Space To Roam

dark-clouds-on-a-sunny-day SueVincent

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

When they first left the city she was devastated.

She knew it was the better choice. That the twins’ sensitive lungs could not function in the pollution. That Mark’s temper improved whenever he had something green to look upon. That there will be less pressure on her to perform.

And yet … she mourned.

She worried that they will be terribly lonely. That the twins’ needs will drive her to distraction and that there will not be enough there to keep her mind from wandering into the darker corners of herself, especially in the days each month when she was already prone to the morose. She worried she would hate it. Hate him. Resent them.

She couldn’t have been more wrong.

The rolling meadows became an endless canvas of interest. The twins spent hours in the fresh air, content to watch the play of light and shade as clouds raced across the sky and birds fleeted and hares scampered and hawks floated languidly above. They did not cry nearly as much. They slept. They began to respond. It gave her time to know them. Their facial expressions and appetites and unexpected curiosity.

She was learning to know Mark better, too, and she liked what she was getting to know better than what she’d believed she’d liked when they first met. He was kinder since they moved. More patient. Less ashamed.

She knew he’d blamed her for the twins. For their impairments. For trying to birth two babies together and then doing it so poorly that she not only gave them damaged children, but was not likely to birth again.

In the city the children were a constant reminder of his imperfections. He was saddled with them yet found little comfort in babies who were sickly and odd-shaped and would likely never walk by his side. He was “the man with the cripples,” and though he never outright said it, she knew he resented the children for that. She knew he resented her, and that he hated his family for gifting them this exile.

But in the small estate in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by hills and bogs and streams and all manner of wild things, her husband seemed to find compassion. For himself. For her. For the children.

He calmed.

He took long walks.

He discovered fatherhood.

Neither of the twins smiled much, but when they did it would transform their wizened little faces into absolute delight.

In a moment of unexpected impulse, Mark discovered that he could make Tommy smile by spinning him high in his arms. And after that he could not get enough of Tommy’s dimple. Or Ronny’s laugh.

She could not get enough of Mark’s.

And she knew she would never forget the morning when she found Mark asleep in the nursery, draped on the daybed with the children cradled one to an arm. She loved him then in a way she did not believe possible.

So yes, when they first left the city, she had been devastated.

Yet in the vast open spaces of a fresh start, their grief diluted, they found a place to roam.

They found each other.

They found home.

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto

 

 

If It Rains

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Photo: Javardh on Unsplash

 

“If it rains,” she said.

“It pours,” he answered.

They laughed and touched palms

Over glass.

The barriers that divide

Not keeping them

Apart.

“And when it shines,” she said,

“It glories,” he responded.

She grinned and then the corners

Of her lips

Shook and her palm pressed

Again

Toward his

And her eyes unleashed a

Downpour of

Longing.

“Don’t cry,” he whispered.

“I’m almost ready

For the transplant.

My cells will welcome yours

Into my own.

As they had

In the womb.

It is like coming home.”

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Downpour in 88 words

 

 

 

The Way It Used To Be

storm SueVincent

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

There were hollows underneath the old ruins. They could be reached through the small shadowy glen that indented the hill where the remains of the stone structure stood.

Da had said that the underground spaces had likely been storerooms, but in Konnor’s mind they could just as easily have been dungeons. People had such things in castles and forts and towers. In old times.

Or perhaps still did. You never knew what could be lurking underneath someone’s residence.

He used to go to the ruins with Baldwin. It had been their favorite play space. They’d crawl through the opening in the rocks which led to a small roundish place with hand-hewed walls that still showed marks of chisels, complete with what must’ve been a doorway to other spaces but was blocked by a tumble of large stones.

They had made a plan to clear those, he and Baldwin, once when summer was long and they were bored and needing an adventure. They were soon disabused of the notion, however. Not only were the stones heavy and the tugging of them sweaty work, but the dust that fell on their heads from the ceiling made them realize that the whole thing could come down and leave them buried.

They weren’t ready to be buried. Not when ghosts and goblins waited to grab any who stepped into Death’s domain.

So they left the rockfall alone and found that their imaginations managed to terrify each other well enough without actually discovering what hid underneath and behind the areas into which they had no ingress.

Then Baldwin got sick, and when the fever subsided his legs did not work anymore and one of his arms was weak and he became morose and pale and could no longer come play in the ruins. When Konnor came to visit him, Baldwin reclined in his bed and frowned and said that dungeon stories were stupid and for babies.

Konnor stopped mentioning their games. He visited less and less until he only went when his mother made him. Baldwin was too angry and there was nothing Konnor could do right and he felt awkward and worried and sad.

His feet still took him to the ruins — they knew the way so well — but it wasn’t the same without Baldwin. The place felt spookier. Lonelier. Colder. Silent in a way that breathed him guilty. The stories that had been so exciting felt empty and Konnor began to think that perhaps the hollow, too, was for babies.

He turned his back on the ruins and tried to forget the way things used to be.

Then one day, as his feet walked him by, he heard mewling. At first he wondered if those were ghosts come to haunt him … but the insistent whines sounded too much like complaints brought forth by small, needy, hungry, living things.

