fiction

Lettrs Prompt: Finish the Story – Love’s Calling

“His work never really interested him. And so, once again, he found himself staring out of the window. It was in that moment that he felt something he had never experienced before. He saw her in her yellow dress. The wind played with her dress as she turned around and they locked eyes…”

She shyly turned away. She had the homespun beauty and fresh faced look of someone not yet changed by the city. Everything about her was natural and without artifice: her fingernails were short and squared off, lacking any unnatural shine or color; her long, straight hair was earth brown – a shade he’d never seen amidst the frosted tips, highlighted/low-lighted, multi-hued heads of his fellow city dwellers; her face was shiny clean, free of exotic palettes of color, with unthreaded brows and unlengthened lashes; her eyes were deep dark brown, and had been mesmerizing, leaving him breathless once she’d broken eye contact.

She began walking away. He quickly arose from his desk, pulling off his headset in one motion…leaving his caller hanging. He rushed to the window, his eyes frantically hunting to see which way she’d gone. He was relieved to note that she’d entered the front of the building where his call center was located.

He reluctantly returned to his desk, moving past the astonished, amused, and frowning looks of his fellow employees. Picking up his headset, he returned to the call. “Sir, I’m very sorry about that interruption. It was all my fault. I sincerely apologize. Now, how may I resolve the problem?” His mind still on the woman, replaying their brief, non-existent encounter.

“Wow,” she thought to herself. “I can hardly even think straight, at the moment. I need a sit down.” She looked around and saw a fountain, with a stone angel pouring water from a stone vessel. On either side were semicircles of cultivated evergreen bushes, interspersed with black, wrought iron benches. She decided it was too windy and chilly to sit outside.

Going through the revolving door, she entered a grand lobby, circular in shape. Everything was circular: the Information/Concierge/Security desk, the chairs and settees dispersed throughout the area, as well as the accompanying glass side and low coffee tables.

“May I assist you?” inquired the stern-faced woman behind the desk. Then she smiled and Lucy felt much less intimidated.

“No…um…well, yes. I suppose,” she stammered a little. “I’m a bit early, I’m afraid. I’m meeting with Mr. Robertson for a job interview at 1:30 today.” They both glanced at the clock above the lobby’s entrance and noted that it was currently 12:46.

“Mr. Robertson just left for lunch and won’t return until shortly before your interview time. Feel free to sit wherever you’re comfortable. The beverage bar is off to your right, if you’d care for water, coffee, or tea.”

“Thank you. I’m sorry to have showed up so early. I don’t mean to be a bother. I’m just new here and am unfamiliar with the area. I gave myself extra time, in case I got lost,” Lucy profusely apologized.

“It’s no bother, at all. Mr. Robertson values punctuality and would prefer one to arrive too early than just a smidge late.”

Lucy sent the receptionist a beaming smile as she walked over to the beverage bar, where she opted for a bottle of cold water.

She found a chair facing the window where she could gaze on the fountain and think about the brief, non-existent encounter with the most electrifying man she’d ever seen.

There wasn’t any one thing, in particular that stood out. Since he’d been seated, it was difficult to judge his height. Overall, he appeared to be on the slightly larger side of average. His hair was a roughly textured sandy blond. His lips were like an elongated Cupid’s bow…not too thin, not too full. On either end of his mouth were faint creases, an indicator that he smiles easily. Another indicator were the lines at the corners of his golden hazel eyes.

“Ahem!”

Suddenly, her wandering thoughts were interrupted and her attention fell back to the present moment.

She glanced up as she began to stand and turn towards the disruptor of her daydreaming.

“Oh, you must be Mr. Robertson. I’m Lucy Hayes. Thank you for meeting with me today.”

“The pleasure is mine. I’m actually glad you’re here early. I’m afraid it’s going to be a bit of a non-traditional interview.”

“Oh?”

“Yes. First I want to briefly discuss your resume and experience. But, I’m really interested in seeing you in action. So, it’s to be a working interview. Assuming you don’t have anything you need to rush off for?”

Remembering the old adage, “Never let them see you sweat” and considering her rent was due in three weeks, she replied, “I made sure my afternoon was clear, in case the interview went long. So, I’m ready and willing to do a working interview.”

“Wonderful! Let’s head over this way.”

20 minutes later…

Nodding his head in approval regarding the first stage of the interview, Mr. Robertson advised Lucy, “Thank you for being so detailed and thorough with your resume and addressing the interview questions. You did marvelously. Now, for the next part. Follow me.”

He walked out of the room and began walking rapidly down the hall. She had to jog a few steps to catch up.

“I’m going to have you sit and listen in on one of our best customer service reps. You’ll be given a “cheat sheet” flow chart on how to handle our callers’ needs. After you’ve listened in for a half-hour to 45 minutes, then it will be your turn to take calls.”

Feeling slightly overwhelmed, Lucy nodded her head in agreement, nevertheless.

Walking into the call center’s main hub, they stopped at the control center and picked up a headset and a package of unused ear pads. He also grabbed a thin binder and handed that to her.

She smiled, confidently, as she followed him in navigating through the maze of workstations. Meanwhile silently repeating to herself, “I’ve got this. I can do this. Remember: listen, repeat, clarify, resolve.”

“Here we are,” he announced. “Tony,” he addressed a head of a familiar shade of sandy blond hair.

“Yes, sir?” Tony questioned as he turned his chair around, then stopped cold, his eyes locking with hers, once again.

Together, they smiled, each glad to have an opportunity to meet for real.

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Writing Prompt: lettrs Three in One – Skylark Challenge 152, Word of the Week, Finish the Story

The sky turned darker and darker as she walked toward the beach. “This can’t be a good sign,” she thought to herself as she watched the flotsam and jetsam of the tideline being washed back into the ocean. Crest ravaged crest as the waves rose higher and higher, each one violently crashing into the next.

Conscious of the increasing danger in the charged atmosphere, still she persisted in wading through the lacy, white edges of the ocean’s skirt where it brushed the sandy shore. Inhaling deeply, she felt calmer, even as the storm heightened around her.

Turning to face the vast, explosive power of the swelling tide, with hair blowing in the gusting wind, her eyes closed against the mist, she threw her hands in the air, and let out a howling scream, venting her ire and frustration about the painful events and circumstances she’d been experiencing, which were out of her control. It felt as though the elements were speaking through her, for her.

Finally, as the skies opened and heaven poured out it’s laments, she turned and slowly made her way back to the gray and brown weathered beach house. Step by weary step, she steadily paced herself as she sought refuge from both the actual storm and the storm her life had become.

As she closed the door behind her, she was filled with a calm resolve. She felt centered and at peace with vagaries of her life. With the storm raging around her, she slept soundly, for the first time in what felt like decades.

Upon waking, she saw the morning light coming through the window and meandered outside to the porch. Feeling the warmth of the sun contrasting with the cooling breeze, she finally felt content and knew the course she would take upon returning home.

After packing the car and leaving the house key in the lockbox, she cast a final glance towards the calm ocean, whispered a prayer of gratitude, and drove away.

Skylark Challenge 152:
Wading, Washed, Tideline, Crest

Word of the week: Packing

Finish the Story: The sky turned darker and darker as she walked toward the beach. “This can’t be a good sign,” she thought to herself…

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.