Tough one this week: the photograph is Rochelle‘s own and a fascinating collection. I wrote this story as scantily as I could and it was still 158 words. Some fierce editing was needed to bring it down to 100; I hope you enjoy it and I’d love to hear what you think.
I’m on and off with computer time this week, so please forgive any delay in reading your comments and/or stories.
Alma’d felt so grown up, consigning her etch-a-sketch to history in the ninth box. Each Christmas since, she’d chosen something special, like the photograph she found in the trash after Anthony’s ship sank. When she met Ralph at a concert she put the ticket in, even though it was only June.
But as the years passed, she began to worry: there were only 36 boxes.
She and Ralph spent that Christmas at the sea. Alma paced the beach and picked out two large shells. She returned to find Ralph smiling at the hotel door, his arms stretched around a present.
* * * * *
Some notes. Only read these if you’ve got lots of time and nothing better to do.
Pre-edit, I really liked the opening paragraph, but it was too long and had to go. I felt it was a better explanation of the set up, and of Alma’s character: Alma started the collection when she was nine, looking back over her childhood and allocating one box for each year. She felt so grown up, putting her etch-a-sketch in the ninth box and thus consigning it to history.
A few comments have mentioned the other items. I can’t explain them all, but here’s a few I know…
#2 Alma was very ill as a toddler. The medicine bottle represents this and her gradual return to health.
#11 & 13 Alma learned to skate at 11, by thirteen she excelled at ice hockey.
#14 Alma’s older brother, Anthony was in the navy. When she was 14, his ship was hit by a torpedo and sank. Her mother, heartbroken, threw out all her old photographs of Anthony, including this one of him with Alma. Alma found it in the bin and rescued it for her treasure trove.
#24 When she was 24, Alma went to a summer concert and met Ralph. She was so certain about him, she immediately shelved the ticket instead of waiting until Christmas.
#31 Alma felt this year that she’d achieved pretty much everything. She was married, had a house, a car and a dog. She was packing away her monopoly set pending the arrival of her firstborn when she realized how well the pieces matched her life.
#32 Alma and Ralph’s first child arrived.
#36 With one box to go, Alma went for a walk on a beach and sent a prayer into the waves that the conclusion of the boxes wasn’t a sign. Luckily, she’d picked a diamond in Ralph, who knew the most valuable present he could buy his wife was a new set of shelves (or boxes) and 36 more years of memories.