Written during the Corona Virus Pandemic with the hope of bringing a smile to someone’s face – or at least provide a short distraction during these challenging times. Stories are created based on one-word prompts that were submitted by friends. Each friend is assigned a character name and I develop a short fictitious story that integrates and upholds the word.
Francesca Marsh: Worried
Francesca heard the whistle of the tea kettle and hurried into the kitchen. She hadn’t slept overly well during the night, and her motivation for doing anything remotely productive was waning. So, she prepared her Chai and headed out to her sanctuary.
Making her way toward the gardens, Francesca breathed in the crisp Fall air. It had always been her favorite season, and each year she welcomed it with open arms and a new appreciation for the change the season offered.
She marveled at the trees now dancing in bold colors – orange, red, yellow – a variegated collage of wonder against the backdrop of the sky.
It was like perfect harmony, and, at least for the moment, it distracted her worried mind.
Francesca had built her gardens on the perimeter of the yard, and in the center was her sanctuary. She had designed it herself with a little help from some home improvement shows, online shopping, and a flair for design. It was her shabby chic fortress – comfortable and welcoming and a perfect place to escape. Not to mention that it contained enough memories, laughter, and secrets to last a lifetime.
Exactly how I meant it to be, she thought as she settled into the oversized plantation loveseat and took a sip of her Chai. She would never tell the secrets that were shared here – or would she. One, in particular, weighed on her, and she couldn’t help but wonder if she had made the right decision.
It’s what kept her up last night, and the night before that – and so many nights before that. She wrestled with it, and as much as she tried to forget what had happened, she couldn’t. Often it felt like she was trapped underneath a steel case – heavy enough to keep her still, but not quiet.
Francesca thought it ironic that here amid such a calm and serene place that had brought so much happiness, that a burden of this magnitude resided so unfathomable that she shuddered to think what would happen if the truth came out.
“How could this be?” Francesca said to herself, dismayed at the reality of knowing. She often wondered if it hadn’t happened.
“Maybe it’s my mind playing tricks on me? Perhaps it was a dream? You always had vivid dreams, Francesca. Don’t you remember how they used to wake you up at night, and you’d be gasping for air? And how they felt so real? You worried that they might come true.”
Francesca replayed every detail.
Taking a few more sips of her Chai – and a few deep breaths – she was startled by the loud creak of the gate opening. Francesca turned around.
“It can’t be!” she blurted her heart racing.
“Hello, Francesca. It’s been a while. You look worried. Is something wrong?”
Francesca couldn’t speak. But she knew what she had to do.