Sunday Storytelling #16: Sheila Goes to Portland, Part 1featured

Sunday Storytelling {the ponytail diaries}

Sunday Storytelling is where I post a piece of fiction on Sunday. It might be a complete short story, a snippet of a work in progress, a character sketch, a response to one of the thousands of creative writing prompts I’ve collected through the years. Most of them won’t be polished or “final,” so feedback and criticism is welcome, but please be constructive in your comments. Read other Sunday Storytelling pieces here.

“Look, Tommy, I at least need a place to crash. Come on.”

“I just don’t think that’s a good idea this time.”

I pout. That usually works. Tommy hates to see me helpless. He has this knight-in-shining-armor complex, especially around infantile girls. “I don’t got anywhere else to go.”

He leans back, eyes darting around the Starbucks. Why the hell were we in a coffee shop, anyway? Since when didn’t we meet in bars? Or just at his fucking apartment? “Maybe I can call Neil or Billy and you can stay with them until you figure things out.”

“Neil or Billy? Are you fucking kidding me? What’s going on?”

“Sheila…” He fiddles with a straw wrapper, twisting it around his fingers. “I met someone.”


“So…she’s different. She won’t like you staying with me.”

This is new. Tommy occasionally had other girlfriends when we got together, but they’d never minded when I came back. Most of the time I just sort of joined in. They never stuck around long, anyway.

I try a different tactic. “But…you’ve always been the one I can count on. You’re…we’re…” I try to pretend to choke back a pretend sob. I’m not much of an actress, but I think I do an alright job.

“Not anymore, Sheila. I’m…I’m going back to school. I’m trying to shape up. I’m out of…you know.”

“Because of her?”

He shrugs. “I guess.”

“I can’t believe you’re gonna throw us away.” Now I’m mad. How dare he? How dare she? I have no idea who this bitch is, and I hate her. I can just see her, finding Tommy in a bar and deciding he was a “project” for her to “fix.” She probably doesn’t let him play guitar or hang out with any of his friends or drink or smoke or anything.

She probably doesn’t let him do the stuff to her that I let him do to me.


He takes a deep, long breath. The kind of breath you take before you say something you know is going to piss off the other person. I brace myself.

“Have you ever thought about going home, Sheila?”


“Fuck no,” I spit, slamming my cup of iced-mocha-whatever on the tiny little table. How stupid are these tables? They’re barely big enough for one person to have, like, half a sandwich and a stupid cup of overpriced coffee.

“Well, I’ll call Neil and see if you can stay with him for a bit. But…maybe you should try finding a job, get a place for yourself. Or go home and chill with your parents for a bit.”

“I’m not going home.”

“And…I’m really sorry, but you shouldn’t call me anymore.” He tries to reach the six inches across the table to hold my hand. I jerk it away. “I love you, Sheila. But…we can’t anymore.”

I stand up. “Fine. Fine, Tommy. Thanks for fucking me over. Again. You fucking asshole.”

He sighs and looks up at me, eyes pleading. “Sheila…don’t…”

“Don’t what? Cause a scene? Fuck you.” I spin in my boots and march out. I keep my back ramrod straight. I can literally feel anger coursing through my bloodstream. It gives me energy I didn’t have when I dragged myself out of Mark’s shithole this morning.

I hold onto this anger, cling to it, replaying the scene in the Starbucks over and over as I stomp down the street, not really paying attention to where I’m going. I want to hold onto being angry for as long as I can. As long as I’m angry I can keep moving. As long as I’m angry I don’t have to plan my next step. As long as I’m angry I don’t have to think about the absolute fucked up, shitty, awful, terrible mess I’m in. I get to a corner with a stoplight and slam my hand, at least five or six times, against the button to cross.

Maybe I should go somewhere else. Not home, never home, hell, I don’t even know if there’s still a home in Denver to go to. For all I know mom and dad have moved or died or renounced me as a daughter. Can they do that?

But I could go to…Utah, maybe. Donnie’s guys probably don’t have much of a presence there. Or further north. Oregon? Montana? I could disappear into nowhere in Montana, I bet.

I just need a train ticket, then.

Comments, feedback, and constructive criticism welcome…