Around the dinner table was a quietness interrupted only by the sound of chewing. This is usually a compliment to the chef. However, tonight’s absence of noise triggered something in Alice. She gently put her napkin on the table and excused herself from the table. No one seemed to notice. She left her half eaten dinner plate and her family silently enjoying their meatloaf and potatoes. She grabbed her coat, the keys, some cash and calmly walked out the door.
Before she was out of the driveway, her eyes were open wider than they had been in years–perhaps ever. She could feel a wild and explosive lump forming in her throat as she put the keys in the ignition. It was the primal scream escaping her mouth that brought her husband to the window. Ben looked just in time to see his wife accelerate away from their home.
Ben stumbled to his phone. As soon as he heard the vibration against the counter behind him, he knew she had left her phone. He realized he had no way of knowing why she left or where she was going.
Alice decided where she was headed at every stop sign she came upon. She lacked the need or desire to sleep and just kept driving. She stopped only to feed her tank and replenish her supply of cigarettes. Her body craved the nicotine more now than when she quit four years ago.
After almost two full days of driving, Alice’s eyes were falling. She wanted to just keep going but caved and stopped for the night. Upon entering the motel room, Alice immediately turned on the TV. She needed sound to fill the space. She hummed to herself as she kicked off her shoes, peeled off her jeans, grabbed the bottle of wine she picked up at the liquor store across the street.
Alice took a long drink from the bottle then fell on to the bed. She chose to think about the amount of germs she had come in contact with since entering this room, rather than the devastation she created two thousand miles away. Within the hour, the effect of the wine collided with exhaustion and Alice’s eyes finally fell closed.
It was the sobering sun light that roused Alice’s thumping head from the deflated pillow. Before she was able to absorb the space in time she was in, she began to cry. The TV had timed off and Alice was left with nothing but her conscious echoing in her head. The echo began competing with sounds of her sobbing.
Feeling trapped in her own head, Alice decided to distract herself with a cup of coffee at a diner around the corner. She walked inside and chose a booth next to a window. She faced the unknown world around her and suddenly felt herself uncomfortably still. Visions of her children started to appear and she fought back tears. She knew the tears were confirmation that she loved them, but more an admission that because of them she couldn’t go back.
She was tracing the top of her mug with her finger, like a needle stuck in a groove on a vinyl record, when a man with greasy features approached her booth. He said he hoped she was enjoying her morning and asked if she had any friends that wanted to wait tables. With out hesitation, Alice told the man she could do it. She denied any reason as to why she couldn’t start right away. The man appeared relieved and went to fetch a uniform in the back he said was about her size.
Alice pulled her knees to her chest and balanced her mug on her knees. She knew she was capable of waking in the morning and pleasantly serving breakfast and coffee to strangers. She knew she was capable of intoxicating herself enough at night to get to sleep. What terrified her was how was she going to pull off being Alice in the quiet moments in between mornings and night.
Alice startled when the greasy man appeared back in front of her. He tossed a uniform on the table. Alice stood up and draped the old-school brown and blue, diner-style dress over the front of her. It was the perfect size.
Grease man apologized for the previous employee’s decision to stitch her name to the blue patch on the uniform. He requested she leave it be, as he had no intentions of buying a new uniform if she tore it. He continued to ramble about minimum wage, sharing tips and the hours he planned to schedule her to work. The information being spewed was irrelevant to Alice.
That blue patch, adorned with the name Connie, was all she could see. In that moment, Alice knew she would stay true to this distorted journey. Looking at the borrowed identity built in to that uniform, Alice knew she was never going home.
27 thoughts on “A Borrowed Identity.”
Wow! That was amazing. So well written and intriguing. I was hooked. Your writing
Just gets better and better. I’m actually feeling a little jealous now! 😉
Olivia I can’t thank you enough for saying that! I was really nervous about putting this out there. This is only my second attempt at writing fiction and I had no idea how it would resonate with others. It felt good to me but it’s hard to tell if my words are painting the picture I want to tell. I was up waaaay too late working on this last night!!
Girl don’t you dare be jealous. If it wasn’t for the support I have received from you and a handful of other regular readings that have followed me from the beginning, I never would have had the courage to write this…let alone publish it.
Ahh I’m only (half) joking about being jealous 🙂 it’s been every interesting to watch your writing develop. You’re second attempt is very good. I’m not prepared to share some little pieces of fiction I’ve written yet. They just make me yawn so I don’t think anyone else would find them inspiring.
I’m quite excited about writing children’s stories now and it’s great that I have a little audience to test them out on.
Keep up the writing – that was really great 🙂
Whoa! Well done!
The present tense makes it rip along very fast, better highlighting her confusion and dilemma.
Thank you so much! I can’t thank you enough for the feedback. Being very new (this is only my second attempt) to writing fiction, I really wasn’t sure how this would read to other people. I kind of just dove right in to it and hoped I was connecting the story I was trying to tell along the way.
Wow that was so great! I loved how it ended and it had me so pulled in. So sad and heart-breaking!
Thanks so much. It’s a piece of fiction but it is based on a true story. My mother’s actually. If you read my post Alice In Her Own Wonderland it will pull it all together. It is pretty heartbreaking.
I’m glad I was able to make my story do hers justice. I really appreciate you reading and commenting.
Reblogged this on W.T.F. and commented:
Please forgive the repetition, having some technical difficulties today.
This isn’t a genre I generally enjoy reading though I know writing it can be therapeutic, however I did find it moving and it is very well written and it definitely portrayed the confused and distorted mind of someone mentally ill. This definitely makes you seem like an experienced fiction writer, though I see from the comments that it’s only your second attempt. So well done 🙂 and I hope to read more fiction from you in the future 🙂
That was incredibly nice to hear and gracious of you to say. If I’m being honest, I’m not usual one to read this genre either. However, life seems to be teaching me that if I’m resistant to something, that probably means I need to try it out. … And here I am.
Again, thank you, thank you for reading and offering feedback.
I really enjoyed reading your post! I think there are times when everyone wants to run away! Well done!
Thank you. I was hoping Alice would be a wife/mom/woman most could identify with, so I very much appreciate your comment. 🙂
What a fascinating story! You draw us in so well, it’s easy to identify with Alice!
Thank you very much. I really appreciate the feedback. Being new to writing fiction, I wasn’t sure if I accomplished telling the story the way I wanted it to be read. In other words, yes it is about a woman who struggles with Bipolar disorder but I also wanted her to be EVERY woman.
I’m so happy to hear I held your attention and you could relate to the character. Thanks again 🙂
I felt what she was feeling, which is what I look for in a main character. 🙂
Thank you. 🙂 I was really hoping to hear someone say that.
I really liked this, and I would definitely like to read more! I really felt her instability and I also thought you portrayed the greasy guy just perfectly. Great job!
Thank you so much. That really meant a lot to me. I’m thinking about elaborating on this story.