By Dina Perulli
The following short story was written in response to Claude Monet’s painting ‘Sunrise.’ This style is known as ‘ekphrasis.’
Waves lap at my boat as I drift through calm waters. The rising sun announces the start of a new day calling me out to sea. Distant shadows of ships reflect the sun and form shady images. They seem to disappear into the array of colors that create sunrise. My dog sits by my feet silently watching the sun. Her mouth is open in a slight pant as the sunrise gives her dark brown fur a greenish tint. She rests her head on the edge of the boat slightly growling at the boat behind us.
It’s okay, Chloe.” I sigh as I pet her.
She gives me a questioning glare before laying down at the bottom of the boat, leaving me to watch the sunrise alone. I continue to stare at the beautiful colors filling my vision and take in a breath. Just another day at sea.
Submitted on August 10th 2019
A Moment of Weakness
by Susana Joann
Blank. The blank aging, white wall seems to stare back at me, seeming to judge my every action and every move just like everyone else. I break my stare, scared that if I stare long enough then the peeling, old walls will move in and crush me more. My heart is racing as I know that soon enough Margot will come back, and soon enough I will have to tell her. I get up off the creaky dorm room bed and go to the small, square window perpendicular to the headboard. My breathe is getting faster and faster, and the walls are getting closer and closer. In an act of desperation, I fling the window lock, breaking it off and tossing it across the room. Desperate for air. Desperate to breathe. I push the window open with an enormous amount of force, too much force. The window slams against the top of the frame with a loud crash. The glass, still barely intact, rattles in the frame. I lean out, pushing the mesh divider out of the window and into the bushes below. The winter breeze is crisp, but it is better than the musty air inside of this tiny room. I stick my head out as far as possible, surrounding myself with the oxygen rich air. It doesn’t quench my thirst. I stick my torso out of the window, longing for the feeling of being able to breathe, but nothing helps. I lean once more forward, but this time I have gone too far. My body starts to tilt forward and I lose my balance. Quickly I realize that in a short time I will be falling out of a second story window. My hands jult back and grab the window ledge. With more strength than I knew I had, I pull my weak, empty body back into the dorm room, and collapse on the scratchy, carpet floor underneath me.
I sit up, looking out the window, trying to spot if anyone saw my spectacle. No one has. I see one face coming out of the concrete library across the walkway, and start to walk on the broken down pathway below me. The one face I couldn’t bare to see right now: Margot. Her perfect red curly hair makes her an easy target for my eyes to catch. She must be on her way back from studying, but she stops. She spotted a friend across the way and stopped to talk. Please let this conversation last a lifetime, so I don’t have to see her and I don’t have to tell her. My secret is too large. It has been consuming my life the whole day. I can’t disappoint Margot, like I will disappoint my parents, and the school, and the world. How can a sixteen year old in strict boarding school be so stupid? How can I be so stupid? I can hear Margot’s voice through the paper thin exterior walls. It is almost comforting, except for the inevitable doom that is coming at me like a train at full speed. I peek out the window, trying to hide behind the curtain. I see her making her goodbyes. She is coming. What do I do? Do I hide? I grab my phone and rush into the closet. I am sitting underneath our t-shirts, riddled with phrases like “Happy Days” and “Thank Goodness It’s Friday!” How can shirts have such positive messages as I, the senseless, sit below them. My head is turning like gears. What do I say? I hear the elevator ding to our floor, like any other day, except it is not any other day. I know she must be on that one. I hear footsteps down the hallway. They get louder and louder. I can’t hide forever. I crawl out of the closet, and stand in front of the door to the hallway, counting down from a hundred to try and calm my nerves. It doesn’t work. I shake with fear and anticipation. The footsteps are closer and closer, and I hear her key shifting the lock mechanism. I am frozen as a statue. The lock clicks. She opens the door, and stares at me. I can see the worry and confusion in her pale blue eyes. In a moment of weakness, I shout, “I’m pregnant!”
June 6, 2019