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Written in pen

Charts and optimal dates and preferential temperatures. One line or two. As if she could summon whatever it is that makes up the human soul as easily as she could a cab on a busy New York avenue.

It was with some irony, that she recalled her years of being ‘good,’ when she naively believed ‘it’ might happen accidentally (everyone knew someone who’d foolishly fallen from grace)! That could never happen to her, though. She followed the rules and expected that in time, things would fall into place, naturally.

But marriage didn’t deliver an EZPass to her fairy tale future. Months became years; each anti-climactic cycle, nudging her more deeply into a downward spiral of self-recrimination and helplessness.

At least she could control the color of the ink on her damned charts.

Each ink had a different meaning, a grotesque rainbow of colors mocking her every month – blue for basal temps, purple for ovulation, pink for menses, and red for date nights.

Date nights… that was a joke. All the love had drained from their lovemaking. It was tediously mechanical and carefully timed. The end justified the means, and there was no need to get fancy with the means.

Picking up her pink pen, she counted off the days only to realize she was three days late. She didn’t want to get her hopes up, but her heart beat a little faster.

For this week’s Trifecta and Velvet Verbosity’s 100 Word challenges, the two communities combined efforts for a tag-team cage fight.

Participants in both communities teamed together for Trifecta’s First Anniversary and took on the task of writing one story. Trifecta opened the challenge with a prompt penned by one of its founding members, then handed off to Team member A, who added between 33-100 words. Now,  Team member B (me), close off this bit of flash fiction with another 33-100 words for Vel.

Joules, now a Trifecta editor, served up the opening prompt (taken from her first winning Trifecta entry). My writing partner for this experience is Joanna, from BCIJo. (Go Team Three!)

The prompt is in bold, Joanna’s part is in italic, and mine is in bold/italic.

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21 replies »

  1. You had me at “grotesque rainbow.” Really great entry here, Tara. Thank you so much for helping us celebrate our anniversary. We love having you on board at Trifecta.


  2. Oh Tara, I wish I had the words to tell you how good and right this was. The first 100 words hit me in a place that felt like a punch to my stomach. Yes, even being “good” doesn’t get you pregnant..being “kind and caring” doesn’t mean you get that back from the universe. Things don’t always work out the way they should. Life is very unfair.

    then your ending, the myriad of colors on those charts..they look like my own…the ones I just can’t get rid of , but that happy ending, that being late…that quick beat of my heart, is what I always imagined …while I never got it..even my pregnancy was mechanical…it felt the way it should.

    wow. With big wet tears in my eyes.


  3. Nice!! You’d think with how careful she was, she’d have already realized she was late, but the fact that she’s just a bit off in her careful record keeping – niiiiice! :-)


  4. Such a sweet ending and I hope it means something for them. The whole process can be sad and damaging to a relationship. I loved the way the whole thing flowed. Effortlessly.



Thin spiral notebook

by Tara Roberts
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