Monday, July 1, 2013

Dear John

An hour ago, at the depot, she saw him off, waving goodbye as she blotted the corners of her eyes with an embroidered hankie.  They’d sat together, mostly in silence, before his bus arrived, their lap-constrained hands folded like the crescent rolls they’d eaten with their luncheonette blue-plate specials.  But she’d smiled at him often.  She could tell it meant a lot to him that she was there.

That same hour ago, when it came time for him to depart, he fumbled a crude farewell-hugging her awkwardly as his lips collided with her cheek.  “Write me?” he asked, hope sketched on his face. She saw fear, as well. “Of course,” she promised, and gave him a kiss on the cheek in return.

                                ~

Staring fixedly at the familiar field studded landscape-vanishing rapidly in the wake of dusty bus wheels-he seems mesmerized by the view as it races past his window seat.  In truth he is intent on memorizing it.  An hour from now, farmland will give way to foreign land.  Rocky slopes and stands of pine. And an hour from now-a day, a week, a month, or longer-from now, it will continue to weigh heavily on his mind that he might not return from foreign lands even farther afield.

For the sake of his morale, she intends, while he is gone, to pen him sentiment-scented letters.  Allow him the false certainty of finding her waiting for him when he comes home. And an hour, a day, a week, a month or longer, from now, she will find herself wishing desperately to fall in love with him.

Knowing that she won’t.

 

 

This weeks’ promptCRUDE
1: existing in a natural state and unaltered by cooking or processing <crude oil>
2 archaic : unripe, immature
3: marked by the primitive, gross, or elemental or by uncultivated simplicity or vulgarity <a crude stereotype>
4: rough or inexpert in plan or execution <a crude shelter>
5: lacking a covering, glossing, or concealing element :obvious <crude facts>
6: tabulated without being broken down into classes <the crude death rate> - See more at: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/#sthash.K534D0lX.dpuf

40 comments:

  1. Oh Valerie. I admire your ability to know when to step forward with the heart of the story, and step back before the cliche or maudlin. Really, really well done :))

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    1. Renae-thanks! I worked on this one quite a bit as to avoid exactly what you've mentioned. It's hard to know sometimes where to draw the line in the telling of a story. I'm extremely grateful for your thoughts on this-it means the world to me that you like it:)

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    1. Thanks Lisa! Your comments are like little handfuls of chocolate:)

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  3. LIfe is complicated, at times, isn't it? You have done a terrific job of creating a great deal of tension between your characters at a time of longing and love. Well done. :)

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    1. Thanks Tom! While writing this story, trying to get the sentiment exactly right, I felt as though I was trying to wrestle a wild beast. I created quite a bit of tension within myself;)

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  4. Oh wow, I love that last paragraph. The relationship certainly isn't what it seemed in the beginning. I can relate to the feeling of wanting to fall in love with someone because they were kind and good, but the emotion just not being there.

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    1. Thank you so, so much Janna! I wonder how often this sort of thing happened-or happens in times of conflict. I can imagine there were many broken hearts. And I bet most of us have been in this situation too. Tough, no matter which character one plays.

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  5. Oh, so sad! You definitely can't force yourself to love someone. I feel bad for the poor guy!

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    1. Me too, Tammy. It's a sad, but true fact:)

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  6. Folded like crescent rolls they eaten.. and sentiment-scented letters - great phrases and images. Nicely done, for all the reasons others have stated.

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    1. Thanks Steph! I've trying harder to use more interesting descriptive language. I appreciate your comment!

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  7. So sad. So, so sad. I agree with Tom. Life is complicated.

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    1. Jennifer-maybe he'll meet a nice girl who, say, works in a bakery, and makes good cake;)

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  8. Ah ha, Valerie. So you share my modest nature, do you? That is good. I shall maintain it as well. I know sex sells but I ain't selling sex, I am selling good happy thrift shopping fashions that I find. There are a ton of immodest clothes at thrift shops, too. Do I purchase them? hmmmm, Nope. Not I.

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    1. I love what you find Renae-you always inspire me! I worry about Dolores, though. I think she might try to get away with skimpy if I let her. Remember the grass skirt and coconuts incident? I didn't realize a mannequin could get into so much trouble!

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  9. "she will find herself wishing desperately to fall in love with him. Knowing that she won’t."

    Great ending. So sad, and so realistic.

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    1. Thank you Ivy! I felt sad when I wrote it too, because it is realistic. I really appreciate your comment!

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  10. Wow that was a nice twist at the end. This does happen doesn't it sad indeed. Great writing. B

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  11. Unrequited love from a kind interest sure beats the heck out of one from a mean one! Must've sucked for John to come home without his love waiting for him at the docks :/ Great story!

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    1. I agree Shawn-he's going to be in for such a big letdown! Thank you so much for reading and leaving your very much appreciated thoughts! :)

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  12. This is a wonderfully written piece. You captured the last fleeting moments of a young couple with just a hint that all was not well. We only learn at the end that she doesn't love him. Very clever. I also love how you carefully choose your words. Every one of them contributes to the story.

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  13. I can't imagine his disappointment, but I suppose leaving him is better than stringing him along. Brilliant work.

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    1. Thanks Draug! I think it happens a lot-keeping up morale, and then having to deal with the consequences of doing so. Sad!

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  14. Oh, I just love it when writers capture characters in the middle of making their complicated, messy choices driven by complicated, messy motivations. Beautifully done!

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    1. Kallan, thanks! What a wonderful thing to say, and I appreciate it!!

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  15. From the start I knew the end (title said it all) .. but you still managed to keep the tension up. Very well written

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    1. Thanks Bjorn! I'm glad you liked it!

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  16. Those last two lines were so touching. Great story, once again!

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    1. Thanks Kristin! I'm so flattered that you come and read what I write! It means a lot!

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  17. 'She could tell it meant a lot to him...' terrific distancer. But like a butterfly you dance in and out again.

    And great wordplay in the third paragraph: mesmorize/memory, farm land /foreign land.

    *sigh* Poor them.

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    1. Kymm. Thanks, and thanks again! And wow! I'm in your debt, my friend:)

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  18. Beautifully done, as always Valerie! Love the mood in this piece.

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  19. Oh how I hope you had a great 4th of July despite the winds. We had cooler weather, which really made me happy. A storm rolled in during the night and gave us some natural fireworks early on the 4th! Yay! Yum, your berry shakes sounds heavenly on a hot summer day. I remember picking all sorts of berries when I lived up there; just wild along the roadsides. Yummmmy stuff!

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  20. What a sweet opening and what a sad ending. You have a deft hand with small moments, and that is beautiful.

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  21. This just might be my favorite story yet! Oddly enough, I was just searching for the history behind "Dear John" letters for my Phrase/Word Origin section... I'm sure this story happened quite a bit during wartime and my heart aches for those on the opposite end of the one-way sentiment 'bus.'

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