Apple Picking

apple picking SmadarHalperinEpshtein

Photo: Smadar Halperin-Epshtein

 

He saw the gnarled trunk and the orbs

Round

And red

And green,

Undulating in the breeze that

Caressed his cheeks and flipped the end

Of his shirt up

Cool

On his tummy

When he ran.

He heard the crunch of grass-blades

Succulent

Under the smooth soles of

His shoes,

Each step sinking slightly into the

Soft

Saturated

Ground.

The thump of apple

Fallen

Filled his ears,

Alongside his own breath

Fast,

Excited

In his chest,

And the sound of his family

Drumming apples

Into their

Rustling plastic bags

And creaky wooden crates

And pinging metal pail.

He smelled the crushed grass,

The too-sweet scent of slightly

Rotting apples

On damp ground,

And a whiff of the caramel

That promised

One on a stick

For later on.

He stretched

To reach

Around the fruit,

The sky in his eyes and

The taste of last year’s

Treat

Faint and candied

On his

Tongue.

 

 

 

For the dVerse challenge: senses

 

Dressed Down

marjorie-bertrand-eyzzqAQhcjI-unsplash
Photo: Marjorie Bertrand on Unsplash

 

He eyed her twirling in her tutu and his heart squeezed with longing.

He wanted to do that, too. It was not fair that it was not allowed.

That only girls could.

Be princesses.

Wear dresses.

Put on make up.

Play with dolls.

Paint their nails.

He’d tried, of course, but he could tell that even those who did not outright take things from him or forbid him or call him hurtful names, didn’t really feel comfortable with his choices. There was that look they gave, the forced smile, the way they inevitably ran out of patience and gave him “other suggestions” or directed him toward “trying other things.” He was given gifts that made it clear that what he’d asked for was not acceptable and therefore required others choose for him.

He could tell his parents were ashamed.

They loved him. He knew. But they didn’t quite love that part of him. The part that he loved in himself the most. The part that he hated. Sometimes.

It wasn’t even that he didn’t like sports, or climbing trees, or making mud pies. He did. It was just that those weren’t fun without adding a bit of dance, of looking for fairies amidst the branches, or pretending that the mud pies were part of a birthday bakery for princesses.

They kept saying how “wonderful it was to have such an imagination,” but their body language told him that they’d have much preferred if his imagination didn’t quite go where it wanted to. That they would have liked better an imagination of the kind they felt was more appropriate for boys.

“Do you want to be a girl?” his sister asked. They were in her room for a tea party. She was wearing one of her ballet-princess dresses and the full set of jewelry she’d gotten from Grandma just the other day. She let him wear the crown. They pretended this made him a princess, too, but they both knew she chose the crown because it would be easy for him to take down if someone walked in.

Or say he was a king.

Sometimes he envied her so much that it carved a hole into the center of his being. The ease and confidence with which she could prance around in rustling taffeta and glittery baubles, the smiles she got when she dressed up and smeared lipstick on her face … It hurt. It hurt. It hurt.

She let him into her world, but they both know that it was not his to live in. They both knew that when her friends came for a play-date he would be excluded. They both knew that even with no dress on, and with a crown fit for a king, at any moment someone might barge in, and frown, and find a reason to ‘redirect’ him.

Her question made him cry.

Because he didn’t want to be a girl.

He wanted to be a boy who liked playing with dolls and painting his nails and having tea parties and trying on dresses and decorating mud-pie cakes for princesses.

And yet … it would have been so easy. If he were a girl.

No frowns. No shaming. No overhearing adults talk of how he needed “toughening up” or was “too sensitive” or was “definitely gay-material” or “headed in the wrong direction.” Not having to know that Mom and Dad and Grandma and Grandpa were kind of ashamed of him.

“I want to be me,” he sobbed, and fingered a dress his sister discarded and that he would give his heart to be allowed to put on without fear. “I just want to be me … and I don’t understand why it is wrong.”

 

 

 

For Linda Hill’s SoCS challenge: dress

 

 

Protector Squared

Blanket guard NaamaYehuda

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

He will guard it with his presence

He will goggle eyes at you

If you dare come too near

To

This blanket square

That your fingers and soft yarn

Conspired for a little one’s doll to

Darn.

 

 

 

For Becky’s October Squares: Lines&Squares

 

 

Quite Out of Yellow

busy cooking SmadarHalperinEpshtein

Photo: Smadar Halperin-Epshtein

 

“Mama, we are quite out of

Yellow

And down to the last

Red.

I’ve used up all the

Orange

And can’t use green

Instead.

We must head to the

Market

Where there’s so much to

Get.

I cannot cook this salad

If

Colors aren’t all here

Yet!”

 

 

 

For the Tuesday Photo Challenge: Groceries

 

Or Not

blue plastic frame desk globe

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

The sun will warm

Again

Or far

Too hot.

The water that sustains

Will flood

Again

Or not.

The tenet that prevails

Remains:

This magic of a planet

To protect

We ought,

Or an ultimatum

Spurred by greed

With life as

Afterthought,

Will render what we

Know

And what we for our

Children hoped,

Into a disaster

We had let be

Bought.

