Day 107 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Write about a situation that is becoming repetitive.
Erin: My boyfriend gets up every day at 8 am.
Then he takes a dump.
Next, he brushes his teeth.
He comes back to bed.
Kisses me once.
Goes back to the bathroom to shower.
After that he goes into his closet and grabs whatever shirt is next in his rotation.
He ties his left shoe first.
He puts his belt on last.
He already packed his lunch before bed.
He takes his coffee in a to go cup.
I start to feel like I am in a reoccurring nightmare.
Tomorrow morning is going to be different.
I’m going to make myself his ex-girlfriend.
Shannon: There was another bowl on the kitchen counter. At this rate we’d run out of Tupperware before we’d run out of baked goods. I picked up the lid with enough hesitation you’d think an animal was about to pop out. “Cookies,” I grumbled. We were drowning in Daisy’s desserts. This week alone we had cake, cheesecake, cupcakes, muffins, frozen bars, and now cookies. She broke up with her boyfriend, and suddenly she needed somewhere else to put all of her focus. It was a pattern, one that was destroying our clean kitchen. Why couldn’t her new obsession be cleaning?
Another day, more writing. Your repetition is positive, how about your character’s?
It was the tiny, strange shop on the corner of one of the run-down strip malls; every small town had one. With a sign that flickered in neon lettering with some symbol no one understood, begging only a select few to enter and giving the rest of us chills, it wasn’t a welcoming place to find yourself standing before in the middle of the night. But it was even worse because the flashing open sign read that they weren’t open past five, it was quarter to midnight and their harsh lights drew me in like a moth to a flame.
As I touched the rusty handle, I could feel an almost electrical charge in the atmosphere that reverberated through me. Breathing heavily, I heaved the door open and stepped into the overly-incensed room and coughed in the suffocating scents. Through a cascading beaded curtain, whisked a woman dressed in gaudy garb, as I was doubled over to catch a clear breath of air. I raised my head as her heliotrope-covered arms swept the air above me and the heaviness lifted from my chest.
When I’d gulped down enough breaths of fresh air, the wild-eyed woman waiting contentedly with a glassy look in her eyes, I spoke with an even tone, “Hi, I’m sorry to disturb you. I’m sure you’re wanting to close up soon?” I added, glancing around at the empty shop curiously. Gauzy fabrics draped from the ceiling to block out the windows and cover the cheap lighting fixtures that were always seen in these kinds of places. Tables and shelves were cluttered with crystals, herbs and other items I couldn’t identify; the whole place was stuffy and too kitschy for my taste, but some people ate this crap up.
Turning back to the silent woman to bid her a good evening and leave, I caught a knowledgeable glint in her eye. “You, Janine, were brought here for a grave reason. A reading is required to understand that purpose. It is, of course, free of charge.” As soon as the speech was finished, in a creepy, deep tone I hadn’t been expecting, the strange woman went back through the curtain without any further instructions. Every cell in my body screamed for me to run, get away while I still had everything I walked in with, but something beckoned me to the back room.
Though the horrible aromas were gone from the air I breathed, I could still smell them since they’d been infused into the thick satin drapery of the hallway I marched down. I felt as though I was headed toward some awful fate, but I couldn’t stop my legs from moving me forward. As I took a final step, the end of the hall opened up and I was standing in a small, round room with a table at its center. Stacked on one side of the circular board was a deck of cards and sitting in the chair opposite me was the woman from before, a placid expression on her wrinkled face.
Making a motion for me to sit, she placed her hand on the cards and began to chant softly to herself in a language I didn’t understand. A chill swept through the room and her eyes flicked to mine and she breathed a long, low sigh. When her fingers released the papers, the wind ceased and candles lit on their own on shelves around the room. Above us, the chandelier dimmed.
“Place your hands on the deck and close your eyes. Concentrate on what you want in life.” Her voice was ragged and harsh as the deck was shoved before me, her eyes boring into my soul. Against my better judgement, I did as I was told and let myself believe. “Good,” she barked, my eyes still shut, and gripped the cards with her bony fingers, “Now, let me tell you your future.”
When I opened my eyes, there was a sly, malicious smile stretched across her face that made me wish I’d run. Her face was contorted; the lips were cracked open at the edges, the eyes wide and staring as the fingers plucked a series of cards from the deck and laid them flat on the tabletop. Each was upside down, not showing the face, and I was fascinated by the alluring sigil that traced its way in the circles among a sea of alabaster and yellow stars. Carefully, I traced the symbols with a trembling finger as the woman finished her chanting.
