Spontaneous Combustion

Stories We Tell

A Fictional Series

When Delilah was nine or ten, Martin and I went through a rough patch. Martin thought that our life was too structured; that we had lost all spontaneity.

He missed the unknowing, and all of the excitement that comes with acting on impulse. He said that his days had been reduced to “mindless obedience” to a mosaic of ‘to-do’ sticky notes and our colorful daily planner – all of which I’d strategically mounted on the refrigerator, where they could not be ignored.

I had worked hard at creating this system that Martin was condemning, and it really ticked me off. If it weren’t for my planner, and all of those ‘to-do’ stickies that he complained about, nothing would ever get done!

When my father quit his career to go back to college, it was an impulsive decision. Eventually, he received a degree for his efforts, but that didn’t erase the damage that had been done in the interim. Our family struggled for years, both financially and emotionally, and my parents marriage nearly fell apart.

I knew, from this experience, that impulsivity doesn’t always give rise to excitement, sometimes it’s more like spontaneous combustion.

Martin and I came to a compromise. Once a week we would set aside a few hours, and we’d spend that time doing something spontaneous. While ‘planning’ spontaneity may seem like an oxymoron, it was the best we could do.

There was just too much going on. Martin had his career, and then there was my work – which consisted of a part-time job, cooking, cleaning, and helping Delilah with homework. Not to mention the responsibilities that we shared, like driving Delilah to and fro, for school and all of her extracurricular activities.

Our agreement sounded good, in theory, but what it amounted to was a mess. A long series of ‘bad dates’. Martin wanted to go to a concert one night, so we drove an hour and a half to find out that it was sold out, with no scalpers hanging in the shadows.

Another time, I suggested that we have dinner at an old diner that we had frequented before Delilah was born, and we both ended up sick with food poisoning.

This whirlwind went on for a couple of months, and it was beginning to wreak havoc on our relationship. We hardly spoke, unless it concerned Delilah, and Martin started camping out on the couch.

We decided to give it one last shot. If it didn’t work, we’d either separate, or track down the overpriced therapist that had saved my parents marriage years earlier.

I knew that Martin was trying. He opted for a picnic in the park, and he hated picnics. But, he knew how much I loved them, so this spontaneous date was all about me, and our relationship.

Martin made all of the plans – he insisted that I do nothing but show up. Delilah was going to a friends house, and I’d be taking her there, so he was going to go set up at the park, and I’d just meet him there after the drop-off.

He packed a big bag full of food, drinks, utensils, music, and a blanket. I knew that Martin hadn’t checked the weather report – because he never did – so I took a peek before I left: 50% chance of rain. I threw an umbrella in my trunk.

Fifteen minutes after I got there it started to drizzle, ever so lightly. Ten minutes later, the drizzle was a downpour. Martin looked defeated.

I sprinted to my car while he packed everything up and then we met again – somewhere in the middle – Martin, with a soggy bag of goodies in tow, and me, waving my umbrella at him.

“I like to be prepared!” I shouted over the torrential rain.

I had no idea how Martin would react. He paused, and then started to laugh. He slid the umbrella open and held it up, shielding us both from the rain. We squeezed in tightly, and I realized that our bodies hadn’t been that close together in months.

Martin leaned in and kissed me. Not the usual peck – to say hello or goodbye – but the way that we used to kiss, years ago. The kiss seemed to last forever, and – for the first time in a long time – we were both present. We forgot about the soggy picnic bag, our soaking wet clothes, and the fact that our feet were sinking into the mud.

Martin looked at me and smiled. “Now that’s spontaneity!” He said.

“More like spontaneous combustion,” I thought to myself. “But in a good way.”

Our agreement was extinguished, but the fire kept on burning.

A Note From Me

This segment wasn’t easy for me since romance isn’t exactly one of my strong suits (haha), but it seemed like my stories never said much about the subject. I don’t know. I like to write about humanity, people’s hearts, and love… but romance is a whole different animal, if you ask me.

Anyway, I had fun with the image yesterday and wrote half of the story then, and then half of the story today – which explains why I’m using yesterday’s Word of the Day Challenge: Spontaneity.

The image is another one that may be difficult to make out. It’s hard to say because I know what they are before I add after-effects that distort my creation so that they’re often unrecognizable.

I made the couple kissing under the umbrella in Illustrator, and then plopped them into a photograph of a park setting. Then I added oil paint and rain effects.

Other than that, I don’t really have much to say. It’s hot as heck here and my afternoons are spent melting into the furniture. Gotta love August!

That’s about all for now.. thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed!

Until later,
Peace & Love!


  1. I really really LOVE the image, J! It reflects how rain can create ambiance (I felt like I was in the rain’s swirl, but not with the couple!). And it fits the story perfectly–I liked it!

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    1. Aww thank you Z! So glad to hear that. I was thinking of you just a while ago. I need to email you soon because I need to vent!! Haha. I’ll be in touch! Much love to you, hope all is well!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Oh how wonderful that you were just thinking of me!! I think of you very often too…but time gets away from me, so I just do “Likes”; and haven’t had anything interesting to write to you. However, I’m riding a spiritual HIGH right now–so filled up with Faith and JOY. So it’s an excellent time for you to send me a “vent”!! Much LOVE to you as well💖

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