Saturday, April 18, 2015

Patrice A to Z Blogging Challenge

Blogging from A to Z Challenge
April 2015
This month I will be participating in the “Blogging from A-Z Challenge

What is it?

I will be Blogging everyday beginning on April First with a topic themed on something with the letterA, then on April second another topic with the letter B as the theme, and so on until I finish on April thirtieth with the theme based on the letter Z.   The theme of the day is the letter scheduled for that day.

My theme will be short fictional (well mostly fictional) stories about women.  Each woman’s name will begin with the appropriate letter of the alphabet for that day.
All of the women will have the common life experience of a loss of some type.
I invite you, Dear reader, to comment on how you interpret the loss.


Patrice
She settled on a thin branch at the highest tip of the tallest budding tree.  She swayed precariously back and forth in the stiff breeze.
Elongating her neck,  she tilted her head back and opened her mouth. 
She called out to him, singing the long warble that he would surely recognize.
She waited for his answer, but it did not come. 
Her claws gripped the perch tightly as a sudden gust of wind violently shook the branch.   
Danger was imminent.  She sensed it.  Hovering above.  Then the whoosh of wings swooping down.  

Her heart beat fast.  She tried to fly away, but she couldn’t move.  
Patrice awakened sharply.   She sat up.  She was shaking.  A bad dream.  
She reached out to touch him, but he wasn’t in bed.  
Noticing a beam of light under the bathroom door,  she felt relieved.  
It had been a bad day.  Abbie was sick.  Poor girl.  She had a high fever and racking cough.  
Patrice was worried.  She called him at work to tell him. 
His secretary answered.  “Mr. Olivera’s office, can I hep you?” 
“Hello Mrs. Olivera,” she said.  “He’ll be right with you.”
When he finally picked up the phone, he said, “Did you call the doctor?”  He sounded annoyed.
They haven’t been getting along lately.  She was sure it was just a rough patch, though.  They could work it out. 
It was almost 10 o’clock before Abbie finally fell asleep. 
As Patrice waited for him to come back to bed, she thought she heard his voice.
It was well past midnight.  Who could he be talking to, she wondered. 

See yesterday’s O post for the companion piece to today’s P story. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Mrs. Olivera A to Z Blogging Challenge

Blogging from A to Z Challenge
April 2015
This month I will be participating in the “Blogging from A-Z Challenge

What is it?

I will be Blogging everyday beginning on April First with a topic themed on something with the letterA, then on April second another topic with the letter B as the theme, and so on until I finish on April thirtieth with the theme based on the letter Z.   The theme of the day is the letter scheduled for that day.

My theme will be short fictional (well mostly fictional) stories about women.  Each woman’s name will begin with the appropriate letter of the alphabet for that day.
All of the women will have the common life experience of a loss of some type.
I invite you, Dear reader, to comment on how you interpret the loss.



Mrs. Olivera

She doodled in her fanciest script.  Mr. & Mrs Olivera.  
She leafed through stacks of magazines, dog earring her favorite pages.  
She pictured the bridal announcement, 
 “Adorned in an organza ball gown, the bride was stunning.  The ruched strapless bodice was enhanced with tear drop pearls.  Her floor length veil grazed the carpet as she was escorted by her brother down the aisle. 
She practiced saying, “Mrs Olivera.” 
She imagined how exciting it would be as they waited for the MC to make the announcement…”Now may I present for the first time in public, Mr. and Mrs Olivera.”
The day would be perfect.  Everything would be perfect. 
He was going to surprise her with honeymoon plans.  Some place exotic, she was sure.   
Bali.  One of those thatched cottages, right on the water.   
They had talked about touring Paris or Rome. 
Before this, before him, she didn’t believe in fate or destiny.   
But their meeting could not have been accidental or by chance.  
She wasn’t supposed to be there that day.    But, one of the other women came down with the flu.  Her supervisor called and asked her to come in as soon as possible. 
He came hobbling into the ER.  An ice hockey accident.  
They talked about it later, how their attraction for one another was instant, electric and mutual.
 She hadn’t been looking for love.   
After her last relationship, she swore that she was going to spend time getting to know herself.  
She was going to practice the advice she had given to many of her friends.   “Figure out what you need.”
She knew now.  He was what she wanted, what she needed.  
He said he felt the same way.   
He told her that he wasn’t looking for love either.  Not now.  The time wasn’t right.
“The moment I saw you, though,  I knew I was in trouble,” he would joke.  
Today was the second anniversary of that night, the night they met. 
He promised they would do something special.  
“It might not top our first anniversary,” his text said.  “But I want you know that I haven’t forgotten.”
She decided that they could have a romantic evening, just the two of them.  She’d make shrimp parmesan.  It was his favorite.  Chocolate covered strawberries.  And of course champagne.
She was so happy.
“Mrs. Olivera,” she whispered to herself.
Her phone rang well past midnight.  She had fallen asleep on the sofa.
“Hon, I’m so sorry.”   His voice was low.  She could barely hear him.
“I couldn’t get away,” he said.  “It’s Abbie.”  She’s sick.”
“I’ll make it up to you, he said.  “I promise.”
She blew out the candles, once again.
She was reminded of the other advice she constantly gave to her friends.
“Do yourself a favor,” she’d tell them.
"Dump him.  He’ll never leave her.”