Trapped in a daze, I didn’t notice when the woman sat back in the uncomfortable chair to contemplate my movements. I finally glanced up to ask her what the symbol was, but the words wouldn’t pass my lips. Grinning the same disturbing grin, she hissed, “It’s a sacred sign of divination, dearie. They’re tarot cards; used to tell the future.” She paused for an excruciatingly long moment to consider something before adding, “Though, with you, I can see your future written all over your face.” There was this inhuman glint as she began turning the cards over and speaking about each in turn. I couldn’t tell you what they were or what she said about them because I began to feel ill.
Around me, the world began to spin in circles as the crone droned on, but I couldn’t move to hold the room still. She may have noticed when I passed out, but perhaps not. I slept fitfully and the woman’s voice echoed through my dreams, “Tomorrow will be both the best and worst day of your life. It will seem to go on forever but it is unclear what that could mean.”
When I woke up, I was in my bed under a mountain of sweaty sheets with the alarm going off like a siren and a massive migraine. Yawning, I turned over and knocked the clock off the table and groaned as it continued to blare irritatingly. I hung over the edge of the bed and gingerly hit the snooze button before almost falling asleep again.
Setting my head to pounding out a samba again, was my roommate crashing through the door wrapped in a mint bathrobe with her hair bundled atop her head. For a moment all I could comprehend was the innate feeling that I’d already gone through this non-surprise, but it faded along with the migraine as I watched Sophia’s face lit up. She screamed and devolved into a puddle of giggles as I remembered what today was. “He’s gonna propose today!” she shouted, finally regaining the use of her indoor voice.
But I didn’t have to be reminded as I bounded out of bed and hugged Sophia so tightly that she started to turn blue. When she squirmed out of my embrace, tugging her robe a little tighter around her waist, she winked and dashed back to the bathroom to finish her morning routine. I wobbled a bit as my legs suddenly turned to jelly as the wave of anxiety returned; remembering living through every second of this morning was making me feel ill. But I just brushed it off to jitters.
The rest of the morning went by in a whirlwind of picking out the perfect dress, which required multiple calls to both the restaurant Jack had rented out for the occasion, texts to his roommates for pictures of his corsage and tux arrangement and one panicked trip to our favorite accessory shop. After that was finished, we moved on to hair, shoes and makeup. By the time every curl was in place and blemish covered, it was almost four in the afternoon and time to make our way to our favorite café. Throughout the day, I felt the same odd sensation, but ignored it with vigor.
All went perfectly at the dinner with prepared speeches, lots of alcohol to remind us of the party days in our youth and a ring that Jack and I picked out together. The brilliant scarlet cocktail dress I wore matched Jack’s corsage and the roses that donned each guests plate as they arrived. Even the silly wobbly feeling was set aside as the buzz kicked in and I was giddy with excitement. But, when I was taking a walk to clear my head, I went past the little psychic’s shop; it was closed and there was a strange symbol sprayed in every window in the store. The sensation was overwhelming a I stood, staring at the sigil. I’d lived through this exact day before. This was yesterday.
When I made it back to the party, having psyched myself out on the way and broken a stunning black heel, Jack and Sophia helped me to a chair as the revelry raged around us. “I’ve lived through today before. I was here yesterday with this whole party and everything but I stopped at that creepy psychic shop at the end,” I pointed, uncertain which way was which. “And she was open and told me she could read the future. She-she said today would be the best and worst day of my life.” My eyes were wild as I glanced between the two most important people in my life, who were exchanging concerned looks.
Murmuring between themselves, they decided Sophia would just take me home; that this whole extravaganza had been a little much for me and I just needed a good night’s sleep. Though I fought them off valiantly, I lost the battle and was escorted to a taxi. The whole ride home, Sophia was silently watching me, and I was studiously glaring out at the passing scenery to avoid her. When we arrived home and the taxi drove off, she stopped me with my hand on the doorknob, her features soft.
“How are you doing? Are you sure you’re alright? You looked insane back there, babbling,” she murmured, helping me with the key. In all the time we’d known each other, I’d never heard her say anything as blunt as that. Neither of us was the outlandish type that would set foot inside a store like that, let alone believe in something as silly as being able to tell the future. “Come on; are you this against the marriage?”
We were already at our apartment door before I finally answered her, deciding on the specific words very carefully, “I’m fine. I want to marry Jack. I think I just had a little too much to drink.” With a final flick of the wrist, I let us into the apartment and deposited my ruined shoes beside the rack with a flourish. Turning to Sophia, I squealed like a little girl and showed off the ring with relish, giggling and bouncing on the balls of my feet. Her cautious expression cracked to show the excitement below. A few hours, and buckets of mint chip ice cream, later, I was rolling into bed with my spectacular dress still on.
I woke up to the alarm blaring at me and quickly knocked it on the floor with an ill-aimed arm. Leaning over the side of the bed, I smashed at the snooze button before it was finally silenced. For a moment, I just stared into the bright analog time before Sophia burst through my door, her hair and body swaddled in one of our luxurious bath robes. Her expression was that of pure excitement as she squealed and bounded toward me, my expression confused.
