“Sir?” Ingrid held her cup toward the elderly man.
He halted after he’d passed by, and then shuffled toward her. He leaned down, his face inches from hers. His bushy eyebrows knitted together like one long caterpillar. That’s when she knew she’d made her first mistake. Never hit the same mark twice, Momma had warned.
“Child, last year, you took advantage of my kindness by stealing my wallet.”
“God forgives and so shall I,” he said before dropping several coins into her cup.
“Bless you,” she called to his back as she tucked his wallet into her skirt.
So, today, I tried something new. Lance, over at My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog, has invited me several times in comments to participate in the 100-word song challenge. I’ve never done it because it is so out of my comfort zone (and I’m a big chicken). That’s why I decided to try it today.
The song is “Her First Mistake” by Lyle Lovett. I wasn’t familiar with it so I gave it a listen, and then tried to come up with a different take. You tell me whether it works or not
If you’d like to write your own response, post it on your blog and then go to Lance’s blog (linked above) to post your link. Have fun!
to touch what is out of reach.
a young boy’s heart,
propels his infinite curiosity.
his desire to know
this sometimes tumultuous
world will survive insurmountable adversity.
To the captured firefly,
I hope the search for endless “whys?”
Shuns pervasive complacency rooted in our society.
his pure joy of discovery
illuminates my often cynical view, carved by
murky undercurrents flowing through earliest memories.
Inspired by my sons, this is my response to Trifecta’s weekly prompt, which is to write a 33-333 word piece using the following word/definition:
COMPANION (noun) – 3. a.: one that is closely connected with something similar; b.:one employed to live with and serve another
The challenge is open to everyone, so click on the link above to check out other responses- or even better, submit your own!
Now, for an update. Several weeks ago, my piece, Love Story, was voted first place and for that, I won a $33 Barnes and Noble gift card. I finally made it to the store last weekend (yay!) so I can give the promised rundown on what bought. I got books for the kids for Christmas (we always get them some kind of book.) And I’m super excited because I really think they will like my choices this year.
My older son bought a used guitar with his birthday money, so I selected a guitar book/dvd for him. My younger son loves helping in the kitchen, so I picked a kids cookbook so he can choose meals and lead the cooking (I’ll be his assistant :)) Oh, and of course, I picked up a couple books for me!
Now, I had to laugh, because the transaction was so suited to Trifecta. I paid with my $33 card and my balance was a giggle-producing $13.33!
Thank you so much to everyone who read and voted for my story that week. And a huge “THANK YOU” to the editors for the lovely incentive to celebrate the 99th challenge!
in the air.
lust and guile;
that lured me
into your conjured
Part of me rested
on the glowing coals,
of your deceit,
that snared my
I found truth
in what I wanted
by the elusive
I will forever
bear the cursed
a traitorous heart
(or will not)
This is my response to the Speakeasy prompt, which was to write a fictional piece in less than 750 words using “The smell of smoke lingered in the air.” as the first line and make some sort of reference to William Blake’s painting, The Night of Enitharmon’s Joy. I considered adding some explanation here, but decided I’d rather not ruin your interpretation of the poem.
I did poetry this week because in a comment I made on Calamity Rae’s poetic response last week (which came in third place, by the way), I said I’d write my next response in poetry form. So I did
This writing prompt is open to anyone up for the challenge, so click on the badge below to check out all the details!
Stella LaMont. My first crush; first love. Some forty-one years after I interrupted her eating sushi with friends at Taste of Tokyo, she still digs into my brain. I suppose I don’t mind, though, because I often let my mind indulge in those delectable memories.
I feel the butterflies in my stomach, the same way I did when my macho bravado puffed my chest and told my friends I wasn’t scared of no girl. I was terrified! Led Zeppelin gave me courage. “Stairway to Heaven” playing in the background, I sauntered over to Stella’s table. Her friends giggled at my approach, shaking my nerve.
“Hey,” I said, thumbs hooked in my jeans pockets. “I’m Tommy.”
“I know,” she whispered. “Oh, I’m Stella.”
I knew. “I’m seein’ The Godfather on Friday night. Wanna go?”
