Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wednesday's Words

It is Wednesday and we are getting ready to go out of town to see Roger Waters of Pink Floyd fame in concert.  I'm rushing to get my words in with Elephant's Child and Mumblings before we have to leave.

She picked the suitcase up off the carpet and as she set it on the bed with determination to unzip it, she shook her head. It wasn't just that he was filthy and disgusting that was making her want to leave him. It was everything else. He had become a maniacal megalomaniac, with his finicky quirks about cleaning. Just that morning he had hit her repeatedly with the duster as she was trying to reach the tops of the ceiling fans. He had found a speck of dust on the magazine that she had been reading in the bathroom, the only room of the house where she felt like she had some privacy away from his dominant display of arrogance and hypocrisy.

For a man who was a freak about cleaning the house, from the baseboards to the ceiling fans, his personal hygienic habits were completely opposite.  She couldn't remember the last time he had bathed, used deodorant, or brushed his teeth.  The stench that emanated from him was overpowering and reminded her of a dead deer they had once stumbled upon when they were hiking shortly after they married.

She paused in her packing, thinking back to that day. They had literally stumbled upon the dead deer, rounding a corner in the path they had tripped over one of the deer's hind legs and he had fallen elbow deep into the decaying abdomen of the pregnant doe.  She had managed to catch herself on a tree limb to keep from falling, but he had not moved for several minutes before she had finally called out his name.  He had jumped up at that moment and kicked the carcass with his boots, but still hadn't made a sound. Turning towards her, she saw his hand reach for his carbine strapped to his waist and for a moment she was afraid.

He had always been dominant over her. Setting out the clothes he expected her to wear each day, reading her email and mail, checking her cell phone for calls made or received and questioning her on numbers he hadn't already saved into her contacts list. When they first met he hadn't been so controlling, only slightly jealous and possessive in a way that made her feel wanted and desired. After they married, however, she realized that he was becoming more controlling, more possessive, and more jealous in ways that no longer made her feel special. Instead, she felt like just a thing to be owned, as if she was no longer a person but a cheap material thing he had bought at a flea market.  She became afraid of him as he subtly eliminated all of her friends and family from her life. Her self-esteem diminished to the point of suicidal depression, and she felt trapped and hopeless.

Each day was like waking up to a new nightmare, where she would never know what was coming next. His mood swings increased, often set off by something that had nothing to do with her or him, yet she took the brunt of his anger. Perhaps a customer had made a comment about his weight gain, or he had seen a commercial on television for deodorant. It never made any sense and she had stopped trying to make sense of it at all.

After 12 years of marriage though, he had made one tactical mistake....

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Words on Wednesday ...

Some weeks it seems like I just blink and it is Wednesday again. I'm joining the creativity, better late than never, over at Mumblings ...

It was a quiet evening on the water.  The sun was beginning to set, and there was a mist moving in from Lake Superior over Chequamegon Bay that gave it a mystical glow.

Just barely in her peripheral vision, Rose saw the Ashland Breakwater Light. She wondered if she would be able to swim to it before the cold water made it impossible for her to move her arms and legs.

Focusing on the beacon of light, she began to swim with determination. With each stroke, she thought of the events that had put her in the water that afternoon.

Rose and Andrew had taken an old sailboat named Misty Mountain Melody out for a test run on the bay. Their lives had finally reached a point where money was no object, and they were thinking of buying the boat to restore and live on during the summer months.  As the sails filled with the wind off the lake, they had tacked back and forth in the bay.  The fish finder radar showed plentiful fish beneath them, but they hadn't brought anything to bait their hooks with.

When the sun began to set, they drew in the sails and dropped anchor for the night. Rose went below to set out the splendid antique china that would come with the boat and opened the cooler she had brought with their evening meal, bacon, and eggs for breakfast carefully packed in it.  The small gas stove in the galley crackled as she lit it.

Hearing a noise behind her in the bow where the hammock that they would sleep in was hung, she turned to see the wispy image of a young woman in a long dress that would have been more appropriate at a debutante ball than in the cabin of a sailboat.

