What follows is the first prompt in our creative writing blog-roll. The prompt is: a blue car, a man named Dominic, a clock, and the time of 2:00 (am or pm.)
Wednesday Morning, 2am
Sheila does things at odd times now that Dominic is gone. Some nights she can't sleep and it's just a lot easier, and safer too, to click on the TV instead of popping a sleeping pill and trying to ignore the clock on his side of the bed.
Dominic's been gone for six months, three weeks and as of Wednesday morning at 2am, four days. He has another five months to survive before he can come home, something she very carefully doesn't think about. If she counted the exact days and weeks, she might never stop asking if she'll ever see him come through that door. He'd enlisted the day after 9/11 and she'd married him a month later. Now he was gone again and she had their boy David to take care of.
David was six now and long ago stopped asking when Daddy was coming home. Dominic had been gone much of his short life and he knew that Daddy would come home when the Daddy came home. Anything else, he didn't ask about...and Sheila kept the news off the TV when he was around. Sometimes she thinks that's more for her benefit than David's. After all, if there was anything to know, Dominic would tell her. Or the Army would.
And Sheila had his letters. They always closed with the line, "You haven't sold my car yet, have you?" It was their own private joke---Dominic's blue car (he called it the blue bomber, Sheila remembered) was a thing of ugly metal grace that only a true car buff could love. He'd joked that he'd make a lot of money if he just put a new engine or a better transmission or new tires on it. Sheila had smiled. "Or you could just shoot it and put it out of its misery," she'd laughed and Dominic had turned the water hose on her, soaking her down to her shorts.
Sheila makes some tea and cradles the warm cup in her hands. The cup is chipped and cracked in some places, something she should have thrown out long ago, but can't. It was the first thing they unpacked as they moved into housing as newlyweds and Sheila can't bear to let even that cracked, worn cup go. It's chipped in places but it's survived the moves from base to base to base and so, Sheila thinks, has she.
She glances at the clock. Wednesday morning, 2am.