Short Fiction

The A-to-Z Challenge — Long Branch Stroll

Even though she was a writer Roxanne was a very visual person.   She drew a picture of her writer’s block as a weird, constipated flow chart.   She had rented a place for the month down by the ocean to finish her book that was already past deadline, but it wasn’t working out.   It was late April, but every sunny hour felt broiling, light pouring through every window was reflected from every shining surface in the apartment.  She was sure it was raising the temperature hourly.  Forget opening the windows, the cold air made a distracting whistle and did little to lower the overall heat.

“Ugh,” she grunted. Roxanne grabbed a jacket and headed out to take a walk along the boardwalk.  “Some fresh air to clear my head,” she thought.

Down on the boardwalk she was surprised by how chilly it was.  Even in the sunshine the wind coming off the ocean was strong. She walked into it and felt it tangle her hair and make her eyes water. Roxanne dug her hands deep into her pockets and crossed her hands in front of her hips to keep her jacket closed.  Oh, it was clearing her head alright.

At this time of day there weren’t too many people out walking or running. But up ahead on a bench she saw two bundled up shapes that could only be an elderly couple.   They sat close together, facing the ocean, the sun to their backs.   A man and a woman stylishly layered.  She wore a cloche-style knit hat.  He sported a stylish plaid cap that miraculously stayed put in the wind.  Their eyes were covered by large sunglasses, but as she got closer Roxanne could see that their faces were slightly upturned, like new seedlings to the warmth of the sun.  They looked so warm, so happy, so settled, so opposite of the way she felt that Roxanne didn’t know if she should curse or envy them.

But another feeling started to bubble up, a hopeful energy began to swirl around her brain just like this wind in her hair.  A loosening of anxiety’s knot made a path appear, a flow to her ending.  She slowly turned around, away from her elderly muses, so the wind was at her back and Roxanne let it push her, and the words, all the way home.


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