Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Handwritten Challenge #1

The letter I received from my friend Writer In Transit contained two challenges.  I'm pretty sure she meant to offer me a choice, but since I'm an overachiever (and I'm procrastinating on the editing I have to do for the WIP) I decided to do both.  

The first one:
"Write a short dialogue based on these words: 'When you want something you've never had, you have to do something you've never done.'  It should be dramatic, filled with mystery and suspense."
I'm pretty sure this was not the result Writer In Transit was looking for, and I apologize--my romantic and darkish side got away with me.

~ * ~ * ~


Dave looks so confused.  My heart twitches, but I raise my chin.

"I don’t want to hurt you," I say.  It sounds ridiculous, here among my packed suitcases.  "I need to be on my own.  For a while."

"Where will you go?  What will you do?"  

It’s not concern that makes him ask.  He’s questioning my ability to grasp life without him, and he’s right.  I can’t.  But I have to try.

"Not sure.  Travel, for a while.  I’ll stay in touch."

"It’s madness, Barbara.  Why?  Just tell me why."

I sit on one of the suitcases, light a cigarette.  I’m not sure I can explain it, but Dave deserves at least that I try.  "All my life I’ve lived by the philosophy and beliefs of others.  Usually those 'others' have been the men in my life.  My parents, too.  And now you."

Dave scoffs, turns away.

"It’s not your fault," I say, and I mean it.  "Dave, this isn’t something you did.  It’s—me.  I don’t know if I believe in something—anything—genuinely.  It’s all tainted by what other people think, by the person I want to be, for the people I love.  For you, Dave.  And—I don’t think it’s healthy."

He’s looking at me as if he’s never seen me before, and I cringe.  I do love him, after all.

"I get it, Barb.  I do.  You made changes, you quit your job, you want new challenges.  I get it.  But—us?  We’re above that, right?  I mean…"  He trails off, hands flailing.

"We are," I agree, flick ash to the flower beds off the porch.  "But, Dave, I want to know who I am and what I—I, myself—believe in.  I can’t go through life as a mental and spiritual clone of the people around me.  I don’t want to."

He doesn’t understand.  I can see it in his face.  He’s never learned to listen without the intent to reply, and now he’s lost because he can’t think of a single thing to say to me.

"Please.  Let me go."

He stares at me for a long minute, then shrugs and walks back into the house.  I watch his back disappear into the darkened hallway with remorse that punctures my lungs.  I finish my cigarette in silence and, resisting the urge to look back, I load the suitcases into the car.

 Look forward to your feedback if you're so inclined!


  1. Great take on the challenge and what a response! Wow!
    No need to explain/apologise wrt the response. I'm not reading with my red pen in hand, bleeding your script. LOL!
    Remember, the main thing is to enjoy the letter-writing experience! Have fun!

  2. LOL... Whew, I've been having nightmares about the red pen, hahahaha! Glad you liked the result of your first prompt, and I promise I'll get a letter out for you this week.


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