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Who’s That Girl? – The Writer’s Way

She ducks a fraction as she enters the country hostelry. Not that she needs to; as even in the moderate heels she always wears, she would have cleared the doorway. It is an unconscious habit.
She pauses and glances around the warm environment; spots the seat she is going to occupy and walks directly to the bar. She gives the young barman a wide smile – “she always does this kind of flirtatious grin;” he thinks as he looks at her eyes sparkling at him. Despite her being at least twice his age, he finds it infectious; it makes him smile back every time.

“Good day?” he enquires, as he begins to pour a large glass of Merlot. She screws up her face and giggles “the worst! – You?” He shrugs, and asks her for the price of the wine. As always, she says “one for yourself”.

She pays with loose change that she fishes out her coat pocket, and puts the remaining copper in the charity box for Chernobyl children. She picks up her glass and makes her way to the corner seat where she can easily see the bar entrance. She shrugs off her padded jacket and hangs it over the back of the wooden bar chair. She leans against the chair and slides her bottom backwards to fill the seat space, her long black stockinged legs following in its wake. She wiggles as she pulls her shortish black skirt, down over her knees.

Almost settled, she takes a slurp of wine. In doing so, she catches a glimpse of herself in the mirror behind the bar. Ugh! “You’re the spitting image of your father” – she hears in her ear. And she reflects; as always; what girl really wants to be the spitting image of their dad? He is tall like her, has poor skin like her, and is a little pigeon chested; just like her. Or is that her like him!

To compensate, she always wears her hair as big as she can in the fashionable moment, and completely unlike dad who slicks his back with oil. The 80’s was the best era for big hair but there comes a time when the poodle perm is just not acceptable. The smirk reappears and in her reminiscing, she misses her husband who enters the pub.

He too, grins at the barman who pours his usual pint. He pays, nods to two or three people he vaguely knows and heads over to the corner to join his wife. The two Labradors he has in tow slow his progress when they stop to sniff; meet and greet anyone and everyone in the way. There is one Black and one Chocolate. Each when they catch her scent launches to greet her as if they hadn’t seen her for months. She smiles benevolently, slides off her seat to greet all her boys as enthusiastically.

“Good day?” her husband asks – “the worst” she replies.

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In this exercise from The Writer’s Way, Sara Maitland asks us to tell the reader six things about a character through the actions they take and the things that they say rather than a narrative.

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