This assignment was to write a piece inspired by something I saw in a public place – without using adverbs.
“What a beautiful family,” I thought, as I glanced at the man, woman and child seated at the next table.
The longer I sat at the table, looking at the menu, enjoying the ambience of springtime outdoor dining, the more I didn’t like what I saw.
The red-rimmed eyes of the woman were tell-tale. The rigid posture of the child was unnatural. All the while, the man was too casual, too jovial in comparison. “Sure, I’ll have another,” he says to the waiter, as he holds the beer bottle in the air. The woman’s eyes and face get redder. The child cowers closer to her mother. The woman reaches for something on the table but the man tries to snatch it away only to knock it on the floor – a ring of keys.
The waiter returns with an apology – there will be no more beer for him tonight. “We can, however, call a cab if your companion can’t drive you home,” he says.
Grumbling, the man slings the keys at the woman and stumbles toward the door leaving her to gather up the child and pay the bill. She scurries after him with the child in tow, her head bowed, shamed – fear showing in every line of her body.
In the pit of my stomach, I fear what awaits them at home and say a prayer for the woman and the child.