Tag Archives: Love Story

My answers to Nosy Questions #2

  1. Tell us how you met your partner. Please be specific in telling your tale. He was reading his poetry at a coffee shop in Santa Monica, California. I was 38 years old and had never been married but when I saw him, I immediately recognized him as the man I’d been waiting for. I didn’t go up to the stage afterwards as there was a crush of other women there wanting to talk to him. I was going to the University of Iowa that summer for their writing program, but when I got there, I thought, “What am I doing here when the man I’m supposed to marry is back in CA?” So I walked out of the dean’s office without registering  and went back to CA. A few months later, he came to one of my poetry readings (I still hadn’t met him at this point) and I saw him in the audience and changed the poem I was going to read to read one that dealt with my breakup with my boyfriend so he’d know I was available. It worked. He came right up to me after the reading and a year later we were married. It was my first marriage and his third. I had no children. He’d had 10!!! Four were still small and I helped raise them for the 15 years before his death.
  2. What is your most romantic experience, again with details? I fell in love with a man in a very remote spot in Africa. After about a week, we decided it was not going to work and I left to work my way northwards and to eventually make it to England, where I would find work. Events, however, made it necessary for me to stay on and not to immediately leave for Khartoum, where I was to meet a travel companion. In a few weeks, the matter that had detained me taken care of, I was ready to leave on a plane the next day when a letter arrived for me in poste restante. It was from my lover. In it he said it was the biggest mistake of his life sending me away and that I should come back and live with him until we were driven out by the rainy season and that then we would travel to all the places we had discussed and eventually get married. There were no phones in the remote area where he worked and so I had no way to reach him, but I cancelled my flight to Khartoum and got a flight on a small plane to fly to where he was. When I climbed down the stairs of the plane, there he was… his arms full of flowers. Later, when I asked his friend how it was that he knew I was coming, he said, “Judy, he met the plane with his arms full of flowers every day for a week. The Seven Olives hotel gave us permission to cut flowers from their garden.”  That night we went to dinner at the Seven Olives, the only small hotel in town. To get to the dining room, we had to walk through their gardens. They were totally devoid of flowers!”
  3. What is the most extravagant purchase you’ve ever made, and why did you buy it? A Jaguar SJ6. I’d met a man, a poet, at the Santa Barbara Poetry Conference. He was a man who got along on a lot of charm and very little money, which did not both me, but when he came down to visit me in Huntington Beach, he very quickly  wore out his welcome. He was getting grouchy and demanding, so one day we drove to Newport Beach and on the way stopped by the Jaguar agency to test drive a car just for the fun of it. This was supposed to be a lark. I’m sure he thought I was as down on my luck he was as I was staying in my friend’s guest room and, having run away from my life in Wyoming and come to the coast by train with one suitcase, I seemed to have very few worldly goods. But unbeknownst to him, I had just sold my house in Wyoming and had few expenses as my old friend’s estranged husband was paying for half her very low house payment and I was just splitting the other half with her, so when the salesman started negotiating, I bought the car, writing out a check for the full amount. My “friend’s” jaw dropped and his face was still frozen in a flabbergasted expression as we drove home in it. On the way home, I asked him when he was heading back to Santa Barbara. He left that night and I never saw him again but I surely did enjoy that car.
  4. What is your favorite swear word or expression, and when are you most likely to use it? “Asshole!” I’ve used it a lot since Trump came into office. Prior to that, I’d reserved it purely for rude drivers!!
  5. What is your favorite kind of pie? With or without ice cream? Chocolate pie with vanilla ice cream.
  6. While we’re on the subject, what is your favorite ice cream, and where did you last eat it? Pistachio Gelato. I last had a double dip at the Laguna Mall food court in Ajijc a few weeks ago.
  7.  Who is your most unique friend and why? (May be someone from the past.) My most unique friend is Forgottenman. He has the cleverest and quickest mind of anyone I’ve ever met. He’s quirky and loyal and corrects my apostrophe errors on my blog. And I love his bald head.
  8. What is your most irritating habit? My sister would say it is humming under my breath.
  9. Who was your favorite teacher and why? I’ve written about him HERE.
  10. Do you like being alone and if so, what would you probably be doing? Yes. I would be blogging or doing art or playing spider solitaire or in the pool, throwing balls for Morrie to fetch.
  11. What is the most outlandish thing you’ve ever done? Rented a WWII tank carrier to sail around the coast of Portuguese Timor through waters inhabited by Bugis pirates.I was young and stupid. you can read about it HERE.
  12. What superstition do you always follow? I never walk under ladders and if a black cat crosses my path when I’m driving, I turn around and go in the opposite direction for a block or so before going around the block and continuing on my way. I do not dislike black cats. I think they are beautiful and I would have one as a pet., just as I would climb a ladder. I just don’t walk under them or cross the path of a black cat. I also throw spilled salt over my left shoulder. Always.
  13. What famous person or animal have you met? Tell us about the meeting. HERE is my story about meeting John Wayne.

