Over on Facebook this week, I started posting random questions and inviting a discussion. One of them was this: one some or two after a period. While the initial comments were unanimously in support of one space, as the day wore in two spaces took the lead. Interestingly, people were able to cite different style manuals in support of their position. So, it’s undecided.
But, towards the end of the comments a friend asked why I was asking all of these questions and whether it was all research for my next novel. It wasn’t. It was just an idea I had one morning to post on FB these random questions that come up during the day. But I did tell my friend that “Spaces After the Period” sounded like a great idea for a story title.
Now it’s Sunday and I’m hosting another Seven Day Story Challenge over at We Drink Because We’re Poets. As the host, I feel obligated to participate and write something. I thought about it and decided I wanted to write a story titled “Spaces After the Period.”
Here is day one. Six days more to go. And, that, sometimes, is where stories come from. And, yes, if you follow the seven day story challenges, I kind of broke the “rules” here.
Spaces After the Period
When we first met I wasn’t so impressed. I had always gone for the prototypical bad boy. Tattoos and wild hair, leather jackets and a Harley, nonchalance and indifference. I hardly knew how to act when you were so nice to me. Holding a door open, offering your hand to help me out of the car. In those initial moments, though, all I could see was the physical you. Two inches shorter than me. Hair already thinning. And a button down shirt.
I couldn’t believe my sister thought we could be right for each other. And when you started talking about your mother’s corned beef, it was all I could do to stifle a yawn and claim an impending illness to cut the night short. Something held me back. I gave it a shot. I have you a shot. This strange thing happened by the end of the night. After dinner, while we walked along the river, you slipped your hand into mine. Suddenly, it was just there. And it was warm. And right. No man had ever held my hand before. Not like that. All those Zachs and Codys and, yeah, Joe, my god, Joe. They held my hand in the throes of mind-blowing sex. It’s one thing those tattooed losers have going for themselves.
But they never held my hand just to hold it. To provide comfort. And you did. I didn’t even reaiize I needed it until that night. It’s just one of those things you taught me, usually without a word or gesture. It was just the way you were. The way you could just touch me and I could then see things in a way I had never seen them before.
I should have run that first night. I mean, seriously. You, a comfortable and quiet Jew, who was comfortable with your G-d. Me, a snarling and assertive atheist, scornful of believers in anything. See what I did there, I spelled it your way. To honor you.
You were eight years than me. All those bad boys had been, always, younger. Some of them barely legal.
You had a job. I had my art. You paid your bills. I didn’t know how much mine were.
You were an anchor. I was a kite.