Thursday, December 6, 2012

Following the Sea

Write on Edge prompt:  I’m giving you a photograph and a song. From there, be inspired. You have 500 words. There are no other restrictions save this.

Happy writing!
creative writing prompt, fiction writing prompt, memoir writing prompt
Image courtesy of Nikozz via Flickr CC 2.0


Ephraim Jackson left the placid wheat fields of the family farm in Iowa when he was eighteen because he had a dream. The events of the dream might have been dismissed as the result of eating an entire frozen pizza; except for the talking bear.  

The dream bear told Ephraim to go to sea.  Ephraim's only experience with anything remotely resembling the ocean was the rippling waves right before the harvest.  The concept of an endless expanse of water was beyond his ken. Yet the words of the dream centered themselves in his consciousness, like a fly worries at the ears of a horse. They would not cease their relentless buzzing. He must go.  Ephraim finally gathered his things, said goodbye to his family, and took the Greyhound bus to the closest seaport, where he joined the Navy and set sail.

Ephraim was happy to follow the sea.  As the ship left the port, however, Ephraim had stood on the deck, watching the land recede into the distance.  In his left fist he clutched a letter, delivered right before they pulled up anchor. He heard the voice of the girl who had written that letter, her whisky alto juxtaposed with the strident tone of her words.

"Damn you, Ephraim Jackson. Damn you to hell for running.  Did you even notice me mooning after you all those years in high school?  How could you not have realized that I love you?  It was in my eyes, in my voice, in my heart every single damn day.  How could you not see it?  Everyone else saw how I felt.  Why didn't you?  You come home to me, Ephraim Jackson, so we can be together. You can have the ocean, but you come home to me.  Because I won't wait forever."

Ephraim shivered, shook himself out of his reverie and stared at the window of Jenny's house.  The golden light of candles near the frosted windows beckoned him as the sea could not. Ephraim had left the embrace of the sea to return to the swells of wheat on the family farm. He wasn't there for them.  He could almost taste the honey of her lips, and he prayed that he wasn't too late.


9 comments:

  1. This was awesome. I loved the imagery of the sea as wheat for someone who had never seen the ocean. As one who can't remember the first time I saw it because it's been something I've always known, I have wondered what it would be like as an adult to see it for the first time. Great job.

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  2. Very nice--I love the progression from past to present, and how much you evoked. I would like a bit more transition from the note to the present, though--the jump in time was a bit jarring; it took me out of the story for just a moment.

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    1. You are right--I just ran out of time, so I had to hurry.

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  3. I love the comparison of the sea and a sea of wheat. Also the Whiskey Alto - brought her voice to life so vividly for me.

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    1. I've always wanted to be a whisky alto!

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  4. I agree: the sea of wheat and the whiskey alto are both great. And now I want to know -- what's he going to find inside?

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    1. Good question, and one I have been pondering all day.

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  5. Waves of wheat, her voice, the others have already mentioned the gorgeous images in this piece. Can we discuss the sly humor in the line about the frozen pizza? That one detail was the thing which grounded it in an era, otherwise, I might have thought it far more of a period piece.

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