 

These are my answers to my own question Challenge, Nosy Questions.

Ta Da!!! Finished. Now you tell me your stories!!!!!

Wooden Heart

Photos will enlarge if you click on them.


Wooden Heart

We often wash our minds clean here on memory lane,
so what was a dark portrait is illumined once again.

Daily random memories wash up on the shore

while sadder associations stand waiting by the door.

I do not choose remembering the dark spots in our past.

It is the brighter moments that I prefer to last.

The heart I formed from copper, the heart you carved of wood.

All the broken contracts healed by all the good.

Love stories come in fits and starts and so it was with ours—
we must choose our final endings by our selective powers

to decide what we will sift from memory’s fine sand,

and though the bitter moments haven’t been fully banned,

I daily choose the moments that I will remember—

that March day when our love was young, not your final September.

 

When I met Bob, he was teaching art in Canyon Country, California. One day he brought me this pouch necklace he had made of leather in class. Inside was a wooden heart with his initial on one side and my initial on the other. Yes. I had to marry the man. Later, with his encouragement, I became a metalsmith and formed this heart out of copper for him. The pouch now also contains a lock of his hair, a lock of mine, a miniature bar of chocolate–his favorite food on earth–and a tiny dinosaur carved by one of his small sons in the studio where he worked with his dad. When I admired it, he gave it to me, just as Bob gave to me the family he brought with him when we married.

 

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Prompts today are memory lane, daily, dark, portrait and wash.

Midnight Tryst at the Horticultural Society Ball

Midnight Tryst at the Horticultural Society Ball

In spite of our earlier indecision, when our eyes met in passing on the dance floor, they sealed the tacit agreement that we would slip into the garden at the set hour. Later, we would try but fail to furnish an adequate excuse to our spouses of the reason for our mutual midnight escape. Even our shots of the night-blooming  cereus could not adequately explain our defection. It was as though we carried the scent of our desire-—as heady as the scent of that rare flower-—back to the hall with us. A universal blanket of dispraise settled over the crowd, in spite of the excitement over our viewing of the rare bloom. Everyone knew. Our mutual fate was sealed.

The prompt words for today are garden, tacit, dispraise and desire. I also made use of Cee’s FOTD flower prompt.

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/02/19/rdp-tuesday-garden/
https://fivedotoh.com/2019/02/19/fowc-with-fandango-tacit/
https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2019/02/19/your-daily-word-prompt-dispraise-february-19-2019/
https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2019/02/19/desire/
https://ceenphotography.com/2019/02/18/fotd-february-18-2019-crocus-2/

Love Spell

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Definition of spell: 

—a state of enchantment
—a strong compelling influence or attraction
—an indeterminate period of time waited
—a continuous period of time (did a spell in prison)
—a period of bodily or mental distress or disorder
(spell of coughing, fainting spells)

Love Spell

As with so many, their flirtation
started over a libation.
Tequila conquered hesitation
and augmented jubilation
Minutes later, infatuation
 roused their hearts to palpitation.

Palpitation turned into lust,
a string of cans pulled through the dust,
a sign: Niagara Falls or bust!!!
Their honeymoon’s great joy and thrust
made every day a celebration
with not one hint of love’s cessation.

A single simple act of treason
ended up being the reason
why true love’s flare and excitation
turned into a conflagration
that started as an agitation
and ended up as litigation.

The judge soon granted the decree
that set the bonded lovers free
with a newfound realization
that a certain titillation
brought about by alcohol
could be the rise before the fall.

The prompts today are flare, reason, infatuation and trust.

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/02/11/rdp-monday-flare/
https://fivedotoh.com/2019/02/11/fowc-with-fandango-reason/
https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2019/02/11/your-daily-word-prompt-infatuation-february-11-2019/
https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2019/02/11/trust/

In the Corner Tea Shop

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In the Corner Tea Shop

It was a sort of lunacy
that prompted our grand comedy.
One sticky bun, two mugs of tea
predated our dependency.
As you passed, you looked so yearningly
at that last bun, and jealously
surveyed my plate most zealously,
wishing it had gone to thee.

Later, when you got up to pee,
I took note of your truancy
and put the bun where it should be—
there on your plate. When finally,
you returned, you viewed with glee
where that bun had come to be,
viewing it most quizzically
and pondering the mystery
of this delicious legacy.
You glanced around to try to see
its origins, and finally,
you saw my empty plate, and me.

I remember with such piquancy

how swiftly you ensorcelled me—
first with your smile, and eventually
by your approach and finally
by your sweet generosity
as you brought the bun to share with me,
sat at my table, crossed foot on knee,
and conversed with so much vibrancy
that “I” and “you” turned into “we.”

It was our first romantic tryst—

A morning tea break with a twist.

 

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The prompt words today were mug, tryst, lunacy and ensorcell. Here are the links:
https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2018/11/18/rdp-sunday-mug/
https://fivedotoh.com/2018/11/18/fowc-with-fandango-tryst/
https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/11/18/lunacy/
https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2018/11/18/your-daily-word-prompt-ensorcell-November-18-2018/

The Vocabulary Lesson

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The seven-word prompt was to make use of as many of these words as possible in a short piece: knickers, oneiric, cigar, shenanigans, cold-cocked, finish and sun-dried. You needn’t check.  I used all of them. The November writing prompt was “Lipstick Lover.”

The Vocabulary Lesson

She was more than irritated. Pissed, really, as she thumbed through the dictionary in search of the word “oneiric.” Any word that needed to be looked up didn’t belong in a “Dear Jane” letter anyway—as though to the very end he was trying to demonstrate his superiority—her inferiority.

BASTARD! She slammed the dictionary to the floor, picked up the half-smoked cigar he’d left in the ashtray last night, relit it and surveyed the new paper cut on her index finger. Just one more of his shenanigans, she thought. Right after he’d cold-cocked her with the news that he and she were finished—that he was leaving her FOR HER MOTHER!!!!!!, he’d lit up his Cubano for one more puff before grinding it out and handing her this letter, telling her not to open it until he’d gone.

His finish had been pretty much like their beginning—with him ending up on the floor. But this time she was standing over him rather than lying on top of him. Idly, she flicked an ash into his open mouth, hitting him squarely on his tongue. The sun-dried blood on his lip looked like the smudge of a lover’s lipstick. Around his head were the remains of the crystal candlestick her mother had given them for their wedding.  She sucked at the paper cut, then at the gash across her palm that she had gotten from a shard of the candlestick that had taken a far smaller part out of her than it had out of him.

Far away in the kitchen, the phone rang and rang. Probably her mother. Well, let her get her knickers in a bunch waiting for him. Let her think (for as long as she could put off coming to investigate) that her daughter had reclaimed her property. She was in possession for now and everyone knew possession was 9/10ths of the law. She took another long draw before examining her wounds again.

Then, her curiosity getting the better of her, she moved back to the dictionary to thumb through the o’s. When she’d found the word, she chuckled and looked back at her lost love. Gone from this world, but no one would ever know it if she just shut his jaw and wiped off the bloodstain. As a matter of fact, he’d look downright oneiric!

 

The Nov. 8 Nov. Writing Prompt is Lipstick Lover.

In the Market

In the Market

Her mother tells her not to talk to strangers in the streets–
to count on all her kin to provide everyone she meets.
But this man has such lovely eyes, so what could be the harm?
And she’s not often left to stray this far from father’s farm.
When he walks by, she gives a smile and looks him in the eye.
He looks away, but his shy smile still gives away the guy.
She drops her basket, but he still continues on his way.
It’s only then that she decides that this one must be gay.

