Small Things

This token. 

It’s a small thing, really. 

Only it isn’t. 

Because this token, what it represents, spans the widest ocean.

Soars higher than any mountain.

And here, in this present time and place, it’s all she can do.

Kiss her fingertips, press them to her heart, and write his name in the sand.

 

At a loss for words this week.  This one comes in at a very diminutive 53/500…

Still, please enjoy.

http://writeonedge.com/2014/03/writing-prompt-2014-week-13/

 

“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

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You come to me.

A skull and crossbone shard of coral.

Sharp.

Worn smooth.

Wisdom of a hundred ages old.

Scars fade.

Sand falls away.

You seek to discover the treasures I forgot I had.

And I find you.

Milk and Honey

You know what love looks like.  Worry lines criss crossed by strands of grey-brown hair.  The faded rose-print dress, worn and washed, and worn and washed, until it’s as tired as the wisp of the round-shouldered woman whose waist you can almost wrap your arms around twice.  And this wisp of a woman in the rose-print dress, when you picture her and think about how hard she’s worked and how much she’s done without, hoping to give you a better life, your heart is torn to pieces.

A moment of clarity emerges, amid the haze of endless dust and toil and too many mouths to feed, when you realize that no matter how desperately your mother tries to fool herself, the rainbow she seeks does not exist. Not here, at least.  You realize something else as well.  At 15, you have reached the August of your youth, and that beneath an emerging grownup sense of duty to do what is right, also lurks the shoved-down-deep-into-your-pockets desire of wanting more than this place can ever give you.  And you are burdened, for the first time in your tender life, with the millstone of guilt.

It won’t be long now before you hear the inevitable-your future calling to you in the whistle of a passing freight train. You’ll cloak yourself in a pair of your little brother’s overalls.  Twist and pin your dark curls into a knot on the top of your head-hidden under his old mustard yellow newsboy cap.  You’ll heave the responsibilities of adulthood onto your young shoulders.  Hop aboard the blackness of an open boxcar.  And you’ll be gone.

Stolen

Wrapped in a faded beach towel, I sit by the lake for the last time.  The lengthening shadows of the trees behind me creep beyond the point where shore and small waves meet, spilling onto the surface of the water, and I realize that I’ve been here, on this patch of grass, for quite some time.  I’m cold, and a shiver presses through my wet hair, all the way down to the tips of my toes.

The thoughts I am lost in take me back to a certain summer, the memories still so vivid in my mind.  Like black silhouettes against white paper.  It was the summer after my second year of college.  The summer  I met him.  Liquid blue eyes and a straw colored crew cut.   Ocean and sand.  I’d singled him out from the group of other swimmers who were gathered at the lake, and shyly I realized that I had been noticed as well.  By late afternoon we  were sharing  ice cream and holding  hands.

Several nights later, I began to get the phone calls.  A voice over the line, her voice, whispering the warning I would come to know so well.   Stay away from things that don’t belong to you. Followed by a click, and then silence.

I knew her, even though we’d never met.  She was the girl who had been his girl, and had been replaced-and she was devastated.  She’d made plans for the two of them, sketched out a future that she saw as their destiny.  Baked him cookies, and knit him sweaters.  I was nothing but a thief.  All  summer long, she continued to call me.  The same whispering voice, and the same warning.  The same pitiful attempt to stake a claim on a heart that was no longer hers.  I felt sad, more than threatened.

I  stand up and brush off my bare legs, polka dotted with small bits of dried grass that have stuck to my skin.  The surface of the lake has grown dark, and in the fading daylight I see the glint of a silvered trout as it jumps, as though suddenly afraid of the deep, cold depths of its home.  I’m urging myself to leave this place as well.   I’ve done what I came here to do.  Swim one last time in this water.  The same water that was so deeply shadowed the last time he swam in it that it swallowed everything.

And fate decided he would belong to no one.

 

Keeping Time

One, two, three, four.  One, two, three, four.

Deep breath.  Keep the tears at bay.

She’s made the mistake again.  Chirping on like a canary at breakfast about pan fried-steak dinner plans (mashed potatoes or rice?) and how she’d love to have a brand new toaster.

But judging by his eyes-fixed on a point outside her existence-it’s clear he’d rather be watching  paint dry.

She stands, begins, under the lingering cloud of his silence, to carry dishes to the sink, while he fetches his raincoat from the rack in the hall, drapes it over his arm, puts on his hat, and with leather briefcase in hand-is gone without so much as a word goodbye.

~

In her kitchen, she switches on the radio, plugged in next to the failing toaster. Wait Till You See Her serenades rainbow-colored ballroom bubbles that erupt as she runs an enameled dishpan full of hot soapy water. 

The steam coaxes her memory out into the open-like an envelope, sealed shut, but yielding under the sultry persuasion of moisture and heat.  She is at the Dixon’s party, and she’s gone into the sitting room to fetch a drink for Vance, only to bump into Glen Dixon.  He seems stunned at the sight of her.  Her hair, unrestrained.  Her filmy rose flowered gown draped softly on her body.  Are you having a good time, Lou?  he flirts.  Beckons her to come close, pointing to a spot on his cheek for her to plant a kiss.

Untying the strings of her yellow gingham apron, she lets it drop to the floor. Kicks off her shoes.  Pulls out the pins holding up her hair.   She forgets the gaudy gilded wallpaper she did not choose.  Forgets her seldom used ice cream soda spoons.  Forgets that the rhythm of her life, like a 5/4 beat, is almost impossible to dance to.  And starts to waltz.

 

 

Write On Edge

http://writeonedge.com/2014/03/writing-prompt-2014-week-11/