Love at First Sight

by Joe Bunting | 124 comments

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Write a scene where two characters of different backgrounds (think Romeo and Juliet) fall in love at first sight.

Write for fifteen minutes. When you're finished, share your practice in the comments section. And if you share, be sure to leave feedback for a few other writers.

love at first sight. romeo and juliet

Here's my practice:

She was just there, close to him, tracing the skins of mangos with the softest finger in the world. He stopped talking, stopped moving, stopped breathing. She looked up and saw him looking and he felt his knees give out and nearly fell, held himself up against a bin full of tomatoes, until the shopkeeper beat him away with a fan. She smiled—that smile! let her smile again—and walked between the booths stopping at the stalls for avocados, papaya, rice, cassava, and tea, sneaking up glances at him, while he followed her, dodging shopkeepers and peering out from behind bins and bags of goods that hung from the roof of the market so her ayah wouldn't see him. Her eyes are bluer than ice. When she looks at me my skin freezes. He did not, could not look away. Her ayah caught him staring and shooed her along, whispering things into her ear which only made her smile, dragging her by the arm. She looked and looked and did not see him, her brow furrowing. Let me be the iron that smooths her brow. I'll make a life's work of it. He followed them, moving through the bodies, ducking stands, climbing over boxes but never looking away lest he lose her forever. She looked back and saw him. Is she true? Is she there? Or is it a dream of Satan to torment me with hope? Either way let him torment. I will dream. I will dream. And he followed them from the market.

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Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris, a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).

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  1. Jen Whitfield

    Just entering the cold, stark room made me nervous. I felt their eyes penetrating my back as I made my way through. I read their minds without an ounce of clairvoyance. “What is SHE doing here?” “SHE does not belong.” “SHE is not like us.” I considered running to pick up the package I came for but didn’t want to show them my cowardice. In attempt to convince them that I had none, I lifted my eyes and scanned the room with a hard face. When I landed on his eyes, I had to stop. His thick glasses couldn’t hide the fact that he looked at me differently. I felt a strange flutter in my chest that I had not felt in quite some time. He blushed and looked down to scrawl something on a small piece of paper. I began to move toward the package again. As I walked past his desk, he pushed the paper into my hand. Once I was safely outside with the package and the note, I hungrily unfolded the paper. On it, his email address. I slumped back against the brick wall. Could this ever work? He from floor six, IT, me from floor eight, Creative.

    • BrinaHarwood

      I loved the intra-office standoff. Definitely had a grin spread accross my face at the end.

  2. Jennifer Luitwieler

    This place was not her scene. She preferred the dank basement pubs of her youth. The kinds of black holes another kind of person would not notice in a gray face of so many dilapidated store fronts. Her job was to wait outside and drag him home. It seemed only natural that after a while, she joined him inside.

    Entering this place, though, this shiny, cavernous club that seemed to have been decorated by jaded, millionaire-angels, her heart raced. The tats prickled on her skin, though they’d been burned there years ago. Her black, steel-tipped boots clomped on the floor. She didn’t belong here. She told herself she had as much a right to be here as the suburban divorcees at the bar, drinking pink froth and flicking long nails into the blinking lights.

    He sat near the too-loud, too-blond pink-drinking women and tried not to yawn at their talk. He held the crystal glass in front of him, savoring the burn of a very nice single malt when he saw her. This woman had stories. This woman had something to say. It wasn’t so much the ink, or the latex pants or the halter that allowed a nearly full view of most of her body art. More than anything, it was her voice and the drink she ordered.

    When she sidled to the bar, when the bartender approached with a nod, velvet poured from her stained lips. And she said something that floored him. “Peach daiquiri.” He had expected her to order a light beer or a half gallon of vodka. He had expected a gruff demand.

    Before he thought to command his legs, they carried him toward her. Before she acknowledged his presence, he had slipped some bills across the counter. When she turned to him, she recognized something hidden but true under the navy blazer, beyond the manicured cuticles. She saw something broken like her in his slick hair and his smooth skin. She touched his arm, curious. He didn’t recoil. He didn’t question. He felt the weight of her small hand on his arm and knew her. A tenable heat arose between them. The bartender moved away, caught like an intruder in an intimate place.

    “I know you, don’t I?” she asked.

    “We’ve never met, but I think you do.”

    • Suzie Gallagher

      for some reason it won’t let me post my post, but it sits in a comment box looking at me. Jennifer I loved your tale….and this is mine

      He sat at the bar, on the same stool he always sat on. One beer was following nicely on from the other, liquid nectar for his soul. This was his daytime, nights he worked as a bouncer in a strippers joint. He chatted with whoever sat next to him, he was one chilled character.

      She entered the bar because of a sudden downpour, sat at the bar and ordered a beer. She hadn’t had a beer in years and it went down like water, she ordered another and started chatting to him. The weather, where she was from, what she was doing there – normal chitchat. All the time more beer was entering both their bodies.

      At some point the two beer fuelled bodies turned to each other and sparked. They kissed.

      The sun came out and she left, slightly buzzing from the interaction, shaking her head, clearing in the sunshine, she returned to the tour bus, she returned to her husband, she didn’t give it another thought.

      He sat at the bar, on the same stool he always sat on. He drank his beer, he chatted, but something or someone was haunting him. A normal person, a woman with no agenda, with a good life, a pastor’s wife had kissed him. Him, a has been, never been, what was it about her that niggled. No longer chilled, wtf, it was just a kiss. But no matter how many times he said this to himself, he knew in his heart it changed everything, he was changed…

    • Jennifer Luitwieler

      What I like here is the repetition that brackets the story. He sat at the bar. Twice, but changed. Nice work.

    • Joe Bunting

      Interesting, wicked, haunting story Suzie. Nice job.

    • Yvette Carol

      Oooh a pastor’s wife, I never expected that. Scandal. Nice!

    • Angelo Dalpiaz

      You have painted a very good scene here. I like the way you begin by describing the two characters as opposites. But something within them lets them know they are alike. Really good!

    • Themagicviolinist

      Good story, but I especially loved the ending. 😀

    • Beck Gambill

      I like the contrasts in your story. The contrast of people, of location, of her voice and appearance, of the unlikelihood of them being similar.

    • JB Lacaden

      I love how everything’s casually done. The description of how the two characters are different didn’t feel forced. Nice story. Nice ending. 🙂

    • Deb Atwood

      I love the imagery you use here. The tats prickling was great. I love her voice, too. In fact, I would prefer not switching pov in such a short piece. I think the impact would be greater if she is the only narrator. This was fun.

    • Joe Bunting

      Agreed on both counts. She’s more interesting than he is. Stay in her POV.

    • Diane Turner

      Love, love, love this! Wonderful ending.

    • Steph

      Your last line is very compelling. I agree with Joe…stay in her POV. I also liked your description of the suburban divorcees and the descriptions of her tats.

    • Yvette Carol

      Nice little touches, the latex pants, the manicured cuticles, it’s these small things that bring a story to life.

  3. Jennifer Luitwieler

    I also want to comment on your practice, Joe. Two things struck me. The colors of the fruits and veggies set a contrast: the practicality of the market with the sensual colors and textures that it seems only these two can appreciate. And the line “the iron that smooths her brow.” This is both a hopeful prayer and strong image. Irons are hot, they force out wrinkles. They work under pressure. What I like about this is that it speaks to the intensity of a real love. Because it sure ain’t easy! Finally, this is a scene from a movie; I felt like I could see it.

    • Joe Bunting

      Hi Jennifer.

      Thanks so much. I’m so glad you could see it. I always strive for that. I like what you said about how only they can appreciate it. I didn’t think about that, and love’s power to heighten the sense. I may have to go through it again to add to that effect. Thanks!

