The Red Dress Club: The Last Time

This post is a continuation of the fiction story that I started

here, Perspective and here, A Phone Call.

 

This was absolutely the last time.

The words ring in my ears. Hollow. Insincere. Familiar.

My stomach lurches with another wave, ripping me from the inside out. I’m crushed.

Wilting to the floor, I uselessly try to melt into it, to disappear.

A  pile of buttercup towels grows taller beside me. They’re deeply soiled. Obscenely streaked.

I lightly touch one drop of blood. A shudder washes over me as I wipe red across yellow. The stench of iron wafts, another wave hits.

I lean against the cool slate wall and pull my knees in tight. Tighter. I’m trying to hold myself together.

But I can’t. Once again, useless.

So much time. So much money. Finally, success! Dashed. My hand lingers on my almost empty belly. It cramps, mocking me.

My arms wrap around my knees, my shoulders loosen. This space is mine. I wince in it.

A salty tear grazes my swollen lips. More slide down my bruised cheeks. Cool. Poignant. A reminder.

I wonder where he went and how long until he returns.

His face will be hopeful, his arms will overflow.

Something soft and warm, a blanket or a sweatshirt. He’ll desperately try to melt the ice between us. The cold that I can never shake.

Dark chocolate because I’m his sweetest thing.

His voice, inside my head.

His breath, against my cheek.

His words, a direct line into my ear.

Deep. Gravelly. A slight twang most noticeable when he’s tender. And when he’s fierce.

My heart drops, chills race down my spine. My eyes search, my ears listen. Is he back?

The sleek clock ticks above me. Silence.

No, he’s not. I release the breath that I didn’t know I was holding. My head pangs, my stomach tightens. I rest both hands there and allow the tears to fall in mourning.

My eyelashes flutter as I fight sleep.

Through them, I see his eyes. Crystal blue, a lake just before sunrise. Waters not meant to dive into.

Those full arms. Those I can count on. A blanket, chocolate and, of course, flowers. Always flowers. Tulips. Daisies. Lilacs.

One bouquet. Two. Sometimes even three. I used to think the number of flowers reflected how many times he broke me that night. But it’s not that easy.

I never know what to expect, and he’s proud of that.

I’m not sure he’s really the one, I told Kally that night so many years ago.

Back at the old apartment we ate scrambled eggs leaning against the island while Beautiful Day filled in the background.

We were still in our going out clothes. Black dresses and strappy heels. You two could be sisters! We’d hear that all the time. A little drunk on riesling, we talked between bites.

You guys? No way Em. You guys are perfect. That’s just how it is sometimes. She said. Besides, Ohmygod his eyes! Her fork scraped the bottom of the pan, clinked against her teeth.

I open my eyes as a small smile escapes my lips. I taste a tinge of fresh blood on my own teeth.

She was wrong.

Red Writing Hood is a writing meme. This week’s assignment is to write a short piece that begins with the words, “This was absolutely the last time” and ends with “She was wrong.” Constructive criticism is welcome.

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Comments

  1. “I release the breath that I didn’t know I was holding”. Favoritest line. I know that’s not a word but whatever. This was intense. And once again, I’m in awe.

  2. I agree with Elaine. Intense. So good!

  3. Wow. I just got goosebumps reading this. It was perfect, Galit. xoxo

  4. This, “I used to think the number of flowers reflected how many times he broke me that night. But it’s not that easy.” is so crushing and so true.

    “It’s just the way it goes in the beginning” ….I want to go back in time and tell her to listen to herself, her instincts are right!

    As always, you did a beautiful job with this story.

  5. Frighteningly beautiful, your words flow as always.
    Powerful and intense!

  6. Erin’s got it: frighteningly beautiful. Galit, the way you string words together into these haunting pieces always stuns me.
    I almost don’t want to know more of her story. ALMOST.

  7. wow. Everyone is right, this is intense. Your words are put together in a way that is poetic without any fluff… they are straight to the point and yet they are strung together perfectly.

  8. Very intense. I want to save her because it seems that she needs saving. I like the brief flashback at the end. It gives the reader insight into who she was before.

  9. For some reason, the smell of iron struck me this time. As well as all the lines noted above.

    Your sensory details are spot on. Your writing is sparse, poetic, and brimming with emotion. Not a word wasted.

  10. What everyone else said – haunting, emotion, intense. Such a vivid picture that I want to reach through the screen and offer love and support.

  11. I am in awe of this gift you have to take something so ugly and make it almost beautiful with your haunting words. I wish she would have trusted her instincts at the beginnin. ; I wish she would mean it when she said it was the last time. I wish she would throw the flowers in his terrible face.

    I love these two lines:
    Deep. Gravelly. A slight twang most noticeable when he’s tender. And when he’s fierce.

    I see his eyes. Crystal blue, a lake just before sunrise. Waters not meant to dive into.

    They show his magnetism and also that she knows exactly the kind of monster that he is.

  12. I can”t decide what line I love most, can I just love all of it, with my heart in my hands, with memories of my mom and dad, with walking the line between charm and evil? Oh my god Galit, I am overcome with emotion. The words were just …..perfect in every way.

  13. THis surpised me; I thought it was going to be about the miscarraige and how the character couldn’t survive that one more time but it was so much more. You did a great job with little details the put us right there on the floor with her: “A pile of buttercup towels grows taller…” It really had me there, sinking and wishing myself away with the character.

  14. This is horribly wonderful. It s written so well that you want to keep reading and reading but don’t want to at the same time because your scared at what might happen.

  15. Wow. This was really good. I’m pretty sure I say that each week, though. But this piece just kept building and building. I’m pretty sure I was holding my breath when I got to the line “I’m not sure he’s the one.” You have a real talent for painting a picture with words.

