So, ‘writing prompt’ exercises are something that I picked up from creative writing classes the year before last. A friend of mine who attended the classes with me has suggested we use them weekly and compare pieces to keep our creative ‘spark’ going, so to speak.
The rules for this one: approx 500 words, untimed.
He didn’t know what to do, nobody ever does in these situations. Well, okay, a lot of his friends claimed they knew exactly what to do in such situations, but honestly? Given how awkward Aman currently felt, he was sure they must have all been lying.
He surveyed the scene around him with increasing apprehension. All the initial, polite questions had been asked and answered, Maya had poured everybody tea, and now they were all sitting in an awkward silence. His mother and father were sipping tea, and her mother and father were appraising him with their stares. The father’s frown was particularly intense. He glanced towards Maya. Her expression was perfectly sweet, and her eyes were turned demurely to the floor. He had absolutely no idea if she felt as awkward as he did.
“So, Maya,” he said, rather more cheerfully than he felt, “Are you enjoying college?”
Her eyes flicked up with the most startled expression, as though she was completely shocked at being addressed directly. She glanced towards her parents, and receiving no immediate reprimand, said falteringly, “Y-yes. Yes, I am, thank you. Er, do you want some more tea?”
She reached for the teapot with the air of somebody desperately reaching for something solid and dependable. Right, so she did feel as awkward as he did, then. That was something.
“No, no,” Aman said, waving a hand. “The tea is lovely, but I don’t want any more just yet.”
Maya withdrew her hands from the teapot as though burned, folded them in her lap, and stared at the floor again.
Aman was now becoming exasperated. He had started regretting last month’s passionate speech to his parents, full of phrases like ‘I’m ready to settle down now’ and ‘Will you help me?’, as soon as he had crossed the threshold into this house. This was largely because the house was twice the size of his family’s, and because he had observed Maya’s mother look him up and down and purse her lips as soon as she had laid eyes on him.
Well, now that he was here, he was determined to try to get to know Maya at least a little. Maybe she was being so shy because all the parents were in the room.
He hesitated for half a second and then said, “Uncle, Aunty…Mum, Dad…could Maya and I maybe take a walk around the beautiful garden whilst you all chat?”
He deliberately avoided Maya’s gaze and looked around at the four adults. Maya’s father, frowning even more deeply than he had been earlier, opened his mouth to speak, but his own mother, thankfully, said the most sensible thing she could have done at this point: “Why, I think that’s a splendid idea, if Mr and Mrs Malhotra are happy. You do have the most splendid house, and spectacular gardens, you know. Tell me, how long have you owned the property for? And how, Mrs Malhotra, do you keep it in such splendid condition?”
The Malhotras could not withstand this onslaught of flattery, of course, and within minutes, Aman was being led away from the oppressive scene towards the garden, by a slightly more cheerful Maya. Splendid.
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