Pathfinder

bus-interior-wet-day CrispinaKemp

 

It was going to be better once she got there. Not like last time.

She held her purse on her lap with both hands, knees together, spine away from the cushion and her body swaying lightly with the movement of the vehicle, as she watched the world roll ahead of the front window, indistinct in the liquid grayish light.

It’s been raining for hours. A persistent misty drizzle that had dampened so many of her earlier years. She shuddered even though the bus was overheated. Perhaps because she sat in her coat.

The driver leaned on the horn and she released one hand to steady herself against a possible braking. Her seat in the center of the last row had no armrest, but it was the only one with a clear path out.

She always needed to have an unobstructed way out.

And yet, there she was, going back.

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

 

Tommy’s Sign

(Photo prompt © Roger Bultot)

 

She was never going to be ready. There was never going to be the ‘right time.’ He tried. He really tried. But he couldn’t stand it anymore.

When she left to visit her mother, he took it downstairs. The recycling truck should pass before her return, and by then it will be done. It was for the best. She’ll come to understand.

The key in the door in the morning. “I took an earlier flight. And, can you believe it? Someone tossed a highchair just like Tommy’s! I know it is a sign from him to hold on to ours!”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

Untended

 

“He gets the room behind the bush,” Mama ordered.

“But Mama,” Samantha tried, “we’re in the country now.”

Mama shook her head.

Samantha swallowed a sigh. This was the middle of nowhere. No neighbors. No roads. Old growth all around. Barely a dirt path to the cottage from behind the barn.

There will be no arguing with Mama.

She caught Daniel’s eye. He did his little special wink at her and she wanted to cry. He was comforting her even though it would be he who will be stuck in a room with barely light and zero view.

His eyes flicked toward the barn, and she understood — at least in the house he’d be warm, where she could keep an eye. At least Mama wasn’t hiding him in the barn.

Mama could not stand his disfigurement. Reminder of the fire she did not tend. The baby she let burn.

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

Another World

Photo prompt: © CEAyr

 

“See the lamppost?”

Nick nodded.

“See that reflection?”

Another nod.

“You walk into that store and you’ll be in another world.”

The younger boy shook his head, hair so severely cut it almost looked shaven. Ruben fed him, but everything had a price. True in the orphanage. True on the streets.

“Your loss,” Ruben shrugged. “If you prefer life as it is now …” he drew the last word out.

Nick tried to see through the window. It was like a mirror. He didn’t like what he saw.

“I’ll go,” he said.

“Hat on. Bring out something good. Don’t get caught.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

Brief Impact

esperanza-algaba-davila-Pee6pTydLAM-unsplash

Photo: Esperanza Algaba Davila on Unsplash

 

They didn’t think they’d leave such an impression. After all, they were only passing through, a transient band of transients in a town built on foundations set in stone.

And yet, as they left, colored wagons clattering on paved roads not made for wooden wheels or tender hooves, they were followed by a line of children.

Like a piped piper for the unloved. Seeking a better home.

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Impact in 67 words

 

 

 

Space To Roam

dark-clouds-on-a-sunny-day SueVincent

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

When they first left the city she was devastated.

She knew it was the better choice. That the twins’ sensitive lungs could not function in the pollution. That Mark’s temper improved whenever he had something green to look upon. That there will be less pressure on her to perform.

And yet … she mourned.

She worried that they will be terribly lonely. That the twins’ needs will drive her to distraction and that there will not be enough there to keep her mind from wandering into the darker corners of herself, especially in the days each month when she was already prone to the morose. She worried she would hate it. Hate him. Resent them.

She couldn’t have been more wrong.

The rolling meadows became an endless canvas of interest. The twins spent hours in the fresh air, content to watch the play of light and shade as clouds raced across the sky and birds fleeted and hares scampered and hawks floated languidly above. They did not cry nearly as much. They slept. They began to respond. It gave her time to know them. Their facial expressions and appetites and unexpected curiosity.

She was learning to know Mark better, too, and she liked what she was getting to know better than what she’d believed she’d liked when they first met. He was kinder since they moved. More patient. Less ashamed.

She knew he’d blamed her for the twins. For their impairments. For trying to birth two babies together and then doing it so poorly that she not only gave them damaged children, but was not likely to birth again.

