A Prompt

I’m just going to add a prompt here for all of my lovely readers to complete at will. My own response will be in the comments section below once I finish, and I would love for you to either add on to it or to write a new one.

Here is the prompt:

A man is sitting outside at a cafe in a city. There is an empty coffee cup on the table before him and an unpaid bill beside it. He sees none of it as he looks out at the street and the cars and the buildings. No one knows what he is looking for — maybe nothing, maybe everything, maybe something entirely different and out of place. He does not see it. A waiter approaches and asks if he needs anything. The man turns his head slowly and stares at the waiter. It is obvious he heard none of what was said. What happens next?

Have fun with it!

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One thought on “A Prompt

  1. It’s a strange thing, memory. Sometimes it’s fluid, like a stream, flowing through my mind and filling in thoughts where needed. Other times it’s solid, like a stone monument, standing where it has since its creation and reminding me of success or failure.

    One memory has stood at the fore of my brain for two years today. One failure that really is two–a failure to act and a failure to let pass. I could have let the topic go, and I should have– it wasn’t all that important. I should have gone out after her, like someone who really wanted her. But I did neither of those things, so I’m stuck sitting outside a cafe in a city with an empty coffee cup and a bill I can’t pay. The sound around me is a pleasant change from the silent damnation at home.

    It’s my biggest regret, losing her the way I did. I will never hear her laugh again. Or see her smile. Or feel her touch. Or explain a stupid joke or debate the turning of the universe or argue the best way to eat a banana. I stare out at the street and the lights and the people, and I search for her quick gait and her strawberry blond curls. I won’t see it, though. She would never setttle so close. Her determination and rage would take her across the ocean, where she always wanted to go and never did.

    The waiter comes out every now and again to check on me, but I don’t pay him mind. Eventually, I’ll commit the sin of leaving without paying.

    The waiter approaches as I watch the traffic signal turn green.

    “Sir?” He says. I must have missed his question.

    I turn to him to ask what he said, but instead I say, “Have you ever been heartbroken?”

    His eyebrows rise comically high. “I’m sorry?”

    I don’t blame him. This is heavy stuff for ten in the morning.

    “Heartbroken,” I say. “When the core of your being is shattered like a glass vase upon a marble floor, and all you can do is stare at it.”

    The waiter takes a step back and stammers. Poor guy. He probably hasn’t ever had the chance to feel the beauty of before.

    Out of malice or a need to speak, I explain to this waiter at a cafe in the heart of the city at ten in the morning about my paradoxical universe of pain and numbness.

    In the middle of what was likely a masterpiece of wit and depression on my part, a couple comes to sit outside at a table three down from mine and I break off.

    “Looks like you should get back to your job,” I say. He nods, mumbles some polite response and goes to attend the couple. When he goes inside with his drink order, I leave.

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