Bathing Beauty

She looked most beautiful when she was in the water.  Lissome.  Graceful.  Self-assured.  More mermaid than mortal, the light sparkling  off of her wet skin.  A diamond caught in sun.  On land, she judged herself akin to a leaden barge.

Zipped into a demurely skirted turquoise one-piece swimsuit, her head tilted down so as to avoid the stares and smirks she was certain were being showered upon her, she navigated the seemingly infinite distance from beach towel (hers was yellow, splashed with orange fish)  to pool until she could seat herself primly on the tiled edge near the deep end, and visually reduce herself by half.  After dipping pointed toes into the chlorinated fathoms, testing the temperature of her element, she slid into the concealing blue depths.

She felt most beautiful when she was in the water.  Buoyantly twirling and spinning in the manner of a sleek seal, her flawlessly executed strokes barely disturbing the water’s surface, she dove beneath it-to a league worlds apart from the ungainly undersea garden of churning arms and legs.

If she could only hover above herself.  Observe those other swimmers-flailing and thrashing and gulping for air  like fish on dry land.  Such a stark contrast to her water poetry.  She would really see it, then.  The beauty beneath her own surface.


Write Tribe

A new writing prompt for me, from Write Tribe

She looked most beautiful…

Hesitation Waltz

Victorian skaters

A winter dance, frozen in daguerreotype black and white.

He leads, she slips. 

He catches her, she falls for him.

His face colors flame, hers colors blush.

Sparks fly, and the ice melts.


After a pretty awful week, I wanted to write something upbeat. (I hope this made you smile as well.)  Also, on a historical note, the Hesitation Waltz was  introduced in 1910 by the famous dance couple Vernon and Irene Castle.

Photo credit: here.

Perfect Penmanship

Download / By Todd Quackenbush

July, 1940

Hilly loved the vase the moment she saw it.  A flea-bitten yet no less visually arresting 1920’s porcelain study of contrasts, geometrically rigid in form with its stark horizontal lines, yet softly glazed the color of  a sun-ripened plum.  Purchased that afternoon from an appropriately quaint second-hand shop, two streets, yet worlds away from the fashionable brownstone where she resided as Mrs. Gerald L. Walker, she’d brought the vase home to Gerald’s raised eyebrow reception and imperious verdict of “Honestly, Hilly.  How much did you spend on that?

Removing her gloves (white-cotton correct, for summer) Hilly wrapped her treasure in a vibrantly bohemian scarf (another thrift store purchase) and squirreled the purple pottery reflection of herself safely within the satiny blue sanctuary of her suitcase.  Set near the front of her closet, where she could readily see it, her suitcase served as a reminder, of sorts, that a world of possibilities, however out of reach, was waiting for her.      


November, 1980

They really did seem to crawl out from the woodwork.  Relatives of every imaginable degree, gathered in the now tenantless apartment to plunder the spoils of Gerald and Hilly’s life together.  The mint condition complete set of rose patterned Syracuse china.  A rare and expensive 1930’s Olivewood art deco coffee table.  Lalique crystal decanters-two of those.  Sticky notes bearing hastily scrawled names were attached  on a “first come, first served” basis. 

By early evening, the swarm had come and gone, leaving only crumbs.  In the bedroom closet, Hilly’s suitcase was still waiting.  

December 1980

As the girl unwrapped the vase, discovered inside a musty old suitcase left behind by the previous inhabitants, her breath caught in her chest. She loved it. And then, as the realization of what else she had found inside the suitcase set in-a ribbon-bound sheaf of onion skin paper, immaculate handwriting filling every sheet-she sensed she had struck gold.


The vase, now filled with a dozen freshly sharpened number two pencils, shares space on a well-used vintage desk, right next to a classic black Underwood typewriter.  Lounging comfortably in the embrace of a once grand Victorian sofa, the young woman starts to read onion skin pages, and the story of  Hilly-the real Hilly, comes to life.

