Wanting – short story

Wanting                                                                                 (word count 4,923)

Flash Dance plays out on a laptop while in the middle of the living room Liz is rein-acts her own version of the dance scene.  Two bottles of wine, one is empty the other half drunk. She is average height brunette, slim build wearing tight black sweat pants & vest top, a moderately attractive 29 year old.  Liz slurps some wine as she dances about, using a pen to randomly sing. Enjoying her own party she dances toward a wall of pictures, seeming to toast the people in the photo’s as she downs her glass of wine.

Waking up on the sofa the following morning, groggy she looks out across her living room.  Puts a hand to her head as though to nurse a headache, getting up she gingerly makes her way to the kitchen for a glass of water.  Sitting back down on the sofa she sees a piece of paper at her feet.  Staring at it for a moment she picks it up trying to remember what it is and how it got to be where it lay now.

Distracted she see’s a bug make its way slowly across the floor, slowly to her but perhaps it was a rapid movement for the bug she considers this.   Maybe in its own world it was zooming along effortlessly and only to Liz did it appear an act of arduous movement.  Looking at the clock then to the stairs thinking the child must still be sleeping, she’d have to clean the reminisce of last night’s party before he woke.  Always something to tidy, wash, hang up or put away.  Holding the paper up so she can read it, she’d been doodling again venting her feelings of life and her son’s father.

Does anyone know where the exit is

This ride, isn’t doing much for me

I feel alone, instead of feeling alive

Can someone point me in the right direction

Have you been this way and survived

Sorry, shouldn’t be allowed

Broken, it doesn’t make the pieces solidify

Crystal I would say is your heart

Yet it holds no worth to me

Lost is the love I once held

Gone are the feelings you never felt

Tears, un-cried

Swell is the news

It is not I that is dead inside

Days no longer measured by time, light melting away as the shadows grow tall all things revolving around bottle feeds, nappy changes and sleep routines.  Nine to five seeming like another world or just belonging to some parallel universe.  Most of her friends had stopped calling probably because there was nothing going on.  No more coffee or lunch invites, wanting to avoid the awkward excuses Liz would make not being able to make it due to not being able to afford it.  Knowing that a once well travelled, well dressed, up for anything girl had been stopped in her tracks by a smooth talking, sorry excuse for a man, she wished she could even say tall dark and handsome.

Liz was feeling the worst rejection from her single female friends.  It was almost as though they couldn’t believe she had fallen in love fallen for someone who hadn’t loved her back.  And of course to become pregnant, well, this seemed [to Liz] like a cardinal sin, as though she could no longer be classed as a strong independent woman.  These singletons didn’t want the association or heaven forbid one of them should succumb to the same fate.  Avoiding Liz like the plague lest they catch whatever misfortune she had.  Hearing through the grape vine her once closest friend Rachel had actually uttered “What a stupid fucking bitch!”. Liz didn’t want to know if it was true or not, tad harsh she thought Rachel had been really distant since finding out Liz was pregnant, the why was unknown Liz could only guess.

As younger girls they had always been close, joined at the hip.  Chatting continuously about everything from clothes, makeup to what they would work at when they were older.  Wondering who would meet a boy first, get married or even be the first to have a baby.  Later Rachel being the obvious choice, more of a home bird, into long term relationships, she liked to do things right, had a career sorted straight out of college.  Yet neither girls at the age of twenty-nine were married or even engaged to be.

Rachel was apparently doing very well for herself got a promotion at work.  Moved into a bigger apartment close to the heart of town her social life was better than ever, perhaps this was why Liz rarely heard from her.  Liz had tidied the small living room/ kitchen and now had the ironing board up, radio playing low in the back ground.  She gazed with nostalgia at her wall with pictures of girlie nights out.  Remembering how much fun they used to have and the attention they would whip up going from bar to bar to nightclub.  It was such a long time since she’d been out, difficult to get a babysitter.  Upstairs a lullaby sounds followed by a child’s cry.

