Yesterday I attended Terry’s Kundalini yoga/creative writing workshop for the second New Year’s in a row. Like last year, it was a wonderful way to clear my head and do some writing without obsessing over plot arcs and character development. One of the prompts involved coming up with a word or phrase and passing it to the person on our right. That person then wrote something—anything—on my word/phrase, and I wrote something based on the word/phrase from the person on my left. Cara handed me “silicone, saline.” Here’s the short, strange story that came out of it:
She was looking for solutions, so she started in the saline aisle. She felt safe among the pink pacifiers and folded dishcloths. The fluorescent light bulbs buzzed as unflatteringly as ever, but she could almost ignore them. The small plastic bottles of saline seemed to have dipped into a vat of prehistory that would now save her from this silicone world. A salty, still past.
It hadn’t treated her badly, per se—the world—but there was a nagging sense that it wasn’t her world at all, like she’d woken up in someone else’s living room, like Robert Downey Jr. had.
They all smiled from the tabloids, daring her to recognize them, or not to.
What if she just told the clerk, “I believe in time travel”? What if he said, “Yes, I do too”? There would be pressure to start something romantic and fated together, but what if they found out that she was half brontosaurus and he was all cosmonaut? The possibilities and the possibility of disappointment overwhelmed her.
She put a pack of spearmint gum on the counter and said, “Does the one-hour photo processing really only take an hour?”
“Yes,” he said, and what else was he going to say.