An excerpt from a creative nonfiction piece
Below is an excerpt from a creative nonfiction story. The story is told in four sections and scenes, each from a different part of my life.
1. Dancing Alone
I’m in my early thirties, and I get the wedding of my dreams—the one I never thought I would have. My guests, my husband, and I are on a golf course. There are a lot of people, and I don’t know where to look or what to do first. So, I stand there and admire the scene. The lawns are massive and stretch for several acres. It’s beautiful, secluded, and very expensive. Then I think of the apartment I grew up in: the peeling linoleum floors, the mice, and the broken windows. I cannot believe I am here. My childhood home could fit into the corner office of this place. I spent eighteen months planning it—my first real celebration— and I look around in awe.
It is October and fall—my favorite season. I’m standing beneath dark and half-bare trees that tower over me. Piles of haystacks and pumpkins are scattered about near the front entrance. Suddenly, the wind blows, and I shiver. It is much cooler than usual this time of year. I am wearing a tiara, white satin heels, and a princess gown made of tulle and lace. My bridesmaids are wearing dresses the color of Bordeaux. They carry high and magic roses in their hands. The orange and red-tipped petals match the fallen leaves. All this, and my handsome husband, make it seem like I am living a modern-day fairytale.
The sky is a slate gray without even the smallest hint of the sun. They say this weather is better for pictures, so I make the best of it. As the afternoon passes, my husband and I hardly speak to each other. We spend our time taking photographs and greeting guests. He doesn’t look into my eyes, even as we stand inches apart on the grass. Shouldn’t we seem happier or more excited on this day? Shouldn’t we seem more in love? I don’t have much time to think about it. I can’t keep up with the speed of today. The sky is getting dark now, and the magic hour is fading.
“Stand over here,” the photographer insists, trying to get a few more pictures.
We walk over to a small duck pond. The moonlight falls onto the water before us, emerging into a lavender glow. As I lean over, I notice my face has a melancholic expression. For a second, I think I see my father too. Believing it must be a trick of the light—I look again, and he is gone.
Part of me wants to cry because I will not dance with my father today. Part of me somehow feels at ease. Relieved he cannot disappoint me. I drop my head slightly, wishing I could hide my shame in the folds of my dress. I wipe my tears that begin to well up. Then, I lift my face and make sure I smile at my guests. As I return to my wedding party and an empty dance floor, I swallow the hard, bittersweet lump that sits in my throat.
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About the author
I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. I write contemporary fiction, nonfiction stories, and blog posts about life, books, and creativity. Connect with me on Twitter @jennwardwrites or find me here: https://jennifermarieward.com/
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
Compelling and original writing
Creative use of language & vocab
Original narrative & well developed characters
Heartfelt and relatable
The story invoked strong personal emotions