Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Word: Writing Prompt "Leap"

Reminder: The Word: Writing Prompt

See the link above for an explanation of this exercise. Since I like doing this prompt weekly, I have my own drawstring pouch full of words that I choose for the weeks Janet Fitch doesn’t post one. Please join me and one of my favorite authors, Janet Fitch. Let us know when and where you have posted yours!

This week’s word: leap

She’s been leaping from crisis to crisis like a child trying not to step on sidewalk cracks, unwilling to risk the bad luck such missteps invited. She always meant to plan ahead, to center herself before the next fire to be put out, but she is always a step or two behind. Let’s face it, she’s a thousand steps behind, performing her own frantic quickstep and even then finding it difficult to keep abreast of it all: Her husband’s job change that resulted in their sudden move which ended up with a teenage daughter running away and two entire storage rooms full of stuff with nowhere to go in the house they’d downsized into.

Her husband was working again, the daughter safe and accounted for and the stuff…well, she was dealing with that little by little. Now, it seemed like it was the little things that might kill her. The oregano she was out of when she was in the middle of a Marinara sauce for her own and her neighbor’s family. The dog peeing on the carpet for the second time in one day. The tear in a favorite skirt. The unlucky telemarketer who bore the brunt of her frustration. She felt used up, tied in knots and cast in a moldy corner of an overstuffed closet. She tried to keep up, really she did! But she didn’t know how she could survive in a world that never gave her time to breathe, let alone dance.

She longs to find a quiet room where she could practice the long, liquid leaps and twirls of her youth—the delicate movement to music that spoke to her very soul. She wants to do bar exercises in the silence of a life without familial obligations. Not forever, of course. Just for long enough to see herself as herself again. To sharpen the focus on where the demands of life ended and she began.

Make no mistake, she loves her children, her family, the warp and woof of daily life that plays like a jukebox through her waking hours. Waltzing toddlers to sleep in the middle night, jitterbugging around the twins demanding play dates and after-dark tangos with the love of her life. She loves it all, but just for a moment, no an hour, or even a day, she longs to touch the height and weight and breadth of all that is beautiful and holy and quiet. She’d give her left arm for one beautiful arabesque in the misty white light of a spot-lit stage while a single violin note holds an audience rapt.

Just one.

But it will have to wait as the visual image is shattered by the shouts of kids piling into her van for afternoon car pool. She hopes she still has time to tend to her sister’s dogs and sew the sequins on the last three dance costumes for Thursday’s recital. She sighs, puts the car in first gear and pulls out into traffic.

Next week’s word: tear

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