Angeline’s last impressions were of a loud bang, shattering glass and antlers. She was oblivious to the blood seeping from her veins and the car flipping several times before it came to rest in a gully. Her life did not flash before her eyes; it simply ended in black.
Truth be told she had been thinking about her life. The empty, non-event of it: the dreary, dullness of it. The more she thought, the closer the pedal crept to the metal, despite the horizontal rain, the buffeting wind, the slick conditions on the road. In the minutes before the crash, her mind was occupied with the lateness of the hour and how she had avoided handing out candy to the motley assortment of neighbourhood kids who swarmed their house every Halloween. Her mother would have reached a fever pitch of disappointment by the time she got home. The speedometer ticked 130 k.
Angeline’s mind had jumped, as minds do, to Halloweens of her own childhood and the costumes into which she was forced by her overbearing parent. Costumes designed to set off her princess qualities, not her tomboy nature. “Here is my beautiful little Tinkerbell/Cinderella/ Snow White/Aurora,” her mother would gush to assembled and assorted friends and relatives; over-compensating for the fact that Angeline was an only child, father unknown; attempting vicarious living through her flaxen-haired, blue-eyed child.
With high hopes, her mother entered Angeline in beauty pageants; losing interest only when, after years of froth and frill, Angeline stubbornly refused to don wigs and make-up. Her mother signed her up for modeling school but Angeline hacked off all her hair the day of the portfolio photoshoot. Her mother dragged her to theatre school but at last gave up the fight when Angeline refused to audition for starring roles, preferring to run the lighting cues.
“You’re a real disappointment to me,” her mother said.
It was uttered frequently enough as Angeline graduated high school with an 85% average and college with a degree in Library Arts. The lack of boyfriends, a glittering social life, a husband, house and babies were also real disappointments through the years.
Angeline struggled not to be a disappointment to herself but it wasn’t easy. Yoked by the burden of never measuring up, she buried her nose in books and escaped to happier worlds. She had done well enough in her career, it was true but she was now in her thirties, still lived with her mother and preferred the company of women to men. Despite her feisty childhood nature, her adult years had settled her into apathy. Escape was something she was incapable of contemplating.
“You’re a real disappointment…” and a great black shape lurched onto the road out of the fog. A real disappointment. Yes.
“…It was a dark and stormy night out there folks. Ha ha. Hurricane force winds and flooding were reported in several regions, so mind how you go. Hope you are all perked up ready to tackle a brand new day. This is Jerry Hound Dawg Spinner on CKJC bringing you the morning roadkill report…”
Dave Wiles switched off the radio and smiled. No need to listen today, he had already scored. He stopped the winch as the battered carcass of the stag swung over the bed of his truck. There would be weeks of good eating on this one despite the damaged flesh. He walked around to the off-road side of the truck to take a leak and noticed deep scores in the grass verge. He peered over the edge and was already dialing 911 before he reached the wreck. The woman inside was obviously dead, judging by the lack of a pulse, the grey-green pallor of her face and the rusty red stains on the interior. She looked otherwise unmarked, peaceful and serene. Dave sighed. She was beautiful, even in death, with her blonde hair and her dainty features. What a waste. Her purse lay on the ground where it must have fallen through the shattered windscreen. Dave checked the contents of the wallet and pocketed the bills. She won’t need them after all. There wasn’t too much else; none of the usual female clutter that his wife never left home without. There were a few tissues, a bookmark, some breath mints, a notebook, credit cards, and ID. He considered pocketing these as well but decided it wasn’t worth the risk. The face on the driver’s license stared out at him, alive but sombre. Angeline Murray, pleased to meet you. He opened the notebook more to pass the time than anything else. Every line was filled with the phrase ‘I am NOT a real disappointment’. Dave gazed at the beautiful, dead face and sighed. You wouldn’t have been a disappointment to me, Babe! And he clambered back up to his truck.
Clo Carey Feb/20
Blog challenge 2020 one word prompt: disappointment
#SouthShoreScribesNS @www.emilybowers.ca/ https://wordsbywhittall.blogspot.com/ @passionate_perspective @https://www.facebook.com/groups/1470587219691626 #amwriting #shortstory #amblogging #shortfiction #flashfiction