UNTITLED excerpt from a longer thing I’m working on

by | December 2020 B (Day 3)

It had been a month and three days since Clive and I split. We’d had zero contact. It was one of the many stipulations he agreed to upon his reconciliation with his wife. 

“If we’re going to give it a real chance, we have to have a clean slate,” is how he explained it to me. He said he was devastated and torn apart but had to give it another try for the children, that it was the right thing to do. I wondered if his children missed me. I was the fun one. I would make faces behind Clive’s back when he got strict with them.

But when I saw the picture of him and Kate together, the utter comfort his expression conveyed in the revival of his performance as happily married man, I broke. I considered texting, but then dialed his number. It rang three times and then he answered in a hushed, nervous tone. 

“Are you okay? We’re not supposed to be talking. I was worried so I picked up.”

“Yeah, I’m fucking okay,” I said. “I wanted to make sure you were. I thought you might have amnesia.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I saw the picture of you at the opening. You looked so happy. I figured you must’ve hit your head, had some kind of accident.”

“Peach—“

“Don’t call me that. You don’t get to call me that anymore.”

“Darling, I miss you so much. But we can’t talk. I can’t. I’m sorry.”

I hung up on him before he could erase me and threw my phone across the room. I burst out in a wail, the accumulation of being stranded alone in this strange house these past few weeks, and stranded alone emotionally. The dogs came to see if I was okay as I collapsed on the floor letting them lick the tears from my face.

“Fuck him,” I said to Honey and Duke. “Am I right?”

Both of them angled to get in my lap, their big Labrador bodies clamoring for a spot, as I sat splayed out, my head against the bed. 

“Let’s go swimming,” I said. I didn’t have a bathing suit. I hadn’t planned on needing one. I didn’t care. The weather had finally broke, the sun lighting up the bright almost purple sky. I pushed open the French doors that led to the garden that surrounded the pool, saw my reflection as I stood surveying the deep, pulled at my jean shorts that had begun riding up, tied my t-shirt in a knot below my heart, and dove in.

7 Comments

  1. Bud Smith

    Oh wow, this killed me. This feels like the opening chapter of a novel! I hope you will keep going with this. Or if not a novel that long twenty page story or something. I want to know everything about this narrator and follow her and these dogs in this strange house for a while. My one suggestion — keep going forward. No flashbacks! Yogurt such forward motion here, sustain it. Thank you so much for sharing this

    • Rachel Pollon Williams

      Bud, I am going to write you more later today but I just loved this course and workshop so much! Thank you for all – the content, the teachings, philosophies and quotes you shared, the fantastic, inspiring prompts, and the insights and suggestions on our pieces. Great weekend! So glad to be introduced to this group of writers and to feel so energized. All my best!

  2. Traci Mullins

    Rachel, I’m sure you’ll take this far since you’ve made such a fabulous start. I hope I’ll get to see what this woman ends up doing to claim back her power and move on.

  3. Benjamin Niespodziany

    This is a great attention getter! Like Bud said, it feels like the start of something bigger. Like she wakes the next morning and takes a road trip with her dogs, or she visits his house and sets it on fire. It seems like the engine is just turning on and you’re about to really take off. Great piece!

  4. Saxon Baird

    Ah Rachel, for anyone who has gone through a breakup this is so real. I love the small detail of the dogs being concerned. Wild thing about domesticated animals…they seem to know. Very intimate stuff and as others have expressed, it does read like the beginning of something bigger. That’s the thing about endings, they are also beginnings!

  5. Bill Merklee

    Brilliant opening. I so want to keep reading. Great wrinkle in that “the other woman” has interacted with his kids and she turned out to be the fun one. And what a way to launch a story — open the French doors, tie a knot below your heart, dive in. Wonderful.

  6. Silas Reeves

    This is electric! I love the building energy towards the leap into the pool. The tension and emotion in the conversation between the narrator and Clive are really engaging and in this section, in particular, I can imagine the hurt/nervous/angry posture of the narrator:

    “Yeah, I’m fucking okay,” I said. “I wanted to make sure you were. I thought you might have amnesia.”

    “What are you talking about?”

    “I saw the picture of you at the opening. You looked so happy. I figured you must’ve hit your head, had some kind of accident.”

    Damnnnn. Her anger is amazing and terrifying and then it all swells up. Relateable, especially in these isolating times. I’m with the other folks wanting to see more of the narrator’s life after this call! Does Clive keep trying to weasel his way back? Will the narrator meet someone else, meet herself somewhere? Exciting to follow her struggle/journey wherever it goes!

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