An opening line, 20 minutes, no self-editing … let’s do this!
My husband disappeared on August 28, 1998.
One minute he was there, beside me browsing the stalls in the busy Farmers’ Market, and the next he wasn’t.
At first I thought he must have just popped into one of the shops nearby. Peter was like that, flighty, distracted. Something shiny would catch his eye and he would just gravitate toward it like a moth to a flame. So at first I thought he must have seen that selection of exotic teas in the shop we just passed and been drawn in.
I stood by the stalls still looking over the vegetables and fruits, waiting for him to catch up and show me his purchases. His face would be flushed with the heat and his excitement. His eyes would have that little twinkle they got when he had a surprise to share.
I waited and browsed for about 10 minutes before I made my way back to the tea shop to see what was taking him so long. I went inside and looked around but he wasn’t there. This was puzzling, but still I wasn’t concerned. There were other shops, with other interesting things to draw in a curious man who was easily distracted.
Back on the street I climbed onto a bench for a higher vantage point and scanned the faces in the crowd, viewed all the shop windows in the area seeking that one thing that might have pulled him away. But I recognised no one. I climbed down and began stepping in and out of the shops around the perimeter, one after another, systematically, but never finding his dimpled face.
After the third shop with no trace, a sick feeling gripped my stomach and I began to rush through the crowd, frantically entering each shop and calling his name. “Peter!” Peter!” People turned to look at the crazed American woman but nobody answered. I had seen two policemen at a sidewalk cafe near the entrance and I ran to see if they were still there.
“My husband! I can’t find my husband!”
I could feel that I was becoming hysterical. That buzzing echo in my head. I knew I was speaking and moving but I didn’t know how because all I could feel was terror. Peter was with me, and then he wasn’t. That was all.
It’s been almost 20 years and nobody has ever been able to explain what happened. Nobody has ever said that they saw Peter after that morning. Sometimes I wonder if he even really existed or did I make him up in my mind. Disappeared without a trace. It’s not something that one imagines happens in real life, let alone in your own personal world. It’s something you read about in tabloids and novels. Nobody ever really lives through something like that. Except they do, I am living proof of that. I went to Mexico with a husband and I returned without.
There was speculation that he was involved with something illegal, got caught up, had to disappear. I know that’s not true. Some people thought maybe he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s more likely, but even still how could something have happened so quickly and with me so close by.
Hmmm, not sure where this piece is going, likely nowhere, why on earth would I have the man disappear with so much finesse 🙂 I am enjoying these little writing exercises though. They do get the creative juices flowing. If you try this one, leave a comment or feel free to share your work or a link to your work in the comments below.