Six Random Words and Twenty Minutes

Another great writing exercise my writing buddy and I did this year.

Writing Exercise- Select Six Random Words. Then write for 20 minutes. 

Birth control, boots, carnations, thunder, green strawberries

I lay awake staring at the ceiling, the green glow of the clock taunting me. 3:26 a.m. I focused on those numbers like a meditation to distract me form the booms of thunder and flashes of lightning that lit up our bedroom.

3:26 a.m. The exact minute she was born. My first child. I rolled over and looked at Jake’s lips slightly parted as he softly snored. Another flash of lightning illuminated his dusty work boots neatly arranged on a Braum’s paper sack near the closet.

Jake pulled 18-hour shifts at the glass plant, and I picked up all the shifts I could at the diner and we still couldn’t make ends meet. We were using birth control when we found out we were pregnant.

Now, we had a little one on the way. Jake took it as a sign that God wanted us to have a baby; I wasn’t so sure. He was like an overgrown kid singing to my belly and rhythmically tapping on it. One holdover from being a drummer, he tapped on anything.

We decided to decorate one side of our bedroom with pictures of angels. His folks gave us a tiny bassinet and it sat right next to our bed.

Jake drove damn near 90 miles an hour to get me to the hospital. The baby was on its way- three months too soon. I prayed and prayed for our baby to wait. Keeping saying it wasn’t time yet. But headstrong like her parents, Amber Marie, came when she wanted to come.

She was tiny, too tiny, and blue. She didn’t cry. Her little arm dangled from the doctor’s hand. I watched the doctors pump on her chest with just two fingers. Jake stood at the end of the bed, pale face. A nurse wrapped Amber in a pink blanket and rushed from the room.


“We’ll keep working on her.”

“Take care of Mom.”

Pieces of phrases and words floating around. Nurses came and went, pushed on my stomach, took my blood pressure. They kept saying it was too high.

“Where’s my Amber?”

“There are no updates yet.”

I drifted off to sleep, when I woke up there was a glass vase filled with pink carnations and a bowl full of chocolate-covered strawberries. This was Jake’s “I’m sorry” gift when he’d messed up and couldn’t say so. The baby warmer had been removed from the room. All of the equipment the doctors and nurses used to bring Amber to life was gone too.




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