Writing 101, Day Five: Be Brief

Prompt:

You stumble upon a random letter on the path. You read it. It affects you deeply, and you wish it could be returned to the person to which it’s addressed. Write a story about this encounter.

Today’s twist: Approach this post in as few words as possible.

Saving Grace’s Letter:

Annie’s too curious to leave the crumpled paper there on the side of the road. It looked like a little dejected person. At the bus stop, with tons of people, watching and judging, she couldn’t just pick it up. She had to snatch it when everyone was surprising attentive to the doors of the bus as it pulled up. She did exactly that, standing back while waves of people pressed forward. She snatched it tucked it in her jacket pocket, her breath even, heart settled. She couldn’t believe she’d gotten worked up over a stupid little paper.

Sadly, she ended up wedged in between and old man, who stared blankly at her, and a large sweaty woman. She didn’t mind too much because they seemed like the kind of people who wouldn’t watch her read her letter. The paper felt hot and tingly in her pocket. She’d thought it would be a good idea to wait, but considering her good luck with her two neighbours and her anxiousness she pulled the crumpled paper out.

She wet her lips, nibbling on her bottom lips, grinning too. It looked like it had been folded, and then crumpled. She unfolded  it, some part of it damp, and the back brown with dirt. She peeled it carefully, trying to not to smudge or tear what secrets had been written inside. Then there were the words.

“I love you, Grace.” Annie felt uncomfortable. She shouldn’t have opened this letter. It started informally, the handwriting sloppy and rushed looking. She kept reading anyhow, a some other voice speaking the letter in her mind, “But i’m not going to let you throw your life away for this relationship. I know you’ll grow out of this, me, and i don’t want you to look back regretting or resenting me, or yourself, or your children. I’m sorry for leaving you, but don’t come looking for me. Stay bright and remember to pick enough flowers for spring.”

Annie stood up abruptly in the bus, pulling the string for a stop. She shoves her way to the front. She waited as the buss pulled to a stop at a light and she begged him to let her off. She wasn’t too far yet. She could run back. She almost hoped that she’d get there and the sadly little body that she imagined of Grace would be there. She’d be there for her letter back. She wouldn’t have wanted to lose this letter. When she got there there was no one there. She couldn’t just leave it on the ground, someone might throw it away. She couldn’t wait here, forever. Something raised in her chest, and she felt guilty and sad for being roped in this nonsense letter.

Damn! She sat there; it’d be an hour until the next bus.

Then she had an idea. She pulled a silver sharpie marker out of her bag, glancing around for any cops or people who might report her….and on the ground, pavement she wrote “grace, i found your letter.” Then on the seats, then on the overhead sun shield. Then she felt so much better. She thought about putting her number, but then the cops would know it was her who wrote all the stuff on the government owned pavement and bus system. Maybe….She took her sharpie and wrote, “Take the 95 to the 45” Those were the first four digits of her phone number. If she could get Grace to take all these buses she could put her number together.

Annie called her friend Alice and cancelled their plans for the day. They were just going to talk and watch movies, and she needed to help a woman get her letter back. Annie boarded the bus until she got to the  95. She wrote down, “To the 45, Grace.” She took the bus to the 45 and wrote,  “to the 55, G”  She actually found it really thrilling sneaking around to write those notes and get on buses. “to 123, G” she was lucky that the old lady who eyed her at that stop wanted first seat and jumped up ahead of everyone when the bus pulled in. “to the 4, G” she wrote at the 123 stop.

Annie was certain that would be enough, and when she arrive at the 4 she wrote. “That was my number. Call me if you want your letter back.”

That had to be enough.

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2 thoughts on “Writing 101, Day Five: Be Brief

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