Continual Resort| Part 4 – ‘Sunny Days’|Free Write Friday Prompt

Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday prompt (from last week – I’m late ) was very helpful in giving me a nice twist to add to the story which will come up later, so for the fourth installment of Continual Resort, I am bringing in this new character – John…here goes!

‘Sunny Days’

walmart-man

walmart-man

“Hey Mom!” Linda had  already called Sheralyn on her cell to let her know that she was around the corner and would be pulling up into the driveway. Sheralyn always made sure that she had her car port door unlocked for her daughter’s prompt arrival. Linda was happily greeted by her mother and two-year-old Brianne who waddled towards her ‘ma-ma’ in excitement with arms raised in contemplation of being picked up, hugged, and kissed. The three of them made their way to the kitchen table where Linda and her mother had their usual heart-to-hearts about nothing in particular most of the time unless they happened to be taking a trip down memory lane wondering about what had become of Stanley, but this type of conversation did not take place often. They would both end up saddened by the issue of not having the benefit of ‘knowing’, so usual day talk consisted of how Brianne was progressing with learning her colors, animal names, and anything else that would put a smile on their faces – especially when Sheryl was present with her sarcastic yet hilarious sense of humor. Sheryl and Linda both knew that Sheryl’s jokes were often the product of a broken heart in the process of finding a way – any way possible to heal from her own painful existence.

Thoughts of the past always managed to hang over their heads like a giant weeping willow branch that could not be lifted at least until some distraction – funny or not came along to change the scenery.

“Coffee’s ready…here you go.” Linda accepted the hunter green coffee mug from her mother who then set her own mug on the table before sitting directly across from her daughter.  “Well, I was thinking about getting my ends clipped today, but I think that I’ll just let it try to grow out a little more.” Linda took care of her mother and sister’s hair. She had received her license from the Missouri State Board of Cosmetology two years earlier and was working at a local strip mall salon a few miles shy of the apartment complex that she lived in with Donny. It did not take long for Linda to build up a nice clientele with her first customers being her mother and sister. After a year of working at ‘Sweet Styles’, Linda’s following had grown due to her passion for her craft and her knack for keeping herself current with the latest trends in technical skills. She had been able to attend several of the educational shows that had come to Kansas City and she always made sure that she had enough money saved up each year for any continuing classes on haircuts, styling, or equipment that would help keep up her clients’ word of mouth praise around town which regularly brought in new customers.

Sheralyn kept her own supply of products at her house because she rarely visited the salon. Linda’s work week span went from Tuesday to Friday, because she always took off on Saturdays for her mom knowing that she would be bringing her baby back home with her for the rest of the weekend. By her not having to style her mother’s hair on this particular Saturday, she would have some extra time to make a full day with Brianne. She couldn’t wait to take her shopping for snacks, a new outfit, and the toy of the toddler’s choice.

Linda lightly bumped Brianne on her knee as the happy child nibbled on a post-breakfast snack of animal crackers. “Well in that case, I don’t have to break out my new shears. I just bought some new ones last week…can’t wait to use’em.” Sheralyn smiled at her daughter knowing that she had such drive towards being successful in the beauty industry that the young woman could almost taste it. This middle-aged mother felt such a sense of pride in having been able to work her way up to not needing government help that she vowed to herself that when the time came for Linda to branch off into creating her own business, she would be there to help her come hell or high water. They had been through so much and she could clearly see that Linda was doing her best to create a better life for her child that it did not move Sheralyn by having to keep Brianne through the week so that Linda could work at the salon. The daycare center that she had found for her granddaughter was nearby and had a good reputation. Brianne’s time at daycare fit perfectly alongside her ten-year job as the current head custodian of the high school in the same area as the daycare. Sheralyn made sure that she saved most of her income tax returns to live comfortably during the summer although she still worked at the school through the majority of summer months. Her frugality over the years when her children were young had taught her well in the art of saving so that her now small but quaint home could be paid for.

