Thursday, March 14, 2013

Day 37

PENALTY! I missed last night partially because I got home late, partially because I forgot, and partially because my hands hurt too much to type. They still hurt today, but I couldn’t bring myself to skip again.

PROMPT: I got the idea from to check the Missed Connections on Craigslist. Here’s what I found:
You were waiting for the bus and came in for a drink, maybe because the bus was late and it was cold outside.

Your hair was coming out of the hat that you had tucked it into. The wind had blown the blonde strands apart, but I thought it looked sexy and not disheveled. You walked up to the counter slowly, taking the time to analyze the menu first. I assumed you were in a rush, but a bus passed through the stop right outside and you didn’t flinch. You wrestled with your coat to get you purse as you approached the counter. You sighed and laughed because it took so long for you to get out your wallet. I found it charming.

“Sorry. Can I please have a soy latte?” you said apologetically. Your voice was hoarse. It seemed sultry even though you were apologizing. You smiled as if asking for my patience, but there was really no need. I had no problem waiting for you. There was barely anyone in the store. It was the tail end of the morning rush, and you, like the others, seemed to no longer be in any rush.

I was upset this morning that it was cold again. I thought we had turned the corner into spring, but it was frigid again when I woke up. I was happy that it brought you into the café though. I got you your soy latte as you looked at each of the scented candles on display, stopping to smell each one. Did you know you have the sweetest smile, when you think no one’s looking? I called out “Soy Latte” and you turned as if it was your name and you were used to answering to it. I couldn’t help but wonder where you usually get you soy latte. Have you been to this café before? Why haven’t I ever seen you?

I brought it to you from behind the counter, and you smiled as if you were embarrassed. “Soy latter,” I said, as I placed it in your hands. You thanked me with a slight bow of the head, like I was your knight in shining armor. I thought you would leave to catch the next bus but you sat down by the window and sipped your latte as you watched people. I fill other drink orders and watched you in between customers. Did you notice me watching? Hopefully, you didn’t think I was weird.

I was waiting for it to be my break so that I could come talk to you. I wanted to ask what your name was. I wanted to know if you answered to it as easily as you answered to “soy latte.” I want to ask where you were taking the bus to. Why you weren’t rushing there anymore. I wanted to know why you tried to hide you golden waves in your hat. From what I could see they were beautiful. I wanted to know which was your favorite scented candle and if you would actually buy one.

A group of people came in and I suddenly had to scramble to fill drink orders. When I turned around, you had gone.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Day 35

PROMPT: So the prompt that inspired the following is not at all where it ended up, to the point where I don’t even think it bother to post it, but here’s what I got anyway!

“Hey,” Hayden looked up at him sideways from the bed. He had been trying to get ready silently, opening drawers as quietly as possible. But apparently not quietly enough. Cole turned and smiled at her, crouching next to the bed, so their eyes were level. “Hey,” Cole brushed a hair from her face. She looked as beautiful now, hair a mess, makeup smeared, as she had last night after spending hours dressing up. “I tried not to wake you.” “I know. Thanks.” He kissed her softly on the forehead. He couldn’t resist. This whole relationship took more self-control than being single ever had in his entire life. Not staying home all day with her. Not touching her every second. Not talking to her about labels or being more serious. “I need to leave soon. You can stay if you want.” She smiled. “Thanks.” “How do you feel?”

She sat up slowly and winced. “Not great.” He smiled sympathetically, “Well, you were pretty drunk last night. She nodded slowly. “Yeah. Thanks for letting me stay.” She often did this. Thanked him for things that should be a given by now, after they’d been seeing each other for over a month. “Of course. Do you want breakfast? I’ve got some time.” That was a lie. But he could be a little late. “Maybe something bland?” She had thrown up last night before crashing in his bed. Apparently, it hadn’t settled her stomach enough.

“Toast?” She nodded and he went to the kitchen to prepare it for her. He took out a knife and laid out butter and jam so that she could decide what she wanted. When she came in, she was slightly cleaned up. Her hair was neater, her face no longer streaked with mascara. She was still in her dress from last night. He had slept on the couch. “Are you going to stay?” he asked casually. “No, don’t worry about it, I’ll leave when you do.” He sighed and nodded. He placed a bottle of Advil on the table before sitting down to join her. “Thank you, you’re amazing.” She said, as she took three.

