Short Story Sunday 160: Late

Short Story Sunday: "Late" | Flash Fiction           

Gwen stepped out of her car and pushed the lock button on her key. The car beeped at her as she turned her back and walked away. She had her backpack strapped to her back, plus her lunch box and a tote bag hanging from her right arm. Her car keys were in her left hand and her water bottle was in her right hand. She staggered towards the door as she tried to hold onto all the weight. She refused to make two trips inside the school even though her arms were burning.

She entered the school and walked through a couple of long hallways before making it to her classroom. Gwen had the day off from work, but she had so much work to do that she wanted to take advantage of the spare hours. Otherwise, she would have just spent the day in her pajamas playing games on her iPad. Of course, she would much rather be doing that but she knew deep down that if she didn’t put some stuff for her classroom together today, she would be regretting it tomorrow.

She had a couple of things that needed to be hung up on all the wall and she had to take down the current bulletin board and put on the new one. It didn’t seem like a lot, but she knew it was going to be time consuming.

Gwen made it over to her desk in the back of the room and dumped all of her things onto the surface of her desk. She held onto her lunch box and stuck it in the mini fridge behind her desk leaning up against the wall. She had brought plenty of food for herself in case she was at the school late. She hoped she wouldn’t be there long and she would be able to eat her food at home, but the last time she came late to work on her classroom she was starving because she didn’t bring any food and ended up being there a lot longer than she had originally planned.

She stood in the middle of her classroom and looked around. Where to start first? Gwen knew the bulletin board was going to take the longest, so she decided to get that done first and get it out of the way.

Gwen opened a drawer in her desk and took out a staple remover. The board she was taking down was all about community and the next unit was talking about being thankful. It didn’t take Gwen long to take down the community board, but now she needed to put up the thankful information.

She had taken home a lot of construction paper and glue to create a giant turkey out of heart shapes. She made a giant heart for the body and a small heart for the head. Using orange and red construction paper, she created the beak and wattle and drew on its eyes with a sharpie marker. She laughed every time she looked at it. She wasn’t the best artist so it looked ridiculous, but she liked how it turned out anyway.

Using red, orange, and yellow strips of paper, she created the feathers. She had also cut out red, orange, and yellow hearts and stapled them to the end of each feather. The following day in class, Gwen was going to have the kids go up to the board and write something they’re thankful for on the hearts at the ends of the feathers. She pictured it to look cute when it was all said and done, but once she put it together on the board is was lop-sided and looked weird.

Gwen inhaled and exhaled standing back to look at it. Well, whatever. She shrugged and turned away from it. These were young kids. They were going to be amazed at the large turkey hanging in their classroom and love the bright colors. They weren’t going to worry that the feathers weren’t even and the turkey had a sleepy look in his eyes.

Once that was done, Gwen cleaned up the stray staples (she used a lot trying to stick it to the board!) and then moved onto hanging everything else up on the wall.

She had some post cards about working together as a team that she had to laminate and hang up on the wall. The kids didn’t pay too much attention to the team building terms so she thought that if she hung them up on the wall, Gwen could reference to them often when the kids weren’t getting along with each other on a project or just in general.

It took her a little while to laminate the cards as she had a crank instead of a full electric machine, but it did its job especially since she didn’t have too much to laminate.

It took Gwen a while to tape the cards to the wall. Every time she did, she would step back and see that one was crooked or one wasn’t centered with the others. Gwen grunted each and every time she had to get back up on her step stool and fix one of the signs.

When it was finally said and done, she began to clean up and gather her things when her cell phone rang.


“Where are you?” it was her husband.

“I’m at work. I just finished. I’m leaving in a minute.” Gwen replied.

“Do you have any idea what it is?”

Gwen looked over her shoulder and looked at the clock hanging above the door. It was almost nine o’clock. She bit her lower lip. Oops. She didn’t intend to stay in her room for this long.

“Uh,” Gwen stammered, “like I said, I’m leaving in a couple of minutes.”

Her husband sighed on the other end. “Drive safe.”

“Will do,” Gwen hung up. She put her phone in her pocket and gathered her backpack, tote bag, and lunch box. She shut off all the lights and yawned.

She utilized her day off nicely, but she was going to be tired the next morning when she was going to have to go back to work.

Words: 1,029

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