Tell It To Me Tuesday – Repentance

The following is an excerpt from the novel I wrote last year.

Looking at her face, he knew he had lost. A tiny part of him recognized the truth of Fatima’s words, but a bigger part of him sought to quash it. He could not face it. Already fear and guilt clawed at him, his insides writhing with self-loathing. Abruptly, he departed, leaving her to her fate.

He wandered the empty, moonlit streets of Corinth in a daze. His heart beat wildly, but his mind felt thick and dull. He wandered for what seemed like hours, though he had no sense of time. But then, he came upon the Altar of Ares, god of courage, and wondered vaguely if that was where he aimed to go all along.

He stood, gazing up at the statue of the proud, muscular god. He felt something break inside him, and tears streamed down his face. He let out a mighty bellow. Clenching his face, he cursed the god. “Curse you Ares! Curse you! Why did you abandon me? Why did you give so much to my father? How could you give so much to the father and neglect the son? Curse you!” he screamed.

Pulling a sharp blade from his tunic belt, [he*] screamed and slashed his wrists multiple times. Sharp piercing pain shot up his arms, but it was nothing compared to the deep pain he felt inside. He fell to his knees, watching the dark crimson blood stream from his hands down onto the white marble. He dipped a finger into his own blood and slowly scrawled letters across the marble. He cried then, feeling his strength ebb away from him. He cried, until everything faded to black.

*character name omitted so as to not give anything away

This week’s challenge: Repentance
The goal of Tell It To Me Tuesdays is to encourage you to stretch your writing wings just a little bit further. Write anything of your choice related to the theme “repentance”, fiction or nonfiction and link it up in the comments section below! Please do stop by and spread the love to other participants.

Next week: Instead of Tell It To Me Tuesday, I’m going to try something different. Check back in next week!

Tell It To Me Tuesday – Origins

Author’s Note: Sorry TITMT is up so late today! I’ve just been swamped with personal and family business to take care of, so I guess it might transition a little into Tell It To Me Wednesday this week.

It strikes me that time really does move in cycles, that what you give out comes back to you, what you once took you eventually must return.

Last Saturday, I went out to drinks with my older brother and some good friends, and during the course of the evening, my friend asked my brother what it was like for him moving to the U.S. when he was just eleven years old. He talked about how hard life was in Mississippi at the time because he was a tiny little, dark-skinned Asian boy in a land full of racist white boys who picked on him and his sister every day. And almost every day he would get into fights and nearly get expelled for trying to stand up for himself or his sister. But, he said, when I came along, life changed. He and our sister could not wait to get home to see me and revel in this new person in their lives. They fed me, bathed me, clothed me, and played with me. Protected me.

Things got better when we moved to California too, and my brother proclaimed he would pay any price to stay here. And as I grew up, I felt that love every day, even though my siblings aren’t the type to say “I love you” directly.

And now we are older and my brother is in trouble, and this time it is he who came to me for help. This time, I was the one protecting him. I also went to visit my sister today, and then found myself giving her advice. This time, I was the one guiding her.

It makes me feel whole, now that I can finally give back what once was given to me. Isn’t it funny, how taking makes you feel like there is a piece of you that has gone missing, a place that is empty, but giving fills you up? In balance, of course. Only giving will drain you too, eventually.

My mother has long played the role of matriarch in our family. She is the one to whom everyone turns. She is the center, the teacher, the judge, the advocate, and the comfort. I sense that one day, I may be asked to be the one to fill her shoes. This is my training. Going to Thailand and living there for a time will also give me tools.

In Thai culture, there is very definite and clear class system. Not only in society, but also within the family. A hierarchy that is not challenged, but is always respected. So equality in some ways is a foreign concept. However, there is also a strong expectation that pu yai (the big person) will take care of pu noi (the little person). For example, if a group goes out to a business lunch, the person of the highest status will always foot the bill. No one else would dare offer to pay because that is not seen as politeness, but rather a challenge to the other person’s authority. Elders take care of the younger. And when the elders cannot take care of themselves, the younger eventually become the family elders and reciprocate. In some ways, elders begin to return to childhood as age sometimes strips them of their faculties.

And so the cycle goes.

This Week’s Challenge: Origins
Link it up in the comments below!

Next Week’s Challenge: Repentance

Tell It To Me Tuesday – Free

Update: Originally posted on Tuesday, I’m linking this up to this week’s Bigger Picture Moment.

