Fiction Friday #9: Playground Dad part 3

I started the Fiction Friday series in October to help improve my descriptive prose writing. Perhaps I’ll write a book some day, most likely not, but I’m enjoying being creative each week. If you’d like to write along with me, I will have a link up for the series each week. Add a link to fiction on your blog.

Today’s story is the third part in a series. Here are the earlier installments.

Playground Dad part 1

Playground Dad part 2

I’m going to drag this out into a 4th part, you’ll probably be able to guess why. I ran out of time to write the scene I really wanted to write this week, so this will have to suffice for now. Sorry!

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I’ve just been going through the motions the last month. It’s now the end
of July, and Brad is taking Jack on vacation for a full week. With Angela of
course. But I try not to think about that part. I focus on the fact that Brad
is making an effort. He’s trying to still be a decent father to Jack even if he
turned out to be a horrible husband.
It’s Friday morning. I’m walking into work and running through the
evening in my head. Brad is picking Jack up from daycare early this afternoon
to drive to his parents’ house in Chicago. It’s not much of a vacation, but he’ll
get to see his grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins. They can go to the
lake and maybe the children’s museum. Jack will love that.
I have nothing to do all weekend. I’m really looking forward to some
quiet time. I need to relax and catch up some sleep. Being a single parent is
really taking its toll on me. Brad only has Jack every other weekend usually,
so I rarely have time without him. I typically use those weekends to catch up
on cleaning and shopping, so I don’t have to squeeze those chores in when I’m
alone with Jack. Now I’m facing the whole weekend alone and 5 evenings next
week as well. It feels like a luxury and an eternity at the same time.
I reach the entrance to my office and head to the stairs. I switch
gears and focus on my workday. I have only a couple of morning meetings and
then the afternoon free to work on my budget proposal. I need to finish it
before Monday morning’s pitch with the executives.
A few hours later I’ve finished my meetings and am heating up my lunch
in the break room when Melissa approaches me. She’s another financial analyst
on my team. We’re friendly, but I wouldn’t really call us friends.
“Hi, Teresa,” she says. “Do you have any big plans for this weekend?”
“Actually, my ex is taking my son on vacation for the week, so I really
haven’t planned anything,” I say. “It’ll be my first week without him since the
divorce.” Why am I telling her all of this? It’s like I can’t stop myself. I must
be lonelier than I thought. “I’m looking forward to just relaxing and enjoying
the time alone,” I finish.
She looks a little shocked with my gushing. We hardly ever talk about
anything besides work. She takes a moment to think, and then she smiles quickly.
“I’m having a party on Saturday evening,” she starts. “You should come.
It’s kind of a backyard barbeque sort of thing. Nick and I have invited
everyone we know. It’s informal. An open house so to speak.”
“I don’t know,” I say without really thinking.
“No. No,” she continues. “It’ll be fun. It’s supposed to be beautiful
weather. And since tomorrow is the 25th, we’re decorating the yard
with lights and plastic snowmen. A Christmas in July theme.”
I resist the temptation to roll my eyes. Christmas in July. Really? But
what will I be doing otherwise tomorrow night. Watching a chick flick and
eating ice cream out of the carton? Making myself even more depressed? It might
be good to get out and do something.
“OK. Maybe,” I say noncommittally. I don’t want to seem over-eager. “I’ll
see how I feel tomorrow. Email me the details.”
“Great!” She exclaims. “I hope you come,” she adds before abruptly
leaving the lunch room.
Strange. I grab my leftover lasagna from the microwave and head to one
of the tables. I read email on my phone while I eat, but I’m distracted. I’m
thinking about Melissa and her party, wondering whether I should go. I suppose I
need to do something while Jack is away. I should take this opportunity to
enjoy myself. Maybe meet a few people.
I finish my lunch, resolving to go to the party. Then I head back to my
desk to knock out my proposal before the end of the work day.

To be continued…

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I tried to work on dialogue again this week. I am struggling with that a little bit. I also didn’t know how much detail to add about her work. I didn’t want it to be boring, but I wanted it to paint a picture as well. 
Again, I welcome any feedback. 

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