Here's our exercise for this week: LOVELESS. Create a character around this sentence. 'Nobody has ever loved me as much as I have loved him.' Do not use this sentence in the fragment of fiction you write. The sentence comes from Guy Davenport's aunt, Mary Elizabeth Davenport Morrow, via his essay, 'On Reading,' in The Hunger Gracchus. Resist the temptation this exercise offers for a completely self-indulgent character. Of course, some self-indulgence will be fun. Think of this sentence as a kind of mathematical formula. Is the person who utters this sentence speaking of all the friends and loved ones he has known in his life? Or is she focusing on one person who did not return love satisfactorily? Consider the strong possibility that whoever would say s omething like this is unreliable. 500 words.
Here is what I came up with. How do y'all think I did?
Sometimes, when I people watch at the park, I get so angry I could scream.
Don’t get me wrong, I love watching the little kids play. They’re so damn cute. But seeing them just brings back painful memories of all the times we tried and failed.
I can image that curly redhead over there is mine. She’s bouncing from one swing to the other just like I did when I was her age, and that attitude. Well, people have been known to say I am as stubborn as a mule, and that little darling looks like she’d argue with a fence post.
It hurts so much I have to turn away. Unfortunately, today the park is full and anywhere I turn, I see more happy family scenes. The mother kissing her son’s booboo after he falls off the jungle gym, the dad rough housing with his little boy in the sand, and the one that really gets me, the mom sliding with her daughter. She’s holding on so tight and you can tell she’s scared to death, but she’s doing it because her daughter needs to learn to be fearless.
And the way the kids look up at their parents just melts my heart. I want that!
I don’t even know I’m crying until a little girl around five walks over to me and asks if I’m okay.
“Yes, honey, I’m fine,” I assure her.
But I’m not fine, and it gets even worse when she pats my face with her little hand and tells me it’ll be alright.
Her mom drags her away when I burst into tears and double over in pain.