On the Road

This Week’s Theme: Your adult character just got a guitar for Christmas–a gift very out of character. What changes, if any, does this cause in her life or personality?

Phil looked at the oversize package with more than a hint of surprise. He hadn't an idea what it could be. A nervous twitch climbed up his back leaving with a feeling he couldn't quite describe, but one which he didn't really like. His wife sat there silently encouraging him to get on and undo it. He looked in her eyes for a sign which might betray whatever it was. Why on earth should she buy something this big, when they had planned to leave their house by the end of the year and spend the rest of their, now short lives, on the road.

The events of the past eighteen flew through his mind in the space of just a few seconds. His first wife's tragic accident, the bankruptcy court, his daughter's defection and the bitterness of his letter, the empty bottles piled up in front of his window, his visit to the AA group and the first meeting with Daisy, his daughter's tearful phone call and their reconciliation, Daisy's proposal - it would have taken him at least another few months to muster up enough courage to ask. Such a short afterlife and crammed with so much incident.

Then his mind lingered on their decision taken just a few days previously. They were sitting on the sofa together looking at photos from younger days - the days of Harleys and Hippies. It was the photo with the guitar that did it.

"Why don't we go hit the road again?"

Phil looked at her dumbfounded. "What! You mean, leave everything, just take off without a care in the world and live from day to day."

"Well, as far as living from day to day is concerned, that's all taken care of. With my money we'll not have any financial worries. We've always talked about doing something exciting, well let's do it."

As usual, Daisy was forcing the issue, she had to. Phil always took far longer in making up his mind. But this time, he had actually beaten her to it. His Christmas present to her was contained in a small, brown envelope - two economy steamer tickets to the other side of the world. And on they'd have to earn whatever they needed on the ship. He wouldn't touch any of her money. Then, once they got to Europe it would be Paris with its Bohemian quarters and easy pickings for street artists like him. If that's what she wanted, then that's what she'd get. He'd buy himself a guitar and off they'd go.

As Phil's mind lingered over this, he saw she was getting impatient. He presented her with the little box which contained that precious envelope and set about opening the parcel which bore his inscription. Inside were two odd-shaped cases and Phil guessed at once what they were. She'd almost beaten him to it again, but the look of joy on her face upon seeing the steamer tickets meant, this time she conceded defeat with grace.

He unpacked the first guitar. A beautiful hand-made model from Peru, and a blown up version of that old photo engraved into the wood. It was a true work of art and Phil couldn't hold back, giving his fingers free reign and brings a serene smile to Daisy's already ecstatic face. But why the second guitar? Phil slowly unpacked that too. What he saw was an exact model of his guitar but this time the photo engraved on the front was that of a much younger, but still recognisable Daisy. He'd had no idea. for the rest of the evening their fingers and voices merged in a blur of memories and enchantment as their new life on the road began in the home they were soon to be leaving behind.

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I really liked this. Of course living life on the road is dream my husband aspire to as a retirement project. I don't know how we'll do it, but it is what we want to do oce the kids are grown and on their own. The guitars sounded so lovely. You pulled off a perfectly romantic story without it making it incredibly sappy. Well done.

28 December 2007 at 16:25  

Sweet. I got a little confused about who was opening what and which parcels were being moved where at the end, but this was a nice, romantic episode to begin a new journey.

28 December 2007 at 20:29  

I cannot imagine living life on the road. Too insecure for me!!

This was a very good piece. You've explained the whole background very readily without it being too dry. and the present opening was very sweet!


28 December 2007 at 22:13  

I love the idea of him and daisy sitting in the middle of nowhere, around, around camp fire, duelling guitars, or perhaps making love through their guitars?

Tightly written ... and was wondering about the time setting - as he bought her steam boat tickets?

Both you and I write about a guitar being the catalyst for freedom. I wonder what it is about the guitar that seems to be metaphor for freedom? Also - apologies for mixing up you and the other Paul - d'oh! Hope your health and work situations are improving.

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