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Lucky Number

This one-page story was the result of a 15-minute writing exercise. The prompt was "I'm thinking of..." “I’m thinking of a num-“

“Nine fourteen,” he said, cutting her off.

He saw the irritation in her eyes. “Why do you do that?” she demanded.

“What?” He responded, knowing full well what she meant.

“You always interrupt me. I can never complete a thought on my own because you either finish my sentence, or respond before I have a chance to get all the words out.” Her words were cutting, but laced with sadness.

“No I don’t,” he lied.

She sighed. “Yes. You do.”

They sat in silence for a while while crickets conversed in sentences in the edges along the creek, and frogs supplied the punctuation.

Finally, he spoke. “Why are we together?” he asked quietly, “Do you remember?”

Answers formed and dissipated before she could speak them aloud. The air between them was thick and insects filled the night with mating songs. Minutes ticked by.

“It’s not a rhetorical question,” he prompted, “I really want to know.”

Hadn’t she answered him? At least one response must have escaped her throat, weaving past carefully crafted filters.

“Love?” she queried.

“Love?” he echoed.

“I’m thinking maybe that’s not enough anymore,” she admitted.

“Agreed,” was all he could muster.

An owl hooted nearby, cutting through the cacophony of crickets and frogs.

They gathered their belongings under moonlight that careened off the water, retreating to their separate cars. Soft needles of pine aided their silent departure.

It would be weeks before it hit her one day while doing dishes. The realization like a physical blow to the heart… nine fourteen was their anniversary.


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