Short Stories, Essays, Poetry, Journalism.

UBC Writers Guild Compositions

Prompt was 3 randomly generated nouns: confidence, woman, vase. 20 min.

After the vase broke I noticed a change in our relationship. It was an accident, the IKEA table was wobbly and the legs kept unscrewing themselves. All it took was a nudge for the flower and its container to tip, fall and smash onto the floor. It had held a single red rose (it was a small vase) and now the petals lay in piles of glass and pools of water. It had been an accident, but it didn’t matter.

He swore, loud, and that was something I hadn’t heard him do once in the two years of our relationship. He cut his foot on a shard of glass when he tried to catch the vase and now his blood was mixing in the water, turning it a pale pink. That too had been an accident, but the sight of the blood still made me sick. The house got quiet then and he could see I was upset.

We had been playing, joking around, and that was the only reason why the vase had fallen. Looking back on it now I realize that in the moment before it happened I had never loved him so much, had never had so much confidence in our future. Over time I began to see that the vase was itself the beginning of a small crack that would grow into a much larger fracture, a break that would leave a woman and her man separated on either side of it.

Prompt 2: Ego, fishing boat, attic. 20 minutes.

I wiped off the cobwebs and stared the stuffed bass in its ugly face. Its lower lip gaped, its eyes bulged. I made faces at it but it held its expression, a retarded attempt at retardation. My dad loved to tell the story of how he caught it and his hands would get further apart every time. Part of me was glad he got the thing stuffed because when it seemed like the fish couldn’t get any bigger I would go get the plaque from the attic and bring it downstairs to deflate his ego.

We kept our fishing boat up there too, a wooden canoe he’d built himself. Now that boat, it was something to brag about. It was in good shape despite its lack of use and its varnished wood still reflected the dim light of the attic window, as if even the dust was afraid to touch it. Every time that fish got too big I would remember what a dork my dad was, and every time I went up there to get it I would see the boat and remember how much I missed spending time with him.

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