Friday, November 25, 2016


So I've been going to a creative writing class just to get my writing kickstarted in a serious way. As part of that class we were given a writing exercise which I'm sharing here. We were divided into groups of two and we had to tell each other a real life incident around which the other person would weave a story.

So here's mine titled 'Fear' based on an incident in our instructor Dina's life.

I held on to her hand as tight as I could and her nails dug into mine as we watched our seventeen year old surfing the waves. I could hear her breath catch in her throat as he jumped over a high wall of water and landed skillfully on the board again. Each time he was obscured by a new rising wave, her hand covered her heart and her eyes searched for him.

“Why won’t you stop him,John?” She said, turning to me in anger.
I smiled at her reassuringly and replied,” He’s really good, Sara! He’s going to be fine.”

She walked away. She couldn’t watch him any longer. We walked in silence to our quaint little cottage by the ocean. She settled down with a book on the lounge chair. I knew she wasn’t reading. She was looking at the endless and amazing ocean. I wished she were happy, that she smiled more. She continued looking into the infinite horizon glimmering in this tropical paradise. I continued to wonder how long a piece of her will remain missing. There was a place within her so utterly empty, like a thousand year old ship buried and lost to the world of the living, a home to the dead past.

Night fell and we sat at the restaurant in the resort. Dinner was a tense affair as Sara was sullen and Max couldn’t stop talking about going to Hawaii for the International Surfing Competition. He went on to describe just how high and dangerous the waves were. His excitement was palpable and so was Sara’s fear. Suddenly, she put her fork down, looked at our grown sun and said in a determined voice,” You can’t go.”

“I’m going Mom and you can’t stop me.” He replied in an equally resolute tone. I knew, this was the last straw. Sara picked up her uneaten food and threw the plate on the floor. Max was in a state of shock. The entire restaurant was quiet at seeing my usually demure and quiet wife behave so completely out of character. I know, I should have said something. I should have done something but how could I change her past? Even, God couldn’t do that.

As she sat crying by the swan made of towels on our bed, I was reminded of that day. The day that changed her life, and mine. We were both young and so full of that naïve belief that life could be nothing short of fantastic. She was riding her motorcycle as I sat behind her feeling mighty proud of my beautiful, strong and wild spirited girlfriend. She had driven with her fellow motorcycle enthusiasts from California to New York and back which was no mean feat. We parked in the garage of the house in which I lived with two roommates.

Mark was a quiet soul but James was far from shy and a creature of habit. Along with Sara we would never stop making fun of James’ finicky little detailed rituals. Sara was tired from the ride and threw her helmet and jacket of James’ writing desk just as he walked into the living room and began yelling hysterically at Sara. “Keep your stuff off my table!” he screamed. Sara was taken aback and then started laughing, making no move to pick up the objects in question. Soon, the seemingly small issue escalated as James got angrier at Sara’s mirth. He held her shoulders and shook her frame. She pushed him back and he fell. She picked up her helmet and jacket, put them on, got on her bike and all I could hear was the roar of 350ccs.

In a couple of hours, the phone rang. I rushed to the hospital and paced outside the Operation Theatre hoping the surgeons would be able to save my Sara. When I finally saw her, she whispered through her wired jaw, broken bones and shattered spirit,”I’ll never ride again.” Tears escaped through both our eyes. In the moment that truck had collided with her bike everything had changed. She never got on a bike again.

Max’s voice broke my reverie,” I’m leaving.” He announced. Sara turned to look at him. Tears flowed freely and she whimpered,”What if something happened to you? You’re my only child, Max.” Max dropped his packed bag and rushed to take his mother into his arms. ”Nothing will happen to me Mom!” He tried to soothe her. “You could die. I almost died.” She whispered through terrified tears. He held her shoulders and shook her,”You’re still alive! You’re alive!”

The next day, we rented a bike. Sara put on a helmet and sat behind her fearless son and left some of her fear behind on the road to courage.

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