The Keys To Happiness

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Photo: Alfred Schrock on Unsplash

 

Two years, and he could hardly remember how he’d managed to survive before.

The rush. The never ending tasks. The constant worry. The being pulled a million ways by demands and the dreams of others.

He’d run on fumes for months on end, then crash and burn in ways that hurt not only himself but also the ones whose lives were closest. All those bridges he’d burnt.

It was the last burnt bridge that had paradoxically saved him. It became a light from burning embers. He’d flown out to care for an ailing uncle, but in truth just to escape the consequences of another interpersonal disaster. He expected to discover his uncle, who’d been the family’s previous pariah, on death’s door. What he did not expect was to find him so content.

“Live here,” were his uncle’s last words. “Need little. Use less. The Keys saved me. Claim your turn.”

 

 

For What Pegman Saw: Florida Keys

 

Home Idyll

Belize InbarAsif

Photo: Inbar Asif

 

She leaned against the painted wall and exhaled a sigh of relief.

She was finally home. Hardship over. She was free. All was going to be as she needed it to be.

The freshly laundered whites fluttered in the sea breeze and the rush of waves sang in her ears. A dun puppy yipped at a bird. The baby slept at her feet.

“Have you eaten?” Grandmama called, a loving voice on the wind.

“I’m coming,” she smiled and bent to lift the bassinet.

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Idyll in 84 words

 

The Richness Of You

sunrise florida NaamaYehuda

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

If a hollowing sorrow

Catches your breath in a

Hold

And then folds

Like a snail

Into what can’t

Be told …

Let the richness

Of you

Spread like gold

From a long ago story

Foretold,

Like the waves’

Gentle touch

On a morning’s

Threshold.

 

 

 

For dVerse’s quadrille challenge: Rich

 

 

The Key

Photo Credit: Sue Vincent

 

Practically everyone but the real-estate agent had been against him purchasing the place.

“That heap of rot is a death trap,” his friend Tomas had said.

“It is haunted,” Fran had shuddered. “You’ll get murdered in your sleep and become another ghost, just like them.”

Others hadn’t been much subtler:

“The place is a wreck!”

“This monster will eat up all your money and spit you out broke and homeless.”

“Are you out of your effing mind?”

“Gosh, Dude, you need a shrink!”

To be fair, the last two statements were probably true. … Not that this stopped him from finding ways to manage all these years without a shrink. Not that there weren’t times during the first year in the house, when the old thing seemed intent on falling about his ears and his bank account skied a Black Diamond toward zero, when he didn’t wonder whether his mental health was sliding south just as precipitously.

But he’d held on to his bootstraps and soldiered on. In part to not lose face but mostly because he had indeed sank so much of his limited assets into the house that there was no way out but through. He gave up his rental apartment in town and erected a tent in the middle of the mansion’s living room where the roof leaked the least. He uncovered the well and hauled out buckets of muck before clean water once more found purchase. He cleared paths through the overgrown hedges and the man-height weeds that overtook what had been a lawn around the house. He scraped moss and mold off of stone walls. He evicted pigeons, rats, squirrels, countless spiders, and a skunk that made sure her discontent lingered. He discovered woodwork under paint, a carved gate under briars, a clubfoot tub under rubble, and a door to a hidden passageway behind a rotting cabinet.

Here and there a friend would agree to help with this or that, and twice he’d hired someone with engine-muscle to lug out things that needed more than human-power. But most his friends couldn’t help (and some refused to ‘enable’ what they declared an insanity), and hiring anyone ate big bites out of a budget that wasn’t hefty to begin with. So he buckled down and did much of the work himself, making small but steady dents in a mountain he did not think would ever yield to order. The list of things left to do only kept growing: parts of the roof needed repair, the kitchen floor needed replacing, the electric lines were too ancient to hold power, the pipes leaked, and the sewers were more roots than flow. The work was Sisyphean.

And still … between moments of sheer desolation and utter despair, he realized that he was actually sleeping soundly for the first time in his life. A smile would sneak onto his lips as he sanded this or patched up that or cleared another mess of spider webs or thickets. He hummed an ear-worm for a whole weekend and no one shushed him for not being able to carry a tune.

It was as if he’d accepted the house and its flaws, and the house in return had accepted him. He felt happy. He felt at home.

The realization stunned him.

Though he wouldn’t have been able to articulate it at the time, he came to understand that the reason he had been drawn to purchasing a run-down estate with overgrown grounds in the middle of a god-forsaken forest, was in part because of memories of another building surrounded by a tall stone fence: the “Home” that never truly was one and yet had been the only model he’d had.

He’d accumulated more moments of abject misery in the “Home” than he ever wanted to recall. Countless nights yearning to be old enough to leave … even as he’d feared the day he would be made to do so.

This long-neglected house with its aged stone fence and beautiful wide gate, was his. No one could tell him he’d aged out and could not stay. No one could tell him that his bed is needed to make room for someone else, or that it was time for him to fend for himself and no longer rely on the charity of others to feed and clothe and put a roof over his head.

It didn’t matter that the repairs would take years and that most of the rooms would not be usable for just as long. It didn’t matter that he didn’t have a clear plan for what he’d use all these rooms for. What mattered was that this old place was real. That it was full of history and memory. That it stood firm onto the ground and offered to be the roots he’d otherwise have no way to lay claim to. This house was him. Healing it was the key to who he could become.

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s Write Photo prompt invitation

 

Outdoor Sunday


Photo prompt: © Dale Rogerson 

 

“This is perfect,” Juliette leaned back onto her elbows and let the sound wash over her.

“Uhhumm…” Doug scraped mud off his pantleg. His fingers yearned for his phone but he had almost no battery left. He wondered for the hundredth time how long before they returned to the car.

Juliette smiled. She knew Doug found nature torturous. The quiet bored him. He disliked pebbles, creepy-crawlers, wind, and grass-stains.

She also knew her brother tolerated their periodical “Outdoor Sunday” just because he loved her … And because he understood better than anyone how much she’d lost when floods took the homestead.

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

A Shared World

central park1 May2018 NaamaYehuda

Central Park, NYC; Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

In the midst of the bustle,

The hectic,

The cramped,

A shared world

Sprawls lush green:

Just a few steps

Within

A deep breath

And some peace

To partake in.

 

 

For Cee’s Share Your World Challenge

Soul Soothing

florida sunrise1

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

In the silence of pre-dawn

Or the hush before the sunset

May your soul be soothed to know

Full widths of hope

Soft waves of deepest palette.

 

 

For The Photo Challenge

Un-Lurch

Berlin BW InbarAsif

Photo: Inbar Asif

 

Unzip yourself from wild-ride news

From tilt-a-whirls of media.

Seek peace amides the reeling waves

Of turmoil and tragedia.

Carve islands of no pitch or roll

So a calm breath can fill ya.

 

 

 

For The Daily Post

Solitary Call

Bird Pose AtaraKatz

Photo: Atara Katz

 

If you heed

Your heart’s need

To silence

The fretting discord

That bestrewed your soul,

You’ll hear

The gentle chime

Of each breath

Reverberating

Its solitary call.

 

 

 

For The Daily Post

The Breath of Waves

 

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Let the breathing of the surf clear through you

all the pebbles of despair

or grief.

Let the breathing of the surf refill you

with the rhythm of creation

and relief.

Let the breath of waves remind you

how your own heart beats one in

one out,

to allow the good to flow within you

and the ugly

to retreat

no more about.