Startled to realize that she could see the hammock through the young woman, Rose backed up to the ladder leading up to the deck of the sailboat. The girl began to move towards her, whispering of long dormant jealousy, and the slanderous lies that had trapped her there in the boat. She had been in love with a sailor, the man who had built the boat by hand over two hundred years before. She thought he had been in love with her as well.

But one day she had surprised him by bringing his midday meal and had found him in the arms of her sister. They had denied their feelings for each other and instead had publically accused her of having an affair with another young man in the city who had recently been caught stealing from the market. Shamed and humiliated, she cursed both of them and vowed the destruction of the boat before she hung herself from the top mast of the sailboat.

The ancient gas stove hisses and popped as the young woman pointed an accusing finger towards her.  "You stole him from me!  How could you do that to me, sister?"

Rose started to respond as she backed up the stairs to the deck, but knew that the ghost of the young woman wasn't seeing her, but was seeing what had happened to her long ago.  The gas stove hissed again and the young woman turned. With a wave of her hand, the flames died as the gas continued to hiss.

Backing faster now, Rose burst up onto the deck and grabbed her husband, throwing both of them into the water just as the sailboat exploded into complete destruction.

Exhaustion now began to creep into her arms in the cold, and she began to doubt for the first time that she would reach the lighthouse.  Suddenly, a fishing boat appeared and pulled both of them out of the water.  

Weeks later, filled with gratitude for the men who had rescued them, she had gone to the local historical society to ask about the boat and the man who had built it.  

The boat had been built in the early 1800's and named for a young woman that the man was engaged to be married to. But tragedy had struck before he had been able to put the boat in the water for her first sail.  For reasons that no one remembered, his fiancée had hung herself from the mast of the sailboat one night.   A year later, when the man and his late fiancée's sister had taken the boat out for her inaugural sail, the man had slipped on the deck, falling overboard and drowning.  When his late fiancée's sister had tried to rescue him, she had been tangled in the rigging of the main sail and had hung to death. Since then, every owner of the sailboat had met with some tragedy.

As Rose looked at the microfiche news articles showing the original obituary of the young woman, she gasped when she read that Melody had been born in a small Tennessee community called Misty Mountain and had been survived by her sister, Rosemary, and her fiancé, Andrew.

Reaching to turn off the microfiche machine, Rose hesitate when she heard a whisper behind her.

"I told you I would destroy her."

Saturday, July 15, 2017

comfort ... in 5

Joining tonight a day late with the amazing and encouraging writers at Five Minute Friday ...

what was it about you? 

was it the fact that you shadowed me whenever I was in pain and did everything you could to comfort me?

was it the fact that you seemed to know and understand everything I said to you, even when I didn't fully understand myself?

do you know it still comforts me to talk to you late at night? 

you've been gone over a year now, and there are still moments and days when the loss grips my heart in a vice and I struggle to breathe.

they say there is a reason that dog spelled backward is God. 

could it be that the unconditional love shown to us by our dogs is a reflection of God's love for us? or that when we whisper our hurts into your floppy ears, that you whisper them to God for us? perhaps it is that the comfort we feel when you lean into us, is sent from God above?

when I still talk to you, I know that God hears me too.
when I feel comforted, I know that it is from God.
when I think of seeing you again, it comforts me more to know that you wait in God's presence too.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Words on Wednesday ...

Time flies when you are having fun, and I'm joining again with Elephant's Child and Mumblings for Words on Wednesday ...

The scent of jasmine and honeysuckle was heavy in the air. Drawing him in. Enticing. Intoxicating.

A large hornet hovered by him, nearly knocking him over as he tried to avoid it. Something was going on. He could see it now. They were gathering in crowds. He hurried closer.

Oblivious to their proximity, a woman with a purple hairnet over her curlers, hung sheets on the clothesline. Her hair was drenched in a horrifying chemical smell that nearly overtook the flowers' perfume, and for a moment he was afraid his senses would be permanently damaged.

There was a large bumblebee that appeared to be dancing in the air. After a moment, it settled down onto a nearby sunflower. He watched to see what the response would be from the others. Seeing movement, he turned to follow the crowd as they began to congregate closer to the woman.

Chilling screams began to fill the air as they moved in to strike.

Another worker from his hive broke away from the swarm to dance in front of the bumblebee resting on the sunflower. The message was simple but clear:


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Words on Wednesday ...

