Share your smile, Share your love, Share your laughter
Share your smile, Share your love, Share your laughter
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The house felt alive. It felt like it was angry with me. Each room full of things to be done, glaring at me like the high noon sun on newly fallen snow. Blinding me and tripping me in each room which seemed to close in on me the longer I stood there so I bounce from room to room so I can breathe. I stand now in the middle of the bedroom.
The focussed sunbeam through the window grabbing my arms which passively hang by my side unsure of where to begin. The heat of the sun and my mind full of the work ahead collaborate and close my throat through the use of ghostly fingers which wrap around only parts of my throat, allowing me to still take a breath, not a full a breath but enough to stay awake and aware. The sensation of stifled breath speeds up my mind and induces a tear and some beads of sweat along my temples. With heavy feet, I force myself out of the room. Torn between guilt, have to and need to swells of emotion. I gotta get out of this room. I cling to the door frame as I take a deep breath and look down the way. I feel a deep grumble in my belly. I need to eat.
My steps become lighter and with purpose. I walk towards the kitchen, well what passes for a kitchen. It is a sink, a fridge, and a stove with no countertops. I pull out the salmon from the fridge that I was saving for dinner. The pink flesh with a fresh sprinkle of salt is the most delectable and wonderful thing in my life at this moment. I savour it. I relive the lovely dinner I had with my friend. The joy of talking and laughing as we shared stories. It was just last night. This fish is what was left over. A delicious delight of memory in morsels of food which not only feed my belly but my broken spirit. A tear falls only to be redirected by the corners of my smile.
Time for Dessert. Something sweet. Not much in the kitchen other than boxes...ohh that looks good. My last apple. My Gala. My sweet dessert. I rinse it under the tap. I take my first bite. It is crisp and sweet with a chaser of sour that hits the back of my throat. I was not expecting that. Hummm...kinda like my life. I take bites, do things and sometimes the unexpected hits you. As this thought rests on my mind I look at my apple. I have more to eat, its beautiful white flesh just waiting to be consumed. Ready to nourish me. If I wait, the flash will brown, soften, decay and decompose. If I eat the apple, the flesh that is there is finite and there will be a last bite...but that last bite will be inside of me, by my choice and my efforts. Either way - the apple one day will be gone, by decay or by consumption. As I take the last literal bite of my gala I now hold a full smile on my face, fear in my mind, belief in my spirit. I return to the bedroom where I was dying. I close my eyes, breathe deeply to my toes and release the same breath out my mouth. I open my eyes. My divorce is just but a bite, one with a chaser of sour. My next bite might be the sweetest. I won’t know though unless I open up and bear down on the flesh that lays before me. It is time to stir my h
April 17 2019:
Style Flash Fiction
Exploring my feelings on where I am at post divorce, starting over.
When I STEPPED forward and took the leap I fell all the way down
Cold wet pavement kissing my cheek, “who the hell are you?” my demon whispered in my ear
With a deep breath I push myself up to my knees to look and see no-one is around
“That’s as good as it gets”, he whispers to me, “may as well rest here my dear.”
When I JUMPED forward and took the leap I tripped and was on my knees
Skin ripped and bloody, “I knew you would not go very far” my demon said to me sure and low
Cleaning my wound, I thought I was all alone, but then saw someone peeking through the trees
“It hurts! Rest and go home my dear. You are done, this is your best and as far as you can go.”
When I RAN forward and took the leap I landed on my feet strong and tall
Heart racing, breathing heavy, I heard my demon yell “never again will you win this race.”
Some people are waving at me and I hear them cheering, “well done,you didn’t fall.”
Screaming as loud as he can my demon berates me, YOU ARE OUT OF PLACE!!!
I thank you coach demon for your lessons and words of sage
I choose to fall and rise again and again and learn from your rage.
I was part of a writing group. The prompt to start was;
"When I stepped forward and took the leap..."
