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  • Writer's pictureSofia Sawyer

Writing Prompt: Until it Happens to You

Write a passage that uses the line “Until it happens to you.”

I was okay being in the background. Like an extra in a movie. I was the girl who celebrated other people’s big moments, helped them during hard times, and was their constant when life was mundane.

That was me, more or less. The person who watched life happen to everyone else.

I’d accepted being my friend’s number one fan when she was named prom queen senior year. I’d been the shoulder my college crush cried on when the girl he’d loved broke his heart. I’d dutifully performed my bridesmaid’s tasks with a flourish and had been there through graduations, weddings, pregnancies, failed relationships, lay-offs, and cross-country moves.

And, for a while, I wondered when it would be my turn. What would be my moment of glory when all eyes were on me? When would I have something that mattered enough it would tear my heart out if it went awry?

After 28 years, I accepted it wouldn’t happen for me. My friends and family–hell, even my acquaintances–would always have moments that outshined mine. It’s just the way it is.

Trust me on this. I worked hard for my milestones. I graduated high school and college with good grades. Landed a well-paying job and got promoted a handful of times. Upgraded my apartment to have a clear view of the park I love. I even had a few decent relationships.

But all those accomplishments felt lackluster compared to what I was surrounded with. My moments happened quietly. Maybe celebrated with a quick drink with friends at the local watering hole or with a pat on the back and words of encouragement.

They never made a splash. They never lit up my face the way I had seen for other people. And it never felt like it consumed me.

They were simply checkpoints. Things to acknowledge in passing as I continue to push forward on that endless stretch of road called life.

But then something changed.

One stormy afternoon, the world tilted on its axis. The moment I’d been searching for finally happened as I nearly drowned in the pouring rain while I rushed down the sidewalk to my place. Shielding my eyes with my hand limited my visibility, causing me to run straight into the man who would change everything.

I looked up and searched his face as water cascaded down his cheeks. He steadied me with strong hands and smiled a warm grin that seemed to say, “Guess we both could have used an umbrella today.”

In my 28 years of being in the background, I’d become cynical. I never believed I’d ever experience anything that would truly move me. But something about that day and that man had changed everything for me.

I’d waited my whole life for a major event to happen so I could finally feel something. Little did I know, this subtle, normal moment would be it.

A downpour. A man. And a street corner on an average Saturday afternoon.

That seemingly ordinary moment would shift the course of my entire life to something I could have only dreamed of. Before that moment, I would tell you that something like that could never be true…until it happens to you.


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