My Family Vacation

Ok, so this one I will admit is utterly ridiculous. It started as a response the the prompt “a lie getting out of control” and mixed with a little lingering spite I had for a company I once worked at that preferentially gave people vacation based on their family status instead of their seniority. You can imagine where this is going as the main character just wanted his vacations approved.


I just wanted a vacation, to see my parents for the holidays, and I didn’t feel like that was too big of an ask, all things considered. It wasn’t like I was new, in fact I was one of the most senior people on the team, and I was due for a vacation.

I however, had the misfortune of being single, and as a result, the last three attempts to book vacation had been bumped in favor of “letting someone with a family” make an important date.

The last vacation I had managed to get authorized was a week in the dead of February, and even that was at risk when Herbert considered taking his girlfriend on a surprise vacation to propose to her. In the end, I only got my week because Hebert’s girlfriend broke up with him when he brought up the idea of the vacation. Apparently she knew what he was planning, and wanted out before it got anymore serious than it already was.

When Claire mentioned that she wanted to take the holiday for her and her husband to go see their Brother’s new baby, I saw my vacation vanishing, and I spoke before I thought.

“I was hoping to take Linda to meet my parents.” There was no Linda. From there it only grew, as I explained that my relationship with Linda, the woman who I had been seeing casually, had recently become a bit more serious and I wanted to take her back east to meet my parents.

I got my vacation, and intended to “break-up” with Linda following the trip. I forgot entirely about Linda until about three months later, after all, she wasn’t real.

I had never been one to share my personal life at work, I just wasn’t that guy. So I guess no one though anything of it when I never brought her up again. This time I was booking an easter holiday, or trying to, after all, I don’t have kids. I wanted to book around the long weekend so that I could down to Florida for a five day all inclusive.

I waited to be rebuffed, and then someone helpfully asked. “Oh, are Linda’s parents snowbirds?” I stared blankly, and listened to a longer explanation of the term snowbirds than anyone should ever have to endure. The good news was, that half way through thisI figured out who Linda was, and realized I had forgotten to break up, and so I did what anyone in my situation would do. I replied. “Yup, they have a little place down there. Linda and I will be renting a hotel, but If I don’t go down there to meet them, I won’t see them until they come back in June.”

I saw the eager looks on everyone else’s faces, and I didn’t clue in what the big deal was until the beginning of May, when everyone kept asking if I had booked my time yet.

Apparently there was a flower show in May, that everyone assumed I must be taking Linda to, and had I booked the Friday off yet. I took the long weekend, cause I was never able to take a long weekend, and it was glorious, until Monday that is.

Everyone ran over, saw the smile on my face and cheered. Jamie yelled, “Looks like she said yes!” and it all clicked. I nodded, because what could I do, and then I excused myself to my early morning meeting. During which I Googled the flower show and saw it was on a list of “top ten events to get engaged at”. Suddenly it all clicked, I had said I couldn’t wait till June to meet Linda’s parents, and they had thought I had to ask her Father for permission before the May flower show. That’s when things started to snowball.

Linda and I were married a year later, in July, and took a two week honeymoon cruise. I was actually on a single’s cruise, but I came back tan and wearing a wedding band I bought for 50$ at one of the ports, and it was known that I was married.

A year later the hints started, about Linda and I getting up there, were we planning to have kids. I was pissed, it was none of their business about whether or not me and my fictional wife were having kids. When Ernie went too far, joking I couldn’t get it up, I lost it.
“How dare you. This is less than none of your business, what my wife and I do in our home, is our choice. Jesus Ernie, not everyone wants kids, and not everyone who wants them can just have them. When I want to discuss my private life I will, but until then, back the hell off. I am going for lunch.” I stormed out ten minutes early, and then spent twenty minutes in my car, laughing till I cried. I can’t believe I got that angry over Ernie, I mean, he should know better, but Linda wasn’t real.

When I finally calmed down, I realized I left my lunch in on my desk, I faced the embarrassing task of walking back in to claim it. I was stopped by an HR Rep on the way to in, and I thought this was it, my fake Wife had gotten me fired…..

Except she hadn’t. Apparently I was getting the rest of the day off, paid, because of Ernie’s insensitivity. They thought Linda and I were having trouble conceiving, and I was given the day with their sympathies. I couldn’t tell them the truth, so I went home.

After a few months I got so sick of the said looks, and pitying comments, that when I walked in happy, and someone asked, I finally said, “We’re pregnant.” I really don’t know what I was thinking, but I spent a Saturday looking through the appointments I would need and made sure to book the afternoons off, to take Linda to her appointments.

The baby was a boy, we only found out tin the delivery room, wanting to be surprised on that one. He was a week late, and arrived 7lbs 30z, on Saturday morning after nine hours of laobur. His name, David Joseph Jr. , after my Father, and I, dutiful employee that I was, was back at my cubicle on Monday.

After that, vacation was a breeze with doctor’s appointments, vacations, and event things like hockey away games. I could take vacation the same as my colleagues, as long as they never found out the truth about the family.

I spent another twenty years waiting for it to implode on me, and then I was retiring, with David in his third year of University, and his little brother Malcolm about to graduate high school. Linda and I would be moving to Florida for our retirement, and I would never see any of these people again.

The one upside of all this, was that I would have one heck of a story to tell the snowbirds. After all, it isn’t everyday you end up faking an entire family to get Christmas off.

