Friday Fictioneers – Ten Steps

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

Ten steps lead up to the door. I’d dated Esther ten times. These things have a meaning, I know.

In my pocket, Mum’s ring bumps against my hip as I mount the stairs, like an ambassador bringing tribute to a potentate.

I press the bell. Overhead, a flock of new-hatched starlings trace patterns in the sky. There are ten of them.

She opens the door and I smell the scent of gardenias. A waft of coriander has followed her from the kitchen. On one knee, I proffer the ring.

“Are you nuts?” she says. “We’ve been on, like, ten dates.”



Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here

77 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers – Ten Steps

  1. Expectations followed by disappointment ten times over. I like how this built up towards the moment, even I the reader was wondering if it would be yes or no. If there is a moral here it is to make sure of your answer before you ask, or check for a soft landing before you leap.

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  2. I feel sorry for the poor guy. People have dived into marriage a lot sooner than 10 dates. Not that I recommend it, but still. Obviously she didn’t think they were anywhere near that point 🙂

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  3. Thank goodness she sees sense. I had a friend who mentioned marriage on the first date and was promptly given the flick. He happened to mention this to a group of older, more seasoned men who shook their heads in disbelief. One in particular who you could say was rather marriage shy.
    I’m glad this part of my life is behind me but my kids are inching close and I can tell you, neither of them will be getting engaged after only ten dates.
    Best wishes,

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  4. The way he constantly looks for good omens made me chuckle, don’t we all every once in a while? Her using the same number as a counter-argument is great fun, well done.

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  5. Seems a little OCD, if you don’t mind the unqualified and uninformed armchair diagnosis. This obsession with the number ten.
    You almost wonder whether he chose her because of the number of steps, which he takes to be an auspicious sign. And whether the potentate to which he is bringing his tribute is actually not her, but the number ten…i giggled at the end, at his apparent cluelessness. This could be a very funny longer work, carried to the nth (or tenth)degree,like a Gogol or Kafka story.

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  6. Ah, ha, ha. I wonder if the proposal was made after only ten dates because she smelled of both flowers and cooking. He needs to give her more time. She didn’t say to leave and not come back so there’s still hope. Good story and well written, Neil. 🙂 — Suzanne

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