Short Fiction: Inspiration


Catie Sanders

Photo credit: Catie Sanders

Madison Mcloughlin

I started lacing up my overused, black converse. Despite being torn and worn, these converse were my favorite pair of shoes. They were reliable, and I liked reliable. Not a lot of other things in my life were very reliable at the moment, but I knew I could always count on the worn down, holey soles to get me wherever I needed to go whenever, I needed to get there. I finished tying a bow with my right shoelaces and stood up. I grabbed my slightly too big, faded leather jacket and held it to my chest for a moment. Gathering myself, I put it on and walked out the door.

I turned around to lock it behind me. This apartment really isn’t so bad, I thought to myself. It may not look like somewhere that a pair of middle class parents would let their child live in, but I loved it, plus it was cheap. The gutter was one big rainstorm from falling off of the house completely, and the roof had several leaks in it. One of the windows was boarded up and the other one was so dirty that nothing could be seen from it. But to me, it was home.

I started walking down the block, noticing how the breeze lifted the leaves and brought a different scent to my nose with every other step. The humidity made my hair on the back of my neck sticky, but not wet. There were only a couple of other people on the street, which was understandable because it was only 7am. A jogger passes me from behind, headphones blaring a bouncy tune, keeping him in step. I smile at him, even though he never looked back. On the other side of the street, a professionally dressed, middle aged woman walked briskly to her car. I smiled at her, but she was intently looking at her phone, as if she was late to some important business meeting.

After seven and a half minutes, I reach my destination. The little bell slams against the door of the quaint, rustic coffee shop. I walk up to the counter and place my usual order: a vanilla latte with an extra shot of espresso. The barista was a cute, high school aged redhead that had the most genuine smile on her face at all times, making you feel at home. As I waited for her to make my coffee, I set up my things in a cozy booth where I could easily look out the window. I opened my quirky sticker littered laptop, attached my small, white headphones, and opened my favorite Spotify playlist, titled “Inspiration.” Then I grabbed the tattered yellow spiral notebook and my favorite Aquinas College pen and placed them next to my open laptop. I paused to retrieve my coffee, and then I sat down and popped in my ear buds.

I took a minute to search through the playlist and find my favorite song. He knew me so well. It was times like these when I missed him more than I could breathe. The times when I was searching my soul for inspiration, begging my mind to come up with something creative enough to be noticed. It was in these moments that his memory consumed me, leaving me unable to do anything but listen to the playlist he made me for my last birthday and relive our life together. In the midst of my flashbacks and wishes, my eyes start to water. The tears build up behind my tightly closed eyelids like innocent prisoners locked up behind bars while I plead them not to escape.

“Drops of Jupiter” comes to an end. I shake my head as if to shake away the emptiness inside of me. I sip my coffee slowly and then take a deep breath. With a burst of inspiration and strength I know my brother would want me to have, I put pen to paper and start the story.