This week’s Red Writing Hood Prompt: write a piece that begins with the line, “I could never have imagined” and ends with the line, “Then the whole world shifted.” We’re going to stick with the 600-word limit this week.
Oy. And because I’m totally into S&M, bring on the heavy critique. Honest. Both guns. I can take it.
“I could never have imagined” – these are the words whispered in the air around me, delivered with feigned surprise and hint of smirk.
Damn hypocrites. All of them. Darlene West, head of the PTA and local busybodies, being the biggest one of all. I’ve seen that woman sneak down more than a few full plastic tumblers at any given playdate, then pile her kids into the minivan in order to make it home with just enough time to sober up and present a perfectly balanced meal to Bud, her high-school sweetheart turned husband. The husband who also happens to constitute fifty percent of the local law enforcement.
Lucky me, Bud was getting his protect and serve on when I sped past him during my less-than-one-mile drive home after meeting up with a couple of other local misfits for a girls night out at the Donkey Tonk Bar & Grill. I blew a .7 and ended up with a citation and an escort to my front door. Before I could even try to joke about it with my husband Drew, an old-fashioned game of telephone spread faster than a two-bit hooker through our four-square-mile town. My favorite rumor of the bunch was that I offered to blow something other than the breathalyzer to get out of the traffic stop.
Pretty sure that one came straight from Darlene.
It’s difficult even for me to believe that moving to this den of vipers was my idea. After six years of juggling a career while taking care of our two daughters mostly on my own as Drew taught and finally finished his MBA, I figured a nice step back to a quiet place with fresh air and green space is what we all needed. Me most of all. Throw in an elementary school vice principal position opening a couple towns over and an on-call babysitting option thanks to my beloved in-laws, I practically begged Drew to interview.
He got the job, I quit mine, and we were settled in his hometown a month later. I then went about trying to carve a place for myself within this tight-knit community. Fast forward a year, and I’m still “Andrew’s wife, Charlotte.”
Well really, thanks to my recent run in with Deputy Dawg, I’m now “Poor Andrew’s irresponsible wife, Charlotte.”
I’ve never let the chatter bother me though. In hindsight, I was too busy being smug in the knowledge that those bloodhounds might be sniffing around my story, but the truth would always stay hidden, safe and sound. Safe, that is, until that one rainy Saturday afternoon when I snuck out to get a mani/pedi at Daisy’s. While I was deciding between Pinking-of You and Friar Friar Pants on Fire!, Drew was entertaining with a little hide-n-seek. Regrettably, he found more than just giggling little girls hidden deep within my closet.
Then the whole world shifted.