If you’ve been following, this is the final instalment of not only our tandem, collaborative blogging series, but it is also the final page in a short story I’ve been interrogating out of my brain. You can read parts one and two, and this piece will be the story’s swansong. These two people have played out their story in my head for a while now, but I never really stopped to capture them. Then this project came along and reignited my secret desire to write a story that didn’t involve me, but rather characters formed in my dreams and head space.
I’ve loved every second of this collaborative writing process, and am so grateful to have been a part of it, joined by some of the most insightful and clever writers I’ve ever come across. I’m happy to call them my friends now, as we’ve shared stories (both fiction and non!), top banter and silly rhymes over email.
But, for now, here is my final piece:
Dear Golden Head,
Do you remember that time we had a massive fight and you left in a huff? No, not that time, nor that time you threw me out into the street after that disagreement. Do you remember what it started out as? It was a conversation without a point. Of course, I’d caught you on a hypersensitive day, which meant you ended up feeling insulted and less than ideal. Yet, here I was just making the point. I said:
“People say that housewives aren’t up to much. Between lunching with the ladies, cleaning the kitchen and picking up the kids on carpool day, there’s not much to it. But that’s complete trash talk. It’s like saying a CEO doesn’t do much because his office is far bigger than a cubicle, and cubicle workers are more productive. But you don’t know the ins and outs of a housewife’s life and I would deny you any commentary on it if you’re not one. Why? Because in just the same way as you would respect a CEO for doing his gold-wristwatch-pursuit job, you should be respecting housewives too”.
But you couldn’t respect it, because you said I was “worth more” or, what was it again? -Oh, that’s right! You said “I’d be wasted in this world”. I’ve been insulted a million times over (half of that million by you) but that one insulted way more than just me. Sometimes you don’t think before you speak but, heck, that’s how we ended up here in the first place.
You stormed out, like always, so desperate to run away from me.
Like I was a terrible reminder of the things you were afraid to be.
Let’s fast forward to where we are now. My bright eyes you used to compliment me on, have been replaced by this sagging face I see reflected in the mirror that they installed in my too-small bedroom.
Your attempts at athleticism have left you creaking in places where your body used to sing.
The kids have all but moved on to creating their own lives but, sometimes they come to fetch me for lunch. It’s never dinner though, because old people aren’t meant to be out at night. Like I suddenly turn invisible at 6pm and become a ghost.
Perhaps they think I “need my rest” or something, because I’m clearly staying up every night, rocking out to trance tunes in my room. Catching up reruns of “Wheel of Fortune” really isn’t as exciting as reading a bedtime story to my grandson but, this is where time has led me.
To the life of routine and having meals served to me. At least I don’t have to cook anymore.
And as for you, over there, watching me with one eye while you nap in front of the television. Are you napping? Must i get someone to check your pulse? You’ve been drooling since the news ended. Are you dead? I’ll call someone to check you.
You can’t be dead. You still haven’t finished disagreeing with me.
You’re not dead. You’re just fast asleep and probably dreaming about all the aeroplane trips you didn’t take because I made you come home all those years ago.
I did it for a good reason you know. It was time and, really, am I all that awful to be around that you tried to avoid me, even in our dotage?
It’s almost lights out time, so I’m going to grab my book and head to my little partitioned room. Oh you want to come too? For what – a Tupperware Party?
I still find it funny how you and I were so deadset against conforming to anything, yet complained bitterly about how we should just ‘learn to coast like everyone else’.
And yet, despite our best attempts, here we are.
Slodged into a routine we do not set for ourselves, because “it’s for our own good”.
At 82, I imagined I’d be well-versed in knowing what was good for me.
But still, here I am, letting you in again to fight with me one more time.
This post is part of a collaborative blogging process we like to call Tandemonium. Each week, 9 writers craft a piece in accordance with a specific title that’s secretly distributed to us. This is the final piece in this series. Without sight of each other’s work beforehand, everyone hits publish at 2pm, every Wednesday. You can catch up with the other participating writers here: