Choose the piece of writing you want to experiment with and find a way to break it open.
The New Neighbours
After the First Glance
An hour later, I was furiously clanging vessels into the dishwasher. Not a hair out of place and that figure! I shook my head from side to side but the thoughts returned even stronger. A resounding crash snapped me out of my jealous reverie.
I sat down. My mind turned to Judith and a sneer slowly emerged.
Back home, Judith let the smoke swirl in her mouth before releasing. Her eyes shifted to the frame on the wall. She looked like an overgrown cheese puff in her wedding dress, and Sid’s lopsided smile and half open mouth seemed ready to devour.
Her husband mustn’t have looked like that; he must’ve looked faultless and she must’ve completed him. The two kids who’d exited, a testament to their handsome parents. One-big-perfect-family! Judith almost spat out the words before quashing her cigarette.
“You should have seen them!” Darlene chatted with her sister. “He was quite the looker and she was soo pretty and the kids! Two little darlings!”
The First Glance
The initial construction of the house across the street hadn’t raised any eyebrows until much later. I had invited the girls over for tea, I also had the clearest view of the house.
“I told David that the house looked much bigger than ours. He immediately dismissed what I said, of course.” I deliberately spoke in a riled tone. The girls would gleefully gossip about it later on, I didn’t care.
“Men!” That was Judith. Her tone was supportive but she was secretly pleased. I didn’t care.
Darlene was nodding enthusiastically in agreement.
“I told him, I said, they must have some high up connections if they got a permit to build it on our street.” I paused to take a sip of tea and Darlene jumped in.
“Ooh, I bet they’re rich, like super rich!”
I stiffened, and Judith tightened her grip on the stem glass.
“Well, if they’re anything like the pesky McPhersons, I’m glad they’re not on my block,” Judith casually smoothed her dress. I mentally strangled her like I’d been doing since high school.
“I know how to deal with the McPhersons, so they should be no trouble at all,” I smiled sweetly across the table at my nemesis.
I had been valedictorian but had missed out on being Prom Queen to Judith. Other battles had continued throughout our school years.
We met several years later when I shifted back to my hometown.
“Water under the bridge!” we both had laughed mirthlessly.
I had a family now, as did Judith. Husbands, children…a far cry from our school going days.
With perfunctory smiles, Judith and I had joined hands to arrange and coordinate various events, all for the betterment and progress of the town.
The high school had feeling returned.
Darlene had shifted nearby some time later. Her husband had bought the local printing press, a much needed tool to print flyers and banners. Non-threatening Darlene had immediately been recruited.
“Look!” Darlene pointed.
An SUV had driven up to the under construction house. A few seconds later, I was staring at the perfect family who emerged; Him, her and two attractive children. Judith and Darlene gaped alongside.
The girls left soon after and I went to wash the dishes.
The New Neighbours
“So they’ve moved in?” Judith made no effort to mask her surly face.
“Yes, yesterday. I saw a line of U-Haul trucks with….a lot of stuff,” My expression cloned Judith’s.
“Mrs.McPherson said that they’d unloaded these really huge LEDs,” Darlene beamed.
Judith and I glared at Darlene who happily sipped her tea.
“When do we go meet her?” Judith asked sourly.
“Tomorrow. I’ll bake the pie.”
Judith didn’t argue. We were on the same side, for now.
I hated myself for going all out with the pie but I had. Practically the most perfect lemon meringue pie I’d ever baked.
The girls were here. We walked toward the house. She answered the door with a graceful smile. Her hair was the same, not a strand out of place.
“Why thank you so much! Do come in. My name’s Priscilla, it’s so nice to meet you all!”
Seated comfortably on feather soft cushions that adorned the ostentatious sofa set, Darlene was waxing lyrical on all that caught her eye.
“Oh please, stop!” said Priscilla. “You’re embarrassing me, what can I say, my husband and I share a great taste when it comes to decor.”
“Oh, Laura! Do tell Priscilla about the flower festival next week. I know it’s short notice, but I’m sure she’d love to join in!” Darlene’s excited face an opposite reflection of mine and Judith’s.
“Why of course, I’ll let you know the details Priscilla, but as Darlene said, there’s not much time,” the ends of my mouth curved upwards, as I looked at Priscilla with smileless eyes.
“Actually, that shouldn’t be a problem at all! Anything I need is usually just a phone call away.”
“How wonderful to hear,” Judith’s eyes imitated mine.
More tea and an assortment of pastries later, goodbyes were exchanged.
“So long girls!” Priscilla gave us a peck on each cheek.
“The house is even more gorgeous from the inside! And Priscilla’s so slim! I’d never get into that dress!”
Judith and I ignored Darlene on the walk back home.
Underneath the Veneer
A week later, Darlene joyfully carried her simple flower arrangement to the venue, eager to see all the other entries, especially Priscilla’s. She’d heard and seen boxes of the most exotic flowers being delivered to her house.
Judith and Laura grimly gave final touches to their painfully designed leaves and blossoms, envy burgeoning with each step towards the festival.
In her grandiose house across the street, Laura’s anorexic neighbour applied fresh concealer on her bruised eye and got ready to make an appearance to her first ever town event.