The Project

photo by David Meredith

Photo courtesy of David Meredith, photographer

 

“I know we can do it!”

Richard infused his voice with all the pep he could muster.

The house was a dump. He wanted to put a match to it. A tent would be better to live in. The very prospect of what fixing this wreck-of-a-building would entail had him exhausted in advance. He’d fixed homes before: this project would be measured in years, not months or weeks. He could almost see the creepy crawlies inside walls, the rot above the ceiling, the mold under the floors, the who knows what in the rafters.

He hated it already.

Who buys a house sight unseen? What on earth did she expect?

“It’ll be great!” He enthused, his arm protectively around her shoulders.

She’d been so proud to find a house that could fit them all and within their minuscule budget, further shrunken since he’d lost his job. She wanted to surprise him.

He hated seeing her devastation when they arrived at their new home, belongings and kids crammed into one truck.

“The children will learn so many skills,” he stressed. “You’ll see. We’ll go room by room and prioritize.”

“It’s a disaster,” she sniffled. Looked up. Smiled. “And I love you.”

 

 

For Sunday Photo Fiction

 

 

 

 

Irreplaceable

hu-chen-tCbTGNwrFNM-unsplash

Photo: Hu Chen on Unsplash

 

She could not get enough of him.

She’d spent the last few hours gazing at him as he slept.

She could spend another lifetime.

Nothing could replace the sweet contour of his back, the curve of his neck, the fists that could fly deliciously out of tempo with his kicking, the softness of his cheeks dimpled into smile.

His breath.

Joy expanded her chest and spread a warmth under her skin that flushed through her soul to fill her with a flood of well-being.

She was his forever grandmother.

 

 

 

Note: Dedicated to all the grandmothers and great-grandmothers. To the aunts and great-aunts. To the mothers and mothers-to-be. To the grandfathers and great-grands, to the uncles and fathers. May you know this love, for nothing can replace it.

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Replace in 89 words

 

 

 

 

Why Fly By

fly by NaamaYehuda

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

As they fly

Passing by

Tumbling through

Loops of sky

To hoot and cry,

They spend the day

Waving high

To Earth defy

As some shake heads

Oh my, oh my

And wonder why…

 

fly by1 NaamaYehuda

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

Note: These photos are from Canada’s “Wonderland” amusement park in Vaughn, where my family spent a day this past July, high flying and earth-defying while I mostly did the photo-taking and oh-my-why’ing. … 😉 (In the photo above, they are in the three short horizontal lines in free fall on the vertical line, a moment before being turned upside down and sideways and goodness knows what else).  It was a delightful day all around (pun?) till I got on one kiddie ride in the afternoon … Now, if you’re into these contraptions, that place is an all out-human-milkshake inventive park, just be warned and don’t be fooled by the miniature height requirements: they start them early and loop-di-doop-whoop-loop even those rides meant for preschoolers. …

For the Tuesday Photo Challenge: Tourism

For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Circles, curves and arches

 

 

Heidi’s Hideout

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/64/Heidihaus_in_Maienfeld.jpg

Photo:  commons.wikimedia.org

 

It was the last place she thought anyone would look for her.

Or the first. Depends.

If they knew the story of her grandmother, after whom she was named, then they’d surely make a beeline to the cottage. But most people did not know. Or forgot. And she herself hadn’t been particularly good at telling the story that as a child had made her feel bland and timid in comparison to her grandmother’s girlhood bravery and independence, and as an adult made her feel as if she was seeking to gain attention by association and not merit.

So when people asked: “Heidi, like the girl in the story?” she would just nod or shrug or at the most say, “perhaps, eh?”

She let her heritage become a secret.

Perhaps that will end up allowing her fresh air, away from everyone’s demands, at her great-great-grandpa’s ancient yet secluded Maienfeld house.

 

 

For What Pegman Saw: Maienfeld, Switzerland

 

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

 

Taking Tea

coffee or tea AmitaAsif

Photo: Amitai Asif

 

“Every pot can be

A teapot

But not all of them can make

Sufficiently

Good tea,”

He said, and fussed

And set the bag

To rest

On the edge

To breathe

For me.

“I’ll take coffee,”

Said the mother,

Contrary just because

She had the right

To be.

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Teapot in 48 words

 

 

 

Driving Mrs. Mama

Photo prompt: © Linda Kreger 

 

“Hope the driver remembers.” Ella fretted.

Lynn shrugged. “He’ll have to run us over if he forgot.”

“You two, line up already and stop the chatter!”

