Your prompt for #JusJoJan and Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “the beginning, the end.” Write about the beginning of something and the end of something. Bonus points if your first sentence contains “the end” and your last sentence contains “the beginning.” <– Read that again. Have fun!
I probably don’t have to flag this as FICTION, but I will. Also I want my bonus points! Also, I have been blogging for umpteen years and just realized WordPress doesn’t have a spell checking function!?! wtf…
PS: Ooops. I wrote this Friday night and thought I scheduled it to post on Saturday. Guess not! Well it is probably Saturday somewhere…
The end arrived before the official, final papers did. She tried to remember when it all collapsed, but realized it was all a slow, murky descent. There was no one, specific moment that you could point to and declare, “That! That is where it all started to unravel.” There was no doubt, though, it had been over for quite a while — long before the lawyers, the property appraisers, all the subsidiary people you never knew you needed, until you did. She toyed with the large, legal-sized envelope, knowing what was in it, welcoming it in a way, but really rather not wanting to slide the document out and make it real. Schrodinger’s cat? If it stayed in the envolope…
Friya stared out the window, the north-facing panes overlooking her beloved garden. Indirect light filtered in, landing on the dark wood of her desk, highlighting the crystal tchotchkes from that long ago trip to Germany. Highlighting the envelope resting under her hands. She sighed. Soon the movers would be here, bustling through the house, routinely packing up and boxing years worth of life like the detritus it was. Within a week this would no longer be where she would gaze. She would no longer see this light, or her garden, ever again. The desk, the baubles, the papers, they would all be transported along with Friya, to a new, unknown place with no memories. And no ghosts, she thought. She absently played with the heavy choker at her throat, while her mind drifted back to those days of the garden.
She remembered, with a smile, how so many years ago she had sat hunched over the graph paper, with each square equaling a foot. She had gone through a pad of paper, earnestly sketching shapes, coloring in colors, imagining paths, projecting into the future how a water feature could be added… The garden was her canvas and the plants her palette, and it was all part of creating the home that she wanted so much with Warren. When they were first married, they had discussed where she would work. He of course assumed a smart, well-educated, creative woman who didn’t want children would charge up some career path, smashing through any glass ceiling in view.
That wasn’t what she wanted. She explained that she was rather old-fashioned, and that she saw joy, beauty and even a spiritual aspect in making a home for him, for them. Neither of them were religious so the thought of vacuuming as a spiritual practice didn’t get through to Warren. Actually, none of it did, but he said if that was what she wanted, to stay home and clean, that he would support her decision. He made enough money that they could. They were lucky. He predicted she would soon grow tired and bored of the whole thing. She was too smart to play house. She didn’t correct him that it was about the cleaning. She did say she wouldn’t be bored. She didn’t really have the vocabulary to explain it to him, she just knew how she felt.
That is how their life started. For the first year, Friya was content, happily focused on creating their home. She would often giggle to herself, when she was puttering around the house, that she was a throwback to June Cleaver. Truth be told, she hated housework, but she happily did it because it was a way to make her husband happy. Warren had a demanding job, and a horrible commute, and so he would come home exhausted. She knew just how he liked to relax, and so she would have everything set up just so for him. She knew better than to barrage him with complaints and whine about things that might have gone wrong in her day. She waited on him and created a welcoming safe place for him to unwind. Often she would just sit on the floor next to him, while he watched tv and their dinner cooked. Making another person happy was the best feeling.
For the first year of their marriage, Friya cooked a different meal each night, with repeats on only basics like hamburgers, which were one of Warren’s favorites. It was 365 different dinners! Warren never acknowledged he knew that. She certainly didn’t point that out to him. She just wished he would notice. Notice the special meals, notice how he came home to a clean, cozy home, notice the changes she made, notice, well, that he would notice anything. If he did, he never said. He would, however, sometimes make snide, sideways comments about other couples where both people worked outside of the home.
Eventually, she stopped making the new dinners each night. Meals became much more mundane. It was easier on her, and he also never said he noticed that either. Gradually Friya just stopped doing much of anything, and she grew depressed. Warren kept not noticing anything. Year after grinding year. There were no affairs, no physical abuse, no secret addictions, no arguments over money or children or… anything. Nothing like what drives most marriages into oblivion. Instead it was just a slow, steady march into a gray mud of no one really caring about anything. Friya had nothing to complain about, but she also had nothing to hold on to.
Eighteen dull, lifeless, no one cares years later, and finally she tripped over a spark. She paused in her thoughts to look out the window at the hummingbirds and their manic flitting at their feeder. She would miss them.
It is funny how things happen. If she hadn’t picked up that god-awful so-called erotic book about dominance and submission, the book she picked up because it was so popular but so poorly written that she could not finish it, then she wouldn’t have been lead to the Internet. If she hadn’t been websurfing, trying to research what that book was supposed to be about, she certainly would never have found so many risque websites. If she had never had stumbled into those websites, she would never have come across the educational websites. Without the educational websites, she never would have joined the online community — the one where she learned so much about herself. It was the same community where she met Saul, a man who understood about the nature and value of having a home, and all that implied. A man who understood the spiritual aspects of what it meant to her to be able to serve and who could articulate them. A man who was looking for a woman just like Friya.
In less than a week, all of her belongings would be making the over three-thousand mile trip east along with her. She again touched the necklace around her throat, the collar that Saul gave her when they last met. The collar that was everything and more than what a simple wedding ring could ever be. Friya finally felt she was going to belong. She paused and whispered the word outloud, belong. She was going to belong somewhere and to someone. She would be noticed for the first time in decades. And it would be more than mere noticing. This was truly the beginning.