Eden In A Bubble

Photo prompt © J Hardy Carroll

 

They were going to have to move.

Her health. His job.

They were going to miss so many things.

The beach. Their yard. The hours spent outdoors.

He laid in bed at night, awake. Her breath gentle at his side.

She would not complain. Even if she could still speak, he knew she wouldn’t put that burden on him. It broke his heart.

He put the shards into action. Poured his mind into design.

He’d build a bubble. An Eden in the forbidding landlocked wintry ground. A lush oasis where they could both breathe in the memories of better times.

 

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

Making A Day Of It

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They were going to make a day of it.

Get some fresh air.

“It would do you good,” she’d said. “You’ve been cooped in for far too long.”

And he had. And he didn’t really care if he stayed cocooned indoors for a few more weeks. Or months. Or years. Or till life’s end.

But he also didn’t want to upset her, and she’d been putting up with him, moody silences and pacing through the nights and appetites that came and went in both extremes and often not for what she’d taken the time to prepare.

So he agreed. And washed. And dressed in something less wrinkled than what he’d been living in. And they went.

The air did do him good.

The open space. The light. The breeze. The views.

Until.

She’d seen them first and tried to shield him, but his mother has never been very good at hiding her distress, and he read through it and looked in the direction she was clearly hoping he would not.

His ex. The girl who’d left him at the altar, who abandoned him to do all the explaining and pay all the bills and mollify all the aunties and absorb all the pitying looks and lose face and his dignity and eventually his job.

There she was. Pressed into another man.

His blood rushed into his ears as he remembered: he had the same photo taken. With her. Wearing the same smitten look.

And he wondered if someone had stared at them, too, at the time, and considered him the next man she’d rob.

 

 

 

(Note: This story is fiction. I don’t know anyone in this photo and no real connection between the photo prompt and the content is intended.)

For Keith’s Kreative Kue #244

 

 

The Vow

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Photo: Fabrizio Verrecchia on Unsplash

 

It was to be a fervent

Vow

For all the things their souls

Allow

For hopes and dreams, and yet

Somehow

The time and place did not

Allow

And left them both perplexed,

What now?

 

 

For Linda Hill’s SoCS (and JusJoJan) challenge

 

 

A Long Walk

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Aosta Valley, Italy (Carl Borg on Unsplash)

 

It had been a misty sunrise. The light rode soft atop the milky white outside.

He thought it was an omen and that she ought to stay in. “You won’t see where you’re going,” he fretted.

She told him the mist would clear. She could read it in the air. She could smell it in the tang of pine. She readied her day-bag and rushed through her chores.

Still he fussed. “What if not?”

She understood. She also knew he hadn’t grown up in these mountains. His roots did not go deep into this land, while her family traced their ancestry to the Ligures. Her people lived in these environs even before the Celts had arrived.

He feared what she did not.

In more ways than one, she realized.

It was another reason that she needed to take a long walk. Exactly so she could see where she was going.

 

 

 

For What Pegman saw: Aosta Valley, Italy

 

 

Present Time

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Photo: Annie Spratt on Unsplash

 

It is time for the presents

It is time for the wraps

It is time for the ribbons

All the holiday traps.

You will ooh and will ahh

You will grin in delight

And I’ll hold my breath hoping

Your smile holds upon sight.

It will be what you wanted

Whether you know it or not

Because no matter the present

It wasn’t one that you bought.

As the evening progresses

And the empty box stares

I will hope you remember

Just how deeply I care.

So I gift you the plenty

That I hold in my heart

And the dream of tomorrow

Where we shan’t be apart.

 

 

 

For the dVerse challenge: gift rhymes

 

 

No Big-Mart

 

“It says this way to the manor,” Doug tugged Lily’s sleeve.

“I know,” she shrugged to release his hold. At thirty-four, he was really quite too old to tug on clothing for attention.

“So why are we going in the opposite?”

She wondered how it was that there was a time when the nasal tone of his petulance didn’t bother her. Had she simply ignored it in the beginning, when infatuation took precedence to logic? Doug was still easy on the eyes, but her heart had become wiser.

“Because the manor will still be there later, while this Farmer’s Market stall might not.”

“What’s wrong with Big-Mart?”

Her lips tightened. She couldn’t believe he actually whined. “Big-Mart has no proper food. Everything’s processed. And anyway, I’d much rather support local farmers than corporate executives.”

She cringed at the sound of her own voice. She’d become her mother. To her boyfriend.

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimsons Creative Challenge #57

 

Backdrop

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

They were cold to the bone, but it did not matter once the light broke out to illuminate the edge of clouds.

“We’ll be home soon,” he breathed into her neck.

“I know,” she whispered, her teeth no longer chattering. She’d stopped feeling her toes so long ago she almost forgot she had ones.

