Saturday, March 11, 2017

Writing Prompt: The Word: Pattern

She nervously picks at the pilling on her polyester-blend, plaid skirt. She likes the pattern, the predictableness of it, how orderly it is, the same lines in the same colors in the same places over and over and over again…except for the pilling. She feels compelled to pluck it out. When she finishes, she runs her hand over the smoothness of the fabric and takes a deep, satisfied breath. More like a sigh, really.

That makes her pay attention to the pattern of her breathing. She likes it best when it’s even, smooth, the rhythmic rise and fall of her chest. It’s one reason she resists exercise…all that huffing and puffing. It makes her feel out of control. And sweaty. She can’t have that. Nope, not that.

She’s a girl who loves order, who tickles her husband’s back, but counts the touches making sure that each run up and down his spine is even. Distracted, she starts typing words that find her ear from the TV and starts typing them with her fingers. Apprenticeship. A-P-P-R-E-N-T-I-C-E-S-H-I-P. A-P-P-R-E-N-T-I-C-E-S-H-I-P. She types faster and faster, sometimes finding a rhythm that matches a piece of music in her head. It’s like writing the perfect poem, a euphoria that lasts until her husband asks: “What are you typing on my ass?” He thinks it’s funny. She smiles, but inside she knows these patterns, these systems…they calm and define her.

She solves every Wheel of Fortune puzzle before three letters have been revealed. She can make her beautiful mind change focus, finding the certain letters in paragraphs that spell words meaningful only to her. Word Searches are too easy. Maybe she could be some kind of code breaker for the CIA…

Or maybe she’ll move through her day, making lists and checking them off; lining the shoes by the back door according to size; and repeating the same 4 lines of poetry over and over again until she feels it…the sigh. The deep, satisfying sigh that is her heroin. She can feel her fingers start to type the word: H-E-R-O-I…

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