Friday, 11 March 2011

A Little Late, But Here Nonetheless

Here is my short story. I did just end up keeping the original title "Take a Swim" instead of changing it. I couldn't think of anything else and it would've just been a hassle. Anyway, post any comments you readers may have. I like feedback, especially constructive criticism. Remember that theme was loss so it will seem depressing. So without further ado, here is my first short story!

Take a Swim


by Meghan Kirkland

Eloise gazed blankly at Justin as he ate his dinner. She had been babysitting him for two hours now but time seemed to lag. She had been checking her reflection repeatedly in the bathroom mirror to make sure her hair and makeup still looked good for that night. She began fidgeting with the hem of her blouse while she waited for Justin to finish.

“Eloise?” She looked up and began to panic, thinking about everything that could go wrong with a disabled boy before his parents came home.

“Yes?”

“What’s wrong?” He looked genuinely worried with a frown on his face and a strange look in his eyes; concern.

Eloise smiled. “Nothing’s wrong, Justin. I’m just thinking,” she said standing up. “All done your dinner? Your parents should be home soon.” She checked her watch to be sure of the time. Four thirty. They would be home soon and Justin would be put to bed.

“Make sure you have fun tonight,” he said as he wheeled himself into the small family room in the bungalow.

“I’ll be with Selma, Bernice, Troy, Thomas and Jane. I don’t know how I’d not be able to have fun,” Eloise said as she turned on the TV for him.

“Remember the last time you hung out with your friends?” he asked with raised eyebrows. She shrugged off the memory before she could let it take hold of her.

“They were drunk,” she said stubbornly. “I still had fun.”

There was a knock on the door. Eloise peered through the curtains of the front window and saw Justin’s parents on the step, his mom searching for the house key in her purse. Eloise unlocked and opened the door before Justin could say anything else. “Hello Mr. and Mrs. Watson,” she said pleasantly.

“Hey mom, hey dad,” Justin said as he wheeled himself over to the front door.

“Hello, Justin,” Mrs. Watson said as she and her husband stepped inside. “How was your afternoon with Eloise?”

Justin looked up at his babysitter. “It went well,” he said.

His parents moved into the kitchen and began putting away groceries.

Eloise went into the family room to get her purse. Justin followed her in his wheelchair and sat in front of the entrance to the room. “I never let anyone hold me back, especially myself. I push past the barriers and emerge victorious. You should try it some time.” She forced herself to meet his gaze and then quickly looked back at her bag.

“Thanks for the advice,” she said quietly. “Any time,” he said.

“Eloise, here’s your money,” Mrs. Watson said as she gave Eloise a twenty dollar bill.

“See you later Justin. Bye Mr. and Mrs. Watson,” Eloise said over her shoulder walking down the porch steps.

She put her key in the ignition and started the car. The small car spluttered to life and she backed out of the driveway onto the road. As she drove toward Selma’s house she blasted the radio. Pulling into her friend’s driveway, she checked to make sure her dress and bag were still sitting on the back seat.

Eloise paused outside Selma’s door before knocking.

Selma pulled open the door before she could do anything. Her caramel blonde hair was piled up on top of her head and her make up was caked on. Typical Selma. “Eloise!” she shrieked. “Come on in!”

Eloise carried her bag and dress into the house. “You can bring your stuff upstairs,” Selma said as she led the way.

After changing into their dresses they touched up their make up and made sure their hair still looked good.

“Perfecto,” Selma said when they were satisfied with the results.

They rushed down the stairs and into Selma’s car. While en route they sang loudly and danced in their seats. Prom was going to be a night to remember.

Inside the school they waited for their other friends to arrive.

“I see Troy and Bernice!” Eloise said excitedly. As soon as she spotted Troy she began to feel strange. Butterflies flew around in her stomach. She started fidgeting with her dress, hoping he would notice it and maybe drop Bernice. As soon as she thought it she began to feel bad. Bernice was a good friend of Eloise’s and didn’t deserve anything bad.

“I see Thomas and Jane,” Selma said as she searched for her friends on tip toe. Eloise began to feel funny again. She had admitted to herself a few weeks ago that she had a small crush on both Troy and Thomas. Unfortunately they were dating two of her good friends so she couldn’t hate the girls.

Throughout dinner the group of friends laughed, joked and reminisced about the good times they had together. Music began playing and everyone started dancing. Troy, Bernice, Thomas and Jane went out onto the dance floor. Selma and talked and laughed as they sat back and watched.

A boy, Henri, walked over to their table and asked Selma to dance. “You don’t mind, do you?” she asked Eloise. Eloise pasted a smile on her face.

“You go have fun,” she said. As her best friend walked away Eloise’s smile disappeared. Dark thoughts seeped into her mind and tried to take over.

She wrestled with these thoughts and forced them to leave her mind. She wanted to live in the moment, to remember prom. This was supposed to be something wonderful. No one danced with Eloise all night.

At ten o’clock Bernice drove everyone to a camp site near the city in her van. They were all laughing and talking simultaneously. The climbed out of the van and piled into the cabin they rented for the night. It sat next to a deep blue lake that glittered in the moon light. Eloise lingered outside just to stare at the moon before going inside.

Half an hour later everyone was wasted, except Eloise. She was too depressed to drink. She pretended to laugh and pasted a smile on her face whenever someone looked at her but when she looked at Troy or Thomas her heart broke a little.

She finally left the room to use the washroom. It was tucked away in a back corner of the cabin. She heard something in the bathroom but ignored it. It was probably just the cabin creaking anyway. She opened the door and gasped. There on the floor was Thomas and Jane naked. Eloise covered her eyes and slammed the door shut.

“I thought you said you had locked the door,” she heard Jane say behind the door.

“I did,” said Troy.

Eloise raced out into the front room and past her friends. “Eloise,” Selma called out as she saw her friend rush past.

Eloise didn’t stop until she was at the water’s edge. She finally let all the dark thoughts she had been repressing all night overwhelm her. A tear fell down her cheek and she sat down, sobbing. Her sobs wracked her thin body and shook her from head to foot. She looked at the lake, wondering what it would be like to drown. To go swimming and never come up for air, just sink to the bottom and never be seen again . . .

A familiar voice broke through her thoughts. “I never let anyone hold me back, especially myself. I push past the barriers and emerge victorious. You should try it some time.” It was what Justin had told her before she had left.

Eloise stood up and looked out over the water. She suddenly stripped off her clothes and stood naked on the beach. After looking at the water again she dove in, leaving only a ripple behind.