The Gift

 

They didn’t mean to.

They had to think fast.

“What in God’s married name is that?!”

Gary glanced at Gloria. Mom only used the expression when the you-know-what was about to hit the fan.

“I told you this was stupid,” Gloria hissed as they ran to the door. “It only made it look worse!”

Gary shot her a “shut-up-and-let-me-handle-it” look.

“Hi Mom,” he announced and swung the door open so that (hopefully) only the taped side was visible. “Do you like it? It’s a Christmas tree duct tape art. To remind you of the holidays!”

 

 

For Rochelle’s FridayFictioneers

 

It’s A Breeze

nyc reservoir 2 NaamaYehuda

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

Ripples speed

With the breeze

Whipping small waves

With ease

On the surface

Of these

Waters guarded

By trees.

 

 

For the Tuesday Photo Challenge: Breeze

 

Blue thoughts on Yellow

mirrored karenforte

Photo: Karen Forte

 

In middle school the uniforms

Were yellow tops and blue skirts

For the girls,

Yellow tops and blue slacks

For the boys.

 

The hue of yellow

In the official

Button downs,

Was a pale shade that made

Even the ruddy

Cheeks of children

Wash out

In the sun.

 

I used to think perhaps

This was the only color

Merchants had on overstock

When the school had first opened:

A fabric rescued

After years of fade brought on

By being forgotten

By everyone.

 

Oh, it was a decent enough school,

With friends I have kept

In touch with since the

Beginning of Sixth Grade.

It was the yellow hue

That had me blue.

 

Decades passed

And while

The beauty and the range

Of it in nature

Does indeed move me to tears,

I’m yet to own

A yellow garment

Even after

All these years.

 

 

 

For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Blue and Yellow

 

Niche by Niche

guild niche smadarhalperinepshtein

Photo: Smadar Halperin-Epshtein

 

Roofed in green

Curves of foliage

They stand chiseled

And skilled,

Each a niche

Dedicated

To the men of

The guild.

 

 

For the Lens-Artist Challenge: curves

 

Mumbai Muscle

india-293_1920

Photo: Simon on Pixabay

 

“This is too much.” Prama frowned at the heaped cart. “I don’t know how he’ll manage.”

“He will,” Abhi responded. He did not like the meddling of women in his business. Never had. But now that one of his eyes rested in a trash heap, he knew that customers found the presence of his wife reassuring. Better they talk to her than stare into his eye-patch and worry about the evil crouched behind it.

“Gaju is no longer a young man,” Prama insisted.

“Do not try my patience, woman!” Abhi growled. “Gaju feeds his family by the kilo-carried. Let a man earn a wage.”

“You could pay him more per kilo,” she shook her head at him, unimpressed. “You know he is too old to be hired by someone else and cannot lose this job. You overload his cart. Take care you aren’t also overloading your Karma in the process.”

 

 

For What Pegman Saw: Mumbai, India

Evening Leap

tltweek154

Photo: Nattu Adnan via Unsplash

 

He still seeks to speak with fish

Before night claims their beloved beach

But she’d smiled enough goodbyes, to rise into her evening leap.

 

 

 

For Three Line Tales

 

The Boy Who Was Very Brave

 

left human injected with hose on white textile

Photo: rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

 

“Be brave,” he said, and closed his eyes to ward off at least the pain of seeing his skin pierced by sharpness.

“Just a scratch,” the nurse stated in rote-like monotone, forgetting that for this boy nothing at this point was ‘just a scratch,’ especially not with veins well worn from prodding, let alone in a child who must struggle to understand why any of this was necessary.

“Be brave,” he said again, and his voice shook, and a tear slid under his lids and traveled down the small cheek to settle on his ear like a tiny sorrow-diamond.

“I’m sorry,” the nurse pressed her lips together when the third poke failed and another scarred blood vessel rolled under her needle. She’ll have to try another site. How on earth did someone not put a port in this child yet?

“Be brave,” the boy clenched his eyes to slits but more tears fled. “Be brave.”

The nurse looked up, distressed by his determined resignation. She paused and placed her gloved hand on his cheek. “You are,” she said. “Very.”

Eyes still shut, he shuddered and she wasn’t sure if he understood. She pulled a chair to his gurney and smoothed his hair. Someone from the Children’s Home had brought him to the hospital with another flareup, but the orphanage was too short-staffed to have anyone stay with him, especially when the boy wasn’t fussy and reportedly “used to” the hospital.

As if there could be such a thing as a child being “used to” being alone in a hospital.

“You are brave,” she repeated. Her eyes stung and perhaps the emotion in her voice more than her words filtered through his bracing because his eyes opened to meet hers.

“You don’t deserve any of this,” she said. “No one does. What you do deserve is to get better, and for people to really see and understand how brave you are. You are so so brave.”

Another tear rolled toward his ear. She hoped this one wasn’t from fear but from recognizing a connection.

“I’ll be as gentle as I can,” she promised. “I know this must be awful, but I need to get a line in for your medicine. Can you be brave for me just a bit longer?”

He held her eyes before he nodded.

“Good boy. So let’s just get this over with?”

He nodded again and this time did not close his eyes but hung them on her face. He did not look away or make a sound as she flicked and poked and needled.

“Good lad,” she praised, relieved, as she finally placed the clear bandage over the IV.

He took in a long breath.

“Can I get you anything?” she lingered, wanting to do something for this boy, so small and pale and alone.

He nodded.

“Some juice or crackers, maybe? It’ll do you good to get some of these in you,” she chattered. “I bet we have some toys I can borrow from the playroom for you.”

He held her gaze.

“Can I go home with you?” he asked. “I promise to be brave for you. I’ll be brave every day.”

 

 

(*Based on a true story.)

For Six Word Saturday

 

 

A Good Fit

Photo by Bryan Schneider

Photo: Bryan Schneider on Pexels.com

 

“How does it look?” she twirled,

And I knew she was asking about

A lot more

Than the dress.

 

“It looks really great,” I answered,

And she knew

It was about

A lot more than

Her silhouette,

Or how the fabric hugged

Her curves.

 

“Then I’ll take it,” she said.

And we smiled because

We both knew

It meant she will take him, as well.

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Silhouette in 65 words

 

Under Cloudy Skies

clouded naamayehuda

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

Mountains brood

Under skies

Packed with cotton

Piled high

Wrapped in shadows

Near by.

Afternoon

In Chiang Mai.

 

 

For the Wits-End Weekly Photo Challenge: Under Cloudy Skies