Envision Your Revision: A Short Story

It had started off well enough, as these such affairs often do.

Henrietta pressed her lips tightly. She did this whenever she was in deep thought. How exactly had she come to this moment? Certainly, it had not been her intent. The affair with Jasper Jackson, that is. J.J. as she had chosen to call him.

Not a particularly handsome man, nor a particularly prosperous man, nor a particularly intelligent man, neither.

Mississippi summers, it had been told to her by her grandfather Clem, could literally fry the brain. Or, had he meant figuratively?

Well, no never mind. Pastor Jenkins had advised her that it didn’t really matter how it had all got started. The why was the worrying part, and she being a lady, wasn’t about to divulge those details, especially to a Baptist minister who would most certainly turn her personal failings into a Sunday morning series with allusions, hyperbole, parables, metaphors, and all manner of semantic acrobatics, while just barely not revealing her identity.

But, she knew full well that the entire congregation at Mount Gilead Baptist Church would most certainly recognize her. She, as Martha Hennessy had told her, was the train conductor in her own wreck. According to Martha, she had overshot the trajectory of the route, had veered completely off the track, and toppled her own caboose over into the ditch.

“It was the heat.”

“Excuse me?” Mr. Littlefield, her legal counsel, peered over his bifocals at her.

“I had a migraine from the one-hundred and twelve degree temperature. You see I was sweating.”

“The heat is no excuse. We all live here, Henrietta.” Mr. Littlefield sopped his forehead with a white handkerchief.

Judge Claxton thumped his gavel. “Mr. Littlefield, how does your client plead to these charges?”

“J.J. was driving the car.” Henrietta blurted out. “The heat was just too much.” She smiled. Maybe, just maybe, if she could deflect any blame from herself to J.J., then maybe Judge Claxton would just let her go.

Judge Claxton removed his glasses and stared at Henrietta. “We are not talking about him; we are talking about you.”

Henrietta suddenly dropped her head against the table and covered her head with her arms. Hopefully, when she woke up, Judge Claxton and Mr. Littlefield, would have disappeared, just like that self-help book had promised. “Envision your revision,” she began to chant in whispers.

She envisioned a complete revision of the past eighteen months. She laughed, and waited.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2021

The Wound Collectors: A Short Story

Penelope Clark scowled at Dorothy June, her eldest daughter. “If you’d just done as I had told you to do, you wouldn’t be in this mess.”

“Uh?” Dorothy June tossed the baby wipe into the garbage pail. Courtland gurgled and jammed his chubby fingers into his mouth. She lifted him up and laughed. “Sweetie, my sweetie.”

“You aren’t listening to me,” Penelope shouted while following Dorothy June into the living room.

Dorothy June began to pack her son’s toys, diapers, and bottles into the diaper bag.

Penelope gasped, and furrowed her brow. “Now, what are you doing? Where are you going in such a hurry? You haven’t been here a half hour. I guess you can’t spare an hour of your precious time for your own mother, I guess. Right? Did I offend you? You’re too thin skinned. Always have been.”

Dorothy June reached for her car keys. “Mom, I’m meeting James at Kirby’s for lunch. It slipped my mind. Some other time, okay?”

“Slipped your mind? You’ve got time for everyone else, except your mother. Well.”

Dorothy June headed for her SUV. Inside, she sat behind the steering wheel for a few minutes to stop her hands from trembling. Courtland’s wide blue eyes stared at her from his car seat. His tiny pink lips began to curl into a frown.

She touched his little head. “Mommy’s okay, Courtland. I’ve decided that we should go to the beach instead. Grandma doesn’t know how to stop poking at me. Change of plans, sweetie. I’d planned to visit with her all afternoon. I just can’t.”

She glanced at her cell phone and counted the fifteen text messages her mother had managed to send in ten minutes. Angry words spewed across the screen at Dorothy June. “I’m going to just turn it off, Courtland.”

Heading down the interstate, she exited at the beach access road. Her husband, James, wouldn’t be home from his business trip until Sunday afternoon. Her mother didn’t have to know that.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2021

“Suitable” A Short Story

Doors weren’t supposed to be that shade of blue. But, this, this door, like a passageway to rebellion, beckoned those huddled on the front steps, to turn and stare.

Around the plaza, the other doors were black. Solemn, hauntingly void of cheer of any kind.

Tilda peered through her white lace curtains at the women, men, and children in their ragged clothes. Pure white snow floated slowly to the red cobblestone path in front of her house. Swirling snowflakes awoken childhood memories of ballerinas pirouetting on that stage her grandfather Gustave had taken her to in Paris.

Her husband Abner’s pipe remained on the mahogany table in the cherry wood paneled drawing room. Just exactly where he’d always left it.

Within the beautifully appointed walls, she stared out her dormer window at the women, children, and men who had chosen to position themselves over the heating grate.

Lifting her crystal wine glass to her lips, she took a sip. Warmth washed over her. Tilting her head, she peered curiously at the crowd just outside her window. “I wonder why they just don’t go to their own homes and then go to a proper store for suitable attire.”

Jenny W. Andrews Copyright 2021