The Challenge

Prompt image for the Fandango's Flash Fiction prompt

For Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #111, where we write about this photo from Celine Ylmz at Unsplash.

He woke early, that day, and rose with an irregular eagerness.

Purposefully starting the shower, be began washing. He shampooed his hair, and selected a fresh blade for the razor, a special occasion. Out of the shower, some cologne. He should smell the part, too.

His clothing was already laid out. With the giddy abandon of a schoolboy, he had selected it last night. Five times. He dressed carefully, methodically. Smart, but informal. Welcoming, he hoped.

Excitedly skipping breakfast, he left the house far too early and walked briskly to the station. The extra time would be useful, anyway, in case of delays, although on this occasion, there were none. He arrived far too early for his appointment. Stepping through the barrier, he sought out the café close to the entrance, ordered himself a drink and some slight breakfast. He glanced at his wristwatch – an hour to go.

He was ready. His mind wandered. Fifteen years. It had been fifteen years since he had last seen his daughter. And his grandson, who would now be seven, he had never met. His hand shook with trepidation. He drained his cup and glanced at his watch again – forty minutes.

Somewhere neutral, she had wanted. A place where he was not the master. He could not blame her, her last years in the house had history for both, memories as bitter as the coffee they were about to share. For she had suggested that they simply meet at Starbucks. Not wanting to overdose, he decided against yet another drink. Thirty minutes.

Leaving the station, he readied himself to embark on the day’s real journey. Sauntering in the general direction, he passed a bookstore and was instantly transported to his lifelong love affair with books. This place would do.

Author: Mister Bump UK

Designed/developed IT systems in finance, but had a stroke in 2016, aged 48. Returned to developing mainly health-related software from home, plus some voluntary work. Married, with a grown-up, left-home daughter.

13 thoughts on “The Challenge”

        1. I had an idea for this, portraying his usual behavious by highlighting his unusual. Like the spring in his step, the fresh razon… I pictured him as perhaps unsually unkempt. Possible bereaved. But I didn’t need that for the story.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Sounds like his neat and tidy life was about to get slammed with the chaos and cheery giggles of grandkids. A great moment; glad I could be there right before, now we need to see him afterwards. 😉

            Liked by 1 person

  1. I like how the character’s preparations speak to his emotions on the upcoming reunion with his daughter and meeting his grandson. With his careful preparation and concern, he’s invested in it, and I can see it going well. I was a bit confused at first with the last paragraph, as I got the feeling the character was going into the bookstore to avoid the reunion. But then I re-read that he had 30 minutes before the meeting, so he was probably just going in to spend that half hour.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes that was my intention – it was solely really to kill time. I tried this words in the story originally but edited them out because I couldn’t really make them fit.
      With the start, I threw a few words like “irregular” in there just because I wanted to sow the seed that this might not be usual behaviour. For example, might often be unkempt, often did not care too much about shaving, perhaps might be a widower? But other than hinting, I left all that out of the story just for brevity. I’m aware that people only want to spend so much time reading a blog post.

      Liked by 1 person

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