Wednesday, August 11, 2021

The Other Side (short fiction) Ch. 10 by Leanne Dyck

 Ch. 9 Mara has a magical day--a customer calls to thank her, her boss compliments her work, and she finds the perfect dress.

The Other Side

Chapter ten

I got to wear my dress that Saturday night when Owen took me out for diner at Mickey's--a new restaurant that had just opened. He said it was my reward for not being a--well, you know what--when he'd gone to hockey with the guys.

Owen squeezed us into one of the last parking spots. As I climbed out of the car, he directed my attention to the marquee.

"The Beat Tells," he read. "Clever, eh? They're a Beatles cover band."

Inside, colourful Flower Power posters decorated the walls and a mirrored disco ball hung over the dance floor. A bottle-blonde in a tie-dyed tee with bell-bottoms hugging her hips ushered us into a high-backed booth.

"See, I told you your dress would be perfect," Owen said when the server left. "You don't have to feel embarrassed by the way you're dressed. Well, at least not here."

His comment kicked me hard in the ego. The dress was someone's reject. Was I really that poor, that tacky?

The server brought us menus. The lava lamp in the middle of the table set the mood but offered barely enough light to read.

"Find something to eat?" Owen asked.

"I'm not really..." 

"What's the matter? Do you want to leave?"

The restaurant filled with applause as the band took the stage.

The soothing tones of Here Comes the Sun comforted me. I looked down at the dress and ran a hand over the fabric. "No." I breathed in and told myself that I liked the dress. "I like it here." I breathed out and told myself that I looked pretty--and if no one else thought so it was too bad for them.

Owen ordered for us. The service was prompt; the food delicious.

Owen leaned across the table. "Do you want to dance?" He leaned back. "It's okay. Of course, you don't and I understand you're--."

"Yes, let's," I told him.

"You would? Well, okay... Okay, great." He stood up and walked over to my chair.

I tried to get up but couldn't move. I was stuck between the old and new me. 

Owen wrapped his hand around mine. His touch comforted me.

Hand-in-hand, we walked to the dance floor. He drew me into his arms; I closed my eyes and let the music pick me up and carry me away.

Inside the car, headed home, Owen was so quiet that I began to worry.

I thought he knew:  about the wall, about the world, about the bunny, about--.

"You know," he said, "I think that was the first time we dance in public."

I could breathe. I forced sunlight into my words. "No, silly. We danced at our wedding."

"Oh, yeah, I forgot. We danced for half a song and then you had to go throw-up or something. You've always been way too shy, but you weren't tonight." He fell silent, but finally asked, "Have you met someone?"

Married people aren't supposed to keep secrets from one another, but how could I tell him. What could I tell him? He'd think I was...

"Is there another man?"

"I love you," I said. "It's just that my work is going so much better."


"And," I added, "I really like living in our new house."

"Oh, yeah, about that," he said, "What's the world behind the wall?"

The floor fell out from under my feet. "What?"

"You've been talking in your sleep. 'The world behind the wall. The world behind the wall.' Over and over again, like that. You keep waking me up. So, what's up?"

"I...I...have no idea. It must just have been a dream."

photo by ldyck

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On this blog in August...

Every Sunday and Wednesday in August
from Sunday, August 1 to Wednesday, August 25
I will continue to publish installments of 
The Other Side

Sunday, August 29
Book Review
Skinny Legs and All
Tom Robbins

photo by bdyck

I don't have a driver's license. Even if I did I'm not sure I would be courageous enough to drive in Vancouver. And yet there were many literary treats--author readings, writing workshops, literary festivals--beckoning me to that huge city.
What did I do?

Thankfully, all I needed to do was make one phone call.
A Vancouverite by choice, the city didn't intimidate my mother-in-law, Doreen.
One phone call and she'd be waiting for me at the ferry terminal.
Through tunnels, over bridges, among the traffic, we would go.
I enjoyed visiting her to chat and discover her recent treasures. Doreen was a skilled crafter. She'd knit slippers out of yarn, crochet purses out of shopping bags, brooches out of clay. We shared a love for creation.
I so wanted to share something more with her. I dreamed of phoning her to say, "You know all those writing events you drove me to. Well, all that time has paid off. They want to publish my manuscript."
But that phone call... I'll never be able to make that phone call. My mother-in-law Doreen passed away on Friday, August 6th.

With her help, I began to climb the hill to establish my author career. Her memory will help keep me on the path.