Rose lenses grayed with age,
childhood fantasies eroded by sands
of time; the eternal bond stretched thin from
years of barely getting by. Insidious distractions loosened
entwined fingers, unnoticed, unhindered; illuminating the stark
realization that life was going nowhere- they’d become familiar strangers.
How effortlessly optimism succumbed to the troubles and struggles, magnified by
closed quarters. How natural, it seemed, to accept the sunset while forgetting the sunrise.
It would be so easy. She could save herself before the house of cards fell. She could pull the trigger;
and then remove her fingers from the weakened pulse. It would be so easy. She dared to
dream of opting for more than just staying alive, or holding out for the high after
the infinite low. Yes, it would be easy to beg for someone to help, while
wallowing in stagnant pity; to allow the course to be run, denying
responsibility for the neglected union. At a fork, she faced
decision. Pondering, softening, she reached for him
After two beats’ hesitation, petals unfolded-
fingers once again intertwined.
This is my response to Speakeasy’s weekly prompt, which is to write a piece in 750 words or less (mine is a lot less) and (1) use the sentence “It would be so easy” anywhere in the piece; and (2) make some kind of reference to the media prompt, which happens to be a video for Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees.
While I hate the fact this song has been in my head for the last 24 hours, I had a blast writing the prompt. It’s open to everyone, so if you feel inspired, click the badge below to read the full guidelines and join the fun
Five days, working hard-
Or is it hardly working?
So tired… Must. Nap. Now.
Thank goodness it’s finally Friday! Either my work is boring, or this has been one exhausting week (or both!)
I understand why Lizzy was so tired- she ate cat food, stretched, napped, roamed the house, tormented Cybil (our black tabby cat) and played with a paperclip- but I have no idea why I’m exhausted
I make a point of being mindful of my time and am careful not to wish my weeks away counting down time until the weekend, but I have to admit that I’ve been anticipating this weekend a little bit.
I’m taking the kids with me to visit my parents this weekend. They live just a few hours away, but we only see them once or twice a month. I’m looking forward to the visit. I always get more sleep there because my computer stays home!
What are you looking forward to this weekend?
In December, we had a show-down with some unwanted visitors (you can read about that here.) We thought we won but surprise, surprise- they’re back!
Last week, I got a call from my younger son’s school, which is never a good thing. They never call simply to say you have a wonderful child, or to let you know they have a spa treatment gift basket waiting for you in the front office. Perhaps they should start doing that to really mess with parents’ heads…
As I listened to the school nurse, my blood went cold. Lice. My first thought was, “Oh, crap. Not again!” My second thought was, “Oh crap, he slept in our bed two nights ago!”
On the way home from school, we stopped at Wal Mart to purchase the weapons… um, I mean lice treatments. As I walked to the checkouts, I had a déjà vu moment. I was sixteen again, buying feminine products: no matter how I held the boxes, I couldn’t conceal the contents, and it felt like everyone stared and judged. As the cashier scanned our four lice-related items, she pretended not to notice what they were. I wondered if she fought the urge to scratch her head as much as I did. If she didn’t, I bet right after we left, she at least changed the latex gloves she wore.
If I even think the word “lice”, my scalp itches and I swear I can feel things crawling on me. The temptation to shave my head is high, but I remind myself if I did that, I’d look less like Demi Moore in GI Jane and more like a cancer patient. The fact that I’m so susceptible to suggestion is funny to me, because I’m not the hypochondriac- my husband is.
In hubby’s defense, he comes from a long line of hypochondriacs. His mother has been dying of something since I first met her nearly twenty years ago. (She’s still alive, by the way, but was just in the hospital for chest pains.) It’s interesting that my husband can swear he’s caught a cold if someone sneezes twenty feet away, but he was the only one not scratching his head!
We’ve endured the shame of diagnosis and shopping for the cure and we’ve seen different shades of hypochondria. We’ve survived the lice treatment (though we’re scheduled for a follow up this week) and I’ve almost recovered from the sixteen loads of laundry. As I ponder the events of the past week, I search for any nugget of enlightenment I can find, just as I always do when I go through an adverse situation.
I’ve got nothing.
Maybe I read too much into my experiences. Perhaps I’m supposed to learn to accept that sometimes life sucks… just because it can.
Life had once been defined by linears and absolutes.
Almost forgotten were the days when right was right and wrong was wrong; a guilty verdict the line separating the two. Sarah James had once lived in color. She knew the precise moment when her world became defined by mottled shades of gray.
A wide-brimmed hat shaded her face from the unforgiving June sun. Arms folded over her chest, she surveyed her home. From the outside, it was just another blemish in a pock-marked neighborhood. As part of a “revitalization” project, she’d lucked into it for a bargain.
“I see you’re new to the area. I’m Margo Godfrey.”
Preferring solitude, Sarah took a deep breath before turning to find an older woman with graying, frizzed curls standing behind her. Her gaze lingered on the woman’s clothing for a couple seconds, caught off-guard by the midday donning of a hideous floral house coat.
“Saw your Jersey plate. ‘Lotta east coast transplants out here.”
“I suppose. I’m Sarah James.” Sarah turned her attention back to the stucco wall. She ran the scraper along the cracked mustard paint. The flakes of baked paint and worn stucco fell away, revealing a softer canary yellow. She’d chosen Serengeti Sand as the new color to represent her home, in honor of her sister who’d dreamed of studying lions in Africa.
