Pinned Hopes

Photo prompt © J Hardy Carroll

 

She planned every detail.

The dress. The cake. The decorations.

What games to play. Who to invite. The invitations.

She fretted over treats and props. The seating arrangement.

The day dawned bright. The weather fair.

The flowers gifted blooms. Butterflies came to visit.

The cake turned out close to perfect.

The dress fit well. Even her hair cooperated.

She breathed it in.

She smiled.

She waited.

The only thing she did not foresee

Was no one showing up,

And only her mama there

To wrap a scarf around her eyes

To hide the tears

As she pinned the donkey.

 

 

 

Note: Dedicated to all the children whose parties turn to pain. To those who are all too often left invisible due to social awkwardness, adversity, disabilities visible and invisible, social isolation, bullying, and the myriad ways indifference (let alone direct cruelty) can a child’s soul maim.

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

Part Of History

Old Live Oak Cemetery, Selma, Alabama

Photo: C. M. Highsmith, Old Live Oak Cemetery, Selma, Alabama

 

“There is glory in the graves.”

“No there ain’t. There is only death in them graves. And bones, if they ain’t turned meal theyselves yet.”

“I’m only reading what it says, Gramma.”

“You is only saying what is lies, then, and it don’t make it no more true in the sayin.”

“I’m sorry, Gramma.”

“Hmm.”

Moss trailed from the old trees like cobwebs strung on homes for Halloween. There was eerie beauty in them. And sorrow.

“Why did you bring me here, Gramma?” she asked.

“Because it be part of history. Good and bad, you is supposed to know it.”

“It looks really old.” And peaceful, she didn’t add.

“I hear tell they’s started buryin’ here about 1830. Didn’t have no old live oaks then, or young’uns. Just dead peoples.”

“When did they plant the oaks, then?”

“Nearabout 1880. They trees is pretty, Chile, but they graves still got no glory.”

 

 

For What Pegman Saw: Selma, Alabama

 

 

It’s Your Sign

josh-rangel-513683-unsplash

Photo: Josh Rangel via Upsplash

 

“It’s your sign,” she said.

“I don’t care,” he muttered.

“Yep, in your sign, too.”

He scowled and she laughed and he knew that anything he’d do or refuse to, would become her proof of the zodiac dictating his life, actions, tastes, worldview.

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Zodiac in 43 words

 

 

They Bowed

Photo prompt: Sue Vincent

 

“They bow, you see,” Mir explained.

The child held on silently to his hand.

Mir peered down at the small head, so uncharacteristically still, the red curls shining like molten gold under the sun.

The quiet lingered and Mir did not break it. More words would not change how there was only so much one could say about some things.

A bird fleeted close. A bee buzzed by. Somewhere a donkey brayed and a dog’s bark answered.

Still the child did not move.

Mir let the air in and out of his lungs mark the passage of time, even as he knew it would not be measured in the same way by the child. Nor would it matter. Time is rarely what it seems to be, anyhow.

The air shimmered. The scent of smoke wafted from someplace beyond the fields, and in it mixed the faintest hints of manure and baking bread.

A caterpillar inched its way atop a blade of grass.

“There is no wind,” the child finally noted.

“There is not,” Mir confirmed.

“Are they tied together?”

“They are holding limbs.”

The child looked at her own hand in her grandfather’s. She did not look up, but Mir could feel the connection being made as it wove a thread of understanding between the two of them, between them all.

A hush fell. Then a sudden breeze rippled through the field and whistled an unnamed sound as it passed through the stacks. The tips nodded.

The child bowed back.

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt: Wicker

 

Dive Right In!

Photo prompt © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

The water glistened.

Gloria shook. “I don’t think I remember how.”

“Just do it,” Jody said. “It’s like riding a bike. Your body never forgets.”

I never had a bike, Gloria thought,  and there is much I worked hard to have my body forget. Especially since that day.

“It’ll come back to you,” Jody urged. Ordered, almost. “Dive right in!”

It was the edge in the trainer’s voice that did it, and what it brought back was not welcome.

“No.” Gloria pulled her swim cap off. “Not here. Not yet. Not today.”

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

Echoes

nrd-1002460-unsplash

Photo: NRD at Unsplash

 

They’ve left the fridge door open.

The cool pooled close,

Breathing light

Into the space

As if the halo of it

Could be

Mistaken

For the life

That no longer

Offered heartbeat

In these rooms

That still echo

With the sounds

Of “please don’t!