He locked the door when they were both out and then walked out to the street in relative silence. “Do you have any plans for tonight?” he asked, knowing the answer. “Yeah, I’m meeting up with someone.” “Ok. Well I’m going this way,” he said, gesturing toward the opposite direction of the train she needed to get home. “I’ll see you soon?” “Of course!” she said brightly. She kissed him on the cheek. He started to walk the other way when she caught up to him. “Hey, thanks for last night. You’re really great. I’m sorry I’m not great at this.” She backed away, hands in the pockets of the jacket he had lent her. He shook his head. “Don’t apologize. Just show me you want to try. I’m patient. I can help.” She gave him a sad smile. “Ok. I’ll see you soon.”

Monday, March 11, 2013

Day 34

PROMPT: Write a romantic thriller that takes place at a sketchy amusement park.

Connor could hear voices as he drew closer. He slowed his steps. “You did this!” he heard someone yell and then Lynn’s shaky voice whispering for him to shut up. Her voice on the phone had been the same, stranger and scarier than he’d ever heard her sound in their years of knowing each other.

He’d gotten there as quickly as he could. He’d parked in the nearly empty parking lot for Adventure Park when he arrived. He’d come here a lot as a child with his parents and friends. Then again in High School. It had been a good place to hang out and smoke. But it had been 8 years since he graduated High School. He wondered, not for the first time, what she was doing here. He didn’t even know she was in town.

He’d paid a bored looking teenager the entrance fee and made his way past ride that looked like they would fall apart if you shifted your weight on them the wrong way. It had been a while, but he hadn’t forgotten the way to get behind the pirate ship ride. His feet had taken him there without him having to try. It was a cold day in late October. The park would soon close for the season, but the squeaking hinges and rusting rides made it look like it already had.

Connor stood a few feet away from the voice, around the corner. His heart sped up as he considered the possibilities for what Lynn had gotten into- for what she had gotten him into. He peaked his head around the corner and caught a glimpse of a man he didn’t recognize. The man was tied to the fence behind the ride. A shadow that could’ve been Lynn or anyone else paced back and forth just out of sight. “I swear I didn’t do anything,” came Lynn’s desperate voice, “Tell me you believe me and we can forget about this!”

Connor could tell she was crying. He looked around for something he could hold- a weapon maybe- that would make him feel more prepared. He found nothing. He took a deep breath and rounded the corner anyway. “Lynn?” She turned to him. “Connor!” As she said his name she broke down into his chest and he held her close, assessing the scene as quickly as he could. The man on the fence was a boy, a park employee still in his uniform. “What’s going on?” Connor whispered. Lynn’s eyes met his, she looked terrified. “I didn’t do it. I don’t know what happened.”

He was about to ask what she was talking about when his gaze shifted to the far corner of the space. He could see someone’s feet lying on the ground, the rest of the person out of sight. And there was blood. A chill went through him. “What did you do?”

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Day 33

PROMPT: This is a picture/word prompt via

Prompt Words: gallows, tide, mat, section, staple

The Monitors had already swept the Northeast section by the time Eddie was walking home. One of the perks of night shifts was avoiding unpleasant scans. Even if you didn’t do anything wrong, it wasn’t uncommon to witness others being taken. They’d be dragged along the streets, dirt entangling with already matted hair, toward the gallows, where the Section Leader would decide their fate in the morning. It was hard to forget those images. Better to stay out of the way. Avoid adding to the tide of nightmares to be had.

Of course, there were still the Burners. Large, floating orange-yellow orbs tracking his progress as he went. Making sure his steps were timely and documented, buzzing dimly as they noted his movements, and letting off a sulfuric smell, which Eddie could never quite get used to. He made his way with no particular speed. He was never really in a hurry to get to his cupboard. It wasn’t a bad size compared to what some others lived in, but it wasn’t the “studio apartment” his naïve mother had tried to spin it as when they’d been moved to the sections, many years ago. It was fine. A sleeping board, several cans of food staples, and access to a bathroom shared by only 17. It could be worse.

