Two stories both on the same subject to show the effects of Narrative vs. Dialogue.
From a course I did so long ago now that I can’t remember the context.
They’re here purely for your enjoyment and with no other explanation.
I hope that you like them.
Elizabeth was a fool Jane knew it. They hadn’t been friends for twenty years without the realisation that Elizabeth was a weak-headed, softhearted, naïve fool.
Didn’t she, the mother have the greater insight into the workings of her daughters?
There were the startling, the mediocre and the downright alarming. Rebecca, the eldest – she had always been the exceptional one. Always knowing what she wanted to do. She planned her wedding for the best weekend of the year, a marvellous dress, a fantastic husband.
Then there was Ruth. Jane could feel the anger like a tiny pricking sensation already starting, just thinking about her.
Ruth, yes – she’d warned her – with every one of the dropout wasters she’d hung around with (and taken to bed) she’d warned her.
Now she was pregnant,, of course she hadn’t taken the time to tell her own mother, oh no.
A hasty wedding in October – at a registry office, a rush job at minimal expense – well this guy Richard was hardly the high-flyer, not like Rebecca’s husband.
Ruth had made a bad choice and it was obvious why. It was just to spite her mother. They’d never seen eye to eye and now she had chosen the one thing that she knew would really hurt.
Jane took pride in her family – liked to think that she’d instilled in them some old-fashioned values.
Rebecca had never hung around town late at night picking up boys – and what boys. The latest one had a tongue piercing – and a dotted line tattooed across his neck with a small pair of scissors labelled “cut here”.
What kind of guy was he this Richard? She doubted very much that Ruth even knew him very well. She knew he had a motorbike and was the sort of guy that Jane would despise. Jane would never welcome him into the family.
How better to hurt her mother than to marry him? Well it worked; all the years of spite and angst could not equal what she was doing this time.
If only Ruth wasn’t such a stubborn, wilful girl, she wouldn’t be dragging the family down in this way. Jane wished, not for the first time that she could disown her.
It was bad enough that she’d found them “at it” in her own bathroom but then to go and marry him? It was too much.
So what was Elizabeth going on about? The loose-minded woman. No doubt, she saw Ruth as another hard-luck case like an abandoned puppy or something.
No, Ruth had a lot of learning left and she, Jane was not going to shield her from any of it.
“Isn’t it the most perfect day Jane” Elizabeth gushed, her brow furrowed in concern.
“It’s October Elizabeth, who ever heard of a wedding in October? I may as well look around for thermal underwear” Jane was at her most caustic today. “Now, Rebecca, Rebecca; there’s a girl with sense, a June wedding, very sensible”
“As I recall Jane, you moaned all day that it was too hot and you were suffering from sunburn,” said Elizabeth archly.
“Hmmph well at least I didn’t have to go there looking like an Eskimo – it’s so unattractive.”
Elizabeth sighed inwardly and tried again “The weather is unseasonably warm Jane. Anyway I’m told the registry office is centrally heated”
“Office, yes office, why not a church?”
Elizabeth decided on a change of tack “Did you see the dress though Jane? She will look beautiful”
“I didn’t want to see it, it’s not as though it’s a wedding dress or anything. There won’t be a train or walking up the aisle will there?”
“I guess as long as she’s happy though?” Elizabeth’s voice squeaked with the effort of maintaining diplomacy.
“Happy, happy, what kind of selfish attitude is that? I give it six months, that’s all, six months”
“Richard seems a very nice lad” Elizabeth was tiring of the fight.
“If you don’t count the tongue piercing and the tattoos of course.”
“They all have those now I think”
“Well he isn’t tolerant enough for Ruth that’s for sure. I don’t think he’s had half enough time to realize what a vicious little wildcat she can be”
“What makes you think that, Jane? What evidence do you have?” Elizabeth, by now beaten decided to go with the flow.
“I’ll tell you why – she’s been going round like some old slapper. Mike last year, Derek six months ago and now Richard. Is it any surprise that she’s pregnant?”
Elizabeth gasped, “That’s a vicious thing to say, you’ve no evidence at all for that statement”
“Oh, come on, don’t be so naïve, she’s been hanging around him like a bitch in heat” Jane snapped.
“How can you say that about your own daughter?”
“You just have to look at her for God’s sake, how many brides do you know actually put on weight for their wedding?”
“I think you’ll find the dress size is exactly the same now as when she ordered it Jane.” Elizabeth was sounding exasperated. “You can’t just treat your daughter in this way Jane, you can’t. It will come back to haunt you if you do.”
Jane glared at her stubbornly “I have five daughters, Elizabeth, five and have any been so awful to me as this one? I don’t think so.”
“Ruth is a lovely girl, Jane, surely you see that” said Elizabeth, tears by now gleaming in her soft brown eyes.
Jane’s gaze was grey and piercing “I tell you, for all the pain this one has brought me, I wish I only had four daughters.”
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