Saturday, March 11, 2017

sol17-11 What if?

I am participating in the
Slice of Life Story Challenge (SOLSC).
All participants are writing about one moment, one part of their day, every day of March 2017. 
A big thank you to Two Writing Teachers for providing this unique opportunity
for teacher-writers to share and reflect.

Alice wondered if she had made a mistake to agree to go. Her silly, impulsive delight had given way to something much heavier, a sense of foreboding, a grip of fear, a reality of evil. Throughout the five hour train ride from Boston to Philadelphia, she had become more and more withdrawn. Quiet. Questioning. Why was she here? What was she doing here? Thoughts spun around in her head. She didn't feel well. She felt trembly. She felt chilly. She felt faint. She felt scared. 

The plan seemed wrong. 

Ted, on the other hand, was beyond happy. He and his buddy Jack were meeting their girlfriends, Alice and Kath for a weekend in Philadelphia, headed to the Army-Navy football game. Two Navy midshipmen, living the dream. Ted and Jack would share one hotel room, Alice and Kath would share a second. What a splurge! Ted was so excited! This was the big game, something he had wanted to do for a long time. 

Dressed in their Navy uniforms, Ted and Jack knocked on the girls' hotel room door. Kath opened the door quickly and said, "She's not right." There was Alice, sitting frozen on the edge of the bed, still wearing her coat from the train trip, still clutching her purse. Ted put his arm around her, and asked "Alice? Alice? What's wrong, hon?" She shivered. She leaned into him. She began to softly cry, "I don't know. I can't go. I don't know." 

Jack and Kath left for the game separately and Ted waited with Alice. He held her, he comforted her, he took care of her. He managed to get her coat off, to put her purse down on the table. It was a long and fitful evening, with Alice's tears and despairing words. Ted missed out on the Army-Navy game, choosing to care for his anxious, panicked girlfriend instead. When Jack and Kath returned from the game, they found Alice asleep against Ted, still fully dressed, laying on top of the bed. Ted shooed them away, asking Kath to please stay with Jack. 

As a Mom, I want to tell young adult Ted to run quickly away from Alice. To assure him that she needs therapy, that she needs to take responsibility for herself, to figure out what is going on. I want to tell young adult Alice to do the hard, personal work about herself, to find out what is triggering her anxiety, her emotional outbursts, her panic, her instability. 

However, I'm not the Mom. 
I'm Ted and Alice's daughter.


  1. This was suspenseful! I want to know what happened to Alice. The last two paragraphs were interesting, speaking from the Mom's perspective only to reveal that you are the daughter. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Oh Maureen, what a heartbreaking story.

  3. Thank you for sharing this personal and powerful piece of writing with us.

  4. A very interesting twist at the end. I'd love to hear more about Ted and Alice and their journey together. ~JudyK

  5. From a child's perspective, you, even grown, cannot distance yourself from this heartbreak, I'm sure. I'm sorry that there must have been a tough life ahead for both and for their children. Thank you for sharing, Maureen. Feeling your hurt from across the miles.

  6. I am touched by everyone's responses. Truly, I was much loved by my parents and it was years before I had any understanding of my mother's mental illness. I am thankful for my own therapy work, helping me to understand and work through issues. This slice was me grappling with perspective - how one's expectations or desires for people vary based on one's a child, I can't imagine wanting different parents...and, yet, if one of my own sons shared this story, I'd probably encourage him to run the opposite direction.