I want to give you some backstory to this post because it probably is more fun in context. Honestly the end point relating to “free” doesn’t really need a whole lot of backstory. I just like the backstory so I’m going to tell it to you anyway. But you might be thinking, “Crap I don’t have time to read a whole long @ss post.” So in case you just want to get to the point, I’ve separated this post into two parts: the backstory and the point. So you can read the prelude if you want to…or you can just get right to the point.

The Prelude: A Train to Munich, or How Jade Met German Alex

The twenty-fourth year of my life was probably one of the hardest ones. Huge emotional turmoil plus I had just started the first year of my grad program, which in and of itself was intense. Going into my twenty-fifth birthday I had an urgent desire to do something big for myself. So I booked a flight to Germany. I had never traveled by myself before, but I had a deep need to prove to myself that I was strong and independent enough to travel to a foreign country, and you know, not get into trouble of the very bad sort.

Right before I left, as a soon-to-be-second-year in the grad program, I was asked to mentor an incoming first year and just happened to be assigned to a German student named Alex. So I sent him an email introducing myself and saying if he had any questions about the program, feel free to ask, etc. Oh and by the way, I’ll be in Germany soon too! And after a flurry of emails, we agreed to meet in Munich and that I would stay with him for four days out of my 2-week trip.

It wasn’t until I was about to board the train to Munich that I started to panic. What the hell was I getting myself into, traveling to meet a man I had never before seen in my life, all by myself, and staying with him? He could be a murderer! Or a rapist! Or any number of skeezy-type things. I turned to my German step-mother-in-law (who wasn’t an in-law at the time at all, but that’s a whole other long story) in my panic and she said, “It’s okay. Let me talk to him.” I gave her his phone number and she called him and grilled him on where I was to stay and who we’d be with and after about a 20-minute interview in which he was interrogated by a complete stranger, she hung up and said, “Ya, he’s fine.”

So I got on the train, got to Munich, and found myself face-to-face with a tall German man with a gruff, scruffy face and a warm, wounded teddy-bear heart (grumpy softies are my favorite kind of person, really). He had gotten a female friend of his to open her place up to a complete stranger and he introduced me to other friends and they took me around the city and we had a fabulous grand old time. And I was really thankful I hadn’t freaked out so much that I had bailed and missed out on all these wonderful people.

Alex soon come to the States and even stayed with me a little while until he got an apartment. Then he met Manouchka (which I know probably sounds Russian or something, but she’s actually from the African nation of Gabon). And after a year together here, Alex and Manouchka left for Gabon and got married there, and have been living there and in Cape Town (South Africa) since (they were even there during the World Cup!). Living in Cape Town has not been so fun for them, since he is white and she is black. Their marriage was met with a great deal of hostility.

So we haven’t seen them in four years, but they are back in L.A. now, and last night we had a mini reunion, wherein we swapped stories…and here I come to my point.

The Point of the Post: Freedom from Tradition, and the Tradition of Freedom

Manouchka was telling us of the funeral of her uncle. Apparently, funerals in Gabonese tradition are quite drawn out, lengthy and heady affairs. It’s not just a service that lasts a few hours, followed by a meal, a few words, and then everyone goes their own way to tend to their grief privately. Funerals in Gabon last a solid week. When it became clear that her uncle, who by her account was not a good man (he was not a really bad man either, but not a good man), was going to pass away, the entire house was prepared. There was a room where his body lay in death, and then there was a room where all the women retreated in to cry (theirs is a matrilineal society). The women stayed there for days, crying and wailing together, trying to cry out everything they could. They emphasized their mourning so that his spirit would not linger. They wore traditional makeup and did not shower. When they emerged, they looked quite wild. They slept outside, anywhere they could find, even on the ground with the mosquitoes. Eventually his body was moved to the village where he was born, for they believe the body must return to its source. The women again retreated into the Crying Room, while Alex waited with the men outside. He did not know what the women were doing; he just sensed he could not follow where the women went. Drummers beat traditional music, and for days they could not really sleep because of the constant drumming and the discomfort of sleeping outside, so that soon they all began to feel as if they were in a trance. The women began to dance to the drum beat, and as they did, they shook their limbs and bodies, to encourage his spirit to go, to free himself from the world, and to not take anyone with him. The dancing and the crying went on through the night culminating just at the break of dawn on the last day. Dawn is believed to be the time when spirits move, and at dawn they shook the last remnants of his spirit free. And then it all stopped. The sun rose with the new day, and they were cleansed and free.

Manouchka said she felt that, in his death, he had more meaning than he had had in his life.

