All Of Him?

Unbeknownst to me, my youngest took the liberty of listening to me proof-read this, and upon its completion said, “I want to be with you – I want to see what you see.”

One who already sees far deeper than I will ever be able to, I really love that kid.

With the prompt in bold, here is this week’s Write On Edge response – I hope you enjoy…

WoENewButton-e1363040457539

He didn’t smell exactly bad, mind you, but he didn’t smell entirely “right” either. It might have been the damned John Legend song in that moment spewing lies overhead tainting my assessment, but to me he smelled sad. He smelled musty. He smelled – well – he smelled alone.

And at that moment at least, with the possible exception of me, he was.

But I’d the feeling that he was alone most all of the time, that his aloneness was a state constant. A permanent scent that accompanied him. A shadow that always stood immediately behind, whispering softly into his ear, “I’m here. It’s just you n’ me kid.” A constant reminder that his death would be much more a release than a burden. Much more a connection with those loved, than a separation from those lost.

As he stood swaying at my register, complete with tattered grey plaid vest, blue ball cap (emblazoned with one of the two infamous Buffalo losing teams that so many locals seem to love regardless), and worn-through red and white blotched flesh, I found myself wishing even then, that I could remember the music he was purchasing in CD format, as it somehow felt integral to this tale.

But much like his face itself, the purchases seemed to have immediately faded from memory, leaving only my recollection of those confused eyes and scattered beard.

His eyes were the dug-in sort that said so much, whilst the beard-encrusted mouth said so little. Damn it Troy! THIS is a lesson you’ve learned often, and yet – being bred apparently of the hard-knock school – one that you seemingly refuse to graduate from. If there was ever anything that the ex said true, it was that (in the hands of the devious or arrogant at least), “they’re only words.” Not that this customer could be counted amongst that ilk, all the same he was in the end, far more communicative in eye than in speech.

And those eyes spoke volumes. His babbling diction and scent screamed at me as well, but it was those eyes that made me see truly and finally – as was told to me by a friend, advice provided them by their wizened grandmother: “As you are, I once was. And as I am, you will someday be.”

Christ, don’t let me end like that – like the man I think I see standing before me. Please hear my prayer for him, and hear it please for me.

Making change, I made certain our hands touched at least once. So I could know that he who stood before me was real – not some sort of future self ghosting back in warning – so I could unite with that perceived loneliness, begging that it not remain a shadow constant to either he nor I.

As he paid in cash, I’ll never know his name – never know his story, outside of our brief disjointed engagement. But while he wobbled off, that damned John Legend song was still blaring arrogantly overhead. A song that spoke of a love I’m guessing neither he nor I truly wanted to trust in anymore. But I thought, possibly a love that we still both hoped might – in some realm or fashion – be somehow true.

•••

Silent Conversations

Sorry kids, but a very busy week means that this week’s Inspiration Monday isn’t arriving until Friday – err – today.

As always, I hope you enjoy…

vw-inmonpromo

The clean, crisply folded clothes sat behind him, pleading to be placed safely back away, deep within their horizontally sliding wood and formica hovels. Begging to be taken out of the broken and rather dreary piece of molded plastic, that at one point had been proud to call itself a laundry basket. But instead of doing so, he sat facing away and inattentive, sipping aggressively at his vodka-straight while he stared into his computer screen.

In front of the screen was a keyboard of no importance, but atop it was a slightly crumpled, possibly tear-stained sheet of scrap paper. Scrap paper that had the word “flight” noted excitedly upon it. Scrap paper that was intended as a reminder for a task that was never realized, never completed. The scrap paper that now mocked him knowingly, as he moved it nervously – unable to dispose of it altogether – from this side to that, across the keyboard which remained of no importance.

To the left of that very keyboard, his phone violently burped out a small blue light, alerting him as to incoming messages, silent conversations wishing to be held. Raising its electronic hand in this fashion meekly, the phone likewise hoped to garner his attention. But much like the laundry before it, it had no success, as he continued to stare – dead-eyed but not numbed – into his computer screen, with one finger aimlessly stroking the rim of the vodka’s tumbler.