The store where she is going is not so very far,
and yet she takes the longest way that leads there from her car.
Although it should be blocks away, instead it is two miles.
She only has this route and back to practice all her wiles.
Whenever gentlemen of note meet her questing glance,
Her winsome smile becomes a grin, her walk becomes a prance.
Some of the men seem to be shocked. The others move away.
She’s sure it is just married men she meets this market day.

But finally, one man in plaid does not avoid her glance.
She smiles at him invitingly, afraid she’ll lose her chance.
She sees him turn as she walks by and follow in her wake.
It seems she’s finally hooked one. It was a piece of cake.
When she arrives and goes into the store, he follows her.
It’s just so he can meet her, of this she’s fairly sure.
Aisle after aisle she meets his gaze by boldly looking up
while he pretends he’s looking for food on which to sup.

Pork and beans he passes up, chili and green beans.
He adjusts his shoulders and hitches up his jeans.
She knows that he’s not used to this. He’s not so debonair.
He will not meet her flirty glance or even her bold stare;
and yet she sees him peeking when it seems that she’s not looking.
It’s clear enough to her that something’s definitely cooking.
She’s been around the livestock so she knows the signs and causes,
yet a bull just gets right to it and a rooster never pauses. Continue reading

Swallowing Truth

Three days ago, I started thinking of an old friend from 43 years and 8,000 miles ago, wondering if there was any way I could locate him. We had known each other in Africa, both having come to the U.S. when Ethiopia fell into its violent civil war, leaving our mutual friend (my lover and his friend since childhood) in Africa. He had worked diligently to get his friend to leave Africa and I had urged him to as well, but he had repeatedly refused to do so.

Half a country apart, we met only once after coming to the States and talked twice on the phone—the last time when he informed me of the assassination of our mutual friend about a year after I’d returned to the States. Since then, I’ve gone on to new loves and new lives, but I’ve written many times about those years in Africa, idealized my lover and imagined him to be the hero in death he’d always been to me in life.

Then, miraculously, two days ago (one day after I’d thought of trying to locate him myself and over forty years since I’d last talked to him on the phone) I received a message from my old friend asking me to friend him on Facebook and yesterday, we shared a two-hour phone call. Much of that phone call was taken up by his telling me the whole truth about my lover’s death in Africa forty-three  years ago.

“He loved you, Judy. He really loved you, and he was a different man with you. Perhaps if we had both stayed in Africa, his story would have turned out differently, but when we both left at once, he was lonely and looking for friends. They saw his charisma and charm and they drew him in. They gave him power.” This was when he told me the part of the story he had not told me so many years ago. This is when the truth of what happened after I left Africa came out. It has been a hard truth to swallow. My sister, who visited me in Africa and who knows more of that story than most, told me I should perhaps not talk to anyone else about what I had just revealed to her—to remain quiet for awhile and think this out for myself. Perhaps to write about it.

It is hard to write about such things without trivializing them, and I have tried for the past 24 hours to avoid doing so just as I’ve tried to avoid thinking about it. Neither plan seems to have worked. It was what I thought about all day, the last thing I thought about before I fell asleep, the first thing I thought about upon awakening when I saw today’s prompt, and it is what I’m thinking about now as I write the introduction to this poem. What do we do with old shattered memories that we’ve held in esteem for more than half our lives?  What do we do with the favorite photographs? How do we write about a love story turned into a horror story? I guess we do the best we can. This is my first attempt to deal with that whole truth.

Swallowing Truth

My life for now grown raw and hollow,
this bitter pill I cannot swallow.

Which path of memory to follow?

That handsome man, arms filled with flowers,
love-filled nights and fun-filled hours 
held fast in each others’ powers.

A small-town girl who lived through books,
twisting on romance’s hooks,

could not resist your charm and looks.

I could not guess the other side—
the violence your looks belied—
that truth that I must now abide.

New truths cast old beliefs asunder
as they gut and rip and plunder
those short years of joy and wonder.

Your truths are painful—sharply tined.
Miscast as hero in my mind,
you chose the other side, I find.

This is what your old friend said.
He said your power went to your head—
so many slaughtered the streets ran red.

How could the one who turned my heart
liquid from the very start
have torn so many lives apart?

These stories spun far in the past
have come together here, at last,
can’t be forgotten, the die is cast.