In western cultures we pride ourselves on our freedoms: our freedoms to choose our own paths and forge our own ways. But there is a price for our freedom. We lose the richness of deeply embedded traditions, where every action has a meaning and a symbolism. Many people feel it is only the couple who marry, instead of entire families and communities joining together (and are often quite glad for that for they are estranged from their families). And when we grieve, we grieve alone. And when we die, we die alone. This loss of meaning has an impact. I think that’s why we see so many stories like Eat, Pray, Love where people wander the world in search of meaning. The risk of having complete freedom of direction is that you can become lost along the way. I am not saying this freedom is a bad thing. I too am striving for it in many ways. But while there may be no scientific basis for the need to shake a spirit free, there is no denying the power of a community coming together. And there is no denying the power of such intense grief giving way to catharsis. After that week, there is no more sense of depression, there is no mourning. They are free.

This week’s challenge: Free
You can take that any way you like. Write up something, then just link it up in the comments below!

Next week’s challenge: Origins

P.S. I know not all my readers have blogs, and/or some topics you may not want to share what you’ve written. If you just leave me a comment saying you’ve participated or even just thought about what you would write, I’d be gratified to know!

Join in this week’s Bigger Picture Moment here.

tell it to me tuesday – on being peace

To say the past month has not been easy on me would be an understatement. I spent most of it just filled with anger

::

frustration

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anxiety.

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Sadness. The thing was, I didn’t even realize just how anger full I was. I knew it was a bad time. But sometimes feelings sink so deep, they are so pervasive, you don’t even know they’re there because there is no counterpoint left with which to perceive them. They fill out all your limbs, all your fingers and your toes, until it all seeps out of your pores like the stench of gin after a hard night. Sometimes you wall yourself off from your own emotions, because you sense you haven’t the strength to stand up to them.

And then, in an unexpected moment, I read this line: Accept life as it is.

I realize that line standing by itself sounds like defeat, but the way I read it in that moment, it spoke to me like this: Forgive life for being difficult sometimes.

Like anyone we love, sometimes life is a right pain in the a–. Sometimes it fails to meet our expectations. Sometimes it has ideas of its own of what it wants from us. So sometimes we need to forgive life for being what it is.

I read that line and all of a sudden, the three-year-old that had been crying and wailing and flailing his arms stopped, sniffled a bit, and sat down. There may have been a tear or two on his little cherubic face, but he was quiet.

I realized I had been fighting against life, throwing a righteous tantrum deep inside, that I didn’t even feel until suddenly there was quiet. An unclenching of a stomach that had been rock hard for a month.

So I stopped fighting and found a little bit of forgiveness and a moment of calm. I discovered that peace doesn’t always mean that you’re a happy, smiling little Buddha all the time. But when you let it in, it is like letting in the light.

Lokah samasta sukhino bhavantu
a mantra for peace

This week’s challenge: On Being Peace. [capitalization intentional] Follow this topic wherever your heart takes you. Then, link it up in the comments section below! Please do stop by to see what others have written too and send them some love!

Next week’s challenge: Free
You can take that any way you like.

P.S. I know not all my readers have blogs, and/or some topics you may not want to share what you’ve written. If you just leave me a comment saying you’ve participated or even just thought about what you would write, I’d be gratified to know!

Tell It To Me Tuesday – Becoming Real

Our move is becoming real to us. I feel the shift into limbo, as if we have moved into an alternate dimension where we are not quite connected to our current reality. We’re floating.

Whereas before, the move to Thailand was a thought lurking in the back of our minds, now it has become an ever present cloak surrounding our every thought and action. Our shopping patterns have shifted: buying things for Thailand, not buying things because we’ll get better ones for cheaper there.

We spend more time with friends, knowing what time we have with them is limited. I feel a tug in our hearts and their’s: a need to enjoy what we have now and a (squeeze-your-eyes-shut-and-close-your-ears kind of ignored) need to pull away, to protect from sadness.

We talk about how ready we are for a change: how we need more space, how we no longer feel at home in our shoebox apartment, how we need to be shaken from our rut. We need to get out of our element so we will no longer be so caught up in the trivial, the minutiae, that have begun to dominate our existence. We need to break free.

It occurs to me that we will have a summer in perpetuity. This summer will just begin to slip away as we board a plane to an even hotter one. I imagine arriving in Bangkok, and even from this distance, I can feel the wall of heat that greets you once you step off the plane. I can see the old orange décor of the terminal and feel the sweat begin to line its way down my spine. I feel the fear of, for the first time, getting into a different customs line than my husband. I feel the frustration mixed with excited anticipation as we lug our heavy suitcases – more things than either of us will have ever traveled with before – to a waiting taxi.

