welcome readers & writers! in this cyber space please find: + a photo writing prompt + a place to post your creative writing response (poem, memoir, short story or the like) to the prompt + a community of readers and fellow writers excited to read your writing + morsels of genuine fiction, poetry & creative non-fiction as the blog is updated. share a response as often as you'd like. everyday discoveries from my life, captured on film, will serve as prompts. this is not a place where we will critique one another's work; however, words of encouragement or praise for writers who share their work are most welcome. writers, share your story, poem or creative non-fiction response to the photo by clicking on comments; word count is flexible. cheers! demery

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

indulged, continued

welcome readers & writers. today is going to be a "best of" day! i've got a lot going on this week, so we're going to re-visit a photo from write away's earlier days. if you wrote about the photo before, feel free to continue your story (as i've done) - or you can write a new and totally different response. if you didn't write on the photo the first time, feel free to start fresh today and give us a short story, poem or creative non-fiction treat. 250(ish) words or less. click on comments below to send it in. my original story comes first. the second paragraph is today's installment of my story. 
Bella hated to eat in front of other people. But she also hated dining alone. A problem, to be sure. What follows was her solution to the problem: she would make a reservation for four at a nice little restaurant. At the appointed time she would arrive, be seated, shake out her napkin and smooth it across her lap. Then she would order an appetizer (for four) and a drink (a mudslide). She'd nibble away at the appetizer, making small talk with the waiter as the clock ran its feckless laps. When the waiter finally noted how late her friends were, she'd say she was sure they must be on their way, but she'd call and check. Another appetizer please. When he returned with the bruschetta or artichoke dip or stuffed mushrooms, she'd just be closing her cell phone. "I can't believe it," she'd say. "I've got it all wrong. Everyone else is at thus and so. But they went on without me and are almost finished."  Pause and a sad sigh. "I guess I'll just eat here." The waiter would tsk tsk. If he was an older man he might fret over the decline of good manners, that friends would order dinner before the arrival of their fourth. If he was younger, he might feel sorry for her and bring a special dessert at the end of her meal. But all waiters, she found, would make it a point to stop and chat with her as she waited patiently for her entree (another mudslide, please), and then worked her way through it, savoring each bite. It was a very good thing that Bella lived in a city with plenty of restaurants, because she was sure she could only pull it off once at any given place.

On this particular day, however, something unexpected and wonderful happened.  She'd made her reservation (for four) at this new restaurant, Indian. She'd arrived and ordered her appetizers and drink as usual. She'd dropped those careful, flustered comments about her party being late. About ten minutes into the charade, when she'd finished two of the crispy, perfectly spiced samosas, as the waiter was re-filling her glass of wine, a gentleman came to the table. When she'd bustled in out of the fall chill she'd noticed him in the waiting area."Hello," he said, a little breathlessly."I'm so sorry to be late." "Er," said Bella. "Hi?" The fellow looked at the waiter and said, "Bad news, I'm afraid. The others won't be able to join us." Then, to Bella, "They're still prepping for court tomorrow. Can't risk flubbing up this one." "Very well, sir," said the waiter, removing two place settings. "May I bring you a drink?" The gentleman sat and opened his menu. Bella's heart drubbed wildly, "I. Er."  "A glass of Torrontes, if I may," the gentleman said to the waiter. The waiter bowed slightly and stepped away, fading into the quiet chatter of other guests, softly lilting Indian music, silverware pinging against plates. The gentleman forked the corner off a samosa. "So," he said, just before putting it in his mouth, "how was your day?"
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  1. The worst ignominy is this silly eye-squinting grin my countenance is sculpted into. Like a Jack-o-lantern that will never weaken, rot and fold into itself as a proper Jack-o-lantern should, becoming eerier, more ominous each night. Of course, almost no one ever recognizes what they're seeing if they should but for a moment let their eyes drift. The few that do, the occasional paranoid or artistic type, those with imaginations working all the time, pass off quickly enough. The paranoid can't bear to fixate on me, and the artistic types need to get back to the conversation. Which, of course, I cannot hear. I am stone deaf. Only vision obtains. Each of them forking exquisite tastes and aromas and textures into their unhungry mouths, nodding, agreeing how delicious the meal is, how the headiness of the herbs and flavors imbued into meats and vegetables excites, complimented by the tang and surprising sweet of the sauce. Wiping mouths daintily or with gusto ever now and again. They have just the very best time ever.
    I long to have my mouth water - to feel my tongue, for that matter. If I could gag the thought of myriad flavors and overtones waving in the wine as it is sucked from the thin crystal bowl of a glass would flip my throat my jealousy reeks so in this prison, this cell, this hex laid upon me by the chef. Oh, he was right, never again would I complain of ill-prepared sweetbreads in his restaurant, jammed into this wall watching eaters relish eating.

