‘Where have you been?’ she demanded. He dropped his eyes and sent his reeling mind to a place before, before this yellow tinged joke. Back to the time she’d asked ‘What makes you happy?’, and after pausing he’d squeezed out, ‘Now there’s a question’.
She’d waited silently then, before adding, ‘What makes you want to wake up in the morning, what makes you laugh?’
Her frustration was real but that was three questions and then, like now, he’d crept to that secret garden in his brain for an answer. And like now, she’d looked at him, iris blue eyes searching his, searching him, getting in, and waiting.
When someone, anyone, asks you any one of those questions, you want to know…you want to give a palatable and honest answer. But you say money, or health, wide verandas at dawn, or being naked and lost in a forest. But these are never the answers and you know it.
Her way of looking through him was foiling his impotent silence, and then, like now, she wanted him to say it. She wanted him to open his mouth and speak, to tell her that she alone made him happy, that she was the reason he lived.
He’d cringed back then, not because it’s not true, but, like a quote, his heart had bloomed a thousand hearts, and those thousand hearts a thousand hearts, and they all made him happy.
He cringes now too yet faces her. He shores up his fear. He is steel
‘Where have you been?’ He softly ventures.
A short story variation on an old poem of mine ‘What Makes you Happy’.
For the Red Writing Room challenge
Using these four words: yellow iris quote joke
start a story with: ‘Where have you been?’ she demanded. He dropped his eyes and…
(source: The write brain workbook)