“Welllllll…” She glanced at her friends. “I suppose. But my daddy has to meet you first.”
“No problem.” As I turned to shuffle back to my friends, I grinned at the girly squeals behind me.
Little did I know those were the “good ‘ol days” revered by white hairs in rocking chairs. Back then, I thought juggling was figuring out how to be at school enough to stay out of trouble, but not so much that I learned something. My waking moments consisted of concocting some excuse to see Stella. I craved the static electricity that sparked when she leaned on my shoulder at the movies, or when we made out at Dee’s drive-in over burgers and shakes.
My thoughts jolt into the present when my wife shifts on the sofa and rests her head on my lap. Almost in reflex, I caress her shoulder. We’re watching Steel Magnolia’s for the umpteenth time, but it doesn’t matter. All four kids have left home, but our nest doesn’t feel empty.
My gaze rests on Stella. She still has the golden glow I fell in love with all those years ago- the natural kind people wore before cancer fears and the spray tan fad. I brush my thumb over her cheek. Her skin, a thinning map of wrinkles, is a testament to our life together. I smile when I think of how many times she’s accused me of causing them.
“I love you, Stella,” I whisper. A thought flashes in my mind: maybe I’m wrong. These could be the good ‘ol days.
So, here it is: I’m a big fat liar. I posted yesterday and said I wouldn’t post again until Monday because I wouldn’t have computer access this weekend. It’s true that I won’t have PC access, but Susan, over at Polysyllabic Profundities, put up a writing challenge that I couldn’t refuse. (See what I did there? I shifted blame and became the victim. I’m thinking of a career in politics :))
Seriously, I may have a writing challenge addiction, and I haven’t heard of a rehab program for that! If there is one, I should consider checking myself in.
So, the sappy story above was prompted by the following words that we were challenged to include in a story of any length:
- static electricity
- Led Zeppelin
- spray tan
This challenge is open to anyone – so go ahead, write your own story! Just leave Susan a comment with a link to your story so she can mention it in a post with those who tried the challenge.
Over my shoulder,
Snippets of my past
Over my shoulder,
A different perspective
I’m not one to dwell too long on the past, mostly because it takes my attention away from now, and what lies ahead. I can’t change what is done, but I can influence this breath, and my next.
Sometimes looking behind can provide insight, and a different perspective. In the case of this sunset, I hadn’t noticed the brilliant colors at all, until I caught a glimpse in my rearview mirror. When I looked over my shoulder, I gasped, then pulled the car over (twice- hence the two photos!) In a sense, I relived the road already traveled, creating a new experience from previously-logged miles.
It didn’t take many peeks before the colors melted into dusk’s horizon, but it was a spectacular view while it lasted.
I’ve got another busy, computerless weekend coming up, so once again, this will my last post until Monday. We’ll be spending the weekend with my parents, and my kids are sooooo excited! I hope you all have a beautiful weekend
I heard the three knocks on my door and knew my best friend, Beth, had come to rescue me. The thumps reverberated in my head as I swayed and stumbled to the door. Three more raps sounded, only louder.
“I’m coming, I’m coming!” I hollered, palms on my throbbing temples. I fumbled with the chain lock until my thumb and index finger decided to coordinate with each other. I opened the door.
“Oh my heavens! You look like–” Beth leaned forward and sniffed. “Laura, how much rum have you had?”
I shrugged. I honestly didn’t know.
She stepped inside, closed the door and guided me to the couch. On the coffee table, she noticed the Captain Morgan.
Glass bottle in hand, Beth asked, “You didn’t drink this whole thing tonight did you?”
I grabbed it and lifted it to my lips. With a tilt of my head, the last swigs of sweet liquid drained down my throat. “I did now,” I said, passing the empty to her with one hand and wiping my mouth with the back of my other.
She shook her head and set the bottle on the table. “So what happened? You sounded so upset; I got here as fast as I could.”
I groaned. I’d hoped I downed enough rum to dull the humiliation, but I didn’t. “I was listening to my Sarah McLachlan CD…”
Beth put her hand on my arm. “It wasn’t ‘Angel’ was it? Did you swallow any pills?”