Oh please!

Please!

Not the kids!”

 

 

 

(256 characters)

For Twittering Tales #136

 

Fussy Fossa

fossa-676878_1920 SeaReeds from Pixabay

Photo: SeaReeds on Pixabay

 

“Is it a mongoose?” Molly squinted.

“Kind of cat.” Alfred raised his camera.

“No cat nor mongoose. It’s a Fossa. Belongs to the Viverrids.” Know-it-All Natalie noted, head-to-toe in expensive expedition gear.

“Vye-ve-whats?” Molly blurted.

Alfred shot Molly a warning glance, but it was too late.

“Viverrids. Civets. Genets. Or, if you need the very basics: Mammals. Endemic to Madagascar. Carnivorous. Eat lemurs, mostly, though they won’t turn their nose at lizards or birds or tenrecs.”

Alfred sighed. There’d be no stopping the Nataliepedia now. The woman was the bane of their group. He eyed the animal. Vye-ve whatever. Looked like dorky cougar to him.

“Nice fur,” he tried.

“You better not even think of it,” Natalie admonished, delighted. “They’re protected by fady. That’s local for taboo, in case you didn’t know that, either.”

Bet you aren’t, Alfred grumbled internally.  Are fossa too fussy to have YOU for lunch?

 

 

 

For What Pegman Saw: Madagascar

 

In The Gray

https://sonyca.files.wordpress.com/2019/05/tltweek171.jpg

Photo: tltweek171

 

Most had left already. Evacuation was taken seriously after the previous storm had wiped out a dozen residents and many homes. Sam stayed. Life couldn’t get much grayer with Meg having drowned. He’d survive or join her. Either way was okay.

 

 

For Three Line Tales #171

 

The Intertwined

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

“Meet me by The Intertwined tonight,” the note said.

Nate trembled. He fingered the rough edge of the faded construction paper and the sensation lifted him into memories filled with the scent of glue and the sounds of children.

It’s been how many years since? Thirty. At least.

He inspected the note again, as if expecting more words to appear among the scrawled letters on the hand-torn bit of yellowed-green. None did.

It was not signed, but even after all this time there would be no mistaking it. Not by him.

Elinor.

Kindergarten sweetheart and schoolyard tormentor, both.

What did she want? Where had she been? Why write him now? Why him? Why this way?

Tears pressed behind his eyes and he was surprised by their intensity. The last time he’d felt that way (well, the last time he consciously admitted to it being so), was when he’d seen that ad, twelve years ago. The image of it unfurled behind his mind’s eye, never really forgotten: “Missing. Elinor Bricks. Age 23. Long dark curly hair. Blue eyes. Medium height and built. Last seen walking into the woods south of Sparrow Street, wearing blue pants, gray jacket, sneakers, and a brown messenger bag.”

Two weeks of searching before the police had folded their tents and left the flyers for the wind and squirrels.

Three months before he could sleep.

Four years before he let himself date anyone. Two more before he married. Five before he lost Marianne and little Morris as the baby tried and could not be born.

Could that have been only last year?

His heart had been hollow. Since.

Now this.

“Meet me by The Intertwined tonight,” the note said.

Their ancestors had planted those trees over a century ago. Hers and his. Far apart enough to stand alone. Close enough to weave together roots and canopy. They were a symbol of connection. The place where marriage took place and funerals left from. Where roots spread fingers to hold on even as they reached to grip new spaces. It was the very place where past and present, love and life and loss and longing intertwined.

His fingers spread over the bit of paper, reaching to embrace it, and interlacing words with the unknown.

He trembled.

His heart thundered.

“I’m sorry, Marianne.”

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto Prompt: Rooted

 

Not For The Amenities

Photo prompt © Jean L. Hays

 

“Lush, ain’t it?” The sixteen-year-old shivered in her short jacket.

Frosty patches dotted the monochrome shrubbery. She nudged one with her sneaker. “So, why exactly did you choose this godforsaken nothingness for your midlife crisis? Couldn’t have been the view, or the amenities.”

It’s fixable, Branden thought but said nothing. He’d worry more if Lizzie didn’t quip. And anyway, he knew she knew why they’d had to move.

Lizzie sniffed. He offered a tissue but she leaned into him, seeking a rare hug.

“Mama would’ve loved it here,” she whispered. “Even if we hadn’t lost everything to the medical bills.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers Challenge