Today’s story, “The Reunion,” was written by guest blogger Janna T. of Janna T Writes. I am especially grateful to Janna for taking the time to write this story for Short Attention Span Fiction because – as a wife, mother, novelist, and blogger – her free time is largely spoken for.
Please be sure to visit Janna’s blog, where you can read the story “Chocolate Cake.” This is the story that made me sit up and take notice: Janna is a writer who has the gift of describing a scene so well, you can put yourself in it and see exactly what the narrator sees.
If you are a regular reader of Janna’s, welcome to Short Attention Span Fiction. I hope you will visit again.
If you are a regular reader of mine, please welcome Janna and check out her blog if you haven’t seen it yet. I think my Writers’ Group pals will also appreciate her perspective. Happy reading!
The aroma of greasy french fries and burgers made Roberta’s stomach rumble.
She studied the menu board hanging from the ceiling, first gazing at the high-dollar
items before her eyes dutifully drifted to the value menu. It had been years since she’d returned to Blythe, her hometown, but this restaurant hadn’t changed a bit.
“Next,” the cashier said through a yawn.
Roberta leaned forward. “I’d like a cheeseburger. Make it two; and a cup for water, please.”
“Would you like fries with that?”
“No, thank you.” Yes, but I can’t afford it, she thought.
“Your total is $2.19,” the cashier hollered.
Roberta cringed as she rummaged through her purse and found two worn dollar bills. She dumped her coin purse on the steel countertop and counted out nineteen cents. A quarter, three dimes and a penny were left over. Not enough for another meal. Tomorrow she’d hitch a ride back to L.A. That was about as far into the future as she dared to imagine.
“Your number is 132.”
She grabbed the empty cup from the counter.
“Robbie? Is that really you?”
“I think you’ve mistaken me for someone else.” Roberta weaved through people waiting for orders to get to the drink machine, eager to slip away from a past she didn’t want to acknowledge.
“Oh, I’d know that voice anywhere. It is you. Remember me?”
“Uh-uh.” Roberta filled her cup with ice and water and snapped on the lid without even glancing at the woman.
“Oh my gosh! I can’t believe you don’t remember! We had so much fun with our friendly rivalry – it’s me, Heather Chartmann. Well, it’s Jurkmeyer now.”
“Ah, yes. Good thing it was friendly.” Roberta pulled her arm away from the woman’s light grip. She had no idea that stealing her pom-poms before Varsity cheerleading tryouts, bleaching her saxophone reeds and making a play for her boyfriend was all in good fun. “So, you married Scott Jurkmeyer?”
“Yeah. We got married a year after graduation and had our first baby a year later.”
“What’s that look for?”
“Oh, he was a prize catch, you know.” She admired fate’s work. It seemed fitting that the mean girl married the irresponsible pot smoker.
Heather folded her arms over her chest and stared at Roberta for several seconds.
“So I heard you went to Los Angeles to be a big movie star. How’s that working out for you?”
“Great! Things are going really well. In fact, I just auditioned for-“
“No one believes you’ll ever make it. Scott’s mom says you’re chasing dreams you’ll never get.”
“How’s the interior design business going?” Roberta asked. She already knew the answer, but she wanted Heather to feel the burn of an unrealized dream, too.
“Interior design?” She looked puzzled for a moment. “Oh, that!” Heather laughed.
“I forgot that’s what I wanted to do when I was in high school. I decided to stay home with the kids.”
“Hmm. How many do you have?”
Roberta raised an eyebrow. “Are you trying for a baseball team?”
Heather narrowed her eyes into a glare. “Should you be eating here?”
“You’re looking a little chunky. You’ll never get a role if you pack on the pounds.”
“You would know chunky.”
“I couldn’t tell.” Roberta enjoyed seeing the scowl on Heather’s face. Her phone beeped, signaling a text message. She glanced at the screen: Torrance, her agent.
U GOT IT! START 2MOR…
Roberta grinned. She got the supporting role in a movie with Sandra Bullock and Patrick Dempsey.
“Is your order for here or to go?” Heather asked.
“To go. Definitely to go.”
“Oh. That’s too bad. We’ve got lots to talk about after, what is it? Eight years now?”
Not nearly long enough, Roberta thought. “Something like that.”
Roberta sent a quick thanks to God and rushed to grab the bag off the counter before making a beeline for the exit.
“Where are you going?” Heather asked.
“To catch my dream.”
“Wait! You forgot to give me your number.”
“No, I didn’t!”
The door swung closed after Roberta, creating a sense of freedom. No doubts. No negativity. No faux-friends.