the mistakes we make

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Ella stormed out of the house with her hair still wet from the shower and a half-eaten slice of toast wedged between her teeth. As she teetered down the path, fumbling to prevent the stack of folders in her arms from slipping onto the wet ground, she was still trying to force her left foot into a rather-unforgiving heeled shoe. She stumbled slightly, and her foot came down heavily on the gravel. As the sharp surface dug in to her soft flesh she swore loudly. The toast fell out of her mouth. She swore again.

She knew this whole thing had been a mistake. Why on earth had she agreed to do the presentation this morning? She didn’t even know anything about migratory patterns in seagulls and had had to stay in the office for hours last night after everyone else had left, researching the subject. She hadn’t got home until nearly midnight. Again. Why had she agree to work late every night this week? Why hadn’t she just told that odious toad-of-a-boss ‘no’? There was another mistake. God, she hated her job. In fact, she thought angrily as she pulled the car door open and flung the folders into the passenger seat, it had been a mistake to take the job at all. There must be something out there that she would actually enjoy doing.

She limped round to the driver’s side and climbed into the front seat. A quick examination of the sole of her foot showed her the damage wasn’t too bad. She wiped away the beads of blood and forced it into the shoe. It throbbed against the tight black leather but there wasn’t time to go back inside for a more comfortable pair of shoes. If she even had any – it really was about time she started making purchases for a more sensible motivation than the desire to have fashionable feet. Well, that and the need to please the ever-picky Matt who seemed to think that any shoe with a flat heel wasn’t “sexy enough”… come on gorgeous, you know I like you to look your best.

Bloody Matt. She slammed the car into reverse and backed out of the driveway. Why on earth was she still with him anyway? Sure, he was charming and good-looking and had those eyes, but since when had she allowed any man – or anyone at all – to dictate how she should dress?! Moving in with him had been a mistake. One in a long line.

She turned left onto the main road brooding darkly over her relationship, her job, her whole stupid life, the way it was at the moment. Still, at least the road was clear. If she really floored it, maybe she’d make it to the office in time to avoid another bollocking. Her foot was really aching now though and the pain was spreading through her ankle every time she pressed the clutch. Maybe if she just loosened the shoe a bit…

As she fumbled with the buckle her eyes slipped below the windscreen. She didn’t see the truck that appeared around the corner. She heard the screaming brakes and throbbing blare of the horn though. She was aware of the grinding and smashing and shrieking of metal. The smell of burning. The suffocating pressure. Then nothing.

There it was: her real mistake. The only one that counted.

 
Written in response to #ThePrompt. This week it was “The mistakes we make.”

mumturnedmom
Prose for Thought
Nikki Young Writes

40 thoughts on “the mistakes we make

  1. Emily Page

    I love it Maddy! Great moral tale. All of her “mistakes” are nice problems to have really. Nothing that can’t be improved if she just drove safely…another corker #Prose4T

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Emily! I felt a bit bad killing her like that but at least there’s a positive message to be taken from it – most mistakes can be remedied- you’re right. xx

      Reply
  2. Yvette

    Brilliant piece. I was totally gripped, eagerly waiting for her to ditch the douche, turn it all around, give her boss what for and then you went and killed her! I was all up for a four-part series ;) Great message though – problems can be fixed but some mistakes really can’t. #Prose4T

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Yvette, I wanted her to do that too – I’m sure she would have done! I actually rather liked her and could have written about her again…

      Reply
  3. Iona@redpeffer

    You know, I could sense it coming but you still got the suspense brilliantly. I was waiting to read what the real mistake was going to be. Actually had a bit of a shiver by the end.

    Reply
  4. Jo Winwood

    Wow! That took me by surprise; I sort of guessed she’d prang the car but you went & killed her! Look forward to reading more of your writing soon. #ThePrompt

    Reply
  5. Emily Organ

    Brilliant, can’t she still be alive? I’m hoping there’s a glimmer of possibility. It’s very brave to kill a character and you’ve done it well (if that makes sense!)

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Well, I guess she could survive… It felt quite final to me but I suppose there is a glimmer of hope. Depends how quickly they can cut her out of the wreckage perhaps? Thanks Emily. x

      Reply
  6. Sara (@mumturnedmom)

    The ending of this was fantastic, totally took me by surprise! I love all the little details that make the piece so real; the toast, the heels, the stack of folders. Brilliant, thank you so much for sharing with #ThePrompt x

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Sara, yes I wanted it to feel ‘normal’ hence the toast and the folders etc. It could have been anyone’s morning. That’s why the ending was particularly horrid I think!

      Reply
  7. Rachael

    Brilliant writing (as always!). I thought the ending would be a twist but wasn’t expecting that! Have read a couple of blogs that have given me pause for thought this week (one was another of yours!). We complain about minor problems but really, we don’t know how lucky we are do we? Brings me back to one of my favourite quotes… ‘Focus on what is in front of you.’ Lots of reminders to be more mindful this week!

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Rachael, I’m flattered to have given you pause for thought twice in one week! And your quote is right, thanks for sharing. XX

      Reply
  8. John Adams

    Oh yes, quite a mistake. Very fast moving and gripping and I’m sure to a greater or lesser degree we can all relate to it (I can’t relate to wearing heels, just in case you were wondering) #theprompt

    Reply
  9. Sophie Lovett

    Great piece! And a pretty powerful reminder of what’s really important… I felt sorry for her for getting herself into such a frustrating place in her life, but that just made me check my priorities with your shocker of an ending x

    Reply

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