Kreative Kue 244 asked for submissions based on this photograph:
“I’m telling you, Pradeep. I’m sitting on a bench listening to the whole thing.”
“Can you talk?”
“They are right behind me. Maybe I should take you off speaker.”
“Okay, you are off. Like I said, you won’t believe it.”
“So you are at the Taj. Tell me again what the two said.”
“The guy came up to the meadow stairs with this girl. They were holding hands. He said to her, ‘Are you ready for your surprise.”‘
“Yeah, then what?”
“Here’s the funny part. He told her that he had bought the taj as a surprise.”
“Oh, Man. Who would believe that?”
“Not you and I, but she is still jumping up and down with delight.”
“How dumb can some of these people be. How old is she?”
“I’d say over twenty-one.”
“So, she should know better.”
“I think she looks like she went to university.”
“All the more reason. I hope the guy is happy with one not too bright.”
“Hold on, Pradeep. The couple is coming over here.”
“Excuse us, sir. I see you have a phone.”
“Yes, yes, I do.”
“Would you mind taking our photo and then sending it to my fiancee’s e-mail?”
“I would be happy to do that. Pradeep hold on a little more. This is getting better and better. Alright, you two. I have the Taj behind you, and you look delighted. There. Now, where should I send it?”
“Send it to hrh.palace.saudiaarabia.gov.sa.”
“Okay, miss it is sent.”
“Thank you so much. We won’t forget this. Goodbye.”
“Pradeep? Pradeep, you still there?”
“You would fall into a dung heap and come out smelling like saffron, you know that?”
This moving tale is from Na’ama Yehuda, who blogs at https://naamayehuda.com :
They were going to make a day of it.
Get some fresh air.
“It would do you good,” she’d said. “You’ve been cooped in for far too long.”
And he had. And he didn’t really care if he stayed cocooned indoors for a few more weeks. Or months. Or years. Or till life’s end.
But he also didn’t want to upset her, and she’d been putting up with him, moody silences and pacing through the nights and appetites that came and went in both extremes and often not for what she’d taken the time to prepare.
So he agreed. And washed. And dressed in something less wrinkled than what he’d been living in. And they went.
The air did do him good.
The open space. The light. The breeze. The views.
She’d seen them first and tried to shield him, but his mother has never been very good at hiding her distress, and he read through it and looked in the direction she was clearly hoping he would not.
His ex. The girl who’d left him at the altar, who abandoned him to do all the explaining and pay all the bills and mollify all the aunties and absorb all the pitying looks and lose face and his dignity and eventually his job.
There she was. Pressed into another man.
His blood rushed into his ears as he remembered: he had the same photo taken. With her. Wearing the same smitten look.
And he wondered if someone had stared at them, too, at the time, and considered him the next man she’d rob.
(Note: This story is fiction. I don’t know anyone in this photo and no real connection between the photo prompt and the content is intended.)
My effort was
“Don’t lean on me too much, Priya my love. My legs are still a little weak after our exertions yesterday.”
“But you should be strong, Sanjay. Haven’t I been feeding you all the very best foods? My mother is recognised as a great exponent of the culinary arts, you know. Her name has been linked with some of the most successful men in the region. And I prepare the same foods in the same way.”
“That is there, but still, I lack stamina. Unaccustomed exercise still weakens me so.”
“You are more cerebral, Sanjay. I know that. Had I wanted a strong oaf, I could have married any of the labouring classes, but I wanted you. I wanted a clever man, one with prospects. You do have prospects, don’t you?”
“I wrote you a poem about the Taj Mahal, about Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. It is not historically accurate but expresses my feelings. Listen:
This building of marble and stone
Was built on the death of his wife
For she was his favourite alone
And he worshipped her during her life.
For my part, I think I have shown
That I’ll care for you while you still thrive
Place you on a high gilded throne
And worship you while you’re alive.
He courted her with silver tongue
And his deep love for her was so pure
But Mumtaz had more than twelve young
And I do think that you should have fewer.
What do you think?”
“Very nice, but you haven’t answered my question. Do you have prospects? I don’t want to marry a man without prospects.”
“What do you mean by prospects?”
“What is your goal in life, your ambition? Do you plan to be a doctor? A lawyer? To be a lawyer’s wife or a doctor’s wife would suit me very well, you know. I can be the gracious hostess, supporting you, laughing at your jokes—”
“Even the bad ones?”
“Especially the bad ones. Is that what you want? To be a doctor or a lawyer?”
“I’ll be honest with you, Priya. I don’t want to be a doctor or a lawyer. I want to be a politician.”
“You say you’ll be honest, then you say you want to be a politician? That, Sanjay, is ambition indeed.”
On to this week’s challenge: Using this photo as inspiration, write a short story, flash fiction, scene, poem; anything, really; even just a caption for the photograph. Either put it (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org before 6pm next Sunday (if you aren’t sure what the time is where I live, this link will tell you). If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be appreciated, but please do also mention it in a comment here.
Go on. You know you want to. Let your creativity and imagination soar. I shall display the entries next Monday.