His mouth tasted the bitter antiseptic of the room. He stood there, looking around, fearing to touch anything lest he contaminate it. The harsh white of the fluorescent bulbs in the ceiling glared at everything in the room, making it all seems alien.
This is real life, he thought. What the hell am I supposed to do? No one had prepared him for this. This wasn’t covered in school, none of his extensive training and testing had prepared him for anything like this. For once, there was no guide, no manual, no higher authority to step in and make the final decision. It was just him, standing on the precipice, waiting for a strong wind to knock him into the abyss.
Trying to gain back some sense of reality, he peered into the monitor and blinked. The numbers shifted up and down, fluctuating ever so slightly. He had no idea what any of it meant, only that the steady chirp indicated all was okay. Following the wires from the monitor down to the bed, he watched her chest rise and fall. It looked like she was just sleeping, except he knew better. She never slept that peacefully; always tossing and turning, she would wake him up at least three times every night. He’d never minded though. He considered himself lucky she had chosen to sleep with him at all.
A lump rose in his throat as he thought of the first time he had laid eyes on her. He had just been hired as the new history teacher at the middle school where she taught math. A fight had broken out in the cafeteria during the seventh grade lunch period. She had skillfully jumped in and broke it up. She was wearing that sunflower dress he loved so much, along with the faded navy blazer that she loved so much. He bought her several other sweaters and shawls, but she insisted that dark blazer was her favorite because it fit perfectly. No matter it was worn down. She pointed out that a middle school math teacher wasn’t supposed to look sexy anyway. He told her she would look sexy in a burlap sack.
And now, he had to make the ultimate decision for her. The doctors said there was almost no chance she would wake up. He really wished she were here to break down the odds for him.
Twenty minutes to write, five to do quick edits. Number two, please.
The challenge: Timed writing using the following three phrases somehow in the story:
- She wore a dark and faded blazer
- This is real life
- He peered into the monitor and blinked
Source: TBP’s On-line Writer’s Guild #12