“This house was a gem back in the sixties.”
“It is lovely.”
“Not no more. Been haunted for twenty years.”
“I don’t believe that stuff.”
“A teen died here. Never found her killer, neither.”
“Tragic.” Sarah continued chipping paint.
“What brings you to Arizona? Why central Phoenix? Why this house?”
Sarah dropped the scraper into the weeds popping out from the foundation and wiped her hands on her jeans. She stood, towering a good six inches over the stubby woman.
She took a step back.
“I like a dry heat. I like history. I like a challenge.”
The woman narrowed her eyes. “You look an awful lot like Cornelia Fowler.” She reached for Sarah’s hair. “If your hair was brown…”
Sarah clamped her hand around the woman’s wrist. Her blond ponytail flipped when she jerked her head toward her childhood home. “I have to get back.” She released her grip.
The old woman pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose. “Of course.”
Sarah watched the woman hurry away. The hair on the back of her neck prickled. She shrugged it off and continued working.
She knew its history. She’d never forget finding her partially-clothed twin sprawled on the living room floor, face down in a pool of blood. Losing Stephanie was the pulled thread that unraveled the family. A few months later, police recovered her father’s rigid body from a gutter near his favorite bar. Grief took her mother exactly one year after Stephanie died. Her official cause of death was alcohol and barbiturates. Dr. Meyers had prescribed the medication to “get her through the tough time” and in a way, Sarah figured they worked.
Cornelia found Stephanie’s murderer before police could. For that, Cornelia spent seventeen years in prison- almost half her life. Three weeks ago, she’d outsmarted the guards and embraced her freedom. She became Sarah James.
Sarah had always imagined the family reunion taking place after their home’s restoration, but she couldn’t shake the prying visit from Mrs. Godfrey. Her comment about the police never finding Stephanie’s killer niggled at her mind. Cornelia knew her sister’s boyfriend was guilty- they had a date that night. She made sure Shane Godfrey died in the same spot Stephanie did. A jury found Cornelia guilty and sentenced her to life.
Never found her killer. Sarah had to fix the mistake.
Later that night, Sarah slipped into her neighbor’s house. “I know it was you.”
The woman smiled. “Never underestimate the power of a mother’s love, Cornelia.”
Sarah cleaned Margo Godfrey’s blood from her hands before entering her own house. Margo had feared Stephanie would keep her son from attending college, so she removed the distraction. Never underestimate the power of a mother’s dream.
Sarah decided the reunion had to be tonight. Inspired by a man who’d lost everything, Job’s words came to mind. Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. May the name of the Lord be praised.
As she pulled the trigger, she hoped her taking an eye for an eye wouldn’t be judged in black and white.
This is my response for the Speakeasy weekly writing prompt, which is to write a piece in 750 words or less (mine is 743 words) (1) using “Life had once been defined by linears and absolutes.” as the first sentence AND (2) include some sort of reference to a photograph posted on the Speakeasy site, taken by Czintos Ödön.
Thanks to everyone who read and voted for my poem “He Said/She Said” last week. It was voted first place and I really appreciate all the wonderful feedback I got from that piece!
The challenge is open to everyone, so if you’re interested in joining in, check out the full guidelines by clicking the badge below. Have a beautiful Monday
Ice, but not solid.
Thrill-seeker? Avid fisher?
Brave? Nuts? Maybe both.
When we explored eastern Arizona recently, we caught sight of people on top of a frozen lake. Sure, we’ve seen some partial freezing, but none solid enough to bear such weight. I commented on what a cool picture it would be and that was all hubby needed to head back to check it out.
Those who know me would say I’m a big chicken by nature (I prefer “cautious” because it sounds less poultry) so it’s no surprise that I was skeptical about the wisdom of testing the ice. My skepticism turned to wonder as I noticed the lake wasn’t even all the way frozen. They seemed so unconcerned with silly things like falling in and getting trapped under the ice.
I might be under the influence of too many made-for-TV movies.
Now if I’d found this lake in Canada, or Minnesota, or some other place with temperatures cold enough to freeze this desert rat to the bone, perhaps I may have ventured out to feel the slickness under my soles. Then again, it’s likely I would’ve remembered the misery of falling* and still been content observing from shore.
* When my older son was five, we gave in to his begging and took him to a roller skating rink. All went well until I heard him squeal behind me, so I turned around…just in time to see his legs come out from under him and slide into me, tumbling me like a domino. For weeks, it hurt to sit and I sported this massive blue/purple/green bruise on my right cheek/hip. The worst part? Due to its location I couldn’t even show it off to garner sympathy
I hope you have a wonderful weekend, whether you are normal, insane or anywhere in between!
From the middle of the frozen lake, you motion for me to join you.
I shake my head, certain you’re half insane.
You jump up and down. “See? It’s safe!”
I close my eyes and listen for cracking ice. Safety is relative. I keep my feet on solid ground and camouflage emotions well. It’s safer this way.
I feel your hand through my coat sleeve and open my eyes.
“Don’t be scared.”
I succumb to persuasion with slippery uncertainty. Years ago, trust and I parted ways; you are my only exception.
I believe you won’t leave me on thin ice.
This is my take on the 100-Word Challenge hosted by Lance at My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog. This week’s song is “The Only Exception” by Paramore.
Anyone can join in, so check out his blog and add a 100-Word piece of your own!