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…

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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.”

•••

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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…

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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.

•••

Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven

I apologize for posting twice in a row so closely together, but you see, a couple of things occurred.

First off, I had to get myself out of the fumes left behind by my last piece as quickly as possible, so as to let the past be past. Secondly, the Friday Fictioneers prompt this week almost screamed at me an immediate conversation, held between two mates (and quite possibly dolt-savants.) A conversation that – after a ton of whittling to get it down to the 100 word limit – follows…

copyright – Adam Ickes

copyright – Adam Ickes

Right. The arrow’s quite obviously pointin’ upward, now i’nt it?

But whatuvit?

Weellll, obviously it implies we’re goin’ to ‘eaven.

Bah! Don’t mean that a’tall. The bloomin’ thing IS red after all, i’nt it?

And whatuvit?

Well, i’n’t red the color of ‘ell itself?

Not like they’ve got that copyrighted or anything.

Don’t know ’bout that. I’m still not goin’.

Then what? You’re gonna stay ‘ere? Be a ghost?

Yeah. Reckon if this WAS really ‘eaven’s gate, it’d be otherwise constructed anyhow.

How’s that?

Way I figure, He’d make it more accessible-like, seein’ as He KNOWS I’m deathly scared of bridges regardless

•••

I hope you enjoyed – and today’s song is “Reader’s Choice!”

Choose from either Loretta…

Or from Love…

A Life Straight(ened)

It’s time, isn’t it? Time to write it down, spit it out, give it up.

Yes.

But I don’t want to.

You have to.

But I’m scared.

None the less, its your bed made. You have to.

Are you ready?

No.

Go ahead anyway.

OK…

There is a thing still lying in wait.  A something – ever-hungry, heavy, dark, and leech-like – looming just beneath my surface.

I can feel it there always.

This thing, this Bastard, howls in foreboding glee. Safe in the assumption that I am too scared to ever acknowledge it. Satisfied in knowing that I am piss-fearful that if I ever did, it would surely decimate me.

Leave me for dead.

This thing, this Poison, is the same thing I have felt gnawing with greasy lips before.  The very thing I have previously – with eyes tearfully squeezed hard shut – ignored, all in the hopes that it would simply go away.

It didn’t.

This thing, this Sin, is the director of my nightly ‘mares, the driver of my attacks of anxiety, the detriment to my finally being able to straighten my life, my faith, my forgiveness, my moving onward.

My growing upward.

This thing, this parasitic Fuck, is the last thing I must give to Him. The thing that only He can destroy. I believe this to be true, I want it to be done. And yet this thing I can’t even name. This thing I need to hand over, I can’t see, nor yet look in the eye.

I only feel it, know that it is there.

Lord, please take this thing from me. I don’t know its name, but please rip this overly fattened tick from my soul. I am not strong enough to give it to you. I know this, and I’m so sorry for my weakness. But if I ask You to take it instead, will that count?

If I ask You, will that good enough?

If so, then please. Please, and now.

There is a thing still lying in wait. A something that is slowly bleeding me, and if I hope to be complete again, this thing has to be removed.

This something has to die.

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The first time I’ve ever used a prompt prior to the actual post, within the introduction. This one coming from the good people over at the Write On Edge community.

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The Whole Of The Moon

“If the moon smiled, she would resemble you. You leave the same impression of something beautiful, but annihilating.”

~ Sylvia Plath

Image courtesy of Elenacaravela

Image courtesy of Elena Caravela

As it turns out, she did have lovers other than me.

Mhmm, but what is that to you?

Well, she’s blaming me for everything, for our demise.

Again, what is that to you?

Also, she’s making people choose between us…

As those types are apt to do anyway. May I ask, what is that to you?

Oh! And she’s inventing in her head a “me” that I never was!

As is her choice. But honestly, what is that to you?

But it’s a lie!

In part, yes. But I’ve still no idea, what is that to You?

I don’t know.

I… I don’t know.

Then let go.

She has made it clear she no longer wishes you to be written into her book, but that hardly means that your story is over. Dear, it’s only now just begun.

In the past you’ve only seen the crescent, as was your choice. But I have always seen the whole of the moon. So write! Write your story with abandon! With glee! With love, and with confidence! Write it with My pen, and with your voice.

I assure you, I’ve seen the end of your tale, and I AM pleased. I am proud of you. The you that you are, and the you that you will become. The you that you already ARE becoming. I take Joy in you, and I Love you.

