The Project

photo by David Meredith

Photo courtesy of David Meredith, photographer

 

“I know we can do it!”

Richard infused his voice with all the pep he could muster.

The house was a dump. He wanted to put a match to it. A tent would be better to live in. The very prospect of what fixing this wreck-of-a-building would entail had him exhausted in advance. He’d fixed homes before: this project would be measured in years, not months or weeks. He could almost see the creepy crawlies inside walls, the rot above the ceiling, the mold under the floors, the who knows what in the rafters.

He hated it already.

Who buys a house sight unseen? What on earth did she expect?

“It’ll be great!” He enthused, his arm protectively around her shoulders.

She’d been so proud to find a house that could fit them all and within their minuscule budget, further shrunken since he’d lost his job. She wanted to surprise him.

He hated seeing her devastation when they arrived at their new home, belongings and kids crammed into one truck.

“The children will learn so many skills,” he stressed. “You’ll see. We’ll go room by room and prioritize.”

“It’s a disaster,” she sniffled. Looked up. Smiled. “And I love you.”

 

 

For Sunday Photo Fiction

 

 

 

 

Pink Ribbon

Pink dawn1 KarenForte

Photo: Karen Forte

 

If I could have a pink

Ribbon

Large enough to show my love

Of you

Who fought

And lived

And fought

And passed

And fight on

Still,

I would need the whole breadth

Of sky

To mark

It’s size

And enlist the heavens

As both paint

And quill.

 

 

(Photo by my amazingly talented and generous friend Karen Forte, who fills my heart and soul with the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.)

For SundayStills: Pink

 

Just Be Careful

https://img.huffingtonpost.com/asset/55a53ce21b0000f61028035c.jpeg?ops=scalefit_960_noupscale

Photo: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/march-on-washington_n_3825167

 

I knew she was going to D.C. for the 50-year-anniversary of MLK’s March on Washington. She’d been in the original one. And on the Freedom Rides. I was so proud of her. I also couldn’t sleep. I wanted her to go. I just couldn’t rid myself of a nagging worry-worm.

“Just be careful,” I texted.

“XO,” she replied hours later.

I watched the march and President Obama’s speech on TV, a lump in my throat for the path and possibility of this country. I scanned for her in the crowd, echoes of concern in my mind, hoped she wasn’t hurting.

“I’m fine,” she said two days later, “just don’t be alarmed when you see me. I tripped when I got off the bus in D.C. Broke my wrist.”

Apparently she’d wrapped a scarf around her arm and marched. Then traveled many hours home before seeing a doctor. True to form.

 

Adding this clip from that day which stands the test of time in its relevance:

 

 

Note: True story from August 28, 2013.

For What Pegman Saw: Washington D.C.

 

Irreplaceable

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Photo: Hu Chen on Unsplash

 

She could not get enough of him.

She’d spent the last few hours gazing at him as he slept.

She could spend another lifetime.

Nothing could replace the sweet contour of his back, the curve of his neck, the fists that could fly deliciously out of tempo with his kicking, the softness of his cheeks dimpled into smile.

His breath.

Joy expanded her chest and spread a warmth under her skin that flushed through her soul to fill her with a flood of well-being.

She was his forever grandmother.

 

 

 

Note: Dedicated to all the grandmothers and great-grandmothers. To the aunts and great-aunts. To the mothers and mothers-to-be. To the grandfathers and great-grands, to the uncles and fathers. May you know this love, for nothing can replace it.

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Replace in 89 words

 

 

 

 

Hold Your Ground

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Photo: Anthony Garand on Unsplash

 

When the truth flees the sphere

Of those who power corrupts

And the lies become leaders’ way

To disrupt,

It behooves us to hold strong

To not let those confound

As we keep our eyes on

A true moral ground:

To be firm

To be kind

To keep light

In our mind,

And to not get swept up

In the feverish flow

Of those who prefer we

Give up and

Let go

Of core truths

And the law,

And forget how

Foreshadowed

In wisdom galore

Founders sought separation

Of powers before

And checks out to balance

Against tyrannical war,

Predicting the day

When ambition to rule

Would rise in someone

Who’d attempt to befool

And try to prop

Lies for a flop

And our constitution

For corruption

To swap.

 

 

 

For Linda Hill’s SoCS challenge: Ground

 

 

Stone Face

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

She stood on the ledge and watched the edge of the world dissolve into fire.

It had been a long day, waiting. He did not come. She did not know when he could. Only that he would when he managed to get free.

As she had.

It was their place. Before. It will be their home. Now.

They’d found the small cave down the rock-face when they were still children frolicking in the waves. They’d been rolling with a large piece of driftwood one day when the currents had taken them farther than they’d expected. They’d tried to reverse course but it was futile to fight the sea. It was after reality had set in and they’d began to fret in earnest, that they’d spotted what looked like a black tooth on the jagged cliff. As Merlin tried to point to it, the log rolled, depositing the two of them into the waves and bestowing a farewell knock on Marla’s head. It had gone black behind her eyes after that.

