American Graffiti

Day 5 of 16 – Writer’s Digest Writing Prompt Bootcamp

You’re downtown, and see graffiti in an unlikely place—graffiti like you’ve never seen before, concerning someone you know.

Have you ever seen something that just gets you to your core?  Something that seems so unbelievable that you think it must be true?  Well, it happened to me.  I saw something today on my walk home from lunch with a friend.  Something that puts me in quite the dilemma.

My day started out great.  My husband and I had a nice breakfast together.  Then I had plans to meet a very old friend for lunch.  A friend I have known since the 4th grade.  I was then going to finish up my day by enjoying a quiet evening at home alone because it was my husband’s turn to meet an old friend.  Me, some microwave popcorn and Netflix was the plan.  Perfection.

I had a couple of glasses of wine with lunch, so I was feeling energetic and giddy.  You know…that feeling before the “comedown.”  I’m sure I’ll be snoozing on my couch in an hour when it wears off.  In the meantime, I decided I would take a different way home.  A nice, long linger on this beautiful day.

I stopped in an unfamiliar florist for some flowers.  I love to add a splash of color in the house.  It just makes it feel that much more alive.  At this point, I was starting to lose my buzz, so I decided to step it up.  I took the alleyway to the right of the florist to save some time.  I walked down the alleyway and turned left for my shortcut.  Suddenly, I find myself distracted by large writing in bright colors on the back wall of the building that houses the florist.  When I look over, I see a familiar name.  “Grant Goodacre.”  My husband.

Sure there could be another Grant Goodacre in this large city.  And I would have thought so if whoever had written this didn’t paint Grant’s cell phone number in bold letters beneath his name.  Okay, so someone painted my husband’s name and number on the back of a building.  So what?  Except that wasn’t all.

What I read rocked my world and smashed it to pieces:


In smaller letters below this exclamation, there are notes from several women. To sum things up, it seems Grant is a frequent patron of “Leela’s Florist” and it looks like he buys flowers for all of his conquests.  These women refer to these special posies as “Break-up Flowers.”  From what I can gather, he makes them fall for him and when they get too close for his comfort level (because he is married after all), he sends them a bouquet with a “Dear Jane” letter.  As if that will send them quietly on their way.

Grant and I have been married for 7 years, no kids.  Living the good life in a great rental downtown, dinners out, vacations with friends.  We want kids.  Or so I thought.  Every time I bring it up, he reminds me of the fun we are having, tells me we’ll try the following year and talks me right out of it.  It suddenly becomes quite clear why he keeps putting me off.  How could I be so stupid?

I am very much in love with my husband.  He’s the only man I’ve ever dated.  He was my first and last lover.  Grant is the total package — tall, dark and so handsome he seems make-believe.  He’s a real charmer.  His charm charmed the pants right off of me.  That should have been my first clue.

I’m what you would call a Plain Jane.  I get that look from people.  You know that look that gives their thoughts away?  “What is HE doing with HER?”  People are shocked by our pairing.  When he brought me home to meet his parents, his dad hesitated to shake my hand.  As if I wasn’t really there. That should have been my clue #2.

Clue #3?  Late nights at the office, meeting a friend for a drink, weekend with the boys a bit more often than I cared to admit.  Oh dear God.  I am married to a Cliche.

So, here I am.  Seven years (eight if you include our courtship) into a relationship I thought was going pretty well.  My first reaction is to forgive him.  Move on and don’t confront him with what I discovered.  I’m passive and absolutely dread confrontation even in a case such as this.  It frightens me to imagine my life without him.  He is the love of my life.  My family.  My world. Maybe it’s something I did to send him into the arms and beds of other women.

Then I have a moment of clarity and snap to.  Fortunately for me, but not so fortunate for Grant, one of his paramours left her number.  It was one of those, “call me and let’s ruin his life” kind of deals.  Except Grant’s life doesn’t seem to be ruined because he is still standing.  I was about to change all that.

I reached into my purse and pulled out my phone.  Jennifer answered on the second ring.  Jennifer, my friend from 4th grade.  My friend who I just shared a bottle of wine with.  My friend who I just shared my most intimate thoughts.  My friend who I unwittingly shared my husband with.

With shaky fingers, I quickly hit the “off” button.  It was here that I made the decision.  I walked back into that florist and asked what kind of flowers Grant Goodacre sent to his lovers.  They knew him well.  “Good ole’ Grant.  He is such a sly devil, that one.”  I had a bouquet sent to him with a card.  The card read, “Enjoy your very first bouquet of “break-up” flowers.  My lawyer will be in touch.  You’re about to get as screwed as you screwed me, sans the orgasm.  Signed, your screwed over in more ways than one soon to be ex-wife.”

