Making Hard Choices and Moving On

This is the 3rd installment of a fiction piece. You can read the first one Here and the second one Here. If you are enjoying these fiction pieces let me know in the comments and please feel free to share. 


Emily sat in the cab unable to believe what had happened in less than twenty four hours. Her entire life was changing and she was praying it was a change for the better.

“There’s a phone booth there by the diner.” She told the driver.

The cab pulled into the parking lot next to the diner and Emily went to make her call. The clinking of change echoed in the phone booth. She’d been to the diner many times when Elizabeth worked there. It seemed a lifetime ago they were a family of four.


“Hi Laura, we’re in town. We should be there in about twenty minutes. I thought you’d want to know.”

“I can’t wait to see you, honey. I’ll have lunch waiting for you!” Laura said.

Emily was nervous but excited, too. Laura and Murray had tried for years to have children. It seemed so unfair that someone like Elizabeth could have children and they couldn’t.

Laura was Al’s sister. She and Murray had been life savers for Emily and Tommy recently. They would take them for weekends to their home along the river. It was peaceful and warm and homey there and Emily so looked forward to their visits.

She had known they had a place to run to for quite a while but running away wasn’t what she wanted. For the rest of the ride Emily kept going back to the night before, and the reasons she’d waited so long to make this move.

She refused to believe Elizabeth could be so cold and selfish. Emily’s heart ached for the love and caring of her mother and she’d given her more chances than should be allowed.

It was Elizabeth’s lack of caring that made Emily’s bond with Tommy so important. She tried to give him the love his mother wouldn’t. And, truth be told, he gave her the loving bond she needed to survive.

The thought of going back to her old school again was another reason Emily kept stalling and making excuses for her mother’s behavior. She’d been to so many schools in her short life it was ridiculous, but returning after the scandal Elizabeth had caused in town made her nervous.

Elizabeth was caught in an affair with the owner of the diner. It took mere moments for that news to spread through the small town of Waterville like wildfire. His daughter was a classmate of Emily’s. She wasn’t looking forward to seeing her again.

Being left alone in a freezing cold trailer with her two year old brother overnight forced Emily’s hand. She could never forgive Elizabeth for that.

She could never forget waking at 7am to the sound of the oil truck outside and the baby in her arms. She was so stiff and cold she was afraid he might be dead. Then he opened his eyes and she melted a little.

She got to the window and saw Elizabeth and Bruce getting out of his car. He paid the driver for the oil and they headed toward the trailer door.

A million things ran through Emily’s mind that she wanted to scream when Elizabeth walked through the door. “You heartless whore!” “How could you leave us here to freeze to death?” “I know you hate me but…”

Elizabeth rushed in the door and grabbed Tommy out of Emily’s arms, barely looking at her.

“Oh my baby! Are you all right?” she said. Then looking at Emily she said, “My car broke down when I left work. I waited for a tow truck and no one came. Then Bruce came to pick me up and…”

“And it took you the rest of the night to get here?” Emily asked sarcastically.

“I was so upset he took me to get something to eat while I calmed my nerves and…

“You expect me to believe this bullshit!?” Emily yelled. “We could have…”

“I think we should all get in the car and go get breakfast until this place warms up.” Bruce broke in.

What a lying whore, Emily thought. But, she was desperate for warmth and knew Tommy had to be starving. They were already in their coats so Emily put on her shoes and they trudged through the snow to the warm car.

When Bruce brought them home he said to Elizabeth, “I’ll pick you up in time for work. I doubt your car will be ready before tomorrow.”

“That’s cool, thanks. I’m gonna try to sleep a little now.” She said as she waved him off.

Elizabeth closed the door, checked the thermostat and said, “I’m going to go lie down, so you kids be quiet. I’m worn out!”

“Yeah, I know YOU had a rough night…” Emily began.

“Don’t start with me! Somebody has to work in this family. You think I like standing on my feet all night to put food on the table?”

“It’s the time you spend on your back that’s the problem!” Emily shot back.

Elizabeth pulled back as if she was going to hit her, but just flipped her off and said, “I don’t have to take this shit from YOU! I’m going to bed!”


“Which house is it Miss?” the cabbie asked as they pulled onto River Rd.

“The yellow one up on the left,” Emily replied. Then she buttoned her coat, bundled Tommy up, and prayed this was the right thing to do.


Comments and critiques are most welcome. Don’t be shy! You’ll find links in the sidebar to subscribe to my quarterly News Letter, join the Zero to 60 Facebook page, and follow me on twitter. Thanks!







  1. I was actually freezing while reading this installment too…
    Looking forward to the next installment.

    • Barbara

      Thanks Doreen! The thought of all the snow coming kept me motivated.

  2. Nicole D.

    please continue….

    • Barbara

      I will continue this, but maybe not in my next post. Not sure yet.

  3. With all the snow, this reads more like real life than ever. There is always a grittiness in your writing which I enjoy

    • Barbara

      Thanks Peter…it’s a gritty life!

  4. Keeeeeeeeeep Writing!

    Btw, I love your Farah hair style on the front page. Did you model?


    • Barbara

      Thanks Kim! Yes, I did some modeling and then started my own agency because I’m bossy and liked the biz end better than being in front of the camera. 😉

      • Barbara

        Not a cheerleader! I don’t have an athletic bone in my body.

  5. I’m so attached to Emily and Tommy. I want them to win at life… Such a powerful story. 🙂

    • Barbara

      That’s interesting Elizabeth, and a good sign the story’s coming through.
      Thanks for your support! I so appreciate it.

  6. It’s a riveting story, B. Emily is such an endearing character. I love her. She’s carrying too much on her young shoulders, but she seems up to the task. She has to rise to the occasion, doesn’t she, for Tommy’s sake. I like how she speaks up to her awful mother.
    On the technical side since you’re asking for critique… I would rearrange the paragraphs a little. She had known they had a place to run… but wasn’t what she wanted. At the end of that sentence I would insert that she had given her mother enough chances. And then I would cut out the next 2 paragraphs.
    As readers we would know this – that one so young would crave her mother’s attention – and that Tommy was her connection to love and bonding. You show us that very well.
    And then I would reverse the affair paragraph and follow that with her being afraid to go back to school. I think it would flow better.
    As with all critiques – merely suggestions. The story is great and I look forward to the next installment. Cheers!

    • Barbara

      Funny Steph, but I rearranged the paragraphs more than once on this piece. As for what the readers know about Emily’s needs from her mother…one of the critiques I got ‘off blog’ was not enough feeling/emotion coming from Emily. As for the affair and her going back to school, it will come together down the road.
      Thanks so much for the feedback!

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