Monday, 16 February 2009
Portrait of Words # 6......
Jeff (A Word in Edgewise POW) has started up this monthly challenge, derived from a previous challenge from R.E.H.'s "Picture Fiction Challenge". Do pop over to Jeff's to read the other entries, you won't be disappointed.
The object is to:
Write a story of any length or style. Long or short, comedy or tragedy, fact or fiction, etc,etc... it's up to you.
Use each of the picture representations in your story. (one from the wild card options)
Here's my story:
Angela stopped the car and stared at the building in front of her. ‘The Serenity Retreat’ – it sounded peaceful and peace was just what she needed right now. It had been recommended by her psychiatrist, so she’d taken his advice and booked herself in for two weeks.
Entering the retreat Angela thought how pleasant it seemed with quiet meditation music playing in the background and there were staff members passing through, all wearing soft pink (women) and grey (men) leisurewear. Giving her name at reception Angela was swiftly booked in and escorted to her room, which was quite large with everything she could wish for including a view out onto the surrounding fields, the retreat being in the heart of the countryside.
There was a list of classes and times on the dressing table which were open to all guests, or they could choose just to rest and take advantage of the various spa treatments that were available. As it was late afternoon when Angela arrived she decided not to do anything in particular today but familiarise herself with her surroundings and take a walk outside to get some fresh air.
Dinner wasn’t an ordeal as there was enough room for guests to choose to sit alone if they wished, or socialise with other guests. Angela chose to sit alone. The menu was varied and consisted of good wholesome food, fresh vegetables and fruit and she managed to eat, despite the knot that had been present in her stomach since the trauma of losing her children.
Probably because of the fresh air and relaxed atmosphere Angela slept reasonably well that night and awoke refreshed, though not ready to face the world. She had breakfast in her room then scanned the list of treatments to find something to pass the time. She picked up the telephone, dialled reception and booked herself a massage, a yoga class and a Reiki treatment.
Angela was late getting down to dinner that evening and was surprised to see all the tables were taken. She was about to walk out and order room service when a waiter gently guided her to a table for two, with a woman sitting at it. Before she knew it he’d asked the woman if she minded sharing and Angela found herself sitting with a menu thrust into her hands. She introduced herself and discovered the woman’s name was Connie.
Connie was pleasant and Angela found her good company, once they’d both got over their initial hesitation of sharing the table. The time went quickly as they talked about everyday things; the weather, the state of the country, anything but personal details. They discovered they liked the same simple things; walking, reading, horse-riding, painting, all of which were offered on the list of classes, so they arranged to take the classes together starting the following day.
Over the next week Angela and Connie spent all their time together, taking various classes and treatments and they became friends. It was the beginning of the second week of their stay that conversations became more personal and they opened up to each other. Connie told Angela that she had lost her husband and Angela told Connie that she had lost her two young children, they talked about how the loss had affected them and how they came to be at the retreat. They found it easy to talk to each other and healing to talk about the tragedy of losing someone you love.
A couple of days later Angela and Connie were out walking when Connie asked Angela how her children had died. Memories of the burnt out bus flooded Angela’s brain. Choked, Angela explained how the school bus on which her children had been travelling had been blown up six months previously and being unable to come to terms with their death, she had sought help from a psychiatrist who had recommended a stay at Serenity. Connie looked horrified but gently questioned Angela about the details of the tragedy.
Angela asked Connie about her husband. What Connie told her shocked Angela to the core but she found herself feeling so much empathy for this woman she’d only met recently. Connie’s husband was the man who had blown up the bus in which Angela’s children had died and that’s why Connie had looked so horrified. Angela realised it wasn’t just she who was suffering, what happened had affected the families of all the people who died that day. Tears were flowing freely as they hugged each other, they both realised the painful grip on their hearts was starting to ease and together they could get through this.
I'm off to Spain today so I'll catch up with everyone when I get back, especially other participants in POW.