4.15.2013 Journal Prompt

Photo by Philip Hartigan
Photo by Philip Hartigan

April 15, 2013: The long way home.

3 Replies to “4.15.2013 Journal Prompt”

  1. He stands with his hands plunged into his coat pockets. He is waiting for something, but he does not know what, not exactly. He stands on the corner of Madison and Vale and he waits.

    It is not the first that Arty has done this. Every night for near on a month and he stands in the same spot and he watches the cars go by in a blur; and men in smart shoes stop to look at him and their eyes are sharp and narrow for they are not sure of him yet; and girls in short dresses linger expecting a trick.

    Too short those dresses, Arty thinks, but he smiles as they pass, the men and the girls, and he nods and he wishes them all a quiet good evening and he hopes he is not heard.

    There’s a window in the block opposite that he fixes on and the streetlamp throws a false sun against it. The curtains are pulled shut behind the glass, but still he looks, as if he expects something to happen there, as if he expects a face to appear and he would know the face if it did.

    Twenty-seven nights all set in a row and all with Arty standing in the one place and his eyes on the same window. A part of the street he is now, and he is known. Trisha stops to ask him for a light and she leans into him with a cigarette held in the kiss-pout of her lips and she leans in so close he can smell the rosewater and yellow tea and he can see down the front of her dress.

    ‘You alright, Honey?’ Trisha says, and he nods and his hand shakes as he strikes a match against the rough edge of a matchbook and he lifts his hand to her face.

    ‘Fine,’ he says, and it comes out hushed and broken so that he clears his throat and he says again that he’s fine, really he is.

    But his hand shakes a little more this evening for he knows the time is near and he wants to cross the road and knock on the window and give warning of what is about to happen, what he thinks is about to happen. Arty’s had a dream, see, and that’s why his hand shakes, because he thinks he knows what happens next, only if he says it they’d just think him free of his wits and they’d look at him funny and the police would move him on. It’s happened before, so now he just waits and something of what he has dreamed will come to pass in the fullnesss of time, something.

    ‘Sure you’re ok?’ Trisha says again, for there are tears on his cheek.

    He wipes them away and nods again and his eyes do not leave the window opposite.

    1. Serious suspense…and a good job of building it. All those question you plant in my mind: Arty, the window, The waiting, the tears, the need to be anonymous…what’s going to happen here? I want to know!

      Interestingly, those windows attracted me about the photo as well. I was going to write from the perspective of the person who used those blinds to shutter out the world..

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