Finding Agnes: Arizona

Agnes stepped off the bus, shading her eyes from the bright Arizona sun. She squinted into the distance, taking in the vast desert. She turned and faced away from the small bus station. Away from the people, away from the paved road that had brought her here. On the other side, was sand. Sand and cacti and the occasional rattlesnake slithering by. An empty landscape. A place to start new.

She turned back towards the station, where a small girl caught her eye and suddenly the air in her lungs was gone.

She watched as the little girl ran towards a thirty-something woman, a wide smile showing two missing teeth.

“Mommy!”

The woman bent down and wrapped the little girl in her arms, burying her tear-filled face into the child’s mess of curls.

“Oh, baby doll, how I missed you.” The woman whispered in a deep Southern twang. Agnes took a seat on a small bench, flipping through her sketchbook and trying not to be obvious about her eavesdropping.

“I missed you too. Don’t leave again, okay?”

The woman looked into the child’s shining eyes, “No, baby doll. Not ever again.” She wrapped her in a hug, lifted the girl into her arms and walked to the man Agnes noticed had been standing a few feet back. The man gave the woman a small, tight smile, turned, and led them to the small parking lot.

Agnes saw the woman’s sad eyes one last time over the head of the little girl. The woman seemed to glance off into the direction that the bus had left. Then she held the girl just a little bit closer, turned, and followed the man.

Agnes sat and thought about what she’d seen. She thought about what she had done. She wondered if she should just get back on the bus and go back.

She turned to the parking lot, shading her eyes as they scanned the lot for the woman. She watched as a small Camry pulled out of a parking spot and drove towards the road. As the man turned onto the main road, Agnes caught the eye of the woman in the passenger’s seat. The despair in her eyes told Agnes everything she needed to know.

She stood from the bench and headed towards the Motel 6 she’d seen from the bus window.

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This piece was written as a part of my fictional work-in-progress, Finding Agnes. You can find more about Agnes here.

 

This week’s Red Riding Hood prompt: In 400 words or less, write a story or memoir which relates to choices and/or consequences. Because of the word limits, you may choose to focus just on the choice, or just on the consequence. Remember to capture a moment using dialogue, action, and reaction.

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14 comments on “Finding Agnes: Arizona”

  1. barbara @ de rebus

    Very compelling – what a great character. I enjoyed the way you structured this: how your character is observing and responding to another scene.

    Some observations:
    “The man gave the woman a small, tight smile, turned, and led them to the small parking lot.”
    – GREAT use of action to create a character. I know all I need to know about how this man feels from this one smile.

    “Agnes saw the woman’s sad eyes one last time over the head of the little girl.”
    – a little confusing: Agnes sees her eyes? Or Agnes sees her gazing back at the bus?

    “The woman seemed to glance off into the direction that the bus had left. Then she held the girl just a little bit closer, turned, and followed the man.”
    – Again: the action defines this character, well done.

    “She turned to the parking lot, shading her eyes as they scanned the lot for the woman.”
    – does this refer to the same woman she was watching? If so, why would she need to FIND her, if she was already looking at her?

    Overall, a great moment!

    • Roxanne

      Thanks for some great suggestions and comments, Barbara; I really appreciate you taking the time! I had meant it to be that the woman followed the man to the parking lot, out of Agnes’ view for a while. That’s why she was scanning the lot for her. I guess I’ll need to make that more clear when I make revisions on this piece.

  2. Mandy

    I haven’t read the other parts to this story, but based on what was here, this is really good. I always wonder about people who end up in small desert towns, what they’re running from, why they’re hiding. I wasn’t sure what was happening with the women in this piece, but I’m intrigued.

    • Roxanne

      Thanks Mandy. I hope you check out more of this story. It’s been on-going for awhile and I’m pretty proud of it. 🙂

  3. Kir

    I loved the first paragraph, loved how the sand, stretching out against the sky with nothing behind it but more sad immediately felt as comforting as Agnes must have felt about it.

    I am a people watcher and so I get this, I understand why she feels the need to listen, to observe. You describing what she was seeing was done so well, the descriptions and the dialouge were just right.

    have a great weekend 🙂

  4. Kir

    I hope that the computer didn’t just eat my comment …if it did, tell me and I’ll write it again.

    OVERALL, I loved this Rox. It was so good.

  5. Angie Kinghorn

    This was well written–I want to know more about Agnes!

    I haven’t read your previous installments, but I liked what I read here, even though I didn’t totally understand what was going on. Did something happen between Agnes and this man? Or is she simply witness to an abusive relationship and this other woman’s bad choice?

    • Roxanne

      Thanks Angie! I hope you’ll find yourself interested enough to read what I’ve written in the past. Gives you more insight into Agnes’s character.

  6. Wisper

    I want to know more!!! I am intrigued at how you tell the story from the observations of your character. I think you created a great scene here.

  7. angela

    I like your Agnes.

    I think it’s so telling how she sees the desert as a new beginning, when so much about it is so dry and life has such a tough time flourishing there.

    Watching the mother reunite with her daughter, and the moment where Agnes thinks about her decision to leave? My heart hurt for everyone involved. The mother seems so glad to be with the little girl, so I have to admit I’m a little unsure what Agnes sees that strengthens her resolve. But I still love this whole piece, and I need to remember you’re not telling THAT family’s story, you’re telling Agnes’s, and I see her so clearly here.

  8. shelton keys dunning

    A prophetic turn of events. There’s some subtle foreshadowing with the watching of the family. Keep this in mind when writing the rest of the story. Remember that people-watching can be a fantastic trait and have Agnes do this again, even in small doses.

    Great job with the prompt!

  9. Patricia Royal

    Very interesting. It left me wondering more about the story and what choices had been made or what would have happened if she had made a different choice.

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