Posted by: Author | June 13, 2013

A Fun Round-Robin Post

A couple of months ago, my friends Liv Rancourt and Michelle Miles and I were in a discussion on Facebook and somehow- I think Liv is the culprit here- we decided to do a fun thing with our blogs. We’ve written a beginning of a scene and then each of us has written a different ending. Be sure to check out their endings to the story at Liv’s blog and Michelle’s blog. The first 275 words are alike in each story and then they deviate. I’m posting the shared first part and then a ——- line before my ending. I hope readers enjoy it. AND if you want to play along, add your ending in the comments (under 800 words).

My grandmother was the first bolter. She left my grandfather with four young children when she decided it was all too much for her. My mother followed suit by leaving my dad when my sister and I were young. My sister married when I was sixteen and by the time I was twenty, she’d followed the family female tradition of dumping her spouse and moving on without her children. Determined to break the pattern, I vowed never to marry and never to reproduce.

As I drove along the lonely stretch of highway leading to my college reunion, my mind wandered. I thought about the choices I’d made. The breakup with Tommy, my high school sweetheart and the subsequent breaks in relationships including the circus aerialist, the engineer and the alligator hunter all passed through my brain. Even the fact that I was going to this college reunion and not the college I initially chose and decided not to attend because of some stupid fight with my band director who wanted me to go to his alma mater made me wonder if something was wrong with me. Then it actually hit me. I was a bolter, too.

The thought stunned me. Oh God, how did I let myself become what I least wanted to be? I looked up to find headlights heading straight toward me. I’d somehow crossed the center line in the dark. I jerked the wheel to get back in my lane and avoid a head on collision. I lost control and as my car flipped over into the shallow ravine, my last coherent thought was “Let’s go back to where that didn’t happen.”

—————————————————————————————

I woke confused and disoriented as I swear I’d last been in a car driving somewhere and now I was in an auditorium with an absolute cracker of a headache. My brain refused to process what was happening. Who was that up on the stage all alone drawing on a huge white dry-erase board? What was he writing? It didn’t make sense. A series of numbers and letters with some plus and minus signs were all over the board.

I decided I needed to get up and look closer. I stood. Man, my head hurt. I staggered toward the stage and after bumping into several chairs, made it to the outer edge. Deciding the stairs were just too risky with my double vision, I called out to the man working the equation, “Hey. How’d I get here?”

He turned and I gasped. It was my father. It couldn’t be. He was dead and had been for three years. I backed up until my knees touched a chair. I flopped into it and ran my hand over my eyes. I glanced back up and he was still there. He smiled and went back to his work.

Finding the energy to walk up the steps, I came to stand beside him. “What are you doing, dad? Am I dead?”

“No. You’re not dead. I’m calculating your relationship odds.”

“What?” I shook my head.

“You think you’re a bolter like your mother, don’t you?”

“Yes. I am. I’ve had way too many relationships.”

“No. You haven’t. Look here.” He used the dry-erase marker and pointed to various areas of the board. He showed me all the prior men in my life and the reason they’d been there and why I wasn’t destined for any of them. When he was done, he said, “It’s time for you to go back. You’ll meet the right one. Very soon.”

“I don’t want to leave you, dad.”

“You must. You have much more living to do.”

I reached out for him but he faded away along with the auditorium.

The next thing I was aware of was someone yelling.

I shook my head but it hurt so much I closed my eyes and wished they’d stop the noise. A tap on my cheek made me open them. Facing me was a man with the bluest eyes I’d ever seen.

“Are you able to move at all?” The man asked.

I realized then that I was in my car. I remembered the headlights and running off the road. That whole thing with my dad happened while I was passed out. Sad that it wasn’t real, I responded, “I think I’m all right.”

“We’re getting you out now. We have an ambulance on standby. Hang on.”

The fire department got me out of my vehicle and as I was placed on the gurney, the blue-eyed fireman came over and handed me a dry-erase marker.

I gasped. “What’s that?”

“It was in your hand when we pulled you out. It fell on the ground and I thought you might want it since you had such a grip on it before.”

Tears sprang to my eyes. I couldn’t believe it.

“What’s wrong?” the fireman asked.

“Nothing.” I grinned. “Are you married?”

“Not yet. Are you?”

“No.”

“Well, then, it seems like we have something in common. Once you’re out of the hospital, can I take you to dinner?”

“You betcha.” I looked up at the sky and said a silent thanks to my dad, the math teacher.

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Responses

  1. Love it! This was so much fun 🙂

  2. Haha! I love it. What a great idea. A fab ending, Jillian!

    • Thanks Melanie. It was a blast. Glad you liked my ending.

  3. […] publish our mini-fiction alternates on the same day. You can read mine below, Jillian’s is HERE, and Michelle’s is HERE. Be sure and check out all three versions to get the full […]

  4. Awesome take on things, Jillian. I love that you got her Dad in there!
    😉

  5. I love this story! And I love the idea.thanks for posting the links;I wlil check the others out….(circus aerialist and alligator hunter?).
    Your fun SHOWS.


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