As much as it sounds like a beginning of the year, zen-breathing, inward-looking exercise, the call to be in the moment is not always peaceful. For every dip into the cool waters there are flashing lights in the rear-view mirror. For every wistful sigh there is a moment of agonizing grief.
This week, writers examined many perspectives of what it is to be. The following stories are based on the January 7, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that describes a moment of being.
Being at the Creek by Charli Mills
Winnie left her pants on a granite bolder at the creek’s edge. She left her shirt, underclothes and shoes, too. Water streamed past her ankles, cold and clear as summer ale. Grainy sand and walnut-sized pebbles pressed into the soles of her feet. At thigh deep, Winnie faced the rapids that poured into this deep hole. Churning water dominated the evergreen forest like surround sound. Without going deeper she simply sank to her knees and bobbed on the balls of her feet. Cold squeezed her chest, lapped at her neck. She balanced. Arms spread wide, she watched the current.
A Walk by Sarah Unsicker
Cecilia stepped out of the dark blue sedan. Her low heels slipped on the gravel parking lot. “I should have worn sensible shoes,” she thought, and immediately dismissed the notion. It was her anniversary, and she wanted to look nice.
Her black dress swished as she made her way up the cobblestone path. She wrapped her shawl tightly around herself, bracing against the autumn chill. As she walked, she paused for a moment to admire the flowers others had left.
After a short walk, Cecilia reached her destination. She gingerly sat down next to Jack’s headstone and started talking.
Goodbye Maurice by Sherri Matthews
Sonya placed immaculately manicured fingers around the stem of her champagne flute and raised it to her lips.
Against the backdrop of whispered conversations and genteel taps of cutlery on gold-edged plates, Sonya heard the hammering of her heartbeat.
Maurice was dead. At last.
Maurice wouldn’t be joining her for dinner that night, nor any other night. Fat bully bastard.
A waiter silently appeared by Sonya’s side to top up her glass before slipping back into the shadows.
A mirthful smile grew on Sonya’s tight, unlined face as she raised her glass and swigged.
Goodbye Maurice and good riddance.
The Passing by Phil Guida
Alone in a strangers home, a stranger that died right in that chair. The 2 bedroom apartment is cluttered with years of saved bills, writings, books and magazines. Closets full of old clothes and collected stories in progress, yet nothing left behind as to the closest kin. The apartment is stained and has a peculiar Oder that moves through each room; perhaps its death that filled this space. Remnants of who she was left behind as her body lies unclaimed and cold in the city morgue. It was at this moment that I felt the loneliness of her soul.
The Supreme Moment of Pure Being by Tally Pendragon
The staff that Francesco had just given me was in my hand–my mascot for this mission, he had said. It’s two dragons forever locked together in their intricately entwined carvings, proud heads level with mine as I opened my arms wide, breathed deeply and engaged with Mother Moon in those last seconds to her fullest point. I focused on the time, place and substance of my mission and smiled.
It’s time to be the best that I can be; the moment to be the first link in a chain that will make the ultimate difference is right now …
In the Next Moment by Irene waters
Griselda’s screams finally penetrated the consciousness of one of those asleep. Movement. Lights. Ambulance called.
The spiders continued to burrow and dance. Griselda lay log-like trying to keep them quiet. An involuntary cry accompanied any movement. Sirens heralded the paramedics’ arrival. They apologised for seeing her in her nakedness.”I don’t care” she said. “Help me!” Business like they approached the problem. Questions, blood pressure, ECG but best, the whistle.
“Take a big suck”. They instructed. She did and the spiders magically left. Another and she was laughing, making jokes. Euphoric in her pain-free state they transported her, protesting, to hospital.
Good Day, Love by Sarah Brentyn
“Did you have a good day?” my husband asks.
A loaded question.
The answer? A load of crap. “Yes.”
Sometimes it is good. On the outside.
I talk about things my son and I did that day. The things that went well, the things that did not.
What I remember of it. I wasn’t really there. I was worrying and letting my mind wander into what-ifs.
I am here. Now.
I sit on the floor next to my son’s bed weeping uncontrollably. I try not to wake him. My body aches from stifling sobs.
I am in the moment.
I am Mary by Geoff Le Pard
Mary studied the grains in the table top, like they contained a hidden message; if she concentrated hard there would be some explanation for the whys and whens that pushed at the inside of her head, thoughts like a drowning child clawing, scratching desperate to find a way out. The clock slipped silently into an uncertain future. What had the policemen found? Were they human remains? Surely they were just long forgotten pets? Couldn’t they just tell her that? If she knew that she could work on another thought.
‘Mrs North. Can we take a swab? For DNA testing?’
Engulfed in the Moment by Rebecca Patajac
I lay face down on the floor, eyes closed. Giggles ensue, but not from me, they flitter in and out around me. Over there. Here. No, behind me. Wait, right in front.
I feel little fingers dancing along my sides. More giggles.
Now they’re on top; a solid body slam from each ensured that. Their tiny forms bouncing and laughing as I call for help beneath them.
