The prompt for this story could have resulted in a number of pieces. And, when I began brainstorming what to write, several different options did present themselves. But this story is the one that beat out all the others.
In all honesty, I thought this piece was going to go in a different direction than it ultimately did. I sat down with the intent to write one storyline, and this one ended up on the page instead. Things don’t often go to plan when it comes to writing fiction. But we enjoy the end results anyway, as I hope you will with this piece.
Prompt: Anything for a Smile (from the Tale Foundry writing group).
The glow of the alarm clock illuminated Sarah’s sleeping face. It was just enough light that Gus could see the tear tracks on her cheeks. She had told him on the phone she was watching “The Fox and Hound.” She always cried during that movie. But that had been hours ago. Now, here she was, one of his shirts wrapped around her, asleep in his spot, eyes still swollen from crying. The movie had been a cover.
Silly woman, he thought, smiling as he undressed for bed. She would never admit she had cried because she missed him. No, his Sarah was too strong for that. But he knew better. He knew his wife was a beautiful, emotional mess behind her walls.
Gus slipped under the sheets, trying not to jostle his wife too much. He wasn’t supposed to be home for another two days. But he couldn’t bear waking up one more morning without her smile to greet him. The phone calls and pictures weren’t enough. He needed the real thing; the smile that reached all the way to her eyes.
Sarah murmured and rolled over, bumping into his chest. He wrapped an arm around her, tugging her closer, and planted a soft kiss on her temple. Her brow furrowed and she took in a deep breath through her nose.
“Gus?” she whispered. “Are you really home?”
“I’m really home, sweetheart.”
“Good.” She snuggled closer and her breathing evened out as she went back to sleep.
Gus looked down at his wife’s face. Even though she wasn’t awake anymore, it was there; the smile he would do anything to keep seeing.