Secret Service

Photo prompt © Roger Bultot

 

“We used to go in through that side door,” Mama said.

I stared at the narrow wooden portal. “Because you are a girl?” I knew that Jewish traditions relegated women to a separate area in the synagogue, sometimes a designated entrance.

“No,” Mama’s voice shook and I reached for her hand. Her tears surprised me.

She seemed reluctant to cross the street. I couldn’t blame her. The building looked forbiddingly cold, sealed shut.

“No,” she repeated, a note of defiance in her eyes. “So no one knew services were held. They’d have come for us if we were found out.”

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

 

Gone Today

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Photo: Keith Channing

 

They came for the car today.

It’s just a car, she tried to tell herself. It would not make sense to keep it. Not with the fees and with the debt on it only increasing. Oh, she tried, but there was no way around the loss of it.

No way around loss. In general.

She couldn’t bear to go outside to see it off. She stayed indoors, her nose glued to the window, her sweaty palms pressing life-lines into the glass, her heart in shreds.

It’s been his car.

And he would not be coming home to drive it.

 

 

 

 

Note: Dedicated on this Veterans Day (US) and Remembrance Day (The Commonwealth), to all who fought and won and lost and left and returned, or left and did not return, or not in the same way they’d left. And to the many who still are away in uniform. You are seen. You are known. May all come home whole. And may humanity one day learn peace and no more war.

For Keith’s Kreative Kue #237

 

 

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

 

The Way Of Stars

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

They were like stars, swirling low and high across the sky, marking the path of time and soul and light and dark and what will come and what had been.

As the murmuration rose and swelled, so did the sorrow in her chest, as did tears, and longing, and gratitude.

Her grandmother had told her once, that murmurs were a way of making stars. Flocking in elegant waves across the heavens, to the places far above, where movement wasn’t labored and where breath no longer hurt and where hearts beat in the unison of souls that know all separation is only an illusion.

She held on, remembering, her tears a stream to feed flowers that would grow to feed the small things that would feed the starlings that would murmur to make stars to house beloved souls. And she thought of how the murmur in her chest – which made sound and sobs – ached and expanded as the birds’ wings wove and rose and dipped and dove.

For it was like being seen.

The starlings’ dance a last hello, a soft goodbye, a blessing on the wind.

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s Write Photo: Murmur

 

 

 

Read To Remember

Photo prompt © CEAyr

 

“I read to remember,” she said, her voice steel and quiver. “I read because he no longer can and because I know he was, most very likely, reading at the very moment his life stopped, evaporated, in mid-word. I read because mine almost stopped in the loss of him and in the enormity of the awfulness that took him and so many.

“I read to not forget. Because there is a bigger spark in life than in sorrow, and because he never would have left us, and certainly not this way. If it weren’t for the planes.

That September day.”

 

 

Note: Dedicated to all the lost, and to all those who lost so much, and to all that has been changed — insidiously and indelibly for so many — on September 11, 2001. I was here. I remember and I understand why we remember and what we must remember about ourselves and about who we can be. May we hold truth. May we be the better, kinder, more humane version of ourselves.

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

Not Disappointed

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Cape Disappointment (Photo: John Westrock on Upsplash)

 

The damp timbers creaked under her feet as she wondered if the fog would lift. She half-hoped it would not.

She was still small and timorous when her uncle had brought her here for the first time. “And you won’t be disappointed,” he had laughed, the lines about his eyes creasing in merriment.

It was only later that she understood his joke. It still made her smile.

Indeed, she loved Cape Disappointment. Even in the fog. Perhaps especially in the fog, in its unique magic. She’d read that almost a third of a year’s hours are spent in fog on the headland, masking rivers, hugging sand.

A gust of wind dripped cold into her collar and she laughed. Her uncle used to shake a branch onto her. This felt like a gift.

“You were right, Uncle,” she wiped a tear. “This place did not disappoint. Neither did you. Not once.”

 

 

For What Pegman Saw: Cape Disappointment, Washington, USA

 

 

A Heart, Missing

Heart Yael Yehuda

Photo: Yael Yehuda

 

There stands the empty crib

The room that will not hear

The sounds of cries or coos or laughter.

There are the walls,

Fresh paint

Fresh pain

For the awaited,

For a broken chapter.

A heart

Missing

Breast and breath

For an eternity of loss,

Till the hereafter.

 

 

Note: Dedicated with love to all empty-armed mothers (in all their manifestations and realities and outward presentations), on this Mother’s Day.

For Debbie’s One Word Sunday: Missing

 

 

Cake To Go

three line tales, week 170: an unhappy birthday party

Photo via Unsplash

 

She spaced the candles as her grandmother had instructed. Not equally, but with one candle lording over a bigger chunk. “You’ll remember me by it,” Gran had said, “and by the sour faces of the ladies when they see you’d saved me some cake to go.”

 

For Three Line Tales #170

 

 

Never Again

Never Again OfirAsif

Photo: Ofir Asif

May never again slogans of harm,

tattoo death on hearts, souls, and arms.

 

 

 

Note: On the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, when we mourn so many lost to deliberate ugliness that nurtured systemic cruelty and harm … and when some try to deepen horrors by claiming the suffering hadn’t even happened … May we find a path out of hate and violence, and away from whatever catchy slogans used to justify a pseudo-superiority. For in reality, we are all one, and the terror of racism leaves none of us unharmed.

For Linda’s One Liner Wednesday

 

Will The Baby Cry?

Photo prompt: © Roger Bultot

 

“Be there in a moment, Aaron,” Miriam herded her family toward the synagogue across the street.

“Mom!” Ben protested. She drags him outta’ bed, then stays outside herself?

“It’s urgent,” Miriam apologized, eyes already on her phone.

Seven-year-old Jacob glanced at his dad. “Will the baby cry?”

“You screamed like a stuck pig at your Bris,” Ben offered.

Jacob froze. “I’ll stay with Mom.”

“Ben!” their dad scolded.

Staccato bangs echoed. Loud screams.

“The baby?!” Jacob clung to his father’s hand.

“Down! All of you!” Aaron shoved Jacob behind a car and raced to the synagogue. “Shots fired! Call 911!”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers