Creative Writing, Prose

Habitual ritual

A creative writing piece. The prompt is to write a “HABITUAL RITUAL” using second person, or “you”.

You hang up the phone and look at it. You’re not sure if what you heard is right, but it must be, because, why else would your heart feel like this? Why else would it thump so hard inside your chest? So you cling to hope, you kinda have to, or you won’t be able to do what you need to do next.

You take your keys and your wallet; pet your dog on the head, while you walk towards the door. You make sure the front door is closed because you’re not sure when you will be back. Should you put some food out for the dog? Did you already do it? These seem inconsequential questions, therefore, you dismiss them, all the while walking to your car.

You get into the car, check the rear and side mirrors, because your father taught you it was the first thing you should do, even before putting the keys in the ignition, which is your next move. You start the car and turn on the radio, but you turn it off after a moment, because you are starting to feel how your nerves are filled with electricity, synapsis doing its job, and you know, you know you need to concentrate on driving or risk crashing your car, and nobody needs none of that right now, no sir, not right now.

You drive slowly, carefully; like that time when you were fifteen and it was the first time your dad allowed you to take the car by yourself, just after you got your first permit. Some cars honk at you and you think that you should drive a little faster, so you do, but not too much. You take a left towards Main Street, where there’s a little traffic, but that’s to be expected, after all, it’s Thursday and is just after 5 o’clock, so people are leaving their jobs and going back home, sweet home.

You finally arrive at the old, but well-kept building. The sun reflects on the windows, blinding you for a few seconds before you put your hand over your head, to protect your eyes from the glare. The lawn is overgrown, as it has been since the gardener went on vacation. You idly wonder when he’ll be back because you’ve been meaning to ask him where to get some peonies for your office balcony. You reach the glass doors, where the security guard, that old coot who has been there for your whole life (and you are sure that his whole life, too) greets you with a wave.

You realize that your palms are trembling while you walk towards the elevators. The ding announces its arrival, and you enter it, after wiping your hands on your black pants. You press the button for the seventh floor, which is the highest one in the building. You briefly wonder, as you have done so many times before, why they built a building with an odd number of stories, but you soon forget because right now your brain is sizzling.

You walk the length of the hallway, towards the door with the logo you helped design all those years ago, and open it, not stopping even to greet the receptionist. You don’t see if she smiled or frowned, but that’s okay, you’ll know soon enough. You arrive at the main office and open the door, not bothering to knock.

You find your boss, your father, the man who taught you everything he could teach you about architecture and building before sending you off to university to learn the rest, standing in front of his mahogany desk, serving two glasses of scotch, the good one, the one reserved for important occasions.

– We got the contract? – You ask, wiping your palms again.

– We did – He says, smiling, and pushing the glass towards you. You take the glass, and clink it with your father’s –. Did you doubt it? I don’t know why you get like this every single time.

– I got that from Mom – you answer, tipping your glass before taking a sip –. Say, Dad, I always mean to ask you, but for some reason, I always forget. Why is this building seven stories up?

Your father smiles.



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