On the first Friday of every month, the Australian Writers Centre reveals a new set of story prompts. Writers have 55 hours to submit their best 500-word (or fewer) story.
THIS MONTH'S CRITERIA:
Here are your criteria:
The big day. The day she had prepared for meticulously. Dad and Carly had been kind, patient, and excited. Matt, bless him, had been totally unfazed by the minutiae of decisions, agreeing with everything, as long they kept within budget.
Abi had wanted this for so long, and yet she couldn’t stop thinking about the movie with the sliding doors. She knew the trajectory of her life, for better or worse, could depend on a single moment.
What if she’d made the wrong choice? Deep down, she knew that was absurd, but what if she was making a terrible mistake? Just like the movie… what if the train pulled out of the station without her?
The tea was growing cold, and the sun was rising higher. Abi glanced at her watch. Not yet 7. Time for a quick ride before Carly arrived. Surely exercise and fresh air would blow away any lingering uncertainties.
Her mountain bike was her favourite purchase. She had day-dreamed about it for a year before Carly essentially ‘kidnapped’ her, forcing her to buy the bicycle and ride home. No regrets. No sliding doors. A great choice.
But this decision was so much bigger than a bike. There was so much more at stake. Was she confident? Probably. Mostly.
The air was crisp, the sky clear. A perfect start to a perfect day. As she rode, snippets of conversations came to mind.
“You’re ready for this,” said Carly.
“Poppet, it will be wonderful,” said Dad.
“I only want to make you happy,” said Matt.
She pictured Matt. She only wanted to make him happy too.
It was 8.00 when she got home, and was stunned to find Carly already there. With her dad. And with Matt.
“What’s going on? Matt - I’m meant to be meeting you there.” She looked at Carly, bewildered. “You’re not meant to be here until 9.”
Carly handed her a bottle. “Guess I was just excited for you.”
“I thought I’d bring you brekkie, Poppet, on your big day.” He held up a bag of pastries.
“Don’t look at me,” said Matt. “I just got off my shift early, and thought I’d come home first. I’d love a croissant!”
Abi inhaled deeply, and looked at the brown laminate cupboards, the porcelain sink, the orange tiles.
There was no doubt now.
She opened the folder. Colour samples and floor plans fell to the floor. She took out the contract, and scrawled her signature.
“It’s done,” she announced. “We’re getting a new kitchen.”
Hugs. Tears. Champagne.
(Meanwhile, Matt felt the ring in his pocket. He’d propose another day, when he didn’t have to compete with a kitchen.)
Grateful to the Australian Writers Centre for sparking creativity each month with the Furious Fiction competition.