“Shush, Jerry! Let us cherish the fruits of our labor.”

Your labor?! Who manned the table saw and has more splinters than a cactus?”

“Poor Bearded Baby … I sanded them all! Quiet, here she comes!”

The van stopped at the cul-de-sac. The driver walked around to the rear and wheeled Mama down.

“Welcome home, Mama Jean!”

“Hey, Ella, ditch the camera! No slackers till the Driving Mrs. Mama Home Train clears the ramp!”

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

The Key

The Key SmadarHalperinEpshtein

Photo: Smadar Halperin-Epshtein

 

The key to every

Good adventure,

And a day out

To sights see,

Is a how to prevent a

Misadventure

By finding a good place

To pee.

 

 

 

(Note: I know I took some liberty … with the concept of “the key” … And, yes, I’ve used the photo before, but sometimes you just got to have another ‘go’ … 😉 )

 

For the Tuesday Photo Challenge: Key

 

The Constitutional

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

“He never would’ve been out there without his hat.”

Elizabeth shook her head in suppressed exasperation. Of course her mother would find fault.

The older woman perched on the edge of the folding chair that Elizabeth and the fresh-faced health-carer had dragged over for her. The flickering episodes of weakness and disorientation had grown more frequent since Grandfather died. Perhaps it had been the shock of finding him, as her mother had, slumped against the edge of the bathtub. Perhaps it had been the letting go that followed endless years of caring for an increasingly ailing parent. Perhaps it was her mother taking on the role of family invalid.

The doctors certainly did not seem to know.

Or know the difference.

Not that Elizabeth could not understand the wish to let go. She could. Very much so.

Caring for her increasingly moody mother gave her a taste of what it had to have been like for her mother to endure the constant worry over and never-ending bitterness of a man who could no longer do what had sustained him. The amicable if somewhat taciturn grandfather had turned into a fussy, verbally cruel, bed-bound tyrant. Her mother’s father had to have become insufferable.

A little like her mother was becoming.

“They should’ve made a hat. It’s all wrong without a hat.” Her mother scowled.

The figure on the hill leaned into the wind. Impossibly lithe and utterly determined, it embodied how Elizabeth the young child had known him. As far back as she could remember, Grandfather never missed a day of what he’d called his “constitutional.” Rain or shine or wind or hail or mist or blazing sun, her grandfather would leave on his solitary afternoon walk, returning — like clockwork — when the sun had disappeared behind the hill.

Elizabeth would wait for him, her child’s body pressed against the stone fence that bordered the estate, and watch his shadow edge on home, his walking stick as part of him as any limb could be. At some point his tweed pants would materialize at the bottom of the shadow, and in another step or two the rest of him would unveil into certainty.

By the time he’d reach the gate, his windblown face would hold a smile for her. He’d nod a welcome, compensating with it for the long wait, for the yearning that he’d take her along (he never did, nor had he taken any of his children before that), and for the fluttery worry that perhaps the shadowed figure was not Grandfather at all, but in fact an elf or ghost or some trickster’s apparition.

She gazed at the silhouette on the hill, its stride frozen forever in the time before a stroke changed everything.

Hat or not, this was how he’d want to be remembered.

“He’d stuff the hat in his pocket when the wind was high,” she whispered, her voice full of sudden sorrow. “He’d pull it out and put it on a step before he reached the gate.”

Her mother’s mouth opened in preparation for automatic argument, but then the wrinkled corners turned down as a quiver shook her chin.

“He did,” her voice a child’s in elder’s clothing. “It is exactly what he’d do.”

Elizabeth squeezed her mother’s shoulder and the older woman placed a trembling hand over her daughter’s.

“It is perfect, then,” her mother murmured. “I’d forgotten. Take me home, Lizzy. Let us allow him his constitutional in peace, now that he can once more go about it.”

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto Challenge

 

 

Gravity

Photo prompt © Jan Wayne Fields

 

“The box said up to 20 people,” Martin insisted.

I gazed at the purple awning below and my eyes rested momentarily on my cousin’s bare feet. He inherited Uncle Georgie’s hairy toes, I noticed. His impulsive stubbornness, too, it seems.

“That’s not what they meant,” I shook my head.

Martin glared at me as if my IQ wouldn’t make it past the bottom inch of a ruler.  “Twenty people is twenty people, Ralph. Math is math,” he announced and launched himself from the garage’s roof onto the tent.

CRASH!

And gravity is gravity … I sighed. I had 911 on speed dial.

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers