Writer’s Workout is one of my favorite groups on the internet because they work hard to help advance a writer’s growth. Within their Facebook group, they offer Motivational Monday, Tuesday Tips and Writing Prompt Wednesday. Overall, it is an upbeat, friendly place to share your thoughts and questions as a writer. Each year, Writer’s Workout hosts the Writer’s Games for individuals and teams. This past year, my team, The Dark and Stormy Knights, won second place and several of our stories appear in the book 72 Hours of Insanity: Anthology of the Games, Vol 3.
One of my favorite events is a monthly writing contest called The 500. Writers are given 72 hours to develop and submit a 500 word story related to a specific prompt. This month, the prompt centered upon a scene within the picture posted above.
My story was voted the winner! I’ve included my story below, however, if you’d like to read the other stories (they’re all winners in my book) you can check them out at https://writersworkout.net/500-entries.
Simple Words by Jolan Marchese
For breakfast, we decided to sit on the patio of the restaurant. It was our third day in Playa del Carmen and a bit overcast. Often, the sun would glare upon the faux, marble floor, leaving diners feeling slightly baked. Today, a soft breeze stirred the leafy, green plants and it was cool and quiet in this corner of the all-inclusive resort.
Martin stared at his cell-phone, oblivious to the beauty of a place that might have hosted Jurassic Park. The sconce upon the rock wall could have had flames shooting out of it while an unknown animal wailed in the distance. I touched the column near the table and tried to curb my overactive imagination.
I sighed and retrieved my phone, resting my arms upon the wooden table and shifting uncomfortably. Even with a flat cushion, the seats were hard. A bug skittered along the floor and as I watched, a lizard peaked out from behind the planter and snatched it up. It startled me, but Martin didn’t notice. I could tell he didn’t want to be here.
While I played a game on my phone, another couple sat at the table next to ours. They appeared to be in their mid-twenties and reached for each other’s hands across the table. They talked quietly, smiling at each other and playfully laughing. I gazed at Martin and wondered when our connection had faded. I remembered love when our children were born. Did we lose track of each other over the diapers, early morning feedings and post-partum depression? No. He went through all of that with me, loving and supporting me throughout.
During the elementary school years, we ran from games to concerts while working full-time, keeping the house clean and paying the bills. Perhaps we lost each other in passing, two people working hard, but never going on a date or having a meaningful talk.
A cloud must have moved away from the sun because the brilliance from the windows blinded me for a moment, making my eyes water. Perhaps it was when our daughter left for college, pursuing a future that no longer included us. Or possibly it was when our son decided to marry right out of high school, his girlfriend a frightened young girl with a baby on the way. Where did we lose one another? Was it possible to find a way back?
I put my phone down and reached for Martin. When I touched his hand, he looked up at me. There were questions in his eyes as well and maybe the same thoughts. As I looked into his face I saw the man I married so long ago, the one I flirted with, fought with, raised children with and I knew that the love was still there.
We enjoyed breakfast with our hands touching across the table, simple words finding their way back into our hearts.