Deb at San Diego Momma is hosting PROMPTuesday #36: The Senses.

Scroll down to see my submission for this week, “Inscrutable Scrutiny.” Below the prompt, past the rules, and under the photo and audio link, yo. Keep on scrollin’.

Here’s Deb’s prompt message and rules:

Here’s the background: I recall taking the picture of the man below waiting at the bus stop, and he never once looked up as I surveyed his angles and released my noisy shutter over and over just feet from his face. I still think of him often, photoaging him in my mind to imagine what he looks like now, to place him in a happier place; and I return to this picture again and again to analyze his inscrutability.

Write a story about this guy. Or a poem. Or a rumination. Give him some background, some context. And because I couldn’t leave well enough alone, I’ve provided a song snippet to shadow the photo. Hopefully, one or the other will inspire you.

* Try to write your entry in 10 minutes.
* Aim for 250 words or less.

So . . . here’s PROMPTuesday #36 by Blog This Mom!


Brandi Carlile – Turpentine

Inscrutable Scrutiny

The small town has no paved road. A thin layer of brown dust seems to cover every surface outside, but inside the tiny house every surface is spic and span. In stark contrast to the dry climate outdoors, her skin is dewy and moist as she stands by the kitchen sink gazing out of the window. The very beginning of a swell is showing in her lower abdomen, and her left hand rests over it.

Hundreds of miles away from the dusty small town, he sits and waits at a bus stop. The calluses on his hands have begun to soften. A silent observer looks in his direction, but he doesn’t notice. He is deep in thought. The observing woman is captivated by his expression, and ponders over what he might be thinking. She takes a camera out of her bag.

Inside of the tiny house, her hand moves from her belly to her eyes. She rubs them as she moves from the kitchen window to the stove. She thinks of him, yearns for him, as she stirs the contents of the pot. He is a quiet man, but she understands him as though he were whispering in her ear everything on his mind. With her mind’s eye she sees his face, and she gazes upon his heavy eyebrows, his contemplative squint, his dark hair, and the jut of his jaw. Every detail of him is etched in her brain, as if a black and white photograph were lodged permanently in the recesses of her mind.

15 comments on “Inscrutable Scrutiny”

  1. Wow! I get to leave the first comment! I like this, it left me yearning for more. That’s what I think a short story should do. IMHO. Such an interesting looking guy, eh?

  2. Oh, I love that someone might have loved him from far away!

    I like the alternating point of view of this and how I’m left wanting the story to continue….yet it still stands on its own so well.

    As is always the case, beautiful work.

  3. In 10 minutes, you can do that! You are a genius. And I, too, want more of the story!

    When are you going to write a book for us to relish in as we curl up on our couches and gloat in our knowing the amazing author?!

  4. Wow. I couldn’t get the song to play, so I don’t have that dimension. But wow. What a piece of writing.

    is he leaving her or coming to her? Love the tender way you describe her.

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