The Creek Don’t Rise

 

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“Tomorrow, God willing and the creek don’t rise!” Mama smacked the rug one last time, stepped back to admire her handiwork, nodded to herself, and shouldered the beater.

“But Mama,” Marlee whined, “everyone else is going!”

I watched the exchange from the safety of a leafy fork on the big tree. If Mama didn’t see me, she could not call on me for chores.

Mama stopped. “Everyone?”

Marlee straightened. Hopeful and suspicious.

“Every. Single. Person?”

Marlee’s shoulders dropped.

“Thought so.” Mama’s dress swirled prettily as she turned toward the cabin, and for a moment I could see the lass she’d been before Bobby and I and Marlee came and brought with us gray hairs and wrinkles.

“But …”

“But nothing. The creek is swelled with rain and more may be coming. No swimming. And,” she added, “You come down from that tree. I need help with the washing.”

 

 

 

For Crispina‘s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

Not Having A Ball

 

“I found it!”

Minerva sighed. She never did do well on conveyances. “Found what?” she mouthed, careful to not move her head.

“The perfect place!”

Minerva attempted to open her eyes, but the world whizzing by, combined with her daughter’s bouncing on the seat while turned in the opposite direction to the train’s travel, was too much. She clamped her eyes shut and groaned.

“Mom! Just look! We’ll pass it!”

One eye. A blur. Space under an overhang. Speeding rails.

“For what?”

“For the ball!” Swinging arms. “Can’t you just see us waltzing?!”

The bag! Where was the barf bag?!!!

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt: © J Hardy Carroll 

 

 

Tchotchkes

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(Photo: Smadar Epshtein)

 

“Oh Mama, look!”

The woman raised eyes from the screen to follow her daughter’s arm. “Kitsch to the max,” she wrinkled a lip at the stall.

“But Mama!” The child checked her tone before it thinned into a whine. She loved the shoes! She would need finesse. “I mean,” she shaped a grin, “for Purim?”

Her mother shook her head. “What are going to dress as, Queen of Tchotchkes?”

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Kitsch in 69 words

 

 

Long To Fade

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(Image: Alicja_ from Pixabay)

 

“Where have you been?!” her mother’s elbows speared the air like wings on a falcon, keen to dive.

The lass lowered her head and hiked her apron in an offering. The contents would not account for hours wiled away from chores, but they might reduce the heat of what promised to be imminent suffering.

“I went out to the hazel wood, because a fire was in my head,” the child demurred, unpinning one side of the apron to reveal a mound of early hazelnuts, “in eagerness to bring your favorite, Mother. Seeing how the morrow is your saint’s day.”

The woman’s scowl budged none. “A flatterer as well as an idle hand. I know a hasty crop when I see it. Now, as you are so eager, fetch a switch of hazel and I’ll give your hide a fire that will not soon fade.”

 

 

For the dVerse prosery challenge

Poetry prompt from W. B. Yeats

 

 

Watching

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“See there?”

Marie squinted against glare. “The windmills?”

“No.”

David’s finger shook along with his head, and Marie felt the wheelchair’s handles vibrate. The sorrow hit her, unexpected as always. Most days now she managed to surf life without being blindsided, but it was harder to do in this place, his favorite, where everything reflected the losses. His. Hers.

“The bird,” David insisted, his reedy voice robotic with timed inhalation.

His inflection was one of the first things to go, and its absence had robbed away a part of David that she’d adored from the moment he had first looked at her, dewy-eyed from birth, and mewled a symphony of baffled indignation.

“Ah, yes, the bird on the poles! I see it now,” she filled the space with words to compensate for his worsening inability to speak in sentences.

“Watching,” David exhaled, satisfied.

For the end? Marie silenced her sigh.

 

 

 

For Crispina‘s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

Note: Dedicated to all parents and caregivers, and to all who are navigating the throws of progressive illness. May you find peace, and space to breathe in, and may you know moments of joy and an abundance of love through life’s difficult path.

 

In Opposition

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(Photo: Liam Edwards on Unsplash)

 

They stood in opposition to

Those infatuated

By the asinine,

Those energized by contempt,

Reveling in hate.

