The afternoon of a new writer's class finds instructor Arabella very excited. Arabella is thirty-nine-years-old, single and loaded down with responsibility. On her first day of teaching a new writer's class she is raring to meet her students. Arabella loves writing fiction and finds exploring the hidden mysticism behind her student's writing, quite titillating. Her other big goal for this Wednesday is visiting her mother in the nursing home, as she does each week. To have class on another day would have been great. Wednesday was selected and she dare not change the visitation day with her mother. Her mother would surely pitch a fit.
The classroom is full of interesting looking students there is even a repeat offender. Conrad is back and she hopes he goes a little deeper into his writing this time around. Last class everything he'd written had to do with transsexuals. Since the class was fiction and not non-fiction she assumed he was writing about himself, but would never ask.
Arabella gives an impromptu assignment to get the everyone in gear. No one answers her query. They look at lap stop screens, interesting things on the bulletin board, at Arabella, but no hands go up. A students asks Arabella to get them started by sharing her list of top five obsessions first. She does so without getting too personal.
Excited that the first class had gone well Arabella heads to the nursing home. When she tried to enter a richly dressed woman blocks the door. Her fur coat and jewelry demanding respect. Arabella's mom has made a play for her husband. He's asked the woman standing in front of Arabella for a divorce. She is livid, they have been married forty years. She berates Arabella asking what type of woman goes after a married man.
Arabella's mom has told her all about the wonderful man a doctor, who has moved in. Her mother is not in her room but there is noise coming from the hall where residents gather to play bingo. Sure enough a man in a wheelchair has rolled as close to the table and Vera Hicks as possible.
Arabella tells her mom her game is over even though she only needs B-4 to win the trophy. When they get back to her mother's room Arabella lets her mom have it. She tells her Bernardo's wife Camille just accosted her verbally as she was heading in. Vera doesn't deny that she's taken by the good doctor. She does ease Arabella's mind by saying she will never marry again and that Arabella's father was her one and only true love.
Arabella is used to her mother upsetting nurses and the rest of the staff with her requests and outbursts. She tries to be understanding, her mother wants to be in her own house. This is no longer possible since Arabella works a full time job in attention to teaching which she loves.
When a resident dies at the nursing home Arabella has just given her students an assignment which parallels the feeling at the home. The assignment was designed to pull on feelings and reactions about life and the ending.
Vera decides she will write her story the one Arabella has never encouraged (she didn't know her mother was interested). As she pulls from her memory it dredges up a lot of pain regarding her husbands lengthy bout with Multiple Sclerosis. She and Arabella fight over what happened and didn't take place that may have hastened his death.
Her mother asks Arabella to write the ending for her story. As Arabella reads she becomes emotional. There was so much about her mother's life that she hadn't been privy to. She is moved to tears. She shares with her students how she has recently read a story that was so moving that it has shifted how she views people and the world. The power of words she says, have healing powers and you must forge ahead and tell your stories. No matter how painful.
When Vera passes a staff person takes time to send Arabella a hand written letter apologizing for not being at the funeral. He'd gone to tend to his ailing mother. The letter spoke of Vera and a beautiful poem she'd shared before closing her eyes for the last time. Through written and verbal communication Arabella grew to understand so much about her mother that she hadn't known before her mother began to write. The arguments petty and trivial in comparison to the bond (no matter how late) between mother and daughter.
Best part of story, including ending:
I liked that Arabella loved teaching and writing. She took time to get to know her students.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene was when Arabella discovered her mother was interested in writing her personal story.
Opinion about the main character:
I liked that Arabella was open to really loving her mother and had the opportunity to learn why her mother was often so hostile.