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Week #6: Creative Writing Challenge – 5 Word Main Ideas

February 14, 2021

Quickly write down the first five words that come to mind. Create a story using these as the main ideas. *The 5 words are in bold the first time they are used.

I remember the day I first wandered into the forest and met her. It was a gray and drizzly day and there was the continual sound of dripping, as the water condensed on the green leaves and dropped to the brown. I was only 6, and I was never allowed to wander the forest behind our house by myself, but I was upset.

I remember so clearly how angry I had been at my father. It was my birthday and he had gotten me a set of legos, which I hadn’t asked for, or really wanted. What my heart desired was a Teddy Ruxpin doll, complete with 2 cassette tapped stories and his winter outfit. I felt the overwhelming need that Teddy be warm in the soon-to-be-coming winter season. So, as any 6-yr old would, I threw a fit, full of tears and snot and banging fists. What no one expected, was for me to bolt out the back door and run into the forest.

I had never been that far into the forest before and pretty soon I lost my way. Through the trees and dripping water I saw an old fountain. There was nothing else around it besides more forest, but it was captivating. The top of the fountain was carved into a beautiful lady with long flowing hair and wings swirling out of a gown that dipped down into the pond at the bottom of the fountain. The whole fountain wasn’t large, but I managed to perch myself on the lip of the pond and carried on with my crying.

Soon enough I felt a warmth enveloping me; soft and comforting. I thought it was my mom, but then I heard the voice. She spoke to me like wind chimes in a light breeze. I turned in her arm. I don’t remember feeling surprised when the woman turned out to be the one at the top of the fountain, realized in flesh. I just gazed up, my tears still falling.

“What bothers you so, little one?” She asked quietly. So I told her the whole story. At the end, she laughed softly and said, “When you are old and wrinkled you will look back on this day and laugh at yourself, and that is the greatest gift of all. Although your father may not want you to have a doll, that does not mean that you should stop wanting it. Be true to yourself and you will be happy. Here is your doll, but do not show anyone or he will disappear.”

With that, she pulled out Teddy Ruxpin from thin air and handed him to me, winter outfit and all.

I carefully made my way home, suddenly full of the knowledge that had escaped me earlier. I snuck into my room and hid Teddy under my bed, to be played with when no one else was looking. I fell asleep happy that night, my father and mother having found me and made me my favorite dinner with birthday cake for desert.

I remember the second time I saw the Lady of the Fountain, as I had started calling her in my mind. I was 12, and it was my birthday yet again. This time we celebrated with a large party. All my friends had come because my parents had rented one of those bouncy playhouses for us to romp in. They weren’t very common, so everyone wanted to come. We were having a great time bouncing around, throwing each other against the walls and falling all over the place. That is, until my friend Daniel threw me down in a wrestling move, and the pen I had in my pocket popped a hole in the playhouse. We all tumbled out quickly, with several of my “friends” throwing nasty glances at me and one in particular screaming about how stupid I was to ruin all the fun.

I snuck out of there as quickly as I could get away unseen, while everyone was focused on the pinata. I soon found myself at the fountain crying yet again on my birthday. The Lady of the Fountain materialized into flesh as I dripped tears into the pond, comforting me just as she had 6 years ago. She asked me what was wrong, so I told her the whole story.

“As you grow you will continually learn to interact with those around you. Pay attention to the way others make you feel and base your actions and words on those feelings. Have courage, and be kind.” She told me with her lilting voice as I nodded to show I was listening intently. She slowly pulled a package from the air. “Use this to help your friends, but always beware those who are only your friends for what you can provide them.” With that, she disappeared.

I looked at what she handed me. It was a kit to repair the tear in the plastic of the playhouse. I laughed and headed back to my house with a smile on my face.

The third time I saw the Lady of the Fountain was when I was older, a grand age of 20. I had been going to school at the local university, but still lived at home. I felt like I was going in circles at the university, taking classes that I wasn’t interested in. In fact, I hadn’t wanted to go there in the first place, but my father had told me there wasn’t money for college or living expenses. I would have to get a scholarship and figure something out. I got that scholarship, but didn’t have any money to move out. I took the bus to school and bought used textbooks. I had a job bagging at the local grocery store, but I was saving that money to get out of my parents house.

I had come home one evening and met my father in the kitchen. He had a bottle of whiskey in one hand and a big wooden spoon in the other. I hoped my mom had made herself scarce. She was good at that when my father was in one of his moods. I had grown large and strong in the past couple of years, but that never seemed to make a difference when faced with my father. It was like I was a 14 year old again and had missed my curfew. I took one look at him and ran.

The Lady of the Fountain was there sitting on the lip of the pond waiting for me in the fading light of the woods. She was beautiful and I had had more than one dream about her in my teenage years, but lust was the farthest thing from my mind as I folded myself into her embrace and once again cried.

She spoke slowly and clearly, “Family are those that you choose and who choose you. Find your family and tell them your hurt, your needs, your dreams and they will go to the end of the world for you. All you need do is open your heart to them and they will provide you what you need to succeed, because they love you. Go now and do these things.” And with that she was gone.

I did as she said. My father was passed out on the couch with the whiskey bottle nestled safely in the crook of his arm. My mother came to their bedroom door as soon as I knocked. I told her everything. I cried, she cried, we cried together. When the tears dried, she went to the closet and pulled out a hatbox. She opened it and handed me an envelope full of money. “Take it son. Don’t say anything. Take it and find your happiness. Know that I love you, but don’t come back here.”