Rachel is in work planning drinks with the girlies and the weekend ahead.  Close to four o’clock now she finishes her coffee and hands her empty cup to a girl, an office junior and walks off in the direction of her desk.  Sandra without hesitation takes the cup reluctantly and walks toward the kitchen with Sally in tow washing the cups they head to the toilets discussing their own plans for the weekend as they go.  Rachel is unaware of the true feelings her co-workers have for her, she has no idea of their conversation or plans.  “Sure we’ll just go to Ollies Saturday night for a couple of drinks see if she can get us into the VIP area again” Sandra nudges Sally smiling and winks.  “Do we have to, I’m not so sure it’s at all worth it the way she harps on about herself” Sally moans while screwing her face up.  “It’ll be fine we’ll just get her a load of shots for her birthday and point her in the direction of the dance floor or that rugby guy she really likes.  Then we can get on with having a great night!” Sandra all the while trying hard to sound convincing, Sally gives Sandra a sideways glance while considers this “well if you think that’ll work, actually maybe we should get ready at her place she’s so close to town!  Hey wonder why she’s not inviting that friend from school, that girl Liz, didn’t she have a baby recently or something?” Sally questions.

“Oh yeah, Rachel and Liz used to be real close, don’t know how Liz handled her, Rachel is so high maintenance! Anyway, yeah they seemed to grow apart after the kid was born, I’d asked her about Liz a couple of times but she didn’t say very much, just intimated she was a stupid bitch for getting pregnant, got the feeling there was a little bit of the green eyed monster regarding the baby, who knows though!” explained Sandra in a gossipy manner shrugging her shoulders.  “Seriously though, she’s turning thirty wouldn’t you want all your mate’s around you?!” Sally shakes her head in disbelief.  “I think she might be in denial…” Sandra considers this they both look at each other and smirk with laughter.  “I think she’s done well for herself, wouldn’t mind being in the same place at her age!” Sandra admits.  “Oh god Sandra, you’re not a Rachel in the making are you” Sally teases.  Sandra nudges Sally in annoyance “that would make you Liz then” screwing up her face sarcastically.  “Hey I met Liz briefly one time, she seemed cool to me” Sally unabashed.  Sandra rolls her eyes “I met her one time, she was cool…” raising her arm and making a puppet from her hand for added emphasis in mocking Sally.

Rachel sits at her desk thinking for a second about her life questioning herself, how did she get to this place.  Nearly thirty no boyfriend, no sign of ever being married and therefore ever having children, “Ugh” the idea of getting all dolled up heading out only to watch the guys swarm around the younger girls.  Not that she looked old or so she was told all the time by other people even the girls in the office agreed.  Still, not meeting a man every time she went out was getting old, hah, a bit like her.  Thirty, Oh God why, life just seemed to have passed her by.  She remembered twenty-one most things from then to now were pretty much a blur.  Rachel tilts her head as her eyes hit a group picture on her desk, the good old days she thinks as her thoughts come around to Liz.  She missed Liz, the Liz before the baby the Liz who had all the time in the world for her, the strong girl without the hormones or unsure questions, the girl who always had the ability to make her feel better.  Rachel lets out a heavy hearted sigh, popping open the top draw of her desk she takes out a newspaper clipping, staring at it in order to lift her spirits.  Fancifully she smiles for a moment at a young sportsman puts it away then turns to her computer, a little brighter, finishing her work as she hears Sandra and Sally returning from the toilets.

