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Shopping Day Chapter – Provisional Chapter 10

by tee228 

Posted: 11 November 2004
Word Count: 925
Summary: I am writing about someone in a abusive relationship. This is about the effect Cara's turbulent homelife has on friends. All comments welcomed!!

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She knew as soon as she heard his voice that day what sort of evening to expect. The tone of his voice, discernable despite the poor reception on her phone, told her all she needed to know.

“What are you playing at?”
“I said, what are you playing at?”
Sorry babe, I don’t get ya.” Cara tried to keep the physical shaking of her hands from her voice.
“Where have you been, I’ve been trying to get hold of you all day.”
“I went shopping with Sarah like I said. We’ve been in Brent Cross all day and I haven’t had much of a signal. Sorry babe, you weren’t worried were you?”

From beneath her long eyelashes Cara could see Sarah trying not to listen but finding it impossible to do so. Cara had to stay calm, the last thing she wanted to do was raise her long-time friends suspicions any more about the state of her marriage.
“And where is Sarah now?”
“Here with me, we’re just having a coffee. I should be home in about half an hour.”
“Really, I’ll be waiting. I think we need to have a chat.”

Cara could feel her heart begin to pound faster.

“Okay sweetheart, I’ll see you soon. Love you.”

By the end of the first ‘you’ Cara could already hear the dialling tone and her previous nervousness was beginning to worry. Looking at the phone’s display for a few seconds, hoping he’d call back and cancel out her worries Cara realised she was wishing for the impossible and placed it back into her Christian Dior handbag. Taking a somewhat shaky sip of her Mocha chino she looked up to see Sarah’s blue eyes staring straight into her own brown ones.

“Everything alright?” Her friend asked with feigned naivety.
“Yeah fine. He was worried I was spending too much money. You know what there like, men eh?”

Cara’s reworking of the telephone conversation fooled neither of them, more continued to increase the now tense atmosphere. Sarah watched Cara gulp her drink down what would have been a hard feet for anyone except a fire-eater such was the coffee’s temperature.

“Well I better get going. Tony’s cooking dinner and he’ll probably want to eat straight away with us being off out tonight.”

The lies of her words hurt both of their hearts.

“Okay then babe, today’s been great hasn’t it. We’ll have to do it more often.”
“Yeah, yeah we will.” Knowing that in a few hours time that Tony would have more than likely vetoed any future shopping trips.
“Well I…’ Cara picked up the cluster of bags at her feet and got up from the chair, ‘I er… better get going.”
“Of course you had. You don’t want to keep your master waiting.” Sarah regretted the words as soon as they left her mouth. She never meant to hurt her friend but sometimes it was virtually impossible to keep her opinions to herself. Unfortunately slagging of that worthless piece of crap was only going to help his cause and push Cara into defending the man she called her ‘husband’. She was determined not to let him drive a wedge between them like he had most of Cara’s other friends. No, Sarah knew she’d be there long after Mr Tony Henry.

“Good luck with the interview hun and we’ll speak soon yeah.” Cara reached across the table to hug her friend and for a moment thought back to the old day. When it was just the two of them, no work, no bills, no responsibility, no men. Oh to go back there. Finally managing to prise herself away Cara turned and walked towards the car park lift.
She didn’t hear her friend pray, “Please take care.” as she drifted into her own world.

Sarah watched her walk away, the earlier energy and vibrancy of her friend now diminished by one 2 min phone call. Her back hunched on her tiny frame she looked like a woman with the weight of the world on her shoulders, a weight that wasn’t about to disappear any time soon. Gone was the companion Sarah had spent her entire teenage years partying and holidaying with, in her place was a tired specimen looking at least 5 years older than she was. Gone was the stylish Cara constantly up to date with the latest fashions. Now she was a frump wearing things Sarah doubted her own 60-year-old mother would wear.