  4. Dmullet

    A wonderful plethora of sights, smells, and sounds came with your practice story. I think I want to know more about these people.

  5. Suzie Gallagher

    He sat at the bar, on the same stool he always sat on. One beer was following nicely on from the other, liquid nectar for his soul. This was his daytime, nights he worked as a bouncer in a strippers joint. He chatted with whoever sat next to him, he was one chilled character.

    She entered the bar because of a sudden downpour, sat at the bar and ordered a beer. She hadn’t had a beer in years and it went down like water, she ordered another and started chatting to him. The weather, where she was from, what she was doing there – normal chitchat. All the time more beer was entering both their bodies.

    At some point the two beer fuelled bodies turned to each other and sparked. They kissed.

    The sun came out and she left, slightly buzzing from the interaction, shaking her head, clearing in the sunshine, she returned to the tour bus, she returned to her husband, she didn’t give it another thought.

    He sat at the bar, on the same stool he always sat on. He drank his beer, he chatted, but something or someone was haunting him. A normal person, a woman with no agenda, with a good life, a pastor’s wife had kissed him. Him, a has been, never been, what was it about her that niggled. No longer chilled, wtf, it was just a kiss. But no matter how many times he said this to himself, he knew in his heart it changed everything, he was changed…

    • Diane Turner

      It sounds like she may have been a bit older than he, and his encounter with her tweaked something in him, made him somebody from nobody. I like the line …their beer fueled bodies…
      Nice work.

    • Suzie Gallagher

      thanks Diane. no idea of his age, one of those ageless drifters, wrinkled because of the sun or because of age, who knows. the ones that sit at bars and have no notion of time, making them timeless,

  6. Angelo Dalpiaz

    Joe, I have a question before I get to my practice.

    When writing a novel how does a writer handle showing a foreign accent?

    I read a novel where a Chinese character’s accent is used to inject humor into a scene. It’s not used to demean or make fun of the Chinese character, but by using the accent the writer was able to place a bit of humor into the scene.

    What are your feelings on this?

    • Joe Bunting

      I dealt with that issue on a ghostwriting project recently. My client told a story about a Russian man he knew and used his accent and all that. I had a choice about whether to keep the weird Russian phrasing that might confuse people or make it sound like normal English. I decided to keep it Russian, and I explained in the speaker tags he had a Russian accent.

      In general, I think it helps. But it can get complicated and confusing. It depends on how it sounds and what you’re goals are. If you’re trying to be a little funny, then use it. If you’re trying to be elegant and simple, you probably shouldn’t.

    • Angelo Dalpiaz

      Thanks, Joe.

      Elegant? Me?

      I’m going to add a character that will give my protagonist simple advice that will get him thinking. If I make this character a college professor his advice will carry more weight with my protagonist than I want it to. So I want it to be a simple, working man from another country. This way I can use humor to impart the information I want my protagonist to ponder.

      Thanks again, Joe.

  7. Suzie Gallagher

    Sincere apologies to Jennifer Luitwieler, I piggy backed onto yours because disqus was playing a game that I didn’t know the rules to. I have it sorted now I think and hopefully will continue to sort.
    Our stories are opposites – yours is a girl on the wrong side and mine is a man on the wrong side – meeting their opposites. Disqus is playing up again I can’t see what I am writing. Apolo


  8. Suzie Gallagher

    Continuing – apologies if my spelling is out of kilter with humanity. Your story ends with hope of love, mine ends with a hope of change.

  9. Angelo Dalpiaz

    Here’s my practice.

    The electronic, faux organ music vibrated her bones as she walked past the Ferris wheel along the main fairway, bright lights of the Ferris wheel blinked against the ink black sky.

    Tomorrow the muddy fairway under her feet would be a pasture again, but tonight the loud carnival music filled her senses. She looked up to see the bright lights of the Ferris wheel blinking in the ink-black sky and felt the music vibrating her bones. She wasn’t supposed to be here, she had told her parent’s she was staying the night with her friend, Tammy. But Tammy and her boyfriend had gone off somewhere together, so the two friends were actually covering for each other.
    Angela stood in the ticket window line behind two older girls who leaned their heads close together and whispered, then looked at Angela and laughed. She hated when people did that, treated her like there was something wrong with her. I know I’m not pretty, she thought as she watched the two girls buy tickets and run off, but am I really that ugly? She turned and looked into the dark booth.
    Even though the bars handing across the window obscured her view of him, she could tell that the young man selling tickets was cute, and probably much too young to be working at the carnival. She had read stories about young boys who dreamed of running away and joining the carnival, then seeing the country as they worked their way across the country. She had even thought of doing the same thing, especially when the kids at school teased her.
    “How many?” he asked abruptly. His voice was high-pitched.
    “A dollar’s worth,” she replied.
    His thin fingers poked under the bars as he pushed four tickets to Angela. “You won’t get on many of the rides with only four tickets,” he said, his voice just above a whisper.
    “But that’s all the money I have.”
    “How old are you?”
    “Seventeen,” she replied. “Why?”
    “You remind me of my sister…back in Iowa.” His blue eyes reflected through the bars as one of the rides nearby lit up with a plume of light. “She’s pretty too.”
    “uh, thank you.” Angela had never been called pretty before. “Are you from Iowa?”
    “You’re a long way from home.”
    “The carnival is my home now.”
    “How do you like it?”
    “It’s okay,” he said but Angela could sense that there was no conviction in his voice. “Hey, how about I take you on a couple of rides, I ride free. The workers won’t mind if I take you along.”
    “Are you sure you won’t get into trouble?”
    “Naw,” he said. “The workers all watch out for each other here.” He stepped out of the small ticket booth and locked the door.

    An hour later, both Angela and her new friend, Freddie, were exhausted. Angela sat on a bench and watched the roller coaster flash past, screams and laughter filled the night air. Freddie joined Angela at the bench and handed her a pillow of cotton candy. “Here, this is for you.”
    “Thank you, but you didn’t have to do that.”
    “You said you didn’t have any more money, and cotton candy is a specialty of the carnival. If you haven’t had some cotton candy then you haven’t really been to the carnival.”
    “I wish I could work here,” Angela said as she gazed around at the rides and crowds of people smiling and laughing. “Everyone here looks so happy.”
    “The people visiting the carnival are laughing,” Freddie said as he pushed his cap higher off his face. “But the workers have a hard life. It’s not always fun.”
    “Neither is going to school. I don’t like when the kids make fun of me.”
    “The carnival is no place for a pretty girl like you, Angela.” Freddie took Angela’s hand and gently tugged it so she stood next to him. “Come on,” he said. “I’ll walk you home.”

    During their walk home, Angela told Freddie about the problems she had with the kids at school teasing her all the time, and how she thinks about running away.
    “Do me a favor,” Freddie asked as he stared into Angela’s eyes.
    “Okay, if I can.”
    “Stay home, don’t run away.” He looked over Angela’s shoulder at her house. “The carnival will be back in town in a year, and I’ll be with it. If you still want to run away with the carnival I’ll help you.”
    “Would you really do that for me?” A smile broke out on Angela’s face.
    “Sure I would.” Freddie leaned in and kissed Angela’s cheek. “The carnival is no place for a pretty girl like you, Angela,” he said as he turned and began walking away.
    “I’ll see you in a year, Freddie.”
    He turned back to her and smiled. “I hope not, Angela, I hope not.”

    • Steph

      You did a nice job with the setting, Angelo. The details were very well chosen. You achieved a lot of character depth in such a small space, too!

    • Angelo Dalpiaz

      I just re-read it. I used the same description of the Ferris wheel twice.

