The Street

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Photo: Robert Almonte on Unsplash

 

 

The night is not as I’d expected it to be.

The sirens are silent. The windows dark. The very air seems still.

It had been a close call. Too close, almost.

I glance at Malachi. He returns a tremulous shrug.

“Will we be alright?” I ask. I didn’t mean to say it out loud, but the words could not stay in. The sound — although barely above a whisper — boomerangs in my chest.

“We might be,” he mouths.

At least I think he does. I cannot hear much above my heartbeat thundering in my ears. Everything inside me feels tight. I don’t remember being so unnerved. Not since. You know. The other time.

“Will they return?” Fear dries my mouth.

“Who knows.”

We reach the corner and separate. The night breaths as I hurry home and we go in different directions down the imperturbable street.

 

 

 

For the dVerse prosery challenge

Prosery prompt: “We go in different directions down the imperturbable street” (from the poem “An Aspect of Love, Alive in the Ice and Fire” by Gwendolyn Brooks)

 

 

Valentine’s Vice

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Photo: Tara Meinczinger on Unsplash

 

“Where’s Valentine?”

I peered into the other room. “Lollygagging.”

“Again?! I thought I told him to give up that nonsense. He’s way too old for this kind of foolishness. I’ll douse him with cold water!”

“He’s not osculating, Mama.”

“Stop being a Peeping Tom …” Pause. Sigh. Flick of the hand. “What’s he doing, then?”

“Just dawdling.”

“With whom?”

“His phone …”

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Lollygag in 60 words

 

 

Reconsidered Romance

Photo prompt: © Dale Rogerson

 

It was better in the movie.

She’d slipped on the snow and had a wet imprint of her behind on her dress and a freezing spot in her lower back. His shoes got drenched when he’d stepped in a slush puddle, and generated awful squeaky sounds in every step. The benches needed deicing or they risked breaking their necks if they as much as tried to climb them, let alone jump around.

“I am sixteen, going on seventeen, and I’m going back inside,” she declared, teeth chattering.

“I am seventeen going on eighteen, and I’ll beat you to the house…”

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

Worse Off Than A Monk


Image result for Goizueta, Navarra, Spain

Photo: Mapio.net; Goizueta, Navarre

 

“I am not going!”

They cannot send him to that miserable hut where there’s no electricity, no running water, creepy crawlies, and no internet. Even monks have internet. He was going to be worse off than a monk!

His father sighed. “Aitona Antton needs help and Osaba Alesander is still recovering from his motorcycle accident.”

“So I need to lose a leg to get out of this?” Danel grumbled.

His father’s sharp inhale told him he’d gone too far.

He shrugged apology. He was in enough trouble. Ditching school, hanging out “with the wrong crowd.” It was exile or jail.

“He’s your great-grandfather,” his father sounded tired, and not just from spending nights at Uncle Alesander’s bedside. “You used to love visiting him.”

“Before Birramona died …” Danel stopped. The remote homestead was awfully quiet without his great-grandmother. How much more so for Aitona-handia?

He sighed. “At least I like goat-cheese.”

 

 

For What Pegman Saw

(Basque glossaryAitona: Grandfather;  Aitona-handia: Great grandfather;  Birramona: Great grandmother;  Osaba: Uncle)

 

“A Case of Constant Disastering”

Geiger Counter

What upsets your cart? What throws you off? What drains your battery of oomph and energy? Do you get riled up in a flash but calm down glacially? Do you struggle to maintain the smallest bit of equilibrium while others seem to swim in zen-like Flow? Have you been told off for “over-reacting” and being “overly sensitive”? Does it, indeed, seem to be that e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g is just too much to process, let alone appreciate and thrive in?

That is how life is for a teenager I know.

She calls herself “a case of constant disastering.”

Her days are spent in never ending rush to keep up with assignments that don’t get done because she is too stressed to focus on them because she already worries she won’t manage and then doesn’t. She feels mired in conflict with her parents who she says don’t understand why “every little thing” throws her off. She struggles to attend to all the balls she perceives are in the air and thinks are hers to juggle (only to find out later some were not, and that she’d dropped the very ones she shouldn’t have) …

Her body swings from all out anxious to shutdown and molasses-like, weighed down by overwhelm. She blames herself for both, which only feeds the shame that feeds the stress that feeds more “constant disaster.”

She hates this about herself. She wishes to be someone different.

“I wish I could be stoic,” she says. “Strong, you know.”

“But you are strong,” I respond.

She shrugs. She knows. Some days more than others.

She understand how her body’s calibrations had gotten to be quite so delicate: born very prematurely and with serious medical issues that required many painful interventions, her nervous system (and psyche) could not really process the overwhelming stimuli she was exposed to. Her reactions still mirror some of the pathways that became the foundation of her default. Of her survival formation. Her parents, too, were terrified and anxious. Oh, they did their best in love and caring, but they, too, were scared. For her. For her future. Of hurting her. Of disconnecting something. Of something worse than disastrous.

Panic was real and tangible. Babies in that NICU die. She almost did. Twice.

They were all of them scared. Much of the time.

Is it a wonder, then, that life wobbles precariously tentative, at the smallest reminder?

“But I’m not a baby anymore,” she points at lanky limbs that have long ago outgrown any crib or incubator.

“I know,” I smile.

“Now I’m just a Geiger meter,” she complains, “and my body beeps ballistic at the smallest variation.”

“Tricky,” I nod. “Also … kind of skillful.”

She pouts, but then a smile pushes a small corner of her mouth and the other corner joins in and she grins, eyes atwinkle. “Yeah, like a full-on skill at constant disastering.”

 

For The Daily Post