Liz facing yet another Friday night alone at home with her son who she hoped would sleep through the night.  What to do, what to do, it was at night she felt most alone the colder shorter nights coming in, Liz had always thought these were the best type of nights to have someone to snuggle up to.  The unaccompanied winter months would no doubt be long and drawn out.  Liz would be left to do mind numbing amounts of soul searching, life had been painful for awhile now surely it was only to get better from here?  Her phone vibrates its Frankie a good friend someone Liz didn’t see often but had stuck by her.  She’d met Frankie while travelling and they soon came to realise they had a friend in common.  Someone Liz went to school with years before, a guy Liz liked but he’d never shown any interest, before now that was!  Of course Frankie has been encouraging Liz for sometime to meet up or make a ‘coffee’ date with Paul.  Liz wasn’t sure if she was ready she hadn’t been around male company in over a year, the last man in her life running off three weeks after their son was born.

No matter how much Liz tried to suppress her feelings she’d be reminded she was still alive inside when a sexy daddy walked by at the park.  Liz bowled over by the look and then catching a whiff of aftershave, it was usually all too much she’d have to take a seat until the feeling in her legs returned.  She knew she owed it to herself to get out or at least be open to the idea of dating again as the postman was beginning to look more and more attractive each time he delivered the post!  It might be a bit of a shock if Liz were to launch herself at him the next time he made a delivery she shuddered at the idea of things becoming so desperate!

Rachel leaves work with Sandra and Sally heading to Café Vaudeville, the chat is light hearted and superficial.  Once they’re sitting and have their drinks at hand it isn’t long before the conversation turns to the rest of the people in the bar.  Rachel and Sandra give a running commentary or fashion review of most of the girls passing by or in clear view, not many seeming to escape the extremely harsh verdict of these two wannabe fashionista’s.  “Oh my god, look what that girl is wearing!” Rachel laughs in a mocking tone.  “Where?” Sandra looks confused, Sally says nothing.  “Understand why you’re confused, there are so many badly dressed girls about!” Rachel scoffs. “Oh yeah, I see her now..” Sandra mirrors Rachel’s scorn, Sally not partaking in their enjoyment of knocking everyone around them she was quieter, a little more self assured it didn’t make her feel any bigger to put others down.  Taking a mental note she thinks Rachel and Sandra are a bit out of their area of expertise, it’s not like either are dressed in Versace.  River Island eat your heart out in Sandra’s case and perhaps Marks & Spencer’s best in Rachel’s not exactly Joan Rivers on Oscar night, ya know!  Sally smiles to herself as she thinks this knowing once they’ve finished critiquing the fashion in the bar Rachel will angle the conversion back to herself.  Sally still wears a broad grin as Rachel looks over she asks “what’s so funny?”.  Caught off guard but Sally doesn’t miss a beat “oh nothing I was just smiling to myself thinking about tomorrow night, should be great!” Sally raises her glass “here’s to you birthday girl” smiling sweetly she ching’s Rachel’s glass then Sandra’s.  Relieved Sally thinks Rachel has swallowed the pitiful crap that just seemed to spew forth from her mouth, she’d obviously begun to rub off on Sally.

In another part of town a group of guys stand around a bar telling jokes, laughing loudly while drinking their pints.  All well dressed on the prowl, raring to go and eyeing up anything in a skirt.  Most of the banter coming from the tallest guy standing centre point a handful of friends around him.  “See what’s about tonight lads, eh…” smiling Gareth continues “hey Charlie maybe you’ll be real lucky and pull a girl your own age this weekend instead of the granny you had chatting you up the other night!” laughter from the group erupts.  “Aye whatever, and maybe Gareth you’ll be able to escape the lovely Rachel” Charlie winks at him “maybe for a first she won’t be at Ollies tomorrow night” Charlie grins, raising his eyebrows up and down a couple of times “Ack no, not again surely, you think she’ll show up?” Gareth a little uncertain.  “I dunno mate” Charlie looking a little more serious “like my dad says, does a bear shit in the woods…” at this Charlie’s face beams his laughter is swallowed up by the rest of the guys, Gareth turns to the bar shaking his head somewhat irritated and orders another round of drinks.

