A Life in a Day

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Sometimes people just grow apart. Lisebeth knows this, but will she be able to make it through? More importantly, will the ones after her make the same mistakes?

Submitted: August 25, 2013

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Submitted: August 25, 2013

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I
 


She was a lonely dreamer, and often dreamed of a life that she knew she would never live. But she continued on in her delusions, taken by their fantastical sights and sounds. Lisebeth Moore often dreamed she would settle down, have four children and a home with wooden floors. The dreams were nothing more than that, but to her they were reality. They made up everything that she knew. She would crawl under the blankets each night and lie awake, staring at the ceiling and imagining the life that was ahead of her.

When her mother died, she was beside herself with grief. As her sobs wracked across her small frame, she could feel her imaginary lover comfort her with his touch. Imaginary, but necessary. He was someone she could always count on, someone she could rely on in her time of need. She didn’t ever expect him to appear in her life, but had hope.

Then she met him. It was in the fall of ‘95, her last year of high school. Patrick Miller, who had been in her homeroom since seventh grade, finally mustered up the courage to ask her to the homecoming dance. He admitted to her, in an awkward-yet-endearing way, that he had loved her since they met in grade seven. Lisebeth didn’t know what to do. Her fantasy had finally come true. She said a sheepish “yes” and from then on they were sweethearts, destined to be together forever.



II
 


He got her pregnant right after graduation. They had spent every moment that they could together, and occasionally their passion would get the best of them. She distinctly remembered crossing state lines so they could elope him in Vegas. Her father was angry, but when he learned of her ‘condition’ as it was referred to, agreed that it was their best option. 8 ½ months later, their first child, Andrew Miller, was born.

Fast forward three years, and Andrew was visiting his grandpa. Lisebeth was hanging clothes to dry with a clothespin on the porch of their small apartment.

“Darling,” Patrick called to her. “I have some news.”

Smiling, Lisebeth walked inside. She knew the news, but wanted him to break it to her.

“I got the job…” his pause left her feeling uneasy. “But in order to get it, I have to travel, and I don’t think I’ll be able to take you and Andrew with me.” Lisebeth stood in the doorway, tears spilling over before he finished what he was saying. He reached for her and she allowed him to console her.

That night there was a party at a friend’s, congratulating Lisebeth’s husband on his achievement. Lisebeth plucked on the guitar strings, their silent song ringing out into the night; it was a song only they could hear, Lisebeth and her lover.



III
 


The story of Lisebeth soon became the story of Andrew and Alison, his sister. Andrew grew up barely knowing his father; instead he was close to his grandfather and sister. They often spent weeks out west with Grandpa, while their father was away and mother was busy lying on the bed. Often Lisebeth was in a poor state after another argument with Patrick, her true love.

Andrew would tug at his sister’s hair, and sometimes he would braid it. They would sit together, often wondering where their father was and why he didn’t love them enough to visit. They would wonder why their mother was always sad, why she took off her wedding ring and put it in the cabinet above the sink, hoping it would fall in. It was thirteen years after they first fell in love; Alison was 10, and still believed in princes and unicorns. Her brother no longer braided her hair, but spent his time behind a computer screen while she talked to her grandfather about Mommy and Daddy.

“Grandpa, why are they always mad at each other?” she would ask with a pout that nearly broke her grandpa’s heart. He would clear his throat and change the subject, choosing instead to talk about his wife. Then the questions would arise: What was death? How did she die?

 It was a very sad life indeed.



IV



Sometimes people just grow apart. They forget the things they loved most about one another, cave into their selfish needs and wanton desires. Then they leave. That’s what happened. Lisebeth’s storybook romance fell apart, and not even her rescuing mind could save her from the tragic truth.

Older now, and wanting different things that he did before, Patrick drove from his own apartment to Lisebeth’s, divorce papers in the passenger’s seat. He had no tears in his eyes, just the sheer determination to do what he knew he must. The love was still there, but it wasn’t about love. It may have been, once, but that had changed.

After the deed was done, Patrick left. There had been no pleas, no tears from either side. They had simply signed the papers and parted ways. Lisebeth no longer had her prince. Then again, she hadn’t had him for a while, and she knew it. The best thing for her was to take some time out for herself and visit her father, who was getting on in his years. Her children hardly knew her, and when they saw their mother, they pulled away and denied her embrace. She was stung, but she knew that she had screwed up everything with them. No longer did she have her lover, no longer did she have her children. Her father didn’t recognize her, either. He only shook his head when she entered his home with her bags and returned to his television show. She would receive no welcome here.



 V
 


There was no rain at her funeral. The skies were blue and cloudless, and the children dressed in all black scratched at their clothing. The sun beat down on the unhappy family, one last insult the universe could hurl at them in their misery. Why Lisebeth had committed suicide was obvious, but how she could have given up everything was a mystery to them. What they didn’t know was that to Lisebeth, there was nothing to give up and nothing to stay for. They didn’t love her, her husband didn’t respect her, and father didn’t recognize her.

In her honor, they decided to give it one last try. Alison and Andrew went to live with their father, determined not to make the same mistake twice.

 


Set fire to the broken pieces; start anew.

-Lauren DeStefano

 


© Copyright 2019 Laura DeWinter. All rights reserved.

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