I recently started following PT Wyant’s blog, Novel Notes, and stumbled across PT’s post today titled Wednesday Words #68 (4/13/2016). Number 68, so obviously this is something PT’s been doing for a while now. Anyway, the idea is that a few prompt words will be posted just after midnight, eastern time, and followers of the blog are encouraged to write a bit of flash fiction (approx. 500 words) using those words/ideas. This week’s prompt is: an old desk, a dancer, a ship.
I decided I would use this prompt to write a short scene in the head of “Garrett,” one of the side character’s in my recent release, ’Til Death Do Us Part.
This is my short-short (coming in at 436 words) using that prompt:
It was late afternoon, and after an early dinner Garrett plopped down on the sand of the eastern beach. He watched as Henry, Devon, and Buddy—now probably approaching two years of age—splashed each other playfully at the ocean’s edge.
Garrett enjoyed the privilege of watching Buddy grow. The sweet little boy reminded him of his own children. It had been over a year since he’d seen them, and he regretted not spending this kind of quality time with them as they’d grown.
Here on the island, Garrett regularly helped Henry keep an eye on, and entertain, Buddy. There were so many ways a curious toddler could injure himself on an island like this, it was imperative that one of them watch the young boy at all times. They’d learned that the hard way shortly after the child had started walking.
He thought back to when his own boys, Grant and Evan, had been pre-schoolers. They’d come skipping into his office at home where he’d be sitting at the grand old desk he’d inherited from his grandfather and implore him to come play catch with them. “Later,” he’d say. “We’ll do it this afternoon.”
How many times had “this afternoon” never happened? Oh, the afternoon had come and gone, but it had done so without Garrett going out to play ball with his sons.
And how many of his daughter’s dance recitals had he missed, traveling for work? Too many. She’d grown to be a fantastic dancer. He’d managed a few of the recitals—enough to realize that—but he’d missed far too many.
If he was given another chance with his family, things would be different. Instead of living the words of Harry Chapin’s Cat’s in the Cradle, he’d be the most hands-on father a family could wish for. Family, not his career, would become his number one priority. Even if it meant fewer “things,” because he finally understood. It had taken losing all material possessions for him to realize it, but he now appreciated how unimportant they’d been in the overall scheme of his life.
He stood and began a circuit of the island, scanning the horizon for a ship that never seemed to come. No ships, no sailboats, no fishing vessels, no airplanes, no fucking hot-air balloons. Nothing. This trip around the island was no different from any of the others before it.
Back on the eastern beach he joined the others at the ocean’s edge. Buddy ran to him, splashed water at his chest, and squealed “Got you, got you!”
Garrett laughed and gently splashed back. “I got you, too, Buddy.”