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Nancy A-Z Blogging Challenge

Blogging from A to Z Challenge
April 2015
This month I will be participating in the “Blogging from A-Z Challenge

What is it?

I will be Blogging everyday beginning on April First with a topic themed on something with the letterA, then on April second another topic with the letter B as the theme, and so on until I finish on April thirtieth with the theme based on the letter Z.   The theme of the day is the letter scheduled for that day.

My theme will be short fictional (well mostly fictional) stories about women.  Each woman’s name will begin with the appropriate letter of the alphabet for that day.
All of the women will have the common life experience of a loss of some type.
I invite you, Dear reader, to comment on how you interpret the loss.


Nancy

There was an incident several years ago.  Let me tell you what happened. 
Nancy was my friend.   Our relationship developed quickly, in fact in one strange night. 
I was one of the board members of the Club.  Nancy was new in the neighborhood.  She came to one of our recruitment meetings.  That was the first time we met.  If I’m to be honest, I admit I don’t remember our first meeting.  
As I was soon to find out, she obviously remembered me.  I now realize that she specifically sought me out. 
I’m a busy person.  I get a lot of phone calls.   But, I vividly remember that first phone call from Nancy.    I didn’t recognize the caller ID phone number.   The woman on the other end was hysterically crying and could barely speak.  
I kept asking, “Who is this?”  “What’s wrong?”  
I was frightened.  My mind was racing, thinking something must have happened to one of my children. 
When she calmed down, she identified herself as a new member of the Club. 
“I met you last Thursday,” she sobbed. 
She told me that something terrible had happened.  She couldn’t talk about it over the phone and asked me to come over to her house. 
I was hesitant.  I told her that perhaps it might be better to contact a family member or close friend. 
“No, I can’t”, she cried.  “I just can’t do that.”
 I wrote down her address and went over to her house. 
When I rang the bell, I saw her peering out the front window.  
She opened the door, grabbed my arm to pull me into the house, and then quickly shut the door and locked it.
Nancy is about 5 feet 5 inches tall.   She’s not thin, but she’s not fat either.  She has short brushy brown hair and dull brown eyes.   She is the type of person who blends in, forgettable actually.   
That night her face was pallid, her eyes puffy and red. 
“What is it, Nancy?”  “What happened?”
She told me that she heard a noise. She thought someone was breaking into her house.  
She called the police, she said.  
“They checked the whole house and made sure the alarm was working,” she said. “They assured me everything was okay and that I would be fine.”
“Oh,” I said. 
“Is anything else going on?   What can I do?”  I asked, in what I hoped sounded like concerned tone.
I was actually a little perturbed.  I didn’t understand why she called me.
She told me that her husband passed away several years ago.  Her son lives 100 miles away and she has no other family around she said. 
She confided that she felt alone and lonely.
“It was scary,” she said.  “I really thought I was in danger.”  
“I’m new in this town,” she went on.   “At the meeting, you seemed so kind.”  
"I just knew I could call you and you would come.” 
I must describe to you now a little about myself.  I am a caregiver.  I’ve always been a caregiver.  
My mom and dad had a volatile relationship.  My father was abusive.  From as far back as I can remember, I took on the roll of caring for my mother. 
Perhaps my nurturing personality is what attracts people to me.  I seem to collect the troubled ones. 
Nancy was troubled. 
After that night we talked to each other on the phone at least once a day.  We had a standing Thursday lunch date and occasionally we would take in a movie.
Nancy became active in the Club, but she found it hard to form friendships with other members.   I began to notice that she seemed to get upset when I had plans which did not include her. 
This one day, the day of the incident, I was to meet my good friend, Marie,  for a shopping trip and then lunch.  
When I talked to Nancy, early that morning, I was evasive about my plans. 
While we were out, I purposefully turned off my cell.  I needed a nice relaxing day with no distractions. 
When I turned the phone back on, there were several missed calls,  three voice messages and seven texts.  All from Nancy 
“Why aren’t you answering your phone…need to speak with you…important!”
This happened about six months after my first encounter with Nancy.  
She was waiting for me when I got home. 
I spotted her in the glare of my headlights, frantically waving her arms. 
Although, this wasn’t the first time Nancy had displayed obsessive and possessive behavior towards me, I decided that this time was going to be the last time. 
I saw Nancy the other day.  She was having lunch with Marie.  