In my mind’s eye, I step into the heat. I am wearing my brown Prana shirt and turquoise skirt, and I am standing in the warm tropical rain, my hair curling around my face from the humidity. I feel the splatters of water and mud across my sandaled feet as I flag down a motorized rickshaw.

It’s like a memory that hasn’t happened yet.

I can’t pray for the days in between to melt away because there is still so much to do in what little time we do have. And yet, I can’t help but be impatient for the next stage to become this day.

I have slipped down one level in the dream state and I’m waiting for the kick.

This week’s challenge: Trim the fat. Write anything you like. Then go back and eliminate all the adverbs (if you’re extra daring, you can try adjectives too…using color is okay though). Erase anything that ends in -ly. Then rewrite those parts/phrases to mean what you meant, without using the adverb. Link it up in the comments section below! Please do stop by to see what others have written too and send them some love!

Next week’s challenge: On Being Peace. [capitalization intentional]

Have fun! I can’t wait to see what you all come up with!

P.S. I know not all my readers have blogs, and/or some topics you may not want to share what you’ve written. If you just leave me a comment saying you’ve participated or even just thought about what you would write, I’d be gratified to know!

tell it to me tuesday – metaphors and similes

In the mood for irony? On these pages, I write and I write. I even write about writing. But in the real world, I am so afraid to call myself a writer. It makes me feel as though I’m playing dress-up with my mother’s clothes and I’ve got the lipstick all smeared out past the edges of my lips. I’ve got a frock on but it doesn’t fit and looks rather queer, hanging in frumpy layers past my knees.

About a year ago (good god, it’s already been a year, shame on me) a friend of mine and I made a pact that we would call ourselves by what we truly were: artists. She, a dancer. Me, a writer. We made a deal with each other that we would have the courage to speak our hearts about ourselves. But here we are a year later, and I am still afraid.

When I left for our cruise a couple of weeks ago, I reminded myself of this promise. I said to myself, “When I meet people, I will tell them I am a writer. No excuses. For what do I have to lose? I will never see them after I get off the boat.”

One person asked me what I do. Just one, and still I faltered. I said I was a writer, but when she asked me what I write, I stumbled. I talked about my passion as if it were driftwood, a piece of boring slate grey dead limb pieces. And the conversation stopped. Talk about it that way, why would she be interested? I’d go numb too.

And as I heard the stupid words tumble from my mouth, I felt ashamed. Like I’d been caught with the silly frock and smeared red lipstick. I saw disappointment in her eyes, but I think it was just a mirror of my own.

I know the only thing that keeps me from fitting in the frock as if I belong and wearing that lipstick with grace is courage. In my head I know this. But then my heart whispers: sometimes people say they like my words, but would they really buy them? So I don’t tug too hard on the lace-lined dress, for I think it might unravel in my hands.

This week’s challenge: Metaphors and similes. Let’s play around with making up our own metaphors and similes. Create your own metaphor or simile, then write something using it. Link it up in the comments section below and please do stop and visit others’ entries to spread a little love.

Next week’s challenge: I don’t know about you, but I’m addicted to adjectives and adverbs. But I hear writing can be strengthened and made more precise without qualifying words. So this week’s challenge is to trim the fat. Write anything you like. Then go back and eliminate all the adverbs (if you’re extra daring, you can try adjectives too…using color is okay though). Erase anything that ends in -ly. Then rewrite those parts/phrases to mean what you meant, without using the adverb.

Tell It To Me Tuesday – One Place, One Sense

A Moment in Mango

I feel the cold metallic tinge of silver between my fingers, different from the cool ceramic plate resting in my lap. Delicate yellows and whites trickle over my face, the flush of sun dancing like freckles.

With delicious anticipation, I raise the first bite to my lips. An explosion of soft, tingly and grainy flesh fills my mouth. The mango is warm and exotic, the coconut milk is a beach, filled with sunshine and palm trees. The rice offers up a weight on the tongue, pleasant, like comfort.

I salivate, teardrops in my mouth activated by the wild combination of flavors. Sunlight feeds the belly of the beast. I reach for another bite and rejoice.

This week’s challenge: One place, one sense. Pick one place (a room, a landscape, even a time or moment) and describe it using only one sense of perception (taste, smell, touch…). One caveat: You can’t use sight. Post a link to your writing in the comments section below. (Hopefully yesterday’s issues have all been resolved!)

