More Than One Fork In This Road

for Writer’s Island prompt #10  Fork in the road
http://writersisland.wordpress.com

I have said that someday I might actually post one of my daily journal pages here. Today is the day. Oh, and by the way, I do not write fiction. I write poetry and personal essays. There really is

More Than One Fork In This Road

7/3/10
Need to pay the rent today. And am avoiding the Writer’s island prompt. It’s A Fork In The Road. I’ve done enough of that lately and just want to stop and take a breather. Am not sure about doing these two prompts back to back. Maybe I’m just too old for this stuff.

And even as I say that, I can hear a story building in my head. All about a fork, dropped in the middle of the road that punctures the wheel of a car driven by a young woman who was running to get somewhere and is now pulled over at the side of a lonely country lane. Her cell phone is dead because, in her rush to get out that morning, she forgot to charge the battery.

She really doesn’t know where she is. Thought this road would actually be a shortcut to her destination, and now she’s stuck. She doesn’t want to drive on a flat tire, but isn’t sure she knows how to change the thing by herself. So, she just sits for a while, fuming and frustrated. Then remembers that she has her notebook with her and digs it out of her purse. Finds a pen and begins writing.

Writing means a lot of different things to her. She’s been doing it since she was four and learned how to shape and form the block letters that clearly state her name. It helps a lot when she has to make a choice or a decision. As she writes about the ins and outs of whatever issue she is dealing with, the writing itself, the choice of the words, helps her to get clear about how she really feels, and what she wants to do about it.

She keeps a daily journal. And then she remembers that in her earlier rush, she even forgot to do her normal page a day ritual. How could she have done that? She’s been writing a page a day for years and this morning, she’d actually forgotten. She was so eager to go to Matt’s farm, to meet his family and join in the holiday celebration, that she’d just jumped out of bed, gotten dressed, grabbed the salad she’d made from the fridge, and was out the door.

Matt had become such a good friend over the past few months. They’d met at the post office, of all things, waiting in a long line of customers, shipping parcels out to untold destinations around the world. They’d started talking and found they had some similar interests. He also liked to write, but it was definitely fiction, while she preferred poetry. It was a very long line, and by the time she’d finished sending Aunt Lucy’s book off to Portland, Matt had asked her to wait and have coffee at the shop just down the street. And, because it had been a beautiful day and she’d not had any particular plans, she’d agreed.

Ever since that day, Matt would call about once a week, and ask her to meet him at that same coffee shop, or a small Italian restaurant on the other side of town, and they’d just chat, talk about what they were currently writing about, friends and family, anything that came into their heads. She looked forward to those meetings, and was supposed to meet his family today. Finally be able to put faces to the delightful stories he told about his siblings, favorite nieces and nephews, and his father, owner of the farm, but a part-time carpenter who loved to create things from wood. Gifts he could give to those he cared about, fashioned with his own strong hands.

And now, because of her own stupid eagerness, she was going to miss all of that. She felt the sting of tears, but held them back, brought her head up as she took a deep breath, and saw a figure walking slowly down the side of the road, in her direction. Her first thought was that she’d have help to change the tire. Her second thought was that this was a total stranger and could she trust him?

Then she realized that he seemed to be searching the ground, looking for something there on the road. He had a funny floppy sort of hat on and she couldn’t really see his face, but he was tall, slim, and moved with that leisurely grace that some men are just born with. She decided to play it safe and locked all of the doors, but rolled the driver’s side window down enough to allow conversation. And waited, watching the man slowly approach, seemingly unaware of her vehicle, stopped at the side of the road.

There was something familiar about him, but she couldn’t quite think what it was. She was aware of the moment when he realized her car was there, in his path. He looked up and stopped for a moment, and she had the sense of a wild animal, a wolf perhaps, or some large feline, suddenly alert, senses tuned to whatever might be ahead. Then the wolf, or big cat smiled, grinned and swiftly moved straight for her car.

It was Matt, what a relief. She quickly got out of her car and hugged him as he stopped in front of her, smiling and asking why she’d stopped so close to his home. Was she chickening out, afraid to meet the “gang” who were definitely curious about her? She giggled and silently pointed at the front flat tire. Without another word, she got back in the car and hit the switch that would release the trunk, while Matt headed around the back of the small vehicle to retrieve the spare tire and jack. She looked into the rear view mirror, and could see through the narrow opening between the trunk and the rear end of the car, that Matt, instead of taking out the tire, was actually moving away in the other direction.