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Mildred/Millie A to Z Blogging Challenge

Blogging from A to Z Challenge
April 2015
This month I will be participating in the “Blogging from A-Z Challenge

What is it?

I will be Blogging everyday beginning on April First with a topic themed on something with the letterA, then on April second another topic with the letter B as the theme, and so on until I finish on April thirtieth with the theme based on the letter Z.   The theme of the day is the letter scheduled for that day.

My theme will be short fictional (well mostly fictional) stories about women.  Each woman’s name will begin with the appropriate letter of the alphabet for that day.
All of the women will have the common life experience of a loss of some type.
I invite you, Dear reader, to comment on how you interpret the loss.


Mildred

Five minutes to go before class was over.  
It was the last period of the day.  It was the last of her last periods.
“The cutbacks… unavoidable… least seniority… sorry,” they said. 
She didn’t know how she felt.  She probably wouldn’t until the fall.   
She had given all of the kids in each of her classes free reign this day.
“Do whatever you like today, class,”she said.
The kids were surprised, shocked actually.   
True, it was the last day of school before summer vacation.  
Most of the teachers were more than lenient, particularly as the school year came to an end. 
But Miss M, she never was.
Yet, her class was the most popular.  
There was something about Miss M.  
Typically, when the bell rang to signify the beginning of class, Miss M would rise from behind her obsessively tidy desk and walk to the front of the room, hands folded, in front, at her waist. 
Hidden behind thick lenses and horn rimmed frames, the blue of her pretty eyes were hardly noticeable. 
Glancing up and down the aisles, she would look directly at each student individually and nod as if mentally taking attendance. 
Mildred was tall and angular.  Her jet black hair was tightly pulled back in a bun at the nape of her neck.  Her wardrobe consisted of crisp white blouses which she wore beneath black, gray or navy cardigan sweaters.   The hemlines of her matching black, gray and navy skits fell to just below the knee.  She wore modest sensible low heeled shoes. 
Her voice was low and throaty, her tone intense. 
When she began to speak, she commanded their attention as she took control of their minds.
She hadn’t told anyone that today was her last day.  Only the principal knew, but not any of the other teachers. 
She certainly did not want a party or fussy good byes.


Millie
Five minutes to go before she had to be on stage.
It was the last dance of the night.  It was the last of the nights.
“Business is slow… closing the place… sorry,” they said. 
She didn’t know how she felt.  She probably wouldn’t until her nights were still. 
“Play whatever you like,” she said to the DJ.
He was surprised, shocked actually.
She always wanted to select her own music.
Of all of the dancers, she was the most popular.
There was something about Miss M.
At the first beat, she came out of the shadows to step into the spotlight.
Even under the glaring lights, her brilliant blue eyes were mesmerizing.
Millie was tall and lithe.  Her jet black hair fell loosely to her waist. 
She was scantily covered in glittery sequins, silver or gold. 
Her strappy shoes spiked on four inch heels. 
She spoke with her body, her movements intense.  She commanded their attention as she took control of their desire.
Unlike that afternoon, she told everyone at the club that it was her last night. 
She wanted the biggest blast of a party, especially tonight.  

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Lynda Grace - A to Z Blogging Challenge

Blogging from A to Z Challenge
April 2015
This month I will be participating in the “Blogging from A-Z Challenge

What is it?

