“Tell me you love me!”
It snapped my head up and ceased my constant worrying about what my corgi puppy will put in her mouth next.
It was a young blonde woman with her hair up in a disastrous bun, wearing a tie dye shirt and workout shorts. I could only see her back. Her head was in the backseat of a new red sedan. No head silhouetted in the back window of the car told me it was a child she was yelling at, a child I could not see or hear.
“Yes I do. Now tell me you love me.”
The woman’s other child, an infant probably not even six months old, was cuddled in the arms of an elderly woman with a perfectly permed grey bob, a sleek black pantsuit, and a pearl necklace. She bounced the child in her arms, both completely silent.
“Tell me you love me, or else I’m taking you and all your shit back inside.”
“Ashley,” said the old woman.
I thought it must have been the word “shit” that got her, her being an old Southern belle and all. She was going to tell Ashley not to use such language in front of a child, to quit yelling. I just knew it, and I was relieved.
“Ashley, I don’t have time for this.”
“I don’t care! You can wait.” Her head, momentarily pulled from the car to shoot a nasty look at the old woman, went back into the dark interior where the unseen child felt Ashley’s wrath again. “Say it…yes I do, dumbass!”
My dog stopped her sniffing, and I didn’t feel like I could stick around any longer without being caught eavesdropping.
“Yeah, you are dumb.”
I strained my ears as I rounded the corner to find out if the elderly woman would finally snap, say something, do something. I just wanted to get away from the ugly words, from the sick realization that that child felt their mother didn’t love them, but now, as I write this, I’m wondering…why didn’t I say something? Why didn’t I do something?
This one makes for somewhat darker inspiration than any prompt I’ve posted before, but that’s reality. If you’ve been sitting in front of a blank page for a while, itching to write but unsure where you want to start this time, maybe this will help. What’s this family’s dynamic? Was the child in the backseat a boy or a girl? Was the grandmother just taking the children for the day, or was it something more permanent? What do you think that child’s life is like? Why does Ashley feel this is the right way to show and receive love? What would have happened if I had said something? Feel free to use all of the details provided here or merely use the basics as an inspiration for your story.
If this prompt helps you write a story that you like and post on your blog, send me a link and I will reblog it. For more writing prompts, visit my Writing Prompts page.