He was smoking in front of me. Two tables over, I was shuffling a stack of papers. It took a flick of his hand and the ashes  flew through the breeze. I brushed it off. I recover my papers, noting the proper number, format and order. Another hit, another blow, the cigarette butt tapping itself against the stone table. Zoom in on his striped shirt, striped with red and black from left to right going all the way around. It took a short contemplation, the three second rule defeating itself. I wracked my brain, going over every possible line. The romantic wanted to trip and a whole torrent of papers would rain over us. He’d stoop down, one knee on the ground – for a split second, I’d think he’s proposing – as he’d scramble to pick-up the papers. Our heads would bump, not loud enough to cause permanent damage, but not soft enough not to elicit a short laugh. I craved a cigarette and I mentally hated how I quit. He was reading a math book, an open notebook beside it. I didn’t understand it that much then – come to think of it, even now. I stood a foot away. I took a big breath. His pencil dropped to the granite surface, rolling itself to the edge before falling to the rocky floor. His neck reclined a few degrees up – the question striking in his eye. I wanted to freeze itself, freeze us, for instance, in this photograph – and a couple of those people who took photos by us may have had such. My mouth opens slightly, gouging a form ready for bellowing. His hands firmly rested on the table after he unceremoniously closed his books. I could not look him in the eye – the best I could do is this little ridge in his nose. I smile a bit – damn it, I hope I look fine. I should not have worn shorts today. My right hand shoots up, moving itself, right to left to right to left. And my mouth lets out one small sound.




THIS IS THE TAROT CHALLENGE, a 78-day writing challenge where everyday I pick out a random card from my tarot deck and write something about, against, inspired by, based on the card by the day’s end. The works can range from poetry to fiction to drama. When the card is from the major arcana, the title of the work should be the card name. When the card is from the minor arcana, the title can be different but the card drawn should be revealed at the end.