Sunday writing chat prompts for 24 Apr 2022

Home Forums Just the Place for a Snark Sunday writing chat prompts for 24 Apr 2022

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    • #8502

      The Sunday Brunch Prompted Writing Chat is an opportunity each week to test your skills at writing under pressure — or to have some fun without the need to be brilliant — or both!

      The prompts are intended as both as a challenge and a starting point, open to creative interpretation. You can use these as an excuse to write anything that comes to mind, whether it’s fiction or creative non-fiction or a mixture of both. You can write a separate piece for each prompt, or try to link them all together in a single story.

      If you join in the chat, you can add “an excuse to complain about unfair prompts” to the entertainment, too. But even if you can’t attend the chat session, feel free to give the prompts a try anyway (and leave your responses, comments, or complaints in this thread if you like).

      This week’s prompts are posted below.

      1. Use the following five words: bag, coast, activity, node, objective. (10 min)

      2. Use the phrase, “That’s unlikely.” (10 min)

      3. Write about a bittersweet experience. (10 min)

    • #8503

      We knew this was going to be hard. It was Christmas vacation. We were seventeen. Renee and I returned from our respective thousand-mile-apart educational institutions on opposite coasts, to the bedroom we’d shared since, well, forever. Not quite; we moved in there sometime and got a different bedroom to share.

      During the application process, Mom and Dad had sat us down separately for a serious talk. About how living inside each others’ heads wasn’t the healthiest thing, wouldn’t lead to us being our own people, and so maybe we should consider applying to, and then actually enrolling in, different universities. Looking at us objectively. Which Mom agreed was hard since we’d been such a tight-knit family unit. Mom offered the use of her maiden name so people wouldn’t confuse us. So there’s only one R. Menendez out there studying physics (well, there may be more, but they’re no relation).

      And for a bit, after the bottom dropped out of my stomach and we had a hug, it was almost like old times. Except she had things to tell me, and I had things to tell her, that the other person hadn’t heard at all. That was novel. After a flurry of new stories she was back to finishing my sentences, and starting another one I’d just opened my mouth to voice. Just a node in a binary hive mind.

      So, yeah, I get the point. Most people have only themselves inside their skulls. We should try it, for longer than just a semester. Learn a thing or two about standing up in our own sensible shoes, doing without the knowledge that there are shoes just like them in the closet at home we could borrow if we needed them.

      Breakfast, the last morning, the morning after the last night together.

      “Coffee…” groaned Renee.

      “Yeahthat,” I echoed.

      “You hated coffee, both of you,” Mom said, but she poured us each a mug.

      Renee put a spoon of sugar into hers. While I was measuring out a teaspoon, and then another, of cream. We traded, and then each did what the other had done.

      “Blackbird,” said Renee. She calls me that because my name is Ravyn.

      “Secondborn?” I asked her. It’s what her name, Renee, means, and the family story is she’s a few minutes older. I don’t believe it.

      “We just put identical stuff into our coffee,” said Renee.

      “We totally did,” I admitted. “That’s unlikely.”

      Mom was trying not to look too much like mother-is-always-right, but of course she was.

      Breakfast done, time to finish packing up. We had, one after the other, identical conversations with Dad. “When’s your flight?” he asked.

      Phone came out, owner mumbled while pawing way too much hair out of her face. “Two-thirty,” we each answered separately.

      Same airline, bound in opposite directions.

      We sat in the back, shivering in our coats while the car warmed up, holding hands in Renee’s left mitten. “Here we are,” said Dad. “We can’t go past security, so we’ll just drop you at the curb. You know what to do?”

      “Yes, Dad, you only told us ten times,” we replied in unison.

      We held hands in line for the luggage check kiosks, and kibitzed each other through. We held hands standing in the security line. We stood face to face on the little subway car with our hands touching on the grab bar. We bought each other coffee on the concourse. We lingered in the middle, halfway between our gates, which faced each other.

      “Am I gonna see you again?” I asked.

      “I dunno. Saying goodbye is hard,” said Renee.

      “Maybe… that’s what life is,” I said.

      Renee, bless her, laughed, “You wait til the last two minutes to dump something philosophical on me,” she said.

      There were tears in all four of our eyes.

      She glanced around to see if people were watching. There’s always somebody watching us. It’s part of being us. “C’mere,” she said, wrapped a hand around the back of my neck and kissed me. In public. On an airport concourse.

      There were no words. All the things I had thought up to say had gone out of my head.

      I lingered for a moment where the turn in the jetway was, looking back to see her looking back at me.

      I didn’t see her again for thirty years.

      And it was hard, just as we’d thought it would be. Maybe it would have been harder if we’d kept in touch, intermittently, as our schedules allowed. “I dunno,” I said, aloud, many times, on that airplane flight, and on other occasions, between the tears.

    • #8504

      “Rose is coming home from the West Coast.”

      It wasn’t my fault I’d recognized Tom, her brother, coming into the store and I accidentally ran into him in the automotive section, where from past experience, I knew he’d head.

      “Really?” I said, willing my face to remain casually interested instead of my heart taking off like a jackrabbit. “What made her decide to come home after all these years? She’s been gone for a while, yeah?”

      “Almost thirty years.” He nodded. “She left just after her divorce.”

      “Was it nasty?” I’d heard rumours. But I left just after she got engaged. It wouldn’t have been good for anyone if I’d stayed, wanting who I couldn’t have. At least not back then. Now was a different story. I finally felt worthy, my past safely in the past.

      “Not nasty, exactly.” He ran his hands through his hair, showing his frustration even decades later at his sister’s situation. “He was just so unaware that he hurt her more than he realized, even if it wasn’t his objective. Hell, I ran into him after their divorce, and he bragged to me about how his new girlfriend was so much better than his ex-wife.” He shook his head. “Seriously Dude, you’re talking about my sister.”

      Just then, I noticed an older woman trying to put a five-kilogram bag of birdseed into her cart. “I’ve gotta run.” I pointed to the woman’s activities. “Tell Rose I said welcome home.”

      This time, he smirked. “Tell her yourself Romeo, she bought the old Wilson place. She’ll be three driveways away from your house.”

      I turned away toward my customer. Hopefully, before Tom saw the look of joy on my face at having Rose living so close to me.

      That I succeeded was unlikely. The sound of his laughter followed me as I walked away. I wasn’t as good an actor as I’d hoped. Then again, Tom had always been on my side. He thought I was wrong for stepping away from Rose when I did. She’d always been my safe-haven. The node of stability in my decidedly unstable childhood and rocky teenage years.

      To this day, she was still the sweetest person I’ve ever met. Walking away from her almost forty years ago was the hardest thing I’d even done. It left me bitter for the longest time until, ironically, a woman I’d been dating as a distraction told me to suck it up. I was a product of my past, but that didn’t mean I had to sacrifice my future to the same fate. I was in charge of my destiny. I could stay the same guy who couldn’t have the girl, or I could become the guy who deserved her.

      Thirty years later and I was that guy.

      And the girl was coming home.

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