8 Replies to “6.24.2013 Journal Prompt”

  1. When she didn’t smoke she often felt she might become a hundred scattered pieces. Of course, there were lots of times she left the pack of cigarettes more than a few inches away from her twitchy fingers, but it was due to the likelihood that they would get wet or broken. She did everything else right. She cleaned and cooked and found the things he never lost in the first place. She made the bed so that not one wrinkle creased his length and left the Tiffany desk lamp on as he wished. She never missed work, not even when Ima Jean was sick with tonsillitis, on the verge of hospital. But for this one thing, she rarely did as she pleased.

    He didn’t like it one bit. She contained the smoke as best she could in the cramped back room where she stayed during the week, window up. Or, during lunch, she traversed the yard where the willow kept her under cover. There she drew the smoke into her lungs and let it float a bit, then, released it slowly, one tiny puff at a time, or else in a series of languid streams, depending on the time left. But she finished three cigarettes in a half hour, after eating fruit or bread and jam.

    “Why do you smoke?” he asked once before he got into his Land Rover and sped away to some luncheon for a charity.

    She had held his suit and shirts out and waited for him to settle. But still he paused for her answer.

    “I like how it takes time and makes it into something more, something of my own for once,” she said, and blushed immediately.

    He took the hangars from her hand and cocked his head to the side for just an instant, his eyes narrowed as if he hadn’t seen her quite this way before.

    “Surely you can find something else…” he murmured as he closed the door.

    She smiled. She always smiled at him when he dismissed her. He stuck his hand out the window in a farewell gesture as he pulled away.
    She ran to yard’s end and pulled out a cigarette. She lit it with a monogrammed silver lighter he had offered her a year ago when he quit his habit. She inhaled, she coughed, inhaled again. She dreamed.

    1. Oh no, Judith! I am sorry that I failed you with this one. I will try again today. And it was just delightful to meet you in TC. Thank you again for your continued support of the blog and the writing community!

  2. It was a lazy summer, and long, and so hot that we slept with the windows thrown wide – if we slept at all. Bees sparked and fizzed in the folds of the curtains and butterflies panted on the sill and all the sounds of summer drifted into the room where we were, me and Alice.

    Everything was new, it seemed, and the world was painted in brighter colours, and music was hung on the air, and laughter, too. Maybe it wasn’t like that at all and is only so in memory, which is almost always deceiving. What I do recall is that for three weeks there was just me and Alice and the four walls of a room on Andora Street that cost fifty bucks a week in rent.

    We were just kids really, kids starting out and going along the same road for a while, and so we were briefly together. You hear people with grey in their hair and they tell you of the summer of love and everyone was beautiful back then and everyone in love with everyone; well this was my summer of love and summer with a girl called Alice.

    We kept late to bed, sometimes just lying on our backs with nothing to cover us, and not touching, listening to children playing in the street below, and watching for the arc of swallows or swifts cutting across the perfect blue of the sky. Sometimes we did touch, a furious pressing of her flesh and mine, kneading and needing, and her skin sweat-sticky against me and her breath coming in short gasps and my breath the same.

    We drank beer cold from the fridge, and ate dry bread, and rough cut slabs of yellow cheese that stuck to the roof of my mouth, and fruit that never tasted so good before or after. And there was no division between night or day so that when I say we kept to our bed late, it might have been that we rose early, or that time made no sense for just that summer.

    Looking back I can’t believe that I remember, like it all happened to someone else and Alice was a girl in a film or a book. She left after the summer and I never heard from her again. I have no pictures of her, no letters that she wrote, no mark that she left on me to say we had spent that summer together. Except, that sometimes Alice smoked. She withdrew from me a little and sat naked on the end of the bed in that room in Andora Street and she smoked. It was the sexiest thing, I swear. And now, when I am standing in a crowd and someone is smoking and the smell of cigarette smoke enters me, I remember her, and I turn suddenly expecting to see Alice there – or wanting to see her.

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