As she, once again got out, she saw him bend down and pick something out of the dirt, stand up and brandish it aloft, yelling, “I don’t believe it, I actually found it!” It was a table fork, prongs bent and flattened from the weight of her car passing over it. He put it in the pocket of his shirt and while he changed the tire, he told her how his niece, Callie, had gotten upset with something her younger brother had said to her in the backseat of the family station wagon, and in a fit of pique, had reached into the picnic basket, grabbed the fork, and tossed it out the open back window.

They laughed together about sibling rivalry, as Matt wiped his hands on a rag he found in her trunk and they both got into her car and headed for the farm just up the road. He had told her that the fork was one of a set that his Aunt Mary had gotten for a wedding present. How upset she was that her granddaughter had thrown it away and that it was not replaceable. He had offered to at least go and take a look to see if he could find it, in an effort to calm the very disturbed waters of the family gathering. Then he’d made a quip about “The Fork in The Road,” and they’d laughed together.

As she stepped on the brake, she suddenly remembered what she had been writing about in that notebook, even glanced down and looked at it lying on the floor at Matt’s feet. She had been musing about where this relationship was going, wondering about her own feelings, and if she really wanted them and the relationship to move in any particular direction. She had run over, almost missed, the real fork in the road.

Matt reached over and swept the hair from her face, saying, “Well, are you ready?” She looked at him, thought of the kind of person who would walk down a road, looking for a table utensil in order to calm troubled waters, how incredibly wonderful she’d felt when he’d spotted her and grinned, and how, without one word, he’d immediately set out to fix what was wrong. “Yes,” she said, “I do believe I’m finally ready.”

 

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About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here: https://1sojournal.wordpress.com/ http://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/ http://claudetteellinger.wordpress.com/
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38 Responses to More Than One Fork In This Road

  1. Marianne says:

    What a beautiful story … and a very clever take on the prompt!

    Like

    • 1sojournal says:

      It actually is my morning journal page and this was not at all my intent when I started. One of the forks in this road is that I don’t write fiction, and yet once I began, it just sort of happened. The words spoken at the end of the story, by the young woman, are both hers and mine, lol.

      Elizabeth

      Like

  2. I’ve never come to a scenario that had only one clear fork-in-the-road. As is evident from your story, there really is more than one fork-in-the-road. In fact, I can’t remember a situation in which there wasn’t a fork-in-the-road embedded in a fork-in-the-road, embedded in a fork-in-the-road, etc. etc. etc. 😉

    With Love and Gratitude,

    The Intentional Sage

    Like

    • 1sojournal says:

      Ahh, but the surprise here, was all mine. I tell people all of the time to just follow the words, and they will take you where they want to go, and where you might want to be. These words, first intended to talk myself out of writing to the prompt this morning, took me to a piece of fiction, that stuns me more than anyone else. And I love it when that happens.

      Elizabeth

      Like

  3. Stan Ski says:

    The trouble with life is all those layers – the good thing about stories… is all those layers.

    Like

  4. pamela says:

    Elizabeth a delightful read!
    Wonderful!
    Pamela

    Like

  5. Mary says:

    So often I’ve said “Never say never.” You said you never write fiction, and wallah…here is fiction. And wonderful fiction at that! Perhaps you will just have to see where this ‘fork’ in the road leads.

    I admire you also for writing one page in your journal daily.

    Like

    • 1sojournal says:

      Mary,

      I pooped out last night, went and had dinner with my daughter, and just sort of ended my day on a veggie level, mentally. I also have said, “Never say never,” a great deal. I loved what happened here, keep hugging myself, laughing and grinning. It was just so much fun.

      I’ve been keeping a journal for well over twenty years. I started with pen on paper and would do two and a half to three pages. Finally switched over to the computer and single space one page and it ends up being about the same equivalent. Those journal pages are my source book. And as you can see, they are a well of inspiration. When I tell people to stay on the page, I am referring to a journal type of writing. It all begins there.

      Elizabeth

      Like

  6. anthonynorth says:

    An excellent read. Ah, the complications of life.

    Like

    • 1sojournal says:

      Thank you, Anthony,

      but rather than complications, I prefer, especially in this instance, to define it as rewards. It’s just that some rewards can get a bit complicated, don’t you think?

      Elizabeth

      Like

  7. I do believe you’ve inspired me to keep a journal! I’ve found that my poems are better when they spring from a few pages of scrawled notes —

    Anyway, delightful story! Full of possibilities. I hope she ends up with the graceful feline of a man. 😉

    Thank you for your kind comments on my blog.