I will be Blogging everyday beginning on April First with a topic themed on something with the letterA, then on April second another topic with the letter B as the theme, and so on until I finish on April thirtieth with the theme based on the letter Z.   The theme of the day is the letter scheduled for that day.

My theme will be short fictional (well mostly fictional) stories about women.  Each woman’s name will begin with the appropriate letter of the alphabet for that day.
All of the women will have the common life experience of a loss of some type.
I invite you, Dear reader, to comment on how you interpret the loss.


Lynda Grace

Her stories were famous.  She took the children to hopeful places of future promises.

“Tell me again,” the little one would plead. “I want to hear about the magic of tomorrow.”

Three years ago her son passed away. 

She gathered her woolen shawl tightly around her.  A shawl woven from black strands of despair and gray threads of sorrow.   The prickly fibers snagged the jagged edges around the tear in her heart.  But she knew she could never discard it,  for wasn’t pain better than anesthetized numbness?   

Her stories became mournful.  
They were filled with melancholy yesterdays. 
“Why is the princess sad?” the little one would ask.”

Then one day, there were no more stories for she could no longer imagine. 

Oh, there were times when she found herself laughing out loud at the little one’s antics. 
And when she picked up her knitting again, she was drawn to the softest of yarns.   The slow rhythmic motion comforted her and offered solace.
She suddenly wanted a bird feeder to be placed right outside her window and would smile ever so  slightly at the cardinal and her mate.
She rested her weary heart in the arms of his strength.  
Her other children, grandchildren and family give her glimpses of  what surely could still be.  

He would have been 40 years old.  Nine days ago he would have been 40 years old. 


Lynda Grace wants to thank the Blogging from A to Z challenge for inspiring her to imagine once again. 


  

Monday, April 13, 2015

Kate - The Eyes of The Swans - A to Z Blogging Challenge

Blogging from A to Z Challenge
April 2015
This month I will be participating in the “Blogging from A-Z Challenge

What is it?

I will be Blogging everyday beginning on April First with a topic themed on something with the letterA, then on April second another topic with the letter B as the theme, and so on until I finish on April thirtieth with the theme based on the letter Z.   The theme of the day is the letter scheduled for that day.

My theme will be short fictional (well mostly fictional) stories about women.  Each woman’s name will begin with the appropriate letter of the alphabet for that day.
All of the women will have the common life experience of a loss of some type.
I invite you, Dear reader, to comment on how you interpret the loss.


Kate

She felt out of place walking up and down the aisles of the market.  Her Jimmy Choo riding boots kicked up loose gravel, leaving a cloud of dust in her wake. 
The discreet labels of her designer jeans were not visible, unlike those found on the gauche fakes and imitations which were piled high on the tables of the vendors. 
She disdainfully remarked to her bridge club friends how all of the flea market dealers had a certain look about them.   
“They look as worn and dirty as the old wares they offer,” she would say.   
Her pace was not leisurely.  She looked left then right, giving each of the tables a quick once over.  
Frankly,  she had little interest in much of the merchandise displayed on those tables, but  as she purposely headed for aisle 14, she gave the items a quick once over, making sure she did not miss the opportunity of a treasured find. 
On the first Saturday of each month, Kate drove the 100 plus miles from Greenwich, Ct. to the New Jersey market.
She came to see Zelda.  The old woman had a refined, select treasure trove of eclectic, fascinating rarities.
Zelda was discriminating in choosing her customers. 
Kate often wondered why Zelda approved of her.   
She was sure that it was because of Kate’s obvious wealth and status.  Also, she had sold Zelda some beautiful vases from her aunt’s estate. 
 Zelda probably wanted to make sure Kate kept her in mind for any other items Kate might be willing to sell.
Kate was running late this day.   She swore at her car when it wouldn’t start.  
Not arriving on time to Zelda’s booth meant Kate would have to push her way through the others who were sure to be surrounding Zelda’s table.  
But this day, as soon as Zelda spotted Kate, she waved the others away.  
“I have something special for you, my dear,” said Zelda.
“Come here, come behind the table and look,” she said.
Zelda was pointing to a shroud.   
She pulled off the cloth to reveal a large oval shaped beveled mirror.  
It was ornately designed in walnut.  Adorning the top of the piece was a pair of carved swan’s heads. Their graceful necks were lowered in a bow,  each of their beaks slightly touching the other.  
As Kate approached the mirror, Zelda quickly covered it back up.
“May I examine it more closely?”  asked Kate. 
“I must tell you, two others are interested in buying this,” said Zelda.
“But I tell them no.  No, I know who must have this, I say to them.”
“You must give this mirror a polish.  Pay close attention to the eyes of the swans, said Zelda.”
Kate knew better than to argue with Zelda.  Besides, she trusted her.  Zelda had provided her with some of Kate’s best pieces.  
Kate’s friends from the Club were always so complimentary, praising Kate for her exquisite taste.  
Kate was sure that they must also know that she didn’t have cheap things.  
Not like what her mother and father had in their home.  
There was always plastic on the sofas and chairs.   Dollar store and garage sale chachkas were displayed on bookshelves and table tops in every corner of the living room. 
They embarrassed her.  She wasn’t even ashamed to admit that.  She was in a much better place in her life now. 
But she couldn’t think about that now.  
Kate was hosting the next dinner party.   She wanted something new to impress her Club friends. 
It was this mirror.  She had to have it.  
“Remember these swans see clearly,” Zelda said, as if cautioning Kate. 
When she arrived home, she saw that Jake, the handyman was working around the yard.
“I need you to hang a mirror for me, Jake,” said Kate.  
“I want it above the table in the foyer.”  
“Right away, Jake,” said Kate.
Kate was advised by her new friend, Barb that she had to be authoritative when she spoke to the help.  
After Jake hung the mirror, Kate dismissed him.  “You can finish up outside, Jake.”  
Kate was admiring the mirror.  She stepped in front of it.  Looking up at the swans’ eyes, she recalled what Zelda told her.
She reached up to polish the wood, and paid close attention to the eyes of the swans.  
When she finished she stepped back to look at her reflection. 
Horrified at what she saw, she gasped and then looked away.  

