept the finances.

Jackie's birthday was a Tuesday that year. She had a dentist appointment, at 4 o'clock. Mrs Fontaine had a Garden Club meeting that day and asked Mr Fontaine if he would take Jackie to the dentist. Mr Fontaine flat out refused. He told Mrs Fontaine to re-schedule or send Jackie to walk the two blocks by herself. Mrs Fontaine found these suggestions unacceptable. She cancelled her Garden Club meeting.

At supper that evening, Jackie told Mr Fontaine about her visit with the dentist. He listened intently when she told him the dentist had recommended braces for her teeth. He nodded when she was done, and continued with his pot roast. Mrs Fontaine offered Mr Fontaine no further information.

That night, after Jackie was sent to bed, she lay awake. She wondered why Mr Fontaine had asked for no details about the braces and why her mother had added nothing to Jackie's monologue. She sneaked out of bed and tip-toed to the door of Mr Fontaine's study. Jackie could hear Mr Fontaine speaking, he was on the telephone. He was conversing with someone he referred to as "Dearest" or "Darling". Jackie had never heard him utter these words before. Hearing only one side of the discussion, Jackie had no idea who he was speaking to, or who could be "the girl" he kept mentioning. She listened carefully, committing to memory the words "boarding school", "bastard", "divorce" and "adulteress". Hearing Mr Fontaine say goodbye and put the phone down, Jackie slipped back to bed.

Next morning, Jackie arrived at the breakfast table to find Mr Fontaine had already been served and left for work. Mrs Fontaine appeared at table with Jackie's oatmeal, fruit and juice. She promptly returned to the kitchen without a word. Jackie could hear two whispering voices in the kitchen and crept to the doorway. There she observed Mrs Miller, from down the street, sipping coffee and smoking a cigarette. Jackie had never seen a woman smoke. She listened, hoping not to be discovered eavesdropping.

Mrs Miller was telling Mrs Fontaine about a woman from the south side of town, who lived alone. The woman did not appear to work and was considered by Mrs Miller to be secretly wealthy. Mrs Fontaine asked the woman's name, but Mrs Miller did not know it. Mrs Miller asked Mrs Fontaine if she had heard from "him" lately. Mrs Fontaine reminded Mrs Miller about "the original agreement" and that there was to be "no contact whatsoever". Mrs Miller said "he" still lived over the town line at the old farm. Mrs Fontaine said she was sure Mr Fontaine had threatened "him". Mrs Fontaine asked Mrs Miller if she thought anyone knew the truth about "the girl". Mrs Miller said she had heard no talk from the women in good society, but didn't know for sure.

It wasn't until Jackie's tenth birthday that she put all the pieces together.

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