For this Monday’s meeting we have a very different type of prompt to come away with – a threefold story. I stumbled across this kind of writing quite by accident, but now I find that it is as addictive as sudoku. I have written seven of these in the last two weeks. You write a short story first in 75 words, then again in 150, adding a bit untold the first time, and then with the 300 word version all is revealed! Here is one example:
One Last Time
The old man stopped walking. He retrieved from his pocket a stiff piece of paper and stared at it. He shook his head slightly and returned it to the same pocket. Slowly, like started up a car, he began walking again. Not long afterwards he slowed to a halt. He repeated his actions from before, but with a big difference. This time a light turned on in his eyes and he smiled. One last time.
An old man was moving slowly down the road. He stopped, waited a few seconds, and then took out of his pocket what looked like an old photograph. He looked at it with deep intent, but nothing else registered in his eyes other than the intense look. His head moved side to side ever so slightly. Then he put the picture back into his pocket. His feet began to move again in measured steps. It wasn’t long before he stopped again. He stood for a short while, looking like he had arrived at a destination that he could not recognize, with no one to meet him. Again his hand went into his pocket. One more time he lifted the picture until it rested directly in front of his eyes. But this time his reaction was different. His eyebrows lifted slightly, and a smile came upon his face. One last time.
Underneath a row of mature trees, not yet green from the April air, an old man walked slowly on the sidewalk. His head was bent down slightly as he faced the incoming wind that carried faint droplets of rain. He wore baggy pants that were some darker shade of gray and an old red flannel shirt with long pockets on both sides. He had a hat on his head that predated the wearing of baseball caps. The colour of his face suggested that he was either an old farmer, or just someone who had spent a lot of time walking with his face to the sun and wind.
As if he had just run out of steam he stopped walking. He reached over to the left pocket of his shirt, the pocket over his heart, and took out an old photograph. He looked intently at it, but nothing appeared to register as familiar. He could have been looking at a text written in a language foreign to his knowing. Then his head shook slightly side to side, with the type of motion of some old mechanical doll, and he put the picture back into his pocket. This was his cue to walk on, so his steps began again, following the same slow pace.
Again he came to a halt. Again he reached in and took the old photograph out of his pocket. This time was different, however. As he looked at the picture of the two people standing closely side by side, his face lit up. He recognized that the figures were himself as a much younger man, standing beside his wife, now gone some 10 years ago. He smiled at the two figures. This would be the one last time that such recognition would give life to the picture.