Ice Cream and Cigarettes – WIPpet Wednesday

Yesterday felt like a perfect summer day with a cloudless blue sky, a heat that was dry rather than sticky and a refreshing breeze that took just the right amount of edge off the sun’s warmth. Days like these are treasured in the UK because they’re so rare and to illustrate my point today it’s raining and a good few degrees cooler. Yesterday would have been the perfect day to post this extract from The Butterfly Storm but it wasn’t a Wednesday so you’re getting it today.

Following on from the heatwave theme in last week’s WIPpet, these eight paragraphs from page eight take place in mid-July – but in the UK rather than Greece – and Sophie has just returned home to her flat after saying a tense goodbye to her mum before she leaves for Greece and a new life with her boyfriend, Alekos.

I got back to an empty flat with no housemates to talk to. My old room had been stripped of me. Only faded curtains, a fitted wardrobe and a sheet-less bed remained. Only the red wine stain on the carpet showed I’d even been here. I used to love having the flat to myself on the rare occasions both my housemates were out at the same time but now I was desperate for their company as I wandered from room to room, at a loss of how to kill the two hours before my coach left.

I felt I should phone Mum and smooth things over but I got no further than thinking about it. I wanted to talk to my best friend Candy but after glancing at my watch I realised she’d still be working on set with her mobile switched off. We’d said goodbye over a bottle of wine and a curry the night before and had shed more tears together than Mum and I had in years.

I made myself a cup of tea, toasted a crumpet and sat by the window. I wanted to tidy, stay busy, but for once the flat was spotless, an ironic leaving present. I wedged the window open, rested my bare feet on the ledge and phoned Alekos.

He answered almost instantly. ‘Hey Sophie, where are you?’

‘At home. I’m ready, all packed, just waiting for the coach.’

His English was good but his words were caressed by his accent. His warm, deep voice tickled my ear. ‘I can’t wait to have you here, Sophie.’

Outside the traffic had snarled up with the beginnings of rush hour. The faintest breath of air filtered in through the open sash window. I didn’t envy them in their cars below, those with their windows wound down, sweating. Different music escaped from car stereos, different tastes and beats clashing. Teenagers in school uniform hung about outside the newsagent opposite, some with ice creams in their hands, others with fags stuck between their lips, their bikes strewn carelessly across the pavement.

‘I can’t wait to leave,’ I replied.

WIPpet Wednesday is hosted by K L Schwengel and it’s a great way of finding out what some very talented writers are currently working on. If you’d like to join in then simply choose an extract from your WIP that corresponds to the day (eight words, lines or paragraphs from chapter five, eight or 18 for the 8th May for example) and then add your link to the linky over on A Random Muse.

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17 Comments

  1. Such mixed emotions, eh? I know that feeling well. I love the descriptions you’ve used here– not just how it’s done, but the things you chose to include. Also, I want a crumpet now. :)

  2. I want to hear Alekos’ voice over the phone. Mmmmm Nothing like a good phone voice to send shivers down your spine. Excellent emotions in this scene. I love the contrast between the mom and the friend — but sad.

  3. Tea and crumpets, eh? If it were in the States, that’d be donuts and coffee. :) And just because I’m culturally illiterate, I’m guessing that fags is another word for cigarette, maybe? We use that word quite a bit differently on this side of the pond…

    • Yes, fags is another word for cigarettes! Tea and crumpets is very English but I do have a weakness for donuts and coffee. :-)

  4. Those moments when we feel we should “call and fix things” but we never do because we aren’t ready to let go or we are afraid they won’t let go…

    I do hope she finds some peace with her mother too and gets to savor her time with Alekos too.

    • Thanks Eden. Sophie goes on quite a journey both physically and emotionally but that’s all I’ll say for now… 😉

  5. I found this totally engrossing Kate. I almost sensed Sophie’s feeling of disorientation as she returns to her flat and sees everything bare and empty compared with how it must have been for her before. I know the feeling of how everything feels different in an empty house. Great post!

  6. I can really feel the lonliness in this scene! The emptiness of the flat, the red wine stain, all compounds that. I also love the description of Alekos’ accent, it made me a bit shivery!

  7. I love the description of the city noises! Not quite New York (or London, maybe? I don’t remember London sounds much) but definitely not small-town.

  8. Pingback: Kate Frost – Creative Writing Students – Thursday’s Children

  9. I love how Sophie is poised between two lives, and can totally related to that stripped down room feeling. If Alekos is half as nice as his voice is described there I can also see why she’s impatient to leave the mundane behind!

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