This week’s prompts are at the bottom. The story below was written for practice; because practice is what makes perfect.
When Benjamin woke it was still dark. His senses told him that something was amiss, but he couldn’t put his finger on it. He drifted back to sleep. It wouldn’t be until later that he would realize his trepidation had been the result to too much quiet.
When he woke again early sunlight peeked through the curtains. He could hear doves calling softly from the tree by the front window. Loretta lay next to him in the bed. She was still. She was quiet; still sleeping. He eased from beneath the bed sheets and the duvet, swinging his feet to the floor and stretching his arms high, shaking off the sleep. He eased his butt off the mattress, so as not to wake Loretta, stood and made his way to the kitchen.
There, Ben set up the coffee machine to make a pot of Bustelo and as the coffee was dripping he checked his attire. Sweat pants and a long sleeve nightshirt, not too bad. Good enough to collect the news anyway. He stepped out on the front porch and picked up the morning paper. The headlines were about another political scandal and more kids with guns. He shook his head, went back inside, and poured himself a cup ‘o Joe. Rifling through the news he found the comics. The sports and the funny papers were about the only parts of the paper he could stand to read anymore. I oughta just cancel my subscription.
He smiled at the comics. He noticed that the Sharks had won, that was good, that the Cats had lost, that was less good, he folded the paper and tucked it under his arm. Pouring another cup for himself and one for Loretta he navigated the dim hallway again to wake his wife. She liked to stay in bed for her first cup and watch the morning news on channel 7.
“Morning ‘Retta,” he said as he pushed his way back into the bedroom. She didn’t acknowledge him, but that wasn’t unusual, Loretta wasn’t a morning person. He set the cup on her bedside table and scooted back around to his side of the bed where he slid in next to his wife.
Loretta stayed still and quiet so, Benjamin began to tell her about today’s Calvin and Hobbes strip from the paper. She always got a kick out of that boy and his tiger. As he spoke he opened the news to the comic’s page and folded it back. Then he folded it in half, and again. He held it up so she could see it if she just turned her head, but he got no reaction.
“’Retta?” he questioned her, “Loretta? You OK?” Her skin was cool when he put his hand on her shoulder. She must have gone in the night. It was not unexpected but he was still surprised. It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. Suddenly confused and despondent, Benjamin slid down in the bed next to his wife of almost fifty years. He moved in close and wrapped his arm around her, pulling her to him.
There was so much he wanted to tell her. I wanted to say, “I love you,” one more time. I wanted to thank you again for putting up with me for so long. I wanted to apologize for never doing enough and, for taking you for granted. He wanted to take her to more fine restaurants. He wanted to go dancing again, but all he could do was hold her; so he did.
He might have gotten lost or dozed with her wrapped in his arms because, suddenly it was almost noon. He got out of bed and tucked Loretta’s covers under her chin. He watched her as though she slept and wondered, who do I call when this happens? On top of his bedside table he found his phone and stared at it. Do I call an ambulance? The police? Dr. Franklin? Who do I call? He was still confused, still despondent. What am I going to do now?
This week’s prompts are:
- you won’t be able to tell anyone else
- well, that was the idea
- all my favourite people
Go ahead and dive in, set your imagination free!
Ready, Set, Go – you have 25 minutes, but if that is not possible, take as long as you need.