Writing Prompts – Day 3 of 12

Day 3:  Mystery Cookie

One Day you come into work and find a cookie mysteriously placed on your desk. Grateful

to whoever left this anonymous cookie, you eat it. The next morning you come in and find

another cookie. This continues for months until one Day a different object is left—and this

time there’s a note.

 

Whenever I actually find something left for me on my desk at work – especially if it’s food of any kind – I assume it’s from Generous George, and accept it with gratitude, always thanking him when I see him. For the purposes of this, I’ll assume it was George, but then come to find that it was, in fact, not. Maybe he denies it, and maybe I don’t believe him at first, but eventually come to the supposition that perhaps the cookies are not coming from Georgie at all. I mean, it goes on for months – that’s a lot of false denial on both our parts.

I wonder why “Day” is capitalized in the prompt write-up?

Anyway, one day I come in and, instead of a cookie, I find a small feather. It looks like it’s from a pigeon. And not so much a note – but a map.

(Note: Just got some rather sad news so keeping this short, because I’m no longer very focused on writing at the moment)

So a map. From what I can tell, it’s for an area of my workplace, but one I haven’t been to in years. Not the way it was, anyway. Renovations several years ago rearranged things, so now there is an alarmed security door between where I am now and the stairwell I used to use several times a day. No one really uses that area any more, as this side of the door is just storage space, and all of the offices that used to be on this level have been moved to a different building all together. Other than the washrooms, there’s no need for anyone to come down to the stairwell on the other side of the door anymore. We used to use it as our main entrance and exit back in the day, however, so it doesn’t take long before I recognize what I am looking at.

In fact, it was in that very stairwell – mere months before I moved away for a short time – that a pendant so precious to me I wore it every day, broke suddenly, and a piece of it was lost. It had been a gift, created by hand, and given to me to mark a special day. I valued it almost as much as I valued the one who gave it to me, and even though I changed the cord it hung from a couple of times to keep it strong, the beads and other items which hung from it remained ever the same.

Until that day.

Out of nowhere, the cord suddenly snapped and everything scattered to the tiled floor as I was starting to climb the stairs. I was a tad confused as to how it had broken, as to my knowledge the cord I was using was still in good shape, but the pendant had broken before, and I’d always retrieved all of the pieces, and placed them back in their proper order on a new cord.

This time, I gathered everything up once again, and double-checked to make sure I had it all. I did not. There was a single bead missing. This would not be a huge deal, except that the beads were all in pairs on the pendant, and not having one meant that the balance was all thrown off. What’s more is that a piece of the whole was missing, and that just didn’t sit right with me. Inside, I started to become a little frantic, and then a lot frantic, as the more I searched – even including the help of a friend – the more obvious it became that the bead was gone.

Despite the fact that there was nowhere for it to go. There were no cracks in the tile, no gaps between the floor and the wall which wasn’t sealed. We widened our search to ridiculous proportions, but eventually I had to concede defeat. A bead from my precious pendant was gone, and it felt like a piece of me was missing.

It felt like something important had left me, like the One Ring when it chooses to abandon Gollum in the caverns.

That feeling returns with the memories of that day as I follow the map which had been left on my desk with the wee feather. I actually forgot for a moment that the door is alarmed now and I can’t go through it without setting it off, so I turn sheepishly to go upstairs and outside to come in the other entrance. There is a tiny ‘x’ near a corner of the map, and while it’s close to the door, it does appear to be on the other side from where I now work.

I begin to feel even more silly as I descend the stairs, yet memories of that one day increase the closer I get to where it happened. Now that I am here, I take a moment to re-orient myself with the map (I’m basically lost once I get inside most of the time – my sense of direction is crap), and look around the area of the ‘x’ for anything which appears to be out of place. I can’t notice anything overt – definitely no more cookies or even feathers – and the floors are actually quite smooth and clean, since they are so rarely used these days.

I’m feeling pretty ridiculous and am about to head back to work when something catches my eye. It’s in a corner, hard to see, but the pattern of the tile appears to be skewed ever so slightly. Upon closer inspection, I realize that it’s not skewed so much as chipped off. A piece of the tile has cracked at some point, and while the broken part has long since been swept away, it left behind a small gap between the tile and the wall it connects to.

What the hell, right?

I get down on my hands and knees, listening for any sign of another person approaching, and pull out my phone to flip on the flashlight app. Shining it into the dark corner, my heart seems to skip a beat.

The light flickers off of something shiny in that tiny gap.

Feeling ever more insane and yet driven at the same time, I tug my key ring from my jeans pocket, select the one which appears to be the best fit, and wiggle it into the narrow, jagged fracture. I scrape the key toward me a few times, then feel something give under the metal. One more pull in my direction frees it completely, and a small object rolls into the beam of light still emanating from my phone.

Naturally, it’s the missing bead from my pendant. All these years later, it’s decided to return to me.

I mean, what would have been the point of telling that whole story if it had been anything else, right?

Writing Prompts – Day 2 of 12

Day 2:  The One That Got Away

You bump into an ex-lover on Valentine’s Day—the one whom you often call “The One

That Got Away.” What happens?

