Wednesday, March 19, 2014

March Slice of Life Story Challenge: Day 19 of 31 / Lunch


We are sitting down to a late lunch. I've just come in from the parking lot, where I've been doing figure-eights with Tommy in the stroller in a vain attempt to get him to sleep. My mom has found us a table, and she is halfway through her first glass of wine. My brother walks in and takes Tommy from me, who is now out of his stroller and is showing his distaste at being confined.

I go to the restroom, and when I return, this is what I see:

My mom is on her second glass of wine. She is talking to the waitress. Tears are forming in my mom's eyes.
"Amelia lost her father last year," she says to me. Amelia, the waitress, appears a bit stunned to be caught in such a personal conversation with a stranger, and she stands there awkwardly for a moment, then asks if she can take our order.

"How did you manage to find that out in the space of a few minutes?" I ask my mom. Her knack to extract information from strangers is unparalleled.

We talk, the food comes, my mom orders another glass.

Amelia is back to clear our plates, fill our water. She seems a little wary. My mom asks her about her mourning process. My mom is getting teary again. Amelia sort of stumbles around, looking for words. Her discomfort is palpable. Then, my mom reaches out and grabs Amelia's hands. "It's ok Amelia, we understand. Our hearts go out to you." Amelia looks as if she might cry, too, then looks away. My brother and I look at each other. I want to save Amelia but I'm not sure how.

"Mom," I start. But she lets go and Amelia backs away. We three sit in silence for a moment, then go on as if nothing has happened.

[Note - I'm not sure how to end this piece. It was moment, but I'm not sure yet how I want to angle it. There are so many ways. I may have to revisit it later. - AGC]


  1. Anna,
    I love how you shared this moment without knowing how to end it. I've been thinking about that. The process or working through a slice completely may take more than a day. Sharing it as it is in the process is something I feel we need to do sometimes. By the way, great writing. I want to know more.

  2. Resolutions are always hard for me. But your Slice is shaping up to be a great (awkward) story. Look forward to hearing how it ends!

  3. This was a great "moment" in your life . . .I'm just curious why Amelia would share something so personal and then seem uncomfortable with it. I really think your mom was trying very hard to be understanding to a total stranger.

  4. Not every slice of life story needs a tidy little ending to button it up. You wrote from the heart. It was a moment in time. Writing is helping you to process what happened at lunch with Amelia. I'd leave it as-is.

  5. I'm with Stacey, Anna - it feels real the way it is.

  6. Leads and conclusions. I'm doing better with leads, but conclusions I do find problematic. You showed us that a post doesn't have to end. It's real. It's honest. It's human! Thank you!

  7. There's a lot going on in this moment - characters, relationships, events… It could go in so many directions. As is it's really beautiful, but if you wanted to do more with it, you know what LC would probably say. "What's the heart of your story?What are you really trying to say?"

  8. Everyone brings something to the table, and takes away something, mostly different, right? I think you might think about this more, but not to write a better ending, just to ponder what happened, and how it feels. It's well told, Anna.