It is that time of the week again, and I'm joining with Elephant's Child and Mumblings for Words on Wednesday ...

From the moment she watched the Radio City Rockettes perform for a television Christmas special when she was five years old, she talked of almost nothing else. Dancing. Acting. Broadway. She knew she was destined to be an actress, to be in the spotlight. It was her dream. She even practiced kicks when she was supposed to be milking, often crashing over cans much to her father's frustration.

Her four older brothers would tease her in a spastic imitation of her dancing, and their laughter would resonate and amplify on the rock walls of the old barn. When she ran crying from the barn to her mother for sympathy, she was hurt by her mother's blasé response. 

"It isn't worth having dreams, honey. You know you'll never go anywhere or be anything other than a farmer's wife. It's what all the women in our family do. It's expected."

She left her family's small organic dairy farm when she was 18. She hadn't even said goodbye to any of her friends or family and had hitchhiked to the nearest town with a Greyhound bus stop, buying a ticket to New York City. She refused to give up on her dreams, she wanted something different. Something more.
He rose in the early morning hours and walked through the frosty field to the barn. He could hear the cows restless for their morning feed.  He stopped to look at the bull they had recently bought for a bargain price to help increase the herd and ran his hand over where it had been branded, shaking his head.  It was a cruel practice he refused to do to his own cows.

He turned the water valve to full blast and let it run down the trough to clean it from the night before.  He thought of her, as he often did in the quiet mornings when he milked the cows and wondered where she was and how she was doing. He wished they'd been able to talk more, but he hadn't known what to say to a young girl with such lofty dreams.

The farm had been in the family for almost 100 years. Dairy farming was in their blood. It was all they knew. That and acres of corn designated to feed the cows. When he had been a boy, he went to an air show once, and for a little while had dreamed of being an airplane pilot. But his father had told him to forget his dream. They were farmers, it was what they had always been.
She put the tickets in an envelope and added extra postage to make sure it got there. Six bus tickets and six front row seats to the Broadway opening night of Lavender Lies in which she had the starring role.  It had taken her almost ten years to finally make her dream come true, and she wanted to share it with the ones she loved most.
The envelope sat on the kitchen table waiting for him to come in from the fields. She looked at it out of the corner of her eye as she prepared dinner for him and their sons. She had recognized the handwriting and a small sob escaped when she took it from the mailbox. Postcards had arrived occasionally over the years, letting her know that all was well. That she was happy and was making her dream come true. She had slipped them into her apron pocket and not showed them to him, although she didn't know why. She supposed it was because she wanted to believe that dreams could come true and that if he knew where she was, he might make her give up and come back.

She'd had a dream once herself. Before she became a farmer's wife. Before she became a mother. Once she had gone to a museum and seen the most beautiful painting of a beach on a wall.  The sign beneath it said that it was by Claude Monet and an example of Impressionism Art. She had stood before the painting for almost an hour before being pulled away by her friends. Later that night she had dreamed of standing on a beach, feeling the water wash around her feet. 

One afternoon when she should have been doing homework she had sketched a beach scene, shading it with her pencil until it looked almost as if it was a photograph. She dreamed of seeing her sketches one day on a museum wall.
The envelope sat in the middle of the dining table, but none of them touched it or spoke of it.  Finally, when there were six empty plates around the table he reached for it. They waited to see what he would do. The silence after she had left nearly destroyed him, and he realized he should have said more to her. He carefully opened the envelope and pulled out the contents. There was no letter, no note. Just the tickets and a theater card. He looked up at his wife across the table from him. There were tears in his eyes, and a smile on his lips.

"We're going to need to pack. Our girl is an actress."

Saturday, July 1, 2017

What I learned in June...

 Next spring, I will start with already established plants and not seeds I start for my garden.
June 29th was "technically" the last day of any possible frost, freezing, or snow for this area. Yes, really. I didn't even believe it when I first heard it on the news. Gardners who don't have plants in the ground by now should just wait until next year because frost, freezing, or snow could happen as early as September.  It is highly doubtful I will get any tomatoes or peppers this year.
Nothing feels as good as a new fluffy bed or clean sheets.