I'm linking up with Write on Edge. Today I am bringing back a short story I wrote last year. I wanted to share this post because ironically, we moved back into the house that inspired this story. It was, in fact, just the way I remembered. The plot of this story is completely fiction. The details of the home, however, were written from memory. Enjoy!
This story began as a wring prompt from StoryaDay.org. It's been challenging to use prompts, but it's also been rewarding to see myself stretch as a writer. As long as I'm having fun, that's what matters to me! Please be sure to see all my short stories on the "Short Story" tab at the top of my blog.
The prompt:Why not write a story with a strong sense of place? At some point in the story, imagine you are a tour guide, pointing out the landmarks and notable features of your setting to me, your eager audience.
by Karen Lockinger Greenberg
Sherri always knew she wanted to be a real estate agent. Her aunt had been one. So had her cousin. She grew up watching her family answer first pages, then cell phone calls anytime the devices beckoned. Thanksgiving dinners were interrupted, birthday parties were abandoned by the guest of honor, Halloween costumes bordered on professional "just in case." Sherri never saw her aunt or her cousin complain. They picked up their phones with smiles on their faces and dollar signs in their eyes. The opportunity to sell a house and make a hefty commission was never passed up.
Today, for the first time, Sherri would get to experience that excitement first hand. When the phone rang at quarter till seven in the morning, Sherri responded positively. "Yes," she exclaimed. "I can meet you at the house in two hours. I'll be there!" Sherri rolled out of bed, hurried to the shower, and dressed in the outfit that made her feel most confident. Sherri was about to sell a house!
As the potential buyers walked up the front drive Sherri announced, "This front yard may be smaller, but it has a lot of potential. That small grassy area is perfect for spreading out 'reindeer food' on Christmas Eve. The glitter sparkles in the light of the porch lamp beautifully. You will notice a brick on the border that is a little loose. That's easy to fix up, though. We can have the sellers handle that before you move in. Or you can leave it just the way it is. It's perfect for hiding a spare key under."
"Let me tell you about the neighbors. Across the street is a young couple who are a little strange, but they're fun to hang around with. I think they are probably your age. They don't have children, either. I bet you would make fast friends. On the left here, is a family of four. The parents are also about your age, and they are really fun to hang around. They like to BBQ, and they are more than generous. If you need anything at all, just holler. I promise they'll help you out. Don't bother with the woman on the right, though. She's kind of a hermit, and she has so many cats you'll think she is running a shelter. "
Wow, thought Jason. This is one extremely prepared real estate agent. I'm not sure I really NEED all this information.
As the group entered through front door, Sherri started again with gusto. "This home is set up in a great-room style. This here is your entry way, living room, and dining room all together. It can get somewhat annoying to try to figure out how to use the space, but it sure is great for parties."
Okay, Jennifer thought, a slight frown appearing on her face. I thought she was supposed to be trying to sell the house, not pointing out it's flaws.
Sherri continued with the grand tour. "You will note the color of the walls is an interested brown, sort of green. The neat thing about these walls is they sort of change color, depending on the time of day and the lighting. The gorgeous drapes across the sliding glass door here in the back accents the walls perfect. With the green backdrop and golden brown hues of the embroidered curlicues, you couldn't ask for a better window treatment. That one will be staying with the house."
The couple shared a glance, and Jennifer gave Jason a nervous smile. Both were thinking the same thing- their real estate agent had lost her mind. They continued, both being overly polite, aware that this wasn't the house for them but not knowing how to cut off Sherri's monologue.
An hour passed, with Sherri pointing out each and every characteristic of the home. The Pergo floors were mentioned for their ease to clean, the refrigerator for how great it held child artwork. The bedrooms were noted for their ability to handle phone, internet, and cable in each (that was one aspect Jason DID appreciate).
Finally, the tour ended in the last available room- the master bedroom. Sherri opened the door with a sigh. "This room," she started, "is the master bedroom. It fits a full-sized bed perfectly, though a queen size would nestle in nicely." At the word nestle tears started to stream down her face. "This room is the perfect place to start your family." A sob escaped Sherri's mouth before she even knew she was crying.
"Sherri, are you okay?" asked Jennifer.
"I'll be alright. Just give me a minute, okay?" Sherri knew she was being extremely unprofessional. Apparently she had not taken the time she needed to say good-bye after all.
Sherri dropped to her knees and leaned against the neatly made bed. "I woke up in this very bedroom this morning. I dressed, drove around the block so you would think I was coming from somewhere else, and I met you outside. I'm not quite ready to give up my house, though. My ex-husband and three children moved to Las Vegas last month. I'm just not ready to say good-bye."
Jason and Jennifer silently left the room, Jennifer softly touching Sherri's shoulder on the way out of the room in sympathy. They let themselves out and got into their car. Jason let out a sigh of relief, "Well, I guess we need to keep looking for another house."
"Yep," Jennifer agreed. "And a new real estate agent."