Much to the backdrop of denials Sarah knew that things weren’t as they should be in the Henry household. In the beginning she wasn’t sure, couldn’t quite put her finger on it. And to be honest she had been sucked in like everyone else. But then she’d seen her friend become more withdrawn and quiet; of course she’d tried to ignore it. Told herself what did she know about married life since she’d taken over Cara’s role as eternal singleton. Until she’d seen the bruise. By how quickly and easily Cara had lied to her she knew it wasn’t the first one, possibly just one of many. She had tried to ask the questions they tell you in Cosmo, had ended up ranting and raving but still she’d been kept in the dark. She soon realised that Cara didn’t want to talk, didn’t want to admit the shame she was feeling for something that wasn’t her fault. All Sarah could do was be there for her and let her know she would be there when Cara realised she needed her.


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Comments by other Members

Tuppence at 12:21 on 11 November 2004  Report this post
friend of mine in abusive marriage
her x beat me up & then put friend in hospital
she came 2 me with 3 kids in a 1 bedroom flat
an emotive subject

Harry at 12:49 on 11 November 2004  Report this post
Hi Tee, and welcome to writewords.

This is a very complicated and important topic your're tackling here and the fear and awakwardness this creates in the relationship between the two friends is evident.

The opening dialogue works well. You capture the speech and are able to put across a sense of menacing aggression.

A lot of the longer descriptive sentences need some work though. Cara gulping the coffee, for example, is very awkward, and how important is the colour of their eyes? Perhaps what's going on behind them is more relevant.

There are a few typos that you'll catch with a re-read.

Thanks for the read, and I wish you the very best with the rest of it.



Jumbo at 15:53 on 11 November 2004  Report this post
Hello. Tee

Welcome to Write Words!

As Harry has suggested, this is a difficult subject, so well done for having a go at tackling it!

It's always harder to pick up a story that is already in progress. So much will have been set out in the first nine chapters that many of my questions about plot and character will probably have been answered if I'd had the opportunity to read the MS up to this point.

For example, whilst you tell us that Sarah and Cara are such good friends, the end paragraphs read as though you are setting up their relationship, rather than developing it (10 chapters in). I suppose it may be that Sarah has just been introduced into the plot, but I hope you can see what I'm getting at.

There is also a lot of shifting about with the PoV (point of view (hope that's not patronising!))in this chapter. Rather than stick to one character for any length of time, you jump between the characters, asking your reader to experience the different thoughts and feelings of each character.

This can make the text harder to follow, and you might want to try writing the whole scene from just one character's point of view. Of course, this isn't the only way of presenting the scene, and as with all the advice you may be offered on WW, you may think it's total c**p and decide to ignore it. No problem. But these things are worth thinking about.

You have the potential for a great story here. I hope we get the opportunity to read more of it. Hope all (some) of this makes sense - and helps, to some degree or another!

All the best


jane199 at 18:20 on 11 November 2004  Report this post
I thought the first half or so was the most successful. There was a real sense of menace and dread and the dialogue is excellent. From the 'Sarah walked away' paragraph it does seem to become a description of the story from Sarah's point of view rather than the story itself. If Sarah's view is important, maybe she could be shown reading a Cosmo article with a growing sense of guilt that she is not doing 'enough' to help her friend.!

Very powerful stuff though!


old friend at 21:15 on 11 November 2004  Report this post
Hello Tee,

It is not easy to comment on the writing when the subject matter is so emotional and shocking. The immediate reaction is to accept the reality of this and to wish that all the men who commit such acts to suffer beatings, amputation of their gonads, one of their legs removed and to have their face bashed in every Friday night.

That is my attitude to the cowardly wife/partner beaters, but what about the writing?

Firstly you need to read this carefully to find the typos.('friend's' - 'there' should be 'they are'- 'feet' should be 'feat' etc.) Then read it aloud (again!) to look for anything that might be superfluous. For example ' more continued to increase...' - 'Much to the backdrop...'

You write with emotion and I think you have a very creative pen. Let's have more.


Nik Perring at 13:45 on 12 November 2004  Report this post
Hiya Tee.
I thought you managed to capture such a difficult subject excellently. The dialog is spot-on. Is this the opening chapter? If not, it would work as one. I would have liked to follow Cara home, and leave her as she's getting to her front door. I think that would make it a little more of a cliff-hanger, but that's just my opinion.
I agree with Len ref: a re-read and correct the odd spelling mistakes etc.
I thought this was a very strong piece and I enjoyed reading it.

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