September 23, 2005

A Riptide of Love

In my fiction writing class the other day we did a writing exercise. The instructor said, "Write about walking down the street." And we did. After a minute he said, "Write about being born" and we did. Then we had to write about buying a puppy, write about losing a race, about talking to family, swimming in the ocean, drowning in the ocean, and finally riding on a school bus.

It turns out we were supposed to write about all these different things each by itself. I didn't do that. I always seem to misunderstand what we were supposed to do so I sort of mashed it all together. I am rather happy with the result actually so I share it with you all...

He walked down the street passing into the darkness of a broken streetlight. He would walk all night to avoid experiencing that nightmare again. Blood, screaming, and then a child's newborn cry. Maybe he should buy a puppy. You couldn't have a nightmare with a puppy around. It would jump on you and lick your face until you woke up. A stream of filthy water in the gutter raced him down the street; it was winning. This depressed him even though he wasn't sure why it mattered to him. Maybe he should go home and call his mother. Mom's liked their children calling even if it was 3:27am. Didn't they? Sometimes talking to her was like swimming in the ocean, a riptide of love. After a while you realize how far away the shore is and start looking for a lifeguard. Panic seizes you like a concrete block when you can't see anyone coming to save you. A black panic that threatened to drag you under. His mother never let him ride the school bus, afraid it would be hit by a train. Much safer to walk him to school. She was his lifeguard, his destroyer and savior.

UPDATE: I was particularly proud that I came up with the phrase "a riptide of love" and looked on google to see if anyone had used it before me. All the hits were for a gay porn movie called Riptide! ("Summer on the beach and the tide, the barometer and the testosterone level are high and mighty: the perfect condition for a riptide of love, lust and pure pounding sex."). I just hope I won't be accused one day of plagiarizing gay porn.

Posted by thom at September 23, 2005 07:48 PM
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