This was written for The Red Dress Club, a virtual writer's society. My third prompt participating, this is my second for Red Writing Hood. Trying my fiction writing hat back on after 16 or so years of not writing. Concrit is welcomed and appreciated!
Write – fiction or non-fiction – about a time when you took a detour. Where had you intended to go and where did you end up?
Word limit: 600 My count: 558
“Dammit! Dammit! Dammit!” She pounds her fist against the steering wheel and stops, last in the line of cars snaking down the road. Catching herself checking the rearview mirror, she scolds herself out loud.
“Don't be crazy, Jess.
He hasn't followed you.
You left him.
You. Left. Sam.
He's probably happy you're gone.”
Reaching down to turn on the radio, she hears a familiar intro and cranks it up.
“She's just a small town girl, livin' in a lonely world…”
This was their song. He was from Michigan and she was, simply, a small town girl. The fact that this song had played on the jukebox during their first date only made them seem even more destined to be together.
Impatient, needing to move, she decides to change course. With a perfunctory look over her shoulder, allowing the blinker to tick just twice, she pulls into the exit lane, speeding past the waiting motorists on the highway.
At the end of the off-ramp, she stops. “Now where? Flip a coin? Heads left, tails right.” She grabs a penny from the unused ashtray and flips it up. As it spins, she notices the pale strip of skin on her ring finger, the rest of her hand looking tanned in comparison.
The decision has been made, her destiny set, for she sees Lincoln's familiar profile lying on the passenger seat. “Left it is!”
Her destination still unknown, she feels compelled to drive on.
A yawn escapes from her, a reminder that she's tired; emotionally and physically drained. She peers through the twilight at storefronts in the shopping centers that are passing by, looking for any place that might serve a reliable cup of coffee.
Pulling into a parking space near the cafe, she goes in search of the brew that had drawn her here in the first place. The counter is manned by two teenaged baristas. Sisters? Cousins? The place looks like the type that would be run by family.
They're deep in conversation, obviously concerned about something. The taller girl keeps sending worried glances towards the front of the store. Their hushed whispers draw Jess in; before she can help herself, she's asking “Hey. Is everything OK?”
Pulled back into the present by this unfamiliar voice, both girls startle and blink confusedly at Jess, unsure where she'd come from.
“Hi! Welcome to Kismet Koffee!”
“Hey. Are you sure everything's OK?”
“Oh. Well…” she beckons Jess closer and lowers her voice. “There's a guy in the corner there… No! Don't look! There's this guy, and he's been sitting there all afternoon, nursing one cup of coffee and crying. My sister thinks we should kick him out, but I just can't do it. He's just so sad…” her voice trails off and she looks away.
“That is sad,” Jess just can't bring herself to feel sorry for some heartbroken stranger in a coffee shop. “Can I get a cup of coffee with room for cream please?”
Stepping away from the counter with her coffee, she can't help but glance in the direction of the heartbroken man in the corner. Her surprise is so all-consuming and instant, she sloshes coffee all over the table and herself
“CRAP!” Grabbing napkins to wipe the spreading puddle, this flurry of activity catches everyone's attention, including the sad guy.
He stands up.