A voice stopped Eddie in his tracks, just a few drives from home. “Hey there” came a harsh whisper. Eddie turned his head to try and find the source of the voice. “Hey, I’m in the alleyway!” Eddie turned to see a dark cavity in the walls of the drive. He could see a shadow, but there was no light. “Who is that?”
“I need your help!”
“With what?”
“I’m out past my time. I was doing fine, but there are more Buzzers on this street than the others.” Eddie stared up at the Burner several feet in front of him. He didn’t know of a way to avoid being tracked, but how had this person gotten so far at all?
“Why don’t you go back where you came from?”
“I can’t! I’m from Southeast. The Monitors’ll be there by now and they stay until morning.”
“What do you want me to do?” “Let me walk with you. I’ll shadow your moves; it won’t know there’s two of us.”
“Does that work? Can’t they identify two heat signatures?”
“But they’ll get muddled and won’t know who is who.” Eddie thought about whether this could be true.
“But they’ll know it’s me. I’ve already been stopped too long.”
“Then let’s move.” But Eddie knew that he’d be traceable either way. They knew his route. He’d already been tracked for the majority of the way home. Any confusion would lead right back to him. And this person was hoping he wouldn’t figure it out. He turned to look at the shadow and bolted back to his cupboard, hoping that he wouldn’t have to answer any

Day 32

PENALTY!: The truth is that last night was not in my control. Now that I’m working and the holidays are coming up, there are going to be some new additions to the rules. Starting with the Friday addendum: I stay at work as late as possible on Fridays and get home just before sundown, so I really won’t be able to post in that time. So, for working Fridays, I’ll post 500 words on Saturday. Since, I’m just making this now though, I did 1000 words for tonight. PROMPT:The story starts when your protagonist cheats on a partner.
Another character is a producer who believes your protagonist is a long-lost family member.

“Shit… Shit.” She couldn’t remember a time when she put her clothes on faster than this. “Uh, yeah it was great for me too…” She turned toward Gregory. “I’m not really in the mood for your coy bullshit right now.” He rolled his eyes and began to sit up. “Alright, would you just… come on, relax for a second, okay?” She shook her head and then brought her hands to her face, not sure what to do with herself. “I can’t relax! I feel like I’m jumping out of my skin. I have to get out of here.”

He stood up on his knees and came toward her, placing a hand on her face. “Listen, I’m not going to say it’s okay; I know you better than that I think.” She let out a sob. “But I will say this. I care about you Kristen. This wasn’t just sex for me. I don’t want to see you get hurt, but I can’t remember a time when I was happier than I was with you just now.” She forced a smile and leaned into his hand, letting him kiss her one more time before she ran out and tried to think about what she was going to say to Matthew when she got home tonight. How she was going to act normal, as if she hadn’t cheated. “Thank you. I care about you too. I just… need to sort some things out.” He laid back on the bed. “Okay. I’ll be around.”

She walked in to work fifteen minutes late. She didn’t know where the time had gone. She had the same sick to her stomach feeling that she’d had since last night. She couldn’t recount what she’d talked about with Matthew last night. She didn’t know how she’d looked him in the eye. How she’d shared a bed with him. How she brushed her teeth next to him this morning. It was almost like betraying him over and over with every passing interaction. She was happy to throw herself into work and try and forget for a few hours.

“Morning Kristen,” she heard as she walked into the office. She turned to see her new producer, Michael, standing with his hands in his pocket looking nervously at her. “Hi Michael. I’m sorry I’m late traffic was a nightmare today.” “Oh that isn’t… I just still wanted to talk to you about that thing from the other day?” She didn’t even remember what he was talking about but she smile and hit a hand on her forehead. “Right, I’m so sorry about that. Can it wait until a little later?” He looked taken aback. “Yeah, um, sure, no problem.” “Great thanks Michael.” “Yep.” And he left her to get all of her stuff in order for the day.

