Write a Revison

~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

2015-09-17_bohemian beach

You walked right past him the first time. Just another sun-tanned, shirtless man, on the beach, broad chest, golden skin, a rose tattoo on his bicep. You were there for a walk in your special seaside haven, and there was another half mile to go.

But as the afternoon faded, and the sun began to fall, you backtracked toward your car. He was still there in the sand, turning to look right at you, smiling, no hesitation. You were curious, but self-conscious, looking everywhere else: the red-hued cliffs, the open sky, the outstretched, rippled sea.

“Beautiful,” you gestured to the surroundings, as he continued to gaze upon you.

He nodded, smiling into your eyes. “Beautiful,” he said.

You kept walking, leaving him behind. You were moving towards the settling sun, getting closer to your car, when a voice inside your head asked,

What’s the hurry? Why not stay and watch the sunset?

So you stopped to circle with the shells, sneaking looks over your shoulder at the arms with the rose tattoo.

You each have your own version of this story. The one about that ‘beautiful’ day when you both met. Watching him from afar at sunset, you got butterflies in your stomach, so fluttery, you lost your breath, laughing out loud at yourself. He saw the air go pink all around you, and quietly asked God to make you his. And these things happened all before you knew each other’s names.

Eventually, he did walk right to the rocky outcrop where you stood. He made it seem so simple. “Hello.”

You talked easily together until the light fell and a rain shower came. He began to jog toward a nearby Kaimani tree for shelter. You stayed behind, unsure.

Ducking beneath the tree, he turned back to you, beaming. Raindrops splashed across his cheeks. Everything about him said ‘of course,’ as he called “C’mon!”

Write the Last Sentence of an Old Piece, Continue Writing

~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.

courtesy of Jonathan McIntosh
courtesy of Jonathan McIntosh

Write With Repetition

~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

Maybe I didn’t expect enough.

Was it thirty years of varied letdowns that had me figuring I’d always, eventually, be abandoned?

Dad backing down the driveway in a, rattling, empty station wagon, leaving to live in a new home. My first-love-turned-fiancé, cheating on me with the bookstore clerk at the Fresno Mall. Years of subsequent relationships with boys-becoming-men, all who loved me, but just couldn’t commit.


Maybe it was that time in my twenties, in India, when the local boy delivered a handwritten note from my traveling companions, explaining that they were sorry. They had tried to find me. They had decided to move on. Taking a train to a new city. They hoped I’d have a great rest of my trip.


Maybe anyone would have had some trouble, if their water broke at 1am, and the father of their child just wouldn’t wake up. Maybe it’s true that a woman would feel a bit unnerved, when her boyfriend finally did awake to call the midwife, only to discover that she was on another island, 200 miles away, and the first flight back wouldn’t be for another five hours. Maybe all of that would be enough to make a mother hesitate and stall, contractions or not. Maybe nothing in that moment made it feel safe to birth a baby. Maybe that’s why when the midwife finally did arrive, there was trouble pushing.

Maybe I didn’t expect enough. Just assumed that no one would really be there. That everyone made promises, but none were ever kept. Maybe I figured I was always alone, so I surrounded myself with people who were only halfway in.


But no expectations means no disappointment, and I’d had disappointment plenty. And every time I was let down, I landed in that same, mildewed, stinking, shame-filled spot. Just certain that their leaving was confirmation: something must be wrong with me.