I walked slowly down the hall to my room. I remember being full of wonder at the strength of my mother and sadness that I had never known it before. Still following the Lady’s instructions, I called my friend Logan. We chatted for hours and agreed to meet at the diner in town early the next morning.

I met Logan in the parking lot as soon as the sun came up. I gave him a hug and started to walk inside, but he grabbed my shirt. I just looked at him as he held out the keys to his motorcycle in my direction. “Go home, pack what you can, and get out before your old man wakes up. I love you bro, but we both know you need to be somewhere else.” Logan quickly said. I nodded and hugged him again before tearing down the road on his bike.

The fourth time I met the Lady of the Fountain I hadn’t wanted to come home, but it was for her. I was 45, an environmental consultant for a Fortune 500, never been married, traveled all over the world, and she was dead. I hadn’t spoken to my father in 25 years; since that night before I left. My mother and I had exchanged letters for years so I knew she was sick, but she had forbidden me from coming home to see her. Her last letter had simply said, “Know that I am so proud of you and that I love you more than anything.”

As soon as I walked into the door of my childhood home for her wake, I knew it was a mistake. My father saw me from across the room and quickly stormed to face me in the doorway. “You are not welcome here.” He spat in my face. I turned and walked away. It was the last time I saw him alive, but instead of leaving I walked into the forest to the Fountain.

I sat on the lip of the pond and shed silent tears for the horror of my mother’s life. I felt the Lady’s hand on my shoulder. I was comforted just by the touch. I looked up to see tenderness on the Lady’s face. “She was a good woman. She often visited me. She was proud of you for being stronger than she could ever be. Do not doubt your strength and do not blame yourself.” The Lady told me. We were silent for a long moment before she looked at me, considering. “You have long looked for the love and comfort of others, sometimes thinking yourself unworthy. I beseech you, try the other way around. You may even find added benefits.” With that, the Lady smiled at me and winked out of existence.

I won’t lie and say I understood what she meant. She’d never been cryptic before, but I found myself fully immersed in her riddle as I drove down the road toward home. Glancing toward the side of the road ahead I saw a bundle of something dark, a dog. Suddenly it dawned on me, the Lady wanted me to give my love to something instead of continually wanting others to give me their love. I pulled over. Huddled in a tight curl in the grass was a creature. As I walked closer, it raised its head and looked at me with one gray eye and one blue eye. It didn’t run or try to get away and I scooped it up and took it back to the car.

The following years were the most joyous I had experienced. Alvie, that’s what I had named the dog, was my constant companion. We had traveled far and wide and had many adventures together. She granted me an unconditional love that I cherished.

The fifth time I saw the Lady of the Fountain I had come for an express purpose. I remember carrying Alvie in a blanket as she wheezed against my chest. She had been diagnosed with cancer three months previously, and I had been cherishing every moment with her since then. I was beside myself and didn’t know what to do or how I was going to handle her loss.

By the time I made it to the fountain, having avoided my father’s house, I was crying once again. I called for the Lady, through gasps and hiccups. She appeared immediately and gently enveloped Alvie and I into a comforting embrace. “I was not expecting you.” She said quietly.

I remember taking a deep breath for strength as I pleaded my case. “I have never come to you and asked for anything, but you have always been there for me, guiding me through this life. You were right. It’s not about asking for love from others. Real love isn’t something that you have to ask or bargain for. It’s what holds us all together and helps us connect and find peace. Alvie has helped me realize that. I don’t know what I’ll do without her. Is there any way you can give me more time with her?”

She looked sad and said softly, “I’m sorry, but my magic doesn’t work like that. But I can keep her safe and happy here with me in this forest. That is all I can offer you.” A tear slid down her cheek.

“Please take her. It’s all I ever wanted for her, to be safe and happy.” I responded after a few moments of contemplation. The Lady of the Fountain nodded and placed her hands on Alvie’s head. Alvie looked up at me with her one gray eye and her one blue eye, as if trying to tell me that everything was going to be okay. After a moment both Alvie and the Lady faded from my sight, leaving me alone with Alvie’s blanket and my tears.

I remember the first day I walked into the forest and met the Lady of the Fountain. I remember it like it was yesterday, instead of 80 years ago. But I remember every moment as I shuffle slowly through the forest and toward the fountain. I’m in view of the fountain yet, but the presence at my side is familiar and soothing. I don’t need to glance over to know it’s the Lady of the Fountain and I smilee as Alvie comes sprinting through the trees with her tongue hanging out and her eyes dancing. We all walk side by side to the Fountain.

I gently ease myself onto the lip of the pond, as Alvie settles at my feet and the Lady gracefully perches next to me. I look up at her. “Thank you,” is all I find I can say as she takes my hands and replies, “It was my pleasure. Are you ready?” I study the forest around me, marking the sun glinting through the leaves, the smell of fresh air, and the sounds of the birds chirping.

“Yes, I’m ready.”

The Lady places her hands on my head, much as she had done with Alvie all those years ago. All I could feel was a sense of peace and contentment. I would be a part of this place, with her, and with Alvie. That was all I could ask for as the forest faded.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Yael Kisel permalink
    February 16, 2021 3:21 am

    Lovely. ❤️❤️❤️ I especially like the end.

  2. mom permalink
    March 16, 2021 11:42 pm

    Beautiful story!

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