This is an activity from the A215 Creative Writing Course that I’m doing with the OU. It involves writing a story based on a woman in crisis (Sandra). It is written in third-person limited and is from the point of view of her husband (James). It is an exercise in structure: the narrative has a beginning, a middle and an end (Activity 10.1). Sandra also features in ‘Sandra at the solicitor’s‘ and Sandra visits a Marriage Guidance Counsellor.
Sandra has always been late. In fact, that trait started at a very young age: she arrived a week later than expected in the delivery room at Glasgow General; after putting her mother through a twelve hour labour. The ginger haired minx had to be dragged out with forceps, before announcing her late arrival with a rendition of eardrum shattering shrills. Lateness was a habitual trait that followed her around: every school report said the same thing, ‘Sandra excels at her school work, but her punctuality needs to be improved.’ At least as a University student, she could blame part of the lateness on the partying-lifestyle.
‘Who needs breakfast? That’s for wimps,’ was something she always retorted whenever the opportunity afforded itself. Luckily for her, Paracetamol and Lucozade were affordable on a student budget.
It’s now twenty years since University and she hasn’t changed a bit.
‘Hi James. Sorry I’m late, I’ve been at the solicitors to sign the final papers,’ she said.
‘Hi Sandra. Don’t worry about it. After twenty years, I’d be more surprised if you were on time.’
She quickly glanced over, before lowering her eyes and giving out a sigh.
‘We should have tried harder, James. I certainly know that I should have.’
This wasn’t like her at all: being dominant and having the last word in an argument was her forte. Her BA (Hons) in Law and subsequent training to become a barrister had helped to hone her skills. In all fairness, however, did it really have to come down to this awful state of affairs? It’s hard not to agree with her argument: the end of twenty years of marriage is nothing to be proud of.
‘I agree Sandra. You should have. I find it somewhat ironic, however, that your finally being civil towards me has happened today, of all days – when it’s too late to make a difference.’