#8 Stephen Kings Top 20 Rules for Writers– Don’t worry about making other people happy…


After Party

Sitting in a semi-darkened office, the smell of coffee drifted in from somewhere else. Her need for coffee, however, was not as insistent as her need of order and she dutifully sat at her desk creating folders on the hard drive—organizing and re-organizing—drag, drop, save, delete. As focused on the task as she meant to be, transient thoughts of Saturday’s misadventure wafted in and out.

She was married. She had children. She baked at the weekends and made sure the laundry was all done through the week. She hung out clothing on the line in the morning and set the washing machine on a timer so that it would start to wash just as she was able to bring the clothes in when she got home from work.

Meals were planned. Homework was charted and checked off. Her husband never had holes in his socks. She was happy going to bed before him to wake up before him and have a quiet cup of coffee—and then she would do the weekday before-work-chores. Sheets were changed on Mondays, Windows were cleaned on Tuesdays, Surfaces were polished on Wednesday, floors were swept on Thursdays and Fridays were dependant on what she and her husband had planned for the Friday night. If people were coming over, she would make sure all the good crockery was ready to set out. If they were going out, she made sure that the babysitter would have everything to hand that she could prepare for the children.

This morning, Cecilia had her cup of coffee—luxuriated in front of the mirror and applied her make up as she had when she had been at the party on Saturday night—she changed her outfit half a dozen times—she wore perfume to work. She left dishes in the sink and made the school lunches in the morning because she did not prepare anything the night before. Her morning had a chaotic feel to it that unnerved her as much as energised her. She could not remember being this distracted since the days when she was newlywed.

Saturday was very much a dream. There had been food and alcohol and people that she did not know. It was meant to be a girl’s night starting at the pub and then ending up at an Ann Summer’s party. There had been men walking in and out of her field of vision at the pub– A few ventured into close proximity. She enjoyed their conversations—she enjoyed rebuffing them as well. She waved around the gold on her finger like some kind of talisman against evil. Later, at the party, she met a circle of women that had come at the invitation of one of her best friends. They were a glamourous lot. Their hair and make-up were perfectly arranged as to give the effect that they belonged on a glossy magazine rather than in this suburban get-together.

She had struck up a conversation with Toni—ivory skin, violet eyes, auburn hair. They laughed. They talked about their children. They drank and ate and modelled the lingerie. They laughed some more. Toni rang for a taxi. She ordered it for 2pm. They stood outside waiting for it. Toni hugged Cecilia. They made plans to meet up for coffee. Cecilia promised to put in a holiday to meet her after the school run. They would go shopping, perhaps. Toni teetered on her heels as she stumbled to the taxi. Cecilia put her arm around her to help her in. Toni kissed her. Cecilia kissed her back.

“Call me,” said Toni.

“Yes,” said Cecilia.

It was Monday. The linen had not been changed. But her mind felt fresh. She texted Toni.

About A. E. Wallace aka [EL] Selkie

Ann Wallace holds a degree from the University of Texas at El Paso in Mass Communications and minored in Creative Writing. She worked at the NBC Affiliate Newschannel9 in El Paso, was a journalist for the El Paso Diocese Catholic Newspaper, held writing workshops with The Tumblewords Project, performed as a Slam Poet and published poetry in small literary magazines. She is now an ex-pat in the UK where she lives, knits, games, works and writes. View all posts by A. E. Wallace aka [EL] Selkie

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