The alarm in her voice sent me into a fit of drunken giggles. Finally, I caught my breath. “No. ‘I Will Remember You’.”
Her eyes widened and she let out a long sigh. “No… you didn’t call Chas,” she checked her watch, “at two a.m.”
“It was probably closer to one. But I had to- I made a big mistake. I shouldn’t have broken up with him.”
“Laura, that was three years ago!”
My cheeks colored. “Well, I told him I still loved him and wanted to feel his skin against mine again. I said I wanted to be his only one.” I gulped. “Then I think I sang him the chorus.”
She winced. After several seconds, she asked, “Aaaand what did he say?”
I burst into tears and leaned into Beth’s offered hug. After a few minutes, I raised my head from my best friend’s tear-soaked t-shirt. “He didn’t say anything. But his wife took the phone and told me to never call him again.”
“Oh God, he’s married?” Beth’s jaw hung slack.
I nodded. My senses dulled, but the sting of embarrassment wasn’t the least bit affected by the rum.
She shook her head and frowned. “I can’t believe you called him in the first place.”
“At the time, it seemed like a brilliant idea,” I snapped.
Beth’s voice took on a soothing tone. “Oh, honey, I’m sorry. We all make mistakes.” She added, “I hope you’ve learned your lesson, though.”
“Uh-huh.” I closed my eyes to the blurring room and moaned. “I’ll never mix alcohol with Sarah McLachlan again.”
This is my response to the Speakeasy prompt which was to write a piece in 750 words or less (mine is 509) using “At the time, it seemed like a brilliant idea.” anywhere AND make some sort of reference to the music prompt (“I Will Remember You” by Sarah McLachlan.)
Click the badge below to check out the Speakeasy submission guidelines. You’re invited to submit your own response. (Come on, you know you want to :))
(Thanks to everyone who read, commented, or voted for my story, “Revenge” last week. It was voted in first place and was the Editor’s Pick as well. It was fun to write, and I’m so glad you enjoyed the story!)
Ruth Preston squinted her eyes against the beams of sun penetrating her worn curtains. Her inclination was to pull the comforter over her head and hibernate, but despite the aches, she had to rise.
Every day, she mechanically lived the same routine. Bitterly, she wondered if her mother destined her to a difficult life, like her biblical namesake. Unlike the biblical Ruth, Ruth Preston had faith in no one.
In 1954, her fellow Americans enjoyed prosperity, the atrocities of war a distant memory. She resented how easily they could forget. For her, war would always feed the root of her misery. Sometimes she wondered if she would be so broken if she’d never felt happiness at all.
She still heard his voice. “Four years, and then I can get a better job,” Robert had told her. When he shaved his head, signed the enlistment papers and kissed her goodbye, he was supposed to come back. Instead, two years later, the USS Delphy ran aground, along with six other ships. Her Robert had been one of the casualties.
Their two-year-old twins, James and Joseph, didn’t understand. Each night at bedtime, she had to break their hearts again by answering their questions with, “Daddy is in heaven.” She never admitted her doubts that such a place existed.
Seventeen years later, her sons surprised her with the news they had enlisted in the Navy. She never had the chance to talk any sense into them. One week later, they left for training. As she hugged each, déjà vu overwhelmed her.
After the bodies from the USS Arizona had been recovered, Ruth buried her sons. They had followed their father’s footsteps all the way to the grave. She resented that death had not come for her as well.
For thirty-one years, she had placed flowers by polished headstones. She needed the world to remember those markers were more than stone; that someone cried for them.
Ruth knew recollection was necessary to stop repetition of past mistakes.
Remember (verb): 3 a : to keep in mind for attention or consideration <remembers friends at Christmas>; b : REWARD <was remembered in the will>
This being Veteran’s Day in the US, I couldn’t help but write of military service. If we aren’t touched by loss, it’s easy to not think about the families that are without loved ones. Although this story is fiction, the deaths on USS Delphy in 1923 and USS Arizona in 1941 are real events in history.
I wish you peace on this Monday.