The First Line

Another discussion post for Creative Writing, this time taking the first line of a story and weaving a story from it. This, obviously, is mine.



     Isabel often thinks of Amsterdam, though she has never been there, and probably will never go. She’s tired, and her weary legs have carried her to this moment, kneeling on a cheap tile floor, hands pressing with all their might. Her thighs are clamped around the old woman, pinning her arms. Milky green eyes stare over the top of the smooth white pillow, panicked and darting, begging. Isabel stares back intently, waiting for the light to wink out and the pain to end, and even as she is stealing life, she thinks of Amsterdam and her not-yet abandoned dreams.

     The old woman’s cries are muffled and nasally under the pressure of polyester fill, and they jerk Isabel from her reverie. Leaning forward, she presses, presses, presses until the wrinkled limbs cease their spastic jerking and a stillness descends upon the room, broken only by the shrill steady beeping of the heart monitor she clamped on her own finger. Slowly pulling the pillow away, she glides the old woman’s wrinkled lids down with two fingers, a “v,” the international sign of peace.

She lays herself down next to the cold old woman, curls into her side like she did when she was small, grasping the lifeless hand of her Nana. She closes her eyes and pulls the monitor clip from her own finger. An alarm sounds at the nurse’s station, and as she listens to the approaching squeak of rubber shoe soles, she wonders if there is peace in Amsterdam.



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