Exercising the craft—October 21, 2013

By Ekta R. Garg

Prompt: On the Road: “At that moment, she realized her only option was to pack up her old sedan and hit the road.”

Use this line as the beginning or end of a story. Why does this character have to leave? Where does she go? What does she take with her? Why?


Andrea walked down the stairs haltingly.  She could feel the memories pulling each time she put her foot down, and her heart inched lower and lower.  When she reached the first floor, the heaviness in her chest made her stop.

Shawn came through the living room and moved toward the front door carrying a box.  “I’m just going to put this in the car with the rest of your stuff.”

“Shawn, wait.”

He stopped midstride, dropped his chin to his chest, and heaved a deep, audible sigh.  “What is it, Andrea?”

“Are you really sure we should go through with this?”

“You can’t be asking me that,” Shawn scoffed, turning to face her.  “We signed the papers yesterday, Andrea.  We’re divorced.  It’s over.”

“How can you say that?” Andrea threw her hands in the air.  “We’ve spent so many years together, and you’re just ready to throw it all out after signing a piece of paper?!  What happened to the guy who promised to love me forever?”

“He caught you flirting with one of your art students!” Shawn retorted sharply.

“I wasn’t flirting, Shawn!  He asked me a question; I answered it.  I’m an art instructor.  My students are going to ask me questions once in a while.”

“Yeah, right, and those Q-and-A sessions happen over coffee hours after class ends!”

“What did you expect me to do?” Andrea replied, her tone increasing in volume to match Shawn’s voice.  “You’ve been working so many nights I barely even remember what you look like anymore!”

“You can’t use my working as an excuse to cheat on me.”

Andrea shook her head.  “You know that’s not what was going on, Shawn.  You can’t blame Kevin for our problems.  The two of us have been having issues for a long time.”

“Well, we don’t have any issues anymore, do we?  We’re divorced.  No longer attached.”

“Shawn, please,” Andrea said, her voice starting to waver.  “How can you forget everything we went through to be together?  We waited so long.  Everything that happened with your parents and—”

“Don’t bring my parents into this!” Shawn yelled.  “This has nothing to do with them!”

“I think it does!” Andrea yelled back.  “If you’d just go and talk to someone, I know that—”

“Shut up!”

Andrea blinked a few times in shock.  Shawn had never in all their years together told her to shut up before.  They’d had some bad fights before, but this was a first.

Suddenly it hit her.  From Shawn’s perspective their relationship had really ended.  He didn’t want her around, and she no longer had a place in his life.

After a few moments of silence, she stepped forward and grabbed the box from Shawn’s hands.  Without another word she opened the door and went down the front steps of their—no, his—townhome.  At that moment, she realized her only option was to pack up her old sedan and hit the road.

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