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Josie A to Z Blogging Challenge

Blogging from A to Z Challenge
April 2015
This month I will be participating in the “Blogging from A-Z Challenge

What is it?

I will be Blogging everyday beginning on April First with a topic themed on something with the letterA, then on April second another topic with the letter B as the theme, and so on until I finish on April thirtieth with the theme based on the letter Z.   The theme of the day is the letter scheduled for that day.

My theme will be short fictional (well mostly fictional) stories about women.  Each woman’s name will begin with the appropriate letter of the alphabet for that day.
All of the women will have the common life experience of a loss of some type.
I invite you, Dear reader, to comment on how you interpret the loss.


Josie

Josie frantically threw her clothes into her duffle.  She was frightened.
She couldn’t stop herself from pulling the curtain slightly away from the corner of her third floor window to peek out.  She gasped and dropped the curtain.  She thought she saw him walking up the street towards the motel.   Was it him?  She had only spent a brief amount of time with him, so she wasn’t sure she would recognize him from this far away.  
She had to get out of there before he showed up.
Josie was 19 years old.  She was a pretty petite girl with large hazel eyes.  Her light brown hair was shoulder length and she usually wore it loosely tied back with a scrunchie. 
She had just finished her freshman year up in Boston.  
Was it only four days ago that she had arrived at The Viking Motel in Wildwood Crest?
Josie and her family had been coming to the Viking every summer since she was a child.  
But this year, Josie’s mom was caring for her dad.  He was recovering from a recent knee replacement. 
Her sister had just started a new job and couldn’t take a vacation. 
Still, Josie decided she wanted to come to Wildwood, just like she did every year. 
She was looking forward to having some alone time, especially since her break up with Nat. 
It would be nice to have this week off before she started her summer part time job, waitressing at the Pub back home.  
She was excited to be on her own.  It was the first time she had ever been away by herself. 
Her parents cautioned her to be careful as they waved goodbye. 
When she checked in at the motel office, Betty and Charlie, owners of the Viking, welcomed her warmly.  
“Josie, we’ll take good care of you while you are here, sweetheart,” said Betty.  
“How’s the family?” asked Charlie.
“It’s a beautiful day.” Betty said.  “Still time to get in some sun and a swim, you know.”
“As soon as I get settled, that’s just I’m going to do.” Josie replied. 
She fell into a routine.   In the morning, she’d take the short walk to ”Sam’s - Serving Breakfast 24 Hours”.  
She liked sitting at the window, watching the day unfold.  Families heading to the beach to stake out their spots.  Dads pushed beach carts loaded down with picnic coolers, blue chairs, and matching  umbrellas.  Moms carried babies in their arms, the little ones wearing yellow sun bonnets to protect their pale young skin.  The older kids carried red sand castle pails and blue shovels with long wooden handles. 
She felt a pang of nostalgia, wishing her family were here with her. 
After breakfast, she would go back to her room to call her mom.  
“How’s Daddy?”  “How are you, mom?”  
“I’m doing fine,” Josie would re-assure her mother.  
“I’m having a nice relaxing time.” she said.  “But I miss you guys.”
Then Josie would change into her suit, grab her chair, a towel and her Kindle and walk the short block to the beach. 
She liked to sit close to the water, but not by the life guards.  It was too crowded there.  
It was much quieter at the other end of the beach. 
After a few hours, she would go back to the motel for a quick snack and a swim in the pool. 