She had two meetings in the morning and then two hours to get everything she needed for the show tonight. She had to be in the control room at 3:30 and she would definitely be cutting it close, but she would get it done if she could manage to stay focused. She tried to completely zone out. Compartmentalization had never been her strong suit, but somehow she did it and the hours flew by without incident or any particular onslaught of guilt. She was back in her office by 5 and working on tomorrow’s show.

Michael found her shortly afterward and asked to speak to her again. She didn’t see how she could keep brushing him off so she invited him to take a seat by her desk. “What can I do for you? Is this about last Wednesday’s show, because I spoke to the guy’s agent and I swear we will not be using any of his talent again any time soon.” He looked confused for a moment. “No it’s not that at all. No, it’s… something personal actually.” She raised her eyebrows questioningly at him. Kristen had only known him for a few weeks, a month and a half at most. To say they’d had no personal interaction outside work seemed like an understatement.

“I’m not quite sure where to start,” he said, completely frazzled. She had no clue how to help with that. “I guess I should say that I’ve known from a young age that I’m adopted. I didn’t spend much time thinking about it to be honest. My parents were my parents, and I never felt differently until they died.” She nodded cautiously. “I started looking for my birth parents about ten years ago. Partly because of curiosity. Partly because I got tired of leaving my family history questions blank on the doctors’ forms.

“It took me a while to find anything at all. I barely used google at the time and I had no idea how to approach this at first, but to make a long story short- believe it or not, I ended up finding out that my mother was an unwed young woman who had given me away when she was nineteen. Classic story really, and I understood. But when I started trying to find out more about her I found that she had gotten married about ten years later, and had three kids. One of the kids even worked in television, like me.” He paused, maybe because he wanted her to figure it out from there, maybe because he wasn’t quite sure how to break the rest. Kristen was still at a loss as to what this had to do with her.

“Kristen, that women was June Leary. Her married name is Pellin.” She suddenly got where he was going. “My mom?” He smiled tentatively. “Yes.” “My mom gave you up for adoption when she was nineteen?” “Yes.” “So I’m your…” “Sister, yes.” She stared at him for a long time in silence. “Wow.That’s…” “Yes.”

She had made her excuses and gotten out of there as fast as she could. All she wanted to do was go home and tell Matthew about this, but the night before suddenly came rushing back. She pulled her phone from her pocket and stared at it for a minute before dialing Gregory’s number. “Hey can I come over?”

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Day 30

PROMPT: One should never panic alone
From @CarieJenson

I’d just gotten home from work when Megan knocked on my door. “Hey you have a minute?” It wasn’t unusual for Megan to just stop by. We’d gotten close since we’d moved into the same building. We saw a lot of each other these days. “Sure, I was gonna make pasta. You want?” She walked past me and paced across the kitchen floor a couple of times. This wasn’t particularly unusual either. I turned on the burner under a pot of water and waited.
“I’m kinda freaking out Jo.”
“I can see that Megan.”
“Not feeling too hot Jo.”
“And why is that Megan?”
“Ok. Here’s the thing. You’re going to freak out too.”
I doubted it. Megan freaked out about something on a semi-regular basis. It was rarely anything vital. Usually she had just remembered a deadline was sooner than she thought or she’d stepped in gum.
“Ok I saw this guy outside the building who was really creepy and creepily hitting on me and forcing me to tell him which apartment was mine.”
“Yeah, he was really gross but he was putting me on the spot and didn’t know what else to do.”
“Megan! Did you give him your address??”
“I actually gave him yours.”
“I gave him your address. Sorry.”
“You gave a creepy building lurker my address?!”
“Yeah I’m really sorry.”
“Why would you do that?”
“I don’t know, I panicked.”
“So you wanted to bring me in on it?”
“I guess so…”
“Care to share why?”
“I read somewhere that one should never panic alone.”
I paused and stared at her.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Day 29

***Happy 1 Month Blogiversary to me! This is the most consistently I’ve ever done pretty much anything, so I’m very proud. I’ve only missed a few days here and there, but I stuck to the rules, so that seems all right to me. I was concerned about getting prompts done since I went back to work today, but the fact that it was the one month mark, I felt compelled not only to do a prompt today, but to go the extra mile and set a 500 word count for the day. Here’s to the next milestone!

