Lotus, to eat, the beach

You give me a Buddhist-themed noun, an action, and a location, and I create the story. Today, I was given the noun “lotus,” the action “to eat,” and a location “the beach.” Hope you enjoy the read!

“If you had a problem with me waking you up early you should have just told me, I’m not a mind reader.” Joyce was eating her pork ribs spitefully as she said this, chewing at the seasoned flesh with a vigor that made Helen regret she had said anything at all. “You know?” asked Joyce, as she stared into Helen’s eyes, her tongue aggressively seeking bits of meat that were caught in her teeth.

“You’re right, I’m sorry,” Helen said, looking away and directing her gaze at the sea, where Joyce’s boy, Mike, was paddling with delight. Helen hated arguing, especially on days like these. The three of them had come to the beach to celebrate their two year anniversary as a family—it was supposed to be a lovely break from their hectic working lives, a day to remember. But now this.

“I’m going to the car to get some more hot sauce,” Helen lied, trying to sound collected so there would be no questions asked. Once she got to the car she practically jumped into the back seat, slammed the door shut, and burst into hysterical sobs. Why did she always have to open her stupid mouth? If she had kept her stupid mouth shut, none of this would have happened, she thought, and she had to muster all of her willpower to get into the lotus position instead of banging her head against the hard door. All she had wanted was to lie in a little today because it was Sunday, and in her mind she had made this perfectly clear in the past. Yet Joyce proceeded to stomp around the house at an ungodly hour, and although Helen was exhausted, she had tried her best to hide her frustration. But when they arrived at the beach and Joyce teased her for being in a daze, it had been too much—the reproach was already out of Helen’s mouth before she realized what she was doing.

Helen tried focusing on her breath like she had learned in her meditation class, but instead of calming down, her anger towards Joyce grew. Maybe this wasn’t the real deal after all. Their compatibility had seemed to wane over the past year, and as she thought this she remembered the way in which Sophie had flirted with her by the water dispenser at the office. The thought of Sophie’s brown eyes and her long, curly hair made Helen shudder, and she instinctively took her smartphone out of her pocket. Sophie had always seemed mesmerized by her, and Helen knew she was just one text away from kindling a brand new romantic relationship…

After she calmed down enough, Helen made her way back to the beach, where Joyce was busy fixing up Mike’s swimming suit, which was hanging low due to all sand that had accumulated in it. Upon seeing Helen’s swollen eyes, Mike asked dejectedly if they were going home. “Not at all,” said Joyce, as she turned towards Helen, taking her hand and gripping it tightly. “Helen here and I have a boxing fight to finish,” she added with a wink. “And once we’re done, the three of us must go back to the water for a family swim.” Helen squeezed Joyce’s hand back, thinking how different her childhood could have been if her parents had been willing to fight for what they had. 

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