Merlin had managed to drag her to and onto the surf-beaten rocks, scraping both of them raw in the process. He claimed the seals had helped him and she never doubted it. Nor that the seals had likely rolled the log in the only spot the two of them might’ve had a chance of getting to the shore unbroken.

They had clawed their way slowly up to the ledge, crying and more than a little frightened, only to find that what had appeared a black tooth from the sea, was in fact a cave’s mouth that was dry and deep enough to offer shelter. The marvel had calmed them enough to explore, and they’d found a precarious but doable foot- and hand-hold way to gain access up to the top of the cliff. And from there across the moors home.

They’d made a pact to never tell anyone about “Stone Face” — named for how the features could be read in the rock above the ledge. They suffered the indignities of being mocked for slipping into a whirlpool — the story they’d made up to explain their miserable condition and the lateness of their arrival home — and they endured the punishment of being forbidden from going to play in the water for the rest of that long summer, and the drudgery of extra chores.

It did not matter. Their secret sustained them. As had their rare visits to Stone Face via the barely-there climbing way. It was their refuge and all the more a miracle to them for how no one had known of it (or at least not in their lifetime, for there were signs of hearth-fires on the blackened ceiling and some stone flakes that could cut deep and might’ve been a tool in someone’s hand). It was their place of hopes and dreams and stories.

Then time came and Merlin was indentured to the Smithy, and Marla was sent off to scrub the floors and bear the fists and the bastard children of Lord Bowery, a man of no nobility in deportment or form. She tried to endure him, but the core of her rebelled against his injustices and his brutal invasions. She fled.

The Smithy’s apprentice was due to bring brackets to the manor’s door that week. She had to trust that he would find out she was gone.

And that he would come for her.

To make Stone Face, home.

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto: Stillness

 

 

The Bag

Photo prompt: © Ted Strutz

 

She stopped by to check on her elderly neighbor and saw a bulging bag on the curb. Odd. Trash-collection was two days away. Ethel could get ticketed.

She grabbed the bag. The thing was heavy! How did the ancient women lug this? She carried it up the path to the door.

“Ethel?” she knocked. “It’s Belinda.”

Silence. Was Ethel sleeping? Belinda knocked again. Waited. Rang the bell. Used her key.

There was no one home. All personal effects gone.

Heart pounding, Belinda rushed to untie the bag.

A mess of photos spilled out, scattering Ethel’s life to the ground.

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

Take A Side

sideways benches NaamaYehuda

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

It does not always work to take

A seat

Head on.

Sometimes the best way

Is

To come at it

As if you’d really meant to move

Along.

 

 

 

For Cee’s Black&White Photo Challenge: Side of things

 

 

Why Fly By

fly by NaamaYehuda

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

As they fly

Passing by

Tumbling through

Loops of sky

To hoot and cry,

They spend the day

Waving high

To Earth defy

As some shake heads

Oh my, oh my

And wonder why…

 

fly by1 NaamaYehuda

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

Note: These photos are from Canada’s “Wonderland” amusement park in Vaughn, where my family spent a day this past July, high flying and earth-defying while I mostly did the photo-taking and oh-my-why’ing. … 😉 (In the photo above, they are in the three short horizontal lines in free fall on the vertical line, a moment before being turned upside down and sideways and goodness knows what else).  It was a delightful day all around (pun?) till I got on one kiddie ride in the afternoon … Now, if you’re into these contraptions, that place is an all out-human-milkshake inventive park, just be warned and don’t be fooled by the miniature height requirements: they start them early and loop-di-doop-whoop-loop even those rides meant for preschoolers. …

For the Tuesday Photo Challenge: Tourism

For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Circles, curves and arches

 

 

Horse Lord

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Photo: Mongolia; Anudariya Munkhbayar on Unsplash

 

The floods had culled the herd. The fires cleansed the land of dead, returned the grasses to the dirt, where bones lay, staring at the sky, unbleached. They will not be interred.

A falcon soared above their heads. It dove and disappeared, its freedom deferred, its sight hidden under the dark small caps it let have drawn over its vision in a servitude preferred.

The stallion whinnied. The yearlings, cocky and too young to know better, had cantered up ahead. They stopped at the sound of his impatience and turned about as their obedience stirred. But the mares and foals kept close on dancing legs. The smell of smoke still in the air rendered them simultaneously docile and quick to bolt, their reason blurred.

He knew why that was. The two-legged that had fled, have returned. And the smoke curling from the nostrils of their leather dwellings rose, awakening dread.

 

 

 

For What Pegman Saw: Mongolia