PROMPT: A car with a broken taillight, a cigarette machine filled with something besides cigarettes, a mysterious coin.

I stepped outta the car and walked ‘round back to check on the damage. “Damn.” I’d backed straight into the wall at the back of the gas station. It was one of those stations with a market a few feet from the pump. There were parking spots along the back wall, but I’d never been any good at parking. Even the kind that wasn’t straight behind another car. The wall didn’t seem too bad. There was a gray line where my bumper scratched it. But my taillight was a whole different story. It didn’t look too pretty, and I was miles away from Jerry who usually fixed Ol’ Tammy when she had problems. I kicked the red glass with my boot, and prayed this market would have cigarettes in some form or another.

“You got cigarettes?” I said when I got the manager’s attention. “Well, you’re a long way from home, aren’t you? Where are you from sweet thing?” Just what I needed. A creep yankee railing on my accent or who knows what else. “You got a restroom?” He snarled at me and pointed toward the drink case. I turned on the dime and walked toward the back.

I dug through my worn pockets for some quarters when I saw the machine. Tampons or cigarettes. It was 25 cents for one of either. I pulled a few coins out and sifted through for a quarter. I found one finally and went to jam it in the slot, but there was already a coin in it. I tried to twist the lever but the coin wouldn’t budge. I struggled with it for a few minutes before slamming a fist into the metal. I wondered how much property I’d be damaging before I was through here.

I placed my finger over the very tip of the coin that was stuck and was able to slide it out. It wasn’t a quarter. No wonder. I didn’t know what it is. It was copper, like a penny, but the size a quarter. It was thicker though, like two quarters side by side. It didn’t say if it was from another country. I thought maybe it was one of those special coins that they kept making for no good reason, but it didn’t say that either. Just a few lines here and there.

I shoved it into my pocket and put the quarter into the clot where the coin had come from. It turned real easy this time and I sighed happily as I heard something clink into the metal tray at the bottom of the machine. I sighed and reached my hand in to fish it out. When I pulled my hand back, I was holding a lollipop. I slammed my fist against the machine again and went out to find the manager again. I tried to contain my yelling.

“You gamin’ people here?” He shrugged and smirked at me. “I’m gonna put my hand out and I better get a quarter or a cigarette real soon. Preferably the second one.” “I got a whole carton back here if you like. Only $80.” I was fuming. “So that’s what you do? You steal people’s money and don’t even give ‘em what they want.” He smiled again. “I can give you what you want, gorgeous.”

I was madder than when I’d gone into the store, but I wasn’t going to get any cigarettes here. I just had to hope there’d be another station along soon. I marched out, slamming the door against the wall on my way. “Hey!” he screamed after me, “You gotta pay for that.” I turned to him and screamed back. “I paid a whole quarter! Keep the change!” And then I got in my car and sped away, leaving the glass and the scratch behind me.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Day 28

PROMPT: Action always trumps inaction
From @wordstrumpet

The elevator doors opened and he stepped in. Somehow they rode the same elevator to the 57th floor together at least three times a week. It didn’t make sense how often it happened. It was the morning rush, there were 12 elevators. Yet somehow they always ended up on the same one- more often than not with no one else. They had spoken. It was more than just a brief ride to her floor. He went even higher to floor 64. It was one of the things they had actually said.
“So Friday.”
“Yeah, finally.”
It never stopped being awkward really. They always started out this way. Usually commenting on the day of the week or the weather. They both watched Game of Thrones, but it wasn’t airing right now, so those conversations had stopped. Often, it flowed into something a little more substantial though. “Good week?”
“Not bad, you?”
“Well, on the one hand I closed a deal I’ve been working toward for months. On the other hand, It was the most atrocious last week of a deal I’ve ever experienced.”
She laughed. “I’m sorry. So mixed then?”
“Yeah you could say that.”
“Got any weekend plans?”
Last they talked about it, he hadn’t been in a relationship. But sometimes she fished. “Uh… so far what I’ve got planned is sleeping and grilling.”
“That sounds good.”
“Can’t complain. What about you?”
“Well I was supposed to be going to the ballet with a friend, but she backed out this morning.”
“Oh yeah, which one?”
“Giselle. You know it?”
“Yeah that’s a great one.”
She hadn’t meant to steer the conversation here, but there was suddenly a lull. She hadn’t thought they would ever move past elevator buddies. He had never seemed interested. She considered quickly, nervously.
“Hey. Would you want to join me?”
He smiled at her. “I’d love to.”

