So I’m in a small local writer’s group (when I mean small, I mean small – most weeks it’s 2 or 3 of us, the max is 4), and we decided to issue a kind of “homework” assignment week to week to stretch our writing brain. It’s nothing terribly burdensome, so it doesn’t affect the WIP (Work In Progress, for those of you who are bad at acronyms OMGWTFLOLBBQ).
This week’s assignment – write a scene in which there is a character focused on something that is missing. For me, I decided to focus it on loss (eh, I’m an oft-downtrodden INFJ, it’s a thing).
Here, without any further explanation, I give you my 500-ish-word scene featuring poor Sam …
The screen door creaked and Sam stepped out from the house, slowly making his way to a deck chair beside his friend Mark. Sunrise was just moments ago, the warm glow hitting their faces amidst the whistling soundtrack of black-capped Chickadees in the surrounding woods.
Mark could tell Sam was weighed down with sadness, he just had a hard time understanding why.
For a long moment the two silently stared out over the lush greens surrounding them on this crisp May morning.
Sam finally spoke up, his voice trembling ever-so-slightly, “Do you know what I’m going to miss most?” He asked rhetorically, “mornings like this together. My hand doesn’t feel right empty and untouched.”
Mark just listened, allowing his friend the space to finally speak his thoughts.
Sam continued, “And those warm, smooth curves. I had each and every one memorized through touch. We were a part of each other’s lives for 20 years. Every day. All of those mornings just like this, right here on this very porch.” He let out a huge sigh, staring down at his empty, calloused hands, “With me,” he said, clearly choked up, “beside me for so much of my life, even as I built this house out of a dream, young, filled with hope and joy.”
Mark nodded as if he understood. He was trying to support his friend, but he was having an impossible time comprehending his friends loss and way of grieving. Having never experienced this type of connection, all Mark felt was honest confusion.
“And that feeling against my lips,” Sam whispered, “There was —“ he trailed off, attempting to compose himself as his shaking hand rubbed his eyes, “There was no greater thing than that soft, sweet first touch to my lips every morning.” A lone, gentle tear rolled down Sam’s cheek as he looked to his friend, his voice pleading, “I don’t think I can go on without—“ he stopped, the lump in his throat preventing another word from freeing itself into the cool, sharp morning air.
Mark shook his head and stared at his friend coldly, “Sam,” he said firmly, “Why don’t you just find yourself a new favorite coffee mug?”
Sam broke down in tears, holding his face in his hands, his uncontrollable sobs drowning out the peaceful sounds of early morning.
Mark rolled his eyes and looked away in disgust, standing up with a grunt, then heading into the house, “I’m gonna go get a beer,” he called out impatiently, “come on in when you finally decide to quit being such a pussy.”
And with that, he left his friend in the early morning bronze light of the sun-drenched porch, surrounded by the cheerful whistles of Black-capped Chickadees, a broken man, as shattered and incomplete as his favorite mug.
All in all, an enjoyable exercise! 🙂