This writing prompt was part of the Indie Fall Fest—several weeks of author interviews, giveaways, fun questions, guest posts, and more. The challenge was to write about a character who has one of your bad habits, and in which that bad habit gets out of hand.
My bedtime is ten o’clock. Naturally, it’s midnight by the time I slip under the covers.
I’m pretty sure my neurons are vibrating as I stare up at the blackness. I consider turning on a meditation track. But I can’t shake the feeling I’ve forgotten something.
Did I turn the oven off?
My feet find my slippers and I pad out to the kitchen. Yes, the oven is off.
The wintery air sends goose bumps up my arms. I remember to shut the window. Return to bed.
Half an hour passes before I remember I was supposed to email Kevin back about his barbeque on Saturday. My hands find my phone in the darkness. I open my emails to a new message from OkCupid—a rugged-looking hipster who can distinguish your from you’re. He merits a reply. I need to do it now or else I’ll forget. I write back, spending twenty minutes trying to come up with a non-boring answer to “Any plans for the weekend?”
It’s one o’clock. I respond to Kevin’s email. Yes, I’ll remember to grab kebabs on my way over on Saturday.
Plug my phone in. Lie back down.
I still can’t shake the feeling I’ve forgotten something.
I sit up. I never gave Ms. Jennings her misdelivered mail. I pull on my bathrobe and my Uggs. Tuck the box under my arm. It’s a bottle of expensive bourbon. I opened it by accident when I got it. The bottle, I mean.
The thought reminds me that I need to book an appointment with my therapist. I call. Their office is closed. Obviously—it’s one thirty in the morning. I leave a message. Pick up Ms. Jennings’ half-empty bourbon. Hop the fence into her yard.
She’s pissed when she finally answers. I tell her I’m sorry but I couldn’t sleep knowing I might forget to deliver this. She doesn’t say thank you. I tell her the bourbon is good and I hope she enjoys it.
I traipse home. The wind is icy around my legs. The hair (I forgot to shave) offers little insulation.
As I pass the barn, I realise I’ve forgotten to feed the pigs. I throw them some slop. Tell them “good piggies.” Scratch one behind the ear.
What on earth am I forgetting?
Shivering, I’m about to leave when I remember Daisy is due to give birth. I check on her. She’s in labour. I deliver the calf. Name it Ophelia.
I take off my bathrobe and dispose it. I’ll have to remember to buy a new one.
Stark naked except for my Uggs, I trot back to the house. I’m proud of myself when I remember to put air in the tractor tires on the way.
The sun’s rays brighten the horizon by the time I’m in the house again.
I remember to wash my hands.
My toothbrush lies beside the sink, bristles dry.
I finally realize what I’ve forgotten.
I never brushed my teeth before bed.
Header image: Boston Public Library via Flickr