Hung in Tatters

It hung in tatters above her.

What, you want to know. What hung in tatters? And the her referred to here. Who is she?





Every woman who tries to do it all: professional life; good, responsible children; cooking; cleaning; laundry; PTA.

She came home one day to find her husband William in bed

–in her bed–

with another woman.

Not a floozie.

Not whore.

Not a slut.

Not even the four secretaries he’d brought home before, separately, of course. What kind of a man do you think William is?


Her best friend. Janine.

Janine the beautiful.

Janine the faithful.


The liar.

In her bed, the bed whose sheets she’d washed and dried just that morning, sprinkling a bit of lavender oil on the top sheet before she’d pulled up the blankets.

Smooth, cool, lavender-scented sheets.


She, everywoman, had a breakdown, quick and neat. She ripped the quilt my mother made that! from the bed and threw it on the floor. She grabbed their champagne bottle–champagne!–and hurled it-bang!-at the window.

Which broke.


She screamed and she hollered and she cried.

She tore a suitcase from the closet, began stuffing it with whatever.

Janine, of course, had quietly departed by now.

She–and here’s where she made her mistake–she hit her husband-Whomp!-right in the left eye.

Police were summoned.

Reporters, too.

Neighbors quietly worried on the doorsteps.

It’s not often that a judge gets beaten up by his own wife.

She was sedated, helped to the floor. The bed, was still a shambles, and it would seem a sham to lay her down upon those lavender sheets just now.

Some would say her life hung in tatters above her; what a waste; what a crime; what an injustice to their perfect, perfect life.

Her life. Her life as she knew it, hung in tatters above her.

But what I say is that she’d had enough. And this was her only way out.

Now she was free to pick herself up, dust herself off, reinvent herself.

Because a crazy woman could be anything she wanted, couldn’t she?

A crazy woman didn’t need to conform to the expectations of society.

She laughed, watching the shreds of her life, her useless, meaningless life, fall all around her like wet confetti at a New Year’s Day parade.


In this challenge, we were to include this line: “It hung in tatters above her.” So I began, as I do with most of my prompts, by asking questions. What hung in tatters? Who is she? What followed was this story of some nameless woman. I wanted to play with two things here: quick pace and sound. I wanted it to read very fast and be fun (if there’s anything fun about this piece) sound-wise. I hope it worked.

This was written for this week’s Studio 30+ prompt. Always lots of fun and lots of support.

Kelly Garriott Waite on Google+

12 thoughts on “Hung in Tatters

  1. It was a fast, fun read (despite the subject matter), so I’d say mission accomplished. If she had it all to do over, I wonder if she’d break the champagne bottle and use it to scar him (and maybe Janine, as well) for life…

  2. I love the format you used, and how line by line we learn a little bit more without being overburdened with information. The style worked very well for this piece and I enjoyed reading it.

  3. A crazy woman didn’t need to conform to the expectations of society. -> Like this idea lots.

    Can’t really blame for going crazy on the husband, though.

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  5. Well, I know one thing, whatever she decides to do in her new life, she will be better off without them two in it.

    She should have Whomped him a few more times, and then gone and given Janine a dose too.

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