The tumbler itself and the vodka had very little to say, as they were both feeling incredibly loved and important at the moment. Seeing that the ice cubes might cause an interruption to the affection being unceremoniously showered upon it, the vodka had already taken careful measures – through the use of its limited knowledge of chemistry – to ensure that both cubes were forever silenced by their watered-down oblivion. Their raucous clinking now abated, still, into the screen he stared, sucking a combination of air and 80 proof through clenched teeth.

A screen that, being unlike the rest, in that it was unable to speak, was feeling very uncomfortable at this moment. For as he stared at it, it in turn was forced to stare at him – forced to gaze deep into his booze-soaked eyes. Held captive as it observed the sadness that created the tears, that in turn slowly strolled down his cheek, into the forest of his absent-minded beard.

The screen realized of course that he wasn’t staring at it, per say, but this understanding did little to make the whole experience any more palatable. And on the occasions when he actually touched it drunkenly – caressing it really – longingly, the screen could almost imagine what it must feel like to shiver with desire. It did not of course, as it was only a speechless screen after all.

While touching the un-shivering screen, he softly wondered why. Why had he made her countenance his screen saver in the first? With his free hand he found himself again stroking the lip of the tumbler, in some hope of finding a nick or a gouge – just something – to make him bleed. Just enough as to remind him that he was alive, and in this space, not hers.

He missed her.

Dammit, he missed her.

And that wasn’t like him. It wasn’t what he said this life would be, moving forward. And yet, here he was – the cacophony of his everyday life literally screaming for attention – and he, being only able to sit and stare. Not blankly at a random and mute screen, but at every nuance of the personage represented there, eyes and hair aglow, coming to life in vibrant 1024 x 768 dpi.

A cat, the only solitary living being within the house besides he (and a growing family of mice that neither yet had figured out was sharing the same roof), silently nudged its head against his shin, hoping as well to begin a conversation of sorts that would involve many strokes to the forehead and maybe even a treat or two.

Not diverting his eyes, he rubbed his thumb forcefully against the cat’s head – right where favored, upon the bridge – in blind observance of the tradition. But otherwise the feline as well, found itself unsuccessful in engaging, and decided to stalk off to its favorite corner instead, watching him with disdain, as he slowly continued to caress the random piece of glass that happened to be housed within an equally random piece of plastic. Both of which worked together to contain a countenance – due to its blatant lack of scent – unrecognizable to the cat, but still somehow very real to the man who beheld it.

•••

Thirty-three Words…

Rationed to my life,

If that was all I’d left,

I wouldn’t need but four.

To profess, between yester ‘n today,

My feelings respecting you.

Breathing dear, my last

“I love you more.”

•••

Picture11-1

Hellbent on going out on a high (and ball-peen free) note, I used the crux of the Trifecta challenge – as shown with today’s post title – by using “Thirty-three words,” as my prompt for this week’s free, and final, Trifecta Writing Challenge.

Coming in relatively late to the game (and YES – admittedly still bellyaching over never having won a week =) ), I really did enjoy my time with the Trifecta community, and wish you all the very best.

A Fruitless Endeavor

I’m SO glad I finally “balled-up” enough to join in with this group, and including this intro, I believe I’m more than maxing the 500-word count allowable for this week’s Write On Edge challenge. 

Please click the link above to learn more about the prompt and the community, and as always, I hope you enjoy…

WoENewButton-e1363040457539

Watching him zip up the last of the three bags he’d hastily thought to pack, she became further irritated as he tried to compress its contents – with one shaky knee held hard against the fabric lid – while fiddling with the steel slider which protested loudly as he tugged it along the plastic teeth that were its mate. Timing it to where the entire endeavor appeared to be at its most fruitless, she waited before asking snidely, “So that’s it? You’re leaving then?”

Wha? Oh. Yeah.

“Just like that?”

Yes.

