I use writing prompts in my writing groups to stimulate story material. Many of my published stories have come from prompts including this one conjured up by Will Donnelly—one of my Big Island writing partners. The prompt was “Write about a time you told a lie”. Here is the result of a 15-minute prompt that is “flash” but not “fiction”:
She says, “I love you” as she smiles and looks into his lake-blue eyes. Calm, sure, and pretty—she declares her adoration of him in an endearing purr. She wraps her arms around him and breathes him in. A musky man smell. She loves man smell—makes her wiggle and flirt, sigh and hum. She buries her nose into his black curls. Sun warmth rubs into her skin from his mane. A Samsonian chest to curl into. He is perfect.
She loves men!
The lie? That she loves him specifically. But she tells it in order to fit the glove of the future. An insurance policy. A test.
Will he say it back?
“I love you.” His husky whisper brushes and flits into her seashell ear.
Does he mean it, or is he made from the same fabric as her? The fabric is rent with lust and greed and need. And fear. She’s been like this until recently.
Now, years later—heartbreaks later, men later—the man she leans into is the man she loves. His sturdy frame is short, not tall; he does not have obsidian locks flowing onto his broad shoulders. He is kind and generous and his ego is a regular size.
He smells good and she loves him, and he loves her.
Her interior fabric is now simple and whole, with no gold sequins, embroidered hearts, or strutting, iridescent peacocks. There are no tears in the tissue of her heart.
Now. She. Can. Say. The. Lie.
But it is the truth.
The photos were taken by Delisa Sage. I’m interacting with the art at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.