Memento

Ok, so I am going to start by saying this is in no way autobiographical. All of my posts this week are part of asexual awareness (acceptance) week, and while this is not my story, I think it is probably someone out there’s story, and apparently I was inspired in a strange direction. Oh and this was based on the girlontheedge six sentence story prompt of keepsake.

She kept the ring as a keepsake of the time before she knew that she was not broken, and that there were others out there like her.

She, like so many others, had been raised on princess’ and happily ever afters, and even though she had been raised to be self sufficient, those around her often waited for a man to help grace her life with meaning.

She had tried to accommodate them, but six month’s after she had said yes, the idea of being with George for the rest of her life gave her a shudder of disgust each time she thought the thought.

It wasn’t fair to her to go through with it, and even more importantly it wasn’t fair to George, sweet devoted George, who deserved someone to want him the way she never would.

She explored after George, after all, she knew she didn’t want George, but there were other people she could want, other things, and she fell into a spiral of desperation each thing she sampled becoming a little more desperate as each one failed to fit, going through life feeling increasingly like a square peg being told the world was full of circles.

She made herself small, small enough to go through life as a square masquerading as a circle, and it was another ten years after George before she saw the flag with it’s grey and black, and understood while at one percent she was among the minority, that meant there were millions of them, and all of a sudden a square didn’t seem to bad.

Witches Abound

This started funny, but turned a little sad at the end. I wrote this based on a tumblr prompt, in 15 minutes, and for Ace Spectrum Awareness (or Acceptance) week!


“This is getting ridiculous.” Samantha hissed.


“What do you mean?” Elsie asked, feigning ignorance, as she walked towards the refreshments.


“Just take off that stupid hat!” Samantha said a little louder this time, and Elsie stifled a giggle at Sam’s resulting flush when attention was drawn their way.


Elsie hadn’t wanted to come to this stupid party, it was Sam’s idea. Samantha was obsessed with landing herself a husband, something about not wanting to die alone.


Elsie on the other hand, had actual aspirations in life. She didn’t want to be remembered as So-and-so’s Wife, or the Mother of that important person. She wanted to be the person who people remembered, and do something memorable.
Sure, most medical researchers died without having made that single important discovery, but even if she didn’t, she would have contributed something to the world, well, something other than half her genetic material.


Besides, people like Samantha would be doing enough of that for the both of them, with a lofty goal of five children. Elsie could be the wine aunt, and well, set an example other than the 1950’s ideal for what a woman was.


The problem with this, is to continue being Sam’s friend, it meant supporting her. Not just with the late night phone calls, and the emergency break up chocolate, but by going to over the top parties like this one, which were basically meat markets.


Elsie had agreed to come, and to wear something nice, ie. Not her usual jeans and a graphic tee. Elsie had gotten a little miffed though when Samantha showed, took one look at her little black dress and kitten heels, and made a comment about making a effort, and standing out not being a bad thing.


Elsie, in a fit of pique, had grabbed the “autumn” hat her mother had bought her one year prior, and proceeded to wear it. It wasn’t a witches hat per say, but an argument could be made in it’s favor. Elsie had only worn it a few other times, mostly as a joke, but tonight she wore it as a statement. This whole thing was ridiculous, and she was not taking it seriously.


It was her most fervent hope, that by the end of the night she would have made enough of a spectacle that she was so well known, that Sam wouldn’t want her to come any more. Oh how wrong was she.


The side eyes she got from the fellow women said, what the hell, but the guys seemed to be weirdly into it. Apparently it meant she was into some “kinky shit”, and after an hour and half Sam finally let her out of it, not because of the spectacle, but because she didn’t want the competition.


Elsie went home and threw the witches hat directly in the garbage, and took a long bath as if to wash the unwanted touches from her skin. She had gotten what she wanted, Sam would not be asking her to join again, but this had come at a higher price than she had expected to have to pay.

Transcendence

This week I am posting stories that go for #aceweek. I wrote this initially for a contest that called for 300 word queer stories based on the word ink. I came up with the idea of trancedental ink, which is in line with the idea of soulmate marks, but marks taken by choice, and how this changes society. This actually has a background file that is about twice as long as the story, and might be a longer piece of a world later on.


Brighid stood alone with arms wrapped around herself, in a twisting line of couples. They were all clinging to one another, excitement palpable in the air despite the wait.

It was a marking day, the first one in three years.  Transcendental ink had been developed over 100 years ago, and became scarce shortly after. Too many people had taken advantage of the ability to get the perfect marking, exactly as you imagined it, down to the tiniest detail.  

Nowadays there was a limit: 36 square centimeters of ink per person, done in a single session. It could be anything though, a 6×6 centimeter square to a 1-millimeter line wrapping 3.6 metres around your body. 

What started as the ultimate self expression, had become an expression of commitment. Rings could be removed, but this was for life.  72 square centimetres across two bodies forming a single flawless work of art. There were of course break-ups among the marked, but far fewer than the non-marked population.  Brighid suspected that it was less to do with love, and more to do with the stigma that came from dating someone with a mark that didn’t match your own.

No one cared if two men walked down the street holding hands, but if those clasped hands had mismatched marks… Well the looks and comments got ugly.  Brighid had even seen a woman cover her children’s eyes and hurry them across the street lest her children be exposed to such abhorrent behaviour.

Her entire life Brighid had been told to save her mark for the right person, but part of her always knew she was different.  She stayed quiet, never admitting she didn’t feel that drive to be with another person. 

As she stepped out hours later, alone and freshly marked, she felt free.