Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Magpie Tales, 4-13-10 Harlot Red





He barely glanced at her as he sipped his coffee and read the New York Times.  She had gotten up early to fix a nice breakfast and to put on a bright sundress, with makeup skillfully applied.  She was even wearing eyeshadow and a new shade of fire engine red lipstick.  She fought back tears.  What had happened to their marriage?  They used to talk over breakfast,
enjoy their few minutes together before he headed off to work, discuss plans for dinner, kiss each other goodbye. with fervor, at the door.  They seldom spoke at all anymore. 

Once Jared left for college, it was as though their life had ended.  Paul stayed later and later
at the office.  He never called to say he wouldn't be home for dinner.  The lovely meals she planned would sit, artfully displayed on the dining room table in a congealed mess, until she finally gave up and put the food away.  Then, when he did come home, he would berate her for not having dinner ready.

Alissa stayed trim and fit, using her days to exercise, jog, enrich her mind.  She could discuss current events, politics, world affairs.  She was well read and the consummate hostess.  Paul no longer wanted her to entertain and they gradually withdrew from their circle of friends.  Alissa felt as though she was losing her mind.

She tried to reach out to him this morning.  He lowered his newspaper and looked at her scornfully, "I'm leaving now.  I have to get to work.....and, really, that lipstick makes you look like a whore!"

She waited until his Mercedes pulled out of the garage, then she went down to the basement and took out her suitcases.  Once they were packed and put into the car, she returned to their glittering bathroom with its floor to ceiling mirror.  She took out her new tube of lipstick and wrote firmly in fire engine red on the mirror - "I'm gone!"

39 comments:

  1. Beautifully written, Carmen. What a strong woman, and I can imagine his expression when he gets home to see that..

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  2. Oh yes! a wise decision. No looking back. Enough is enough. I enjoyed your story very much, especially the coup at the end!
    Well done.
    Star

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  3. Very well done, Carmen. Serves the bastard right!

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  4. That's beautiful, I like both the style and the fact that it's a liberation tale. We need writings like this one! I have a thing for the tales and novels written by my preferred poets, sometimes I miss some of their poetry but never a tale by them (I know I shouldn't do that). So it was great to find a tale on your blog today!

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  5. Good on you, girl!!
    And I'd have left the dinner congealing on the table for him too.
    Great story.

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  6. Great irony - he deserves the lipstick message! Wonderful story!

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  7. Good for her! She did her best and cut her losses!

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  8. Icy BC - thanks, sadly, I know too many women who stay in marriages like that!

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  9. Star, thanks for the kind words. Usually, I write poetry so this was nice for a change.

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  10. Catalyst - I got a bit caught up in the story myself. Thanks for stopping by!

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  11. fullet - I am so glad you stopped by to read my little bit of fiction! Once in awhile, it's nice to try my hand a a non-poetry piece! It helps me to have a prompt.

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  12. Peter Goulding - yep, she should have done it long before! I always wonder, with so many women ( and men, too, in horrible marriages ) what finally is the "straw" that broke the camel's back and gave them the courage to leave.

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  13. Peg - I would have left the message in floor to ceiling letters!

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  14. steviewren - it's a shame that so many women stick it out way beyond the time they should because they blame themselves for the failure of their marriages!

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  15. Great story, of a woman who tried her best to keep it all together. Then, she did what she needed to do.

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  16. Carmen, I loved this. Hooray for her. I've always wanted to write in lipstick on a mirror, maybe I will someday. It just looks so dramatic. I look forward to seeing you when you come back to Georgia!

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  17. Such a sad story up until the end where I could feel the release of great pressure. Still kind of sad, but much better than before.

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  18. i would be too. nice tale, wonderfully told.

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  19. better late than never...
    well narrated

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  20. Oh! Was this just a writing? I hope so. It was so real!!

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  21. Dear Carmen: Wonders how many times a tube of lipstick ended a marriage? Suddenly the woman looks good, the husbands calls her a name, and the near-perfect world collapses with the weight of the real world's constant turning. Alissa was most considerate to leave a goodbye Dr. Paul note on the mirror. I would not have done the same! ps I love your ads for L'Oreal; coincidence?

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  22. http://jingleyanqiu.wordpress.com/2010/04/13/because-she-is-plain-magpie-tale/
    my first magpie,
    thank you in advance for the feedback.

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  23. be oneself,
    what a inspirational tale!
    Have A Winsome Wednesday!

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  24. Hooray for her! I developed a dislike toward Paul from the 2nd paragraph and started to wonder why she bothered staying around him.........well written! This was my first stop at your blog--beautiful photos...I love the blossoms especially at the top!

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  25. lakeviewer - too sad that, sometimes, women just can't seem to escape, no matter how bad it gets!

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  26. nanatrish - I, too, would love to do that lipstick thing on the mirror!!! I do hope I get back to Georgia soon! Money is so tight with this job loss. Mom is about the same.

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  27. Ratty - guess I was drawing on all my work experience with so many sad women...too many of them kept returning to the same situation, though.

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  28. Brian Miller - thanks for the kudos. Your opinion means a lot to me. Your writings are always so wonderful!

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  29. magiceye - so true, always best to get out of that kind of situation.

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  30. Bhavesh Chhatbar - fiction, I suppose, but, in my 21 years as a forensic nurse, working with domestic violence and sexual assault, I saw so many situations like that - maybe not the lipstick on the mirror. All too often, though, these women would return to violent situations and, at times, were murdered.

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  31. chiccoreal - it always amazes me how, instantaneously, the google ads match the posting.

    In my experience, professionally, many times, Alissa would have returned to Paul...let's hope, with her education and abiities, she might not have..but, of course, that doesn't necessarily hold true!!

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  32. Ji - thanks for the visit...glad you liked my story.

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  33. Pat transplanted to MN - welcome to my blog and thanks for the nice comment.

    As for my header, it's the beautiful photograpy of ruma2008 whose blog, Calligraphy in the Landscape, is one of my favorites. His scenes of Japan and the calligraphy, as well, are so incredible, I look forward to each post. It's like going on a trip all the time!

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  34. That red lipstick has so many powerful uses!

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  35. ou always have powerful words

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  36. You captured very well how a marriage can disintegrate almost wordlessly. I am glad she packed her bags. She can find someone who will appreciate her hot lips!

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  37. willow - this lipstick was a really fun prompt!

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  38. Ayie - this tale is so true, far too often!

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  39. Selma - too often, it seems, marriage stay together until a child leaves home, then they fall apart, when there is no longer that focus.

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