Thursday, February 20, 2014

He Only Came Alive …

Just a word as a follow-up to last week’s post, and then I’ll move on. My cough went away, so I guess washing my clothes the right way is important. My friend J gave me some red, press-on dots with instructions to put them on my washer to indicate which way is up. I will do that, but somehow I don’t think they’re idiot proof, and that what it will really take to save me from my washer. On reflection, married life was really much simpler.

Enough about that. What shall we do this week? I haven’t had any Oopsies worth blogging about (although J has a doozy and should do a post on it), so let’s get back to flash fiction.

“He only came alive when she was in the room.”
That line was the only part of a long-forgotten book that stuck with me. But stuck, it had. Every once in a while it would pop unbidden into my head, usually when I was bored and in need of distraction.
Like now in Professor Stood’s American Lit class. That’s Stood with O’s as in too, not as in wood. If the old windbag had the brains to spell it S-t-u-u-d, he wouldn’t have to correct everyone all the time. At the moment he was discussing the minimalist quality of Earnest Hemmingway’s writings. That was definitely boring. The only thing of Papa’s I liked was For Whom the Bell Tolls. The rest were just so many black ink marks sullying pristine paper. A Farewell to Arms fit particularly well into the latter category, so far as I was concerned.
So naturally, my eyes were playing the endless game of “Is-She-the-One?” I regarded Sara Tillingham across the room, her sharp chin resting in the palm of one hand, eyes (brown, I believe) fixed on the rotund instructor. She’d be wearing something that smelled of roses. Attractive but studious. Imagining her future conjured only images of ivy-covered buildings and classrooms. A teacher. No, a professor. A tenured professor regaling her students in a high, thin voice. Her spare time would be spent penning romances under a nom de plume. Sorry, but I couldn’t imagine her illuminating my life.
Wendy Williams, two rows behind Sara, was something else. Her aroma would be lavender. Definitely lavender. I shifted in my seat for a better look. From her appearance, you wouldn’t think she came from money, but I knew she did. Blonde, blue-eyed, pert, pug-nosed, and so packed with curves they verged on the vulgar, she was expensive trashy … by design. No classrooms in her future. More likely bedrooms. The picture of an expensive madam with a low, silky voice leapt to mind. Would she brighten my life? Nah.
Beth Hughes, just a row over and two seats ahead of me. Compact, wiry, a strong alto with lots of vibrato. A tennis phenom at the U, she always smelled of Wind Song … sometimes woody, sometimes floral. Pretty in a jock sort of way. It wasn’t hard to visualize her future: US Open, Wimbledon. Endless tennis courts … clay, grass, concrete. Keeping up with her would be demanding, and probably exciting at times. But she’d be too much of a competitor.
Everyone made ready to leave when Stood dismissed the class. I rose, stretched, and turned to grab my backpack hanging over the desk chair.
“Well, did you pick one?”
I glanced up to see Ricardo Alban grinning at me.
“Saw you checking out the women during the lecture.”
The smoldering, sloe-eyed stare of the tall young man with a throaty baritone, a hint of Brut … the Essence of Man … always clinging to him made me pause. As I took in the smooth olive skin and wavy black hair, my stomach dropped. My blood sang.
Maybe I’d have to alter that sentence from the long-forgotten book ever so slightly.

Once again, let me know what you think.



Next week: Depends on the weather ... or some such..

New posts are published at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.


  1. I like your story, Don. I agree about idiot-proofing; it's harder to do that effectively the older we get. Good luck with the red dots. :)


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  3. Thanks, J. Getting to where I enjoy writing short-short after writing long-long for all those years.
    Managed to get my laundry done without any trouble this past weekend. Perhaps I'll learn after all.


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