Chosen

The first time I saw my cat…

Well, I heard her first- she yelled from her cage.

I said, “No way.  That cat is too loud.”

I had no say.

She chose me.

(She’s owned me since then!)

01-13 Cybil

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TrifectaPicture11-1This is my response to the Trifecta weekly writing prompt: 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.  The total response will be 38 words, including the snippet above.  We’re going low-brow on your this week.  Or not.

Cybil is crazy.  Her nickname is Cybil the Psycho Cat.  She’s a bit unpredictable, but after thirteen years, I’m starting to figure her out (although I still get bitten sometimes.)  Family and friends fear her, but I love my temperamental cat.  Make no mistake, I fully understand that I’m not a cat owner.  It’s the other way around!

The challenge is open to anyone, so click on the link above to add your link to the list and join the fun!  Have a wonderful Monday 🙂

Lucy – Speakeasy #144

I gaze into her soulful brown eyes and I’m transported to 1975; a year that defined the boy I was, and the man I wasn’t ready to be.

We sprawled on the grass, Lucy and me, our heads touching.  I raked my fingers through her shiny black hair.  I rambled on about my dreams, hopes and aspirations.  The kiss on my cheek and her head nuzzled into me fooled me into believing her wish had been for me to chase my dreams.

Now, it occurs to me that I never asked Lucy what she wanted.

I’d teased her about kaleidoscope eyes and pondered the feasibility of looking glass ties.  It made sense back in the haze; the same one everyone else lived in.  Inseparable since sixth grade, I left Lucy in June, five days after graduation.  I kissed her goodbye and promised to visit.  Weeks turned into months, months into years.  I saw her only a few times.  I was a coward and Lucy reminded me of my own mortality. 

Some things can’t be undone.  Lucy didn’t wait around for me. 

She licks my cheek, startling me into the present.

My wife says Lucy is a mid-life crisis.  If that’s the case, like everything else, I’m a little late.  It’s taken me thirty-eight years, but I aim to learn from my past mistake.  She says it’s creepy to name a dog after a beloved pet, but I argue it’s no different than naming our children in honor of dead relatives.

“Ready to go to the park, girl?”

She wags her tail and leads me to the leash drawer.  I clip the rhinestone-adorned leash to her collar.  I check my laces, slip the buds into my ears, and power on my iPod.  A grin slides across my face when “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” plays.  I remember my first Lucy- this was our song all those years ago.

Some things can’t be forgotten.

“Come on, Lucy!”  I say as I step off the porch and break into a trot.  She flanks me with ease.  Her ten-month-old shoulder muscles ripple, reminding me of her namesake yet again.

I think it’s a sign.

I believe Lucy has forgiven me, and now I need to do the same.

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This is my response to the Speakeasy weekly prompt which is to write a piece in 750 words or less including (1) the sentence “Some things can’t be forgotten” anywhere, and (2) some kind of reference to the Elton John song, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.”

Thank you to everyone who read and enjoyed my story last week (32nd Day) enough to vote for it – it came in first place in the popular vote.  What a lovely surprise!

This challenge is open to anyone, and the more the merrier. If you’re interested in giving it a try, click the badge below to check out the complete guidelines.

speakeasy2

 

 

Good ‘Ol Days

11-15 bench

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.

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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
  • sushi
  • juggling
  • 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

Over my shoulder,

Snippets of my past

Reside,

Remind,

Rewind.

 Over my shoulder,

A different perspective

Anticipates,

Satiates,

Dissipates.

First glance , already changing
First glance , already changing
Second glance, colors fading...
Second glance, colors fading…

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.

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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 🙂

Dorothy

Note:  this is not a continuation of Darlene’s Story.  I’ll probably pick that up next week!

08-26 Bowling Pins

Dorothy was a rabid bowler.

No, I didn’t mean “avid.”

She bowled on a league every week in sickness and health; to call her competitive was a gross understatement.  In any other setting, one would find her outgoing, friendly- even agreeable.

My memory settles on the summer of 1982.  For several weeks, Dorothy brought me to her league games because my mom had taken a job.  Somehow my brother had gotten out of it, but, being four years older, he had developed a knack for weaseling out of pretty much anything he didn’t want to do.  Every week began the same:  a group of white-haired ladies would approach us and give Dorothy a hug and then turn to me and gush over my curly hair.  They couldn’t just look.  No, they had to get their fingers into it to feel the curl.  I cringed every time.

I thanked God that it didn’t take long for them to turn their attention to the game.  One woman’s eyes gleamed with excitement as she said, “Mrs. Craig’s arthritis is acting up.  Without her, their team doesn’t stand a chance!”  The women leaned in together and laughed.  This is when I realized that Dorothy wasn’t the only competitive spirit in the Powder Puff league.

Thirty-one years later, I have three wooden bowling pin awards sitting on a shelf.  When I see them, I remember my grandma, so full of life.  When she retired from league bowling at eighty, I had never felt more proud of her.  She had stayed active for as long as her body (and mind) would allow.

At the time, I didn’t understand a part of her died that day.  I couldn’t fathom that the memory of scoring a turkey among friends wouldn’t be enough.  I don’t think any of us had prepared for how much she would miss the urethane ball rolling on the waxed hardwood and the anticipation right before the crack of pins falling.

Now I know how she felt.

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This is my response to Trifecta’s writing prompt:  to write a 33-33 word post (surprise, surprise- mine is near the upper limit- 332) using the following word/definition:

Turkey:  three successive strikes in bowling

If you want to read other responses, or submit your own, click here to go to Trifecta’s site!

As soon as I saw this prompt, I knew that Darlene’s Story wouldn’t happen today.  I knew that I would write about my grandma- the biggest lover of bowling I’ve ever known.  It’s been several years since she passed away and I still miss her.  It broke her to stop bowling, but between Alzheimer’s and congestive heart failure, she just couldn’t do it anymore.  After she passed away, the only thing I asked to keep of hers were the bowling pin awards.  No one knew I wanted them and many had been thrown away.  I dug three of them out of the trash.  It’s strange how certain things hold such memories that you’ll do almost anything to hang onto them!

Sorry.  I got sidetracked.  This piece is so personal that I probably shouldn’t post it.  But I’m going to hit “Publish” anyway before I change my mind.  Thanks for reading!