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A Brief Encounter: Billybuc Photo Challenge Edition 4

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Alyssa is an avid reader, writer, and coffee enthusiast. She loves sharing thoughts, ideas, and creative writings with the world.


As the white rabbit would say, "I'm late! I'm late!"

Bill has graciously given us three photo prompts since the last time I participated. I feel a little rusty and decided to try my hand at the fourth one first. This was a little different than the others, with just one photo and an invitation for 500 words.. or even just 250 words.

"250 words? That's a piece of cake!" I thought to myself. In theory, yes. In practice, not always. I did my best to branch out and stretch my writing muscles. Oh how they need it! I hope you enjoy this little summer scene.

As always, a big thank you to Bill for providing these writing exercises. I greatly appreciate them.

A Brief Encounter

As soon as I heard that guitar, I reached over to turn up the radio.

"It was a beautiful day, the sun beat down.." I sang along with Tom Petty at the top of my lungs, tapping the wheel in sync with the beat. The perfect song for a warm summer drive.

I had longed for a day like this for some time. Old man winter had a raging temper this past year and acted like a rude party guest, never getting the hint it was time to leave. Spring didn't even have the courtesy to make an appearance, and one day summer just showed up, completely unannounced: a welcome surprise.

Today I embraced the sun like an old friend I hadn't seen in years. Rag top back, hair blowing every which way, an azure sky dotted with puffy, white clouds, green fields and tall trees as far as the eye could see, not a single care in the world. Who could ask for a better day?

"..I felt so good, like anything was possible.." Tom Petty crooned as I took the sweeping curve at 55, my wheels hugging the pavement.

"Cows," I remarked aloud as I passed by a herd of fluffy brown cattle. Up ahead I could see flashing red lights as the grade crossings lowered down. Slowly pressing the brake, I turned my head to look left. Sure enough, there was a black engine barreling toward me in the distance, a cloud of dark grey smoke rising up from the stack. I came to a stop several feet away to wait, switching to park.

As he approached, the engineer blared his horn, a signature arrival that brought with it a sense of nostalgia. All the hot summer nights spent in a small second floor bedroom of my grandparents' house, the old wooden-framed windows open just waiting for the soothing sounds of the traveling trains. A comfort from another era missing from the big cities of today.

He was booking and we had a split second to throw up our hands in greeting as he dashed by, leaving behind a lingering trace of grey smoke. This was going to take a while and I gazed with interest at the many passenger cars speeding by. Some had equipment on them, some looked empty, and I marveled at the talented graffiti decorating the majority. I've always wondered why anyone with such incredible artistic skill would squander it in an illegal way, but secretly I enjoyed the colorful displays.

"ooh, ooh...ooh, ooh.." I bopped along in my seat as Tom Petty shredded those final iconic chords of the song. Turning the radio down, I sat back to patiently wait, letting the calming sound of the cars rushing by wash over me in a wave of serenity.

After about five minutes, the final car passed by, a black offset hopper denoted with the faded yellow CSX. The red lights stopped flashing, the grade crossings lifted, and I slowly drove away with a smile on my face. Who could ask for a better day?

Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers - Runnin' Down A Dream (Official Music Video)

© 2020 Alyssa

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