  16. Well, written. “Obscenely streaked” towels…. As a survivor this one hit home for me. For me, you captured everything those moments entail — exactly what it’s like to be trapped in that illogical place somewhere between love and hate. Kudos…

  17. This is amazing! It was like watching a movie instead of reading the words. I loved it!

  18. Very intense — love the karate-chop sentence at the end.

  19. I love how the reader begins with questions: What? Oh…? I wonder…? Hmm…
    …and then slowly gains momentum as bits are revealed: Ah. Oh… Ah!

  20. You’ve captured me with your descriptive words, I could picture the emotion.
    Thank you my friend.

  21. Well, you have done it again. I will give you this, you are consistently fantastic. Nothing for you this time! (No commas or anything… dang it… lol)

  22. Yes. Amazing and intense. I remember this story from before. Great job with the continuation. So painful and real.

  23. The imagery you created was intense. I could really feel the emotion oozing from your words. Love this piece.

  24. What I loved most, was how even though she knows what is happening to her is wrong, he is so present for her, so inside her head (messing with it) that even though he wasn’t actually physically in this section I felt as if he was actually standing in the bathroom with her, handing her his ‘gifts.’

    I love/hated that she could see that he was in love maybe not so much with her, but with the power that he has over her, which was nicely reflected in these lines, “But it’s not that easy. I never know what to expect, and he’s proud of that.” That painful double understanding of herself, her situation and where it began is what made this piece as intense as it was for me.

    The true ugliness of course, is that their relationship, and more specifically, his violence cost her the baby, if I understood these lines correctly; “So much time. So much money. Finally, success! Dashed. My hand lingers on my almost empty belly. It cramps, mocking me.” Which brought up an interesting tension, though I ache for her loss, I am glad that a child will not be born to a father so violent.

    As always you have such a wonderful and lyrical way of pointing out, discussing, highlighting so many of the issues that we as people, and women would prefer not to look as closely at as your writing forces us to.

  25. Wow! Talk about an emotional gauntlet! I was confused and worried in the beginning, then angry and defensive, which turned to pity and maybe resentment that she wouldn’t just stand up for herself and get the hell out.
    This was a really graphic and emotional story and you did a great job of drawing me into it and disclosing just the right amount of information to bring on those emotions.
    Thank you for sharing!

  26. Wow! Just wow… I”m in awe of your ability to tell a story. I thought it was about a miscarriage too. Great writing and very out of the box. Good job, my friend.

  27. Wow. That is a powerfully written piece.

  28. Very well written we where right there with her. Nice job.

  29. I had to go back and read the previous 2 parts so I could get a full picture. While I agree with everyone one else you have a very intense and emotional way of writing I also find it a bit repetitive. There is very little varience to your sentences throughout and a little variety could make it that much more powerful.

    It feels too much like a poem and not really a story.

    That said, I did enjoy it.

  30. Powerful piece. Intense yet poignant. The image and references to the blood throughout gave this piece a chilling edge.

  31. This too was my favorite line “I see his eyes. Crystal blue, a lake just before sunrise. Waters not meant to dive into.” Yikes! Why did she dive?

  32. Again, you have written a brilliant piece!! It left me with goosebumps…it was that chilling.

  33. Intense and amazing. You need to make this series into a book!

  34. WOWSA. I want to know more, but don’t. I couldn’t stop reading – beautifully written and surprising!

  35. I was waiting for him to bust through the door to apologize with the candy and flowers, knowing he would do it again. This was very real and true to life. I love the short sentences because this kept it moving. Great piece.

  36. Galit, another great write. Intense and perfectly done!

  37. This made me physically distressed Galit. The details you chose are so appropriate. Isn’t it funny how you can make something look so perfect to everyone else. Excellent!

  38. I just tracked back and reread the other two installments. And this one twice.

    She was wrong, indeed.

    I admire your ability to tap into the moment, the fine details that strike you when the world collapses inward.

  39. Ever since you revealed that your name means waves, I picture your writing in waves of emotion. You have such a way with words and this post…it was like the dark undercurrent beneath the poetically gentle waves.

    Your words were powerfully few and beautifully used.

  40. I love your use of sensory details, Galit. The smell of iron was spot on, the tears on the bruised cheeks, the color of his eyes..

    I can’t imagine living like she is and her terror of his possible return made it that much more poignant.

  41. goosebumps.

    Galit, I love the tightness of your writing.

    As Mark Twain used to say, “if I had had more time, I would’ve written you a shorter letter.”

    Love the sparsity in the words..when you only use what you need.

    Love that.

  42. Your writing is amazing! The words just flow so beautifully, and the emotions are captured oh-so-well! Like what was said in one of the comments, it’s so beautiful that I want to read more, but at the same time, I’m scared to read what will happen next.

  43. I’m speechless :) well almost….. Since this is the first time reading your work I went back and read your other two pieces; I hung on every word! Wow.

  44. Leighann says:

    Amazing Galit!
    I was pulled in from the second I started reading and was sad when it ended. I could feel the pain and fear in her and her confusion of whether she should stay or go.
    Wonderful!

  45. Excellent. I really enjoyed that:)

  46. Oh, Galit
    This makes so many emotions run through my head and heart. You’ve described the cycle so well. And the hope, confusion, fear.
    I remember the shopping trips. After the explosion. Fortunately for me, there was no physical violence. Just the verbal/emotional.

    My teeth were clenched while reading.
    You got it.

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  1. [...] Perspective, A Phone Call, and The Last Time. [...]

  2. [...] writing oftentimes bring tears to my eyes; her fiction gives me goosebumps, like this recent Red Dress Club piece; and her infectious laugh in her latest vlog just makes me want to go over and hug her! If you [...]

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