Friday, August 23, 2013

Vacation

This is my first post for Denise's new bloghop Write... Edit... Publish (previously Romantic Friday Writers) and this month's theme is Vacation.  I took in a non-traditional direction and came up with a rpofile of sort.  I'm not thrilled with it, but I do like it and I'd LOVE to hear what you think.  Detailed feedback is very welcome- it's how I learn.  But any feedback at all is welcome.  Hope you enjoy!

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If she let herself think about it for too long, she’d quickly conclude that she’d gone mad.  It was the only logical explanation.  After all, this was not something that sane people do.

So she focused on the little details of her plan instead, in the hopes that they would keep her grounded.  The tickets, purchased in the early hours of the morning when people with particular obsessions trolled the internet for cheap prices and a variety of other less savory things.  The hotel, which she’d allowed herself to splurge on even though she knew she’d struggle the next couple of paychecks.  And the wig.  It all started with the wig.

She’d put it on as a joke while attending a themed party with a friend.  Darla had sworn it would provide an evening of debauchery that a “repressed” (her word) woman like herself so desperately needed.  It had been a disaster, of course.  But in the midst of a variety of middle-aged men using pick-up lines that were outdated back when she’d first started dating she found a table set up with various costume disguises.  The wig was tucked in the corner, behind a neon pink pixie and bright green beehive, and distinguished itself from the others as the only natural-looking color.  Not that anything about the blond shag was natural to her.

“Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!” Darla had said, patting her on the back.  “No more depressed divorcee- you’re a wild woman!”

Staring back at the unfamiliar reflection in the mirror and listening to Darla’s encouragement had sparked something.  Darla was right- that woman would not allow a man, or the lack of one in her life, define her.  That woman would not slink quietly into the twilight of her life as she had been since Chris had left.  That woman would not fear adventure and creep silently through her years like a mouse in an attic.  And that woman certainly wouldn’t let even a single minute pass before she reveled in it.

She didn’t tell Darla about her idea that night.  And when she did announce that she’d planned a vacation to Hawaii she left out the details of her plan.  After all, one can’t have a secret identity if it’s not secret.

But her naturally timid personality threatened to undue her preparations whenever she lingered too long on the plan in its whole; so she broke it up into smaller parts and followed through in each step as if it were just another item on her to-do list.

It wasn’t until she was on the plane with a rapidly expanding distance between her and her real life that she began to invent her persona.  A happily divorced woman, one who would never take something like a first marriage too seriously.  Someone who was confident, brave and vibrant.  Someone who’d do all the things she was too timorous to do.

She spent the flight lost in thought, contemplating what a woman like that sounds like when she speaks, how she carries herself, what she looks like when observed by a man.  She thought about where this vibrant woman went to college (one of the more controversial liberal arts colleges), what she did for a living (geriatric nurse), how she spent her time when not at work (kickboxing and attending wine tastings).  She composed an entire symphony of details.  And all of them seemed to hinge on one deciding factor: the name.

At first she thought of the flighty and absurd SanDeE from her favorite movie, but then decided that she didn’t want to be such a flibbertigibbet.  But she liked the word, it felt smooth and satisfying when her mouth formed it.  She repeated it like a mantra until a small twitch of the tongue converted it into Stacy.  But not the normal spelling- she was too unique for that.  And no big E, either- she was too real for that.  But an I and an E, normal sized.  That was it.

By the time she landed in the world of palm trees, tropical flowers and the most sensual breeze that ever flowed over her skin she had a new personality to match her disposition, and she was anxious to try it out.  She checked into the hotel, ran up to her room, and changed. 

She’d gone shopping with Darla- or, rather, Darla had gone shopping and she’d vicariously tried on things by watching Darla cycle through at least a dozen outfits, and concluding what she could pull off and what she couldn’t just from how they hung on Darla with her giant personality.  Then she’d snuck back later and purchased the ones that fit.  So the plunging neck line and bright colors were foreign and odd on her.  But then she put on the wig, the choppy blond strands cascading over her bare shoulders, and everything cliqued.  Stacie was happy to be here, and she was happy to be a voyeur for the next few hours and watch what she would do.

Each step down the sandy path to the beach bar evoked a flood of emotions.  Excitement, fear, lust, thirst, thrill, confusion and impulse all toppled over each other like clothes in the dryer and by the time she reached the sounds of clinking glasses and intoxicated laughter she was buzzing. 

Her smile was alive and glowing, she could feel it light her entire face.  And with the veil of blond strands in her periphery she advanced to the bar, pulled up a stool next to the tall man with dark hair and gray temples, and sat down.

“Hey stranger,” she laughed.  “Buy me a drink.”  She’d never done anything so brazen in her entire life and her heart swelled with the freedom she’d so desperately been missing.

At first the man hesitated, his eyes skeptical and hesitant.  But then his expression softened and he smiled at her.  “Can I at least get a name first?”

“Stacie,” she said, and her smile widened.

