Here I am, days late with the Carrot Ranch April 23, 2020, prompt: “In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about distance dating. It can be any genre, era, or setting. Who is dating, and why the distance? How do the characters overcome, accept, or break up because of the distance? Go where the prompt leads!” As often happens the prompt led me here and there and back again with three responses, all different.
First, the response that is closest to the prompt idea. As Charli also talked about scenes in her post, I thought about continuing the idea of this story in sequential 99 word scenes, with dating, marriage, and divorce all being done remotely, but kept it to this and its (potential) happily ever after.
The zoom host had been transferred so many times that neither could say how they were connected, just that they were. By the time they slowly closed their laptops, finally ending that first meeting, these friends of friends of friends were more than friends.
There were more zoom times, just the two of them. Both wanting to make a good impression, they started wearing underwear again, wore clothes that required buttoning. Tabletops were cleared and neatly arranged with flowers and stemware for simulcast dinners.
They both had been working from home, isolated, for weeks.
“Let’s quarantine together.”
I’ll also include here the Ranch Yarn that came of the prompt. These usually serve to get the prompt rolling for me.
Distance/Time = Speed
“Distance, okay, and dates, that’s time… this’s a classic rate problem.”
“Speedy reaction, Kid. Don’t think thet’s whut Shorty meant though. Dates, not rates.”
“Alright, but work with me Pal. Could be long ago an’ far away?”
“Thet could fit, I reckon.”
“So, could write a fairy tale?”
“Yep. Could. Long’s it’s ‘bout some sort a lovin’ situation, in 99 words.”
“Once upon a time… (that’s the date)”
“Still don’t think thet’s whut she meant, Kid…”
“In a land far away… (a distant land)… they lived happily ever after.”
“Who cares? They’re happy.”
“I love old stories.”
Finally, a 99 word poem which the prompt led to, but also led by my current reading, yep, a biography of Walt Whitman. While not exactly a tale of dating, this song of self is about a changing relationship that suffers with distance.
Thou the seer, I the sayer
blind words the steps
that led astray
till I was, saw I,
muted by growing distance
voiceless without thy eyes.
I the sayer, thou the seer
so far away wandering
my own words I could not hear
as days grew long knowing only half
feeling my way back remembering
thou my heart, thou my laugh
Life dreams this— reunion realized
to be again we two as one
I with thee, see from thy eyes
to speak now our words that shape us whole
I as thou
my self my original child my soul.