Where is the Light?

She paused again to adjust the errant sock that kept sliding down into her boot, wiggling its way down past her ankle, wrapping her heel in a band of irritation that, while mild, was impossible to ignore, and reminding her, with every step, of how wrong her life was.

She had no need for rubber bands round her wrist, or strings tied round her finger, to remember the constant rattle of frustrations that rolled round her brain like the loose pebble that had worked its merry way into her other boot.

Adjustments made, she yet again straightened up, took a deep breath, and rolled her shoulders back in the way her yoga teacher had showed her, the way her P.E. coach in High School had repeatedly demonstrated, the way that girl who was studying to be a massage therapist and sat behind her in chemistry class at the community college had encouraged her, and now, the way her husband, so subtly, and so helpfully, and so constantly, adjusted her. She knew her posture would slowly sag into defeat and habit as she took the next few steps, but she was trying.

The canker sore, below and to the right inside her lower lip, throbbed its dull baseline of pain-pain-pain, and the steady aching, drum beat of pressure behind her cheeks, from the allergies, from the pollen, joined in to remind her, although she had not forgotten, that she could never escape, ever, from this all.

Would she ever get home? This interminable walk, so long, so the same, from the bus-stop to her house, past the perfect gardens, freshly painted houses, cars with no dents in their bumpers, yards with no weeds to be pulled, carports with no piles of junk that had to be thrown away, but when? They are always so busy, under the onslaught of children and work and all this life that has to be handled.

Finally. Home. The porch light is on, her family inside, waiting. Always.

Porch Light
Porch Light (Photo credit: Leia)

Submitted to the Trifecta Writing Challenge: Week 81, a 33-333 word story, using the third definition of Light (noun):

– See more at: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/2013/06/trifecta-week-eighty-one.html#sthash.hZdSxsuq.dpuf

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Part of the solution since 1973.

25 thoughts on “Where is the Light?

  1. This is excellent Kylie! It’s so true how a few irritations can quickly snowball into an avalanche of frustration for life in general! I like your writing style a lot too!

    1. Valerie, thank you so much! I was reluctant to write like this, with so many deliberately run-on sentences, but I wanted to show that mood and thought-pattern. I’m glad you liked it. Thanks for reading 🙂

  2. This is so good Kylie! Excellent job capturing those frustrating details like slipping socks, a pebble in one boot and the allergy symptoms. I’ve had that day.

    1. Thanks Suzanne. I appreciate you saying that. I was trying to show how the mind can spiral around and around on the things that bother us and make them bigger (and yes, my allergies have turned into a sinus infection this week, so this wasn’t completely fiction). Thanks for reading and commenting.

  3. I can identify with this feeling of “so much to do, so little time because we’re busy.” I feel like life gives us more these days than we can deal with, and the true challenge is in choosing wisely the actions we take in our spare time! 🙂

    1. That is true–and stopping the endless record of complaints to refocus on the good things. But sometimes that’s hard. Damn socks! 🙂

    1. Ha! Thanks Kymm. I’m glad you liked this. I don’t normally write in such circular, run on-and-on-and-on style, but wanted to experiment a little 🙂

  4. I really like this piece. At first I was thrown off by the commas (there’s some internal part of me that’s always editing), then I realized how essential the style is to the flow of the story. You capture that feeling of being overwhelmed by life without being totally depressed by it, and at the end of the story I sat there for minute kind of waiting for more. The story doesn’t simply convey actions or emotions to the reader. It left me actually feeling that sense of frustration mingled with being overwhelmed by life while also feeling underwhelmed by how you’ve handled things so far. The very last line is a large part of why this is effective because you shift from run-on sentences to shorter sentences and abrupt one-word sentences. It really illustrates that feeling of frustrated resignation a person gets when you get home (especially if you had to walk home) and just want to do something to relax or take care of yourself but have too many other things and people to take care of first.

    My word processor only counted the story at 332 words (which could be an error). If you feel like fixing it (and it’s not too late to for the challenge), you could fix it in the following way: change “She knew her posture would slowly sag into defeat and habit as she took the next few steps, but she was trying.” to “She knew her posture would slowly sag BACK into defeat and habit as she took the next few steps, but she was trying.”

    There are probably other ways too!

    I really like the descriptions as well. I especially like how you described the “dull baseline of pain” and the part with your sock slipping down. I think my favorite descriptive part is where your liken your frustrated thoughts to the pebble that slipped it’s way merrily down your other boot. It really exemplifies that level of frustration where you start to personify the things that are upsetting you as though inanimate objects are conspiring to annoy you on top of everything else you have to get done!

    I wouldn’t recognize this as your first attempt with this style if you hadn’t told me. I tend to write in this style (which you’ve probably noticed already), and it can be really hard for me to switch from that to writing more succinctly. I imagine the same goes for the reverse, and you’ve done a commendable job playing with the new style!

    1. Thank you for your thorough feedback! I was worried it was completely unreadable. I like your suggestion about inserting the word “back” especially because it’s a wordplay on back/posture.
      My son just announced he went poopy in his diaper, so I’ll have to chat with you later.

    1. It just cascades from there, doesn’t it?

      My writing is usually succinct. This was a big stretch for me–I tried to show that spiraling feeling through the structure and rhythm. Thanks for commenting!

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