A Second Chance – TT ‘grim’

TT_bannerHere’s another snippet from A Second Chance, the prequel to My Wildest Dreams, the first book in A Growing Wings series.

In A Second Chance, Jenny suffered a sudden cardiac arrest and is grappling with a flurry of thoughts and emotions about it. This scene takes place months later as she joins a friend for dinner. This week our prompt is ‘grim’.

For more fascinating story snippets from the wonderful authors in the group, return to TUESDAY TALES here.


The wolves howling on my phone told me it was Carla calling without even seeing her face appear on the screen. “Meet me for dinner sometime this week? I have a book I think you’d like.”

“Any night but Wednesday or Friday,” I answered. “I have to close those nights.”

“Thursday? At Chili’s?”


Thursday night couldn’t get here fast enough. This was the kind of week that cried out for a frosty, cold margarita. Carla looked up with a surprised look on her face when I ordered one. “Whaaaat? You don’t usually order alcohol. What’s up?”

“It has been one of those weeks. Annoying customers, a manager that can be so incompetent sometimes, and a few coworkers that I could just strangle.”

“Your manager being a jerk this week?”

“Not so much that. It’s just that sometimes I wonder how he gets through the day. I have an appointment next week and I submitted my form three weeks ago to have Tuesday off. The schedule comes out today…and he has me working that day.”

The server approached with our drinks and Carla reached for her sweet tea. “Remind him about it. Tell him he screwed up.”

Things were so cut and dried for Carla. She never seemed to have a problem speaking up. “I told him. It’s fixed. But it’s aggravating because this consistently happens. Once here or there wouldn’t be bad. But over half the time? That starts to get old real fast.” A nice long sip of the frosty beverage in front of me soothed my inner beast. At least temporarily. “And then there’s Jane. I was ordering today, so I could see when people went in the break room. Jane took six breaks today. Six! And at least two of them were close to thirty minutes.”

“How’d she get any work done at that rate?”

“I have no earthly idea. When I was clocking out for lunch, she was at lunch in the break room. She got up from the table, punched back in, then went and sat back down at the table to finish her conversation with Shauna.” Another big gulp of slushy margarita slid down my throat. “Oh good Lord, those women there drive me crazy sometimes.”

“So…what would you rather do?”

“I don’t have a clue. Anything but Crafty Hands. I want out of there so bad.”

tilapiaA steaming plate of fresh grilled tilapia covered in a mango sauce distracted me when it was placed before me. “All mine needs is a little sprig of fresh rosemary on the top.” I glanced over towards the dish being presented to my friend. “Those sizzling fajitas of yours look good too.” And those were the last words we spoke for a while as we each dove into our dinner.

Carla groaned and laid her fork down. “I can’t eat another bite. I’m stuffed.” She pushed her plate towards the center of the table. “Oh, I almost forgot your book.” She rummaged around in the bag she’d carried in with her and pulled out a paperback that she handed to me.

The Joy Diet, by Martha Beck,” I read aloud from the cover. “Have you read it?”

“Yes. I really enjoyed it and I thought you would too.”

I barely heard her as I scanned the blurb on the back.

Carla kept talking, even though I hadn’t acknowledged her earlier statement. That’s one thing about Carla though, she doesn’t need much interaction. She can keep the conversation going pretty much on her own. “I marked a section for you.” She pointed to a little yellow sticky note protruding from the center of the book. “Some of it seemed to match some of the questioning you’ve been going through lately. She talks about being truthful with ourselves and how we can disengage from our experiences.”

“I don’t feel that I’m disengaging,” I countered. “I’m trying to dig deeper and be more real.”

“You are now. But prior to your cardiac arrest maybe you were to some extent.”

“Maybe,” I reluctantly agreed.

joy diet“The section I marked is where she talks about words Virginia Woolf wrote long ago. Something about ‘living behind a pane of glass’. It’s how we can distance ourselves from our reality, and that while living behind this pane of glass is numbing and empty, it also feels safe.”

Ouch! How much of my life have I spent behind this numbing pane of glass? I’d never noticed that I’d done this. Thumbing through the pages, I glanced at some of the headings. “Guess what I’ll be reading at bedtime tonight?”

Carla began humming a familiar tune and I knew the words as the fell from her lips. “…I…have become comfortably numb…”

“Pink Floyd,” I chimed in. The wheels in my head were already turning. I was thinking of this distancing that I’ve allowed in my life. To live an authentic life and be true to myself, I must get to know myself – my true being – without the cloak of protection this gauzy layer provides me. So, what is my true being? What do I want to do with my life?

“Why such a grim look?” Carla’s words interrupted my train of thought and brought me back to the two of us sitting in the restaurant.

“Just thinking. You know, wondering who I really am and what’s important to me and where I want to go from here.” I chuckled and tipped my glass up for the last of its melted liquid comfort.

“So…what do you want to do?” Once Carla started probing, she wouldn’t let it go. “If you left Crafty Hands, what type of job do you really want to do?”

“I don’t know,” I replied truthfully. “I really have no earthly idea what I’d really like do instead.”

September 2015

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