So I take a famous first sentence and then write for 20 minutes. This first sentence comes from Ruth Rendell’s The Crocodile Bird. Enjoy! And please send me feedback if you have any comments! Thanks.
The world began to fall apart at nine in the evening. For it was at nine o’clock that my boyfriend of eight years told me he was leaving me. It was not that another woman had stolen him from me, a country had. When Mark had gone to New York for a meeting, he returned to Cornwall a completely different man. He no longer loved the hamlet that we lived in and our Friday evenings spent in the local pub chatting to neighbours. He wanted out and it he hadn’t even considered that I might want to go with him.
‘I’ve been offered a contract in New York as soon as my current one is up in June.’ He said. ‘I know it’s only two months away but I feel like I really need to do this. Make a clean break from this town and find myself a better career in a thriving city.’
Though his first words had been a complete shock it was the next few that killed me.
‘We’ve had a good run of it but I just don’t think I can handle a relationship at the moment. I need to focus on my career. And anyway you’re not a ‘new york’ kind of person. It just wouldn’t work.’
My reality was becoming a dream, or more accurately a nightmare. I felt like I was swimming up above what was happening and was looking down from a different perspective as if someone else was living this scene. I couldn’t fee anything but numbness. I’d seen this moment countless times in movies. The charming guy leaves the girl for better things and she’s left sobbing on the sofa eating ice-cream and watching Titanic. I had never believed this would happen to me. Although I guess every woman says that.
Sorry there was no post yesterday! Had no chance to do one and I was feeling uninspired anyway. In case you haven’t read my previous posts I am challenging myself to write a short piece of fiction starting from a famous first sentence. And I stop after twenty minutes. So here’s today’s attempt using the first lines from Middle Passage by Charles Johnson.
Of all the things that drive men to sea, the most common disaster, I’ve come to learn, is women. However for me it was not so much women but the lack of women in my life. Having spent my youth on the Greek island of Santorini, it was expected that I would marry one of the local girls from the town. I had had a few girlfriends over the years but after I turned eighteen the interest in me seemed to die down. In fact it was stone cold dead. As the tourist industry waned, the small family businesses suffered and so many relocated to Athens and Patras, and the daughters followed. I put my energy into working hard in the harbour. I spent many hours sitting in my boat, the ‘eleutheria’, with my best friend Christos while we fished for salmon that we could the sell to nearby restaurants. But as the years went by I become a lonely man and by 27 I decided things needed to change. I was sad to leave Santorini, the island where six generations of the Anastas family had lived and died. I didn’t know where I would go but I knew I would miss the white washed walls contrasted against the dazzling azure sea. I packed up my things into a small canvas bag and headed to my boat. I had stocked up on a few essentials, some wine, and a variety of vegetables that I could eat with whatever fish I caught on my travels. Though it would be a lonely life for a while I couldn’t contain my excitement. Somewhere out there was a future for me. There was no time to hesitate. After kissing my mother and shaking my father’s hand goodbye I left the dock and headed out. The white walls faded into the distance till I could see nothing but sea and the sun.