My Stairway To Heaven

There is a reason why you shouldn’t try to send email while walking down a flight of stairs. It is the same reason why your mother told you not to run with the scissors in your hand or a lollipop in your mouth.

But sometimes safety and circumstances coincide as the oddest of bedfellows and you don’t do as your mother taught you. Sometimes you find yourself wandering through a house wondering if the owner paid a designer for the monstrosities you are looking at or if it is their own bad taste.

You can’t help but wonder if the real reason that dead Italian masters are dead is because their concept of cool was so awful they were hung by an angry mob or if they were graced with the kiss of death as a result of old age.

Had it not been so awful you would have been watching your step. Instead your smartphone made you fumble and you walked right into her. Or maybe it is more accurate to say that you almost knocked her down a flight of stairs. You can’t forget how wide her eyes got when she almost fell or how thankful you were that she didn’t.

The people down below told her that you threw your phone so that you could catch her. They said that you wrapped her up in your right arm and that it almost looked like something you would see in a ballet.

That made you laugh. You aren’t suave, debonair or graceful. Later on she told you that the first thing she noticed was that your arms were really solid, but you never would have guessed she had noticed. Not after that look or the way she yelled at you for being careless.

When you let her go she walked the stairs past you and never looked back. You know because you stared at her the entire time. At first it was because you felt foolish and tongue tied. A mumbled apology was ignored, but her legs weren’t…at least not by you.

You remembered thinking that you would have to be blind, dead or gay not to imagine what it would be like to have them wrapped around you. She walked away while your mind raced for the kind of snappy line that would get her attention.

You needed something that wouldn’t make you seem like a stalker, sound like a fool or make her feel threatened in any way.

"Come, Sit, Tell Me About America..." (#1 of 2 - a set)

Later on you sat on the bench outside and wondered if this was real life or a dream. It was all too easy to picture a flash mob materializing out of the thin air and dancing around that bench you were sitting on. Upon second thought you had this image of being the bad guy in a Aretha Franklin video. It was all too easy to see her and her backup singers pointing their fingers at you.

Reality sets in and you remember that you aren’t a hero nor are you a villain. You are just a regular guy and maybe that is enough. Maybe you are overthinking it all, spending too much time trying to be someone else when what you really need to do is just be you.

So you wander back over to the house that wants to be a museum and rejoin the fundraiser. She is standing in the hallway talking to another woman but when you make eye contact she doesn’t look away.

“My name is Jack and I am really sorry about what happened. I would really like to buy you a cup of coffee and I promise not to spill it on you or trip you.”
This story was based upon the following prompt: What did the images mean to you?

Past submissions are listed below

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  1. 2old2tap September 30, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    I really like this. All the thoughts relived and rethought. And the ending was perfect.

  2. Craig McBreen September 30, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    You roped me in with this one, Jack. Love the the language you used throughout, especially incorporating the dead Italian masters … and the graceful transitions. Perfect ending. I agree with Bruce, You are a romantic.

  3. carrie.rogozinski September 30, 2011 at 10:31 am

    I like how this was structured, with him thinking back and kind of talking to himself.

  4. bestoffates September 30, 2011 at 6:20 am

    That’s fantastic – I adore the ending.

  5. bankerchick56 September 30, 2011 at 6:03 am

    .I liked your character’s take on the staircase, it is a monstrosity, Great narrative and imagery

  6. KDillabough September 30, 2011 at 5:48 am

    Sigh…I’m transported by your words and these images.

  7. CDG September 30, 2011 at 5:26 am

    This might be my favorite thing you’ve done, and you managed to use a second person narrative voice without it seeming awkward or contrived, which I find challenging.

    Love the way you worked both photos in, too.

    • TheJackB September 30, 2011 at 9:31 am

      @CDG I appreciate the compliments. I like your writing very much so it is even nicer to read your kind words.

      I think that my favorite stories usually come with that voice. I sometimes worry that it comes across as being artificial.

  8. earlybird September 30, 2011 at 4:28 am

    Well done for incorporating both pictures. I love: people told her ‘you threw your smartphone so that you could catch her’. And those first two sentences pulled me right in.

  9. BruceSallan September 30, 2011 at 4:02 am

    I had NO idea you were such a romantic, JB – LOVE the photos you graced this with!

    • TheJackB September 30, 2011 at 9:29 am

      @BruceSallan Well Bruce you should read more of my fiction. 😉 I can’t take responsibility for finding those photos. The writers of the prompt gathered those items together.

  10. BetsyKCross September 30, 2011 at 1:30 am

    You have one hefty imagination!

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