Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Coffee Date and Cathedral Windows

This is Part 7 of my fiction story about Mindy, an adorable compulsive shopper and hoarder of cleaning products.

To catch up with the story so far:
Like the first six parts, I wrote this segment of Mindy's story using the word prompts from the Words for Wednesday challenge, being published by River this month on her blog, Drifting Through Life

When you are ready, here is Part 7 ...


A Coffee Date and Cathedral Windows

Cathedra, Santiago de Compostela, Windows

Mindy glanced at her watch, and realized that she and Ryan had been deep in conversation for almost two hours. She now understood that when she first met Ryan and he had appeared so surly
and disheveled, he was grieving deeply over the death of his best friend.

Ben and Ryan met when they were four-years old and had always been friends. Less than two years ago though, while Ben was driving Ryan home after another friend's wedding, their car had been hit by a drunk driver. To avoid being hit head-on, Ben had steered the car right, and the driver's side had taken the full brunt of the blow. Ben died instantly. Ryan was hospitalized briefly with a bruised sternum, four broken ribs, a broken arm and multiple cuts.

Nearly crippled by grief, Ryan also had strong feelings of guilt about surviving when Ben had died. These emotions were too much for Ryan. He stopped caring about everything. Immediately after the viewing he began drinking heavily, and was very drunk at the funeral. His lifestyle reached a very dysfunctional level, and he was at his lowest point the first time he came to Mindy's house to repair her window.  

Ryan told Mindy that, strangely enough, it was partially seeing the state of her home that made him realize it was time to get his life back on track! The house had been like a metaphor of the baggage he was carrying with him, and he knew it was time to tidy everything up. 

Ryan stopped talking, noticing that Mindy's eyes had filled with tears.  “I'm sorry,” he apologized. “I don't normally lay all that on someone I just met. I guess it sounded rude to talk about your house that way. I'm just trying to thank you for how I was affected by being there that day."

Mindy smiled wryly. “I'm sure it must have looked to you like a hurricane came through all the rooms, and then dropped everything it had swept up from across the county within the walls of my house."

Ryan burst out laughing and corrected her, to lighten the mood of the moment. "I think you mean a tornado, not a hurricane - but yes, it looked sort of like that!" 

Mindy became serious again. "You didn't have to apologize for telling me your story. It is funny how some things work out.  I'm glad my hoarding issues helped you to sort out your own baggage. It took the intervention of a good friend - Barb - and some pretty intense therapy to help me deal with mine. The recent banana purchase was a pretty big slip-up, but ...

"That was a LOT of bananas," said Ryan. 

He gestured over her shoulder for the waiter to bring their check. “The fry-cook keeps glaring at me. I think it is time for us to leave. This place is only open for breakfast, and I saw them hang out the closed sign fifteen minutes ago."

Mindy began to offer to pay, but Ryan insisted that their coffee and pastries be his treat.  "After all, it was your house that saved me", he said.

Mindy replied, "Yes, but if you hadn't fixed my garbage disposal I might have been evicted because of the smell!"

They walked out into the bright sunshine, and stood there a little awkwardly. Ryan said, "I still have a little time before my next appointment. Do you want to take a walk?"

Mindy fell in step beside Ryan and they chatted about all sorts of things.  As they passed a church, Mindy noticed the beautiful stained glass windows.  She decided this was the perfect chance to ask a question that had been on her mind.

"What beautiful windows,” she said. “Ryan, I hope you don't mind, but ... I  - - I was wondering about your tattoos?"

Ryan glanced down at his biceps and forearms.  "Yes, most people probably do.  Not too many people have a collage of different types of ornate windows tattooed all over both arms.

"I got the tattoos during the year after Ben died. It is one part of that year I don't regret. They are a constant reminder of all that was good about him. Somehow it dulled the pain of loss to be tattooed, and I feel a little like I carry a part of him everywhere with me."

He continued, "From the time we were small Ben was intrigued by beautiful windows. His family lived in an old tutor style home with mullioned windows. 

Mindy cocked her head questioningly, but didn't want to interrupt. Ryan noticed though.

"The upright bars you sometimes see separating sections of windows are called mullions. Ben used to draw pictures of windows with them whenever he could, for art projects in school. One art teacher noticed, and told him about a class where he could learn to make stained glass. His passion grew, and he was studying to become an architect. Designing churches and cathedrals was always his dream. Just before we crashed, he had been explaining the details of the stained glass windows in the church where the wedding was to me."

"Actually Mindy, even the repair work I was doing at your house that first day seemed symbolic. While fixing your broken window I thought a lot about Ben. I realized he wouldn't have liked the person I had become."

Neither of them said anything for a bit. Finally, Mindy lightly brushed her hand along Ryan's arm. "I think Ben had a very good friend," she said.


I only used one of the sets of prompts in this story this week. The Words for Wednesday words that I used in this story were:

 normally, dysfunctional, mullioned, hurricane, fry-cook, and viewing 

Be sure to stop by River's blog, and see all the different ways other people used these words as well ... or better yet, take the challenge and write something using them yourself!
Next month (August), the Words for Wednesday prompts will by published by Jacqueline at Randomosity.
Do you like how this story turned out?
How are Mindy and Ryan similar? How are they different?
Do you think they will make plans to see each other again?

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


  1. Aww...such a sweet love story developing. I love your use of the words this time!

  2. I am pretty certain that Mindy and Ryan will see each other again.
    I love the way you have used the words this week - and am intrigued by window tatoos.
    Thank you.

    1. Confession. I am not really a tattoo fan - so this was sort of a stretch for me ... but I suspect a skilled tattoo artist could create something like I was envisioning.

  3. Clever use of the words here, gal. I especially liked that of "viewing" and "hurricane." I am sad though in a way. Like to see Mindy do something quirky again. Perhaps a little slip up? I know, I'm unkind ...

    1. Or Kelly, maybe you are a good judge of character?! ;-)

  4. Way to go Susan! I was riveted to see the reason for Ryan's change. You used the words brilliantly! You are going to have enough for a book before to long!

    1. Thanks Rena - not sure this will ever make it to a novel length - or even if it can be described as a short story yet? It has been fun to write though!

  5. This is so good! I love seeing people change for the better. You've had my attention the whole way!

    1. Thanks Diane. I like to see people get better instead of worse as well. Maybe that is why I became a nurse!

  6. This is very good, I like the way the words flow seamlessly into the story.
    A little hint though, you have Ryan fixing Mindy's broken window and thinking about...Ryan. instead of Ben
    quick edit.... :)

    1. Ugh - thank you River!! I find using the right names in a fiction piece can be as hard as it is in person! Thanks for alerting me to my slip-up - I corrected it!


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