Saturday, April 19, 2014

Prompt: Am I the only one who notices?

Thanks to Steph Buchanan for the great prompt site, "Writing Prompts That Don't Suck"!

“…and that brings us back to the central lobby. Who remembers the artist who made the mobile overhead?”

A few people were already drifting away, physically or mentally, pulling out their phones or tablets to check email or their favorite social media site. I’d have to scan later to see if anyone posted about the museum.

The kids were still clustered around me, and four had their hands raised, waving them with excitement. At the beginning of the tour, they had looked bored out of their minds. “Go ahead, call out the name,” I encouraged them.

“Calder!” They chorused. I gave them a grin and high fives.

“And does it remind you of anything else we saw today?” I couldn’t resist, hoping they were still making connections.

“The Mondrian color blocks,” one girl said.

“Who’s the guy who paints the whole canvas in colors that bleed into each other?”

“Rothko?” I suggested.

“Yeah, that’s him.”

“You can look him up online.”

“Got it, thanks!”

The kids looked around and reattached to their parents. I waved goodbye to the last few and headed out. I loved giving tours at the art museum, helping people see what I saw. Love what I loved.

I pulled on my jackets and said goodbye to Jack, the evening security guard. As I walked outside, I was pulling on my gloves, but I knew my route by heart and stepped to the right to walk around the Lichtenstein statue.

Except it wasn’t there. As I passed by where it should have been, I sensed open space instead. Looking up with a frown, I looked around for some sign about its removal. It had been there when I walked in five hours ago. How long would it take to remove something that size? I looked down at the slate walkway leading to the museum steps. I didn’t even see where it had been resting, bolted into the ground. There wasn’t even a discoloration to show where it had been.

I thought about going back in to ask, but honestly, it didn’t occur to me that the museum hadn’t arranged for the removal of the gigantic signature statue that greeted all guests. I shrugged, wondering if it was for cleaning or repair, and walked on. I’d ask about it when I came back on Wednesday for my after-school docent tour.

The next morning started like any other regular work day. I was listening to a new group I’d seen over the weekend as I walked down to the bus stop. There was a drizzle, and I’d be glad to get to the shelter.

Except it wasn’t there. People were standing around the corner waiting for the bus, and as I walked up, I said out loud, “Whoa. What happened to the shelter?”

A few people looked at me, but no one answered. I looked down at the concrete sidewalk. There was no sign of where it had been sitting – for the entire past five years I had lived here. No bolt holes, no metal frame parts, no lines worn into the sidewalk.

I felt surge of queasiness, and my heart raced. What was going on?

When the bus pulled up, as I climbed up the steps, I asked the driver, “What happened to the shelter?” He scanned my pass and shrugged. I persisted, “Do you remember the shelter at this stop?” He frowned and waved me away. “Come on lady, we got to get moving. You got a question about the stop, call the office.”

I walked to the middle doors and grabbed an overhead strap. Lost in thought, I didn’t look outside the bus windows as I usually did on my rides. When we reached the park, I climbed down with most of the other passengers. Feeling nervous about what I would – or would not – see, I looked around my familiar surroundings. I didn’t notice anything amiss.

I stopped at the coffee shop and picked up two small cups as usual. Coming around the corner, I felt relief when I saw John and Marzie sitting against the fountain as they were every morning. I handed them the coffees and dropped the change from the shop into John’s worn tophat.

Marzie already had a full spread of cards laid out in front of her. She reached up and grabbed my hand.  “Careful, dear. Change is coming. I see you in the middle of it.” She patted my hand and bent her heads back over the cards, rocking and humming as she usually did.

I drew back, but they ignored me. Pushing my hands down in my pockets, I continued on to the office.


Dogs in House
Houdini, Brindle, Eggs

Lake Street Dive, Bad Self Portraits

Time writing
~40 minutes

April word count

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