In the city the children were a constant reminder of his imperfections. He was saddled with them yet found little comfort in babies who were sickly and odd-shaped and would likely never walk by his side. He was “the man with the cripples,” and though he never outright said it, she knew he resented the children for that. She knew he resented her, and that he hated his family for gifting them this exile.

But in the small estate in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by hills and bogs and streams and all manner of wild things, her husband seemed to find compassion. For himself. For her. For the children.

He calmed.

He took long walks.

He discovered fatherhood.

Neither of the twins smiled much, but when they did it would transform their wizened little faces into absolute delight.

In a moment of unexpected impulse, Mark discovered that he could make Tommy smile by spinning him high in his arms. And after that he could not get enough of Tommy’s dimple. Or Ronny’s laugh.

She could not get enough of Mark’s.

And she knew she would never forget the morning when she found Mark asleep in the nursery, draped on the daybed with the children cradled one to an arm. She loved him then in a way she did not believe possible.

So yes, when they first left the city, she had been devastated.

Yet in the vast open spaces of a fresh start, their grief diluted, they found a place to roam.

They found each other.

They found home.

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto

 

 

When It Leaves

shimmer SueVincent

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

“What is that thing?”

Melanie squinted against the glare. Shrugged. “A microscope with duck feet.”

Tony frowned. His sister was easily the most annoying person to ever occupy the Earth. Well, after James. James was worse.

The boy stole a look behind him as if expecting James to manifest, even though he knew that the youth was many miles away. You just didn’t know. With James.

Melanie rested her chin on her knees, hummed under her breath, and played imaginary piano with her toes, watching the sand swish around her soles. She was hungry. She wondered what they’ll have for dinner. She lifted her head to glance around. The beach was slowly emptying but it was too early to check the bins.

And anyway, it was Tony’s turn.

She couldn’t keep doing everything for him. He was never gonna learn.

Her stomach growled and she sighed and squinted again at the odd shape on the sand. “Yep,” she pursed her lips. “Definitely a microscope with duck legs.”

Tony made that sound in his throat that she knew meant he was distressed but didn’t want to show it. She ignored him. He had to toughen up.

The quiet between them lingered. It felt stretchy. Like a taught rubber band wound over a finger. Melanie stared. That thing didn’t move.

“It’s an alien,” Tony finally said.

Melanie nodded. Could be.

Tony breathed. “I wonder where the spaceship is.”

“Yeah.” Melanie sat up, suddenly intrigued. “And I wonder when it leaves. You think that if we ask, it would agree to take us with?”

 

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto

 

 

Not You. Not Here.

markus-spiske-QozzJpFZ2lg-unsplash

Photo: Markus Spiske on Unsplash

 

You are not welcome.

Here.

Or anyplace that we hold

Dear.

You are unwelcome

Here.

Because you lack

The right color

Or veneer

Or gender

Or conviction,

And because you have far too much

Proclivity toward

Fear.

You are not welcome.

Here.

Though if you come,

Subservient,

Kowtowing

To us

Year by lingering

Year,

We might allow you

To remain

As long as you

Humbly

Adhere,

To our need to aggrandize

Our wrongs,

And as long as you

Declare you will

Never rise

Above a state that

Holds us as

Premier.

 

 

Note: Dedicated to all who fight ingrained injustice, racism, hate, brutality, and the historical realities of too many who bolster themselves by believing they are somehow ‘premier.’ For the record, there is nothing ‘supreme’ about anyone who claims ‘supremacy.’ There never was.

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Unwelcome in 91 words

 

 

Hearts’ Hum

koshu-kunii-CVvOhaqIjSk-unsplash

Photo: Koshu Kunii on unsplash

 

No humdrum moment.

No silent pause

Or rest.

The tempo of the chanting

Rises

As crowds flow

And crest.

 

They march to call

The winds

Of change

To come,

And heed the soul

As hearts’ pain

Hums

And drums

The need for

Better times.

 

 

 

For the dVerse quadrille poetry challenge: drum

 

 

 

Challenges In Adoptions of Traumatized Children

 

 

As promised in the previous post, the video above is a recording of my virtual presentation from June 3, 2020, titled: “Does He Even Know How To Be loved?” Challenges in Adoptions of Traumatized Children.”

The hour-long presentation was requested by and offered through Haruv USA, which provides professional development and training on trauma-related topics, to professionals and interested individuals. The presentation is available on YouTube.

Feel free to leave comments or ask questions. Please note that comments are public, so if you want to ask questions more confidentially, please use the contact Na’ama Yehuda page.