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   I have trouble when having characters think or talk about past events, having flashbacks etc... writing things in the correct tense, organizing it so as to avoid confusion. It's something I need to work on and improve.

    The Toaster

... continued ...

   The illustrated toast had lain there, on the counter. The two pieces in disarray where I had dropped them. I had stood before them, motionless, had felt my heart beating rapidly, from fear, I'd decided. I didn't know, or understand what was happening. But it was more than fear. It wasn't just fear. I had examined my feelings, but kept my eyes on the toast, glancing also at the rye. 

   I had been frightened, yes. I had also felt... interested, excited, confused, uncertain and.... challenged maybe? And I was feeling guilty. Olivia would be at my door in just two days, and here I was, house more or less ready, but with this really weird thing happening. Was there any danger? Was it real? (The toast was still there.) Was it safe? Was safe? I just didn't know. But knew I wanted her here. 

   I had also been feeling watched. I had lifted my head and looked around the kitchen, out the windows, across the street. I was struck by the thought then, of how nice it would be if a Candid Camera type crew had approached, smiling wildly at their cleverness. "Surprise! haha! This has all been big elaborate joke, haha. You played your part perfectly. What? Oh yes, yes it was a trick toaster. No, no I'm sorry, you can't keep it, but here's a big fat check for your therapist."

   As this scene had played out and concluded in my mind, I had realized, were it to actually happen, I would have been disappointed. Because I also felt... special.

   I had taken a deep breath then and gingerly picked up both slices of sourdough at once and dropped them onto the new plate. I had slid the new plate next to the rye plate. Looking at them, together like that, I had wondered when the next unexpected toaster event might occur. I had wondered when "unexpected" might no longer be an applicable term.

   Having been still hungry, and deciding that maybe I didn't want toast that morning, I had started tea water, gotten yet another plate from the cupboard and made myself a breakfast of cold couscous and some cucumber salad. I had fixed up some hot earl grey, and taken everything with me out to the garden breakfast table.

   It was Friday now, early in the afternoon. I had finished some final tidying up around the house  in the morning, after an uneventful breakfast. Now I was making a nice big platter of caprese salad with some sliced sweet onion, a bit of minced cilantro and a drizzle of balsamic added to the more traditional ingredients. I had it all nicely layered in kind of an artistic presentation. The red, white and green looked so nice against the pale yellow platter. I also had some fresh lemonade I had made from scratch in a crystal pitcher, chilling in the fridge. I felt happy. I was happy, I felt giddy. I liked getting ready for company.

   I got out the big plastic wrap and pulled and cut a long piece to cover the salad, wrapped it over the platter, and slid the whole thing into the refrigerator. I closed the doors and backed away, twirling around once with a giggle. I really liked getting ready for company.

   Once more, I went to check the living room again, to make sure everything was just so.  On my way out of the kitchen I gave the toasts a half glance, mindful of the fact that I had hardly stopped thinking about the toaster, but determined to focus on today.

   Entering the living room, I looked around. Everything was perfect. I adjusted a pillow on the couch. Then the doorbell chimed. Then I fell apart.

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17 hours ago, Ivanova Shostakovich said:

   I have trouble when having characters think or talk about past events, having flashbacks etc... writing things in the correct tense, organizing it so as to avoid confusion. It's something I need to work on and improve.

    The Toaster

... continued ...

 

  Hide contents

 

   The illustrated toast had lain there, on the counter. The two pieces in disarray where I had dropped them. I had stood before them, motionless, had felt my heart beating rapidly, from fear, I'd decided. I didn't know, or understand what was happening. But it was more than fear. It wasn't just fear. I had examined my feelings, but kept my eyes on the toast, glancing also at the rye. 

   I had been frightened, yes. I had also felt... interested, excited, confused, uncertain and.... challenged maybe? And I was feeling guilty. Olivia would be at my door in just two days, and here I was, house more or less ready, but with this really weird thing happening. Was there any danger? Was it real? (The toast was still there.) Was it safe? Was safe? I just didn't know. But knew I wanted her here. 

   I had also been feeling watched. I had lifted my head and looked around the kitchen, out the windows, across the street. I was struck by the thought then, of how nice it would be if a Candid Camera type crew had approached, smiling wildly at their cleverness. "Surprise! haha! This has all been big elaborate joke, haha. You played your part perfectly. What? Oh yes, yes it was a trick toaster. No, no I'm sorry, you can't keep it, but here's a big fat check for your therapist."

   As this scene had played out and concluded in my mind, I had realized, were it to actually happen, I would have been disappointed. Because I also felt... special.

   I had taken a deep breath then and gingerly picked up both slices of sourdough at once and dropped them onto the new plate. I had slid the new plate next to the rye plate. Looking at them, together like that, I had wondered when the next unexpected toaster event might occur. I had wondered when "unexpected" might no longer be an applicable term.