“Just ‘poof,’ and you’re gone?”

For God’s sake, YES! Why?

“She’s not going to be waiting for you, you know.”

She will.

“She won’t.”

She might.

Emboldened by his moment of caution and pause, she leapt forward unmindful into the din of her verbal castration of him, stressing, “Listen. There is nothing waiting for you out there anyway. You know that, right?”

There’s nothing waiting for me here either.

“Oh yeah? What about your career?”

Not for nothing, but I’m fairly certain that they have those where I’m going as well…

“What about the house?”

It’s not in my name anymore – it’s not my house anymore. It’s… it’s not my home.

“And what about me? What about your poor mother?”

Well. I’m sure the ole girl will understand. I’m sure you’ll get it, why I need to do this… Maybe some day.

“Well don’t be so certain of that. And what about the children? What about your children?”

Having finally secured the zipper – now groaning under its newfound charge of keeping all the baggage safely contained within, he sat back for a moment and wiped his haggled brow before almost whispering, and almost to himself, “Yes, there is them. That’s true.”

What…?

“I said that yes, there is that to contend with.”

See? You can’t leave. You need them.

“I do. But don’t you see? I sleep alone every night, while they sleep in the same house as her latest fling. No, they’ve already been taken from me. A long time ago. And besides, they’re almost adults now themselves.”

You can’t leave. I won’t let you. They need you.

“You know what? I’ve always told them that we’d all someday get out of this dump. I just never thought that I’d be the first to make the break. They do need me, but they need me to continue to lead by example. I think I’m doing the right thing here.”

She’s not going to be waiting for you, you know.

“She might.”

She won’t.

Rising on steady legs, he casually pulled the over-stuffed, yet self-contained third bag from the floor, and slung it across his back. Ignoring the still-protesting zipper as he did so, his step matched his smile as he strode enlivened towards the front door and the gate that lay beyond it, while saying much more to himself then to anyone within earshot, “She will.”

•••

Unsatisfied

This mash-up brought to you by Trifecta’s very last one-word challenge, followed by Inspiration Monday‘s prompt. Both of which in turn were inspired by The Replacements, of course…

Picture11-1                                      vw-inmonpromo

The heels clicked smugly against hardwood, to satisfy her feeling victorious.

Never deeming a backward glance required – relishing with blind dispassion his devastation over losing her – as such, she never glimpsed the ball-peen rushing towards her head.

•••

A Solitary Slice

My second foray into Write On Edge, I already prove myself a thief. For this prompt, I stole from The Word Pirate her post’s song, and her toaster. As she’s a pirate n’ all, I’m hoping she won’t be too terribly upset…

WoENewButton-e1363040457539

He glanced only momentarily at the toaster before the heavy sigh, sitting ever-present ready to pounce at the back of his throat, made its escape.

It was hardly the toaster’s fault after all, but when he caught it sitting there all smug in its newness, he once again felt acutely halved. You see, the toaster allowed for two slices, but all he ever ate was one. So every day he dragged himself through the process of making his singular slice while the slot beside his sat – still functioning, but empty. And every day that damned empty slot would mockingly remind him of his similar situation, of his never-ending nor seemingly-chance-of-winning quarrel with the world: his emptiness, his “still functioning for no apparent purpose-ness.”

He longed to be able to share his new toaster with someone, and he was also acutely aware of just how foolish that sentiment sounded. But as he was alone in his own head, he saw no reason for embarrassment.  In this space, he once again configured her. Maybe she’d be a writer of books, or maybe a painter, or maybe – well – maybe it didn’t really matter what she was, he reckoned, just as long as she was.

He knew someday he would find her, or maybe she would stumble upon him, if in fact it was ever meant to be. If, in fact, that sort of thing even actually existed. By this point, he was none to sure, but still found himself clinging to a sort of hope about it all.

The sudden sound of popping browned bread bounced him from his revelry. And as with other mornings past, he found that he had unconsciously begun to sway to and fro with a nervous anticipation, whilst waiting for his appliance to function at half capacity. Almost dancing, he thought, but not quite.

