Darlene Foster's Blog

Solar Eclipse

Posted on: January 9, 2018

Stevie Turner has invited all writers to enter her short story competition for January. I would suggest you give it a go. Enter at https://steviet3.wordpress.com/2018/01/01/share-your-short-story-january-2018/

This is my entry. Let me know what you think.

Solar Eclipse 

by Darlene Foster

Audrey rolled out of bed, looked out the window and decided this day would be her last. She saw no point in going on. Her life had become abysmal.

No one called except telemarketers and people taking surveys. As if her opinion counted. No one ever stopped in for a visit either. Many of her friends were dead; the others had gradually disappeared from her life.

A dish with mouldy cat food sat in the corner. How long had the cat been dead? How long had she been so unhappy? She had lost track of time.

Loneliness engulfed her and left a crater in her heart.

She pulled apart the curtains and peered out her kitchen window. The rain continued to pour down like it had for months, or so it seemed. Audrey couldn’t remember the sun anymore. The sun had disappeared like her friends.
When did her life change? How did it happen? She recalled that once she laughed, and sang, and danced. The sun used to shine. That was a different person – another life.

It grew darker outside. Audrey shivered and let the curtains drop.

Was it after Charlie died? That was a tough time. She felt sad back then and cried a lot. Her friends rallied around her, took her out, kept her busy. She concentrated on her job as an employment counsellor, helping others find work. She got through it. Life carried on.

She cleared a corner of the dining room table laden with newspapers, dirty dishes and used tissues. After pouring herself a bowl of cereal, she opened the fridge. The smell of rotten vegetables and stale bread wafted out as she searched for the milk carton. The light in the fridge burnt out a while ago. Three drops of milk dribbled from the container. So much for that. She certainly wasn’t going out for more. Why bother eating anyway if she wasn’t going to be around for much longer.

No point in getting dressed either. Nothing fit. She looked down at the stained nightgown she had been wearing for weeks. A threadbare housecoat that refused to close in front, covered her heavy body. Where did this body come from? Clearly, it was not hers. She ran her hands through her greasy, grey hair. When did she stop colouring it? What did it matter?

Perhaps it was after she retired. Was that when her life went to shit? When the sun went into hiding? She spent the last few years submerged in a virtual fog.

She lumbered to the mailbox in fuzzy slippers. Nothing of interest ever came but checking the mailbox was a habit. Her spotted hand shook as she inserted the key. The door swung open and a multitude of flyers tumbled out. She left them on the floor of the apartment lobby. Someone else could pick them up and throw them away. Someone who was going to be around tomorrow. She began to close the miniature door.

A flash of colour caught her eye. The blue was so bright it hurt her eyes. Like someone had suddenly turned on the overhead light while she watched TV in the dark. She squeezed her eyes tight and then opened them again. The patch of blue remained and beckoned like a neon light outside a downtown bar.

She reached in and pulled out the small rectangular object. What´s this? A postcard? She studied the picture of dazzling-blue water and a clear blue sky. A lone palm tree overlooked the scene and a white sailboat floated in the sun. Sun! She thought she would never see the sun again. Her frozen body began to feel warmth.

Audrey turned over the card.

The unexpected jolt of colour was from her old friend and coworker, Lillian, one of the disappeared who moved to Spain a few years ago. She was inviting Audrey to come to Spain and spend some time with her.

Audrey returned to her apartment, blew the dust off the neglected computer and turned it on. She checked her savings account. Charlie left her a decent amount of money that she barely touched. She had almost forgotten about it.

She placed the postcard on the mantle, took a shower, pulled on jogging pants and a sweatshirt, applied some makeup and ventured outside. After calling in at the travel agent where she bought a ticket to Spain, she purchased a new housecoat, some clothes that fit and milk for the next day’s breakfast. She cleaned the apartment and threw out the cat dish, food and all.

The rain stopped and the sun emerged from behind a cloud.

Her last day could wait.

 

69 Responses to "Solar Eclipse"

Wow. Darlene, that’s a great story. The last line gave me a shiver. Good job!

So pleased you liked it, Lynn.

Nice story, Darlene. Hope is the last thing we should lose. One never knows what’s around the corner, but while we hope and wait for better things, we mustn’t forget to make the most of each moment.
I understand that loneliness is the biggest problem amongst the elderly in Great Britain, as younger generations move away. So sad!

Not just Great Britain but in North America as well, especially in the larger cities. Even though I moved away, I make sure I keep in touch with the older members of my family. I think this story makes you thankful for the ones around you. Thanks for your comments my friend.