With a roll of the dice, as they slipped out of my hand I knew that I had lost. It was my last roll and chance. I lost the game because I needed that Yahtzee...only two more sixes, and yet staring back at me were two ones. As I looked at my father I smiled and I knew that the game was nowhere near as important as the time we were spending together. My thoughts drifting back to when I was a child and thought that my father hated me or at least did not like me so very much. I base that opinion on the fact he did not tell me he loved me, not once do I recall him saying those words to me. The disbelief and disappointment in his eyes when I could not recite the 9x table without stopping or crying. The way he was more interested in cleaning up my mess than the painting I just created for him.
“You cheated” I accuse him with a smirk on my face. “Did not, I am just that good.” the smirk slips away and is replaced with a straight face and a tear, “yes you are..” I whisper more to me than to him. Thinking of the fact that I had to leave in the morning to catch my flight home made me lose my breath and shed another tear. “Shall we play another game?” I asked as I collected the dice and pens placing them gently in the box for Yahtzee.
No reply. Dad stood up and shuffled to the counter and got himself another cup of coffee. He looked like a distorted transposed penguin. His plaid slippers scuffing on the linoleum, his black and white housecoat tied neatly at the waist over top of his pale blue pyjama set. His complexion fair and normal. His black hair, now grey and thin, looking dishevelled no matter how often he pet it down. His glasses spotted with fingerprints and his moustache matching the snow on top of the mountain as they say. His eyes... they were not the same. I followed his glance to the garden out back as I put the game back on the bookshelf in the corner of the kitchen.
“Who put that fountain in the yard?” Dad was looking at a small three-foot water feature that proudly spouted a small spray and a whisper of water droplets falling in a soothing pitter patter that could only be heard if you were sitting in the Muskoka chair next to it. “We did dad..remember? When I arrived earlier this week...we went to Home Hardware?”
A blink another blink and a breath…”Oh right...yes” a sip of coffee…” must be tired and forgot..”
“Are you up for another game Dad?”
“Scrabble it is.” Dad proclaimed as he automatically reached for the cane that was resting against the counter under where the coffee pot was sitting. The wooden cane that had become part of Dad, when he would remember to use it. In one hand his coffee, the other the cane which matched his shuffle, that extra support to keep his balance so he would not fall as often. I pull another box from the bookshelf and return to the kitchen table.
Pulling out the wooden letter holders I look at mine in my hand. These simple little wooden pieces. These things always make me think of pews in a church. The plain wood, and soft curve and ridge to allow the letter tiles to rest until called upon to create a new word. My mind drifts just for a moment to the church I was in just the days before flying to Ottawa. The beautiful stained glass tableaux all around. The pews, hard wood, carved and polished and yet somehow in that moment the most comforting seat I would find.
“10 points to start” pipes up dad proudly as he lays the letter D on a double letter square on the board followed by R A M A. DRAMA. The comedy and tragedy of life. The irony of this day, the last day that Dad will live in his own home. A day where his balance of clarity and being able to live in the present is the strongest it has been in months. Able to play games, but yet not remember where his own bathroom is in his home. Today and tomorrow I pray the dementia steals these memories first and fast, as to not let him live in the feeling of defeat and humiliation, understanding what has happened, of no longer being “HOME” but having to live in a nursing home for the rest of his days.
As if a magic wand was waved over his head, he looks up at me with clarity and focus in his eyes. He looks me straight in my eyes. “Jennifer. I love you and am so proud of you.” “thank you, Dad. I love you too.”
In the background, I hear Judy Garland singing, somewhere over the rainbow. Funny how things like a song connect moment in our lives. Judy sang for Dad and me as we finished our last game of scrabble asking that great question of why oh why can’t I? Judy once again sings for me, just me as I sit in my car at the funeral home looking up at the blue sky full of white clouds...the question of why? The memory of that last day we spent in dad’s home. Grateful for this song to draw up a bounty of memories, good and bad, sad and happy.
I look up at my opponent, not my Dad, but my life partner and I lay the first letter in my last word, down goes the letter L, in this game of scrabble and I spell out the word but also the sentiment of sorrow for how my dad spent the last part of his life and how I am currently feeling in this moment of mine. L O S T.
