Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A Mystery and a Secret

This is Part 9 of my fiction short story that doesn't yet have a permanent title, but has become known as "The Mindy Story".

The main character is Mindy, a delightful young woman who has struggled with some hoarding and compulsive shopping tendencies, and whose life is never dull!

To catch up with the story so far:
I wrote this segment of Mindy's story (like all the others) using word prompts from the Words for Wednesday Challenge 
The Words for Wednesday Challenge was originally started by Delores of Under the Porch Light. It was continued for a while on the blog Elephant's Child, then moved to River's blog Drifting Through Life in July and now to Randomosity this August. This month it is my turn to provide the word prompts for the challenge! 
I wondered what it would be like to write from a word prompt that I had supplied myself - but I was still quite surprised by the turn this story took. Lighthearted up until now, the mood has changed a bit.
When you are ready, here is Part 9 ...
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A Mystery and a Secret
rocking chair, diary, fringed shawl

Mindy realized the time had come for full disclosure.  She and Ryan had been seeing each other exclusively for six months. He had given her every reason to believe that she could depend on him to be
fair and objective -  about anything she shared with him. Yet, she still had not told him some important information about herself. Whenever she had tried to bring it up, it just never felt like the right time.

Mindy shifted her weight in the old rocker, one of the few yard sale items she had kept from her days of hoarding. She adjusted the fringed shawl around her shoulders and tried hard to remember more about another woman. A woman who used to sit in a rocker with this same shawl around her shoulders, and Mindy in her lap. Mindy had been only a toddler at the time, but she remembered how the black fringe used to tickle her neck. Wiping away a tear, Mindy hugged the diary in her lap just as that woman - her birth mother - had hugged her so many years before. 

The shawl and her birth mother's diary were the only possessions Mindy owned from those years with her first family. It was a miracle that she even had these. There had been a total of six different foster home placements before she turned nine and finally ended up with the family who eventually adopted her. These items had somehow not been misplaced despite her many moves.

There were not nearly enough personal details in the diary to satisfy Mindy's curiosity. From it, she knew that she had been an only child, and that her mother had been very young. 

The first few pages were filled with happy thoughts about becoming married soon, and raising Mindy together with "Brock". After that, the next dozen pages just contained carefully recorded infant milestones. From them, Mindy knew how old she had been when she first  learned to roll over, and how she acted when she cut her first tooth.

Interspersed between the recording of her baby's developmental milestones, Mindy's mother had carefully copied quotes and advice about how best to live life. There was no indication as to whether Mindy's mother had written these words of advice for her daughter or herself.

The very last page of the diary with an entry had just a short message. The script was messy and appeared to have been written in a rush.  
I have to go. I am so sorry... it is really for the best. Maybe someday you will understand. 
Find xxxxx love.
Ever since receiving the diary, Mindy had tried to assimilate its contents and her vague memories into a clear picture of her mother. Mindy had so many unanswered questions - about what her parents had been like, why her mother had to leave, whether Brock was her biological father, and why he was only mentioned in the first pages of the diary.

Mindy was convinced her birth mother had written the quotes as a sort of template for how to live life. Mindy wished her adoptive mother had given her the diary earlier - perhaps if she'd had read the quotes as a child, she might not have made so many mistakes. One of them might have even guided her away from developing hoarding tendencies. 

 "A place for everything; everything in its place." Benjamin Franklin

Through counseling, Mindy had learned that her hoarding tendencies had developed because of the extreme loss and lack of security she had experienced in her formative years. Even after two years of living in a stable environment, when her adoptive mother had refused to buy her expensive brand name shampoo, it had triggered a deep-seated fear. Mindy had soothed her feeling of insecurity by acquiring possessions.

While taking a law and justice class in college, Mindy had thought about hiring a private detective to help her locate her mother. She had abandoned the idea, fearing that it would make her adoptive parents feel like they had failed her. She loved them, and didn't want to hurt them any more than she already had back when she was in high school.

Mindy shuddered slightly as she thought about those years. Oh - what anguish she had caused. She had not yet become a full-fledged hoarder when she was still living with her parents, but she had shoplifted - - a lot. Various thefts, in addition to using and selling the leftover narcotics she had swiped from her parent's medicine cabinet, had paved the way for a visit to the youth correction facilities. Finding out about her wanton promiscuity and her secret abortion when she was just fifteen had been the final blow that truly broke her parent's hearts.

Though disappointed and heartbroken, her adoptive parents had never given up on her. They set more rules, monitored her closely, and guided her without further incidence through the rest of her adolescence. Through it all, they continued to love her unconditionally, and to view her as a person with potential and worth.

She could only hope that after she told Ryan her life story, he would do the same.

~~*~~

reason, fringed, diary, love, picture, assimilate 
AND
school, template, view, family, facilities, disclosure

Be sure to check the comments in the post where I supplied this prompt to see the different ways that other writers have used these words. If you still want to attempt to write something using them, feel free! 
Or, give this week's Words for Wednesday word prompt challenge a try. It will be published on my blog tomorrow! I hope it provides some inspiration for your writing.

How do you think Ryan will react when Mindy tells him about her past?

This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!


14 comments :

  1. I'm glad that Mindy is going to share her past with Ryan - and I hope he surprises her with his acceptance! You chose great words this week Susan!

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    1. Thanks Lana. I did not chose the prompt with my story in mind at all - and the direction the words took me was totally different than where I had thought the story would go! That is the fun of writing from a prompt!

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  2. I have this on my calendar to try tomorrow. Just checking, though, the new words will be revealed tomorrow? I will be starting my story/essay with those words, I guess? Thank you for this inspiration to write. Please let me know about tomorrow!! Leslie @onceuponatimehappilyeverafter.com

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    1. Yes, Leslie - the new words will be posted on my blog tomorrow. I typically publish my posts about 4 am MST. So glad you will be joining us. The rules are very relaxed, but typically people write something within the week after the words are revealed. Can't wait to see yours! Either publish what you write in the comment section of my post tomorrow - or on your own blog, and leave a comment on my post letting everyone know when you have done so. Have fun!

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  3. Great job of incorporating your words. I do hope that honesty turns out to be the best policy for Mindy,

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    1. I hope so too Karen. I am a firm believer that honesty is always best, even if you don't always like the immediate results.

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  4. So touching and heartbreaking, Susan! Masterfully done!

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  5. Mindy is a real person. Successes, failures, disappointments and joy. I am so very glad that she found foster parents who never gave up. And have big hopes for Ryan.
    Thank you.

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    1. I have hopes for Ryan as well EC. And I agree - Mindy's life mirrors what life is like for most people... a series of ups and downs.

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  6. Such a troubled past Mindy had. Losing family after family, no wonder she began hoarding possessions. I hope Ryan is understanding and accepting when she tells him her life story.

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    1. I hope so too, River. It will be a test of Ryan's character, to see how he reacts!

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  7. You have made this into a wonderful story Susan! Every week I return to see Mindy's latest "episode". It's like watching a weekly soap opera! Great fun!

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    1. Thanks Rena. Writing from word prompts makes anticipating this story quite fun for me as well - I never really know which direction it will turn!

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Many thanks to everyone who leaves a comment here!