Tag Archives: Love Story

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.

 

Bob Tale

The Prompt: A Dog Named Bob–You have 20 minutes to write a post that includes the words mailbox, bluejay, and ink. And one more detail… the story must include a dog named Bob. Confession, I took 40!

Bob Tale

My brother’s coon dog name of Bob was lying by the sink.
He was a pretty good old dog, but man, he had a stink!
I opened up the kitchen door and said he had to leave;
but when he tried to lick my hand, I met him with my sleeve.

“Out boy, now!” I yelled at him and pushed him towards outside.
Smelly dogs are something that I can’t abide.
I’d told my brother that I’d keep him for awhile
’till he found another owner, for dogs just weren’t my style.

I was almost done with breakfast, licking syrup from my plate
while waiting for a letter, but the mail was late.
I could watch the mailbox from the comfort of my chair.
I’d been waiting for an hour, but still it wasn’t there.

A bluejay sat up in a tree looking at the scene.
I hoped the mailman didn’t know that bluejays could be mean.
That letter from my true love I’d been yearning for,
standing at the window, pacing on my floor.

When I heard the mailman’s engine and ran out to my stoop,
that bluejay came right at me, with one big threatening swoop.
The mailman dropped my letter and ran on up the road–
fleet of foot in spite of his rather weighty load.

I stood up and tried to run to my letter box,
that bluejay  pecking at me from my collar to my socks.
I  grabbed my letter from the road and ran back towards the house,
putting my love letter in a pocket of my blouse.

But that bluejay was a devil, he stayed right up with me,
stabbing at my earlobes, pecking at my knee.
Then he spied the letter and before I could react,
he held it fast within his beak. My letter had been hacked!

I thought that I had lost it–and all hopes of romance.
I went from hopeful thoughts of love to feeling I’d no chance
of ever falling fast in love with someone I had met
on a social network on the internet.

He’d said he’d write a letter giving his address
and if I didn’t answer, I’d have no redress.
He’d close up his account and bother me no more.
And that is why day after day, I’d waited at my door.

I saw that bluejay flying low, my letter in his beak.
I put my head down in my hands, but then I heard a squeak.
I glanced up fast to see that jay sitting on the fence
not knowing  Bob crept up behind, he offered no defense.

Bob seized him fast around the neck before he’d time to think,
and the bluejay got a message that wasn’t written in ink!
He dropped the letter and made off to other Bob-less lands
while Bob came up and placed my letter gently in my hands.

And that is how I came to have a family of six
and how I came to treasure all Bob’s nuzzles and his licks.
And how Bob, too, came to have a chance to be a dad
with the lovely Irish Setter that my true love had.

Now our families are mixed and living happily–
all so in love that I’m in risk of writing sappily.
With no fear, the mailman brings us letters every day.
And you can bet for sure that we’ve seen no more of that jay!


https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/a-dog-named-bob/

NaPoWriMo Day 7: Fidelity

Our prompt today was to write a love poem.

Fidelity

Each morning when I wake
to shrill alarm or sweet bird song,
depending upon the requirements of my day,
you are the first to greet my opening eyes.
You rest there on the pillow next to me
in the bed where first I, then you,
have fallen to sleep the night before
too soon, too soon,
before half our words were said.

After a quick trip to the john,
it is the first stroke of my fingers
that bring you finally to life.
Your countenance lights up
and the same love words
I revealed to you last night
are returned to me.

My hands caress
and new words come easily
first to me, then to you.
I touch gently all
your fine smoothness,
getting back
everything that I give
equal measure,
continuing our long love story
of give and take
as I shift your light frame onto my lap
to stroke your separate parts
from question mark to exclamation point.

Could a PC ever rouse this passion in me?
No way, MacBook Air. Thou art my love!

(I forgot to mention before that this love poem was to be written to an inanimate object. My love affair with Macs has extended over 30 years—from my very first floppy disk table model to my new love…the ultralight MacBook air.)