Friday, June 12, 2015

Dirty Little Secret

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are: Instead, Weight, Caught, Perspective and were submitted by the oh so awesome Jenn at


Instead of taking a right turn towards home when she left the bleached and in-need-of-a-paint job parking lot in her office building, she went straight then took a sharp left. A right would have taken her to her life. This way would let her escape domestication for a little while.

At work in that rundown office building adjoined by that disaster of a parking lot, she was a telemarketer selling products to people who couldn’t afford them from a cubicle that looked like millions of other cubicles staggered across the country like cardboard cutout prison cells. Every single day she was roused from dreaming by the shrill scream of the alarm clock. Every day she hit the snooze button until she was almost late to work. Every day she skipped dressing up, she skipped makeup, she skipped doing anything to her hair but pulling it back in a half assed pony tail. She didn’t know when she stopped caring, but she had. She used to wake up ready for the world to light her on fire. Now, she was mostly a fizzling match waiting to be tossed by the wayside. She sat in her cubicle dialing numbers, hating people, hating herself in a whirlwind of monotony that killed her little by little every day. Then she would leave her boring, shitty job, travel the 14.58 miles to her house by the same route (every single day), and warm up the same rotation of Hungry Man meals for her far-too-round husband who couldn’t be bothered to acknowledge her existence.

Once upon a time they were happy. They wed, they loved, they dreamed of a bigger life together. Maybe it was never meant to be. Maybe life happened. Either way, the dreams had shriveled and the love went right along with it. She hadn’t felt wanted in longer than she cared to remember. If she didn’t feed the man and wash his clothes, she’s pretty sure her existence in her life wouldn’t have mattered at all. Over the years, she lost any sense of self she had ever had.

Until she met him.

That day at work had started like hundreds before it. She sat at her desk wishing she were anywhere else, wishing she were someone else, wishing she could stick to a diet, that she could be bothered to do something with herself just to feel some semblance of confidence and hating herself for not bothering. She pulled numbers from her computer files contacting people who either hung up on her immediately or who called her any number of words that made her blush and want to waste away and die just for doing her job. This time she was selling some kind of shitty wireless mp3 headphones from china that probably cost a buck a piece and were being pushed for $49.99. Of course people were hanging up for that. Who needed a fucking mp3 player with everyone having ipods and iphones and other bullshit?

When she got Ken on the phone though, he was immediately different. She started in on her spiel speaking so fast hoping to catch the consumer’s attention before the phone was slammed down in her ear. He was laughing in her ear before her second sentence though. She was blushing and bracing herself for the worst when he said, “Slow down, Sugar. I can’t understand a word you’re saying.”

She apologized then, but he laughed that off, too, and asked for her name. She introduced herself and felt herself smile when he said he liked the sound of her voice. He asked her age. The two of them were only a few months apart actually with her being the oldest. She felt oddly euphoric when he said he wanted to know everything about her, but she told him that she couldn’t talk about that sort of thing on the phone for work, so he wanted to know when she got her lunchbreak and if he could call her then. It was odd, but she gave him her number unable to say no to the kindness she heard in his voice, unable, really, to say no to the butterflies she felt fluttering in her gut. What harm could it do? she thought. It was just her phone number. It’s not like she was meeting a stranger at his home only to end up on the 6 o’clock news when her body was found shoved into a couple suitcases, in pieces, and tossed in the dump.

Eventually, though, she did meet him at his house. It wasn’t until several phone calls, hundreds of texts and shared photos, and a couple of lunch dates later, though. He knew she was married. Unhappily married. He was divorced and after just a few dates said he was failing for her. It was passionate, a chaotic swirl of lust and caring and maybe love—things she hadn’t felt in a long time if ever--and it hooked her right from the start.

She hadn’t slept with him yet, but that didn’t mean she hadn’t thought about it time and time and time again. She wanted it. Needed it. The most that had happened even when she was at his apartment were short kisses that she quickly broke off out of guilt. That hadn’t stopped her from seeing him, though. It hadn’t stopped her from being at his house alone. She knew that no matter how little physical contact the two of them had, it was still an affair, but from her perspective, if things hadn’t been so shitty in her marriage in the first place none of this would have happened. It was just a matter of figuring out where to go from here…if she were honest with herself, though, she could have taken the steps to make this right by now. She had promised Ken that she would, that she was going to leave, that she was going to have *that* conversation at home, and she had had every opportunity to do so, but when it came time to do it, she paused. Every time. She was holding back.

The weight of her secret and the thought of getting caught were exciting in a way. This was the craziest thing she had ever done in her life besides that one time she went into a sex shop and bought a vibrator to keep herself sane. She was scared that taking away the secretiveness, the thrill of it, would take away the very thing that made her feel alive. She was like a junkie begging for another hit so she could feel something more than numb, so she could escape from the consequences of her reality. Then she would trudge home to her apartment that smelled of regret and microwaved Salisbury steak (hard to distinguish between the two) and smile a knowing smile even as she threw Hank’s yellowed briefs into the wash. She would hum to herself when she stood under the hot spray of the shower letting Caress Tahitian Renewal wash away her sins. When she laughed to herself at some inside joke she shared with Ken even while Hank was in the room, she felt free.

In deception she had found salvation. It wasn’t Ken that saved her though he was certainly the catalyst. She had saved herself, proven that she could still take chances and make her own decisions and break the psychological chains that had held her in such an unhappy place for so long.

A phone call may have started it, but in the end, she was the one who determined life was meant for more.

Maybe it wasn’t right. Maybe a lot of people would judge her, but it had been a long time since she felt this good and she planned to hold on to that feeling just a little longer before she decided where to go from here. The only direction she would be going soon enough was up.


I don't necessarily agree or disagree with the character in this story, but I go where the voice takes me and this was the road she and I traveled together this past week writing this story. Now, I hope you will check out the other bloggers who joined up for today's challenge. You can find the links below. And thank you for reading. Baking In A Tornado Spatulas on Parade The Bergham’s Life Chronicles The Momisodes Stacy Sews and Schools Sparkly Poetic Weirdo Eileen’s Perpetually Busy Battered Hope Southern Belle Charm Someone Else’s Genius Confessions of a part-time working mom Searching for Sanity Climaxed Dinosaur Superhero Mommy


  1. Life isn't neat and pretty and easy. Life gets messy. In the end, I'd rather keep searching for happiness, even in the wrong places, than just give up.

  2. I'm glad you went with where the story lead you. As always, you are a skilled writer that allows the reader to step in a characters' shoes and become lost for a moment in the storyline. Thank you for sharing your gift of writing.

  3. Life is too short to live with regrets. I wonder how long your character will be able to hold on to the double life!

  4. I always get so pulled in to your writing no matter what it is you're writing about. That is such a gift.

  5. great writing, when you can feel for and root for someone who doesn't do what you would want them too....great writing!!!!!

  6. as always, once i start reading something you have written i don`t turn away until i reach the end.
    that is a rare talent you have J

  7. I'm so glad I don't feel envious of her. Hank is an ass.

  8. We all need to be happy.The story echoes a dozen ppl maybe more that I've read about recently.