But what of her?

She has made herself no longer your concern.

Forgive her.

She broke her promise.

As did you. Forgive her.

But it hurts!

Exactly. Forgive her.

I will shelter and Love her as I do you, and as I do your three, and as I do your tribe. The very tribe that surrounds and comforts you. The tribe that beckons you onto your Tomorrow. Listen to them.

OK.

I will.

So, it’s truly over then?

It is.

Please, tell me… will she be OK?

Her story is now hers and Mine alone. And as such Dear, what is that to you?

•••

“Forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”

~ C.S. Lewis

My thanks to the talented Ms. Elena Caravela for once again allowing me to highjack one of her beautiful works for this post. And my deepest gratitude to my tribe – especially Beth, Marla, Keri, Cyndi, Shari, Stephanie and the Memolis – all of whom daily beckon me on towards Tomorrow while (whether they realize it or not) also keeping close to my heart the promise that He intoned above.

Love Anew

I’m pretty sure that we’re all aware of my current opinion regarding marriage in general.

And I’m pretty sure that we were all aware that I would still post this, the very first chance I got.

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Same love.

One love.

Love begets love.

Please, stop keeping score already, and simply let Love.

•••

Joseph’s choice*

Joseph was given a dream.

That’s all. Just a dream.

Mary had a bloomin’ angel bust into her house to give her the news. But all Joseph received, was what could have easily been attributed to one too many glasses of smashed up fermented grapes before beddie-bye.

Joseph had to live his whole life wondering if that dream was a truth or not. If his “Son” was the result of the Lord’s plan, or just one ill-advised and possibly regretted interlude.

Mary has been honored ever since.

Given top billing right next to her Boy, in fact. Prayed to no less, by many who seem to think that J.C. made this an option, somewhere along the line within his three years of tutorials. It seems odd, given what little faith was needed on her part, especially considering the fact that she knew she hadn’t done anything, and again, there was that bloomin’ angel, standing smack-dab in the middle of her living room.

And Joseph?

Well, poor old Joe wasn’t even remembered by the Gospel writers. Nope, right after his part was played, he was unceremoniously escorted off the stage, never to be heard from again. We can assume he died – most do seem to go that way. But if he did while Jesus still breathed, we never even get to hear about his “Son’s” reaction. And if Jesus was the first to go, then Joseph’s tears and anguish were never written down for posterity.

Again, Mary rocks it within the gospels, right through to the bitter end. But Joseph is left forgotten. Ignored. And maybe even with his final breath, still wondering if the angel’s message was really just after all, only a stupid dream.

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I’ve always had an affinity for Joseph.

Not only because we share the joy of fatherhood, but because I too have quite often felt – incorrectly or not – ignored in the whole scheme of things. Forgotten. Yes, even by J.C. As a result, for many years I’ve waved the Joseph flag to anyone who asked, simply because I felt that he needed to be defended.

I was wrong in thinking that of course. Joseph needs no more defending than his “Son” does. Joseph needs no adulation, similar to that being provided Mary by her cult, either. No, I believe that Joseph is just all right with the way things went.

Joseph – whether he truly believed the dream or not – chose to tell the angel that appeared in it that he would. Joseph – even if he was in the final analysis, history’s most gullible man – voluntarily put his life at risk then, and several times afterwards. All while defending a wife and a “Son” who weren’t truly his, just for his chosen belief, which truly was.

Again, we’ve no idea what sort of lessons Joseph imparted upon Jesus, nor how much of the Son of Man’s personality was weaned from the man who chose to believe in the Son enough, as to sacrifice his life for Mary and He. But when my children offer me the mantle of “Best Dad In The World,” I’m quick to remind them that – while I am honored – I feel that it’s actually Joseph who deserves that title. The man who gave all for his charges, and was then all but forgotten by the very ones who benefitted most from his sacrifice of ensuring that the “Son” (possibly of just a man), could live long enough to become the Son of Man.

Joseph was given a dream.

And he chose to believe that dream – to believe in those who were part of it. That’s a sort of faith that is stronger than reason, and that’s the sort of man I currently struggle to be. For my sons, my daughter, my friends, and for me.

Merry Christmas.

* My gratitude and appreciation to Rev. Ellen Brauza, who’s insight and wisdom served as the inspiration that finally allowed me to put down into somewhat coherent sentences the above trail of thought.