He crawled in. His torch lit an area of newly fallen stones and a squirming mound of furry wobbly creatures.

It had been heedless to enter face first into a den. He would have been taught a painful lesson by the parent, had she not been crushed under one of the stones. It couldn’t have been long. Her motionless form was almost warm.

The pups mewled and one wriggled to nuzzle blindly against Konnor’s palm, seeking comfort. It was only when he picked them up into his shirt that he realized something.

“The stories we told may have been for babies,” he told Baldwin when he unveiled the brown head of a pup that had snuggled into the crook of his arm, “but the dungeons seemed to have produced some real younglings.”

“And this one,” he planted the helpless creature in Baldwin’s withered lap, “needs someone who understands. Da says her back must have been crushed. Her hind legs are paralyzed.”

Baldwin’s eyes grew round and as he reached to touch the pup, she licked his finger. “I’ll call her Dungeon,” he said gently and his voice held a hint of sparkle. “For the way it used to be.”

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto challenge

 

 

 

Golden End

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Santo Tomas, Spain (Ricky Rew on Unsplash)

 

It was a golden end.

To the day. To their journey. To what they managed to do together, for the first time in a long time without bitter exchanges that gouged their hearts and left them both scarred.

The trip to Santo Tomas was an impromptu thing. The healing they’d invested in was not.

“We could go, you know,” he’d mentioned as she’d browsed to pass the time while waiting outside the therapist’s office. It was always an awkward time, sitting together in the ante room, aware that what came next was lancing boils and airing out things too noxious to attempt alone.

“Can we, though?” she’d replied, layering many meanings.

“I think so,” he’d said.

His hesitation, more than anything, was what had her agree.

The therapist’s hesitation, too. She wanted to prove the woman wrong.

She watched him jog by sun-glow. Her heart warmed. They were going home.

 

 

 

For What Pegman Saw: Santo Tomás

 

 

 

 

Elysian Fields

Elysian Fields AmitaiAsif

Photo: Amitai Asif

 

“There is no need to die,”

He stretched his long legs

And sighed,

“To experience bliss

In the here

In the now.

We need only

Allow.”

She leaned back

And exhaled

What should have long been

Expelled.

As the breeze kissed

Her cheeks,

She prepared to be

Healed,

In the Eden on Earth

Of Elysian fields.

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Elysian in 56 words

 

 

Sisters Of This Earth And Sky

Friendship Craft DiklaNachmias

Photo: Dikla Nachmias

 

Ladies of the borrowed time,

Mistresses of undemanding,

Mothers bearing down the twine

To faithful understanding,

Sisters of this Earth and sky,

Daughters threading needles of

Life verifying,

Girls who hearts ignore —

I hear you roar.

Do know:

Together we’ll weave words

From crying.

 

 

For the dVerse quadrille challenge: roar

 

 

 

A Place For Peace

A place for peace NaamaYehuda

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

She found a spot

Inside herself

That fed the spring

Of peace

She’d always known

Was there.

 

 

 

For Sunday Stills: Peace (also, Happy Birthday, Terri!)

 

 

A Home For Joey

joey at the beach InbarAsif

Photo: Inbar Asif

 

He did not know how to play

But they knew he’d be

Okay.

He was scared of every thing

But they knew that he was

King.

He had to learn life from scratch

But they knew they’d love him

Much.

He’s the sweetest boy there is

Even unsure how to

Please.

And whether he’s a bit autistic

His kind of love is

Simplistic.

He is now a happy boy

Who gets his life to

Enjoy.

 

 

For the Sunday Stills Challenge: Pets

 

 

Delicately

Delicate AmitaiAsif

Photo: Amitai Asif

 

She flitted gently by his head.

The slight bow noted, the sorrow that was there

But perhaps not heard.

 

She knew he had to hold himself up

All this time

That it was the only way

He’d learned.

And yet she could discern the hidden

Effort that it took

To rise against the gravity,

In times where drought of hope

Returned

Again and again and again.

 

She understood the energy required for

Making the Herculean appear effortless,

To constantly correct

The wobble under

Winds and strain.

 

She hovered for a moment

Letting a space of permission

Manifest

Before she landed, feather-weighted and,

Delicate

On his chest.

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Delicate in 106 words

 

Her Song To Sing

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Photo: Jorgen Haland via Unsplash

 

And so she stood

Among the rocks

That piled,

A pyre of life’s debris,

Like so much refuse

Of what had

Once been

Beloved goals.

 

And so she sang,

The words still raw

Against her lips,

Her livid

Scar of

Soul.

 

The song, she knew,

Was more than

A sum

Of her whole,

And beyond any meaning

Voice could

Hold.

 

And so she stood

Amidst the wreckage

Of her faith

Atop the middling shards

Of hope.

 

And she recalled

The seeds long planted

In her core,

Beneath the thickets

Of lost calls,

Awaiting, perhaps,

This very annihilation

As invitation

To grow bold.

 

 

 

(Dedicated to all who are feeling broken. May they find the seeds within their core. And grow bold.)

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Song in 102 words