Here's a short story I wrote titled, "Savannah's Gravity and Grace." It came from a writing prompt from the writers' group I belong to, and the prompt was "Gravity."
Savannah exhaled and settled into her chair as the door clicked shut behind another patient, bald and bent from chemo. In her seat, something more than gravity weighted Savannah’s legs and pressed her toes into her shoes. She looked at her phone out of habit, not even noticing the minutes.
Last time she sat here her eyes had scanned the waiting room’s 1990s decor, then she’d scrolled through her Facebook newsfeed and googled a new Monopoly game. Were the grandkids old enough to play Monopoly yet? she’d wondered. But today, she sat glued to her seat; wanting to make her Christmas list, but frozen in fear of tomorrow, or rather, the next ten minutes.
Fear was a four-letter-word, her mother used to say, laughing it off. Then the cigarettes, ten years ago, got the best of her. Savannah quit smoking herself the day of her mom’s burial. Memories of the cemetery hardened from winter shook her very core. So much for laughter. Savannah had covered the walls of her smoky apartment with a fresh coat of paint. A few weeks later the first grandbaby arrived. How bittersweet because her own mother might have earned great-grandmother status. Earned. She threw that word back out into the cold.
Thoughts rushed at her, more now, ever since the first symptoms. Ones like, Ha, too late, the cigarettes will kill you, too. And, the reoccurring insult: You got what you deserve. But brighter than the new yellow paint was the rising of the sun. This sun was the Son of God, and Savannah first met him on the pages of the Gospel of John. Her daughter Colette laughed when she announced she was going to church. “You of all people to walk through those doors, Mom?” Simple math proved the main events in her life added up to brokenness.
The door opened again and the nurse ushered out a family. They held onto each other with red-rimmed eyes. Savannah watched them leave; at least they had a bond, a togetherness. For a second, jealousy played with her mind.
Colette was right to laugh at her. It made perfect sense, especially if you didn’t know about God’s grace toward sinners. But Savannah had collected each shred she could find: Bible verses underlined and books like Gentle and Lowly, her new favorite. She held onto what she now knew. Savannah’s lips moved as she thought to herself, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
The door opened and this time the nurse called her name. Savannah exhaled and stood. In that moment, she forgot about the radiology exam, the PET scan, and the bloodwork. She fixed her eyes ahead and marveled at the lightness in her legs. Where had the gravity gone?
Writing Prompt: Savannah's story is written in third-person point of view, but her thoughts mix into the narrative and let the reader see inside her mind. Write a paragraph about someone (fictional or true) waiting to receive suspenseful news. How can you show the reader things about this person with the words you choose?