We’re standing opposite one another.
Me and the boy.
Me, with insecurities spilling to the pavement and tears running my spirit dry, and the boy, with his faltering understanding and screaming eyes.
I draw my lips into the best line I can manage. I quell my tears, reserving them to the well settling in my stomach.
He turns away, arms crossed over his fading, shredding t-shirt.
This, I slowly realize, will not end like the story crafted in my mind. My narrative written on real life has gone horribly awry.
“I guess this is it then.” His voice trembles as my heart descends foggy valleys unknown.
Wait … But ingrained habit and childhood rules dictate; my poker face must remain. The last one standing wins. I’ll regret this …
Slowly, I reach a shaking hand for his.
We collect our shattered pieces in silence, me and my poker face opposite the boy I love.
I plaster my poker face, like a second skin, and tell myself it’s ok over and over again.
The boy tucks himself gently into the darkest corners of his mind where he confides in demons he hides.
The last one standing wins. My poker face has become my sin.
The softly yellowing light from the hall tosses shadows against the wall. It catches the stubble lining your jaw, ever so quickly it flashes in your eyes and reflects from the waves in your hair.
I’m frozen, blanket pulled around my waist and pillow hugged tight in place of where you should be. You stand shyly while your eyes seem to gloss over me. We’re here, only feet away, but there’s a thin veil of reality guarding the way.
You move steadily through my room though your eyes see straight through me. Your smile, perhaps not meant for me, sends waves of anticipation, pure pleasure, cascading down my arms.
I reach for your hands, the seemingly knowing comfort of your arms, my fingers gently stirring the thin mists guarding us from real and fiction. Each ripple in the foggy veil, more violent than the last, sends shocks through time; beginning to distort this moving picture at my bedside. Your eyes of adoration transform to looks of condemnation.
Missiles from a past long forgotten explode at my feet, stirring runaway memories. Noxious fumes and pretty perfumes take hold, guiding my stumbling trip along nightmare lane. Your visage, dark, brooding and all at once silly and loving, is no stranger behind the veil.
Without warning the undulating mist falls away. All at once I find I remember everything.
Fat raindrops rolled down the window pane accompanied by the ever present haze of city living. Ghosts of years gone by stood silently silhouetted against a dark, starless sky.
Lights from the spire sprinkled to life in a dazzling glaze. A gasp caught in her throat. The sign she had been waiting for.
Her Prince Charming casting a wide arching call for her to come.
She shoved the suitcase closed around three stuffed animals and a bag of Cheetos.
Fading photos, her momentos of a life forgotten, would have to stay behind.
The nurses quietly blocked her door.
PHOTO PROMPT ©Jill Wisoff
A special thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for wrangling in Friday Fictioneers.
I did a few of these then stopped for several weeks due to my work load (at my actual job and my grad school work). Luckily I’ve found myself with a slight bit of breathing room … or the possibility of killing men just watch them die if I didn’t get a chance to space out soon … So here I am.
Edna twisted the chains with her aged knotted hands. It was strange, she thought, how people attached memories to such seemingly insignificant things.
“When I was younger …”
Suddenly, she was falling away; slipping through time and space. Shanghai-La, she thought, always attached to these chains.
She scrunched her eyes closed and let the tide take her. It was like falling through water; warm, peaceful, silent.
Then it wasn’t.
Edna’s eyes burst open. There were storm clouds on the horizon beyond her father’s new truck. She turned the chains in her now youthful fingers, “So funny the memories we cling to.”
PHOTO PROMPT © Douglas M. MacIlroy
Many thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields who wrangles in Friday Fictioneers every week.
Mdina’s the silent city. Secrets it keeps, formed in corners and alleyways, hidden beneath the streets.
Pegman wanted to see the catacombs I’m sure, the little guy likes hanging out with dusty memories.
He rounded the corner and what did he find?
Two lovers under cover of shadows.
