It's always interesting to me where the nugget of a story idea comes from. I like reading about the ideas from famous authors I like. I like it when friends of mine who write share with me where they came up their ideas and I really dig it when I am reading something they wrote and I recognize part of the story. Like a line of dialog or a setting and I know I was with them when the seed started. So today I got a seed for a story idea and I thought I would share with you how it came about and then the very very raw beginning of the story (since that's all I have right now) and see if you like it too (not the story so much since I won't have reworked it and it will be really raw, but the seeing where the idea sparked and then where that led).
This morning as we were going to drop Brent off at work the alarm on his phone sounded reminding him of a 7:00 meeting he had. As it was 6:55 right then and we were at least 15 minutes away from his work he wasn't going to make it on time. So we did the next best thing and dug out the headphones and had him call in to the meeting. As we got him dialed in the car recognized his phone and linked to it through the blue tooth. Which made me think of a time it happened in another car we owned. C and I were coming home from errands or school or something and Brent was in the house on a conference call. When we pulled in to the garage his call switched from his blue tooth headset to the car. So all of a sudden instead of him being on the call we were. I quickly turned off the car thinking that would switch it back and instead hung up on everyone. Oops!
So while I was thinking about that I thought, boy that would be a bad thing if you were on the phone with someone you shouldn't be...and the story started percolating from there....this is what I have so far:
Janine sat on the edge of the bed and repeated to herself, "Put your shoes on, Janine. Put your shoes on, Janine." It had become her routine for the past two days. Going through the motions. "Brush your teeth, Janine. Eat something, Janine." Every step needing a reminder on what normal people did. How she needed to survive. Because Janine was falling apart. And what do you do when the person you rely on to put you back together again is the one who broke you?
Two days ago Janine had come home from work to find the garage door open. She could see that Kyle had been working on something at the tool bench so assumed he had just run back in to the house for a minute leaving the door up. As she pulled in to the garage the blue tooth on her car activated picking up Kyle's call. Janine cussed silently under her breath. The last time this had happened the call had dropped as soon as she turned off the car leaving Kyle disconnected from his conference call and scrambling to get back in. After the moment of panic that she might accidentally disconnect Kyle's call passed she actually focused in on the words being said.
"I have to go. Janine will be home soon. It was great seeing you today." Janine heard Kyle say
Then a voice she didn't recognize came on the line. A woman's voice.
"It was good to be seen. Very good." and she laughed. That deep throaty I've just gotten laid laugh. "When will I see you again?"
"Soon. Janine has a function on Thursday so we could go grab dinner. Spend some time out together. It will be fun."
Then the woman again,"Or we could stay in. That would be more fun."
It was Kyle's turn to laugh."Yes, yes that would be. Okay, I have to go. I will talk to you soon." and then the last part, the part where Janine thought she might actually be sick. "I love you."
"I love you too, Kyle."
And then the click of the disconnect.
Janine sat in the car for a few more minutes. Trying to process what she had just heard. It couldn't be right. They had a good marriage. Everyone said so. Everyone could see it. They had been together for almost 30 years. Their kids were grown and off living their own lives now. This was their time. They traveled. They went on date nights. They enjoyed each other. They were going to be grandparents soon. And...and...Kyle was in love with a woman who... who wanted to stay in because it would be more fun? Wanted to stay in and have fun with her husband? Who obviously had stayed in with her today. While Janine thought he was at work. While she had been at work.
As the thoughts kept racing in her head Janine took a deep breath and steeled herself to face him. She closed the garage door and walked in to the kitchen. She saw Kyle standing there with his cell phone still in his hand. He jumped a little when she came in.
"Oh, I only heard the door open, not close. You scared me."
Janine opened her mouth to speak but found she had no words. She walked past Kyle, through the living room and down the hallway to their bedroom. The room they had shared since buying the house almost 20 years ago. The room they had made love in last night. LAST NIGHT and today he was off with the laughing woman who wanted to stay in? Janine put a hand on the doorway, she needed something solid to touch. To remind her that this was all real.
She hadn't really thought anything through on her walk but her body seemed to have a plan and she was just following it now. She pulled a suitcase from under the bed and set it out. Kyle came in to the room at that point.
"Janine, what's going on? Are you okay? Are you going someplace?"
Janine turned and looked at him. He was still holding his cell phone. And the look of true concern on his face was the last straw. That he dared look at her like he cared about her and her feelings while still holding the phone. That phone.
"I'm not going anywhere. You are. Pack a bag and get out."
"What? What are you talking about?"
"I heard you, Kyle. I HEARD YOU. The car picked up your call as I pulled in. I HEARD YOU. And right now I am doing everything I can to hold my shit together but looking at you holding your phone. Your phone that you just used to tell another woman that you love her is making me lose it. So pack a bag and get the fuck out, Kyle."
"Janine, honey, I don't..."
"Don't, Kyle. Don't call me honey. Don't say anything to me at all right now. I am going to pour a drink and sit down. You pack a bag and go. Call your friend and let her know lucky her Thursday is coming soon this week and you can go out to dinner or stay in because that would be more fun...."
Right then the realization that Janine had heard too much dawned on Kyle. She could see it in the set of his face. How very very tired he looked suddenly.
"Don't, Kyle, just don't."
Janine hadn't talked to Kyle in the past two days. Every time he called she let the phone go to voice mail. She couldn't stomach the thought of talking to him on the same phone he talked to her on. She hadn't told anyone at work. She knew the response would be shocked and then supportive. But she just couldn't say the words yet. The only person she had told was her mother whose first response when Janine said that Kyle had moved out was, "What did you do?"
What did she do? The only thing she could think of was that she had come home five minutes too early.
"Put your shoes on, Janine. You have to go to work now, Janine."
And that's all I've got right now. Like I said, I will probably rework it quite a bit. But this is the way I usually treat a story nugget. I write up what is in my head RIGHT NOW and tuck it in to a folder to come back to later to polish it and sometimes completely change it all together. Unless it's a short blog piece just for you all. The I write fast and dirty and post before I work it too death. "Post the blog, Denise."