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When Trudy Love awoke on December 14, there was a fresh dusting of snow on the ground.  There was something comforting about how the snow softened the earth and made for a quiet walk to the bus stop.  Trudy was lost in her own thoughts when she was bumped from behind by a huge stack of wrapped gift boxes.

“Oh!  I’m SO sorry….” came a voice from behind the boxes.  Just as Trudy was about to scold the gift bearer for being so rude, the boxes moved to reveal a kind face with rosy cheeks and electric blue eyes.

“I can’t believe I did that…please accept my apology.”  The man was young and so friendly that it was impossible not to be forgiving. 

“Apology accepted.”  Trudy said, as she brushed the non-existent lint from her coat.  She had never before felt so unsettled by another person.

The young man went on to say, “I knew I should have stopped sooner, but you know how it is…you’re caught up in your thoughts when walking and the next thing you know….” he took a breath.

Trudy simply smiled and nodded and wondered where her bus was – it was usually never late.

“My name is Chris,” said the stranger.  Trudy pretended to be lost in thought; it seemed like the man could not be detered.

“Is this your bus?  I’m waiting for the 9 bus,” continued Chris, as Trudy stood ready to board.

“Well, Merry Christmas, Miss” was the last statement she heard as the bus doors closed.  But as Trudy made her way to a seat, she glanced out the window and watched as Chris rearranged his packages and looked for his bus.  It was then that she noticed that her heart had been pounding.

As she processed loan applications at her desk and almost missed lunch, Trudy’s thoughts continued back to those friendly blue eyes.  “Why can I not shake this feeling?” she mumbled to herself.  She was so deep into her own thoughts that even the “it’s 11 days to Christmas, and my Tru Love is giving me” jokes flew right over her head without so much as disturbing her.

As Trudy rode the bus home, as she did every day, she realized that she was anticipating the stop more so today than any other time.  Would he be there?  Should she speak first?

When she stepped off the bus, she was alone at the stop.  She glanced furtively around, sighed and then slowly made her way home.  She tried to read her novel while eating her tuna fish sandwich for dinner, but was disturbed to find herself reading the same line over and over.  She could not shake Chris’ face from her mind.

Trudy fell to sleep that night, wondering if she would ever see those wonderful blue eyes again.

To be continued…

On the 12th day from Christmas, Trudy Love was once again the butt of many office jokes.  It was like that every year….”hey Tru Love, it’s 12 days from Christmas, what’re gettin’ for me?”…and then hysterical laughter.  If there was ever a time that she regretted inheriting her Grandmother’s name, it was during the holidays.

Because of the ridicule that she received growing up, Trudy swore that she would legally change her last name when she became an adult.  However, her parents always gave her “the look” when she talked about changing it.  “It’s your birth name.  Are you ashamed of your heritage?”  The usual guilt-ridden questions.  So, she relented and kept the name, but silently dreaded Christmas.  This year was going to be no different.

It was December 13 and she was walking home from the bus stop, squinting from the glare of the holiday lights along the street on which she walked.  Her tiny home was the only one on the street that had no holiday lights.  It never did.  One year, some neighbors, thinking she could not afford decorations, surprised her by stringing lights on her porch.  She smiled kindly and thanked them, but took them down in the dark of night.  They never tried again.

Inside her house, she hung her coat on the hall tree and left her boots on the rug by the door.  Her evening meal consisted of canned soup and a cheese sandwich as she read a mystery novel.  She never watched television or read a newspaper after October 1, since they all contained stories and advertisements for Christmas.

It’s not that Trudy WANTED to hate Christmas…but she could never remember a happy holiday moment to bring her from her deep harbored resentment of such a magical time of year when most people were overjoyed.  She continued to wish that the next 12 days would pass quickly and quietly and that she could get on with the normal 9 months of her life.

To be continued…

Prompt:  Write a story about an empty glass.

On the table, there were three glasses.  One was half-full, one was half-empty, and one was empty.  The glass that was half-full was always optimistic, while the half-empty glass was a nay-sayer.  Both made fun of the empty glass, for it had no purpose.  The half-full glass frequently admired its contents and its ambition to be the glass chosen for thirst satisfaction.  The half-empty glass lamented about its prospects of ever being chosen and actually fretted about its contents turning sour before consumption.  The empty glass sat still and quietly happy; for it had once been full.  However, its delicious contents had been too enticing for anyone to leave even a partial residue.  The empty glass had fulfilled its purpose and was neither half-full nor half-empty.

Prompt:  write a mini story (100-250 words) that begins with “they had nothing to say to each other.”

They had nothing to say to each other.  Why either had agreed to meet was a mystery.  However, each had their secretary set up the meeting, so they didn’t have to talk to each other.  Both showed up at the pub, on time, sat in a booth with arms crossed and waited for the other to speak.  A server brought water and asked if they wanted a drink.  Neither spoke.  The server sighed and walked away.  Moments ticked away into minutes and finally an hour passed without utterance.  Finally, one spoke and said “I thought you wanted to talk.”  The other responded, “Well, I thought YOU wanted to talk.”  Another uncomfortable silence again stretched into an hour.  Each allowed three hours of their day to pass, simply sipping water and staring at the other.  Yet, they had nothing to say to each other.

Prompt:  Write a 300-word mini story using these words – paper clips, principal, lunchbox, swing, and girl with a pink ribbon.

Tommy had liked the girl with the pink ribbon since first grade.  Emily was her name and she had a Princess Barbie lunchbox.  But like most fourth-graders, Tommy never talked to a girl, so he was relegated to daydreaming instead.  When the principal’s secretary came to take Emily to the office, Tommy wondered what kind of trouble Emily had gotten herself into.   His imagination sprang into action!

Tommy took all of the paperclips from his desk and started fashioning a chain rope out of them.  It was amazing how many paperclips he had stashed in there.  When he thought it was long enough, he anchored his lunchbox to the chain and when the teacher wasn’t looking, threw his lunchbox out the open window.  Then, he climbed out the window and down the chain far enough to start to swing it back and forth.  When it swung to the window of the principal’s office, he caught the ledge and pulled himself up.  He burst through the open window and rescused the girl with the pink ribbon from the fate of the principal.

The opening door of the classroom broke his revelry when the girl with the pink ribbon returned, carrying her Princess Barbie lunchbox.  She had simply forgotten her lunch and her mother brought it to the office.  How could he have not noticed the lack of pink when she came in to school that morning.  After all, she was the girl with the pink ribbon.

Prompt:  Write as a coffeepot that short-circuited. 

It began as any other day; the office is quiet as the troops trudge in to work.  My job is very important.  They come to me first thing, for their motivation.  My pot is removed and filled with water, which is then poured into my reservoir.  My filter receptacle is swung out and gourmet grounds are placed carefully into the basket.  The button is pushed and…..nothing.  The button is pressed repeatedly…hey, that kinda hurts, buddy.  Then a snap, crackle and pop.  [sniff, sniff]  Does anyone smell something hot?  It’s getting a little warm in here…wait…I – see – a – bright – light…..

December 2007
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