She’d have dinner at the same places that she used to go with the family.  
In the evenings, she would sit in the white plastic chairs outside of the office and chat with Betty and Charlie, late into the night. 
That’s the way it was for the first three days of her vacation.  
She wondered what it would be like to spend the whole summer this way. 
The fourth day, Tuesday, started out just liked the other three. 
Once she got to the beach, though, that’s when everything started to go wrong.
Josie was engrossed in her book and didn’t notice him until he startled her by dropping down onto her towel.
She looked at him with a puzzled expression.  
“Hello,” he said.
She was so taken aback that she didn’t answer him.
She probably wouldn’t have been as leery if he were dressed in swim trunks.  But, he was in jeans, a long sleeve tee and wore red and white striped hi top converse sneakers.
“I see you here every day.   Well, for the last three days anyway,” he said. 
Still not sure about him, she said nothing. 
“What are you reading?” he asked.
“Uh, oh, um, a mystery, actually,” she said.
She looked at him closely.  
His hair was long and shaggy.  Like he needed a haircut. 
She caught him glancing at the motel room key that she had foolishly left out on the towel.
“You’re here by yourself, aren’t you?” he asked. 
“I mean, I haven’t seen anyone else with you,” he said. 
“Hey, what are you doing, later?” he asked.
“Maybe, I’ll come by,”  he said.
“You’re staying at the Viking, right?”
Josie got up, wiped the sand off her chair and folded it up.  
She told him that she had to get going.  
He stood up, gathered up her towel and handed it to her along with her key. 
She quickly walked away, her heart beating fast. 
She kept looking back to make sure he was not following her. 
When she got to the Viking, she went into the office.
“What’s wrong?” Betty asked. 
The older woman could tell by the look on the young woman’s face that Josie was upset. 
Josie told Betty what happened.  
“I’m leaving,” Josie said.
Betty tried to assure Josie that she would be perfectly safe.  
“If this guy even tries to approach the Viking we’ll call the police,” Betty said. 
“I’ve a good mind to call the police right now!” Charlie growled. 
Josie told the couple that she didn’t want to cause a scene.  
“Anyway,” she said, “he hasn’t really done anything.”
Josie wanted to go home.  It just wasn’t the same for her here now.  
 She realized that it hadn’t been the same from the very first day.  
Yes, she thought she was having a nice time, for the most part.  But something had been nagging at her the whole time.  She couldn’t figure it out, until now. 
Josie was lonely.
She missed giggling with her sister as they whispered about what the girls on the next blanket were wearing. 
“How can that girl possible think she should be wearing that?” her sister would say.  
 The first night, as she ate dinner alone,  she felt very grown up.  
But, after that, it was kind of depressing, sitting there, eating dinner, dinner for one.
She packed up her car, looking over her shoulder the whole time. 
She turned in her key at the office and said good-bye to Betty and Charlie. 
“Are you sure you won’t stay?” asked Betty.
“Yes,” said Josie.
“Maybe you will come back again next year, this time with the whole family,” Charlie said. 
No, Josie thought to herself,  things would probably never be the same.  
She and her sister were already moving in different directions.  Her sister had gotten engaged last Christmas and was planning a wedding for next summer. 
She was relieved when she got on the parkway.  In a few short hours she would be home.  
When she thought about that guy on the beach, she shuddered. 
While it was probably a good thing that she had had this experience,  she also understood that she had a lot more growing up to do.