Writing Prompt: Finish the story

Idyllic Retreat

“She holds his hand and smiles. No words, just a big, happy smile. He smiles back and they walk on, without a word. As the sun is going down…”

They sigh as one, turn around, and take their first steps back toward their mundane lives, their frantically busy realities.

She, back to spinning her wheels in the roller coaster life of parenting, grandparenting, and navigating the twisting paths and pitfalls of accessing services to meet the needs of her youngest child. Mothering a pre-pubescent child who interfaces with the world through the Autism Spectrum and experiences ADHD, is challenging on the best of days. Doing so while battling the intermittent symptoms of chronic physical and mental health disorders of her own requires Herculean strength and effort – strength and effort she feels are sorely lacking. Back to her life of desperate inspiration for thwarted writing of prose and poetry.

He’s heading back to his creativity draining job as a brand copy writer, which is meant to support his ex-wife, their three children, and his aspirations of being a published novelist. A life where he juggles the responsibilities and desires of a part-time father of two teenagers and a younger child who also travels life on the Autism Spectrum. A life where the characters of his unwritten novel scream and cry, rant and rave to be let out.

They stop and stare intently into each other’s eyes…neither one wanting to be the first to say, “goodbye.” Neither one wants their shared, idyllic respite to come to an end, as it must. The retreat hosted by The Autism Society and sponsored by a dozen local charities and businesses has come to its end.

They lean into each other and share a bittersweet, lingering kiss, holding each other tight. Slowly, reluctantly, they step back. His phone rings. Her phone buzzes. Their lives are calling.

They drift apart without exchanging contact information, both knowing there’s no room for the other in either of their lives.

Every once in a while they revisit that time together in their minds’ eyes and reflect on their epic love that never was.

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