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Ultimatum in 62 words

 

 

Fuzzy Ewe

Fuzzy Ewe AvivRZ

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

The hands of this artist

Young in years

Rich in view,

Made a cute fuzzy ewe

From what could well escape

Notice by

Me and you.

 

 

 

Note: Dedicated to my super talented and beloved niece, Aviv, 7 years old when she made this earlier this year. You never cease to amaze me! XOXO

For the Tuesday Photo Challenge: Fuzzy

 

Pharaohsaurus

Pharaohsaurus NaamaYehuda

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

“It looks like a pharaoh,” the boy commented.

“Hmm …” the girl leaned her elbows on the display case to take a photo. Dinosaurs weren’t Pharaohs, but her little brother was obsessed with anything Egyptian, so it was easier to agree. Took long enough to drag him out of that wing of the museum and into what she really wanted to see.

“Do you think the pharaohs saw one of these and it gave them the idea?”

She sighed. “There were no dinosaurs left at the time of pharaohs.”

“It’s not what I meant!” His nudge made her take a photo of a piece of plaster instead of the fossil bones. “Maybe they found something like this one.”

“Stop it!” She hissed. They’d be told to leave if they fought.

“Sorry.” He was, only sort of. “Is it called a ‘pharaohsaurus’?”

She rolled her eyes.

“Well, it should!”

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Museum in 147 words

 

 

Forget The ABC

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

“If you knew where it goes, would you follow?”

Efran peeked down the leaf-strewn stone shaft and rough steps. “I can see where it goes,” he pointed. “There.”

Jerow shook his head. It could be difficult to know with Efran, whose disposition tended to be ebullient to the point of daft, whether the lad was deliberately vexing or totally clueless. “Yes, you see what looks like the bottom of the stairs, but what’s behind it? Where does it go?”

Efran took anther step and leaned closer to the crack between the stones, absentmindedly pushing back the locks of hair that forever escaped out of his braid. “Well, only one way to know.”

“Wait,” Jerow reached for Efran’s arm. He glanced behind him toward the encampment they’d wandered away from. The trees obscured it. Unless others were stretching restless legs while the elders deliberated the day’s route over morning tea, no one would know where they are. “Shouldn’t we tell someones?”

“Why? So they open a whole new round of discussions about who should be allowed to go down there first and at what auspicious hour?”

Jerow had to admit Efran had a point. If the elders knew about this, they’d probably find reason to forbid it, and if they didn’t know about this, they’d forbid it all the more. Probably claim ABC and CBC.

“Advice Before Carelessness” and “Caution Before Curiosity” were endlessly drilled and just as often resented. How was anyone to learn anything new or do anything exciting if inevitable delays always took precedent to investigation?

Still, he wondered if in this particular case there was merit to at least asking before launching oneself into a crack in the ground. They were, after all, in what everyone knew were haunted territories. He looked around again, almost hoping for someone to stop them.

“Forget the ABC!” Efran dropped his feet onto the steps and used his arms to brace against the narrow walls. “I want to see! Stick to your letters or come with me!”

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto

 

 

Not Fall

No fall PhilipCoons

Photo: Philip Coons

 

Just you wait

And you’ll see

The real brave

I will be!

I will walk

With feet bare

From right here

To right there,

Without wobble

At all

I will cross

And not fall!

 

 

 

Note: It is WAY too early yet for me to do anything relating to the other meaning of the prompt word. So, nope … it was gonna be a “not” for me … 😉

 

For The Tuesday Photo Challenge: Fall

 

 

Where It Broke Out

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

“This is where it broke out.”

Bender shaded his eyes from the glare and squinted at the black patch on the meandering snake of ice.

“Tis a mighty small one, then,” he noted.

Roman frowned. “That hole is bigger up close. And anyway, you should’ve seen the length of it.”

Bender shrugged and took a few steps closer, daring Roman to do the same. The ice crunched under their feet, a staccato to their accelerating heartbeat.

They would be punished for walking here. The Winter Gods had taken too many who strayed onto what masqueraded as solid ground but was in fact bog fairies lurking beneath frosted fronds. Even in summer these flats were dangerous, full of sinkholes and swampy ponds that sucked at your feet and then leeched out your blood. Children were outright forbidden from entering the bog.

Which made the space all the more alluring to boys who had to prove bravery and test the lore.

For there was a boy, the stories told, who got swallowed by a sinkhole only to be adopted by the creek and made half-human and half-snake. He could breathe both in the air and underwater, and came to hunt in winter, when other snakes were slowed by cold.

Some had said they’d seen it, slithering among the silver plants by dusk and dawn. Some even claimed to have escaped its grasp — for the half-boy-half-snake had arms that ended in sharp claws held close to it’s lower body as it undulated silently toward its prey. One man had four parallel scars upon his calf that he said were the proof of his escaping the creature.

Roman said he’d seen it, slipping out of the ice.

Bender never could trust Roman’s sight, influenced as it tended to be by what his friend wished to see but often did not. Still, to say so would be showing him a coward … so … Bender took another step, crunching deeper into the foreboding land.

Behind him, Roman breathed out clouds of exhalation accentuated by shorter puffs of terror. “Perhaps it had gone back in already,” he whispered.

“Yeah,” Bender gasped in barely masked relief. “Must have. After all, it is almost full light. Nothing for it but for us, too, to head back.”

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto prompt