Hemingway Awakened: Waiting to Exhale

Hemingway Awakened: Waiting to Exhale

August 10, 2012 Writing 0

The leaf is dancing with me. It is red and crisp and freshly fallen from its bough. It challenges me to a game of chase. In its newborn innocence, it does not realize that it needs me to be able to enjoy the game. Its dips and whirls are only possible because of me. I allow it to think otherwise and begin the game.

The game is fun. Up, down, around the tree trunks, the hard bark scratches as we go. We plunge down to the earth and we skip across the water and we rest for a moment on the grassy shore of the lake. I am not tired because the leaf is light as a feather, but I like the feel of the grass under my toes. The leaf goes flying again, reaching as high as the top of the oak tree nearby, before it descends towards the earth and I stop chasing it. I watch as it goes down, down and then I breathe and it goes back up, free-falls when I inhale, up with another exhale. The dance continues until I run out of breath and the leaf falls to the water. The water runs away with the leaf. I am sad the game has ended.

I am so sad that my heart becomes heavy and fills the air around me. My sadness oppresses the water and she returns the leaf to me. It is wet and I am still sad and can no longer carry it along. Its tiny voice reaches me in its own sadness, waiting for me to exhale.


This was originally written last September in response to an IndieInk challenge where I was instructed to be the wind using Hemingway’s Iceberg Theory, which allowed the reader to use their imagination. I am bringing it out of the archives for the Studio 30+ Hemingway prompt this week. (because I’m no Hemingway!)

I’d love to hear your thoughts in a comment.

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