    • Steph

      I didn’t notice that at all, Angelo. If anything, the repitition served to reinforce my impression of a strong setting. Maybe just tweak one of them? I think they were well placed.

      (I hate rereading my submissions!!)

    • Steph

      Like…how to spell repetition! That darn Post As button gets me every time!

    • Yvette Carol

      Sweet and good Angelo 🙂

    • Diane Turner

      What a sweet story! Nice visuals; I felt like I was there at the carnival. I think that Freddie gave Angela a boost of self-esteem, regardless of what the kids at school did. Nicely done.

    • Angelo Dalpiaz

      Thank you, Diane. What high school student, boy or girl, couldn’t use a bit of esteem raising?

  10. Tom Wideman

    He couldn’t explain it; he just knew she was the one. He couldn’t take his eyes off of her, even as she caught him staring at her. Normally very shy, he surprised himself as he instinctively reached his calloused hand toward her. But she, also very shy and a bit skittish from a previous relationship, turned away and headed back to the rest of her group.

    He felt the pang of rejection but was not going to let it deter his pursuit. Playing “hard-to-get” only made her more appealing. He loved a good challenge. He smiled watching her backside swing back and forth as she walked away. He wished he knew what she was saying to her friends. He stood there awkwardly running his fingers through his hair. He caught a glimpse of himself in the storefront window and realized he had forgotten to shave. It was at that moment he felt a presence standing next to him. She had returned.

    He fought back a boyish grin, not wanting to appear too desperate, but he couldn’t contain himself. Her blonde hair was almost glowing in the afternoon sun. Her eyes sparkled with a mixture of mischief and innocence. But he was far from innocent. He was fresh out of prison and there was no way a beautiful innocent thing like her would allow herself to be in a relationship with a guy like him.

    “I think she likes you,” said the voice from behind him. Tears welled up in his bloodshot eyes as she began licking his hand. He reached down and gave her a pet. After all these years, perhaps he could find love again.

    • Themagicviolinist

      I love the description and the ending. I had no idea it was a dog until the end.

    • Diane Turner

      What a sweet piece, and the surprise ending was dynamite. Nicely done.

    • Joe Bunting

      Always the jokester. Good one, Tom. You have me grinning.

    • Steph

      Awww! Loved this.

  11. Themagicviolinist

    A boy walked into the market. Anna froze and dropped the apple she was holding, causing five other apples to tumble onto the floor. An employee yelled at her, but she could not hear what he was saying. All she could hear was the beating of her own heart in her cheast. Boom, boom, boom. The boy was smiling and walking towards her. His lips are so red. She thought dreamily. Here she was, a grown, single woman, and she was drooling over this boy like a lovesick puppy. He noticed the apples on the ground and looked up at her.
    “Do you want some help with those?” He asked. His voice was smooth as butter and musical.
    Anna smoothed her white springdress and wet her lips nervously.
    “Y-yes, please. Thank you.”
    He smiled again. Anna’s heart melted.
    They both bent down to pick up the apples. Anna’s hand brushed up against his. Goosebumps went up her arm.
    They put the apples back and Anna stared into those black eyes. Black as midnight. She thought.
    “My name’s Alan,” he said, pushing his long, dirty-blonde hair out of his eyes.
    “P-pleased to meet you, Alan,” Anna stuttered, accepting his outstretched hand. “My name’s Anna.”
    He gave another smile. Anna’s stomach did a somersault. They got to talking and as minutes stretched into an hour, Anna pulled out a pad of paper and a pen.
    “Can you give me your phone number?” Anna asked tentatively. “I’ll give you mine.”
    He scribbled some numbers and Anna took it. She gave him her phone number.
    “Well, nice to meet you, Anna,” Alan said. Anna gave a small wave as he walked away. She sighed and hoped they would meet again soon.

    • Diane Turner

      Sweet story. She’s a shy woman, he’s still a boy. Reluctant cougar maybe? I hope they meet again, too.

    • Themagicviolinist

      Thank you! 😀

    • Yvette Carol

      Hey there, good to see you’re still writing and contributing. Nice love story
      🙂 Just one criticism, you start with ‘she froze’ but at the same time she ‘dropped the apple’? It’s what they call ‘a bump in the road’ of the reader’s conviction. When you freeze you are completely in stasis. Just so you know, if you added a comma and ‘then’ it’d work; ‘she froze, and then she dropped the apple….’
      Nice job though. Keep it up dude!!

    • Themagicviolinist

      Thank you, I’ll definitely fix that!

  12. Themagicviolinist

    I love description and yours was incredible, Joe. I loved your practice! 😀

  13. Annie Snow

    I didn’t edit too much because I had written 499 words in 15 minutes. That’s the first time I finish in time and I’m really proud of myself. It’s not much but I emptied my mind and just kept writing.


    It was her voice that drew him to her. The stewardess asked her usual questions. He lifted his head, thinking she meant him when he heard this feminine voice answer. It had a sweet ring to it, like hearing the right song going with you current mood. He looked at her. All he saw was the back of her head, long locks of gleaming brown trailed down her back. She kept a firm posture, one hand holding a book, her finger marking the page she was on, it was nearly half finished. He glanced at the title, doesn’t know it but it sounds science fiction. She said her thank you, so gentle and polite he nearly died, then she turned around. Deep in his conscience, he let himself believe the situation might not be that good; she might not be that beautiful. But she was. Her skin was bright, smooth with a shine. Her nose straight, not big, not small either, on the side to him he saw a tiny sparkly nose ring. She pulled her hand up, with a delicate movement of her wrist she pulled her hair behind her ear, flashing eat another earring on the upper side. Her locks slid down as she leaned over to read her book again. “Sir!” Someone yelled. Was that for him? He shook his head and looked at the stewardess; she asked again if he needed anything. ”No I’m good.” I have everything I could possibly need. She started walking away but the girl next to him lifted her head. She turned to him. It must be fate! She looked into his eyes. Wow. Her gleaming brown eyes, widely shaped, eyebrows plucked to perfection. She looked almost daring, challenging yet friendly and… warm. For a few seconds no one looked away, as her eyes focused on him, he saw something sparkle, her lips started drawing a smile, a surprised modest smile. He hoped to God her heart was pounding like his. He smiled in return. She shook her head as if out of a dream. Looked at the book but put it down eventually. He was glancing at her every second or two. She then took out a notebook; it looked clean of any lines. A pen in her hand she started doodling, lines go up, down, vertically, horizontally… shadows, color thickens, lightens. She draws, he said to himself. She draws!
    He looked at the window, they were preparing for takeoff. Their seatbelts were on. He wasn’t moved, neither is this girl next to him. It felt they had the same bravery. The engine of the plane began to roar. The plane started running down the lane. “Excuse me,” He finally said after thinking it through for a million times per second. Her face lifted up to him, biting her lower lip shyly as she saw him choke. “Pardon me for being so blunt but…” He swallows. She urges with a yes, “but… I think you might be the girl of my dreams”.

    • JB Lacaden

      “Excuse me,” He finally said after thinking it through for a million times per second.

      I like that line. Good job 🙂 Good writing.

    • Annie Snow

      Appreciate it. Oh, and thanks for being the first to comment on my drawing onTwitter. I adored your story as well, it had a certain feeling to it, like entering to a dark and mysterious place but finding a chest full of jemstones after you’ve walked in deep enough.

    • Yvette Carol

      Like your voice.

  14. Beck Gambill

    Charlotte rested still and quiet in the cold hospital bed. An hour before she had emptied herself in the burn of pain and love. She had faced the ordeal alone, except for the nurse on duty, that evening. Seth had died four months earlier. Her heart still throbbed the loss raw like a beating wound. Now she had a corresponding ache but this one was due to life.

