1. What can happen in one second?
One second. It contains the entire universe, an entire universe of possibilities. Of second chances, of lost moments. Lives begin, and end in one second. “I love you” takes less than a second to say. So does “it's over”. Life changing sentences that leave room for yet more change. For another utterance that could negate the meaning of the first. All we have is this one second. And this one, and this one, and this one. Life is a series of seconds strung together.
2. The worst Thanksgiving Dish you've ever had.
The turkey smells heavenly. The slightly piney scent of rosemary fills the air as Aunt Gladys begins to carve. As she places the pieces on the platter for passing, I'm not sure if the twist in my stomach is from hunger, or worry. There are no juices on the platter. The grain of the meat is visible even from my seat on the other end of the table, like cracks in a parched field. Finally, it's my turn.
3. Tell a dying houseplant why it needs to live.
You've brought me so much joy and beauty. Your little green leaves reaching toward the window makes this space feel like a home. I'm sorry I haven't take care of you. I'm sorry I either forget to water you, or try to drown you. Please, just hold on. Don't make me a failure in this too.
4. Write a Facebook status update for 2017
OMG! Seriously done with this site. It's all ads and old people. Seriously lame.
Hellooo...is anyone still on here? Pretty sure everyone's on Ello now. This site is like Myspace in 2008.
Can't wait to see the grandkids! Picking them up at the airport tomorrow!
5. You are an astronaut, describe your perfect day.
I tether myself to the shuttle, umbilical cord to mother. She sens me oxygen, filling my spacesuit with life, and prevents me from drifting off into space. I float, eyes closed. Accustoming myself to the sensory deprivation that comes when gravity and matter are absent. For a few moments, I feel lost.
Breathe in. I hear only my own sounds of life, air rushing into my nostrils as I breathe. Pulse keeping it's tempo. Breathe out. The space suit becomes my universe. It presses against my skin, reminding me of where I am. Tethering me to myself.
I open my eyes to an explosion of color so vibrant it hurts. Scarlet. Indigo. Cerulean. They twist and fold in an endless dance. I blink, a tear rolls down my cheek and they are static once more. Their dance takes eons to unfold and I, I have only these moments. I imagine I can feel the nebula on my skin. Effervescent as champagne. One more shaky breath. I reach slowly to my side for my sensor, and begin my study of the nebula.
6. Tell a story that begins with a ransom note.
The letters, bold and black against the white page don't make sense at first. Their lines and curves fail to compute, fail to rearrange themselves into meaningful symbols. But somewhere in my subconscious, I must know what they mean. For a rock is now residing in my stomach, and my throat. The tears finally release themselves as I finally comprehend her name.
“Sheila” I gasp. “She...she's gone. No, not gone” I stammer. “Taken.” The last word is barely audible, mostly just a breath. My dad looks up from his paper, incomprehension and shock warring on his face. “Sheila? Our dog, Sheila? Why would anyone...” His voice rises steadily, until it ends abruptly, and I know he has just remembered the strange van circling the block, and the missing pet posters cropping up like weeds. His face pale, he looks up at me “what do they want with our Sheila?”.
My hand shaking, I hand the ransom note to him. “Money, of course. They seem to think she's a show dog, that she's our 'money bag' as those assholes put it.” My voice is thick with rage and tears. “What should we do?” I ask, wanting my dad to fix it, to get my puppy back home. He rises and crosses the kitchen to get to me, wraps me in his arms. “We will call the police. We will tell them everything we know. Everything we can think of about the van, the neighbors' missing pets, and about Sheila. While they are working we will scour the internet and the newspapers for dog ads fitting Sheila's description, and I promise you we will get her back”. His voice is also thick with tears and rage.