Here in New Zealand, we hear about how lonely the elderly are. I guess I am one of the lucky ones living with my daughter and grandsons.

You are lucky but you are also instrumental in maintaining friendships and keeping busy, that makes a big difference. We are the authors of our own story.

Yes, you are. Such a shame to see so many elderly people in rest homes because their families haven’t got the time to look after them! I am very happy for you. Enjoy your family. 👍

Excellent story, Darlene 👍😃

This certainly is a different style of writing for you! Great ending.

It is good exercise to write in other genres. Glad you liked it, Patricia.

Go for it, Darlene!

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Marian.

This was wonderful, Darlene!

Thanks, Teri! So pleased you liked it.

Wonderful story Darlene. I am so glad that blue postcard from her friend arrived,I was getting really worried about Audrey.it was all so dark
until a friendly hand reached out.
Miriam

Sometimes that´s all it takes to add some colour in someone´s life. So pleased you liked my story.

Sometimes, it is the spark of colour, the one small thing that shines a light and opens up a new possibility. Lovely story, Darlene. I think I will also submit something…

I hope you do submit a story. Glad you liked mine. ❤

Good story, it was making me really sad until you came up with the happy ending!
Oh, well written!

Thank you for the feedback, Andrew.

Oh, very nice indeed – I was wondering where it going to go…and you give us all a sharp lesson in that astute closing line! Excellent!

Your feedback means a lot, thanks so much! Glad you liked it.

Thanks Darlene.

You’re welcome. Hope you get a few more entries.

Well done Darlene. I am so glad there was such a happy ending. 😊

Thanks. Glad everyone likes the ending.

Totally different from what you usually write. I’m glad that there was a happy ending.

I need to stretch my creative muscles sometimes!

They are stretched well, I believe. 🙂

Very creative….you really had me feeling for this poor person and how life can do that to people…glad for the happy ending. Great job…pulled me right into the narrative and I was visualizing all of it!

I am flattered that you enjoyed the story so much. Kirt. Create is one of my words for 2018!

You’re really good…go for it!!

I do love a happy ending, Darlene. It is amazing how something can happen in life that changes your whole outlook.

So true. I’ve noticed this many times. I am a fan of happy endings as well. xo

Sometimes all we need is a blue postcard, what a great story Darlene.

Thanks, so glad you enjoyed it.

Transported. Loved so many lines especially the simple ones: She lumbered to the mailbox in fuzzy slippers.

It pleases me that you liked this bit of writing, David.

Good story Darlene. How very sad that somebody is so lonely they see no reason to go on living. It’s true of people all around the world whether they are elderly or quite young.

Loneliness and hopelessness are terrible things. You are so right, it can happen at any age.

Amazing, the way you changed the emotional charge of the story with that last line. Great job!

Thanks, Lorna. Glad it worked for you.

I love it! Hope at the end of the story makes me smile. There is always hope. Great story!

So pleased you liked it. It came to me a few years ago when all that seemed to come in the mail were flyers and junk mail and I thought how awful it would be if you never got anything in the mail from friends or family. I like that you had everyone send cards to your mom. ❤

I think your story was a perfect example of how one small gesture can turn the tide. So true.

It often doesn´t take much, does it?

[…] via Solar Eclipse — Darlene Foster’s Blog […]

Thanks for reblogging!

Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
Darlene Foster left the link for her latest post in the Meet and Greet this morning.. to a short story that is part of the Stevie Turner short story contest this month.. great story…#recommended.

Thanks for sharing, Sally!

Very nicely well written Darlene, the way one small ray can bring hope is something that speaks to the heart of everyone.

I appreciate your comment, Paul. Thanks so much.

Good story, Darlene. I can relate since I got a chronic illness which keeps me home bound.

I’m glad you liked my little story and I hope you get things in the mail to brighten your day. xx

Good story, Darlene. In many ways, it is such small things that can make a difference in a lonely person’s life or someone on the edge.

This so true. Many times those who are busy enjoying life, forget that not everyone is. Thanks for your comments, Brett.

Wow Darlene that was riveting. I felt transported to that apartment and felt the heaviness of the sadness. Love the meat of hope the friend who moved to Spain delivered. I could imagine how your warm heart would do just that.

Thanks for taking the time to read my story and for your kind comments. Enjoy your trip!

Great story! A great twist and change of mood in an instant.

So pleased you liked my story, Olga!

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