November 2, 2017

Writing Prompt: Back to Age Five

This week I went to the Philadelphia Creative Writing Meetup for Women. We responded to the following prompt, and this flew out of me. I love the energy I had back then.

Prompt: You wake up to find yourself in your 5-year-old body and back in time. How do you spend your first 24 hours in this situation?

Breakfast! I run into the kitchen and grab a bowl of cereal, probably rice puffs. Then I sit down at the kitchen table and work more on my pirate story. I want to be a writer. Maybe I know how to spell "pirate" this time. We're out exploring the high seas when we meet up with a pirate ship. They tie us up and make them walk the plank, but I break free and beat them up!

My mom says I can go over to Kara's house. I run over there and go around back to say hi to her rabbits. Kara's drawing in her room upstairs. I'm so glad to see her, it feels like I'm gonna explode. I hug her super-tight and tell her I missed her so much, it's like it's been 20 years. Truth is, we're still looking up to first-graders.

Kara's dad's a minister. I don't know what a minister is. In my house, we're not religious at all. Her dad pokes his head in and says hi to us. There are strawberries and powdered sugar in the kitchen if we want them. We play for a while, then I head home because Kara's gonna watch Barney and I don't want to watch Barney.

I tell my mom I want to go to Ruth's. We have sandwiches at home and walk down into town. I say down, but everything's so flat in Oberlin. Ruth's is a long, narrow store with bracelets in the window and amber rings and pendants trimmed with silver. Inside, it feels like a library, the same sense of awe where you don't want to talk, just look. My mom goes up to talk to Ruth. I find the glass case with the Saturn bead: gold leaf in a clear glass cylinder with a red glass ring around it. The names of the planets are running through my head as fast as I can think. I grab onto Saturn and hoist myself up, then fly around in a silver spaceship with amber beads on it till my mom comes to tell me we're leaving.

The sky is blue and the air is chilly, and I whoop and yell. We go into the bakery behind the IGA that has the best chocolate croissants in the world. My mom doesn't let us have sweets at home, but she'll buy us chocolate croissants here. I bite into one and it's so tender, like a steak cooked rare, with melting chocolate inside the crust. My hands are covered with butter.

On the walk home we cut through the back way on the college campus where my mom teaches. The trees are thick and changing color. Further in, the ground turns marshy and my sneakers get wet, but I'm still eating my chocolate croissant and I don't care. I run through the poppies in the yard and around to the front steps. My dad is standing there with his dark curly hair, and I run up and give him the biggest hug.

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