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

 

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)

 

As One

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

It would be a long day of hiking to get to where she was going, but that only meant she’d have all those hours to herself. Time to cherish. Laura rarely had alone time now that she was taking care of three little ones. Four, if you counted the one who was adult in years but child in coping.

The others were coming by van and bike and car, and at least one that she knew of was likely to arrive by horse. Like spokes on a wheel, they where converging onto the place that had birthed and maintained their connection.

They were barely taller than grasshoppers when they had made their pact. The icy waters of the stream that slid in mirror-like pools sewn by white foam amidst the forests behind their homes, were known to either meld souls together or break them. They were adamant to have theirs fuse.

“Friends for life!” their reedy voices had risen breathless in the cold that needled every part of their unclad bodies. Only their palms, holding on to dear life, gave warmth.

Not one of them was going to admit that the submersion ritual had sounded better in the stories. Not one of them was willing to allow their fear or blue lipped trembling be the weakest cog.

“As one submerged, as one emerged!” they had cried and dipped and clung and sprung up in a sputter, pausing just a moment to stare in delighted disbelief at their hands — still in an unbroken circle, vow completed, magic done — before scrambling out onto the banks and into their awaiting piles of warm clothing.

It was unlikely that none of their parents had noticed the simultaneous wet hair and mossy, muddy patches. The river was off limits to unsupervised young. On any other day they would’ve been subjected to interrogation, yet none of them had been told off and not a one was punished. As children they’d believe themselves successfully secretive, the magic camouflaging the blatant disobedience.

As a mother now herself, Laura leaned toward believing that the real secret was the adults’, who must have seen the rosy cheeks and glowing eyes and realized the true magic of shared friendship. She found herself smiling at the memory as she walked across moors and over hills, through copses and sheep-speckled fields and bubbling streams and into the forest.

As she neared, her breath lifted and tightened in joyous anticipation. It was hard to believe it had been thirty years. They’d kept in touch all those decades. Through many moves and schools and colleges, through marriages and births and loss and celebrations — they wrote and called and saw each other in all manner of combinations. But this was the first time in a quarter century that they would be all of them together in one spot.

To submerge and renew the magic. In the stream.

From the distance came the clop-clop of what had to be Timmy’s draft horse, mixed with Sally’s giggles and Benny’s tenor mingling with Robin’s guitar strings and Bonnie’s soprano. A faint whiff of smoke filled Laura’s nostrils. Good! No frozen buns this time!

She reached to straighten the bathing-suit strap under her clothing. “As one submerged, as one emerged,” she whispered, lengthening her stride.

 

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto

 

 

Small Staple

Hubeza2 NaamaYehuda

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

Small and humble,

It fills bellies,

When there’s no

Choice of grain.

The green leaves,

The tiny fruit,

Pantry for

Times of pain.

 

 

 

For the Sunday Still’s challenge: #Close and #Green

 

 

In The Blackest Night

hongmei-zhao-tcxmxmnj-SI-unsplash

Photo: Hongmei Zhao on Unsplash

 

In the blackest night

She woke

To hear the flutter of her

Heart

Singing melodies of courage

In her ears.

As the hours ticked

Long seconds full of

Ink,

And stretched worries

She had long learned how to

Blink,

She held on to

Wisps of memories

Mirrored in her unshed

Tears,

And recalled the echoes

Of abandon

In the giggles

Of her very early

Years.

 

 

For the dVerse Poetics challenge: Black

 

 

The Bag

Photo prompt: © Ted Strutz

 

She stopped by to check on her elderly neighbor and saw a bulging bag on the curb. Odd. Trash-collection was two days away. Ethel could get ticketed.

She grabbed the bag. The thing was heavy! How did the ancient women lug this? She carried it up the path to the door.

“Ethel?” she knocked. “It’s Belinda.”

Silence. Was Ethel sleeping? Belinda knocked again. Waited. Rang the bell. Used her key.

There was no one home. All personal effects gone.

Heart pounding, Belinda rushed to untie the bag.

A mess of photos spilled out, scattering Ethel’s life to the ground.

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

A Map Of Reminiscing

timothy-holmes-MJHyqdJ0rrw-unsplash

Green Gardens trail in Gros Morne National Park, NL (Timothy Holmes on Unsplash)

 

They’d come to Gros Morne every summer. On “Dad Week.” Camp in a tent that always leaked but Dad wouldn’t replace, every patch and glued seam a map of reminiscing. They’d spend days on the meadows, walk the volcanic beach, go down to Old Man’s Cove.

Sal loved all of it. Even the chill and wet and constant hunger (for there was always more Dad aspired to catch than what he’d actually manage to). Sal never complained. He’d give up everything to breathe the ocean and make up stories about pirates in the coves. He’d even downplay the painful rash and sneezing (they never did find which wild-flower he was allergic to, and he didn’t want to, afraid Mom would say he couldn’t go).

Erosion closed his favorite trail, but not his memories.

He gazed at the ocean and wondered if Dad, whose mind was fading, still had his.

 

 

 

For What Pegman Saw: Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada

 

 

Flight Patrol

flight patrol NaamaYehuda

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

I watched its solitary fly by

And wondered if it felt

Lonesome for the many it had once

Belonged to

Yet left,

Or if it was a scout,

Holding a memory of a long-ago-known

Place to land

That others had forgotten

Or had misplaced the

Sense of.

Will it circle back to its own,

Flapping on the wing

In fatigued relief,

To let the rest know

It had found this night’s

Home?

 

 

 

For Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Anything that flies

 

 

The Perfect Shoes

20190224Photo Courtesy of Susan Spaulding

 

She came across them at the thrift store, squashed in a box along with moth-eaten scarves, a pair of slacks with holes that could tell many stories, two helplessly dented hats, and some fabric scraps.

She was about to lift a shoe to ask about the price when the proprietor glanced in her direction. “Those are by the box,” he drawled. “Take it or leave it. No picking.”

“How much?” She swished her hand inside the box and shrugged, worrying he’d overcharge her if he detected interest.

“Thirty.”

Her eyebrows hiked up on their own accord. The shoes alone were worth ten times as much.

“Twenty, final offer,” he misinterpreted her gesture.

She gazed into nearby containers till her thrumming heart settled down and she could pour something less jello-like into her legs.

“I’ll take it.”

She carried the box to the car fully expecting to hear the shopkeeper’s voice calling her back to point out a mistake. No call came.

Finally at home, she rescued the shoes, stuffed them with tissue-paper, and placed them reverently under Great-Great-Grandma’s bridal gown. Family lore was that she’d had big feet and had to wear men’s shoes. Those were a perfect match.

 

 

For Susan’s Sunday Photo Fiction

 

Woolgathering

snow view KarenForte

Photo: Karen Forte

 

Pause, and

Let your mind wander

In waking reverie

To the places where

Tomorrow’s seeds

Are sleeping

Underneath the snowy

Ground,

Wrapped in the arms

Of memories

Of days

Long passed

And others

Yet to come.

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Woolgathering in 36 words