Exercise 3 – Unreliable Third (Take 2)

So, I posted an excerpt from an as-yet unwritten book for this exercise, but it deviated from my intent to kind of connect all of the exercises in the first section of “The 3 A.M. Epiphany”: Pont of View.  So, I have redone it.  If you would like to read the first two exercises, here they are:

Exercise 1 – The Reluctant I

Exercise 2 – Imperative

Now, here’s my new Exercise 3 – Unreliable Third


Joy ripples through the air, warming the area more than the early summer sun gleaming down.  It radiates, not from above, but from inside the little house.  From the man in the T-shirt and Jeans.  From the woman in a white tank top and cutoff shorts.   She’s just finished mixing up a pitcher of lemonade.  He’s stacked what must be the five hundredth box in what will eventually become the living room.  Remnants of wedding jitters and Honeymooning bliss still trail behind them as they move about.  The friends and family members helping unload the U-Haul of combined lives keep running into clouds of it.  It makes them smile involuntarily.  The sweetness might be of a cavity-inducing power, but it’s still endearing.  Sickening, but in an adorable way.  In some ways, they’re jealous.  The love the couple exudes is palpable. 

She has just come out the door as he’s walking up the steps, carrying an orange clay flower pot, a bright mix of snapdragons bobbing their heads with the motion.  They laugh as they nearly run into each other.  She bends down to kiss him.  He turns, sets the flowerpot down on the step, then grabs her wrists.  He tugs, twists and pulls her onto his lap, sitting there on the front stairs leading into the house.  Their house.  She’s laughing, her hair falling in her face.  He’s grinning as he kisses her on the cheek.  It’s a moment that will last forever. 

The man traces his fingers over the images, brushing against the couple, lingering on the woman’s face.   It’s wrinkled now, creases tracing through the Jeans, the hair, the Snapdragons, the flower pot.  It’s been in his pocket for so long now, the front one, pressing up against his chest.  Burning a hole into his heart.  The moment was captured.  It will last forever.  The feelings have dulled with time and reality, but they are there, still.  They will never go away.  But it’s time to move on.  The moment may last, but it doesn’t have to last with him.

It’s difficult to push the chair back.  He hears the scrape of the feet, feels the vibration.  It isn’t easy to stand and turn his back on the table.  It’s as though his feet are caught in mud as he walks the few feet to the door.  The bell is louder than usual and he feels the whoosh of air buffeting his back as it closes behind him.   A sense of freedom, painful in its relief.  He isn’t sure whether to smile or cry.  As he walks to his car, he wonders what the little waitress girl – Bryn? – will think of the photo lying in the midst of the two dollar and thirty-seven cent tip.


~ S.D. Bullard



~ by sdbullard on July 10, 2013.

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