I know I’m a day late again with this article, sorry!! So here’s this Wednesday’s prompt from Julie’s Writing blog. You can see more tips on today’s topic here.
Prompt: Write A Story Centered Around a Group of People Trying To Achieve One Goal
Ever been forced to be part of a group project? Ever joined a community group because you felt like you ought to? Ever been part of a voluntary group that you loved?
Today’s prompt encourages you to mine those experiences to create a story with an ensemble cast.
Note: The story below actually happened, and Payal was me 🙂 The story might not entirely fit the criteria – what do you think? Did I do a OK enough job?
“What a disaster”, Kiera muttered to herself. She looked around at the inconvenient layout of the tables, her two children sitting on the center table, one six month old and another 3 year old, and worried about the level of noise and the fact that their tables were right in front of the toilet entrance in the pub. This was not good, she thought, with a frown and brushed her dark blonde short hair in frustration. Well, at least she was on time and had informed the members of the club on today’s fiasco. Maybe she was a little cryptic, but what the hell!
Keira had been managing the all women book club since years now, and had seen the group steadily increase in size, much to her joy. She needed an outlet, to keep her sanity after her pregnancies, and she loved books. So one day, while discussing a particular book with her best friend and neighbor Jo over wine and pizza, her friend Jo came up with this idea of hosting a book club. Kiera had never imagined what a success the book club would become, and how slowly, she would make old and new friends via this monthly book club and be able to read and discuss amazing books as well as have a way to socialize with women over drinks once a month. These monthly book clubs had become a lifeline to her, which is why, arranging each meeting, had become like a passion or even an obsession for her.
All the more reason to fret tonight, she thought. In the 12 months that she had been conducting these book club sessions, at her favorite venue, The Crown Pub, she hadn’t experienced anything like this before. To begin with, her husband was supposed to pick up the children from nursery and baby sit for this evening, but unfortunately he was running late from an impromptu meeting at work and was trying his best to make it to the pub before the book club started. She had picked up the kids from nursery and hurriedly packed some games and snacks for them, and now they were promptly perched on the center table in the pub. It was 7:30 pm, and the book club was supposed to start at 8 pm. The baby was coating saliva on a toy phone, while the toddler was busy drawing something.
The next thing Kiera found out when she reached the venue was that they had double booked her private room, and not with another book club group, but with a speed dating group! Arrgghhh..! Kiera had begged and reasoned with the manager to swap the groups, because dating could be done in loud places, but discussing books needed some quiet and privacy, but it was all in vain. The speed dating group leader had arrived first and taken dibs on the room.
And finally, to add to this, the only area she was able to secure for the 20 odd women who were going to walk through, was at the back of the pub, right at the entrance of the toilets! Sigh and double sigh..She had no idea how she was going to pull this off, so she did the next best thing – have a sip from her Gin cocktail and wait for the women to start turning up.
Sharp at 8 that evening, the first woman walked in. Payal, Kiera remembered. Payal had recently moved from India to UK on a project assignment with her family and had started coming to these book club sessions since just the last 3 sessions. However, she seemed to have blended right in, with her sweet and funny nature. She had a lot of interesting thoughts on some of the books, giving the book club members insights from being a foreigner, so it was fun to have her. But she seemed a little shy, unsure of herself and usually needed a drink or two before she really started to open up. Oh, how she wished it was Jo, instead of Payal, who turned up first. At least she would have someone to help. Instead, she will have to explain about the evening’s fiasco to the shy newcomer.
‘Hi Kiera! Looks like Im the first person to arrive?’ Payal said, looking at my children with curiosity.
‘Oh, Payal, that’s absolutely fine. Well, I know you must be wondering what my kids are doing here and why we aren’t in our usual room?’ Kiera said. And then quickly, she filled Payal in on the evening’s series of disasters, wondering how many times she would have to repeat the story.
Payal seemed unperturbed, bless her. Suddenly, Kiera needed to use the loo, and she quickly asked Payal if she could watch her kids while she went. Payal seemed a little nervous about the fact, but smiled and said yes anyway. By the time Kiera was back, Payal was making the baby laugh, and talking to the toddler! Wow, that was a pleasant surprise, Kiera thought.
Soon, Jo rushed in and exclaimed, ‘Kiera! What the hell..what are the kids doing here, and why are we near the toilets?!’, but with a huge grin on her face.
She turned to look at Payal, and gave her a big smile too. Jo was a mother of three and a huge Leonberger dog and always seemed to be high on life. Dressed in a white T shirt, blue jeans and flip flops, she looked out of place in the pub, but fitted right in our little book club gathering. Just as I had expected, she effortlessly freed Payal from the babysitting, put the baby on her lap and Kiera’s older daughter into a conversation, while sipping her glass of wine.
‘Don’t worry Kiera, this is going to be an epic book club session’, Jo said, with a wink. Kiera rolled her eyes.
Soon the other women started walking in, Alice – the psychology student, Frances – the French artist with a short pixie cut and a long neck, Megan – the swimming instructors and many more. Kiera didn’t have to bother about having to repeat the story, since like a band of brothers, the story of disasters smoothly flowed from Payal to Jo to Alice, from one lady to another, until all of the women were seated with a drink in their hands and passing jokes about hijacking the speed dating group that had taken over their room.
‘Why women would want to go to a speed dating event, I will never understand. Let us lure them to our book club instead’, joked Frances.
‘Oh good idea, then if I spot a good looking lad during the break, I could speed date him myself!’, winked the older member, Mary. Everyone laughed along at that!
Just then, Kiera’s husband turned up to pick up the children.
‘I hope I’m not too late’, he said to Kiera, giving her a quick kiss.
‘Oh you’re a blessing and right on time’, she said with a smile, returning the kiss.
As soon as he had hold of all the bags and the two kids, he looked up at the group of ladies staring at him and said, slightly shyly, ‘Wow! That’s a huge group of beautiful women! I don’t know whether to be afraid or turned on’, he said with a chuckle.
All the women laughed and cheered him on, while Kiera rolled her eyes again. ‘Ill see you later then’, she said after him.
‘Alright ladies, lets do this. Also, lets charge a pound to every drunk patron who wants to go for a piss, now that we’re sitting right in front of the toilets!’, said Kiera with a laugh..and got a lot of applauds from the group.
That night’s book club session was different. As the evening ended, she looked around at her lovely band of girls. Every woman, a fire in herself. With each book club, with each book read and discussed with these amazing women, it made her feel whole, stronger and made her feel like she was herself. She loved this book club and its patrons. She realized, that this book club was now like family. The place and the surrounding didn’t matter, as long as the book, the drinks and the people in the family were around 🙂