    Like

    • 1sojournal says:

      I always stop for a moment, when I see your ID, just a brief moment of speechlessness. The purpose of this blog is to hopely inspire just such a response of like inspiration.

      I also hope for the graceful feline. And as soon as I said that, Pain, the tiger in my personal mythology (see A Tiger Named Pain in the category list on right sidebar), sat up, puffed out his chest and said, “Yes, that would be even better than good.”

      Thank you, as well, for yours on mine,

      Elizabeth

      Like

  8. p.s. I have added you to my blogroll. 🙂

    Like

  9. Oh I did enjoy your story, Elizabeth. It deserves a wider audience – could you submit it somewhere?

    Like

    • 1sojournal says:

      Haven’t any idea, Viv. Haven’t even tried to publish in a long while. That’s why I started blogging, it cuts way down on all of those rejection letters. And the immediacy here, can’t be beat, or the instant response between myself and my readers.

      All that aside, the thought did occur to me when I woke up this morning (lol), and ended up having a quite interesting conversation with my own personal nay-sayer. Thinking I might post that on my Intuitive Paths site tomorrow. We shall see.

      And thanks again for your comments and your report. That was delicious to hear.

      Elizabeth

      Like

  10. systematicweasel says:

    A wonderful read! It’s nice to view this as rewards rather than compications. Nearly everyone seems to focus on the negative of life too often. Thanks for sharing!!

    -Weasel

    Like

    • systematicweasel says:

      complications. sorry about that.

      Like

    • 1sojournal says:

      I love sharing, its self-expression at its best. I truly believe that the energy we hold is what we attract. We are our own magnets. It took me a long time to understand that my personal negativity, only drew more of the same to me. And the rewards are incredible, even if they are sometimes complicated, mainly by myself getting in the way, lol.

      Thanks weasel,

      Elizabeth

      Like

      • 1sojournal says:

        No need to apologize. I understood, because I do the same thing all the time in my rush to get the words out.
        My arthritic fingers certainly can’t keep up with my thoughts. Dang it, there it goes again, what the hell would arthritic thoughts look and sound like? Thank you, weasel.

        Elizabeth

        Like

  11. vivinfrance says:

    arthritic thoughts: stiff, twisted, painful. I have ’em all the time!

    Like

  12. Susan B says:

    Appreciate your foray into fiction. Not the first, nor will it be the last…I hope.

    Like

    • 1sojournal says:

      Maybe not the first to be attempted, but certainly the first to find an ending that pleased both of us. I am hoping for the same and thanks for the conversation earlier, I followed through and the plans are now in the works.

      Elizabeth

      Like

  13. Robin says:

    Hi Elizabeth–Inspiring, both the story itself and that it’s your first fictional work. Isn’t it nice when life comes along and puts a clear road sign at some of the forks that are in the road?! Also, thanks for your visit to my blog. Robin

    Like

    • 1sojournal says:

      Robin,

      thanks for coming and reading and leaving a comment. I sometimes feel that the comments are more interesting and inspiring than the work in progress. There is nothing like a good bit of discussion.

      I think the fiction was simply a vehicle, a bit different from the usual, to say that I really believe we have to be open to the forks in the road, even when they momentaritly puncture our wheels, lol.

      Elizabeth

      Like

  14. totomai says:

    very well-detailed narrative. such interesting to see the development of the characters and story in one reading hehe 🙂 maybe i’ll intentionally place some forks in the road haha

    Like

    • 1sojournal says:

      Not sure I would do that. We get enough forks naturally, I don’t think we need intentional ones. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment. It is so good to know that others understand and appreciate.

      Elizabeth

      Like

  15. Cara Holman says:

    Great story! Thanks for visiting my blog. I’m glad I discovered yours.

    Like

  16. Farah says:

    I really enjoyed this story, Elizabeth. I too have defined what I do specifically (for me, acting) only to find out that I was good at something else (poetry). I’ve been writing a lot more frequently as of late, but miss the discipline of daily writing that I had when you and I cross paths. You are always an inspiration to pick it back up though.

    Lots of love and well wishes to you!
    Farah

    Like

      • 1sojournal says:

        Farah,

        that is so good to hear. I am also solidly back into poetry, the above being only a sideline. When I say, I write, and people ask me what I write, my first response is always poetry and other things. Lol. But, I have an idea I’d like to share with you about all of that, something that might help both of us. Send me an email and let’s talk. Okay?

        Elizabeth

        Like

  17. Jingle says:

    lovely story.

    Like

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