Romantic Friday Writers: Smooth Sailing

Romantic Friday Writers: Smooth Sailing This blog has a challenge for writers of romance/love stories to write 400 words on a theme each Friday.  The theme this week is Smooth Sailing.

Another very rough draft today. ¬†Smooth Sailing is a difficult topic, since it implies no conflict! ¬†I have had several requests for a part two on Priya and Deepak’s story Home Country. ¬†I haven’t figured out a plot for it yet. ¬†So today I’m playing around to see what I come up with.

Word Count: 388, critique however you would like.


Priyanka had never dared to believe she could have such a good life.  Well, maybe when she was very small.  Before her parents had died.  At that age she thought a good life would be wearing bright colored saris and dancing at weddings.

She looked across the table at her husband Deepak and smiled, though he wasn’t looking back. ¬†He was scrolling through something on his iPhone before work. ¬†Priyanka loved the way his mouth scrunched to the side when he was concentrating. ¬†She stood and moved their empty bowls to the sink. ¬†While there, she cracked open the window and breathed in the scent of newly cut grass. ¬†One of the boys in the neighborhood had been going to each house and mowing lawns for a few dollars. ¬†Priyanka had given him one of her rupee notes for fun and he had marveled at how much more colorful it was than the dollars.

“Got big plans today?” Deepak asked behind her. ¬†She spun around and smiled. ¬†“No,” she said. ¬†“I might start getting the soil in the backyard ready for a garden.”

“Wonderful idea,” he said, “I haven’t done anything with it. Haven’t been out there in years.”

Priyanka retrieved a tiffin pail from the refrigerator and put it on Deepak’s lap. ¬†“Your lunch,” she said.

“Thank you, sweetheart,” he said. ¬†Priya rolled her eyes. ¬†Sometimes he was just so American. ¬†“All right,” he continued, “I’m off to work.”

Just as he opened the front door, the phone rang. ¬†They both paused for a moment, then Priyanka said, “Go on. ¬†I’ll get it.”

He pushed out the door and it slowly swung shut behind him while she reached for the phone.

The first thing she heard was crackling static on the line and her stomach instantly seized. ¬†It was a call from India and it wouldn’t be good news. ¬†There was no one left there who cared about her.

“Priyanka, is that you?” The familiar voice down the line asked. ¬†For a moment Priya thought she would just hang up the phone and pretend this had never happened. ¬†There had to be a way to prevent this dark¬†intrusion¬†on her perfect life.

“Are you there?” The voice continued like the aggressive wake of a too-large boat on a small lake.

“Yes, Auntie,” Priya answered, “I’m here.”



  1. This scene shows a nice slice of life, how the characters live and that they seem content. It sets the stage, for a conflict that come with the telephone call at the end of this snippet. You grab the reader’s interest. Who is ‘Auntie’? What does she have to say?
    At first I was not sure where this was. You have cleverly woven in the description of people from India living in the United States. ‘Crackling static on the line’ is so foreboding and tells us that this is a call from far away and from another time in Priya’s life. Nice touch!

    Best wishes,
    Anna’s RFW No.16 ‘Smooth Sailing’

    • RuthMadison
      Aug 26, 2011

      Thank you! I hope that this will be the start of something interesting, but I’m not yet sure what auntie is going to say.

  2. madeleine sara
    Aug 26, 2011

    I was intrigued by your intro line: ‘Smooth Sailing is a difficult topic, since it implies no conflict!’ as I immediately saw irony and sarcasm in between the lines. Maybe that’s just me LOL! I have yet to write mine though, maybe I’ll mull it over as I do the ironing, that usually helps.

    I agree with Anna that you use some great description: ‘crackling static on the telephone line’ and like that the characters are Indian living in the States.

    • RuthMadison
      Aug 26, 2011

      I didn’t mean any sarcasm! I just had a lot of trouble because I couldn’t come up with anything interesting. lol. I kept picturing people sitting on a still sailboat in the middle of a calm lake. And I thought, that will not do, nothing interesting there!

  3. Raquel Byrnes
    Aug 26, 2011

    That was such a creative approach to the meme. I love the line about being so American. Nice scene.
    Edge of Your Seat Romance

  4. Marsha A. Moore
    Aug 26, 2011

    I loved your take on the theme, smooth-sailing until conflict arises. I could feel Priya’s trepidation from your careful wording: crackling static on the line and her stomach instantly seized; thought she would just hang up; voice continued like the aggressive wake of a too-large boat on a small lake. Nicely done!

  5. L'Aussie
    Aug 27, 2011

    Smooth Sailing as a theme gives ample scope for creativity. I never saw it as implying lack of conflict, just the opposite – the ironic or metaphoric approach. Each challenge is a call to use our imagination and to ‘think outside the square’ and Ruth, in this piece, you’ve done just that. Congratulations! A great read and use of the theme.


    • RuthMadison
      Aug 27, 2011

      I do tend to think too literally, so these challenges are a great way to try to stretch myself. I really enjoyed other people’s various uses of the theme too!

  6. Daydreamertoo
    Aug 27, 2011

    Sounds like trouble is afoot. Very nice descriptions of ordinary, everyday life, even down to the cell phone!

  7. Ms. Queenly
    Aug 30, 2011

    Definitely smooth sailing up until the last moment. I’m curious about what’s the trouble.

    • RuthMadison
      Aug 30, 2011

      Me too! To be honest, I haven’t written that part and I have no idea what her auntie is going to say!

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