“Come on, sleepyhead. You’ve got an engagement to go to! Jack’s gonna propose tonight!” The confusion crippled my ability to speak, but she took my blank look as that of someone in dire need of caffeine. Cheerfully, she chirped, “One coffee extra sugar, coming right up, honey. But you need to get up or we won’t have time to deal with that rat’s nest.” She was out the door before I could reply.
Sitting up amid the customary mountain of blankets, I was shocked to find no stunningly elegant silk dress plastered to my thighs. I was reliving yesterday, and the day before. It was a loop. I was stuck reliving the best and worst day of my life, and I didn’t know how to fix it.
Created to Write:
“August,” Heather giggles. August looks back at her briefly. He has a wide grin on his face.
“Does your leg hurt?” He asks suddenly, seeing tense etches on his girlfriend’s face.
Heather tries to laugh it off, cringing, “A little.”
August then gently scoops her up, and keeps going. Heather holds the basket on her stomach, the blanket pressed between her right arm and his chest. August walks out into the meadow and finds the right spot, at the top of the slowly descending hill. He then sets Heather down. August lays the blanket down and Heather sits on one side, carefully aligning her left leg for minimum pain.
August lays back on the blanket next to her, staring up at her face with his arms behind his head. Heather looks away from his smile and up at the stars, “Why are you so happy?”
August grins wider, “Because I get to spend the evening star gazing with you.”
“You aren’t looking at the stars, dork,” Heather smiles.
“Who said all the stars are in the sky?”
Heather rolls her eyes, “I walked into that one, didn’t I?” She lays back next to him. He takes his left arm and wraps it around her shoulders. He gently pulls her closer while turning his face to the sky.
“Yep,” he finally answers.
Heather leans her head against his shoulder, her right arm over her stomach and her left one limp at her side.
“But you’re always hungry.”
“I want to look at the stars, August. I’ll eat your version of cookies in a bit.”
August sits up. “I did not make them this time,” he exclaims. He opens the basket and takes out a cookie, “and if you don’t believe me, I will gladly eat them all myself.”
Heather grabs the cookie from him and nibbles on the edge, “Thank you.”
August considers taking the cookie from the super soldier, but instead takes another one and lays back down.
“This is going to be a reoccurring event, isn’t it?” Heather asks.
“What, bringing you cookies?”
Heather doesn’t answer for a moment, watching the Big Dipper and Orion’s belt on opposite sides of the sky. “…Being out in the fresh air and nature with you at odd times of the night,” she answers softly.
August smiles at her words. This is the fourth week he’s grabbed a blanket and his girlfriend and stayed out with her, and the second time this week alone. He was wondering if she’d catch on.
He turns to look at her and brushes his lips against her temple. “I know how you get overwhelmed. Your grandparents, brother, our friends visiting, the horses, having less you can do than before, and every other thing under the sun,” he whispers, “I know you need this. And if I get a moment most days to be around you, just you, and let you be vulnerable? Well, I’m all for it.”
Heather sighs, “How did I get lucky?”
“That’s my line.” They both burst into laughter. August calms down, then says, “In all seriousness, I didn’t take you out here to star gaze.”
Heather looks at him, curious. August reaches into the basket and pulls something out; a music player. He presses play and ‘True Colors’ by Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake starts to play. August offers a hand to Heather. She takes it, chuckling to herself. August pulls her to her feet and moves over to the flat grass.
August starts to mouth the words, and Heather laughs a little louder. August then moves closer, putting a hand on her waist and holding her other one in his hand. Heather smiles and lets him lead her through the steps.
“I see your true colors, shining through,” August sings, “I see your true colors, that’s why I love you.”
Heather sings, “So don’t be afraid, to let them show… your true colors, are beautiful…”
August carefully spins Heather, then goes back to the soft swaying around the grass. They both allow the song to go on, while being quiet themselves.
Heather loves it when August dances with her. She wishes to dance as she used to, but with her leg, she can’t. But August understands, but still dances with her at every opportunity they can. Heather lets go of his hand and wraps her arms around his shoulders. August adjusts, humming the tune as the song slows down.
“Do you think God’s light can be a person?” Heather asks softly. August’s voice hitches. He smiles, hugging her closer as they sway.
“I think he puts people instilled with his light into our lives,” he whispers back, “it’s not the person, but…”
“What God can accomplish through the person?” Heather suggests.
August chuckles, “Exactly.” The song changes to ‘Get Back Up Again’ and both dissolve into laughter. August rushes to change the song, and they sit back down to finish the cookies.
‘Yes,’ Heather thinks, ‘this needs to become a reoccurrence in their life.’