It was clear, he says, they knew one another though obvious enough they weren’t meant to be pinned against that cathedral wall together.
From what he could gather, the little dude could be a spy, it was her honeymoon but not with that guy.
He was some fly by the seat guitar playin’ hippie you see and she was daddy’s little princess, betrothed to a man of his “heavy influencing”.
She visits the old city in the summers now with a child named Paul. They journey the streets and she talks of memories.
But there’s one she won’t say, out loud anyway.
Word Count: 150
This was written for the What Pegman Saw challenge, every week a location is picked and a story is written in 150 words or less. Rules here and this weeks location, Mdina Malta.
“I will not marry him.”
Destiny did not prepare the gardener for the sight which greeted him in the morning sun. The noble daughter, sweetly sipping tea while admiring roses, and her gentleman courter writhing in dewy grass. Life did not prepare him to grab the unwitting belle and drag her to a horse.
“You have to go.”
“I will not.” Thin arms surrounded his neck.
Romeo ushered his Juliet onto the nearest mare with a promise he would not be far behind.
I wish I could say the story is only similar in name.
Alas, it ends the same.
PHOTO PROMPT © Fatima Fakier Deria
And thank you to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for rounding Friday Fictioneers up.
Yet another Sunday, it’s the end of March. What the hell?
Music: Wooden Shjips – Back To Land
Swallow your pride, it’s a bitter pill but it’s better this way.
Say the things you know will sting, slaps against the grain.
Anything to make you walk away.
Swallow arsenic words, poisonous to all around us.
Anything to protect you from the mess I’ve become.
He was right you know,
Selfishness choked me on the way down
And I never deserved you.
Spin me into sweet melodies,
They slide down easier than reality.
Anything to hide the truth of what we’ve done.
Once I tried to take a handful of bitter pills
To forget your name, forget your face,
Forget the way I had you stamped in that place.
I fell down, busted my brain instead.
Now my thoughts leak and blend fact with fiction,
I can’t tell anymore what was real and what was just part of the mission.
All because we tried to swallow little bitter pills,
Is it better this way?
I hear they have a pill to answer
To straighten out our brains.
I don’t know, what do you think?
Maybe seeing stars isn’t a bad thing
If the answer is swallowing our pride
And staying side by side.
Go check out The Perfectly Imperfect Bunch
I saw the sign. I heard her small voice say, “we should turn back.”
Jermaine, I chastised, always too sure of yourself.
The sky sure is blue from here. Small clouds, formed into puffs of slight dog fur, float by casting their shadows among the scattered glass.
If I could speak … a thousand things I know I should say.
An impromptu apology to my momma, for what I don’t know.
Maybe all the years of grief … maybe all the years to come.
Beside me her eyes stare like glass, reflecting rolling hills and jagged cliffs.
Her lips are so blue.
PHOTO PROMPT © Björn Rudberg
Many thanks to the wonderful Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for rounding up Friday Fictioneers
When I was a little girl I pressed my nose against the glass of my dad’s old Volkswagen as we passed under bridges in the city. I puffed great smokey blasts of fog to draw little hearts and “hellos” in as the sleeping men tossed in their bags.
“Dad, why don’t we help them?”
“They have to help themselves first.”
There was a woman beneath the bridge today snapping pictures of our homeless communities. Preserving our tents and bags in rough black and white photos for exhibit.
“Don’t you want to help yourself?”
I hear they feed you in jail.
PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz
And Friday Fictioneers courtesy of Rochelle Wisoff-Fields
Go check out The Perfectly Imperfect Bunch
I want you to read to me when I’m sick;
Lying in bed, tossing and turning,
Heart racing and head spinning,
Vision shaking and hands quaking.
I want you to gently sing
The psalms of old poets to clear
What’s left of my mind.
I won’t be angry
If you cover your face;
If you call this a contaminated place.
I just want you to brush matted hair aside
And say ‘I love you’ one last time.
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