Monday, March 4, 2013

Day 27

PROMPT: Use the phrase, "That seems like an exaggeration."
From Toasted Cheese

“I swear,” she walked in, slamming the door behind her, “I will murder that man.”
“Bad day?”
“It’s like he does it on purpose just to screw with me.”
“Yeah, maybe start from the beginning?”
She sighed and sat down at the table with me. “What are you eating?”
She stared at me, temporarily defeated as she took a break from her outrage. “Want some?”
She pouted at her problems for a few moments before getting a bowl and fork and serving herself from the pot still sitting on the stove. I wasn’t a huge fan of being friendly with roommates, but Leanne had a tendency to get worked up and need to blow off some steam sometimes. It had no bearing on our relationship, it only maintained peace in the apartment. Besides, it didn’t much matter what I said to her.
“So you were saying?”
She was suddenly angry again, as if she’d needed reminding of her preoccupation from two minutes ago.
“Oh! So I’ve been working on this project at work for a couple of months now, right? I like to be a team player, Mandy, you know that.”
“Let’s say I do.”
“But, like, sometimes you just have to say, you know, I am not the right person for this job. And I said that two months ago and this guy supervising me was like ‘Ooooh, you’re perfect at it, just do what feels right, I’m sure you’ll do a great job.’”
“Meanwhile, I’ve work on it for two months with, like, totally no guidance and show it to him and now he decides this isn’t at all how he wanted it and I need to make changes according to what he didn’t tell me originally,”
“That sounds really annoying actually.”
“And! I’m still kind of under-qualified for the project anyway and it’s like he’s making me do it just to torture me so that later he can point at me and laugh and say, ‘There goes the girl who spent a year doing busy work just to be my source of entertainment!’”
“That seems like an exaggeration.”
“And the worst thing-“
“Oh boy.”
“Is like I was going to go out tonight but now I have to be in early tomorrow. “
“Okay, we’re done here. Good luck!”

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Day 26

PENALTY! I don’t have a good excuse for missing yesterday. I wasn’t in the mood and thought “hey, 1000 words isn’t actually a big deal. I go over 250 all the time, so naturally that’s the same.” As fate would have it, I’m not really in the mood today either and 1000 words seems endless to me.

PROMPT: Some relationships aren’t simple enough to be classified as painful or joyous. Writing about a complex relationship is… well, complex. Give it a shot.

I remember when it was simple. Every time I see you I think about it. When we were kids it was like the easiest thing in the world. We would spend every day off together. We would play games in your backyard or watch movies that we weren’t old enough to comprehend. I would be embarrassed to ask what things meant, but you usually told me anyway.

When we got older you had more guy friends. There were things you didn’t tell me about what they said. You were probably embarrassed. I was too curious to worry about how I would feel if I actually knew what the boys were saying about me. You never said, but all these years later I can guess. It was a little more complicated, but I could always count on you. Even in middle school, when we didn’t talk much because I was younger.

We were closest, ironically, when I was away. We scheduled times to talk to accommodate the time difference. I don’t think I’d ever spoken to you on the phone for more than five minutes, but while I was away we spoke for hours at a time. I knew all about what was going on in your life. You would let me rant about inconsiderate roommates and say something fair and level headed.

I never wanted to be ‘that girl,’ but things really did change when you started dating someone. I’m told over and over how lucky I am that I’m friends with her too. I know it. But there were times back then when I wished she would have been jealous of our bond and our history. I tried not too be too dramatic about it, but I would imagine all of these long-winded speeches that would end up sounding weird and possessive, a little like this. You’re lucky you’re the level headed one.

Still, we had our moments. TV nights at one of our apartments, dinners out because one of our parents had bought us a gift card, sporadic moments when it happened to be just us. It wasn’t that I couldn’t share you. It was that I couldn’t lose you. And no matter how many reassurances you gave me, that was what was happening. When you confided in me, I felt like I had stolen a secret.