Next week’s challenge: Metaphors and similes. Let’s play around with making up our own metaphors and similes. Create your own metaphor, then write something using it.
Need inspiration? Maybe think of a mood: wistful, uncertain, eager, hope.

tell it to me tuesday – from another’s perspective

When she woke up that morning, she knew immediately something was off. There was something different in the air: a charged energy, a feeling that maybe she had misplaced something but she couldn’t put her finger on what it could be.

She got out of bed to get dressed for the day and tried to shove aside the feeling, pushing it back like she brushed back her dark, black hair. Days off from work usually had a surreal quality to them anyway. Besides, Roy was in town to visit – god, she hadn’t seen him in, what? 10 years? At least. Not since they left Mississippi. It was good to have him in town, show him around. She was really proud of the new house they had just bought. It had only been two months since they’d moved, but it was beginning to feel like home. Safer neighborhood. No gangs, not like where they used to live.

She smiled as she went downstairs. Roy was sitting at the table, coffee in hand. Dave had already gotten up and settled their guest with a cup, so she poured herself one too. She asked him how he’d slept, still trying to push the strange feeling away from her mind. She tried to remember to breathe. She always forgot, letting her chest clench up too tight. Relax, she told herself.

After coffee, they put on their walking shoes, having decided to go for a walk around the neighborhood and enjoy the fresh morning air. She looked at the clock as they headed out the door. Just a little past 7 a.m.

They headed up the street, towards the top of the suburban neighborhood hill. It was a crisp, clear October morning. Warm already. The city had barely begun to stir.

They rounded a corner and that’s when she heard them. Sirens. In the distance but coming closer. Too close. The minute she heard them, she knew. She knew it. “We have to go back home, Roy,” she said with unflappable calm. She was always unflappably calm, unless you looked close enough to see the dark storm in her eyes. “We have to go back.” He nodded, understanding. Roy was that way. He always just understood.

She pushed back down the hill and into the house to find Dave, dripping wet from a shower and dressing as quickly as he could. He looked up at her and she knew. She could see in his eyes. His voice was gruff and it cracked as he said, “She’s been in an accident. She’s at the hospital.”

Wordlessly, they grabbed their wallets and purses and piled into the car. Dave sped to the hospital. Nobody spoke. What could one say? Flashes passed through her mind: the arguments they’d had. She knew she should have insisted on the bus. If their daughter had just taken the bus to school instead of going with that boy, this wouldn’t have happened. Why hadn’t she stood her ground on this one?

They practically ran to the nurses’ counter and Dave gave his name, said the hospital had called. His daughter had been in an accident. Where was she and could they see her? They waited, in long ridiculous moments, watching nurses shuffle papers and talk on phones and whisper to each other. Why are hospital staff always so slow to move in situations like these?

Finally. Finally, they led her down a corridor to the E.R. Nurses hurried past, and her gut clenched as she saw the cops in uniform milling around. The nurse pulled back a curtain, and there she was. Their little girl. Their baby girl, fourteen and with fear in her eyes, IVs in her arms. The nurse filled in the details, something about five cars, ten people, a head-on collision and flipping…but she didn’t hear much past “dislocated elbow”, “will be okay” and “lucky to be alive”. She forced herself to be strong. She did not allow the tears or the anger: her baby needed her to be strong. She took her daughter’s hand in her own and stroked it. She pressed her fingers along her daughter’s scared and frightened brow until the creases went away, until the anxiety began to melt away. She watched as her daughter silently grit her teeth, steeling against the doctor resetting the bone. She forced herself not to panic as they wheeled her away for more x-rays, and then again while the cops pulled her daughter aside for more questioning. Relief only came in little sips, little whispers as moment by moment, it became clearer that it would all be okay.

It was well past noon when they were finally able to go home. Dave helped their daughter onto the couch with a movie and pillows and blankets, while she poured all the comfort she could put into a bowl of rice soup and a cup of tea. The phone rang…persistently…throughout the afternoon. She was a resilient guard, protecting her daughter from the barrage of reporter’s questions, angry at them for interrupting her daughter’s much needed rest.

When the day finally quieted down, the war of emotions threatened to release inside her. All the pent-up fear, anger, guilt, worry; that day probably changed her even more than her daughter (cars would never feel as safe again)…but then children are always so resilient, aren’t they?

But through all of it, she allowed herself one little thought: that day was the day she began to think there might be such a thing as guardian angels. There might be such a thing as a saving grace.

And from now on, Jade was definitely going to be taking the bus.