   Having been still hungry, and deciding that maybe I didn't want toast that morning, I had started tea water, gotten yet another plate from the cupboard and made myself a breakfast of cold couscous and some cucumber salad. I had fixed up some hot earl grey, and taken everything with me out to the garden breakfast table.

   It was Friday now, early in the afternoon. I had finished some final tidying up around the house  in the morning, after an uneventful breakfast. Now I was making a nice big platter of caprese salad with some sliced sweet onion, a bit of minced cilantro and a drizzle of balsamic added to the more traditional ingredients. I had it all nicely layered in kind of an artistic presentation. The red, white and green looked so nice against the pale yellow platter. I also had some fresh lemonade I had made from scratch in a crystal pitcher, chilling in the fridge. I felt happy. I was happy, I felt giddy. I liked getting ready for company.

   I got out the big plastic wrap and pulled and cut a long piece to cover the salad, wrapped it over the platter, and slid the whole thing into the refrigerator. I closed the doors and backed away, twirling around once with a giggle. I really liked getting ready for company.

   Once more, I went to check the living room again, to make sure everything was just so.  On my way out of the kitchen I gave the toasts a half glance, mindful of the fact that I had hardly stopped thinking about the toaster, but determined to focus on today.

   Entering the living room, I looked around. Everything was perfect. I adjusted a pillow on the couch. Then the doorbell chimed. Then I fell apart.

 

Iva, this is very good :) You should share this at the Book Island readings.

 

 

 

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     The Toaster

   ... continued ...

   Olivia was here. My eyes suddenly felt hot and my chin quivered. With the back of my left hand to my mouth I took a deep breath. Turning toward the door, I felt as if there were enormous weights both pushing me toward it, and holding me back from it. I took the few steps to it and stopped, my right hand inches from the doorknob. I fanned face with my left hand, took another breath and put a smile on, feeling a little better.

 

   Olivia was here. I opened the door, pulling it wide open. There she stood, before me, bags in hands, on the porch, smiling at me, her eyes bright and happy, with the cute little wrinkles at the corners. I smiled back at her. She said, in her usual greeting, scrunching up her shoulders and tilting her head at me " Surprise! It's me! Again!"

 

Olivia was here. All my worry, confusion and uncertainty about the toaster had been hidden, had been held at bay by an invisible door. Her warm smile and sweet voice opened it, and I fell through.

 

   Tears sprung to my eyes, and all my self control fled in an instant. My shoulders started shaking in silent sobs. "Nnnnthe toassster!....." I blurted in unintelligible, noisy, blithering wet sobs. Olivia looked at me in alarm, dropping her bags and immediately stepping forward, putting her arms around me. "Ohhh!... oh honey! What's wrong!? Oh, oh, oh... come here...." She kept one arm firmly around me, taking my hand into hers and leading me toward the couch.

 

   Olivia was here, and her words and touch made it far worse, and so much better. I sobbed even more, the idea of self control a distant memory. I decided to explain. "Livie... I jus wanted toast... an I put the sourd....” I hiccuped wetly. “...an it turned into dark..ryi-i-i-i-i!!....." Olivia sat me down on the couch, joining me, as I sobbed and hiccuped my way through a thorough and effective explanation.

 

   She held me and rubbed my back. "Shhhh shh sh... It's ok honey, everything will be ok. What happened?" She continued to console me, while I kept on with an accurate time line of events. "An the bagel.. I put in an...." Soggy snuffles were my punctuation. "And it was SOURDOUGH!!!.." I knew that the indignation in my voice would let Olivia know that this was all very serious. "....with pitchers on it. Omer! and a...a.." I waved my hand in the air in frustration. ".... a stupid cat thing!"

 

   Olivia rocked me, on the couch, holding my hand and shushing, making me feel better by the second. In a small voice, I whimpered, staring down at the carpet "Why is my toaster doing that Liv? Is it making fun of me?" My eyes were cooling and still damp.

 

   "It better not be. Only I get to make fun of you." She said, patting my back. She still looked at me in a concerned, uncertain way. I managed a small snuffly laugh. She said "Ok... so... do you have it together long enough for me to bring my bags in from the porch?" I nodded shakily. "I think so..." I replied.

 

   As she stood from the couch, I kept her hand for a few more seconds, looking up at her. "I'm glad you're here." I said quietly. She squeezed my hand, looking back down at me. She furrowed her brow in mock seriousness, nodding and saying boldly "And not a moment too soon." She smiled at me. I laughed again, this time more like a normal person.

 

   Olivia walked to the doorway and out onto the porch. She came back inside with her bags in hand once again and lowered them to the floor in her own beautiful curtsy-like movement. She went to the door, closed it and came back to stand in front of the couch. She held out her hand to me. “Hey you. It's time for a proper hello.”

Edited by Ivanova Shostakovich

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