I’ve really been trying to write and therefore am going to hold myself accountable to finishing this little short story (not so”loosely” based on my mom) by putting the start of it out here. I figure if it’s out to the universe and everyone, I may feel more compelled to complete it. I had started it in Six Sentence Stories a few weeks ago…
Why the TToT, you may ask… Well , I am grateful to be doing anything extracurricular; especially pulling words out of my head and applying them to “paper.” I miss writing, but have an incredible cement block occupying space in my brain.
So thanks in advance if you read it… and of course, it wouldn’t be the TToT if I didn’t say I was grateful for Douglas as well…or state that rule 3.560 subsection y lets me do all of this without ten proper items,so bugger off if you think otherwise! Sorry, kinda lost it there… Off we go:
Driving Ms. Myrna
Myrna didn’t learn to drive until the summer of her 81st year. It was the same year her husband died, and she decided with the help of her youngest daughter that it was time. It’s not like she hadn’t attempted to learn to operate a vehicle; when she was much younger her husband tried to teach her. It ended with her purposely driving their Ford station wagon, passenger side down into a ditch, and hollering “Go to hell, Al!” as she jumped to the ground from the now hovering driver’s seat of the car. She had the presence of mind to take the keys, which she flung as far as she could into the woods of Cherry Street Extension.
Now that Al was gone, Myrna was the sole owner of their seven-year old Toyota Tercel. It was the most expensive purchase of their 63 year marriage, and the first brand new car they had ever bought. It now had 28,000 miles on it. If the mileage was to be believed, they didn’t go out much and they had few, if any friends. Others liked them well enough, they just didn’t see the importance of involving themselves with additional people. With eight children, they figured they had enough people of their own.
As Myrna saw it, her daughter was pushing her to drive. Given the choice, she would never get behind the wheel. “Mom, I live over an hour away, and I am not going to be able to drop everything and take you everywhere you want to go. We both know you will not be happy if you can’t do what you want, when you want it.” Her daughter was actually pushing her to learn to use public transportation; maybe get a bus pass, but not drive.
“Oh stop exaggerating! That is not true! I am a full-grown woman. I can forgo a little instant gratification.”
” Oh yeah? Do I need to remind you about your last birthday?”
“That was different! They destroyed that tree! It needed to be repaired!”
There was a lovely Japanese cherry tree growing outside Myrna’s kitchen window. The condo association hired a landscaping company to come and prune the foliage all around the grounds. The day after they left, Myrna fell out of the tree, severing an artery in her leg when the pruning shears she was using went down with her. Luckily it was her 80th birthday, and her daughter had just pulled in to find her mother sitting in the grass unable to get up because she couldn’t kneel with two knee replacements and a hemorrhaging appendage.
“Oh my Gawd, Mom. Really? Just sit there, I’m calling 911.”
“Oh don’t bother them for something like this! It’s nothing! Get me up and we’ll clean it up in the house.” Myrna always thought her daughter could do the impossible.To her discredit, her daughter often believed her. The dark arterial blood seeping into a puddle from behind Myrns’s knee, justified ignoring her this once.
Considering her age, Two total knee replacements, and the fact that since her teens she had been riddled with arthritis, Myrna was quite mobile. She managed the two short flights of stairs to her condo (sometimes carrying laundry or groceries); she could often be found on a step stool changing curtains, or reaching for some item in a high cupboard. She could even climb trees, albeit coming down was a different matter. Since the time of her total joint replacements, the swelling in her legs had never reduced, leaving her with what she called “tree stumps,” and feet that were two different sizes. The floor of her closet was neatly arranged with four of every shoe she owned aligned in mismatched pairs of two. She had a flair for transforming mundane events into herculean efforts, and often lamented that finding comfortable shoes was one of the greatest chores of her life.
Myrna’s pastime was ordering shoes from catalogs, buying them whenever she went to a department store, and searching endlessly for a place that might allow her to purchase only one pair with a glaring size discrepancy. She was no longer dependent upon Al, who thought she owned far too many, and cursed under his breath the entire time he was running her around to find more. She could drive! So that when a friend told her about a new shoe store in a neighboring city, Myrna hollered to the heavens, “See Al, I bet you’re glad your dead now!” She still argued with him often and If she had to think about it, he wasn’t contributing much less to the conversation.
Myrna was in awe when she entered the warehouse that was Hexagon Shoes. Women’s pumps, heels, oxfords, and galoshes filled every square inch of the ground floor. There were shoes of every size in metallic, leather, and canvas. Brightly colored strappy numbers, slip ons, and tie shoes overflowed the few display areas. In the past, knowing that Al was waiting in the parking lot, she would often think of appeasing him with a pair of his own. Perhaps now that she could drive herself, was the reason she hadn’t noticed the glaringly obvious omission of foot gear for the unshod male. If you were looking to get your boy a pair of basketball sneakers, this was not your store. Also of some interest was the fact that every pair was on sale for a flat rate of $13.49.
Over the next few years Myrna made Hexagon Shoes her “go-to-place” for footwear. She often spoke to Mr. Therrien, the older man who ran the store. On occasion he would invite her to dinner. She would try her hand at flirting by pretending to consider his invitation, all the while knowing she would never accept. He often regaled her with stories of his native Boston and inevitably ended every encounter with, “Keep comin’ back my little Myr-maid! You can get yerself a nice bah-gin, any time you want!” Even though she was sure he was insinuating himself into the position of ” a nice bargain,” it was all very flattering. Not only did he repeatedly let her purchase three pair of shoes instead of the usual six she would have had to buy from any other store in the area, he had given Myrna her very first nickname. For the past fifty years she had been Mom. Even Al called her Ma. Al had given her a moniker, while the rest of the world knew, she clearly deserved a sobriquet.
To be continued…
Feel free to get on me about finishing it…
Look away Clark…
30 seconds post publication: The cue for this week’s Six Sentence Story is, base.