Terry and I were facing each other at a chess table in the park. His lined face broke into a shy smile. He reached into his jacket pocket and produced a small greenish plastic bubble box.“They’re harder to find these days, you know. Not as many bubble gum machines around as there used to be, and most don’t even have this sort of thing anymore. Usually it’s tiny versions of TV cartoon characters and super balls and such.” Terry’s gnarled hands trembled slightly as he opened popped open the box. “I know,” I said, “and it only makes me appreciate this - and you - even more.”At that moment, a young child who couldn’t have been more than two or so ran up to our table. An out of breath woman arrived on his heels.“Jimmy!” She grabbed the little boy. “You are being so naughty today! Sorry!”“Whazztha’?” Timmy ignored the woman and pointed to the plastic bubble.Terry cheeks reddened slightly. “It’s a present.”The woman looked back and forth between Terry and me. “Oh gosh. I’m so sorry to bother you both. My son can be a little – well, a little –” She shrugged, blushing herself.“It’s not a problem.” I grinned at Jimmy. “I was always curious, too.”Jimmy's mom hoisted him to her hip. He pointed again to the greenish plastic. “Bubba? Presen’?”“Yes, Jimmy – a very special present,” I said. Terry bit his lip. “I don’t care, Ter. It’s okay.” I looked back at the woman and her son. “Terry and I are both in our seventies now. We’ve been together for 42 years. We met here, in this very park, you see. Every year on our anniversary, Terry gives me a brand new ring, straight from the bubble gum machine.” Jimmy giggled. “I have 42 of them now. It’s just symbolic, I know, but ...” “But that’s lovely.” Jimmy’s mother smiled. A tear slid down Terry’s cheek. “Happy Anniversary, Michael.” With Jimmy and his mother witnessing, Terry slid the cheap, little, beautiful ring on my finger. After wishing us well, Jimmy and his mother headed back towards the other mothers and their children who were busy playing on the swing set across from the chess tables in the park.
Beautiful! This gave me those lovey dovey kind of chills, Lightverse!
I was coming here with the intention of doing a flash fiction piece and then I read Lightverse's novel in 100 words and am now daunted! HOW do you do it, LV? God that was beautiful.I'm coming back after another cup of coffee. Maybe then I'll try.
Casey - thank you so much! Christy - I can't wait to see what you're going to write!The prompts are here are really so inspiring that they trigger all kinds of images and ideas in my head. It makes it so easy to write...
"I still don't understand what could be so important..." I panted as I tried to keep up with Nathan's long strides.I was mentally kicking myself for wearing these too-high, too-strappy sandals to the airport. But then again, how was I to know we'd be sprinting through the international terminal?The romantic vacation to Paris that Nathan had surprised me with was not getting off to a promising start.Nathan came to an abrupt halt, letting me catch up. He reached out for my turqoise carry-on (yes, it matched the sandals) that was now cutting off the circulation in my right arm.I leaned over, hands on my knees to get my breath. "As I was saying...what were you doing at the university that was so important? We almost missed our flight!" I was suddenly feeling angry. Nathan met my gaze but there was no smile."My father called this morning." he said flatly.I was stunned. Nathan's dad, a professor of anthropology, had fallen off the face of the earth three months ago. No one had heard a word from him since. "What...where is he...why?" I stuttered.Nathan gently took my hand and pulled me along, more slowly this time. The gate was just ahead."Sara, my dad is in Chile," he said calmly.Too calmly. Why wasn't Nathan excited? Happy? Relieved?"You've known all this time, haven't you?" I was stunned."I'm sorry hon, I couldn't say a word to anyone. Not even you. Dad's safety depended on it," he explained.Was I suddenly in a James Bond movie? This was absurd."Really Nathan," I said sarcastically. "Why are you telling me now then?""Because we need your help." He faced me and took both of my hands in his. I knew from the serious look on my boyfriend's face that this was for real. "Okay," I said soothingly. How bad could this really be? "You can tell me all about it on the flight to Paris.""I'm not going to Paris." Nathan said quietly.My heart stopped. I pointed at the ticket in his hand. Realization set in. He was on a flight to Chile."If you need my help why am I not going with you?" I was freaking out now.Nathan let go of my hand, closed the small space between us and discreetly produced an exquisite topaz ring from a small plastic container. He slipped it on my finger."I need you to take this ring to someone in Paris," he said urgently. "They will tell you what to do next."I let out a giggle. It wasn't the first time he'd punked me. I grabbed the ticket out of his pocket, waiting for him to laugh. When he didn't, I looked closely at the ticket. Chile. I felt faint.Suddenly my flight was being called. "There's a journal in your bag. It has everything you need," Nathan whispered in my ear.He grabbed me roughly and kissed me hard. "You can do this Sara. Remember, I love you." Then he was gone.
Oh Tom! I can't beleive you found it! After all this time. I thought it was lost forever. You know, when my father brought it back to me from Mexico he told me it had special magical powers and that the ring would know exactley when the owner needed it's power. I was just a little girl at the time. Although, I have always felt there was something to the ring. That there was some truth in the story my father had told me. Well anyways, I'm so happy you found it. Since my father passed I really don't have much to remember him by. Tom moved closer, looked in her eyes and kissed her. He was glad to make her feel some happiness during these difficult times.Mrs. Stone. Mrs. Stone. The doctor will see you now. Gloria entered the ever so familiar room. It always felt cold and sterile. Praying for some good news she waited patiently for the doctor to give her the results of her last test. As she walked in the room she gently rubbed the ring on her pinky as if to give her the strength to tell Tom the results of the test. Her remission was over. The cancer was back after six years. Tom had always been there for her and she knew he would be there again. What she didn't know is if she had the strength to be there for herself once again. She had thought she had been through the worst of it and here it was again, knocking on her doorstep like a bad dream that would not go away. She thought about just ending it so she wouldn't have to put Tom through it again but as the thought crossed her mind a static jolt pierced through her pinky as if the ring pinched her finger. Tom took one look at Gloria and knew the news was not good. He reached out to her and just held her close as he felt the tears from her eyes rolling down his neck towards his chest. Tom held her hand and felt something different, something magical as if the ring was somehow reassuring him. Tom started to think about the story Gloria had told him about the ring and the magical power her Father claimed it had. What if it were true. What if all they had to do was believe.