I need to get more comfortable opening myself up to criticism when it comes to my own writing. Right now I am working on short stories so I thought I would force myself to share some of my work on my blog and Saturday seems like the perfect day to do that.
This was my entry in a flash fiction contest sponsored by my local library. I won second place. The feedback I got centered on the clarity of the story. For me, it seems clear, but I wrote it. I like the mystery behind it but I understand what the judges meant.
The setting sun created a muted filter as the wind blew opened the curtains. The
early evening breeze swirled around creating an intoxicating blend of night-blooming
jasmine and possibility. A faint memory of talking lay dormant in her brain, but she
continued trying to communicate. She recognized the talking lady in white and yearned
for some kind of connection and understanding.
“Miss Teresa, you smell the jasmine? It’s strong tonight. Must be a storm a
Teresa grimaced and held her breath for a heartbeat while the other lady leaned
over and fussed with the pillows. “Miss Teresa, I know it hurts, but the meds will help
soon. Who knew visitin’ with family could be hard work?”
The woman continued talking, but Teresa looked past the nurse and saw a man
leaning on the door jam with the ease and confidence of a southern gentleman who
lived a lifetime of success. His presence helped more than medication. The earthy
smell of men’s cologne and lust replaced the smell of age and illness blending well with
the jasmine. He smiled and cocked one eyebrow, flirting like always.
His suit looked as well today as he did when they dated. Teresa knew he had no
idea the other women admired the way he presented himself but that was part of his
charm. The jasmine sprig in his lapel brought back memories of evening walks in the
garden nights on her parent’s porch swing.
“Now darlin’ don’t let Carla hover over you.” He walked into the room and sat in
the chair beside the bed. “We need to go. They’ve already started. I know you like to
make an entrance, but I want to twirl you around the dance floor for as long as
A smile twinkled in her eyes. A happy marriage of over fifty years more than
many women could imagine.
Carla, I cannot get ready with you in my way.
The dress she wanted, the one with the red full skirt and sequined bodice, would
never work on a fall night like this one. Not all redheads could wear red, but this dress
made her green eyes sparkle. It was her favorite.
Feeling herself rise out of bed as the seated gentleman joined her, she looked
down and saw the skirt sashay. It fit well and accentuated all the right places.
Every other lady at the party will already be wearing navy or black. How dull and
drab. Too bad their husbands will be looking more at me than them.
Carla checked a beep from one of the machines set up around the room. The
beep from those machines never created a dance-worthy beat, and Teresa had had
“Yes Miss. Teresa, your family sure loves you. You and Mr. Alexander are good
Carla, I do not want to talk about my family, when there is a party.
Her mind focused on the warmth crawling over her body as numb areas began
waking up after too many years. She reached her smooth slender hand for Alexander.
She wanted more, but settled for his hand because there was plenty of time after the
“Oh my goodness, Tessa. You still make my heart beat fast. You make me look
like a young farmer tryin’ to dress up for Sunday supper.” He shook his head.
Teresa noticed how different her legs looked. She remembered them being like
this once, a long time ago. She twirled around, stood on tiptoe, and kissed Alexander
on the cheek. He wrapped his arms around her waist and began waltzing around the
“Oh, we may not get to that party, Tessa. This dress and the jasmine are playing
with my mind. I’m afraid I may swoon.” He winked and she snuggled against his chest.
“Darlin’ we could stay here and dance forever, but we’d miss the party, and many of our
friends are looking forward to seeing you. They’ve missed you, ya know? We all have.”
Teresa looked back, worried about her caretaker. “Don’t worry about Carla. She’ll
soon realize you’re gone and take care of everything. I waited a long time to dance with
you again. This time I won’t let go.” He turned to walk away.
“Miss Teresa? Miss Teresa?” Carla screamed. She shook the old woman in the
“The night is just beginning, Tessa. Please say you’ll come with me.” Alexander
pulled away and began walking. “My dance card is only for you.”
Teresa felt her heart stop. It was lonely without her dancing partner. She looked
from Carla and to Alexander. She wanted to go to the party. She loved parties. She
loved dancing and this red dress did not belong in the closet.
She caught up to Alexander and intertwined her arm with his. It was her time to
make an entrance.
“Let’s go Alex.”
The rest of the winning stories can be seen here.here.