    Beside her, nestled in the crook of her arm and wrapped in blue, was an unfamiliar face. Her eyes traced the scrunched eyes, tiny nose, dimpled chin just like his daddy’s, and pink skin over and over in an attempt to learn him by heart. An hour ago he was tucked away in secret, felt but unseen. Now, here he lay. Out of the nowhere and into the here. His smell intoxicated her. Every little sigh made her heart jump and beat quickly.

    Charlotte asked herself how she could so dearly love someone she had never met before. In the last hour she had gone from being a lonely widow to a mother. She had given birth to her own transformation, and here he lay, the love of her life. At 6 lbs. 4 oz. he was a tiny peanut. Unable to communicate, needy in every way, what could he offer to her? And yet she knew their hearts were connected forever. She was smitten.

    His tiny mouth opened and he mewed like a hungry kitten. She chuckled at the tiny sound. A tear escaped, spilling over the edge of her eye, flowing down her cheek. It landed with a splash on his forehead christening him as her own.

    • BrinaHarwood

      I love this one! Childbirth is incredibly akin to falling in love. Love the description of the baby and her emotions.

    • Beck Gambill

      Thanks Brina! I’ve never experienced love at first sight, except with my son. It was the first thing that popped into my head.

    • Joe Bunting

      You’re right. Having kids is probably the most experienced type of love at first sight on the planet.

    • Diane Turner

      Wow! What a stunning piece of writing. I loved it all.

    • Beck Gambill

      Thank you Diane! It felt a little bit like a memory as I wrote it.

    • Steph

      What a pretty last line. Your “mother’s heart” pours into so much of your writing. It is wonderful that you are able to tap into that.

    • Beck Gambill

      Thanks Steph! I wish I were more imaginative. I’m definitely a write what you know kind of girl!

    • Jim Woods

      Nothing wrong with that. Beck, this was really beautiful!! I’d encourage you to share it with others, especially moms!

    • Yvette Carol

      Awww, a tear jerker! 🙂

    • Beck Gambill

      Thanks Yvette. I like for my writing to evoke emotion!

  15. BrinaHarwood

    He was dumbfounded.

    “Where is my tape?” He asked again, thinking that Dan had misunderstood the question.

    “I leant it to a chick I know.” Dan responded in the same frustratingly blank tone as he had before.

    “A chick you know? You do know that that tape shouldn’t exist right? That album doesn’t come out for another 8 months! Kevin went out on a limb for me to even get me a copy and you leant it to some chick?!” At this point his tone got a little pitchy and Dan was gathering pretty quickly that Luke was pissed.

    “I can get it back for you, man. Chill out. She’s not just some chick. I know her. She’s cool. Nothing will happen to it.” Dan tried to use his most reassuring voice, but assume he had failed based upon the look on Luke’s face.

    “Get her on the phone now.” Demanded Luke; “We’re getting that tape back tonight.”

    After digging through his wallet for the slip of yellow paper with her number on it, he clumsily dialed the number. Luke just stood there and glared at him.

    “Hey, is Trina there?” Luke could hear a female voice in the background, but he didn’t pay too much attention. He was seething with anger at how mindless Dan had been. “It wasn’t even his tape!” Luke screamed in his mind.

    After a minute of considering all of the implications of a tape like that getting out on a college campus, he was pulled back into the moment. “She’s there now. We’ll have to go now because she’s trying to leave.” Dan informed Luke.

    Luke grabbed his keys and didn’t even turn to look at Dan while he said “Let’s go.”

    The drive over to the dorms was oddly quiet. Dan tried to explain who the girl was and explain again that this girl was cool. Given Dan’s penchant for ditzy idiot-types, Luke didn’t hold out much hope.

    As they entered the lobby they looked around at all of the typical 20-something college types playing pool and generally just hanging about. They didn’t fit in. As body-piercer’s by trade, they had various facial piercings, wore black clothing and generally looked disgruntled. Add to all of this, Luke’s foul mood about the whole situation, the kids kept their distance.

    In a hurry to get up the stairs and get out of there, they took them 2 at a time. After locating the number she gave Dan over the phone, he knocked.

    Then it happened, she opened the door. As he stood there, ready to simply meet “some chick”, most likely shallow and tiny and blonde, he met her. There was something about her that he was drawn to. She wasn’t particularly beautiful. She had short black hair and a lip ring. She wore her clothes about 3 sizes too big and she wasn’t the least bit bubbly. He introduced himself and apologized for insisting on getting the tape back so quickly and tried to explain the situation. She didn’t seem fazed and said ok. She invited them in and he began to scan her belongings for something that would throw up a red flag. Something to indicate that she was some poser, but it wasn’t there. Her CD collection checked out and after questioning her for 10 minutes about music and movies, she proved herself legit.

    He was in love, now he just had to convince her that they were meant to be.

    • Joe Bunting

      Haha nice. Interesting characters, Brina. Did you do time as a body piercer. too? 🙂

    • BrinaHarwood

      No. I was the piercee. 🙂

    • Joe Bunting

      Hahaha keep it clean Brina.

    • BrinaHarwood

      The backstory was that I had gone in to get a piercing when he leant me the tape… so I actually was the piercee. 🙂

    • JB Lacaden

      Was he able to convince her? Haha. I like your protagonist. Im thinking he’s the “rough on the outside but soft on the inside” type of guy.

    • BrinaHarwood

      Actually, I wasn’t very original. It’s my personal love story. I was the girl that borrowed the tape 16 years ago. My creativity was found in filling in the blanks from his perspective. I read it to him last night and he said that I reflected him pretty well. It was fun and my husband is definitely rough on the outside and soft on the inside.

    • Diane Turner

      Original or not, what a sweet story. I love the non-bubbly girl, now I see was you??? It’s grand that your husband says you got him right. You knew him well way back then. Nicely done.

    • BrinaHarwood

      Thanks! It was fun to kind of explore what the other side of the story would have been like. When we retell it, he speaks of his “love at first sight” experience and tell of my “yeah he was cute, but I didn’t think much of it” experience. Haha!

    • Yvette Carol

      Ha ha Brina, I love the bit ‘she wasn’t the least bit bubbly’ the perfect anti-heroine 🙂

    • BrinaHarwood

      Thanks! I was pretty much anti-everthing at the time, but so was he. So we were a bit of a perfect match. 🙂

  16. JB Lacaden

    wanted to keep on continuing but I already reached my 15 minutes. Hope you enjoy reading my practice 🙂


    It started off as a normal Saturday evening in the Icecube. I was seated in my usual spot in the bar waiting for a guy named Marko. I remember having an empty glass cradled in my hands. A voice from behind me spoke up.

    “Want another glass Jack?”

    I looked behind me and I saw Vinie, the bartender, wiping a glass. I gave him a nod and he smiled and placed the cup he’s wiping down. I directed my attention again to the people having a good time. The Icecube, as usual, was filled again—the rich and the famous of the Metro, patsies just waiting for me to pick them clean of their hard-earned dough.

    “So, what’s your business tonight Jack?”

    I turned around and I saw Vinie handing me my glass back. “Waiting for Marko,” I answered him before taking a drink. “The guy owes me some cabbage.”

    “That big lug?” Vinie said as he went back to cleaning glasses, “Good luck to ya. You’d have more luck squeezing dough out of a rock than from that boob.”

    I emptied my glass and I smiled at Vinie. “Everyone pays their debts to Jackie Rivers, Vinie. Everyone.”

    “Whatever you say Jack,” was all he said in reply.

    The lights grew dim then. I looked in front and I saw spotlights were focused on the stage. The curtains were pulled and there she was, standing with a microphone in front of her. She was definitely a looker, the most beautiful thing I ever laid my eyes on.

