I’ll never forget my first trip to Costa Rica.  The rain forest.  The lush landscape.  The gorgeous tropical birds, dashes of bright color weaving through the trees.  I’d been there to volunteer, to help others, but ended up falling in love with a beautiful local boy, Marco.  How handsome he was – coppery skin darkened by the sun, dark curls falling into his oversized deep brown eyes.  We spent that summer together, but my home city, work, responsibility, all the trappings of adulthood, called me back.  I never saw him again.

I’m standing next to my husband in an ornate restaurant, surrounded by our family and closest friends.  It’s our 25th wedding anniversary.  My daughter, visiting from college, beams at me from her table.  My husband is giving a speech about how blessed we both are to have found our perfect match.  “We never do anything halfway,” he says, as our friends chuckle. I smile and nod and laugh at the appropriate parts, but I’m not really there. I’m hearing the call of the birds, feeling the balmy breeze in my hair, as Marco slips his rough hand in mine and leads me to the ocean.

 For Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner




The crumbling old building that once housed the chocolate factory still stood.  She smiled, remembering sneaking out to meet Mark there as a teen.

Her parents were asleep.  It was the last night of her visit.  She looked out the window, noticing movement in the old building.  Could it be?  She closed the door quietly behind her and tiptoed into the cold night.

Mark stood in the doorway of the building, smiling slyly.

“I heard you were in town.”

He pulled her close before she had a chance to respond, the smell of chocolate still hanging in the air.


For Friday Fictioneers

MWC – Tree


Miniature Writing Challenge – Today’s challenge is a tribute to childhood. Write a short story, poem or haiku about children, for children or about a childhood memory.

He kissed me for the first time under a tree that smelled of summer.  We were both ten.  It lasted a second, if that long, and we parted, white and pink petals raining down around us.  I was thrilled and embarrassed and flushed red, letting out a tiny giggle as I turned and ran down the hill to my house.  The next day, nothing had changed.  He was still my best bud and I was his.

But today, as I watch my best bud marry his bride, a girl nothing like me, posh and upper-class, gracious and well-educated, under that same tree, our tree, I realize everything changed that day.  But it’s too late.  After the ceremony, I give him a kiss on the cheek and tell him I love him.  He pats me on the back and says he loves me too, but I’m sure he doesn’t know what I mean.   I skip the reception, and walk slowly down the hill again, reassured by the smell of summer in the air.


We met on a sunny day
In a temperamental February
The trees were bare, the leaves had strayed
The sky a bright blue canopy
And so we began – an unnatural spring
Watching the clouds float by

We danced in our spring of make believe
Laughed through the heat of summer
When autumn arrived
I fell with the leaves
My heart as bright as their colors
Inevitably true winter came, dark and melancholy
Still I remember our unnatural spring
Created in youthful folly

Writing 101, Day Sixteen: First Love


Imagine you had a job in which you had to sift through forgotten or lost belongings. Describe a day in which you come upon something peculiar, or tell a story about something interesting you find in a pile.

The day has finally come.  Mom and Dad have retired; they’re moving to the coast.  It’s been their dream for as long as I can remember.  My brother and I are both in town today, to go through our old stuff in the attic before the junk haulers come and take it all away.  I’m sure most of it’s trash.  Old homework assignments and toys that I’d lost and forgotten about long ago.  When I climb the stairs I see my brother is already there, covered in dust, knee deep in childhood mementos.  He holds up a golden trophy with a big smile.  It’s the award we both won in the talent show back in elementary school.  We’d performed a choreographed Michael Jackson routine that had brought the house down.   I go to give him a hug before heading to my side of the attic.

It’s just as I thought, a lot of junk.  There’s a few hilarious diaries from my tween and teen years that I’d like to save.  They’re dripping with nostalgia.  I open the last diary I ever kept, from my senior year of high school, and start to read.  Every entry is about the boy across the street.  The one I’d been in love with since I was five but had only gotten the nerve to speak to the summer after graduation, when I’d finally come out of my self-imposed shell when it came to boys.  I could get up on a stage and sing and dance for a packed theater, perform a monologue during an audition for a room full of strangers, but when it came to the opposite gender, for some reason I clammed up, my knees melted, I couldn’t seem to open my mouth to say anything remotely coherent.  My best friend had been telling me for years that he liked me too, but I never believed her.  I always avoided him at school, ran in the house when I saw him coming down our street.  It was almost as if I loved the fantasy him so much that I just wanted to keep things that way, didn’t want to ruin the relationship of my imagination with unpredictable reality.

But on the first day of that bittersweet summer, I was in the same attic; it was the best place to spy without anyone noticing.  I saw him step out of his shiny new red Acura, a graduation gift.  I’d leaned against the glass and sighed, thinking about how I’d wasted the past 12 years.  He’d be moving away soon and so would I – I was going to New York City try my hand at performing.  He was moving to Boston for college.  But then I realized.  We had these next three months.  There were three more months before everything changed forever.  I wasn’t going to waste anymore time.  I ran downstairs out the door and across the street.  I stood in front of him, breathlessly.  He smiled at me.



We stood in a not so awkward silence for a few beats, then I said, “Would you like to come in for a soda?”  Not quite the over the top romantic first date of my dreams, but it was the first thing that came out.

He nodded, took my hand and led me across the street to my front door.  Twelve years as neighbors and it was his first time inside our home.  It was the first of many dates; we were  inseparable that summer.  We fell in love quickly, in a scary, all-consuming way, but the feeling was irresistible.

Then, inevitably, the summer ended and we moved to separate cities.  We tried to make it work, Boston and New York weren’t that far apart after all.  But we were both so busy, the distance was greater than we imagined; we mutually decided to end it.  I’d heard through the  grapevine that he was successful, had moved back to our hometown, working as an attorney at a small boutique firm.  He’d been engaged but had called it off a few months ago and had just bought a house in town. In contrast, I still lived in New York but was thinking about making a move. I’d gotten a few parts here and there, but 10 years later, I was still waiting tables and doing other odd jobs to make ends meet.  My counterparts were buying homes, getting married and having babies, and I still lived in a cramped roach-infested apartment with roommates, waiting for my big break.  Being a successful stage actress had always been my dream, but sometimes dreams change.

This thought strikes me again as I see him pull up in his parents’ driveway through the attic window.  I get that same feeling I did ten summers ago.  Now or never.  I race down the stairs and out the front door, not stopping until I’m standing in front of him in the driveway as he’s slamming the car door.  I’m restless and excited, 18 once again.

“Hi,” I say with a smile.

“Hi.”  He smiles back.