Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Brochure

Mandy definitely was a type A personality. Everything had to be perfect. Whether it was her looks, her grades, her job, or even her plants, she wouldn't rest until every last detail had been attended to. She grew up in a wealthy town and had the best education money could buy. She never was lacking for whatever she needed to succeed, whether it was the best test prep courses out there or the best tutors. After completing college at the top notch school of her choice, she began her career as an investment banker in her family's business.

To be fair, Mandy had always joked that if she didn't make it as an investment banker, she would be an acuptunerist. Her family and friends always laughed. Mandy had such a terrific sense of humor. An acupunctinirst. Imagine that! Secretly though, Mandy had always been intrigued by acupuncture. In fact she went to see one after a minor car accident in college left her with some back pain. She felt immensely better. Of course she could tell no one about it. Sitting in the acupunturist's office with the soft music playing and the clean smell of different incense burning, she imagined what it would be like to be an acupunturist. What would it be like to come to work in a place like this instead of the cold sterile classrooms where she spent most of every day. She walked away with her back far straighter and with a brochure that she found in the office for an acupuncturist school in China. When she got home, she shoved the brochure into the back of her top dresser drawer.

At 28, Mandy had a great career, great fiance, and a great future ahead of her. What more could she want? She was restless though. Lately the restlessness had been hitting her just as she climbed into bed for a couple hours of sleep. Maybe it was because that was the only time that she was truly alone with her thoughts. During the day, she could push everything aside as she concentrated on her work. Any free time she had, she would spend with her fiance. Just after she turned out the lights and the apartment was quiet, she could hear the whispers in her mind that maybe her life wasn't so perfect after all. Sometimes, right before she drifted off, she even heard the most quiet of all voices saying that maybe she wasn't truly happy. A voice that reminded her of a crumpled brochure, still in that same dresser drawer that had once sat in her college apartment. She quickly silenced that voice by turning over and falling into a shallow sleep.

Of course two months ago, Mandy received a sign that confirmed that perhaps she wasn't so perfect. A small pink plus sign to be exact, on a test from a box that also sat in that top dresser drawer. But how? She had always been so careful. Her whole life she had always wanted some sort of sign. She was never particulary spiritual, but lately she had been wondering if perhaps there was more to life. Perhaps she was missing out. But what to do about it? When she joked with Brad about being pregnant, he flipped out. He was a lawyer in a ritzy law firm. He loved dedicating 18 hours to his work five days a week and dedicating the evenings on the weekend to going out on the town with Mandy. He was particularly excited to have been offered the chance to set up a new branch of the firm in Las Vegas! A child didn't fit into that life.

That's when Mandy made up her mind. She reached into that dresser drawer, pushed aside the open pregancy test box, and pulled out that old brochure. Then she did it: she applied and was subsequently accepted. She even bought her plane ticket to China. It was her little secret. The brochure now lay on her bare floor next to her sleeping bag, her ticket, and two envelopes. Mandy slept well at night now. Her two secrets comforted her and banished the demons that had haunted her. She held on tightly to her secrets. In the morning, she would hold tightly to the ticket and the sleeping bag, but she would drop the envelopes into a mailbox. They were written for her parents and for her fiance to let them know that she was leaving.

This post is part of the Writing Game hosted by Jenn of A2eatwrite. My story plot and characters came from Bleeding Expresso.

Plot: A woman is ready for a change in her life and is looking to become more spirtual, but she is trapped by a culture and a family that aren't accepting of this goal.

  • Mandy who is an investmeent banker in her late twenties and from an affulent family. She wants to leave her job to become a licensed acupunturist and open up a well-being center. She has just found out that she's pregant but also has a reservation for a trip to China to attend school there.
  • Brad is Mandy's finance who is also from a wealthy family. He is a lawyer and isn't aware of Mandy's situation. He is comfortable with his lifestyle and excited to climb the career ladder. He has an opportunity to setup a branch of the law firm in Las Vegas.

Author: Alex Elliot of Formula Fed and Flexible Parenting wrote the story.


Thalia's Child said...

Go Mandy!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Great guidelines and great story. I love Mandy's transition. I think my "Kate" could use some of Mandy's wisdom! I'm glad you got the posting issues straightened out - sorry I didn't get to my e-mails soon enough. Lovely job here!

cablegirl said...

Fantastic. Gotta love a story of a woman setting out to find herself.

anno said...

Great story! What a wonderful way to show a character making a wise & courageous choie.

Luisa Perkins said...

This is a vivid painting of a crucial turning point. Nicely done!

Wholly Burble said...

In such a short space you've covered so much. I feel I know this person--and at the end, I can feel her contentment as she clutches the ticket and looks with great expectation toward her future. She truly is brave!

Wow, you did a grand job here, bringing out this person and her courage at facing this turning point in her life.

Darcy said...

I like the way you write. You have a clean, readable style. I like what you did with this story too. Plus, I'm jealous of your ability to tell a complete story in so few words. I wish I could do that.

Leslie said...

What a wonderful story! Detailed, but concise. I love the idea that "perfection" may not be the best fit. Wonderfully written. You made Mandy a character I cared about.

Jenn in Holland said...

Oh! I like Mandy's secrets.
I feel very hopeful for her.
And inspired by her...