And now for today’s (optional) prompt! The number 13 is often considered unlucky, so today I’d like to challenge you to beat the bad luck away with a poem inspired by fortune cookies. You could write a poem made up entirely of statements that predict the future (“You will meet a handsome stranger”), aphoristic statements (“The secret to getting ahead is getting started)” or just silly questions (“How much deeper would the ocean be without sponges?”) Or you could use a phrase you’ve actually received in a real fortune cookie as a title or first line. However you proceed, I hope you will feel fortunate in the results (do you get it? Do you get it? Rimshot, please). Happy writing!
Thank you to Wandering Soul who hosts this prompt challenge each week. You can complete the prompt sentence by writing up to two-additional sentences in her comments section in the link above or you can link to her blog page. Also, if you choose to write a longer story from the prompt, link the story to her page as well.
Today’s prompt sentence is: “The old man stared at the droopy white lilies.”
The old man stared at the droopy white lilies. Memories flooded back to him as he smelt the strong scent that lingered. He felt the edge of one of the petals, still baby soft but crisp and dry on the edges. Helen had always hated lilies; that was why he had them placed on her grave every Sunday.
You might think this a mean thing for an old man to do but Ernest (the old man) had had a complicated relationship with Helen. Though it might not appear so, he had adored her and thought she had always been a magnificent woman.
Ernest remembered the first time he had seen Helen in his senior year in high school. She had her abundant curly brown hair styled in a forties-bob. Her blue eyes sparkled when she saw him. He felt their two souls collide in that moment and Ernest knew their souls would always be connected.
Ernest and Helen dated until Ernest was twenty-three years-old. Helen hadn’t liked that they had dated five-years without getting married. In hindsight, Ernest realized he should’ve married Helen long before he did.
Helen became pregnant and the whole town turned against her. The women called her a hussy and advised Helen to marry Ernest immediately. His old man had took Ernest aside and told him that everything would be fine if he married Helen quickly and quietly.
But Helen was feisty and didn’t like being told what to do. She was hurt that her best girlfriends looked down on her and that the town’s people whispered and gossiped about her behind her back. It was then Helen changed her mind about marriage to Ernest.
One day Ernest and Helen were swinging on the porch swing at Helen’s parent’s house, Ernest trying his hardest to convince Helen marriage was an excellent choice since they both loved each other.The following day Helen and two suitcases full of her clothes and baby items she had been collecting, had disappeared.
Ernest searched for Helen. He wrote letters and searched various small towns. He went to big cities, remembering what Helen liked to do and where she would likely be found. He remembered the places she dreamed about visiting. Ernest also feared a young pregnant woman alone, wouldn’t find much friendliness from strangers. He was frightened for Helen and his unborn child.
Twenty-years later Helen appeared at Ernest’s house in Pittsburg. Ernest’s wife Lilian, was battling Cancer. To both their regret, Lilian and Ernest had never been able to have children. But behind Helen was an enchanting young woman whose green eyes he recognized as his own.
The three of them sat outside and talked. Ernest had felt guilty about not seeing his wife at the hospital that day as afternoon turned to evening. His daughter’s name was Grace and to Ernest she was indeed a ‘grace.’
In the morning Helen was gone but Grace remained. His daughter stood by him, even when his wife Lilian passed away a week later. Despite the fact Grace had never known her father, she stayed with Ernest as he grieved and she began working in the woman’s section of a department store.
Grace told Ernest that her mother Helen detested Lilies and that was why she left. But Lilian’s favourite flower was of course a Lily; they covered Ernest’s home while Lilian lived. He was always greeted by their pungent fragrance when he came home from work. Ernest knew better the reason Helen hadn’t stayed: She didn’t want to make Ernest’s life difficult. Grace had chosen to stay with Ernest on her own.
Twenty-years later, Ernest was a happy Grandfather of four teenage grandchildren. Grace had married a man in Pittsburg and lived close by his house. She visited Helen and spoke to her mother often, but clammed up whenever Ernest asked about Helen.
One day, Ernest was home alone doing yard work and Helen appeared out of no where. It gave him such a shock that Ernest’s green eyes started to tear up not believing what he saw. Helen aged, but still magnificent, embraced Ernest and they both cried for the lost years they hadn’t been with each other. The love between them was still strong, even after forty-years mostly apart.
Helen remained with Ernest. The happy couple had a small wedding and Grace was delighted her parents were together at last.
Ernest and Helen were driving to the airport for their honeymoon in Paris. Helen was complaining about the orange lily the florist had slipped in her bouquet. Ernest had thought Helen’s complaints funny. They both started laughing and Ernest in his bliss, missed the red light. He hadn’t seen the pick-up truck before it crushed his car where Helen sat, graceful in a white suit; she died instantly.
Years passed and Ernest religiously had lilies deliveried to Helen’s grave each Sunday. He always thought about how much Helen hated lilies. But lilies made Ernest, the old man, remember his beloved Helen. So that even after Ernest’s own death, their darling daughter Grace, continued to have lilies deliveried to Ernest’s and Helen’s shared grave.
Grace wiped a tear away from her eye. Both her parents were sorely missed.
” Never talk to me again! Don’t worry about driving me home. I can get there myself,” Aimee shouted at Jason. “I’m going to walk until I catch a damn cab.”
“Wait, don’t go. Darlene’s not my girlfriend. She’s my happily married boss with kids. She was only asking me about our most recent project at work,” Jason pled.
Aimee ignored Jason and kept walking.
Suddenly, her sandal caught on a grate in the sidewalk. “Oh Hell,” Aimee muttered unwedging her heel before hearing it snap. She swore repeatedly.
“Let me help you Aimee,” Jason said. He bent down and removed her heel from the grate. Jason took the gum from his mouth and sealed Aimee’s heel to her sandal. “That should hold until I get you to my car, if you lean on me.”
Aimee was touched that Jason had come to her aid. She didn’t know why Darlene made her feel so jealous.”Okay Jason, you can take me home. Thank you for helping me.”
Jason smiled as Aimee leaned against him; she smiled back.