    Everyone had gone silent inside the Icecube. The dame smiled a sad smile at everyone. She then started to sing. She had a smoky voice, like that of Billie Holiday’s, and she was singing some forlorn song. I couldn’t pull my eyes off of her.

    “Hey, hey, Vinie,” I said without looking away from her.

    “Yeah, Jack?”

    “Who’s the canary?”

    “She’s new. Boss hired her just the other day. Now let’s see, I’m not good at names…”

    Vinie’s voice was tuned out by her rising voice. I stood up and I left my glass on the counter. I could hear Vinie saying something behind me but I didn’t stop to ask what it was, I just kept on walking towards the stage, towards her.

    When I was about six feet away, her eyes found me. She continued on singing and I continued on falling. I knew I was in love. I had to get her.

    She was finishing her song. She was singing how she would keep on waiting for her lover to come home to her once again. Her voice slowly died down. Applause filled the Icecube. I must’ve looked funny standing there—quiet, in awe, in love. She smiled at me and then she took her bow and turned to leave.

    Wait! I wanted to shout but my voice got lost in my windpipe. The curtains were closed and the lights were turned on. I remained standing there.

    • Katie Axelson

      I really hope you didn’t stop writing because the timer went off.

    • JB Lacaden

      I’ve the ideas in my head so I’ll probably continue the story. But yeah, I stopped because of te timer. 🙂

    • Annie Snow

      Yes. Do continue the story. Please, do.

    • Beck Gambill

      Ah, what happened?! I like the way your dialogue and description evoked a certain era. I could visualize their clothes and the room based on my presumptions of the time period.

    • JB Lacaden

      Thanks Beck. 🙂 I wanted to write something noir inspired and Im glad you liked it.
      What happened next is Marko arrived. I’ll probably continue the story 🙂

    • Joe Bunting

      Ha. I love the slang JB: “owes me some cabbage,” “who’s the canary.” Very fun. The whole thing is very film noir and she’s the femme fatale. I’m a fan.

    • JB Lacaden

      Thanks! Im glad I managed to project the idea I had in mind. I’ve always been a fan of humphrey bogart and I wanted to write something noir-esque.

    • Joe Bunting

      You succeeded 🙂

    • Yvette Carol

      Snap! Was going to say the same thing 🙂

    • Steph

      Great voice, JB. Smooth, easy to read, contributes to character and setting. Well done!

    • JB Lacaden

      Thanks steph 🙂

    • Diane Turner

      A poignant story. I love the line …but my voice got lost in my windpipe. So sad him standing there. Nicely done.

    • Tara_pohlkottepress

      so fun! i was right there with him. i knew the setting, could hear the song… nice.

  17. Deb Atwood

    Joe, I enjoyed your piece. It really did remind me of Romeo and Juliet. The following and ducking behind fruit stands really gave it a sense of movement.

    • Joe Bunting

      Cool. Thanks Deb. I watched bits of the 1998 version last night. Lots of movement in that. I’m glad it rubbed off.

  18. Oddznns

    iwow.. romantic. is this the street boy story? it sounds more like the indian sub continent though. and perod…not current.

    • Joe Bunting

      Thanks Audrey. Yep, street boy. There are a lot of Indians in Kenya, thus the ayah.

  19. Tara_pohlkottepress

    The air was thick coming down the Smoky Mountains; hanging heavy on Audrey’s shoulders as she leaned her long body across the drug store counter.

    Absentmindedly she used her order pad to fan her face, having been given a moments reprieve now that the after school crowd was satisfied with the cool sodas she had poured.

    The bell above the shop door jingled and Audrey’s bright red lips parted into a smile when her longtime friend Kit Carson entered.

    Behind him, was another figure, head bent as he removed his sailor’s cap before entering. This small act of proper manners, often missing from the mountain boys she knew, caused Audrey to pull straight to the full of her six foot one frame.

    Catching the movement behind the counter, the sailor looked up, and they met each other’s frank gaze.

    He took in this tall, dark beauty. Remarking to himself that they didn’t make women like her in Minnesota where he was from.

    She in turn was completely caught off guard by the seeming depths of pure Norwegian waters that stared back at her.

    Audrey was used to the looks tossed her way since she had left girlhood. What she wasn’t used to was this feeling now growing tight across her chest; that expanded slowly with the smile that crept the length his face, until it finally fell laughing in a heap of creases framing those dancing blue eyes.

    “I see this introduction will be easy.” Chuckled Kit. “Audrey, I’d like you to meet Swede. He’s got some time before his ship leaves again, so he thought he’d come visit me and the family for a while.”

    When neither of the newly introduced parties turned to look at him, Kit let out another laugh.

    “Well now. I don’t think he’ll be regretting this visit to the mountains any time soon.”

    {trying my hand at loosely telling my grandparents true love at first sight story ~ How a southern-bell from the foot of the Smoky Mountains followed a Norwegian Sailor all the way to the heart of the Northwoods.}

    • JB Lacaden

      It’s an interesting story especially because it’s based from real life experience.
      But the character I really liked wasn’t the two protagonist but Kit. Ha.

    • Tara_pohlkottepress

      i mean, they’re my grandparents, so i gotta love them…but Kit was shaping up to be my favorite as well {shhh…don’t tell 🙂 }

    • BrinaHarwood

      I really enjoyed all 3 characters. My sister is just an inch shy of 6 feet, so I know that’s a big deal. I thought you touched on that well. Kit was very funny and I could see him staring back and forth between them laughing. Would love to read more.

  20. Diane Turner

    I sat, hunched stiffly on the equally stiff white couch in this trendy Soho loft and feeling like muddy boots on white carpet, my hillbilly roots sticking out in every direction, electrified by the glut. The front door burst open and in strode long legs in black boots, followed by tight red pants, a tiny waist, and a pair of the most stunning…uh, chest muscles I’d ever seen. Her dark hair swinging in rhythm with the diamond earrings that fell to her bare shoulders screamed upper class, way up. She dropped half dozen bags and fixed me with eyes the most startling shade of blue, like sapphires. Dazzled, I was the first to look away, down at my scruffy tennis shoes, and I felt the earth wobble on its axis. In a breathy voice, she asked who I was. I tried to match her supercilious tone and shot back, “I am…who are you?”
    “Well, this is my loft, so you go first,” she said, her eyes lit with amusement.
    I told her my name, and she grinned, showing perfect white teeth.
    “I’m Ellie. I’ve been shopping all day, John Burton.”
    Good for you, I thought, bewitched by the posh lilt of her voice. I was vaguely familiar with the ritzy names on those bags. She was rich and cocky, a lethal combination that usually turned me off, but I was inexorably drawn to this well-heeled girl.
    “What are you doing here?” she asked, staring at me.
    “I know your roommate from Physics,” I stammered, trying to keep my eyes on her face.
    The following week, I waited for her. She stopped mid-stride. “I know you. You’re the guy who was at my loft. Why are you here?” She grinned. I swooned.
    I attempted hip and suave. “Yes, and yes, and waiting for you,” I clipped out, thinking I’d maybe pulled off suave.
    “Mm, charming. You headed home? By the way, where is home?”
    I roomed in a clapboard dive some 18 subway stops from Soho on 125th St in Harlem, nowhere near her loft. “I am, and home isn’t far from your loft,” I lied.
    “Cool. You remember where my loft is? Here, carry this.”
    Into my chest, she shoved a backpack the size of New Jersey, and as my knees sagged, her laugh bubbled up like quicksilver. As we walked, she glanced up at me, smiling. I felt myself falling, but too late. On the spot, I fell in love and hard.
    She peppered questions about my life, my goals, and her blank looks told me our life experiences were galaxies apart. “Come up and have coffee,” she invited, looking me over. “I want to know more.”
    I followed her up, let the gigantic backpack slide from my shoulders, and sat on the same beast of a white couch I was sitting on when I first saw her, but this time I was sipping thick espresso and she was next to me. I just wanted to marry her and take her home.
    I was 22, heading to law school in 2 weeks, dirt poor and scrambling to eke out an existence, and here sat the love of my life.

