Speakeasy 137 – Thirty Six Hour Love Affair

The instructions for Speakeasy 137:

Your piece must include the following sentence as your LAST line: “From that day forward, every time I drove past that street corner, I thought of her.” Also you should reference the trailer from the movie “Home For the Holidays”, which is about a young woman who returns home for the holidays to her dysfunctional family..


It was four days before Christmas and I was trying to help out my sister by camping out in line at the toy store for the gift my niece just “had to have”. I had a polar tested sleeping bag to keep me warm and enough food and drinks to keep me in good shape until the expected shipment over a day later. The only thing I did not have was someone to keep me company.

I knew that was likely the case, so I brought plenty of reading material. My sister lent me her copy of War and Peace. I decided on the Hobbit and a book about Ronald Reagan. Perhaps that odd combination is what prompted her to strike up a conversation with me.

She said she drew this duty because her “perfect sister” came home for the holiday and couldn’t be bothered with such a menial task. She looked to be a couple years younger than me. She had long, naturally blond hair twisted in a ponytail with red rimmed glasses and an easy smile. When I first saw her she was on an aluminum lawn chair three persons away from me. We started our conversation over a couple of older women that seemed annoyed to be there. I couldn’t understand why because they had people come and spell them every four hours while we stayed non-stop.

She told me her name was Penelope Camille. That’s all she would give me, no last name. She said every relationship she had ended the same way, with her crying into her pillow. No last name meant no strings that would wind up hanging her. Her personality immediately drew me in, and as we talked through that first night I found myself lost in the moments we shared.

Her laugh was magical and contagious. She shared stories about her family at Christmastime and her friends at school and all I wanted to do was listen. She eventually crossed her arms and refused to speak when she realized I was just allowing her to go on and on about herself.

It took her just a few hours to figure me out and she did a profiler type assessment of me. I had to admit she pegged me to the tee. Normally someone getting so personal with me made me squirm, but Pen was different. That was what she told me to call her, Pen. She hated Penelope, not really because of the name, but the fussy aunt she got the name from.

When the cold rain turned to sleet and eventually snow, I finally convinced her to come share my waterproof sleeping bag. I have no idea if anyone tried to sleep, but I am pretty sure our constant laughter and giggles irritated everyone around.  We heard plenty of suggestions of how we could better spend our time, but that only made our symptoms worse.

It occurred to me many times that she was not going to budge on her “last name rule.” You have to know this was before cell phones or e-mail, Twitter and Facebook, so no communication option would work without a last name. So I was stuck. All I could do was enjoy the time that was. Also, I began to wish the shipment was delayed. Surely the demand was so great our truck would be diverted to another store.

I think sometime around lunch on the second day I fell in love with her. Of all the terrible relationships I had, this one seemed near perfection. She was everything I wanted. I could tell she knew how I felt, because she began to pull back. I don’t know if it was all the implications or because the time until the shipment arrived was drawing close.

You would think after sitting in the cold for three days I would have been so happy to see the store employees arranging the gift my niece wanted so they could open the doors and set us free, but I didn’t. I knew my time with Pen was going to end. Even desperate pleas for her last name were fruitless. She just smiled and held my hand as we moved toward the moment of separation.

With our desired items secure, we stood facing each other and she spoke.

“I’ll never forget you Will.”

“Nor I you, Pen.”

 “From that day forward, every time I drove past that street corner, I thought of her.”



 Check it out here:Speakeasy #137

About Joe Owens

Can you tell from my writing I love God? I hope so because that is what I want you to know most about me. I am also a writer who loves taking on fiction prompts and crafting a story. One day you will read my work in print. Until then enjoy it here! For free!
This entry was posted in Blogging Challenge, Fiction, Speakeasy, Writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Speakeasy 137 – Thirty Six Hour Love Affair

  1. Stacie says:

    Seems like we all wanted the happy ending! I can’t imagine spending the night in line for anything.

  2. ranu802 says:

    Yes I liked what I read,thank you.

  3. Karen says:

    War and Peace, The Hobbit, and a book about Ronald Reagan – hahahahaha, I love that.

  4. jannatwrites says:

    I guess I’m a romantic at heart, because I’d hoped she’d change her mind and they’d have some kind of future together. (But at least something good came of camping out for a gift. I’ve never done that, and intend to keep it that way!)

  5. I’ve never written for the speakeasy as of yet but do you mind looking over what I did write and let me know your thoughts? http://passionatedreaming.wordpress.com/2013/11/27/blue-diamond-a-work-of-fiction/ thanks!

  6. Reblogged this on Passionate Dreaming and commented:
    A great read for the holiday

  7. Great read. I was hoping she would give him her name!!!! ugh!

  8. Suzanne says:

    Aw, I was hoping she’d relent in the end. This is a great story Joe! Creative use of the prompts! 🙂

  9. Kianwi says:

    Aw, I wanted them to end up together! You had me invested 🙂 I really liked this.

So you took time to read what I wrote and I appreciate it, but comments are even better!

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