Both women realized that the dream of Linda’s salon may be far off, but they still had faith that this dream would become a reality.

While they talked, Sheralyn made herself a salad for lunch. She assured Linda that she needed nothing from the store and that she could begin her day with ‘Annie’ as she called her rambunctious grand baby. Once their casual conversation was done;  Brianne announced her readiness to ‘ride wit ma-ma’, so Linda gathered her baby’s bag and they headed off to Walmart which was directly across from the strip mall.

She loved the freedom of having a large enough clientele which allowed her to pay a weekly booth fee as opposed to working on a commissioned basis like she did in the beginning. She could work any day that she pleased and take off just the same. They stopped by the salon to speak to her co-workers who always seemed to be glad to see the baby before they made their way across the parking lot to enter Walmart. Linda found a red and white polka dot short set and picked up some chips and juice packs to go with their sandwiches for lunch.  Brianne picked out a small wading pool as she always did at the start of summer.

Linda also picked up a pack of smoked turkey slices, cheese, and some fruit as well as the usual jug of orange juice. She would not have a drink until Brianne had played enough to fall fast asleep shortly after her bath that night.

During their little weekend shopping excursions, they always passed by the same man who would be sitting quietly in front of the store. He would speak to her and say ‘Hi, cutie’, and ‘Bye, cutie’ to Brianne as they made their way in and out of the store, but Linda made it a point to come out with at least two dollars to give him before she left. She maintained this ritual in remembrance of the hard time her parents had caring for their family until Sheralyn had found a job as a janitor.

The man at the store would thank Linda for the small amount of cash as usual and they would be on their way, but this time was different. He did wait until they came out of the store, but he actually had a question for Linda just after she handed him his two dollars. “You know miss, I wanna thank you for what’cha do fer’me every week. It ain’t yer job to be handin’ me money like that, but an old coot like me thinks that it’s mighty nice of’ya! You’re such a sunny lil lady, so I just wannid ta know – how’s life been treatin’ya?” At the very moment that he asked, he removed his shades and gave her a piercing look. His eyes were pools of green curiosity accompanied by a serious look while awaiting her answer.

Linda had her bags in one hand while holding Brianne’s hand with the other. She was completely taken aback by this change of events. He had never asked her anything. She didn’t even know his name for goodness’s sake! However, her mind went to the fiasco that had triggered Donny’s angry outburst the night before, but she was definitely not going to spill her guts to this perfect stranger regardless of how courteous he was. Why was he looking at her that way?

“Oh…well, life’s been treating me just fine…by the way, did I ever get your name?” He answered with a smirk and a nod…”Aw, yeah…the name’s uh – John. You and the lil one can call’me John, yeah…that’s what’the name is.” He smiled and then looked down at his feet which were tapping a rhythm as if to unheard music. “You sure life’s been treatin’ ya okay girl?” Linda was speechless for a moment at his repeated question, but at Brianne’s yell, “SHUN,” Linda stuttered a bit before uttering, “Oh, yeah…I’m – I mean – we’re doing fine. I’m getting ready for a fun day with my baby today, so I’d better be going now.” “Yep, today is fun day fer ya. Make sure that it’s a real good’ern too girl.” John made a funny face at Brianne which made her giggle a bit before Linda walked off; trying not to look as if she was in a hurry to get away. The baby waved at him…Linda turned as she walked away to see John’s big smile as he too waved back at them.

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Aside

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ckisler
    Aug 24, 2013 @ 20:59:02

    Enjoying your characters and story so much, Charlene.

    Reply

  2. kim
    Aug 24, 2013 @ 23:24:50

    First of all, I am glad that you are moving along with the story. It seems to naturally be flowing along. Second, excellent use of the prompt. I am sure John will be a recurring character!

    Reply

  3. Christy Birmingham
    Sep 04, 2013 @ 06:01:27

    John sounds like a heartwarming type of character. His questions certainly left Linda thinking more about her days… I wonder if the salon will become a reality… Ack I’m attached to the characters! 😀

    Reply

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