  21. Steph

    Regarding yours, Joe, I like the internal dialogue. It keeps the scene moving. I also like the use of “ayah” – it shows that you are familiar with the complexities of your setting.

    This practice has helped focus some of my thoughts on a tough scene in my WIP. I hope to grab some time to work on the revisions tomorrow. Thanks to all of you who shared!

  22. akaellisfisher

    Lisa lived in the historic district. She loved it there. All the houses, small by current standards, are vintage 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. Victorian, craftsman, bungalow and other architectural styles she couldn’t name lined quaint friendly streets… everything unique and bursting with character.

    The evening light was the best time for an appreciation walk to admire the classic and the quirky in the houses, the yards and the people. The neighborhood was renown for it’s ‘quirky’ people too, just like Lisa liked. The soft pink light from 8 o’clock to 9 o’clock possessed some quiet magic that turned the whole neighborhood into a stunning surreal fairy tale that was almost too good to be true.

    On pink evenings like tonight, she was just tingling with gratitude and joy. How was she so lucky to get a house in this neighborhood? It was one of the priciest and funkiest neighborhoods in the city. Well, the housing crash was good for something!

    Tonight wasn’t a walking night though. Lisa had started a mammoth azalea planting mission. 29 bushes to get in the now hard ground before they withered in disappointment in their pots. It was hard work for a single gal, who was short and without much upper body strength. But the work barely registered. It was her own personal piece of historic-district front yard. Plus, she could watch all the dog walkers, baby pushers, joggers and bicyclists meander up and down her street while she dug.

    At 8:43, maybe, a soft brown tweed jacket wearing a fedora, red hi-top sneakers, and a button down shirt floats into view right next to her wish-it-was-iron-but-it’s-not fence. Silky black hair far too long for the 30’s look fringes the hat. He didn’t have a dog or a baby. He had … a spell. Suddenly silence. The alluring pink light, that shy smile, those endless warm brown eyes. He was stunning and surreal.

    Lisa stared without shame forgetting her own muddy t-shirt and jeans. She surprised herself with a sudden onslaught of nothing to say. He stared back, pausing for a moment from his walk. Then he smiled demurely and lowered his eyes to the ground, taking his beautiful face to continue his walk. But Lisa couldn’t move. She couldn’t think. She just memorized the tweed of his jacket back in that soft seducing light.

    Before Lisa could register disappointment, the jacket back turned into a jacket front. The long black hair was undulating gently away from her. Here he was suddenly now before her. So close. She could almost hear him breath. Lisa dropped her shovel. No one noticed. His slightly more confident smile surrounded her like a bath of rose petals. It was indeed almost too good to be true.

    • Diane Turner

      Interesting how the guy is almost not a person, but what he’s wearing and his movement. I also like your use of colors – pink and rose, and the soft, seducing light. Lovely imagery and visuals.

    • akaellisfisher

      Thanks, Diane. I hadn’t thought of it like that. Appreciate the insight!

  23. Diane Turner

    I love the descriptions of the surroundings, the marketplace. “When she looks at me my skin freezes” is a great line. In fact, all of his thought lines are special.

  24. Steph

    Playing with my WIP here, trying to make this scene a more character driven than it was before.

    Rex lifted the lantern from the nightstand. He knelt next to the bunk and brought it carefully near the pillow, washing the girl’s face in light. Her eyes did not flicker beneath their lids. Doc had to be right that she was in a state of coma.

    He noticed a smudge along the arch of one cheekbone. Was it mud? A bruise? He licked the thick edge of his thumb and tried to wipe it off. Her cheek twitched in response as though it was tender to his touch. He jerked his hand away.

    “You scared me, little lady.” He chuckled softly. “You’d think I just burned my finger in a candle flame.”

    He could imagine Doc’s diagnosis: the smudge was a bruise and the twitch of her cheek was nothing more than a reflexive response to a pain stimulus. Medicine could be so cold.

    But Rex had pulled her out of the mud with his own hands. He had swaddled her in his shirt to ward off the shock, little good that it did. On the boat ride back to the lodge, he had cradled her head like a newborn baby’s with the bet that life would find her again. No, this one was not slipping away on his watch. And while that twitch when he touched her swollen cheek may have been only a simple reflex, at least it was something beyond the basest functions of breath and pulse to show that she was still alive.

    “What is your name?” he whispered.

    Her expression, that of a corpse’s forced peace at a funeral viewing, did not change.

    • Yvette Carol

      Woa, that’s a page turner for sure.

  25. Brizeiry Herrera

    It was no surprise for Rory to be invited to a party in his friend’s house, specially in friday; but it was getting quite boring since it was the usual plan for every friday, still, he thought that it’d be ok for this to be the last one once and for all.

    He arrived to the party, everything was the same, so he went out to the pool area for some fresh air away from the tipical annoying people that were drunk already.

    Suddenly a girl appeared a few steps away from him, as soon as he saw her, he could not breathe, he could not talk.. The girl felt the eyes looking at her, so she turned around and as she saw into his eyes, they both could be as if the time just stopped to preserve the moment when they fell in love.

    She moved closer with the most sweetest smile Rory had ever see, he wanted to talk but nothing came out of his mouth..

    “how smooth, you must be a wizzard with the ladies..” she said. Making him smile to release him from his shock. And they spent the night getting to know the one the fell for that evening.

  26. Yvette Carol

    Blat-blat-blat! She shrank on the sofa clutching the book to her chest. Machine-gun fire? Had the Krauts finally landed? Now silence descended, and the sounds of children shreiking, and a ball being kicked came back into focus. The girl sneaked up to the window and parted the lace curtain just a crack. A boy was hopping off an Indian motorcycle. What a racket! What a lot of smoke! Has he woken mother? Nothing moved within the little flat. She sighed, and closed her eyes a minute. Outside, the boy pulled off a leather helmet. Black hair as slick as oil. He shifted the goggles from his face to his forehead. She nearly laughed. He looked ridiculous! White circles of skin in a grey-flecked face. How revolting to travel that way and be so dirty.
    A cough rasping and ragged made her gasp. She dropped the edge of the lace and turned on the spot. Another dying hack. On light toes she ran into the bedroom, stopping unsure a few steps later, blinking in the darkness. Then she picked up the limp hand that dragged on the carpet and tucked it back under the covers.
    Oh mother! The stress of the daily air-raids was too much for her mother’s tender constitution…or that was what she said…why she needed…
    The girl let out a sigh.
    Then she jumped. Knock! The sound repeated.
    She approached the door one step at a time.
    “Who is it?”
    “It’s Jimmy. You don’t know me. My mam, she needs to know what the time is, our clock you see, it’s broken. You wouldn’t know would you? Help a fella out? You know what mams are like… ”
    She eased the door open but didn’t let off the chain.
    Through the panel she saw the dirty face, the white eye patches, the black locks. And the smell of oil and dust assailed her. She recoiled. Her nose wrinkled and her eyebrows huddled together. “Just a minute please…James. I’ll have a look.”
    A minute later she returned.
    “Half past eleven.”
    “Ah, thanks…er, you didn’t say what your name is? You shy? You new around here?’
    Her eyes had trailed down the cotton shirt and widened in horror. A pair of khaki shorts ended above the knee and revealed a pair of the skinniest, and hairiest legs she had ever seen. Lord save me from those legs!
    “Sorry, got to go.” She shut the door in his face.

