At the beginning of this year, I made a new goal for myself to do a little writing practice every day. I already try to do some form of writing work each day, hence my daily check-ins. But most of that is revision, and I want to write a little too.
Every Monday, I’m going to choose one bit of writing practice from the previous week and post it here. If I haven’t done any writing practice all week, I’ll have to make sure I do some on Sunday or Monday to have something to post. So there’s an extra little push there too.
I won’t revise any of this, except for a spell-check. They’ll probably rarely be longer than 500 words. The prompt, if I used one and if I choose to include it, will be at the bottom. And I can’t even call them all stories, because there’s not always a beginning and end. Sometimes it’s just writing.
Judy tried not to look at her daughter too often during the play, but she couldn’t help herself. She’d seen the play before and remembered all too well the emotions she’d experienced throughout. Natalie was old enough to understand what was going on—the overt and subtle themes, consequences to actions, and feelings that went along with it all.
She worried that glancing over as often as she did would disrupt Natalie’s concentration on the story, but every time she looked, the girl was so entranced that she didn’t notice Judy’s eyes on her.
As the story ramped up to the climax, tears sprang to Judy’s eyes. She knew what was coming, and she was already reacting to what hadn’t happened yet. Natalie was yet unaffected, but Judy couldn’t wait for that one moment.
As the climax unfolded, Judy felt Natalie’s hand grip her arm. She looked over and saw Natalie sitting forward in her seat. She was still staring straight ahead, but had reached out to her mom for some comfort. Judy placed her other hand over her daughter’s and turned her face back to the stage. Her eyes darted between the actors on the stage and Natalie’s face.
Her own heart nearly broke when she saw tears reflecting the stage lights. Natalie was barely breathing, she was so caught up. When Natalie shook her head slowly and then closed her eyes, Judy wondered if she’d done the right thing. Maybe Natalie was too young after all. The girl seemed to realize even before Judy had that it was over. It was too late. The hero’s life done—there was no way around his necessary sacrifice. And it was painful to watch.
Though she’d planned to keep an eye on Natalie’s reaction out of the corner of her eye, that moment that Judy had been waiting for—THE moment, the triumph, the hero saved—had all of her attention. She was swept away like it was her first time. At least until she felt Natalie’s grip tighten even more. Blinking past her own tears, Judy looked at her daughter. Natalie’s cheeks glistened in the dim light, and mother joined her daughter in weeping for the hero.
As the final moments of the story played out, Judy knew she’d made the right choice. She wouldn’t point out later that she’d been right when she insisted Natalie come with her, even though it wasn’t as exciting as a movie or television show. She wouldn’t explain to Natalie what a deus ex machina was, or the history behind it. She wouldn’t ask her to identify themes and symbolism in the play. She would just ask for Natalie’s thoughts and then ask if she’d like to go to another play with her mom someday.
“Like a hero who takes the stage when we’re on the edge of our seats saying it’s too late…”