(1,000 words, exactly)

23 comments:

  1. "Fake it 'til you make it," the old saying goes. Sounds like Stacie's gonna make it!

    This was a fascinating look into someone's inner thought processes, how she re-invents herself and pours a lot of thinking into it. Cool.

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  2. It's obviously a modern narrative, but something about the opening two paragraphs had a pleasant "Turn of the Screw" vibe for me. She's emerging.

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  3. I hope Stacie has a wonderful time! You did a beautiful job from beginning to end, and to be honest I thought for sure she'd chicken out in the end! So glad she didn't - maybe I need a wig! :)

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  4. It's a fun, cute story! =)

    I'm very detail-oriented, so I hope you don't take all these nit-picks the wrong way. I enjoyed your piece. Let me know if you have any questions. :)

    You asked for a detailed critique: "dating, she found" (added comma); "and a bright green" (inserted "a"); "life, to define her." (added "to"); "her life, as she had" (added comma); undue -> undo; "whole, so" (comma, not semi-colon); "her skin, she" (added comma); "and concluding what" -> "and she concluded what"; "they hung" -> "the outfits hung" (outfits is too far away in the sentence, "they" is confusing; you could restructure the sentence); "the ones that fit" implies that she tried them on- can you rephrase?; "odd on her" -> "odd to her"; cliqued -> clicked; "periphery she" -> "peripheral vision, she"; "skeptical and hesitant." -> "skeptical." (you repeated hesitant); "smiled at her" -> "smiled" (who else would he be smiling at?); "name first" -> "name" (repeated first).

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  5. I want to read more! This sounds like a great story, something I'd buy and read. I don't really have any suggestions for improvement, it honestly was very enjoyable.

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  6. I hope she doesn't get into too much trouble while she's living a double life. Then again, it wouldn't be much of a story if she didn't.

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  7. Time for the tiger to emerge! Hope she remembers her vacation when it's over.

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  8. As a character sketch, this is very thorough and awesome. As a story, I would like to see this begin with the wig scene and show the dialog and actual scene unfolding. This is a good "tell" as is, but to make it live as an engaging story, it has to play out as it really would happen. You have the foundation, just tweak it into how this really plays out. Show her acting like "Stacie" at home in front of the mirror, teetering on the heels, palms sweating as she musters the strength to ask the guy to buy her a drink. You are on the right track, for sure.

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  9. Hey Beverly this was so fun! I loved the paragraph which begins :'Each step down the sandy path...' You used a few incorrect synonyms such as 'undue' for 'undo' and others that Margit picked up on. I love how the excited buzz grew with the story. Now I'm sure we all wanr to read more. Perhaps she can be MOVING ON in Sept. ..
    Loved it Beverly.

    Thank you for posting for the inaugural WEP bloghop.

    Denise

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  10. It's a great story and you've shown the anxiety but bravery she is showing in trying to do something different by wearing a wig and inventing a new persona for herself that will give her some exciting/challenging times ahead. I wonder if she will continue in this new persona or revert back to type?

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  11. Great 'post relationship' story that a lot of women could relate too. I like how the wig gave her some inspiration but can't help thinking how inconvenient a wig would be on holiday, a haircut can change a woman's personality just as dramatically. I like the idea of the conflict being internal as opposed to being uncovered as a fraud by a new love interest.

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  12. Carpe diem! (that just came to mind)
    Dare to be different... as long as it doesn't get her into any awkward situations that she can't control...remember she's on foreign land...
    Writer In Transit

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  13. "Excitement, fear, lust, thirst, thrill, confusion and impulse all toppled over each other like clothes in the dryer" - Love that description Bev! And I'd like to read more about Stacie's adventures (and it sounds like she has many coming to her).

    As far as critique: I believe the story would flow better if you remove several of the "little connectors" as I call them, for example, 'that' (especially in the first paragraph).

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  14. She did re-event herself - and I think she'll carry it off. Fun story.

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  15. Good start to an interesting story, Bev!

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  16. Nice to meet you Beverley
    Oh boy, she is swinging into uncharted territory. Hope she can handle what comes her way. I thought it was well written. You captured your character well and I care what happens to her.
    Nancy

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  17. I liked your piece a lot..... The only thing i suggest is trim it a bit... there were a few too many repetitions of the same thought ... otherwise it's a very fun read!

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  18. Hey Beverly, I'm back for the second round, but don't see my previous comment. Oh well, I"ll just leave a short one this time. I really enjoyed this story - maybe every woman's fantasy at some time in her life, lol. I was intrigued at the methodical way she went about things.

    Thanks for posting to the inaugural WEP bloghop.

    Denise

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  19. What woman wouldn't want the man to ask her name first?! Hope she's in for a steamy vacation! Great!

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  20. great piece! bold new adventure! hope it works out for stacie, but in a story...you never know!

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  21. I like this. Rooting for Stacie, although I know she can potentially land in a heap of trouble. :-)

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Thank you for your comment! I will love it and hug it and pet it and call it George. Or, you know, just read and reply to it. But still- you rock!