This spring, I took a writing class offered through Write Around Portland. It was called “Prompt” because each week we would meet and write for a limited amount of time–usually somewhere between 2-8 minutes–to a number of different prompts. As the school year grinds to a start and I have less time to write, I will be featuring excerpts from my writing class in lieu of the weekly essay.
We stopped at the tiny neighborhood grocery store on our way there. It was past dark and the clerk smiled, knowing what we were up to. She had seen it before, kids piling out of cars, swarming the store and happily lining up to hand over their dollar and change.
We piled back in the car and drove up the road a ways, pulling off and parking in the lot of the Mormon church across the street. Without much commentary, we picked up our towels, grabbed our bags and headed up the hill. It was a smooth hike, though steep. The grass had been graded and trimmed and I always wondered if they had to buy special mowers to operate on such a steep slope.
Halfway up we paused, sweating and panting, and stared out at the city while we caught our breath. There were others around us, but the hill had room enough for us all.
We broke open our bags and our blocks of ice slid onto the grass. We caught them with our feet, keeping them from rolling down the hill, as we shoved the empty bags into our pockets and folded up our towels into a small square. Without hesitation, we set our towels on top of the ice and sat down. Smiling, we leaned back, our abdominal muscles lifting our feet and we were off, sliding down the grassy hill of a potato magnate in the hot night of a desert summer. If you kept your feet up, you could make it all the way to the bottom, but mostly laughter took over and you tumbled away from your block of ice, scrambling to catch it before it slid away without you.
At the bottom, we wrapped our blocks in our towels and walked back up the hill, the sound of green grass beneath our feet, the cold ice block melting through the towels, freezing our hands.