I almost told you my secret once. I think about that conversation a lot. We were on a couch at your girlfriend’s apartment. She was taking a nap. I don’t know if we played cards, but it seems likely. I wonder if you remember it sometimes. Maybe when you see me and think about that part of my life. You gave me the perfect opening, but I didn’t think it was fair to tell you. I didn’t think it was my secret to tell. But I was wrong. It is. And now I’m not sure that opportunity will ever come up again.

I hate making it seem depressing. Because it’s not that way most of the time. We can still talk for hours, I’m sure, given the chance. We still have the same taste in almost everything. One of our friends once pointed out that I laugh harder when I’m with you. I think that’s still true.

I have a love/hate relationship with seeing you these days. Most of the time you’re with a big group of friends and I feel left out in that circle. I’ve thrown around a hundred reasons why I don’t feel comfortable with that group of your friends, but I don’t think I’ve ever really been able to put my finger on it. It’s not that everyone is engaged or married, which is what my mom thinks. It isn’t that they’re weird. I won’t say who says that, but I bet you could guess. I think about it a lot and talk to almost everyone about it. They all have their own thoughts. I worry that it’s just that I don’t fit anymore.

We still see each other a fair amount. Once every month or so. Not nearly as much as we used to, but we live in different places now. We’ve talked about reinstating a phone schedule. We’ve talked about meeting for dinner. The truth is that when I spend time with you lately I feel like we’re just catching up on small talk and major bullet points. We can spend hours reminiscing about the past, but I wonder if we’ll still be talking about high school in five years. Or are we forming new memories and I’m missing it? I don’t remember how many breakdowns I’ve had in front of you. I can’t say for sure how many times I’ve made you promise that we’d stay friends forever. What kills me is that I’m blaming the stage of life you’re in, but I’m the one who is putting in a distance. Neither of us was ever very good at making plans. I used to never say no to you when you asked if I wanted to do something. Lately all I want to do is say no. No to the ‘whole gang.’ No to taking a day trip into your new life. I’d prefer if you could take the train back into mine for an afternoon.

Is that selfish? Maybe. But I’ve been towing along behind you for several years now. Saying no was just cutting the rope so that I could have both feet on the path I was already on. I like my path. It feels right. Focusing on working. Not worrying about whether my soul mate is waiting right around the corner. Not listening to people say that they want me to find the same happiness they found. It’s too much for me to handle.

You’ve never been guilty of that. Level headed. Low pressure. Judgment free. And the more ‘together’ your life has gotten the more of a nut basket I feel like. That’s part of it too I think. I don’t think of myself as overdramatic until I try to analyze our relationship and I hate that side of myself. It feels stupid and one-sided. Friendships come and go. I feel like I’ve learned that by now. But we said we’d never do that.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Day 24

PROMPT: That’s not the surgery he was supposed to perform.

As far as I can remember, I had always wanted to be a doctor. My friends would change their minds about their futures on a daily basis, but I was consistent from a very young age. So, I had spent my high school summers and free time at college, shadowing surgeons, interning at doctors’ offices and working in labs. Some people were kind enough to take me under their wings. I got to observe surgeries, talk to patients, and anything else that an arbitrary code determined was ethical.

I was in the room right after an amputee came out of surgery. He was still under anesthesia, but it was one of the highlights of my shadowing. It’s a unique opportunity to get to see the results of a surgery right before your eyes. I stood in the side, talking to a med student as the doctors and nurses moved around the unconscious patient. “That’s not the surgery he was supposed to perform.”

Every eye in the room shifted slowly to the source of the voice. A nurse was standing at the foot of the bed holding the patient’s chart and staring at the amputated. It was completely silent for probably a full minute. The attending doctor broke the silence. “What?” The nurse looked stricken. I couldn’t blame her. Being the messenger of this news wasn’t an enviable task. She answered slowly. “He… The patient’s right arm was amputated. It was supposed to be his left.” More silence. The med student I had been talking to tugged my sleeve. And we slipped out the door. “Trust me,” he said, “You do not want to be there when that patient wakes up.”