In the Madeleine L’Engle Room (F2K): Lesson 4 Conflict

This week in F2K, it was all about Conflict.

Write an opening scene with two characters, the protagonist and the antagonist. Create a conflict between the two. The conflict should be something small or petty – whose turn is it to do the dishes, a misunderstanding of an off-hand remark, should the window be open or closed, or a job related problem. It doesn’t have to be domestic. It could be between friends, relatives or strangers. Try to keep it subtle at first, and then let it build into something a little more complicated -maybe an unresolved problem from the past surfaces or one character sees a new, disturbing side of the other. In other words, let a little conflict grow into a slightly larger conflict and end it unresolved.

Another scratch-my-head-what-am-I-gonna-do week. Then, in an innocent chat with a friend, an old buried unpleasant memory came to surface and this piece was born.


I like us like this. Bumping shoulders, arms brushing. And when he puts his arm around my waist, pulling me close to his warm body as we walk to Waffle World, I like us like this even more.

The sweet smell of waffles waft towards us and my stomach grumbles in anticipation. I grimace and quickly press a hand to my stomach hoping the action will prevent further embarrassing noises. Beside me, Will snickers. I lightly slap his arm.

“Hey! You dragged me out of bed without coffee this morning! My stomach is allowed to be excited when it smells waffles!” I give him my best sans coffee Glare.

His snickers turn into quiet laughter. Okay, so the Glare is not so effective without coffee so I decide to ignore it because this is a good morning. One of the best we’ve had in a while. No hangovers, no arguments, no misunderstandings. I sigh and breathe in the cool, crisp air. It is a good day indeed.

We walk pass a gift shop and I tug at Will’s hand, pulling him in. I head straight to the glass display housing horoscope mugs in the quaint, crowded store and pick up two – one with the star sign Aquarius and the other Sagittarius.

“This is so cool! We should get matching horoscope mugs!” I hand the one with Sagittarius to Will with a wide grin on my face. I was bouncing with excitement.

Will looks at the mug I was holding and he crosses his arms across his chest, his eyes turn from warm to frost. “I’m not a Sagittarius.”

Wait, what?

“No? Don’t kid around. You are, silly!”

I can’t be wrong about this but the elation I was feeling was quickly dissipating, a weight settling at the bottom of my stomach instead. Girlfriends are supposed to know these things right? Star sign, shoe size, favourite action movie?

“Chase, Toby is the Sagittarius. Not me,” Will explains. Yikes! “And I only know this because you must’ve mentioned it about a million times since we started dating. I couldn’t even forget it if I tried.” He turns to walk out.

I put the mugs down hastily on the glass shelf with a THUNK! and rush after him.

“Wait! I must’ve got your star signs mixed up. You can’t be upset about this, Will. It’s nothing.”

I was pleading, my arms grasping his, my breath getting heavier by the uncomfortable minute. I was pretty sure my eyes were wild. Toby told me that when I panicked, they got wild, franticness would shine through. Not a good look, I’m sure.

Will turns to me and his indigo eyes bore into mine as he hiss “What’s my star sign, Chase?”

I stare back, the synapses in my brain firing, frantic to give me the right response. I take a guess.


Dismay and disgust washes over his face. Will turns from me and heads away from Waffle World.

(word count 494)


Yes, this is a semi-true story. Once upon a time, I got into an argument about not remembering star signs. Stupid now. But then, my heart cracked. So, let’s see how the masses respond to this semi-autobiographical piece.


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