They stood in opposition to

The denial of reality

And the dismissal of

Fact

And science

And pain

And death.

They cast ballots in opposition to

Ineptitude upheld as

Strength,

And insults as

Saving face.

They linked

Metaphorical arms

In solidarity with

Truth

And hope

In possibility of

Reclaiming faith.

To show their children

That voice

Helps.

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Asinine in 74 words

 

 

Tommy’s Sign

(Photo prompt © Roger Bultot)

 

She was never going to be ready. There was never going to be the ‘right time.’ He tried. He really tried. But he couldn’t stand it anymore.

When she left to visit her mother, he took it downstairs. The recycling truck should pass before her return, and by then it will be done. It was for the best. She’ll come to understand.

The key in the door in the morning. “I took an earlier flight. And, can you believe it? Someone tossed a highchair just like Tommy’s! I know it is a sign from him to hold on to ours!”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

Nesting

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Photo: Sue Vincent

 

“Why did they leave these things here?” Farrow scratched his head with a sharp talon.

“Decoration?”

Farrow glowered at the brown excuse for a mate. She lay good eggs and she did not complain when the worms he’d brought home to the nest were torn or half-eaten. He had to give her that. But she never did learn to keep her beak shut when rhetorical questions were posed. Where someone with a bigger birdbrain would know to quietly wait for him to impart wisdom, she thought she had something to contribute. It was exhausting.

“There is no such thing as decorations, Ferrolina,” he attempted a didactic tone, perched atop the side of the nest and peering downward at the log below them. “All actions have a reason, and even those that end up beautifying have another motive underneath.”

“There’s moss underneath,” she quipped, egging him on.

Oh, she knew he held himself in puffed regard and thought the lesser of her. He could be tedious. But she had the best nest location in the area, and his pride meant he could not let her (or the offspring, when they hatch) go hungry. It was enough. And under all his bluster he was not cruel, only vain. Better than the lowlife who’d left her mama half starved and the lot of them freezing in an exposed nest when she was growing. Two of her nest-mates hadn’t made it, and the dud was unceremoniously rolled out to splat frighteningly to the distant ground. None of that was going to happen to her four egglings. And she was adamant all four would make it. She knew it in her heart that none were duds.

He narrowed his eyes at her. Sometimes he thought he’d detected some snark mixed in with her idiocy, but her expression was so mild he determined it impossible. He must be putting wit where there was naught but simple-mindedness.

“Yes, there is moss there indeed,” he noted, as patiently as he could muster. Mates were a lot like younglings. You couldn’t fault them for what they did not have. “Some concepts are too difficult for females to understand. You are better suited for the nest, to concentrating on keeping the offspring warm.”

Ferrolina swallowed a chirp. He was so easy to poke. “They sure are pretty to look at,” she added. “But they will not fill tummies.”

Farrow straightened. It was his expression, oft repeated, that she had finally managed to internalize. It deserved a reward. “Indeed,” he nodded his head and preened a moment. “And I shall be soon back with something that will.”

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto

 

At Arm’s Length

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“You cannot avoid her forever,” Mom’s sewing barely paused as she cut the thread and got another length through the eye of the needle, “not when Alice lives but an arm’s length away.”

I hunched miserably over my own sewing, the tip of my tongue lodged against my teeth where it would not show but can still provide me some security. The ‘hidden’ stitch kept sprouting comas of thread on the side of the hem one wasn’t supposed to notice any. I was hopeless at needlework. Mom still insisted.

I avoided you finding safety pins in my hem, I thought to myself, and our cramped quarters allow even less than arm’s length.

“I’ll go around,” I tried.

Mom actually snorted. “You think Mrs. Munster will become your thoroughfare?”

I shrugged. Mrs. Munster’s house bridged the alley. She was a dragon, but I just couldn’t face Alice. I was too ashamed.

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

 

 

Backseat Jostling

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Photo: Thais Ribeiro on Unsplash

 

“Mama, he’s touching me!”

She tightened her grip on the steering wheel.

“Mama, he’s breathing on me!”

She inhaled.

“How come he always gets the window?”

She sighed.

“I don’t have room!”

She braked.

“Stop this or you can all walk home!”

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Jostle in 42 words