    • Diane Turner

      I really enjoyed this. The lines: Black hair as slick as oil and On light toes she ran into the bedroom…, both visual. Lord save me from those legs! was wonderful, too.
      Nicely done.

    • Yvette Carol

      Hi Diane, that’s kind, thanks. I thought my story had fallen flat, sort of the way the boy’s first impression falls flat with the girl!!
      I felt the fact that she was repelled by him, and yet still prayed to be saved from those legs spoke of the fact that she knew it was actually an attraction….

    • Diane Turner

      I felt her attraction throughout the entire piece, but an attraction she didn’t seek out or want. But, nonetheless, there it was, and now it was knocking on her door. And the hairy legs line just corked it.

    • Yvette Carol

      Ha ha!

  27. Tom Martin

    He had just set the case of water down after entering the host home when she caught his eye. There was something familiar in her look, yet Tom couldn’t place where he knew her from or even how he knew her. 

    Shari recognized Tom the minute she saw him. It was as random now as it was now the first time they met two years ago in the same setting. 

    What were the odds, out of three hundred singles from a huge church, spread out among six host homes, they were randomly placed in the same group twice, only two years apart.

    As a single Mom, divorced with teenage sons, Shari had little time for a social life….even a church social life. Tom, who had never been married, a forty five year old batchelor who had plenty of time for the social life had it no for the career he had chosen.

    They reconnected on the patio, the same patio they would eventually be married on some eighteen months later, when Tom casually walked up and said hello. After exchanging hello’s and a few questions, the pieces of the puzzle started coming together to reveal how and where they first met. 

    Yes there was a spark, but there was also a connection was something entirely different from the first time as they met. A connection they couldn’t deny and something they both were ready to pursue, right up until the point where cancer entered their story.

    • Diane Turner

      Ouch! Now that was downright inconsiderate, leaving me hanging on that last line like that. I’m out here swinging in the wind, wanting to know more, like how and what and…
      NIcely done!

  28. Devinsmoss

    I don’t know how I got involved with her. She kind of just showed up at school one day, and was always around. Not hanging out with me, just nearby. Always.

    She caught my attention immediately that first day, walking into my english class and sitting three rows away from me. She wore overalls and a white turtleneck and let her thick brown hair fall to her shoulders, bouncing with each step. She seemed cold to me. I didn’t like the way she sat up straight and caught up with the class so easily. English is hard, and boring. You’re not supposed to be good at it, or even care about it. She seemed to care, and she was very good at it, and I didn’t like that.

    Next was math class. Same story. She raised her hand a few times to both ask and answer questions, her brass bracelet sliding up her arm each time. She bugged me. New kids are supposed to be nervous and shy. She was drawing too much attention to herself, like she was better than everyone or something. She didn’t seem to care about the other kids in the class or what they thought. I hated that about her. She just didn’t get it. School is boring. It’s no fun for anyone. Normal kids don’t care about trigonometry or grammar. It bugged me that she wasn’t like that. It bugged me that she didn’t seem to get it. It bugged me how good she was at everything.

    It bugged me that she hadn’t even noticed me.

    We finally made eye contact the next day in english class. I stared at her for most of the class, still trying to wrap my head around who she was, and why I couldn’t stop staring at her. She wore her hair the same way, had the same brass bracelet on. She had just raised her hand to answer a question when the teacher must have noticed my staring. “Something to add, Ernest?” The whole class looked at me, including this girl. Her green eyes caught mine and something caught inside me. She didn’t smile. She didn’t frown. She just looked at me, waiting for something, judging me, as if I wasn’t good enough for her. Man she drove me crazy. Who does she think she is? Some genius come to show us how to be good? She didn’t even know me. “Ernest?” the teacher asked. Some kids in the class chuckled as I snapped my eyes away from the girl.

    “No, sorry,” I mumbled, hanging my red face toward my desk. As the teacher began talking, I shot a nervous glance in the girl’s direction. Strangely, she was still looking at me. And smiling. And something caught inside me again.

    • Diane Turner

      What a terrific story. I loved how you got across your frustration with this new girl, who was driving you crazy with her aloofness. Really nice work.

    • Colleen Risdahl-Hamilton

      Hi, Devinsmoss: Nicely done. This young man could be my 16 year old son! I can feel his angst, his irritation with her for daring to be attractive AND smart AND confident – AND for not noticing him! Brilliant. The pregnant pause as his embarrassment deepens in the moment that he is “caught” staring at her… . I enjoyed this!

  29. Missaralee

    **I didn’t jump into this practice right away, but the prompt stuck with me until I couldn’t not write something.** Sara

    I catch a glimpse of your freshly-pressed, blue-pinstripped dress-shirt and I’m a chinook salmon hooked as I glide upriver toward ancient spawning grounds.

    The glow of your perfectly tanned cheek immerses me in the sunkissed scent of mown grass and

    unseen lilacs.

    My eyes grazing over your form are fluttering butterflies seeking plants to host their young.

    A five o’clock shadow gracing your jawline is an abandoned lot, collonized by daisies and snap


    You’ve got me in a swoon. I’m a bumble bee drunk on the nectar of bleeding hearts.

    You meet my eyes and flocks of starlings take flight. The wind whips across the distance between

    us and kisses my cheek.

    Suddenly I’m conscious of the earth clinging to my bare feet and the twigs in my tousled hair.

    The cotton of my sundress is a shabby counterpoint to the polished leather of your shoes and the

    gleam of your cufflinks. Suddenly I’m just a common robin trying to nest is a world of steel and


    My core is drawn to your core. Navel to navel. Oh, that my ruffled feathers and the clicks and chirps of my longing were enough for you.

    • Diane Turner

      What beautiful visuals and exquisite use of metaphor. Excellent writing.

    • Colleen Risdahl-Hamilton

      Beautifully written! Such lovely visual metaphors, “I’m a bumble bee drunk on the nectar of bleeding hearts.” Wow! Pure poetry, Missaralee; very nice.

  30. Marisa Aguas


    It was a lazy day. And all I wanted to do was read a good
    book while sipping coffee at Starbucks. The door opened and a gust of wind
    lifted my skirt up. I struggled to keep my modesty . Then he came in, the man I
    saw in my dreams last night. He looked exactly the same, he was tall, fair
    skinned, bespectacled, wearing a Girbaud shirt and Levi’s jeans that he carries
    on so well.

    Time stood still, and I had to ask myself, “Could this be real?”

     In my dreams, I
    remembered we talked like we were good friends. He would hold my hand, lift a
    strand of hair off my face and listened intently to whatever I had to say. No
    matter how frivolous it was. I woke up with a big smile on my face…
    thinking… “how I wish…”

    Can this be real?

    He is right here in front of me… I can’t believe what I’m

    He looks embarrassed by the intent stare I was giving. And the
    people who fell in line were likewise complaining already.

    I collected my 
    thoughts and proceeded to give my order.

    “A cup of cappuccino,
    tall glass for Evangeline please.” I almost shouted my name to the
    Barista so he would hear. I Paid up and found a seat. I chose a secluded spot
    so that I can have privacy and to relish the event that just happened.

    Is this real? I said to myself again… the man literally of
    my dreams just walked in the door.

    Does it mean anything? Or is it just pure coincidence?

    I wonder what Benjamin will say. Okay, so our relationship
    isn’t working out so well lately. But it happens in all relationships, right?

    I can’t stand his almost daily night out with his friends.
    Sometimes, they do it at our place and he leaves the house dirty. Then he goes
    off to our room to sleep. While I clean up all the mess! It’s been going on for
    months and sometimes when I am just so tired from the day’s work, his seemingly
    “taking me for granted attitude” is taking its toll on me.