It would have worried her, in the past. The risk of frostbite. Amputation. Loss of the ability to walk.

Not anymore.

They were beyond all these things now.

They were going home.

For the rest of time.

“How long?” she asked, fretting a bit in spite of herself. She never found transitions as easy as he had. Especially such big ones. Especially those that were irreversible.

“Soon,” his voice was barely audible but she felt it reverberate through her chest. The finality of it.

The knowledge.

His strength.

She sighed, and though he did not move she knew that he was smiling.

Another moment passed. Or perhaps it was an hour. She’d lost track of time now that it made no difference.

As her body chilled, her eyes stayed focused on the shimmering curtain of light. Its movement became the backdrop to the last views she will ever have of Earth.

Before it neared enough to carry them.

Home.

For all the eras yet to come.

 

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s Write Photo Challenge

 

 

On Hands

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Photo: Cristian Newman on Unsplash

 

To hug or to press

To hold and caress

To dismiss and impress,

To allow or forbid

To prevent or insist

To farewell and to greet,

To disrupt or respect

To allow or reject

To indulge or inspect,

To stop or invite

To instruct and ignite

To appease or incite,

To disarm and to heal

To pray and reveal:

Hands speak truth

Or conceal.

 

 

Inspired in part by Steve McMurry’s: Silent Language of Hands

 

You’ll See

Photo prompt: © Mikhael Sublett

 

“You’ll see,” he lifted the mallet to strike again.

She cringed as plaster and glass and bits of home clattered to the ground. Every resonating thud another shattering, another ruin, another wound that would not heal.

She bit her lips and knew she’ll never be the same.

For not stopping him. For not standing up to him. For not listening to all who’d warned her that he was a loose cannon who’d bring only sorrow. For insisting she loved him.

She saw now.

And stood silent as his mallet dented will. Her life in shards, devoid even of tears.

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Note: Dedicated to all who live with violence and do not know a way out into help. Know that there is always hope, that you deserve a chance to heal, and that you need not carry shame.

 

The Key

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Photo: Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

 

It was the key that would change everything.

He only found it because Cooper, ever disobedient, had slipped the leash and ran off the trail and into the thick of the woods. Again.

Deena thought his walks in the forest were cruel.

“It is his breed’s nature to hunt scents,” she’d inevitably complain about the leash, ruining what calm there was to be had in an afternoon walk. “How can you chain him to you when he’s meant to run where his nose leads?”

In Leigh’s view, walking the canine on paved sidewalks where there was no loam or crushed insects or chipmunk poo for Cooper to breathe, was actually far crueler. And so, like they often did when it came to disagreements, they ended up taking the easier way out by splitting the walks between them.

Deena would walk Cooper in the mornings in the neighborhood, where the most the dog could sniff was garbage cans and the occasional fellow leashed-pooch’s butt. Leigh walked him after work, and almost always in the direction of the woods, where in some ways they were both of them at home and both straining against some kind of leash.

It wasn’t perfect and sometimes it was lonely, but he preferred it that way. Quieter. With none of Deena’s nattering about minutia that he found excruciatingly boring to listen to and only slightly less indecent to ignore.

Not that he’d say that to her. Life was better when some observations were kept to oneself.

Like about keys …

He’d been running after Cooper when he tripped on an exposed root. A stream of words he’d learned while serving on a Navy ship spilled out of his mouth, when a shape manifested on the leaf-strewn forest floor. And it was as if a switch flipped and turned his mouth dumb.

He swallowed but there was nothing. His body shuddered with the memories of how quickly a mouth can turn devoid of moisture. That, too, he’d learned while serving on the ship.

He shook it off to make the involuntary shaking into an act of volition. Still his heart whooshed in his ears as he took a knee to the wet ground and reached for the key.

He didn’t know how long he remained frozen, fingers hovering without actually touching the bit of metal. Long enough for Cooper to return to investigate. Because the next thing  Leigh was aware of was Cooper’s wet nose, sniffing at the object of his master’s interest, licking Leigh’s fingers, breathing on his cheek.

“Move,” Leigh nudged the canine gently out of the way.

And Cooper, for once respectful without bribery, obeyed, and stretched with head on paws, his tongue dangling and his long body smeared with something Leigh noted to himself in passing would need scrubbing off with soap before being allowed back indoors.

“It’s the key, Cooper,” Leigh whispered. He was awed. He was aghast. “But how?”

It’s been eight years, five months, and two days since he’d lost it. On a different continent, in what felt a different world, in the middle of a battle, and not two hours after he’d sworn to his dying best friend that he would guard it with his life and bring it home to the fiance Mark had left behind.

“It was to be my wedding gift to Deena,” Mark had gasped, fighting for every breath. “She doesn’t know about it. I was waiting to tell her. It’s the key to my safe.”

 

 

 

For Linda Hill’s SoCS prompt: Key