With a second, less expressive sigh, he pulled his solitary slice from the toaster for two, and grumbled his slipper shod feet over to the table to eat once more, alone. Pretending and hoping that somewhere out there, anywhere, she was at that very moment also seating herself in a similar fashion, pretending and pining for him in a manner likewise.

•••

706 Words Plus A Sentence

Parallax, parallax, parallax.

Say it three times, and it’s yours. Write it three times and, well, I suppose you’ve wrote it three times.

A new word learned, but of my Master Class and Inspiration Monday mash-up (as always, the prompts are in bold), this is only my second go – and fittingly enough – a response of sorts to my previous effort.

vw-inmonpromo

storch-badgeI do hope that this second entry helps to explain Carl at least a touch bit further to those readers who were ready to take up Lou’s defense unabashedly (myself included), and as always, I hope that you enjoy…

I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen. Up until everything went to hell that is, I thought as I smiled at him. One last time, same as I always had.

But as had become the norm, Lou’s response was not at all as it had once been. No, I could feel that – much like his idle stare – his love was gone, somehow vacant. His desire, gone, somehow removed. His trust in me was gone… Just gone.

The accident had changed Lou, making him not only untrusting or me, but untrusting of every man.

I’m sure his ex had some sort of subversive say in this. The bitch always did, after all. He relied too heavily upon her opinion, even though while he lay there in the hospital, she came only once, and even then just to bully him in regards to the “maintenance” he found himself unable to pay, due to his latest misfortune.

And to himself, I suppose he felt he was just that. A misfortune. An unintentional misery.

But to me, he was beautiful. Scars and all, pain and questions be damned, to me – at one point – he was Beautiful. To me, he had shown through it all. His children were great kids, and a testament to the man he was. True, they’d always had an inkling – but none of them, not even the daughter – gave up on him when he eventually came out, unlike their mother, who had so readily done so well before.

Her loss was most definitely my gain, and I gladly caught him when first she gave him the boot. While I was younger and more experienced, that didn’t matter to me, as he was the one so much more well versed as to life in general. True, I tried in vain to create of my young career a caricature of an older persona believable, all while he partied much too hard, trying to reconnect with a youth that was stole years prior. But we still truly knew each other, and I marveled at his wisdom, while enjoying the lovemaking that we shared resulting from his years of tutelage – his years of understanding, appreciating, and loving the human heart.

But then, as he became so mindful to tell people, the accident occurred. He was hammered at the time, and sadly, since we had a third party designated, I found myself none too sober either. As such, I watched him fall. Watching him try in vain to avoid flakes that would’ve never hurt him regardless, I screamed as he fell hard and fast to the ground. I screamed knowing that I couldn’t catch him this time.

I remembered being in tears, chasing his ghost down the stairwells as I prayed for his safety to a God that I hadn’t believed in in years. Praying, until I met his battered and wobbly flesh convulsing on the ground floor pavement.

Battered, but not dead. Wobbly, but not defeated.

But over time I found that sometimes death comes slowly, and his came painfully so at that. The grey cloak of mistrust covered first his face, eventually boring deep into his eyes.

He began insisting that there were others more important to me.

There weren’t, though there were dear friends who supported me.

He insisted that I found peace in another.

There wasn’t, though I did eventually take his advise unwittingly.

He insisted that I would leave him,

I wouldn’t, but eventually – and once I realized that he had already done the same to me – I did.

A strange parallax our relationship had become, one wherein he had thrust his own traits, his own desires, instead upon me – almost as if to justify himself feeling as he did. It was a relationship made all the sadder because that was exactly what his ex had previously done to him.

I loved him. I loved us. But he was sadly incapable of either, and now we are both alone.

So what’s so “extraordinary” about this tale, you ask? Well it’s just that. That no matter un-extraordinary it was, nor how painful it eventually became, I still consider myself blessed by a God I might yet one day believe in, that at one point in time it was mine to share in, mine to behold.

•••