As for Jennifer?  It’s called Karma.  And it’s a bitch.

Mystery Cookie

Day 3 of 16 – Writer’s Digest Writing Prompt Bootcamp

One day you come into work and find a cookie mysteriously placed on your desk.  Grateful to whoever left this anonymous cookie, you eat it.  The next morning you come in and find another cookie.  This continues for months until one day a different object is left–and this time there’s a note.

I work at one of those large conglomerates where you are pretty much just a number.  I work to make ends meet, I have no passion for what I do.  One day usually runs into the other with nothing unusual happening.  Outside of the occasional birthday and retirement celebration, it’s pretty ho-hum.  Until the cookies changed all that.

It was a Monday in June.  My morning was the typical rush to get out of the house on time which included getting not only myself ready but my 2 children.  The typical “no time to breathe” type of morning.  I already had visions of that evening of my sweatpanted-clad self sitting on the couch with a large glass of red wine, watching reruns of Grey’s Anatomy, the kids in bed.

After sitting in rush-hour traffic for an hour, I pulled into the parking lot at work.  I made the 10 minute trek to my desk, where I plunked myself into my chair.  As I reached over to turn on my computer, I saw something in my peripheral vision.  I looked to the left and was greeted by a big, fat, macadamia cookie oozing with large white chocolate chips.  My favorite.  The cookie was still warm.

“Looks like Jane has been baking again,” I said to myself as I bit a quarter of it.  After all, I was starving.  I usually don’t have time to eat breakfast before I leave for work in the morning.  The cookie was gone in another 3 bites.  After it was safely in my belly, I walked down five cubicles to Jane’s desk to thank her.  Except Jane said she didn’t do it.  “Oh, did you get a cookie too?”  She did not.  So I went back to my desk, started and ended another typical day at the office.  Not giving another thought to my cookie surprise.

Until the next day.  And the day after that.  The cookie was always the same type…macadamia with white chocolate chips.  And it was always warm.  I sat a little perplexed that first week.  I continued to wonder who could be doing this.  By Friday, I had asked everyone in my department and a few of the surrounding areas if anyone was leaving me this sugary surprise and the answer was always “no.”

I usually bring my lunch to work every day except Fridays.  On Fridays, I treat myself to the taco bar in the cafeteria.  Hell, I work hard all week, I owe it to myself.  All that is missing is a margarita.  Which is fine really, extra sour cream always makes up for that.

While I am talking to Bertha, the cafeteria worker who dishes out the tacos, I decide to tell her about my cookie mystery.   I love Bertha.  She’s always so sweet and easy to talk to.  I tell her that it’s always warm.  After I explained the type of cookie it is, she reminded me that they sell the same cookie in the cafe.  So, whoever is leaving me these treats, comes in before me and gets to the cafeteria first thing while the baked goods are still hot.  Was I getting warmer? Only time would tell.

I spent a couple of days going into work a few minutes early and going to the cafeteria.  Looking to see if someone was buying a macadamia white chocolate chip cookie.  Not only did I not catch anyone, but I didn’t really have the time.  It’s practically impossible to leave the house when I should, let alone a little early.  Besides, anyone could buy a cookie.  How would I tell which person was buying it for me?  The cookie was always on my desk.  Every single day.  This situation was becoming more bazaar and mind boggling by the day.  Who the hell was it?

At this point, I was starting to feel agitated, a little freaked out and frightened.  I was starting to not welcome the cookie.  Most mornings, it wound up in the trash.  I was becoming sick of macadamia white chocolate chip and I had gained a couple of pounds.  Was it a woman who disliked me and my size 4 self?  Was it a secret admirer?  I hope not.  I know I’ve been divorced for a few months now, but I was not ready to start dating again.

Then 4 months later on a Friday, almost to the day it began, I got to my desk and got another surprise.  Instead of my morning cookie, there was the birth certificate of a woman.  A woman who seemed familiar.  And laying next to it was an envelope with my name written across the front.

Here’s to hoping for the moment of truth.  With shaky hands, I reached over and ripped the envelope open with my letter opener.  What I found inside changed my life.  Inside the envelope was a letter.  This letter was from my sister.  A sister I never knew I had.  Her adopted name was Bertha.  The cafeteria worker.