~the following is part of “Prompted Prose,” a series of posts from the prompts I’m working with during my Spring 2016 online writing course
Their leaving was confirmation: something must be wrong with me.
But that’s not what you’re thinking when you step into the pawnshop with your little cache of gold, and a diamond ring. You’re hoping to get fair compensation. Cash for the past, even though you know that your twenty-year old self is never going to get a fair deal from the man in plaid, behind the counter.
You don’t know the worth of what you’ve got. Where would you look to find out? You’ll just take what he offers, knowing he will tip it in his favor. You figure on this, accepting that it’s all a part of the let-go.
You spread your treasures on his counter. A thin gold chain you never wear. One silver ring with a rosy stone, from where, you don’t remember. You slide your big-ticket items to the center. A gold coin your father set into a ring. A design that’s big and bulky, masculine, and too large for your size 4 finger. Not at all your style. You always thought the gift had been your stepmother’s idea, anyway. Hefty with precious metal, it feels like a dare to let it go.
The pawnbroker is poker faced, as he fondles the gold, then moves on to the diamond ring. You don’t know its quality. You just know your first love offered it on one knee, on an ordinary evening, as you sat on the corner of his bed. You were only sixteen. How could he have known there would be more? More world, more ideas…more women.
You walk with a few hundred bucks. Stash the cash in the top shelf of your closet. You tuck your fears of your pending solo, road trip further back behind your Kelty tent. And buried danger-deep in some far chamber of your beating heart, is that notion of an inherent flaw, forever keeping Love leaving. It lives at whisper-depth, the most insidious place. Hiding just enough to haunt, but not daring to own up.
4 thoughts on “Write the Last Sentence of an Old Piece, Continue Writing”
You’re going really deep with these memories, Jessica. I can feel the emotion as you write through these experiences and look back. There’s power in your honesty.
Thank you! Funny how by the time it’s written and out, the ‘story’ loses a lot of its charge. I think this is a good thing- cathartic. I’m cringing about my dad possibly reading that I hocked the ring he gave me. Revealing my own inner feelings doesn’t seem as hard as my concern about others’ feelings as I reference them in my nonfiction. And I do regret having pawned that ring, actually! Well, it made for a good yarn….:)
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I wrote a piece on a previous blog (Menomama) that caused quite a debate between my brother and I because he was sure I had my facts wrong and therefore the rest of the story was lost on him even though, in this case, the facts weren’t vital to the story. I guess that’s the danger of writing non-fiction about family life when family is still living. Everyone brings their own interpretations and experiences of and sees the same events very differently. Have you read Lee Gutkind’s “You can’t make this stuff up?” It’s subtitled The Complete Guide to Writing Creative Nonfiction – from Memoir to Literary Journalism and Everything in Between and it talks about writing things that have the potential to hurt others. You might find it helpful.
I have a working title of a collection called “This is How I Remember It,” as it’s so very true that anything we experience is seen through our unique filter, and remembered through that lens, as well. I love that you mention Lee Gutkind, because the online class I’ve been attending (and posting prompts from on the Archives), is through http://www.creativenonfiction.org. I’ve not read the book you mention, but it sounds enlightening! I’ll speak highly of the online course. It’s been a great 5 weeks!
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