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…

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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.

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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.

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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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