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The Well Ordered Life by Kidd Wadsworth

May 25, 2024 by in category Infused with Meaning by Kidd Wadsworth tagged as , , ,
Photo by Mert Guller on Unsplash

Many years ago I dreamed up a prissy, meticulously neat, rigidly moral, character called Rebecca Howard.

Rebecca demands order at work, at home, even in her religion. A devout Catholic, she stands, sits and kneels precisely on cue. When Rebecca encounters her free living neighbor, an opera singer wannbe, her life becomes decidedly messy. She finds herself laughing—and living, again. But with all this life, this realness, the painful memories of the death of her one and only love return—and Rebecca doesn’t want to remember.

Liking the premise, I wrote the opening scene. But my critique group hated it. Earlier this week I reread the scene. I still like it. So, I’m asking you, my blog readers, to tell me what you think. A simple “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” in the comment section would be great. Thanks.


Forty-two year old Rebecca Howard had fifteen hats artistically arranged on an antique bookcase in her living room. She had seen such a display in a recent issue of Martha Steward Living. Rebecca Howard had exceedingly good taste, which was of course to say that she was adept at conforming to whatever the current fashion happened to be—in this case, hats. They were really quite beautiful. One was a sunbonnet. The kind your sweet grandmother might have worn as she skipped through a meadow of buttercups in the Spring of 1921 while hunting for the errant blueberry to bake in a muffin.

Every morning Rebecca woke to the annoying sound of a digital alarm clock she had purchased twenty-two years ago. But this morning, the heinous thing did not buzz. Indeed, it was never to buzz again. And no one, especially not Rebecca Howard, ever inquired why.

Instead Rebecca woke—seventy-six minutes late—to the sound of music, stunningly beautiful music, the notes of which floated on the air as if they had wings. Entranced, she rose and silently slid open her balcony door. For a moment she let herself breathe the melody.

Her apartment’s balcony jutted up against her neighbor’s. Since the day Rebecca had moved in, the apartment next door had been empty. So Rebecca had never created a screen between her balcony and her neighbor’s. Two doors down, Martha Hughes had isolated her outdoor space with a grouping of potted cacti. Next door to Rebecca, on her right, Harper Creech had hung a mural hand-painted by the mountain people of Peru, but to her left Rebecca had—nothing. So when at last she opened her eyes, she had an unobstructed view of the back of a young man, perhaps twenty-four, tall, slender, standing on the balcony next door, greeting the morning with song, butt-naked.

“Ahhh!” she cried out.

Unfortunately this caused the young man to turn around.

Please Vote and . . .

Happy Writing,


Some of Kidd’s short stories are in the following anthologies:

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