The weird thing about having a blog about writing is that technically I cannot post work that I want published someday. Short stories that I am working on, to send to different places, can’t be posted because typically they want unpublished works. Writing is also something that needs to be done every day. So let’s kill two birds with one stone. At least once a week, I will flip randomly through this book:
and choose a prompt. I will then write for a minimum of twenty minutes and maximum of an hour. I created these rules myself, so I can break them. Also, no revision is allowed. Here is what I picked randomly today:
“You must be the relator,” Chad says, lifting his hand to shake the woman’s before she turns all the way around. When his wife, Tammy, told him that the relator would stop by today, he expected some short little thing, with mousy hair and too white smile–as if she only just took out her teeth whitening trays. But this woman, peering into his windows, is taller than he is, wearing heels the color of her own shapely calves.
Chad always wonders if women do this on purpose. Did this relator pick those shoes knowing they would only elongate her legs, knowing that even in the demure tweed skirt reaching the back of her knees, a man would be thinking of those legs–the calves, the knees, the thighs, the hips…
“Oh!” The woman turns and her teeth are white, though not blindingly so. Chad realizes that she appears much younger from behind and yet the attraction doesn’t exactly diminish. She’s one of the few women he knows his age that keeps her hair long and she is a redhead, with a sprinkling of freckles across her nose that make her appear somehow girlish at the same time. “Oh! No, I’m not–”
“It’s okay. I saw you peeking in the windows. I should have been here earlier. My wife told me–” He smiles, but only with his lips, wanting to hide the chip in his front tooth the dentist is fixing tomorrow. He isn’t fully aware of it, or maybe he is, because he thinks: you silly, old man, all while adjusting his posture slightly and sucking in his stomach. “Anyway, it’s going to be sad to put this old house on the market but the last kid’s in college. Time to downsize, you know?” Does he just imagine her tilting nearer, as if what he says is interesting? He must because he can’t think of one single substantial fact to relay. “We’re actually telling my son, Tyler, this weekend. He’s coming back for Thanksgiving. Are you doing anything for the holiday?”
“Well.” Her voice is breathy. She tucks a piece of auburn hair behind her ear. “I’m actually here with Ty. Or Tyler, I should say. He told me he let both of his parents know he was bringing someone home for Thanksgiving.”
“You’re here with my Tyler?” Chad takes a step back. He vaguely remembers Tammy mentioning that Tyler was not only dating someone, he was bringing her home for the holidays. He could picture Tammy, rubbing her cold cream into her hands as she relayed the information.
“My name is Hannah.” She smiles. There is one dimple on her face, not two. She reaches out to shake Chad’s hand. “Tyler and I met in Mandarin class.”
“Mandarin?” Chad exhales and gives up trying to look slimmer. “Chinese?”
“Mandarin,” she corrects. “Ty, I mean, Tyler couldn’t find the key so he went around back to see if a door was open in the back of the house.”
“Oh.” Chad looks at his feet only for a moment before his eyes land on her shoes whereupon his mind returns to her legs. “Why are you taking a college course?”
“Mandarin,” Hannah corrects. “I’m finally getting my MBA. And my company does a lot of business with China. Did you know there are more people in the world speaking Mandarin than English?”
“Dad!” Tyler calls, coming around from the side of the house. He is gangly, still growing into himself. He is barely eighteen. Tammy and Chad thought he might cry when they told him they were selling the house. How do you think he will take it, they asked each other in bed. They actually stayed up nights practicing what to say and worrying over how their youngest, who still couldn’t manage to keep his shoelaces tied, would take the news. Remember when he slept between us the entire year he was four, Chad remembers telling his wife.
“No, no, I didn’t,” Chad says after a moment.