  2. Oh crap. I don't think this date is going to go well. I got here early... thought I would check the table. And... it is set for four. I mention to the waiter that he can clear the extra settings, and he smile and says, "Sir, the reservation was changed to four." Now who the hell did that? Ok, it wasn't me. So it was her. I am thinking maybe the parents? I go sit at the bar and choke down a shot of vodka. No odor ya know. So this is a surprise but had to happen right? At some point you meet the parents. Right?

    This is our second anniversary. I can say that with unusual confidence because, well, this is our second anniversary date. So that's why she had to "...meet you there, sweetie." Quick thinking leads me to scouting the best seat. Where should I sit? Where should she sit? How hard do I shake her Dad's hand? Safe topics for conversation. Are there any, really? Maybe I can just be strong and silent?!

    Well into my third shot, I notice someone waving at me. She's here... at the wrong table. Way over in the corner. A table set for two. The waiter shrugs at me. Oops. Now, how do I explain being drunk?

  3. Harry Potters

    As a natural and trained leader I thought it was my duty to keep us all together so after we recovered from our wounds, I made a reservation for four at an upscale restaurant midway to where we all lived. As the last of us sat down, we all held hands and just looked at each other for a time with smiles on our faces and remembered what brought us to this place. I was a stewardess and the three ladies at my table were passengers on the jumbo jet heading toward Palm Springs that fateful day on December 20, 2012. Midway through the flight there was a mechanical malfunction and the plane began to drop somewhere over Arizona. You can imagine what we all thought as the plane went down on the date that the world was suppose to end. Of the 173 passengers and crew we were the only four to survive. As we looked at each other with tears in our eyes I said, “We’re all Harry Potters. As he was the boy who lived, we are the four who lived.” I pulled my napkin from my glass as the waiter approached with a bottle of champagne and my three new friends did the same. When our glasses were full I proposed a toast. “To us,” I said, “In the wake of this tragedy we have found each other. It was meant to be and we will not waste it.” For the next four hours we ate and enjoyed each others company and vowed to change the world.

  4. Harry Potters (continued)

    We did change the world but we did not leave the restaurant. As the waiter left the check on our table and turned to walk away the out of control car jumped the curb and smashed through the front picture window of the building. It flew straight over the first table with glass sparkling like a shower of brilliant water droplets. People and chairs fell to the floor and some of them seemed to linger in that in between moment when they were balanced perfectly on two legs. We felt a pressure as the car smashed into the stone wall and landed on top of us. That horrific metal crunch that never leaves your ears was the last sound we heard and then there was a slow, weightless drift into darkness. It seemed purposeful that the four of us would die together at that restaurant when no one else had any injuries to speak of. It appeared that we were meant to die in the plane crash or maybe we were just meant to die but the time was just a little too early. As my life flashed before my eyes I could see the joys and sorrows, the triumphs and defeats and that extra time at the end. I had lived 91 days after the plane crash as did the other three. One day shy of one year of life between the four of us. My memories flickered and I saw the stray dog I found on the side of the road that lived with me for one day shy of a year before she died. I thought about how remarkable that year was and how it changed me forever. How many lives did the four of us touch in our last cumulative year? Our perspective had changed and all the petty things that chained us down seemed to wash away to a place that didn’t matter. Our candles burned 10 times brighter than they had before. We laughed more often and loved with more passion and lived life with a joy we never knew before. As the light faded from my minds eye I saw my family and knew that they would be fine for I had touched them in ways that made them all stronger. In our last days we had all touched people in our lives that would change them forever and in doing so we changed the world.