Rachel wakes up Saturday mid morning stomach grumbling, head a little heavy, nothing too serious she probably should’ve had something more substantial to eat before the array of cocktails they had polished off.  Just a warm up though for what was to come later this evening!  She rolled out of bed and made for the kitchen, stretching as she goes, breakfast, coffee then rational thoughts would hopefully follow.  She sat at her table looking out over the Lagan River lost in thought her phone beeps.  It had been going off at regular intervals through the morning birthday messages no doubt from family and friends.  Flicking through she spots one from Liz, regretting now that she hasn’t invited her to the birthday celebrations.  A little guilt begins to creep into the back of Rachel’s mind she shakes it away while deciding it would be too late to ask her now anyway.  Liz wouldn’t be able to get a babysitter what with her mother always out on the town and Liz probably wouldn’t have anything up to date to wear she wouldn’t feel comfortable.  Rachel convinces herself it is better to leave the evening plans as they are.  Off to get ready she had to get to the gym then she had an appointment for a facial and neck massage, all go she thinks!

Liz glances down at her phone no reply she wasn’t surprised although there was still time maybe Rachel was having a busy morning.  Liz taking a minute for a cup of tea after waking at 6am she’d put a wash on, hung out the clothes, hovered and washed her kitchen floor, the little man was back down for a morning nap thank god.  Liz couldn’t bear the idea of his morning naps coming to an end as they inevitably would!  She glances at her phone again deciding to check her messages even though she hasn’t received anything new.  A small smile creeps over her face, it is a text from Paul that catches her eye they’d been exchanging flirty messages since yesterday.  Still surprised how thrilled she felt at the prospect of a new man in her life!  In two minds she isn’t sure if she should invite him round.  What the heck Liz doesn’t have anything to lose, typing “fancy coming round for a coffee” biting her lower lip she reads what she has typed over and over wondering if it sounds a bit desperate taking a deep breath Liz pushes the send button too late to worry now.

Rachel treats herself to a Karen Millen dress as a girl only turns thirty once.  Having done the gym, had her facial, stopped to pick up the dress she is now strutting down Royal Avenue toward home with her Karen Millen bag hanging off one arm swinging in rhythm to the movement of her hips, ‘skinny’ latte firmly grasped in hand, gossiping on her phone as she goes no cares and with all the time in world.  Once at home she tidies a little for the girls coming round wonders if it’s a bit early to crack open the bubbly glancing at her watch she decides it is, maybe a bath and then shower off would pass the time nicely.  Little bit of Cool FM playing in the back ground, bath full of bubbles Rachel replies to some of her text messages sending thank you’s, then deleting the original text not something she’d want to look at more than twice.  She thought she was taking her 30th birthday pretty well most girls just flip out completely!  Hesitating at Liz’s message she opens and reads “Hope you have a great 30th weekend and a brilliant Saturday celebrations, let me know if you fancy grabbing a coffee sometime?”  Liz was always nice to a fault it didn’t endear Rachel to her, as she considered the level of Liz’s niceness to be a weakness.  Perhaps part of the reason Liz had gotten herself into the mess she was in now.  Rachel deciding to reply “Thanks, not sure when coffee would suit, will have a great night out with the girls, bye for now…” Wasn’t Rachel’s fault Liz couldn’t come out plus she had put herself in the position she was in.

Liz was a little tired, dinner time for the little man then bath and bed.  Letting her son feed himself was important but oh how she hated watching him throw the food all over her clean floor.  She’d have to get the mop out again, was ok though he had to learn how to use a fork and spoon sometime.  It was beyond her how he still managed to spray the area of floor she hadn’t covered, having laid a table cloth underneath his high chair!  Her phone vibrates once then twice, oh she felt very popular two messages snapping up her phone she was amazed to see Rachel’s name show up, pressing eagerly Liz reads the text.  The light in her eyes waning as she reaches the end of the message.  She felt she would never understand Rachel or what it was she seemed to now hold against her.  Going over the message in her head ‘out with the girls’, Liz used to be one of the girls she stopped herself, there was no point.  Looking up she caught her son’s eye he was beaming at her and Liz couldn’t help but smile back leaning forward she gives him a big kiss.

