In “Random Acts of Muse”…

I tossed a prompt request onto the #amwriting and #writing Twitter feeds, which I found to be an amazing resource for fellow authors, and first responder is Jamie DeBree, with this interesting one.

“Woman walks up to find a note taped to her door. What does it say?”

Allright. Let’s do it. Limit will be 500 words; I tend to get verbose.


Lillian didn’t expect anything out of the ordinary. Jupiter, Florida, was not known to be anything but another beach town, full of vacationers and retirees, and considering that she was in the latter, she got used to the sleepy, calm lifestyle in the warmth of the Floridian coast.

She left for the grocery store in the morning, stocking up on her usuals. Eggs, because she liked two hard-boiled in the morning with her coffee, black with one sugar – never a substitute, even though her doctor advised her to cut back a little – as well as rye bread, sour cream, chicken breasts (boneless, fit for grilling!) and Campbell’s Cream of Broccoli soup. She was in a casserole mood lately.

Lillian pulled into her driveway, the Lincoln Continental boxy and enormous in contrast with her neighbors’ sleeker, newer vehicles, and gazed around her suburban neighborhood. Calm, sun-flooded, ever-warm. She only wished Harry was around to see it. He had died ten years ago, and from the time he came back from ‘Nam, he always said, “We have to live by the oceanside someday, Lilly. It’s the only beautiful place left.”

He brought her a red carnation the day after he came back from ‘Nam. It was her flower, and he knew it every moment. He never gave her a rose in their fifty years of marriage.

Lillian knew he was right about the oceanside. But at that time, she had Karen to raise. Karen and Abigail, their two daughters, now in different parts of the country. Karen’s job took her to Chicago, where she was doing wonderfully, but came to help her move. Abigail was still back home, in Philadelphia, and there’s nothing she wanted more than to get out of there.

“We can’t all have the places we want, Abby,” Lillian said, but after some years, after Harry died, she thought about the place she wanted. The place that they wanted.

She only just moved to Jupiter a couple of months ago. It was only the other day that she unpacked her last box.Her new doctor was a spright, young-looking gentleman, who was slightly concerned about her blood sugar, just like her doctor back in Philadelphia.

She walked up to the door, and found a plain sheet of paper, folded, and taped to her door.

“What on earth..?” she wondered aloud as she took it down. Her fingers sent back a slight protest of arthritic pain, but she unfolded it.

Inside was a plain drawing, pencil on paper, of an open carnation. Though it was strange, Lillian knew its meaning.

“I know, Harry,” she said softly to the drawing. “I’m here now.”

The summery breeze brushed across her skin, making her feel like a thirty-year-old again, rather than a woman of eighty-six, if only for a moment.


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