Thursday, February 16, 2023

Romance and Plaid

Writing group three part picture-based prompt. 1) Photo w/ a caption. Write for seven minutes. 2) Keep the photo in mind. There's a new caption. Write for seven minutes. 3) Edit the two together or bring them together however you want to.

Overall Theme: Relational Mindfulness

1. What secret romance does she still fantasize about?

Wearing matching outfits,

Red plaid flannel shirts

White t-shirts.

Blue jeans and hiking boots complete the look.

They shuffle to their car,

still wearing their N-95 face masks.

She pushes the cart,

He pulls out the key, 

unlocks the car,

opens the trunk.

They empty the cart, 

loading the bags into the trunk,

Together, no conversation.

They've rehearsed this 

hundreds of times.

He brings the empty cart

to the nearby rack

While she gets in the passenger seat

and waits for him to 

Fasten his seatbelt,

press the start button,

and get the heat running.

The radio is on the usual station,

Newstalk blasting through the speakers.

She thinks of a sweethearts dance

over fifty years ago.

Glances at his profile

and sighs.

He's the same man

but they're both changed.

She remembers romance,

roses, chocolates, stolen kisses,

how handsome he was in uniform

how she proudly showed him off when he came home.

They had it all, she thought then.

Now she thinks of

what might have been

if she hadn't caught his eye.

Would she have found a different romance

or was this the only one that was meant to be?

2. What insignificant digression does he still feel guilty about?

He sees her sitting in the car,

waiting for him to return,

and remembers the days

when he almost didn't come back.

From the war,

From work,

From a routine errand at a random store,

He felt guilty each time.

He feels guilty now

as he looks at her face

He pockets the key,

presses the Start button.

The engine comes to life,

waits as the cold air blown by the fan

begins to get warm.

A few times, too many times,

he thought of leaving.

He still feels guilty

that there was no reason

other than he felt antsy

and didn't want to stay.

It wasn't anything

she said or did.

It was him.

He came home and wasn't sure 

if he could love her 

the way he had before.

It seems insignificant now

as they sit in the car

driving familiar streets,

stopping at the same stop signs.

Signaling, turning,

pulling into the cracked driveway.

They park.


There was no secret romance

when they met,

Their secrets came later.

At some point they each fantasized,

but didn't stray.

Bound by vows

they couldn't break.

They thought about it,

shifted and occasionally drifted apart.

Then returned.

Each time they sensed the change

in their partner,

And let time bridge the gap>

Never talked about it.

What was the point.

And here they are over fifty years later,

in matching outfits,

Her in charge of the cart,

Him the master of the car.

Still romanticizing

and fantasizing.

Still together

mind and heart.

© 2023 Sue Schnitzer