Beyonce pumping from the stereo “All the single ladies…” “That’s us girls” smiling over her shoulder from the bathroom Rachel takes a sip of her bubbly “put your hands up…” Beyonce sings on.  There is a straight view from the living room to the bathroom Sandra and Sally watch her wide eyed.  Rachel puts her glass down to give herself a free hand raising an arm up and down in time to the music while finishing off her mascara with the other checking her lips and over all make up coverage.  Sandra and Sally in the back ground some what dumb founded at this seemingly open display from Rachel, the girls both look at each other bemused.  Not normally this extroverted usually more conservative, demure in character.  Rachel still at the mirror miming to Beyonce, Sally reaches for her glass to take a large swig leaning toward Sandra she whispers “Oh this is going to be an interesting night.”  Rachel having spied the exchange whirls around and enquiry’s “what was that Sandra” Sandra caught off guard and not wanting to ruin Rachel’s obvious good mood swiftly replies “Oh, we were just admiring your dress, it’s really gorgeous!”  Taking a moment to gaze freely in the mirror at herself Rachel has to admit she thinks she looks stunning too!  It’s time to get going the three girls knock back the last of the champagne and head into town, stopping at Bar Red, The Apartment, Love & Death, Northern Whig then onto Ollies.  As always there is a huge queue to get in, Rachel saunters to the front of the line with Sandra and Sally in tow.  Has a quick word with an older gentlemen, he checks a list and lets her by this was the bit Sandra relished not having to spend half the night waiting with everyone else feeling important, elevated from the poor sods waiting in line.

Inside the club is lit with candles, soft lighting creating a relaxed atmosphere booth’s off to one side and high tables facing them with the bar towards the far wall.  They all move toward the bar, Rachel takes lead Sandra following closely behind with Sally at the rear.  Rachel by passes the hordes of people hovering at the bar, scanning the crowd for familiar faces as she goes but isn’t about to wait in line to get a drink!  Making her way across the club to the VIP area, stopping briefly to do a quick ‘meet and greet’ with the girl who had got them on the list.  Rachel immediately runs her eye around the room looking for a particular person who doesn’t appear to be there.

Liz is having a well earned soak in the tub she’s opened a bottle of red and is letting it ‘breath’ not that she’s and expert it wasn’t exactly an expensive bottle of wine so she wants to give it every opportunity to taste it’s best, even if that meant decanting it in a saucepan!  Feeling a warm glow as she steps out of the bath opening the window a cool breeze clears her mind, Liz felt good.  Changing quickly and after checking the little man she bounds downstairs with the lightness and ease of a ballerina eager to check her phone, first a sip of wine though.  Liz’s tolerance for alcohol wasn’t what it used to be, meaning one glass and she’d be giggling like a school girl.  Checking her phone, it wouldn’t be long now Paul said yes to calling by and insisted on bringing some food and a bottle of wine.  Nervous wasn’t the word Liz tried calming herself by repeating “it’ll be fine, it’ll be fine, it’ll be fine…” over and over while sipping more wine and doing a little jig on the spot.  Trying to resist gulping it as she didn’t want to open the door to Paul and be completely pissed!  Finding it difficult to stop grinning she had to text Frankie she thought, Liz instantly receiving a reply “Bout time chick, enjoy ;)”.  The door bell rings taking a second she checks herself in the mirror and makes her way to the door.

