Below is my draft of this week’s writing prompt: Write a Few Paragraphs or More Of Chick Lit or Women’s Fiction… After Learning More About Each Genre. It’s been a while since I’ve written a piece of fiction. So in that regard, this was a different and enjoyable writing exercise. But as I was writing this piece (and thinking about writing this piece) I continually struggled with whether I should incorporate what I thought of as stereotypical chick lit tropes in it, as I was also discovering more about the history of this genre (For more on that read: What Exactly Is “Chick” Lit” or “Women’s Fiction”? Are Their Designations Sexist? and A Conversation About Chick Lit and Women’s Writing Work). Or if I should make this piece more satirical, or dark…
Ultimately I’m not sure if I glorified stereotypical chick lit tropes in this piece or not, or if that was what I was even trying to do while I was writing it. But here is the draft anyway. I might come back to it at some point in the future. Or I might not.
Chicks On a Plane
Isn’t a bachelorette party supposed to be more exciting? More joyful? Or more about… me? Good thing this isn’t really real or I would be depressed about it. I thought as I shifted my eyes not-so-casually from the clouds to Tracey, who was staring at her phone intently as she feverishly typed out last-minute work arrangements for us on the island with a sprinkle of more obvious and trackable touristy beach plans thrown in. And a half-hearted apologetic email to one of her bosses. And of course, last minute calendar adjustments for her soon-to-be ex husband, although he didn’t know about that yet. Her half-baked and rushed efforts to come on this trip were equally shocking and kinda sweet, considering I hadn’t seen her in nearly a decade. But that was Tracey now, possibly even back then too. The woman with the window seat who never looked up long enough to look out and see the sky, who never even wanted to know, or didn’t care to know, that it was there to see. Because she was just too busy. Hopefully she’ll stop typing and look up once we land now that she’s a huge part of this journey too, afterall. If not its architect.
Tracey had grown suddenly busy after our freshman year of college and our relationship slowly faded over the years. She was already on her second divorce now, birthing one girl and one divorce with each marriage. In comparison, I was currently experiencing my first and hopefully soon-to-be last betrothed, and had only started dating him (if you can even call it that) just before the beginning of the year at my mother’s request. Or, should I say, at her command. She had thrown a match-making event disguised as a dinner party right before the holidays and made me sit next to him all night. And then had given him my work address after I had ignored his calls for a week. My mother, the reason why the three of us women were even here on this plane right now. The reason, or should I say excuse, for my current existence in the world. If only she knew. How grateful I am to her for that, at least for now.
As if on queue, Katie’s head popped up over the back of the seat in front of me, interrupting my more somber thoughts of loneliness and momentary disdain with her wide and toothy grin. I couldn’t help but return her broad smile with a smile. Her expressions and moods had always been contagious like that. She was the fun one from college who was still couch surfing in her thirties and still hated “adulting,” as she put it. It was also impossible not to have some type of reaction to her appearance now. She had put a headband with springs and mini glittering penises attached to those springs on her head. The glittering penises sparkled in the narrow beam of light coming from the window of the plane on the other side of Tracey. They even matched her eyeshadow, as if she had planned this whole look ahead of time and packed accordingly. When Tracey looked up, I could sense her fighting the urge to roll her eyes as she kept them wide and vacant. Although I did sense her wince ever so slightly.
While Tracey and I took in Katie’s new look, Katie thrust a half-full clear plastic cup of fake-blood-red something at me, then another at Tracey. She reached back for her own cup, then whisper-shouted, “To Bali!” as she lifted her cup, careful not to wake the sleeping baby in the row next to us. And then whispered a little softer,“Sorry, I couldn’t get any champagne. But it is a fake bachelorette excursion anyway so…I did my best.” She shrugged before choking down the entire cup of thick syrupy liquid in one gulp as if we were actually back in college. Katie had always tried to be a drinker. I never understood why. It was obvious she wanted to vomit at the mere sight of alcohol. I took a sizable swig from my own cup and felt the liquid coat my teeth. Tracey reluctantly yet obligingly took a small sip and handed her cup to me without making eye contact so that I would finish the rest. I passed it to Katie. She drank the rest.
Tracey went back to typing away on her phone. Katie turned back around and sat down, with the glittering penises poking out over the seat and still in my line of sight. I could hear her attempting to strike up a conversation with an older man who only seemed to grunt at her in response. I reached down to grab my bag beneath the seat in front of me with my free hand, to reach for the book I had packed about new yet ancient tales uncovered from the Indonesian Islands. It had been loaned to me by my ex-boss, ex-lover, not-so-much ex-boyfriend. But he wasn’t going to come and reclaim it now that he was gone, so I guess it was a gift even if it had been unintentionally given. Not like I would ever part with it anyway. It was all I had left of him, our dreams and work, our affair that no one would ever understand or know about. He and this book both, the actual impetus of my current state in the sky, on this plane, and impending journey. I would still let my mother think it was her doing though, for now at least. When I had hugged her and said goodbye at LAX, I had meant it. And I knew my betrothed would surely get over my flight sooner rather than later. He hadn’t been available to see me off. He had a business trip in Chicago this week. You know, a business trip.
The plane descended slightly but abruptly, causing some of the content from my Kate Spade bag to spill out onto the sticky carpet as I awkwardly opened it one-handed before setting it on my lap. I watched my 2x voluminous mascara roll down the aisle. The tube had been empty for weeks now anyway, so I wasn’t in a hurry to snatch it up. I kept watching it as it rolled. It finally stopped rolling when it ran into a pair of black Prada leather shoes coming down the aisle. I looked up. A familiar yet strange face with large brown eyes looked back at me. They were intense, daring eyes. When the owner of the eyes bent down to pick up the mascara tube and handed it back to me, he stared at me for a few long seconds and smirked, slow to relinquish the tube. Then without saying anything, he looked away and continued his walk to the back of the plane.
I looked toward the window again, past Tracey, so that I could see the clouds in the sky.
This is starting to feel more real now, somehow. More adventurous and dangerous, but in the good-danger kinda way. I don’t know why. Maybe I am tragically wrong. But it’s finally starting to feel like we’re all running toward something together, instead of running away from our individual pasts. I thought as I choked down the rest of the syrup in my plastic cup in silence.
Did you complete this week’s writing prompt? Share a link to it in the comments. Or tag me @kecreighton on social: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Medium with a link, or to share more about your experience working on this prompt.
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