The prompt: Write a piece – fiction or creative non-fiction – based on your reaction to a photo.  Here’s the photo I chose (courtesy of Pinterest):

She hadn’t expected to be lonely in New Orleans, of all places.  Or cold.  Or wet.  Or sober.

She pulled a tissue from her purse and tried to wipe the rainwater off the seat of one of the wrought-iron benches in the square.  The only result was that her one Kleenex was now soaked through, but her jeans were already damp anyway.  She sat down, applying the wet tissue to the mascara rings under her eyes.  Maybe it would help.

It was peaceful here, and pretty, despite the weather.  The cathedral’s outlines were blurred and unsubstantial through the fog, but its presence seemed reassuringly solid.  Street lamps throughout the square were lit, the gathering daylight as yet insufficient on its own.  Their reflections glowed on the wet pavement.  Surrounded by light, she thought, then sneered at her own romanticism.

Baby’s first walk of shame.  A drunken one-night stand in a strange city.  While she was dealing in clichés, maybe she ought to check if the cathedral doors were open; she could confess, except that she wasn’t Catholic.

Of course, it wasn’t the priest who’d be waiting to hear her confession.  She was going to have to walk – oh, God! – in these heels, all the way back to the hotel.  A cab would be better, but besides the now-shredded Kleenex, the contents of her purse consisted of her license, a maxed-out credit card, two pennies, and a Chapstick.  Where the hell the rest of her stuff had gone was a mystery she’d probably never solve.

So, yeah.  Instead of teetering across slippery but picturesque slate just so she could admit the embarrassing truth to her friends, face their scorn, and beg them to loan her a little cash to get her through until the flight home, maybe she would just sit here, shivering and crying.

The spires of the church were starting to come into clearer view.  Soon, she supposed, people would start to fill up the square.  She wrapped her arms around herself, hiding in the fog.  A little while longer.


About Grape

I've got the world's best kids and husband. Great house, steady job. I'm living the American dream. The trick is to appreciate it. I'm working on that part.
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9 Responses to Mistake

  1. earlybird says:

    I like the way she’s hiding in the fog… and her fleeting idea of confessing was inspired. I guess many non-Catholics wonder what it would be like. I know I have.

  2. Katie says:

    Wow, what a good story. Great character definition and imagery.

  3. Amanda says:

    the cathedral being “reassuringly solid” is a great point to make… when her world seems so rocked… 🙂

  4. Katie says:

    Loved this! Your description of the cathedral was particularly lovely…matched the picture perfectly. The sense of melancholy of the story also suited the picture very well. Nicely written. Hope that her sense of shame abandons her soon.

  5. MamaTrack says:

    My favorite thing about this piece is how readable it is. Sometimes, when you come in the middle of the story, it’s hard to get your bearings. But I had no problems here. I was completely grounded. Great job!

  6. Sammie Love says:

    I love this! The walk of shame and the Cathedral in the background. Pleasure ending in guilt. WOW this was great!

  7. Chrissy says:

    Love this! You had me at “sober”. 🙂

  8. debseeman says:

    I’m ashamed for her and I feel the pain of the heels and the emptiness she has.

  9. Stacy says:

    I have to admit, I used not only the same pic, but your story as inspiration for mine!

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