A Rare Root

 

It took her sixty years, but she finally did manage to maneuver the tangled maze of history and silence.

“Why do they make it so difficult?” she had demanded one day, flooded with frustrations.

“Shame, I suppose,” the woman at the records office had shrugged.

And a shame it was.

One that too many women carried, and too many cultures reinforced.

Sealed hopes.

But shame could not, in the end, keep her story from being told.

She watched the ancient lady in the market. Half-bent. Wholly recognizable.

Her birth mother.

A rare root unfurled inside her heart. Sprouted. Took hold.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt © Brenda Cox

 

 

 

Wrinkled Thorns

 

She always left one rosebush alone. Let the flowers bloom as they wanted, curl and unfurl as they wanted, dry and droop as they wanted.

“It is an eyesore,” her mother-in-law criticized, ever eager to point out imperfections to the daughter she did not birth and that her son had chosen to love more than he ever did the one who’d labored to bring him into the world.

“Perhaps,” she smiled, but did not yield.

Thorns and wrinkled petals seemed fitting. Frosty resentment prevented closeness, but the old woman had given life to the man she loved. It was enough.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt: Dale Rogerson

 

His Hummingbird

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The day had been dreary so far. The cold. The damp. The boring wait for the car’s repair. The need to keep her body still and her mouth from chattering.

Gran did not let her wander. Or climb. Or touch things.

“You’ll get filthy.” Gran had stated. Like an ultimate sin.

At first Beth did try to argue. Daddy always said that filth is easy to wash off and that a bit of dirt was no excuse for sitting out good fun.

Gran did not think highly of Daddy.

“What judgment that man could have had in him,” Gran grumbled, “he’d given it up when he chose to leave my uterus early … and it only went downhill from there.”

Or up, Beth thought. He had promised to watch over her. Before the angels called.

“My Hummingbird,” he’d called her.

Her eyes rested on the sign. She smiled.

Hi Daddy.

 

 

For Crispina‘s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

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!)

 

All Color Gone

 

They will not be coming home.

She paced the few steps from her door to the deck’s edge and back again. She gazed up at the washed out sky. Watched as the shadows encroached on the small lawn to blanket the rocks in the graying garden. Her breath was heavy in her chest.

They will not be coming home.

With every blink, the hues were fading. Taking with them memories of laughter, of pitter-patter, of wet wool and hot cocoa steaming by the fire.

The telegram emblazoned in her mind.

The boys will not be coming home.

All color gone.

 

 

Note: Dedicated to all those who knew and know such loss.

Photo prompt: © Sarah Potter

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

Magical Immersion

cutest bookworms AmotzBarlev

Photo: Amotz Barlev

 

When the sunlight ends early

And twilight follows

Close,

Grab a book and dive into vast

Worlds where anything

Goes.

Immerse yourself into the realms

Where magic is the

Norm

And ride the wings of imagery

All night into the

Morn.

 

Note: I just had to share (with permission, of course) the absolute delight of this photo of my grand-niece and grand-nephews so utterly absorbed in their books. A bookworm myself, I’ve spent many an evening immersed in reading. Still do. It shaped my life. This gift that keeps on giving offers riches that all the money in the world cannot, and I am so so heartened to see it in children. I hope you read. I hope you read to your children. Your children may well follow your lead, and love of reading is a ‘bug’ well worth ‘catching.’

 

Not Much Sweeter

ccc105 CrispinaKemp

 

There was not much sweeter than Grandpa Gulliver’s honey. Then again, there was not much that was sweeter than honey. Berries, perhaps, in their short season. Or maple syrup, when they found it. But there were not many maples left anymore, and those she knew of were not particularly generous with their sap now that they had to parse energy for growing.

But there was Grandpa Gulliver’s honey. The slow pouring amber liquid of deliciousness. As valuable and as glorious as gold. The warmth of happy in her mouth.

Grandpa Gulliver had built Hive Homes for the bees. Tiny mansions of industry where workers and queens could shelter from the rain under eaves that shed the snow and cut the wind.

She used to watch the ins-and-outs for hours. The buzz. The promise.

Now they stood desolate.

No bees. No Grandpa Gulliver.

Who knew they’d all be taken, sweetness gone?

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

Fall Festive

 

It was barely fully fall but the weather seemed intent on ensuring none of them would be able to ignore the coming winter. Morning frost. Freezing rain. Evening flurries. Weekend snow.

“So much for global warming,” Moise moaned.

“It’s Climate Change, Pops,” Ben interjected. “It makes mayhem to let us know how much we’d messed things up.”

“Whatever it does,” the older man waved at the window, “it is not as it should be.”

“Perhaps,” Bernice entered with arms full of pine bows, lights, and tinsel, “but we can still make it as festive as we want in the interim.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

Dining Duo

 

“Remember when we used to come here all the time?” Lisa rested her chin on her palm, elbow propped onto the tablecloth, and dreamy eyes gazing out the diner’s window.

Her mother nodded, throat too full of ache to speak. She signaled for the check. Lisa looked so much like Gloria in that posture. The two had the same mannerisms, the same coloring and freckled cheeks, even the same tone. The niece’s resemblance to her aunt had been a source of joy. Still was. Always will be. But there was loss there, too.

Now that Gloria was gone.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

(photo prompt – © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields)

 

Outed

folly- CrispinaKemp

 

“What is this place?”

“An outhouse?” Marti sniffed, perhaps for clues.

Barbara wrinkled her nose. Marti always did have a potty brain. “It would not make sense without a door, now, would it?”

“Ventilation?” Marti doubled down. “And anyway, a door could be removed.”

“No hole in the ground,” Barbara pointed out.

“Could have been filled in or covered.”

Barbara shook her head. Even covered in leaves and mud, the floor of the small structure looked too evenly tiled for that.

“So, if you such a genius,” Marti sneered at his know-it-all cousin, “what do you think it is?”

Barbara inspected the arched entrance, the partially enclosed back wall, the proximity to the ancient manor’s fence. A guard post, she thought, but did not say. There would be no fun in that.

“A portal to Avalon,” she stated loftily.

“Ah,” Marti retorted. “As I said, it is an outhouse, then.”

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge