Queen Alisha's Guide to Life











{April 6, 2012}   My Winning Entry!!!

For those of you who have asked to read my entry…….

2012 Jambalaya Writers’ Conference contest winners:

Novel Excerpt Contest Winners
First Place: Bonnie Rehage for Inconvenient Promises
Second Place: Charlotte “CJ” Parker for Murderous Visions
Third Place: Alisha Vincent for Crossroads
Honorable Mention: Bridget Erin for Bullet Points

I can’t believe it! I actually won something! I’m so excited! :)

Some of you have probably already read this piece. I’ve been working on it for a few months now. I guess this definitely teaches me a lesson about that word I’m not too fond of….REVISE! :)

For those of you who haven’t, I hope you enjoy…..Please feel free to add comments!

Crossroads

She was crying.

She was staring at a fast food billboard, stopped at a red light. She had tears streaming down her face.

The tears had nothing to do with the newest hamburger. It had everything to with the foreclosure notice sitting there on the passenger side. Six pages of papers with one simple message. She was homeless. She hadn’t told Eddie yet.

Two more turns and she’d be home. Ten more minutes at the most.

What would she tell him? It wouldn’t matter really. It would all be her fault anyway. It always was. It was her fault she wanted to go back to school to finish her degree. It was her fault business had slowed down at the diner where she worked the night shift. It was her fault the prices on everything had gone up, yet her income hadn’t.

One turn, five more minutes.

She brushed a tear away and absently brushed her brown hair out of her eyes. She was tired. Bone tired, her mom would say. She glanced into the rear view mirror. Her brown eyes were red and bloodshot from an all night shift at the diner. Her face was drawn and pale. The extra hours had one advantage. She’d lost a few pounds and it showed. Her face was more angular, her cheekbones pronounced. She glanced at her eyes again, red, puffy. She needed to squeeze in a nap before her classes at the university.

What would she tell him?

He was going to be furious.

Last turn, the driveway.

She turned the car off. The black and white mixed breed dog barked at her as she pulled up. One of Emily’s strays, she had taken him in when no one else wanted him. She would need too feed him, she knew Eddie had not. She would walk him later, let him work off some of his exuberance. She’d scratch him behind his big ears, until he started tapping his feet. She smiled, she loved that dog.

She grabbed most of her tips and shoved them in her bra. Eddie wouldn’t look there. He’d have to touch her to do that, and heaven knew how long that had been. It had been a good night; better than usual. She wanted to hide her hard earned tips away. They were HER’S damnit. She’d worked her ass off for them. Literally. She absently hiked her jeans up. No longer snug, she would need to buy new ones soon. Another expense she didn’t need.

She opened the door. She could already hear him snoring. She held the letter in her hand. What would she tell him?

He was passed out on the sofa. The empty beer bottles scattered around him like bowling pins. Some up, some down. Eddie had never been good at bowling. She snorted. He wasn’t good at anything unless it involved drinking, sleeping, or self-pity.

She glanced into the kitchen at the dishes piled in the sink. The trash overflowing and littering the linoleum around it. Empty take-out boxes littered the counters and spilled onto the floor. Emily ate most of her meals at the diner. These were all Eddie’s, and Eddie apparently didn’t miss many meals.

Her nose twitched. She was disgusted. She liked things clean. They teased her at the diner because she was always cleaning, wiping things down, mopping. This kitchen, the entire house was anything but. It would take more than a day and a gallon of cleaner to make this house clean.

She glanced at Eddie again. Snoring so peacefully on the sofa, not a care in the world. A not so sleeping beauty surrounded by twelve brown drunken dwarfs. He let out a beer belch, and she thought of Shrek. a big green ogre in his swamp. A jack-ass for a friend. She was living her own twisted fairy tale. Was she the jack-ass or the princess?

What would she tell him?

Emily walked down the hall. Without even thinking, she grabbed her suitcase. She packed a few changes of clothes along with her toiletries. Grabbed what little pictures and momentoes she had, tossed them in too. The wedding picture mocked her from the night stand. A moment of happiness captured in black and white. They had been happy once. Before he’d been passed up for that promotion. He’d worked for ten years for that company, and they’d given his job to someone younger, a woman in an attempt to make the company more balanced. He’d self-medicated his depression and anger with alcohol. Too many call-ins, and too many drunken mornings, showing up with liquor on his breath and he had lost his job. And it was all HER fault.

She crossed the room, stepping over mounds of dirty laundry. She picked up the picture. Her smile, her youth, mocking her. She’d been 21. Now, she looked fifty-one and felt it too. Too young to feel that old. Amazing what a difference five years can make. She looked at the picture, then looked at her suitcase, should she take the picture? No, she’d leave that for Eddie. Let him be reminded. She was too exhausted to keep looking back.

She walked out of the room, carrying her suitcase. She didn’t want to wake Sleeping Beast. She walked down the hall.

What would she tell him?

She opened the envelope, threw the notice on his round belly, and walked out the door.

She was no jackass. 

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