Rachel and the girls stand by the bar, Sandra orders another round of shots and tells Rachel not to worry Gareth will show “he’s probably here just standing somewhere else in the club” seeming to relax at the idea Rachel knocks back her third tequila, pulls the girls toward the dance floor with a little force wanting to work some moves.  Sandra and Sally move to the music gingerly watching as Rachel makes full use of the floor, moving this way and that Sally thinking its just as well no one was standing close by or they might get a knuckle sandwich for free.  As the song finishes Rachel waves to some other girls, Sandra and Sally point toward the toilets and quickly make their escape giggling as they go.  No line for the loo’s yet another reason Sandra loved being a VIP, they each take a cubicle Sally asking from hers “well when are we gona ditch her, did you SEE that dancing, Oh My God I thought she was going to accidentally punch someone out…” they both cackle.  “I know she’s really getting into it isn’t she, I suppose it is her thirtieth though” Sandra feeling the need to make an excuse “don’t give her anymore shots, I think she might keel over!” Sally advising in an obviously sympathetic tone “Ok, let’s find this Gareth guy and point her in his direction” Sandra concludes, both girls exit their cubicles at the same time, stopping dead they see Rachel standing with an ice cold gaze on her face realising she must have heard pretty much everything they said.  Frozen in horror Sandra and Sally have no time to make excuses “Fine pair of friends you both turned out to be” Rachel slightly wavering “I don’t need either of you simpletons to hook me up with anyone”.  At this Rachel spins around to make a speedy escape from the toilets moving clumsily through the crowded club, she stops for a second to gather herself, trying to wipe the cackles of laughter from her thoughts.  She notices a familiar group of lads by the main bar moving forward slowly she suddenly smiles as she catches sight of Gareth. Grabbing a small mirror out of her bag she checks her lipstick and smoothes her hair, pulling herself together, she makes a confident cat like strut towards him thinking this time she wasn’t going to let him get away.

Gareth is facing toward the bar unaware of Rachel’s approach, Charlie however to Gareth’s right spots Rachel “here we go Gareth” Charlie nudges him in the side Gareth half turns as Charlie begins to hum/sing the theme tune to Jaws adding and exaggerating Rachel’s name to fit the tune.  Gareth turns around to be greeted by an overly enthusiastic Rachel behind her all his mates smirk at the unwanted and uninvited attention.  Rachel begins “So you fancy…” but doesn’t get to finish “No I don’t…” Gareth cuts in as he tips his pint over Rachel’s head.  There is a mixture of gasps and laughter from behind as she stands hair sopping, beer trickling down her back.  Totally shocked Rachel stands for a second, her senses coming to now she whirls around just in time to see Sandra and Sally staring at her misfortunate.  Their faces proving Rachel’s worst fears she looks a mess other people turning now to look her way all wearing expressions she didn’t want to see, suddenly she had the urge to vomit.  Stumbling away from the laughter, smirks and pitying looks Rachel makes her way out of the club reaching the side of the road just in time to vomit.  Hair hanging around her face covered in sick along with an expensive pair of shoes the smell of beer making her retch a second time.  Rachel pulls herself together and heads to a black taxi, the driver gives her the once over telling her if she’s sick in his car there’ll be a clean up fee.  Rachel nods to show she understands while climbing into the sanctity of the back seat. Sprawled to the side in the back seat she closes her eyes as the taxi pulls away.

Liz opens the door to a tall dark and handsome man.  Sitting now on the sofa they laugh and chat together while eating the food Paul has brought.  Liz steals a bit of Paul’s dinner, testing the boundaries “Oi, cheeky” Paul chuckles stealing a bit back from Liz’s plate.  They continue to chat after dinner, sipping wine Liz has to admit “I didn’t think you were into me!” Paul smiles explaining “I always liked how friendly you were, ARE… too many people don’t appreciate what they’ve got until it’s gone.”  Liz blushes a little as Paul leans in for a kiss.

At the door to her apartment Rachel feels the tightening of her guts, flinging the door open and slamming it behind her she bolts down the hall to the bathroom just reaching the door in time to throw up over the toilet seat and the surrounding area. “UGH” is the only noise Rachel is able to make lying in the bathroom in a heap, the tiles cooling her cheek and forehead, this seeming to be the only comforting thing about the whole evening.

**short film script has been developed for this story**


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