Hey! dropping in to drop off a NEW short story!
I titled this as a snippet because typically with my short stories I don’t feel a need to write more once I finish, but this one introduces a character that I feel needs her own full story. I’ve had the title The Long Hot Summer in my head for a while, and the idea of a story set in the 1940s in my head for a while. I just may try to combine the two.
Lastly, I’ve implemented something new at the end of the story. Leave a round of applause via the ‘hand clap button’ if you enjoyed!
Madelyn tossed and turned for what seemed like hours, the sweltering summer heat and the night’s noises taking over the small space of her bedroom. There was no peace to be found, crickets chirping their melodic tunes as she dabbed away the beads of sweat that dripped down her arms and legs.
She’d retired just after dinner, hoping to relax and rid herself of the day’s stress. No luck.
She was far too uncomfortable, and there seemed to be no relief in sight.
Beneath her opened bedroom window, there was a sudden disturbance. Rustling of broken branches and leaves. She tried her best to ignore it, to set her mind on counting sheep in hopes of dozing off.
And then, a voice.
“Sugah.” It was faint, but instantly recognizable. And as annoyed as she wished to be at the thought of someone ‘intruding’ at such a late hour, a tiny smile etched itself across Madelyn’s lips. “Sugah, you awake?”
I should let him stand there, get himself in trouble, she thought. It would serve him right after what he’d done.
“Sugah, I’m sorry. Please talk to me.”
Madelyn rose slowly, pulling at the straps of her nightgown. She adjusted them on her shoulders, making herself as presentable as one could look at three am. She took her time, laughing to herself at the way he dragged out her nickname, his heavy drawl making it sound all the sweeter.
Propping herself against the windowsill, she leaned forward with her head out, a stern glare on her face. “Do you know what time it is, Raynard?”
“Far too late to call on a lady, I know. But Sugah, I just had to see you.”
“You missed that chance when you stood me up tonight, last night, and the night before. Get away from here, please, before my daddy wakes up.”
“Sugaah, please. I can explain.”
She stepped out of view, hiding herself behind curtains as he drawled on about a mishap, losing track of time, and other excuses. Things she’d heard time and time again, things she’d hear over and over if she allowed Raynard to continue stringing her along.
“I really did lose track of time. Jerry blew through town, and you know how it goes when you haven’t seen friends in a long time. You know how the fellas and I get. Do you want to know every place we visited, what we did, what we ate, who we spoke to?”
“Oh, I can just about imagine, some I won’t even dare to name.” Her tone wasn’t as sweet as Raynard had become accustomed to, it seemed to drip with a bit of disdain suddenly. Accusation lingered in the space between them.
He hung his head, only for a moment, knowing it would be of no use to deny or argue any idea she might have had. She’d more than likely be correct in her assumptions. “At least I’m here now. Sugah, I love you more than anything in this world, you know that.”
She returned to the windowsill, staring at him harshly. “You sure have a funny way of showing it.” Lowering her voice, hating the thought of waking her parents, Madelyn continued. “You know, I’ve wasted years of my life sitting in this very window. Waiting and pining away for someone everyone else swears is the perfect catch for a girl like me. You’ll be a spinster Madelyn, you’ll grow old alone, Madelyn. Sometimes a man must do a little more exploring before he’s certain, Madelyn, doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you. And I believed that, for a long time. Now, the more excuses and lies you toss my way Raynard, the more I start to think and feel that being alone might be much better than being lonely in the company of someone that seems so uncertain of what they have with me.”
“Sugah, do you hear yourself?”
“Yes, quite well. I’m tired, and from far more than this heat.”
The fact was everyone was so used Madelyn accepting whatever was thrown her way. Be it directions, plans for her life, excuses for their failures and short comings, feelings, ideas, and more. No matter how they claimed to love her; not a single individual in her life cared to ask Madelyn what she wanted or how she felt about anything.
That included her love life. She was expected to enjoy and be grateful for any match her parents suggested. She was expected to be gleeful at the prospect of playing second to whomever and whatever said match involved himself with.
And while she loved Raynard Valentine dearly, while she truly felt he could be the love of her life, Madelyn felt it painfully obvious that it were time she loved herself just a tad bit more.
“Goodnight Raynard, and goodbye.”
“Goodbye? Madelyn Woodley, what in the world are you going to do without me?”
She took a deep breath, standing straight. The smile that had originally formed itself at the sound of his voice returned and widened at the possibilities that began to fill her mind. “I don’t know, but I think I’ll have fun finding out.”
Closing her window and curtains, Madelyn returned to her bed. Still no relief to be found from the heat, at least there was one less thing she had to worry over now.