In Her Element

cameleon AmitiaAsif

(Photo: Amitai Asif)

 

She watched

The proceedings

Without anyone

Taking notice.

It was almost

Magic,

Perched as she was

In plain sight

Yet somehow

Not.

It suited her

To be a

Chameleon.

There but not

Quite there.

For she was most

In her element

When she was fully

Blended in.

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Element in 47 words

 

Seeking Silver Linings

Looking up NaamaYehuda

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

It wasn’t about giving up. It was about silver linings.

Or about looking for them. At least.

Better than seeing the mess inside her mother’s house. The junk that kept arriving, accumulating, suffocating. Better than listening to the endless arguments between her parents. Or to the cries of the neighbor from across the street. The police there every other week. Mostly on payday, when the neighbor’s husband was drunk. Fancy neighborhood. Broken lives.

So, she curled up by the window, eyes to the sky, watching fluffy clouds drifting by.

Perhaps the silver lining will ride in on the next one.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers (I mean, how could I NOT participate when Rochelle chose to use one of my photos today?! Happy, healthy, and a BETTER 2021, everyone! And to all the children in homes-of-crisis: Hang in there, it gets better, you are worth it, you are seen!)

 

More To Overcome

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Photo: Jon Tyson on Unsplash

 

As soon as he arrived, she would be able to make her exit.

Take time for herself. Have a moment of calm.

She was oh-so-tired. She urged him on.

“On my way,” he said. “A few more minutes and I’ll come.”

She waited.

The minutes then the hours ticked their slow molasses of seconds. Time puddled, sticky, in her mind.

Around her the demands of life continued and her body obeyed. Her hands found zippers and did and undid buttons and washed dishes and stirred pots and hung wet linens and kneaded dough and bandaged a skinned knee and broke up fights and interrupted arguments. Her mouth managed to answer questions she did not remember being asked.

At some point her eyes no longer rose to check the clock. The sinking feeling curled up and took residence inside her gut.

She fed. She bathed. She put to bed.

She rocked. She soothed. Not knowing what she said.

As dark deepened and the night grew long, she knew.

He would not arrive.

There will be only more to overcome.

 

 

 

For RDP Sunday: Overcome

 

 

 

Blasted Thing

brown thread

Photo: Susanne Jutzeler on Pexels.com

 

“Where is the blasted thing?!”

I sighed and put the textbook down. Momma never could maintain a smidgen of patience in herself.

“I’ll get it!” I rose and walked the three steps that separated my bedroom from the eat-in area. The measuring tape was exactly where she’d left it, on the dinette.

Momma was sitting on the floor not two feet from the table, one chair upended and her own legs sprawled straight out. She was wearing one of her depressing “housecoats” and a frown to match. It was uncanny how she managed to unbutton her kindly outward appearance and shed it right along with her matching sets of slacks and blouse.

My friends never did believe me that the woman who was head of PTA, mistress of all bake sales, and Lady-Of-The-Smile in charity drives and Christmas fairs, was a terror to be mothered by.

“Here, Momma.”

Her red-clawed hand reached for the tape. “And scissors? Did your pea brain stop a moment to consider I will need the scissors?”

She’d decided to reupholster the chairs. Again. Her idea of seasonal decoration.

We sat on pumpkins in the fall. On holly in the winter. On bunnies in the spring. On flags in July.

The curtains would be next.

I rummaged in the drawer for the scissors.

“Well?” She growled.

“They aren’t here, Momma.”

“Like hell they aren’t! Didn’t I tell you to never ever touch my fabric scissors? Just you wait till I’m done here!”

The threat had had some teeth to it while I was younger, and though she did not lift a hand to me since I’d grabbed hers in mine to hold her away two years ago — and she’d realized that my extension at five feet nine far exceeded her five foot three wingspan — the words themselves remained. And the possibility.

I kept my distance. Safer when she had a hammer nearby.

Something glinted underneath a corner of the pastel chintz.

“Can that be it?” I pointed.

She grumbled and reached for the scissors. “Just like you to hide it.”

“Can I get you anything else?” I knew better than to take the bait or argue. And I had a test to get back to studying for.

My ticket out, it was.

If I passed, I would be leaving.

I don’t care to where.

 

 

 

For Linda Hill’s SoCS challenge: Where

 

The Grimace

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Photo: Silas Baisch on Unsplash

 

It was not quite a smile.

It was born not in joy

Nor in any enchantment,

But in desperate

Hope

To forestall

Shame

As it loomed,

A storm

In the fast shrinking distance.

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Grimace in 33 words

 

 

The Toll

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Photo: Alabaster canopic jar (Wikimedia)

 

She was impervious to their taunting.

To the words

That meant to hurt

But found no inlet

No crack

In what seemed her

Flawless control.

 

She was impervious to others’ love

As well.

The doors of her alabaster soul

Had slammed shut

After her spirit had peeked

Out

Only to find more harm

Than she knew she would be able

To endure if she were to

Somehow

Remain whole.

 

She was impervious to much,

But not to beauty.

She could not give up

That

Without crumbling.

And so she lived

In stoic

Understanding

Of the world,

And its toll.

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Impervious in 99 words

 

 

The Critic

silhouette of a man in window

Photo by D. Tong on Pexels.com

 

It was his job to be the critic.

He’d taken it on when he was but a child and there was naught by chaos all around him.

Criticizing was a way to put some order into madness, to have at least the illusion of control.

Not that he’d criticize them openly and risk the switch or belt or backhand or the things that were … well … worse.

But criticize he did.

Mostly himself.

At first as practice.

Then as habit.

Then as something he would do without even a pause to think.

Offer a knifing critic.

Of his actions. Of his wishes. Of his hopes. His thoughts. His dreams.

What had began as coping, turned a prison.

And the jailer was inside him.

The sentencing, his own.

 

 

 

For the SoCS Saturday Challenge: Critic(al)

 

Memory Jar

Photo prompt: © Priya Bajpal

 

“Can I take one now?”

“Breakfast first.”

Deena sighed. She ate her oatmeal and drank her milk, but her eyes kept returning to the seashell table Dad had gotten for Mom. Before. To the jar that usually stood on the mantel. Since.

Finally, Grandma rose and put her mug in the sink.

Now that it was time, Deena hung back. She remembered filling the jar, with Grandma, after the accident, when memories were fresh and both their hearts were broken.

Grandma took her hand. “Come. Reach in. Pick one, and you’ll see – the right moment with them will find you.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

A Little Closer

vugust on tumblr

Photo: vugust on tumblr

 

“Granpa is no here anymore,” he stated, morose, “he go back to very far.”

The little boy raised impossibly long-lashed honey eyes to me but I didn’t think he was looking at anything in the room. His eyes were seeing through the walls and out to where a presence is not constrained by oceans, mileage, and topography.

His little face was pinched in a sad frown and he fingered the edge of his shirt, before taking in a long breath that seemed to fill not only his lungs but also return the sparkle into his eyes. He pointed a small finger at the center of his chest. Exhaled. Took another breath.

“But Granpa no really faraway,” he declared, the last two words blended into one in a sing-song. “My heart think so he only little closer very far.”

 

 

For The Daily Post

Descend to Calm

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Photo: O. Asif

 

If your head fleets up and flitters

Filled with too much

And too fast …

Change course

Decelerate and

Descend back to

Calm ground.

 

 

For The Daily Post