1000 Words + Exercise #55: Surprise!

Exercise 55 Instructions

1000 Words Instructions:

Write a scene in which your protagonist receives the letter pictured at left.

There’s no return address.  what’s in it?

How does your protagonist react to the contents and why?


“Hey, Trish!” Kelly Greene yelled from the door to the house they shared, “Mail’s here! Looks like you got something.”

Tricia Bateman, who was in the middle of completing a painting for her college art class, carefully set down her paint brush and wiped her hands. “What is it, Kell?” she called back, brushing a single strand of sweaty, strawberry blond hair out of her face.

“How should I know?” Kelly replied, emerging into the living room with her backpack slung over her shoulder. “I don’t read your mail.” With this, she handed over a single cream-colored envelope. “Open it and find out,” she added, peering curiously over her roommate’s shoulder.

The envelope was about the right size to contain a fairly large greeting card. On the front, in carefully written block letters, was her name and address. Tricia turned the envelope over. There was no return address, but it was postmarked from New York City.

“I wonder who sent it?” she mused aloud.

“Never mind that,” Kelly scoffed, sounding excited, “Open it! Maybe you have a secret admirer.” Then she gasped, adding in an even more excited voice, “Maybe you’re being stalked.”

Tricia shook her head amiably. Kelly, a tall girl with dark purple hair and bright green eyes, was an English Major specializing in Creative Writing. She had an imagination like no one Tricia had ever been roommates with. Inserting a fingernail under the envelope’s flap, she carefully slit it open and tipped out a single note card. The picture on the card was a painting of a quaint little Japanese footbridge. Inside, in the same peculiar block writing, Tricia read:

Sandstone Park

Footbridge

4 PM Sharp!

“4 PM?” Tricia pondered. “That’s an hour and a half from now. Who do I know that might want to meet me then?”

“What about your boyfriend,” Kelly teased as she flopped down onto the sofa and dragged out a beat-up old laptop, which she opened onto the coffee table before seizing the TV remote and aiming it at the TV screen. “Jeremy Butterfield?”

“Kell!” Tricia objected. “You promised! No TV until after homework’s done. I still have to finish this painting and then I have that essay to write for art appreciation class.”

Sighing in exasperation, Kelly threw the remote back onto the coffee table. It bounced and skidded over the table’s edge onto the beige carpeting. Kelly sighed again, then stood to pick up the remote and return it to its place on the table next to the TV Guide.

Tricia looked back at the card, her blue-green eyes alight with curiosity. The writing did sort of look like Jeremy’s handwriting, except that she’d almost never seen him print anything before, much less in block letters like this. Besides, wasn’t Jeremy out of town at some kind of a convention? He hadn’t really told her. Only that it was important that he go and that he’d be back by Tricia’s birthday, which was next week. Jeremy was a sales associate at a local company that produced computer games, so he was frequently out of town for one reason or another.

“So, are you gonna go?” Kelly asked, pressing a button that caused her computer to chirp like R2D2.

“I don’t know,” Tricia shrugged, picking up her paintbrush again and dipping it gingerly into a blob of cobalt teal on her palette. “Probably not.”

An hour and a half later, Tricia found herself walking along the paved paths of Sandstone Park, heading for the footbridge. The wind whipped her hair out behind her like a flag as she walked, wishing she’d chosen to put her long tresses into a ponytail or a braid to keep it from getting tangled. Curiosity was what had changed her mind. That and boredom. After finishing the painting and the essay, she really didn’t have anything else planned.

In the center of the footbridge, she found a large cardboard sign stuck to a couple of boards nailed together and fastened to the bridge with, of all things, duct tape.

Look Up, it advised.

Tricia’s head pivoted as she followed the directions on the sign and she gasped.

Soaring several feet above her was a large, multicolored kite shaped like a parallelogram. Trailing behind it was a streamer with foot high words on it which read, “Tricia, will you please marry me? Jeremy B.”

Tricia laughed, astonished at the amount of work this must have taken and more than a little embarrassed by the number of other people in the park who were now looking and pointing.

“Well?” a voice asked behind her.

She turned. There Jeremy stood, his red-brown curls as tossed by the playful wind as the enormous kite above him.

“I thought you were at some kind of a convention or something,” she accused, unable to suppress a smile.

“I was,” Jeremy grinned. “I just neglected to call you when I got home. I wanted to surprise you. Were you surprised?”

“Yes,” Tricia admitted, aware that a number of people were starting to walk over to where she and Jeremy stood. “Very,” she added, blushing.

“I’d have rented an airplane to tow the streamer,” He grinned, taking her hands and looking up at the kite. “but it just wasn’t in the budget. So, what do you say?”

Tricia gazed up at the kite, obviously the work of several weeks of toil and careful planning, when she looked back, Jeremy had fallen to one knee and was holding up a little velvet box, which he had opened to reveal a beautiful diamond ring.

“I say ‘yes.’” she answered softly.


I had some trouble with exercise 55.  It was such a general topic and I didn’t feel comfortable trying to tell the story hinted at in the exercise (click the above link to read it).  I also had that 1000 Words exercise that was also giving me trouble.  Again, not enough information to go on.  So I combined them.  This is what I came up with.  I hope you liked it.

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2 thoughts on “1000 Words + Exercise #55: Surprise!

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