Practicing in Public

September 4, 2018

NOTE: These “prompt pages” are written and posted with little or no editing. It is simply “showing up, butt in chair, fingers on keyboard” writing. I have included them here, NOT for your critics mind to dissect, but show what daily “exercise” writing and rough draft writing can do.

TODAY’S PROMPT: Keywords: sunsetcalmwavyextraordinarilyattack

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Sophie slammed the back door and dropped her brief case on the table. She kicked her heals into the corner and grabbed a soda.

“Good, you’re home,” Joe called from the family room.

Sophie climbed the stairs to her bedroom and swapped her business casual attire for jeggings and a loose t-shirt. Popping the top of the soda can, she took a slow sip of the effervescent liquid and gazed at the sunset over the lake.

“Mom? Hey, Mom, can Tim stay for supper?” Christopher’s voice pierced the calm of the room.

She inhaled slowly and slipped on a pair of warm, comfy socks. She dragged a brush through her hair and gathered it into a long cascading ponytail. She looked at her reflection. “Now, this is more you.”

In the kitchen, two teenagers rooted for food even though the aroma of pot roast from the slow cooker filled the room. “What’s for dinner, Mrs. Bengston?”

Sophie shook her head and strolled to the family room. Grabbing a fleece from the couch, she sat on the floor and gazed into the fireplace. The propane flames danced in wavy excitement. Sophie, eyes closed, breathed in, counted to five, and slowly exhaled. “One. Repeat.”

Joe sat the newspaper on his lap. “What are you doing?”

“Two. Repeat.”

“Sophie? I asked what you were doing.”

“Hey, Mom. You didn’t answer about Tim staying for supper.”

“Three. Repeat.”

The front door slammed. Abby threw her backpack on the hope chest in the hall. “I hate boys. They’re all alike.” She popped her head into the family room. “You two are included.”

“Four. Repeat.”

“Mom, you were right about Jeff. All he wanted was a smart girl to do his homework for him so he could pass geometry.” Abby turned her wrath to her brother and his friend. “Neither of you better treat girls that way. I’m going up to change.”

“Five. Repeat.”

“Sophie, dear. Aren’t you going to say anything?”

“Six. Repeat.”

Joe lifted the paper and continued his reading. Christopher sat on the couch and shook his head, but said nothing more. Tim picked up a comic book and sat in a chair.

Abby stood in the archway.

“Seven. Repeat.”

“What’s she doing, Dad?”

“I have no idea,” he said without lowering the paper.

“Eight. Repeat.”

Abby headed to the kitchen. “Hey, Chris? Is Tim staying for dinner?”

“Don’t know. Mom hasn’t finished counting yet.”

“Nine. Repeat.”

Abby set the table for five. Knives, forks, spoons, plates. She pulled salad ingredients from the fridge and created a family style salad and placed it on the table. She looked at the table and added napkins.

“Ten.” Sophie opened her eyes. She looked at Tim. “Yes, you can stay for dinner.” Her voice sounded calmer than it had when she left work. She got up, folded the fleece and returned it to the back of the sofa. Kissing her husband, she said, “Thanks for the fire. It was just what I needed to come home to.”

Joe folded his paper and embraced his wife. “I heard you slam the door. Is everything ok? I mean I was ready for you to be in attack mode.”

“Everything’s ok. I feel extraordinarily at peace. I guess the morning meeting’s presenter knew what he was talking about. I’m going to leave my irritations at work from now on and practice some of his exercises when I get home if this place seems to be in chaos.”

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