I was traveling in my rental car when I heard the thumping of a flat tire. I pulled over and discovered that the thumping was not coming from a flat, after all, but from the trunk. What, or who, was making the noise?
I stopped the car, stepped out of it and briskly walked towards the trunk, and lost my nerve when I reached it. I gingerly put out my hand to open it, and just then the thumping increased. I jumped back, going behind a safe distance. I looked at both sides of the road. The whole stretch was empty as far as I could see. Me and my car were all by ourselves.
The thumping sound pulled my attention towards it once again. I bit my lip and sighed. I would have to check what it was, there was no other go. I looked for something to arm myself with before I ventured towards the trunk once again. A futile search rewarded me with an umbrella. Well, something was better than nothing was my thought and gripping the umbrella tightly I walked towards the trunk of my car once again.
I put the key into the lock and turned it open. The lips of the trunk parted and I just as I stepped behind, my body tense and taking aim with the umbrella, the trunk flew open and what popped out was something that I had never imagined would.
It was my mother-in-law.
Yes, you read right. Though I have to tell you, I shared the same sense of disbelief as you when I saw her.
What on God’s green earth was this, was my immediate thought. It was funny actually, how we froze, staring at each other with our mouths wide open. She kneeling in the trunk and me holding the umbrella like a sledge hammer.
‘Fran, what are you doing here?’ I finally spoke, gesturing towards the trunk.
‘Well…’ my mother-in-law climbed out of the trunk awkwardly and smoothened her skirt and adjusted the rollers in her hair, refusing to meet my eyes.
‘You were snooping on me, yet again, weren’t you?’ I groaned.
‘I wouldn’t put it like that, Ruth…’ she coloured a deep pink.
‘How would you put it then, Fran. Do explain how you happened to get into the trunk of my car?’ I crossed my arms over my chest and waited to hear her explanation.
Let me go back a little, before I proceed further.
I have been married for ages now. A big family of 5 kids, a Husband and a job I hate has kept me on my toes.
2 years ago, on Christmas Eve my father-in-law passed away at the dinner table. After the funeral we asked my mother-in-law to move in with us.
Fran and I have had a cordial relationship ever since I got married, which changed since she moved it.
When we started living together though, Fran would ask me a thousand questions a minute. I would find her snooping in my kitchen and bedroom cupboards and eavesdropping on conversations. She would follow me all through the house, like a clingy, feverish child.
I tried my best to be polite, my father-in-law’s death was a shock to everyone, as she was lost and grieving.
When my husband realised that I was turning into a volcano that could erupt any moment he suggested that I drive down to my sisters for a few days. Boy, did I jump at that! I rented a car and started, looking forward to the break. I was halfway there when I heard the first thump.
And so we stood on the side of the road, my snazzy red car, my embarrassed mother in law with rollers in her hair and a puzzled me.
‘I was…err…just looking into your trunk before you were leaving…’ Fran began.
‘And the trunk grabbed you, packed you inside and locked you in?’ I rolled my eyes.
‘Well…no…’, Fran let out an embarrassed laugh.
‘I am listening…’ I waited.
‘Oh well! I wanted to come with you, and I knew you wouldn’t ask me or get me. You’ve been so patient, so wonderful with me ever since I moved in with you. I know you need this break! You deserve it too, but I knew I would be miserable without you!’, Fran blurted out, her words tumbling over each other.
I was gobsmacked. This was the last thing I expected to hear. I didn’t know what to say. We stood there in silence, looking at each other with new eyes.
‘Come along then! We are running late already. This time travel in the front seat with me though.’ I chuckled.
Fran exhaled, relief wiping out the embarrassment off her face.
‘Remember Ruth, in every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and – snap! – the job’s a game!’ No, I didn’t say this, Mary Poppins did, Fran said, snapping on her seat belt.
This post is written for Day 2 of the The Write Tribe Festival of Words June 2018.
I used 2 Prompts:
Use this idea to write a story : You’re traveling in a rental car when you hear the thumping of a flat tire. You pull over and discover the thumping is not coming from a flat, after all, but from the trunk. What or who is making the noise?
“In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and—snap!—the job’s a game!” – Mary Poppins