A ghost, unseen, finds peace.  And moves on.

Image courtesy of Unsplash.

Winter in Waikiki

I don’t mind the rain any more, not even cold rain.  When skies turn the color of graphite, a memory emerges from behind the clouds.  I’m part of a small clutch of tourists, caught in a tropical downpour, seeking shelter among the tentacled trunks of a massive banyan tree.  As balmy drops find warmth-starved bare arms and legs, coax us back into the open, we allow ourselves to be anointed.  And talk about paradise.

We Wrote Letters

We wrote letters. Fast letters.  Page upon page of urgently penned, tightly packed sentences, sharing, with each other, the minutiae of our daily lives.  Written fast so as not to omit a single important detail.  (It all seemed important then.)  And slow letters. Handfuls of carefully chosen words, laced with love and sentiment, aching with loneliness and longing.

For four years, we wrote letters.  Every day, every week, every month, save those precious intervals, scattered around the calendar, when you came home on leave, and we traded paper for conversation, and gave our weary calloused fingers a break.

We wrote letters, while you were fighting somewhere in the Pacific and I was expanding my horizons in our small town, learning to pay the bills and drive and cope on my own.

You came home in early 1946.  A lifetime, it seemed, from when you left.  Yet in spite of  all of those letters between us, the bridge that spanned time and distance, we were both so different we barely knew one another.

We wrote letters.  Unintentionally recorded our history in an attempt to hold on to our futureTo us. That’s all in the past now.

I miss you.

Wheel of Misfortune

The first time I saw a hawk strike a dove, watched as wings and blood rained from the sky, I grasped that the hand of fate was kind to some of us, but not to all of us.


We are asking for a 33-word response to the following snippet:

The first time I saw. . .

Here’s the catch: all of your 33 words must be one syllable each.  We’re going low-brow on your this week.  Or not.  Can you class it up under these restrictions?  Give us your best. – See more at:

January 9th, 1945


Packed in the filthy holds of the ship, POW’s huddle together in darkness.  Day and night, fused together, suspend the men in a timeless abyss.  On the fifteenth morning, blue dawn breaks, and the planes come.  The men, at last, are liberated, from the stinking ship, from captivity, from life.  Unseen by tortured eyes for two long weeks, the moon covers itself with clouds, and weeps.

For my Uncle Pete.


The prompt?  Moon

Trouble in Mind

There are spiders in the basement.  Clockwork-legged creatures that skitter across the cold cement floor like unwelcome thoughts. There are boxes, too. Precarious pyramids of brown corrugated cardboard filled with mistakes, regrets, silly accumulations and outgrown notions.  Waiting to be moved out. (As soon as I am able to move on.)  And most distressing of all-damp, heavily shadowed corners.  I  hesitate to imagine what trepidations might be lurking within those dark spaces.

I’m inclined to flee.  Nail the basement door shut.  Never again force my shuddering self to venture into the depths of this bare-bulb lighted pit. Turn my back and whimper whatever.

Still, among the complicated chaos, I discover some gems.  Radiant moments, resplendent memories, carefully packed away in colored tissue paper. I carry them upstairs.  Illuminate them in optimistic daylight.  And find sanity once more.

This week we were asked to use the third definition of the word whatever-(adverb) Used to show that something is not important.

A Different Slice of Cake

Divinely confectioned as Viola was in a draped-back gown of ivory bridal satin, antagonistic clouds were already gathering on the morning of her impending wedded bliss.   Edgar, precisely attired in a black tailcoat and trousers, mulishly pocket watch dueled over the correct time with his out-of-town best man.  “Good golly,” countered Edgar’s second, his hair sweeping recklessly across his eyes.  “Of what consequence is a minute or two when an entire lifetime with this pip of a gal awaits you!”  Enough time, perhaps, for Viola, noting the rakish angle of Cecil’s finely chiseled jawline, to fancy an entirely different future.


The prompt?  Moments.