Beware the truths that you might seek.
Truth has a non-discerning beak
that rips asunder the frail and weak.

Be careful what you ask and do
in opening the past anew.
The truth you swallow may swallow you.

 

The prompt word today is swallow.

Fourth Floor (17 minute Writing)

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4th Floor

When I was a young girl, I worked as a maid in a small hotel in Puerto Vallarta. It was not one of the big all-inclusive monster hotels, but rather a place small by comparison. Perhaps twenty-five rooms per floor, four floors. Esmerelda, my best friend, got me the job. She had worked there for many years and so had the prime assignment on the first floor. I, being new, was assigned to floor 4. That entire floor was my responsibility. The sheets, towels, trash cans, restoring chairs moved by large parties to other rooms back to their prescribed place, restoring order in rooms seemingly hit by a big wind—clothing strewn here and there, drinks spilled, sometimes crude messages scribbled on the mirrors with lipstick or dripping creams whose origins I didn’t care to guess. This job was like a new book that I read each day. What of the person who had slept in that room last night still remained? What did the condition of their room tell about them?

One day, after I had knocked on the door and announced myself, hearing utter silence, I entered a room to find a man still sleeping in the bed. I could tell it was a man because of one foot which stuck out from under the sheet. He slept on his stomach, very near the edge of the bed that faced toward the center of the room, his face turned toward the space between the two queen-sized beds. He slept soundly, which is a strange adverb to describe the way he slept because he actually made no sound. Not a whistle of breath through nostrils. Not a loud inhale through the mouth that seemed to catch against barbs in the throat to create a snore. Not the soft vibrations of lips as he exhaled. No inhalation or exhalation, now that I grew closer, and suddenly I became sure that this man had died in the night in this bed that I would have to strip and remake in this room that I would need to clean many more times if I continued in this career in this hotel and that I would always remember that a man had died in this room and feel a slight hesitation as I put the key in the lock.

Feeling already that this would be my true future, I moved closer to the bed to meet my fate as well as the fate of this stranger. I sat myself on the bed across from him, moving my head down to his level to look closely at his face to see if his eyes were open—to see if his last thoughts would be revealed in them or in the curl of his lips, upwards or downwards. To see what sort of a man he might have been. To see what he might look like with life leaked out of him before making the call to the desk for someone to aid me in dealing with this matter.

It was a pleasant face with no panic written on it. A face at peace. A face with a day and night’s stubble on it that would have been shaven by now had he had one more chance to do so, as it was clear there was no more than 24 hours of stubble on those swarthy cheeks. He was handsome. I was sad to have such a man departed from this world.

I do not know what possessed me that I reached out to touch this man on the hand that hung down a bit from the bed, as though it had dropped there absent-mindedly, unconsciously, in sleep. Expecting to find it cold, I was surprised at its warmth. I held it more firmly, seeking with one finger to find a pulse.

“Hello.” The eyes opened. Those lips breathed and they spoke. Those lips smiled, as did mine. And that is how I met your father. And that is how I came to be your mother instead of a girl who cleaned rooms on the 4th floor of a small hotel in Puerto Vallarta.

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During our four day writing retreat in Puerto Vallarta, we did a series of four to twenty minute timed writings to prompts.  In this one, our “leader,” Judy Reeves, told us to take ten photos, then to choose one small detail from one of the photos to write about for seventeen minutes. This was the piece I wrote yesterday to that prompt.  I’m now home, promptless, as WordPress hasn’t published the prompt yet.  I soon have to take a friend to the airport, so will share with you this bit of our lovely four day get-away with writing friends.

Love Stories

 

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What fewer love stories there would be if we could see their endings—so many middles of romances left unread by those who read their last pages first. When I remember each past first kiss, it is in a mirror half obscured by the future reflected in it. One love is forever caught underwater where it gasps for air. Another is ashes floating out in rings to touch the edges of a lake which is shrinking inward from its banks, as though in complicity to aid their settling along its edges. Another lies in small droplets of blood on a road where it was ambushed, too late to be a message of anything but regret for love that died before the lover and a lover who died too soon. There are all these deaths of loves—like a class for the unfortunates who, kept in after school, are made to trace their lines again and again in the belief that love is taught by repetition and that wisdom comes from practice.