    Now, this happens…



  31. CRH

    Light flurries turned to small ice pellets as we pulled off
    the highway into the empty parking lot at the rest stop. I glanced in the rear view mirror to see
    Jason sleeping in his car seat. Matthew
    – too excited to change after the final game of the hockey tournament and still
    in his hockey jersey – sat up straight in the seat beside his little brother,
    his face unnatural in an expression of anxious, feigned excitement.

    Matthew’s voice was tight.
    “Is this it already, Mom? Is
    this where we get to meet him?”

    “Yup, you bet, buddy – but we’re early, so we’ll just
    wait a few minutes until he gets here.”

    I’d questioned this, worried it would be just one more thing
    on our already full plates. Now, faced
    with Matthew’s obvious anxiety about the impending new addition to the family,
    I took a deep breath and silently resolved to suck it up.

    Several minutes passed; Matthew busied himself with his
    iPad, while Jason slept on. I checked
    email on my phone, then scanned the horizon for any sign of the impending new

    Don pinged me for a status update; he was excited, always
    more positive than I am… more solid, more resilient, despite the last two
    years. I typed back in response. “Nothing yet.” I hit send, and paused, then continued
    typing, “Hope they come soon, the weather is coming in…hope the roads
    are ok?”

    Don’s response was swift to reassure – as always – but
    characteristically brief; “AMA says all good! Quit worrying, LOL…”

    The minutes dragged… outside the wind picked up and the snow
    swirled. Restless, I checked emails again. Scrolling over the picture we’d downloaded, I
    wondered what Matthew saw when he picked this creature from the litter? Shaggy, jet black fur obscured most of the
    wee face, except a shock of teeth protruding from what I hoped was not too
    severe an under-bite. Although we did
    not set out to get a purebred, I wondered what exactly a “Puginese”
    would turn out to be like? The woman
    selling the puppies explained they were 3/4 Pug, 1/4 Pekingese… they’d had no
    problems with their puppies, and this was their 5th litter.

    I heard them approach and looked up to see a large 4X4 pick
    up truck pull into the empty parking lot.
    I glanced back at Matthew, now frozen in his seat as he watched the
    truck approach. His hazel eyes were
    wide, pupils dilated, fair skin even more pale against his still sweat-matted,
    ginger hair. The moment of truth had
    arrived – he was about to become a Doggy Daddy, and the fear on his face was
    palpable. I suppressed a grin despite
    myself while mercifully, Jason slumbered on.

    “They’re here!”, I said brightly, feigning
    excitement for Matthew’s benefit.
    “C’mon, buddy – let’s go meet him.” Matthew nodded mutely, not taking his eyes
    off the truck as it parked in the spot facing us.

    The man behind the wheel, Greg, was the husband of the woman
    with whom I’d spoken several times.
    Having made the trip from their farm near Dreyden Valley (nearly two
    hours away), he smiled at me as he parked, then turned and spoke to his young
    daughter in the passenger seat beside him.
    I pulled the agreed upon payment out of my purse and turned to Matthew
    with what I hoped was reassuring smile.

    The wind was upon us in gusts as we made our
    introductions. Clad in a cowboy hat and thick
    denim work jacket, Greg towered over me.
    Although imposing, I was immediately reassured by this gentle giant, his
    voice low and solid, his eyes and smile kind.

    As we spoke pleasantries about weather and roads, I glanced
    back to see that Matthew had not yet extricated himself from the truck. I caught his glance through the windshield,
    and with dismay realized he was just sitting there – his anxiety overcoming
    him. Distracted, I struggled to carry on
    conversation with Greg and his daughter, mentally combing through strategies to
    salvage the situation.

    As though expecting the drama unfolding before him, Greg sensed
    it was best not to prolong things and asked his daughter to get the little dog
    from his kennel. He turned to me and
    said under his breath, “It’ll be fine – he’s scared now but once they get
    to know each other, you won’t be able to pry them apart.”

    Turning to look over my shoulder, I was relieved to see
    Matthew climbing out of our vehicle.
    With enthusiasm, Greg shook his hand and told Matthew that he’d picked
    the prize pup of the litter. “Do
    you have a name picked out for him yet, son?”

    Matthew hesitated for only a second. “Lucky,” he said. And then more definitively, “His name is

    Almost on cue, Greg’s young daughter emerged from behind the
    truck carrying a small, receiving blanket-clad bundle in her arms. As she approached us, a fierce gust of wind
    and snow blew the corner of the blanket back, exposing a small, terrified
    face. With a surprised whimper, Lucky
    squirmed and looked upward at me uncertainly from under wisps of black fur…

    Fate took over. Our
    eyes locked, and in one instant I felt my heart melt and a small
    “Ohhhh” escape my lips. My
    hands fluttered to my face involuntarily – he was adorable! Wiry, black fur framed his flat little face
    and big, liquid brown eyes. His pushed
    in nose was black as well, and with eyes like dark chocolate pools, his teeth were
    a bright shock of white jutting from an under-bite that (truly!) only a mother
    could love. He was more like a baby
    gorilla than a puppy… or an Ewok from Star Wars! Yes – I thought to myself as my knees turned
    to jelly – there will be mighty doggy dental bills! I smiled despite myself.

    Lucky looked to Matthew, now holding him as we hurried to
    the warmth of our vehicle. Greg’s
    daughter peppered Matthew with instructions while she settled Lucky on his
    lap. Lucky’s eyes betrayed his fear and
    uncertainty; having established that I was now “Mom”, he was already tracking
    my every move.

    With Matthew and the new “baby” securely buckled
    in, I climbed back behind the wheel, chastizing myself. Don was right as usual… how could I – a die
    hard animal lover – not have known intuitively the joy this small creature
    would bring to our family?

    Matthew chattered on softly, stroking the unruly black fur
    and ears. Before pulling the vehicle
    onto the highway for home, I glanced back.
    Lucky was staring at me, and met my eyes squarely – his small face still
    uncertain, but oh, so trusting.
    Inwardly, my heart swelled and I knew all was right with the world…
    for with just that one look – that very first glance – I was absolutely,
    irrevocably, smitten!

  32. Shelly Maison

    The room was filling up but she sat there with an empty chair on either side of her. Dorothy didn’t know anyone else in the room. She took out a pen and began working on the quiz that was handed out at registration. Reminding herself that this was not grade school, that it didn’t matter if anyone sat next to her made her feel better. Then young Violet sat down. Very talkative, she was. Dorothy was talkative too, but out of her element in this room. Round robin introductions revealed that Violet was a law clerk for the organization and Dorothy a volunteer. They had little else in common, but shared ideas as the workshop progressed. Violet talked of hurts from the past, transgressions by her family. She spoke of being told to leave the family she loved for being different. And then of feeling guilty for not standing up for someone when she was in high school. While explaining that she felt guilty to this day, Dorothy interrupted with a caution to be kind to oneself after acting out of inexperience. Violet liked that idea. As they worked together, Violet warmed to Dorothy’s ideas. Dorothy reassured Violet on many points. Compliments were exchanged, laughter flowed back and forth. A hand touched a shoulder, the caress leaned in to. Violet thought she could tell Dorothy anything. The warmth between them was unmistakable. Dorothy took a chance and offered her phone number, explaining she would welcome a call for coffee or lunch. Violet beamed that she would certainly phone as she had no other women in her life that she looked up to as role models and she missed that. Dorothy explained that she loved spending time with young people and, having no grandchildren, was given to adopting strangers. They each left they workshop looking forward to their next encounter.



  1. How to Get Published in Literary Magazines: Interview with Glimmer Train Stories - [...] Today, spend some time fine tun­ing one of your sto­ries, per­haps your prac­tice from Monday's post, Love at First…

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