Hello, my lovelies! Here’s my response to last week’s pesky little prompt–which is actually more of a revised take on Prompt 10…enjoy!
(Prompt 10: Choose a moral dilemma (for example, you see someone pocket several items at a CVS; you’re in a car at night, with people you don’t know well, and the driver hits a dog that ran into the road; you learn that a friend is having unprotected sex, etc.) and explain what you would do. More importantly, explain why you would do it. What do you know about yourself that accounts for such a decision?)
Prompt 11: Explain would someone else would do, writing in the 3rd person…
Ada felt sick.
Bile was literally flooding her mouth, a sure sign that the roiling contents of her stomach would soon be making a violent reappearance–hopefully into a toilet bowl, rather than the floor. Her thoughts were no less tumultuous; she found herself short of breath, and she reached out a hand to a nearby light post to steady herself, hoping none of the passersby thought she was having a heart attack or something.
Although I’d imagine this is what it would feel like, she thought, briefly closing her eyes to the offending tableau before her: Artie Leland and an attractive young woman, lying on a blanket, tucked away in a shady corner of the state park…and they weren’t having a picnic. Limbs intertwined, lips locked, hands roving. Ada opened her eyes again, now filled with tears as she thought of her sister. Oh, dear God. I have to tell Donna.
Hoping she had perhaps made a mistake, Ada made her way closer to the pair. A few moments later, her fears were realized when the young man came up for air and briefly lifted his head to stare into the woman’s eyes. There was now no doubt in her mind that it was Artie. Artie, with whom her sister was insanely, utterly in love with. Artie, who became enraged with jealousy at the slightest indication that Donna could possibly have been the subject of any attention from the opposite sex while away at college. Artie. The asshole.
Ada’s mind immediately began to frantically assemble the structure of the conversation she knew she’d have to have with her younger sister; every time she reached the part where she actually spoke the words, “Artie is cheating on you,” her own heart broke at the image of her sister’s face, and of the heartbreak she would be dropping into Donna’s happy world–a huge, black boulder of devastation dropped from on high into a peacefully still pond, its waves and ripples of misery continuing to spread for years to come.
Turning from the sickening scene, Ada began to walk slowly back in the direction she had come from. And to think I went on a walk to relax, she mused, shaking her head. But before she had gone more than a dozen steps, she realized that her anxiety and worry was rapidly morphing into a seething anger…and she also realized that she could use this to her advantage. She spun on her heel and strode toward the oblivious pair on the blanket. Maybe I don’t have to tell Donna, after all…
Years later, Ada would come to regret her decision; confronting Artie and extracting a promise of fidelity in exchange for keeping his “mistake” (his word) a secret from Donna certainly seemed like the lesser of two evils at the time. But now, almost twenty years of marriage and two children later, Artie was leaving Donna for another woman…a woman from work that he’d been seeing for over five years.
Once an asshole, always an asshole, Ada thought, and her sorrow for her sister’s situation was made so much worse through the lens of the knowledge that, if she had mustered the courage all those years ago to tell her sister about Artie’s infidelity, chances are Donna would have broken up with him then. Who’s the asshole now, Ada?