Worse Things

 

“At least you got a day off and a pedicure out of it.”

There was no mistaking the jealousy in Marianne’s voice, and Belinda glanced at her scowling co-worker before returning her gaze to her toes. She had an urge to wiggle them but thought the better of it. It’ll hurt.

“I guess I did,” Belinda responded. No use adding that she ‘got’ pain out of it, too, and the sorrow of forgoing dancing at her sister’s wedding. Marianne will only make it a competition of misery.

There were worse things than torn ligaments.

She could’ve been born as Marianne.

 

 

Photo prompt: © Susan Eames

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

What She Left

sergiu-valena-GWeWNAugFCc-unsplash

(Photo: Sergiu Vălenaș on Unsplash)

 

There was not much there for her to

Bequeath:

A bit of lore.

A song no one had sung

Before.

Handwritten maps of forest paths

That others were likely yet to

Find.

A man’s sweater someone must have left

Behind.

Assorted photos of odd things,

Like stumps of trees

And rocks

And feathers that her favorite cat would

Bring.

There was not much for her to

Bequeath.

But what she had,

All could concede,

She loved and therefore

Was itself

A gift

Of life well-lived.

 

For Sammi‘s Weekend Writing Prompt: Bequeath in 85 words

 

Enough To Share

Photo prompt © Ted Strutz

 

“I kept some for you.”

She offered the crumpled paper reverently.

“Why, I thank thee!” he bowed.

He unfolded the checkered waxed napkin to reveal two potato chips, one small bite of pickle, a tiny sliver of bacon, a dot of olive, a slightly bigger dot of pepper, and a few crumbs of tuna. There was even some mayonnaise for condiment. A feast.

She squatted and rocked back on her heels in satisfaction as he devoured the food. Her greasy fingers left marks on her slacks. She was oblivious. Mesmerized.

The elf licked long skinny fingers. Burped. “No beer, eh?”

 

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

On Thresholds

https://offmetro.com/ny/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Broadway-Under-the-Stars_The-Shops-at-Columbus-Circle-8-e1541423872470.jpg

Photo: Offmetro.com

 

A few hours ago I stood at the first floor indoor balcony of “The Shops” at the Time Warner complex, “Jingle Bells” playing softly in the background, and stared at the commotion on the street below. The traffic circle and the whole street was awash in red, white, and blue. Not of flags, but in emergency vehicles.

Behind me the shopping center continued its pre-holiday buzz, filled with the distinct hubbub of people at the ceremony of gawk and point, browse and purchase. The mall was festive. Large ornamental decorations hung from the ceiling, and the balcony’s railing attracted a steady stream of visitors keen to capture a photo for immediate uploading into social media. It was a lovely spot to take a photo in, and yet it surprised me how many of the people who approached the banister seemed not to register the events that were taking place right outside the very windows that framed their shot.

It was impossible to miss.

Or was it?

Perhaps the tourists, energetically set to mingle with the locals, assumed that a constant whine of fire-engines, ambulances, and NYPD in a mass of first responders’ flicker is part of everyday in New York City. And perhaps in many ways it indeed is … and I am the one inured to an ongoing level of it. Perhaps where the quantity outside had, for me, somehow shifted qualitatively from the mundane to the attention-getting … the flickering outside had long surpassed the visitors’ threshold and had moved them beyond a place of response …

I considered how this was representative of the way in which, in general, once a “Too-Much” level for something is reached, a further increase in magnitude of too-muchness can paradoxically fade into the woodwork, swallowed by saturation.

A gaggle of teens passed by me, loudly debating the level of celebrity of some pop artist and the likelihood of her responding to a social media message. I found myself thinking of how an aspiring celebrity’s fan mail may be eagerly read when it first comes, every letter representing an individual … but might turn into a mass measured by boxes or at most a quick count of envelopes by the time fan mail becomes too numerous to actually read. One would have to pull out a single letter from the avalanche in order to rediscover the real person who’d placed a bit of themselves into the message. Otherwise, the very same person’s letter would remain as unseen as the rest.

It was the way so many other things — or at the very least the individuality of them — became meaningless when turned to be too many to count or attend to.

A stubborn blare of a siren jarred me out of my reverie and I returned my eyes to the scene outside the window. A ladder was raised to a high floor on one of the ornamental buildings on the exclusive street ahead. As far as the eye could see, Central Park South was brighter and more colorful than the lights around a tree.

Smoke billowed. It was a different kind of column than the one exuded by steam vents in the streets or steam stacks in the roofs of buildings. Fire.

Someone’s home. Someone’s belongings. Someone’s person could be at the mercy of the flames, tittering between existing and being devoured. The safety of the emergency personnel, too.

In this city of millions, it was all of it real. It was all individually significant in its own way.

“Keep safe,” I breathed. “May whatever this is, not completely mar your day.”

 

 

[Click for a Citizen App video of today at that time. Thankfully, all are safe.]

 

For Linda Hill’s SoCS prompt: ‘ingle’

 

 

What Noise?

Berlin InbarAsif

Photo: Inbar Asif

 

“I cannot stand the city,” they said,

Homesick for dark, wooded silence.

“It’s all clamor and racket.”

 

“It’s my refuge,” he smiled

At the trucks, people, sirens.

“The streets thrum the best lullaby…”

 

 

For The Daily Post

Biggest in his eyes!

Giraffe

“My daddy is more bigger,” he announced after examining a photo on my wall of my niece and her (rather tall) husband. His curls bounced in certitude and his tone spanned the space from pity to challenge.

“Is he?” I noted, winking at the boy’s mom.

I know the father. Objectively this little guy’s dad isn’t particularly tall, but this wasn’t about being objective … To his son, the father may as well be the giant of all giants.

“Yea,” the preschooler nodded emphatically. “My daddy is even more bigger than …” he scanned the room for inspiration, “… a whole Empire State Building house or even more bigger than …” he narrowed his eyes in concentration, opened them wide, “a giraffe!”

 

For The Daily Post