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Moving On


This week the writing prompt for Sunday Scribblings is "explore".  This is my story...

Shelly lived in one of the largest cities in South Central Texas.  It had been home for the last five years.  They'd moved there after her husband lost his job not once but twice in the past year.  This was his last opportunity to redeem himself, and to participate in the program that would allow him to retain his professional license.  Shelly hadn't really wanted to relocate, having just started working at a new hospital herself, but it was what it was, and he'd burned all his bridges where they were.  They sold the house they'd built at a time when life held much promise, packed their belongings, and moved.

Shelly found a new job easily, good nurses are always in demand.  They lived in an apartment while hunting for a home, eventually settling on a large fixer-upper in an older established neighborhood.  It was going to take a lot of work, but they both enjoyed that kind of thing, having done a lot of the finishing and landscaping of their first home.

At first everything seemed good, Shelly learned to navigate the city with her GPS, and loved discovering out of the way  places to shop and eat.  There were plenty of recreational opportunities too.   With their careers established, they began talking about starting a family, something they'd put off for several years until they felt ready.  After conferring with specialists and feeling confident it would go well, she began trying  to get pregnant.

About that same time Shelly started to notice a difference in her husband, he was more distant than usual, and with their work shifts opposite of each other, there wasn't a lot of time to work together on the house.  He seemed to tire of the renovation plans and was often spending weekends away, visiting his friend from where they'd lived before.

Then came the week of their much anticipated annual skiing vacation to Tahoe. They'd saved up money for the trip, and had spent hours working on their cross-trainer equipment to be ready for the physical exertion.  Excited as she was, Shelly couldn't help but notice that her husband didn't seem to share her enthusiasm this year. 

Then came the final blow, two days before they were to leave he walked in and announced that he wanted a divorce, he'd met someone new at work and said he no longer loved her. Shelly was devastated, she loved him with all her heart, and couldn't imagine life without him.  He packed a suitcase and left, no time to discuss it, no chance to work it out. 

Shelly had one week to pack and move with ten years of memories tearing at her heart.  She couldn't afford to keep their big house, and living in the shadow of their former life together would have killed her.  She found a small apartment across town, secured movers, and left their home in the pouring rain, it seemed the angels were crying  too.

The next year proved to be the hardest Shelly ever endured. She missed her ex terribly, and she cried every night.  She tried dating, but didn't find anyone who came close to the man he was.  At thirtyfive years old, she'd never felt more alone.  She struggled to focus on her work, and to keep from being overtaken by the depression that haunted her. She lost thirty pounds, her appetite disappearing at the same time her marriage did.  Every place Shelly went in the city brought memories of them being there together, from the home improvement store to their favorite sushi spot. She found herself driving by the old house late at night, and crying all the way back to her apartment after seeing his new girlfriend's car parked in the spot that used to be hers.

One day Shelly realized that she couldn't do this any longer, she couldn't keep living in the past. She couldn't keep bumping into memories.  It was time for a fresh start, time to make a change.  She went online and started looking at job opportunities in cities across the country.  Shelly wanted her new home to be a place that was cooler, with lots of water and trees.  Some place pretty, with real seasons, and large enough to afford the big city amenities she was used to.  She wanted a job that didn't require the ability to speak a foreign language to communicate with the majority of patients. 

After much deliberation, Shelly zeroed in on an area where she'd received several responses to her resume, and flew there for a week of interviews and apartment hunting.  The job part came easy, one suited her perfectly with the right hours, the right nurse/patient ratio, and friendly staff.   It was a huge hospital system, in the center of the city, it would mean a long commute each day, but she felt she could handle it.  Finding housing was harder, she hunted and hunted, searching the newspaper ads, online, and in realtor brochures.  On the last day of her stay Shelly found the right spot, a ground floor apartment in a complex with a walking path surrounded by trees, a place her cats could enjoy being outdoors again. 

A month later all the arrangements had been completed.  The moving van loaded up her belongings and pulled away from the curb.  It was time to go.  Shelly loaded her beloved furkids into their new travel crates and settled them into the backseat of her car.  One final drive around the city, past the old house, and the work place, and the river that flowed thru the center of town.  Then it was time to go. 

She was on her way clear across the country to her new life... a new job, a new home, and a brand new city to explore.  She'd done it, she'd survived the hell of the last year alone,  and now here she was, setting out on a new adventure in a new place to call her own.  Shelly wiped her tears away, cranked up the volume on the radio, and headed down the road.

14 comments:

  1. Sometimes we are forced to explore options we had never even considered. This is an interesting take on this prompt.
    One of these days I will join this "Sunday Scribblings" of which you speak. I enjoy your posts. Thanks for another great story!

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    1. Shelly made the right choice to seek out other options for her life, Annie, I am certain she is much happier with her life now!

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  2. I love your short stories Josie. You have the talent to go on and compile a book of all your tales.
    I ramble far too much to be able to do this:D

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    1. Thank you Lily! My short stories are very much "off the cuff" efforts, Lily, I'm just beginning to get a feel for writing short stories, it's fun exercise for me, forcing me to get to the point! You know that I typically tend to ramble too! :-)

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  3. How that tale must have been repeated in real life so many times. Shelly sounded like the strong one so she could succeed anywhere... with or without the cats! (who clearly wanted to be in the story!)
    A great read.

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    1. Shelly's story is indeed a common one Old Egg, often a change of scenery is exactly what's needed to jumpstart a stalled life. Shelly, much like me, could not conceive of leaving her beloved cats behind, they are what makes a house a home. Somehow we manage to find strength when we need it!

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  4. The first clue should've been the crisis that made them have to move in the first place. It's so easy to want to help and forgive, but some people are determined to wreck the train one way or another. Glad Shelly found a path out!

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    1. Yes, that was definitely a "heads up" Ann. Shelly told him at that point this was a "last chance" move, though she didn't anticipate he would be the one to end things. He seemed to be headed on a self-destructive path, as you note. Shelly will be better off without him in the long run, he was adding to the stress of her life.

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  5. A happy ending ... finally she learned to move ahead and be positive in life :-)

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    1. Yes indeed! Shelly learned that you must close the old door behind you before you can move into a new chapter of your life. She is doing so much better now!

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  6. I suspect that pursuing her own place on the map might bring Shelly a new kind of happiness...it's so easy to think of things as better or worse than what we had before..maybe it's just a different path to explore..i loved the style of your writing..that you didn't overplay the emotional side added to her strength of character..and her decision..jae

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    1. I agree with you Jae, each place, and each chapter of our lives brings its own set of joys and disappointments. I liked the same thing that you did, that Shelly found her own inner strength to rise to the challenges life presented her. Hurt doesn't need to cripple us, we can recover and move on!

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  7. Life's twists and turns send us on adventures we never could have expected....the best thing to do is to do the best we can to move forward....great story....

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    1. Growth requires movement, Joanne, if we get stuck in an unhealthy place we stagnate and die inside. Sometimes it's hard to just put one foot in front of the other and keep going, but if we focus on doing it one step at a time, we'll eventually move find ourselves heading in a better direction. That's where faith comes in! :-)

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Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)