Exercising the craft—January 18, 2016

By Ekta R. Garg

Prompt: Your character has tossed and turned, counted forward and backward, assigned a word to each letter of the alphabet. After what feels like an eternity, first light finally arrives. Write a 250-word piece about the strain and stress of restlessness for your character. What caused the distraction? Is it resolved or exacerbated by a sleepless night? Create a mood for the moment when first light hits, and lead your reader to decide if the next action is cathartic or tragic.



The gray light of morning seeped through the curtains, and she could finally see the patterns on the ceiling. The night had skulked across the sky. Finally, it hung its head and crept backward with a promise to return, and she went through her questions yet again.

What had happened? Why had her sister gotten a divorce? Granted they’d parted ways years ago. They’d sworn never to speak to one another, forgoing speaking on family occasions. She’d spent her sister’s wedding anniversary pretending she didn’t remember the way her sister had just handed her the bouquet when it came time for the toss, her eyes sparkling as they hugged. Her sister had whispered in her ear, “There’s no way I would have celebrated this day without you.”

That was before. Before they fought so bitterly.

The fight couldn’t tamp down her curiosity, however, which continued to flicker despite her intentions to put it out. So she began digging through social media to find her sister again. She spent years surreptitiously flipping through vacation photos and pictures of her nieces and nephews behind lit candles on cakes. In the last few months, however, her sister had stopped updating the pictures.

And then came the relationship status change. The one that said “Divorced.”

When she’d seen the status change the previous evening, it stunned her. Her heart rate increased. And this morning, as the sun pressed its way past the curtains, she made a decision.

She would call her sister.