“Get her good,” their dad appears close by.
I catch my breath and turn my head in the direction of his voice.
Arms crossed, he smiles.
Being, Positive by Norah Colvin
“It’s positive,” he said.
She smiled. She knew. She only needed official confirmation.
He wanted dates. She supplied.
But she knew the very moment an unexpected but welcome spark enlivened her being with its playful announcement, “Surprise! I’m here!”
She’d carried the secret joy within her for weeks, never letting on, keeping it to herself, waiting. No one would have believed her without proof. But with her whole being she knew.
Finally, after nine inseparable months, she held the child, distinct and individual. She marvelled at the tiny creation whose existence breathed purpose and meaning into hers.
Home Alone by Ruchira Khanna
Ann bids her family a fond goodbye while wishing them to have a pleasant and safe trip back home.
She shut the door behind her and faced an empty house.
As she was picking up the mess after them, she could hear the echoes of her kid.
That made her quickly turn around to see nobody!
She shut her eyes, drew in a deep breath and smiled.
Turned on some soft music, and continued to clean while humming along. Her body and mind were running parallel to each other but were still in synch with regards to her sanity.
Being in the Saddle by Jeanne Lombardo
The horse towered against the sky. Great russet belly, planted hooves, snorting muzzle. “His name’s Tomohawk,” the ranch hand said. “But I wanted a pony, Dad,” she wailed, again. It was too late. Her feet left the ground. Small rump plunked into the slippery saddle. Feet found the stirrups and rattled there. One hand grappled for the horn. Clung to it. The other fingered and fisted the looped leather ribbon. Tomohawk’s cropped mane rose before her, a stiff brushy ridge. She exhaled. Sat tall. She was Linda Evans in The Big Valley. Gave a little kick and was off.
A Moment in Time by Roger Shipp
I sat there anxiously as I watched him call in my plate numbers.
Reaching across, I opened the glove compartment and removed the vehicle identification papers and my insurance documents. He would examine those next.
Blue and red strobes were rhythmically reflecting in my mirrors and in the two awkwardly parked cars on either side of me waiting to be towed.
I wanted to get away… to reverse life’s choices… to hand the keys to my brother like he had asked me to at the party.
Too late now.
At least no one was hurt.
What a great birthday.
Flash Fiction by Anne Goodwin
They came for mobile top-ups and single cigarettes. When times were hard, we slipped them something extra. They were our neighbours; how could we not trust them?
They came with guns and machetes. They seized our stock and smashed or burned what they could not carry. We were foreigners; how could they bear to let us take their money?
They came once more with smiles but no apologies. The next shop was three hours’ walk away; how could they do without us?
We stood at the counter, sweating, shaking. No, we said, this is not how life should be.
The Receiver by Larry LaForge
Todd ran the route just as the coach designed it. A quick fake and cut to the right had him sprinting down the sidelines free of the defender.
The quarterback lofted the pass to the spot Todd was expected to be. Todd left his feet with arms fully extended.
For an instant he felt suspended in mid air, parallel to the ground. Calmness and joy enveloped him. The many obstacles he had overcome to be in this glorious moment flashed before him: illness, injuries, rehab.
The ball fell just beyond his reach.
Todd got up, both disappointed and exhilarated.
The 100-word version of this story is posted at larrylaforge100words on Flash Fiction Magazine.
In the Warm Moment by Pat Cummings
I am the expert. I find the Warm and occupy its center. That is my enduring task, that, and being in the tiled place when food arrives.
I move from Warm to Warm, until it is time to eat. Some Warm is hard and brightly lit, good for stretching out to maximize the fur that is heated. Some Warm is soft and kneadable, good for curling up and being groomed.
I hate when the Soft Warm moves away from under me, but then I find the Soft Warm place that was hidden beneath it, and I am again content.
Balanced by Pete
It was an odd arrangement. The tree, with its sprawling roots and quest for sunlight, had taken to the rock as a seedling. The old rock found a purpose.
Many saw their relationship as unnatural and unsustainable. But the rock and the tree thrived on their differences. The rock enjoyed the warmth harnessed in the tree’s roots, while the tree thrived on the strength in the rock’s foundation. The tree grew tall and thick, seemingly balanced on the old rock’s back, and over time the roots overtook the rock, who found a new purpose…as the heart of the tree.
Lost in the Linens by Paula Moyer
Jean saw it often in Bed & Bath. Usually late January, after Christmas, after inventory. Always an off-sale day. A lone customer – always a woman. She would slow her pace, stare at display beds, towels, all the sun-drenched colors – and stop. Lost-in-time wonder on her face. Eyes wide, jaw slack.
“May I help you?” Jean almost felt embarrassed to interrupt. A manager would question why she hadn’t greeted her “guest.”
“Oh.” The woman would then look up, a little embarrassed herself. Then a shy smile emerged.
“I’m, well … I’m just looking for inspiration.”
Jean’s silent response: I know.
New prompt on Wednesday. All writers welcome.