 

I realize that I’m not quite doing these things right, but at the same time, they are writing prompts, and I am writing about them. So suck it. I’m doing it how I wanna. Haha

Anyway…I’m going to delve into the vault of my actual past relationships for this one, just out of curiosity alone.

I was trying to figure out who I would consider to be “The One That Got Away”. I mean, every one of them dumped me, not the other way around, so in that sense, they all got away. Most of them, I was eventually glad they got away for various reasons, but there are three in particular that I miss, and still sometimes wonder what life would have been like had we not broken up. Of those three, one was unlike any relationship I’ve ever had, and was only ever meant to be temporary. It was more of a glimpse into what I would like to have for myself in the future, rather than any kind of permanent long-term thing. It was always going to end, and it was never meant to be 100%, but I feel like she’d be proud of the person I’ve become, and into whom I am continuing to grow.

She wouldn’t be proud relationship-wise, obviously, because a) I haven’t been in one for a good 7 years or so, and b) I never did find the kind of pairing she’d shown me I’d want for myself. Almost, but not quite.

So that leaves me with the other two, and they are actually more alike than different, as far as our relationships went, so for the purpose of this exercise, I can pretty much use both, instead of one or the other. In this case, they are sort of interchangeable. They are both also the closest I’ve been to realizing the kind of relationship I want someday.

They are not interchangeable as people – at all – but as far as what would happen if I bumped into either one of them on Valentine’s Day. Or any day, for that matter. It would all go about the same.

For some reason, when I first pictured this encounter, it took place in a restaurant. Why I would be in a restaurant alone on Valentine’s Day is beyond me, though. Unless it was McDonald’s.

And neither woman lives in this city, so bumping into either of them would be a surprise, to say the least. However, in my first instinctive scenario, both would be with their families. The families they built on after dumping me. Both had a child or children when I met them, and one has more now. Both are married (to men, because neither was actually gay to begin with – I’m just that spectacular for short periods of time), and both love their families; families of which I’d wanted so badly to be a part. So naturally, if I’m going to run into The One That Got Away, she’s going to be happily living her life with someone else, and – more importantly – without me.

That is going to simultaneously hurt me to my core, and make me happy to see her smile.

Maybe she introduces me as an old friend. Maybe some of the people at the table already know me. Maybe she’ll tell me a little about the job she loves, and about where she’s living now. She’ll definitely share something about the kiddo(s) I know and how they’re doing now, all grown up.

She’ll ask how I am.

I’ll lie.

Even though she’s obviously happy and enjoying her life without me, I won’t want her to know how I’m actually doing. It doesn’t even necessarily have anything to do with her – or not as much as it might seem – but not having a job I love and not seeing anyone right now…just all the “nots” that she has now and I don’t. I’m jealous and sad and blaming myself for not being good enough to give her the happy life she deserves, and is now enjoying right in front of me.

I’ll tell her I’m at least okay, that things are going pretty well, I’ll brush off the relationship question and deflect everything with humour.

Then I’ll leave, because even though I’m in McDonald’s on Valentine’s Day, I suddenly don’t have an appetite anymore, and I just want to go home. I’ll flip through some old photos and memories, imagine what might have been, and allow myself to feel for a brief moment as though she’d just gotten away all over again.

After that, I’ll pour myself a drink, break open a bag of chips, and watch some TV, because no one needs to feel that much misery over someone else’s happiness.

Especially not when it’s someone you love.

Kindness and Writing

I’m not very kind to myself when I am unhappy.

I have an opportunity to make a big change, which will make me more out-of-control unhappy for a while, but may balance out in the end naturally, if I stay on top of things.

It’s weird to not be quite certain as to whether you are doing something good for you in the long run, but knowing it’ll make you even more miserable in the short term. Like, would I be doing it for the potential long term gain? Or because I believe on some level that I deserve the short term misery?

Similar scenarios have come up…pretty much my whole life, I think, but I really only noticed the bizarre nature of the conundrum within the past decade, or so. I even like to push myself occasionally, just to see how much I can take. And I can take a lot. And that, too, makes me proud.

Maybe only part of it is thinking I deserve it. Maybe part of it is about finding some new part of myself to be pleased with.

Twisted as that is.

I think I’m in an abusive relationship. With myself.

Then again, I think most people are, to some degree. I’m just better able to recognize it, and that also pleases me, about me.

Also – like, I usually have more than one thing going on in my daily life. And way more than that on my mind. Narrowing it all down to one topic or two to graze the surface of in a blog post isn’t meant to indicate that I only ever have one thing to talk about. Or that I want to talk about. Or that there isn’t far more that I don’t want to talk about. Sometimes I think maybe I should just focus on doing different little writing exercises, instead of trying to come up with something to say. I actually want to do more writing exercises, because they are fun, and forcing myself to do them more often might somehow improve my writing a bit. Part of me always worries about putting my writing online, because then it’s a public forum, not copyrighted, and easy to steal.

But then again, if someone really wants to claim something I whipped up on my lunch break at work was actually something they wrote themselves, then perhaps I should just be flattered, and let them have at it.

Obviously they would be in far worse shape than I!