August 20, 2018:
Style Flash Fiction
I sometimes use STORY DICE for my jumping off point. That is what I did here. I also gave myself a time limit of one hour.
On June 5th 2019: I presented an oral storytelling version of my story with the Guelph Guild of Storytellers.
This is a story about a tiny flower named Wible who became friends with a young girl named Cathy. Wible is a little Goldstar, also known as a Black-Eyed Susan, also known as the “PRETTY GOLD DAISY”. Wible likes the last name best because it is the one that Cathy gave her. Cathy is the young girl that lives in the red brick house where Wible lives. Wible lives in the front garden box underneath Cathy's bedroom window.
Cathy was considered an odd girl because she talked to the flowers, plants and trees. Several of the neighbors had mentioned this concern to her mother in casual conversation. Her mother knew that it was nothing to fuss over, and she would just reply to the neighbours concern with a smile, and a polite ,”oh really? Thank you for sharing”.
“Good morning ladies and gentlemen”, Cathy said as she bounced down the front steps towards her favorite place under the big maple tree. “Isn’t today just beautiful?”
Wible wanted to shout, YES!! Unfortunately flowers have no lips or mouth to talk. All Wible could do was hold herself as tall as she could and spread out her petals in the most happy display possible. It was such an effort and wonderful display Cathy did notice.
“Well, aren't you just something special?” Cathy knelt down to look at Wible closer. She smiled, “You know, people think that I am crazy for talking to plants, but it just feels natural to me,” Cathy giggled and explained her joke to Wible as if she understood, “nature, plants, natural, get it?” Wible did in fact understand and found the pun funny so her petals waved in the wind as her way of laughing. Cathy was mesmerized for a moment. “Did you just respond to me?”
Without hesitation Cathy shared another joke, “How do the trees in the forest access the internet?” Cathy’s stare was laser focused on Wible’s petals as she continued, “they log on''. It happened again, the petals definitely moved in a happy and quick flutter. “Cool” was Cathy's way of confirming Wible did respond.
From that day forward Cathy found a new favorite spot in the garden, sitting next to her favorite pretty gold daisy. Each day Cathy would share a story, a joke, and sometimes she would just sit silently with Wible, enjoying the gentle warm breezes of summer washing over them. Wible found ways to share her moods. Petals wide open and full meant she was happy, and when they drooped and were rolled into themselves she was sad. If she wanted to say “yes” she would point her leaves one way and “no” she pointed her leaves in the opposite direction.
Cathy was fascinated by this blossoming friendship with this one flower. Wible also was curious as to why and how this connection, this friendship was possible. The answer came unexpectedly one afternoon.
One day, the Smithson boys, Michael, Christopher and Dylan, from across the street were quite loud and difficult to ignore. More accurately Michael and Dylan were fighting about what they wanted to do. Christopher was off to the side, waiting for the yelling to stop. Michael was demanding and telling the other two what to do. Dylan yelled back at Michael then asked Christopher what he wanted to do. The yelling continued and Christopher sat down on the edge of the driveway covering his ears, not saying a word. Michael finally gave up and walked away. Dylan watched his little brother and sat across from him. Dylan rolled the basketball in the driveway to his brother. His brother rolled it back a few times and then it evolved into a game of one on one, laughing and goofing around.
Cathy felt a wave of understanding wash over her in that moment watching the brothers. She felt confident that she now knew it is magic that allows her to have a friendship with her favorite daisy. It is the magic of love, her love for the flowers. Mixed with a pinch of curiosity and patience which most people call listening.
Just like Wible, Christopher did not say a word, and clearly communicated he wanted the yelling to stop. Once the ball started bouncing, laughter followed and the connection made between the two brothers was amazing, it was love.
Cathy could not explain the magic she had discovered that day, but she knew it was magic. Some combination of her love, Wible’s desire to be part of something and both listening to each other. The magic connection Cathy now understood, is communication, listening and expressing, through love. That is how Wible, the pretty gold daisy, and Cathy the young odd girl, were able to become friends, through listening, sharing and caring.
This is an original piece I wrote for the blog for Kids Country Club.
The theme is both about communication and love.