The hands on the clock said 1:15. A half hour later, they said 1:15. Even a broken clock is right twice a day, he said. He was full of platitudes like that. This is going to be a long meeting, she thought.
The wheels on the bus go round and round. The hands of the clock stay frozen in time. It would be 1:15 forever. She would sit in this chair. She would shed one billion skin cells onto the plush Persian carpet covering the floor of his office. The sun would move across the sky. Shadows would fall through the plantation shutters making slanting lines that would stretch for eternity. Time was a modest maiden who would sit quietly waiting for permission to bloom.
She would turn to bones in the chair, bones would turn to powder, and 1:15 would mark the place int he vastness of the time-space continuum where she slipped the wheel.
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He said I love you by calling her back from her circle, by competing with her banjo, by holding her hostage to starving ghosts. He said I love you one hundred and ten percent and therefore you owe me something in return. You owe me I love you back one hundred and eleven percent. Can you dig it? She laughed, then sobered. Oh, you’re serious then, she said. Those words cut. Those words did not say I love you one hundred and twelve percent. Okay then, she said. I will shave back my performances by ten percent, cross my heart and hope to die. What else, he averred, there must be more. Well, she replied, I will cut back visits with my sisters by twenty-five percent. All together, that’s thirty-five percent more for you. That’s pretty good, hey? I can say I love you thirty-five percent more than before. Harumph! He tooted. I still love you more. Is that the best you can do? I’ve given you one hundred and thirteen percent of my heart and I still don’t feel your love. What about my children, she asked. I’ve given them back to their father for you. I walked them back to their paternal home. When do I get credit for that? Children belong to their father, he said. A woman belongs to her lover. She practiced saying I love you, I love you, I love you, in the mirror. Finally, she thought: the truth.
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