This week’s challenge: Tell a story about something that happened to you – but from someone else’s perspective. Post a link to your story in the comments below!

(Phfew! That was a hard one! Was it difficult for anyone else? Hopefully this next one will be easier!)

Next week’s challenge: One place, one sense. Pick one place (a room, a landscape, even a time or moment) and describe it using only one sense of perception (taste, smell, touch…). One caveat: You can’t use sight.

tell it to me tuesday – thrill, grow, snowflake and sigh

Good morning! I hope you all had a happy 4th (whether you’re American or not). I’m still catching up from the weekend, so this post is a little late. But! I do have a story for you.

Next Sunday is the second wedding anniversary for my husband and me. We’ve been talking vaguely about “doing something” to celebrate, but we’ve both been so utterly consumed with work, we really haven’t had a second to think about it. Time slipped by. One birthday, then another. A weekend away, then another. And suddenly we found ourselves just days away from our anniversary without even a whisper of a delicate, fragile, transparent snowflake of a plan.

We talked vaguely of taking a trip to Arizona, Sedona maybe, throwing out ideas of hotel costs and what we could afford in time off. The Hubby has really been wanting to take me to Portland – has loved it both times he’s been, but I’ve never gone. So I thought about trying to catch last-minute flights plus airmiles I’ve accrued, and could we stay with friends, but oh it’s such short notice and whoa…flights are $1200. Never mind.

::sigh:: All the last minute flight deals were not really deals, and I began to lose hope of a special idea.

But then, I saw a little tab that said “cruises” and I gasped with glee. I ell-oh-vee-ee LOVE cruises and Hubby has never been on one before. I started clicking through, remembering how many times I’ve heard people say they got deals on cruises that are amazing, considering all the lodging and food included. My excitement started to grow. Then I found a 3-day cruise to Baja, Mexico with availability for this weekend – for an amazing price! A whole weekend poolside…cocktails on the open sea…day trip to Ensenada…cozy cabin…we HAD to do this!

I nudged my hubby. His eyes popped wide and a familiar little light shone in them. He hemmed a little bit (…an international cruise…on 4 days notice…a little more than we wanted to spend, but on the other hand, do-able…) but I knew he was hooked.

A few clicks of the mouse later and we were booked!

And we are thrilled. Now we just have to really scurry to get some work done before we go! But I think I might just need to pop out to the shops for a new bathing suit. {wink, wink}

This week’s Tell It To Me Tuesday: tell a story using the words thrill, grow, snowflake, sigh


Next week’s challenge:
Write about something that happened to you (anything, from the momentous to the mundane) – but tell it from someone else’s perspective.

TITMT – ends with “coffee shop”


For Ella, coffee shops were like the comfort of a favorite book. They promised a retreat, an escape into fantasy while reality honked its horn in traffic and careened down the highway. A place where discontent remained locked away by the tinkle of a friendly door chime. She could sit, smelling the fruit of Nicaragua, sultry scents of Sumatra, and the dark bites of Florence. It was only a promise of a world of imagination, for truth and the quotidian remained waiting, like dregs from the press, for her to finish her cup. The knowledge that it would end made each foray into bliss only that much more bittersweet.

Until him.

He walked in, smelling like rain. She felt him before she saw him, and knew before turning.

His voice was rich, like the dark caramel roast he requested.

A glance.

The brush of fingers over hers, soft like a whisper, heady like lightening, as he reached for the cream.

A word. A moment. Like a heavy chain yanking her by her stomach towards him.

A hint of a smile and he claimed her.

And then he was gone. The sounds of the coffee shop crashed back down on her ears and such wretched disappointment stood in his wake.

She carried her cup to the lonely sofa in the corner. Her place of lovely solitude suddenly felt unbearably empty. She chided herself for foolishness. She of all people should know that coffee shops were for the ephemeral. Not for the here and now.

She stuffed her hands in her pockets, sullen.

Then fingered the edge of a business card. She pulled it out in wonder. His. She looked up to where he had stood just moments before. His card. His card was in her pocket.

A sense of lightness warmed the empty pit, filling it and it spilled over like gold. The line between dream and real began to blur, and it felt like freedom not to have to choose. She couldn’t wait to finish her coffee. For today, the dream waited outside the coffee shop.

This week’s Tell It To Me Tuesday challenge: Tell a story that ends with the words “coffee shop”. Post a link to your story in the comments section below!

Next week’s challenge: Write something in which you use the following words: thrill, grow, snowflake, sigh.

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