Monday June 14th, 2010

The exercise:

Your prompt today is: down by the river.

I'll even accompany it with another picture I took this weekend:

I was rather embarrassed to realize today that I'd used Friday's prompt of 'back in the saddle' as a prompt before. Re-using prompts I don't mind doing - it's just when I do it without realizing it that it bugs me :P

I suppose with over two years worth of prompts it was bound to happen eventually.


We sat in the damp grass on the riverbank, our legs dangling over water turned white and frothy by rocks we could not see, our bare feet coated with a fine mist. A lackadaisical breeze set the leaves on both sides of the river to twitching and alleviated the heat from an early afternoon sun that seemed to be closer to Earth than usual that day. Birds communicating in their secret languages was the only noise that reached us that did not come from the water below.

I wanted to apologize for forgetting the fishing rods in the garage. I hadn’t noticed their absence from the pile of tents, sleeping bags, and backpacks in the trunk. My father had never left them behind when we went camping. We would go every summer weekend that he could sneak out of the office early on the Friday, which happened surprisingly regularly for a man in a position of such great responsibility. Mom would always pretend to disapprove of his lack of dedication to his job, but dad knew she was privately thrilled at his commitment to spending quality time with their son.

But I did not live up to my father’s gold standard – the rods were collecting dust back home, tucked away beside my work bench, while I sat with my son empty handed by the river.

I took a deep breath as I struggled to phrase my apology in such a way that my deep regret would be properly conveyed. Taking in the clean, green-scented air, I turned to him as my lips began to part but no words managed to escape me.

My son was sitting there, a peaceful smile decorating his face, his body emanating contented relaxation, as he gazed at the water rushing by. He noticed me staring and flashed me a pleased grin before returning to his study of the river.

And that was when I realized there was nothing to make amends for.


Greg said...

I wondered when I saw the prompt was 'back in the saddle' if we'd not had it before, but I was sure you'd have your reasons for re-using it quietly.

That's a serene picture, I can imagine myself sitting there enjoying the view, the water, and the sunshine. Really, really good. Oh, and the story that went with it was rather good too! The last line is perfect for the piece.

Down by the river

The river stretches,
As far as the eye can see,
And is as wide across as a lifetime,
Like the one in which you left me.

The river's water is turbulent here,
Reminding me of our fights,
And further along it's rocky and wild,
Reminding me of our nights.

But where the river is limpid and clear,
It's as salty as my tears,
And the river runs on forever,
As lonely as these years.

morganna said...

I like yours a lot, Marc.

And mine:
Cool blue water
Drifting away to sea
Carrying tales of the mountains
Amazing whales who exclaim at thoughts of
Four legged and two legged ones
Running without water
The river murmurs

Marc said...

Greg - love the comparison of the river to the relationship. Very well done.

Morganna - thank you, and I love your line of 'running without water' :)