WRITING BY NUMBERS
He left a month ago, leaving me as the sole provider for our two small children, and I knew not when – or if – he’d return with the means of our salvation. Today, as every day, I rose before the sun to feed and dress the babies, and to pack a diaper bag with nine hours worth of diapers and formula, blankets and pacifiers. After leaving Emmett and Crystal at daycare, I drove thirty miles down Rt. 60 to a telemarketing job, knowing I would earn enough to cover last month’s rent, and nothing more. At the end of the workday, back aching from my wobbly chair, and eyes burning from eight hours of staring at a computer screen, I returned to Shining Stars daycare to collect my tired children. At home, I trudged the thirty steps up the sidewalk to our apartment door, balancing a baby on each hip and dragging the diaper bag behind me.
A ten day shut-off notice from the electric company was taped to the door. I crumpled it up and threw it at the trash can, shouting “Two points!” when I made the shot. I clipped Emmett and Crystal into their highchairs, and began rooting through the utensil drawer in search of a rubber tipped spoon, when – tat-tat-tat-tat-tat! – five sharp raps on the window glass grabbed my attention. A woodpecker sat on the sill, a good omen according to the wisdom of my ninety-five year old grandmother.
The clock chimed seven – a lucky number, I thought, appropriating it as another favorable sign, and then Brady walked in the door, eyes tired and shoulders curved, and far more beautiful than I remembered him to be.
Story Prompt for
WRITING BY NUMBERS: I am currently taking an open online writing course from Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Last week’s lesson challenged students to improve their writing through the use of constraints. Students were asked to write a scene of ten sentences and include in each sentence a numeral. The scene was limited to 400 words or less. Today’s story was written in response to that assignment.