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Sunday, February 28, 2010

February drabbles - 28

He met her in the gardens in the rain and pointed out flowers. She wasn’t sure why. When he found she liked sugar in her coffee he bought some, just for her; bought some chocolate cookies too. They went to a math lecture one evening, and another on paranormal psychology. Then he loaned her a rather large book just before Christmas vacation. She didn’t quite realize at the time that it was a ploy, a trick so she’d have to see him again to return it. But when he brought flowers before class on Valentines Day, she finally knew why.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

February drabbles - 27

He saw her at the dawn of time, when she wondered how to feed and clothe her child, how to live from day to day, and he fell in love with her.

He watched her in those violent times while she hid to protect her own, kept the children close when the soldiers came, and he fell in love with her.

He saw her in the world’s new dawn. The war to end all wars was done and she looked around with hope till promises broke. She almost broke herself that time, but he loved and still he loves, eternally.

February drabbles - 26

Cars are where parents and teens can talk without ever looking into each other’s eyes.
“So, what’s with this Steven character?”
“Who?”
“The one you keep talking about.”
“No I don’t.”
“He’s in most of your classes.”
“We do the same subjects.”
“You’ve gone to the movies.”
“We like the same films.”
“And had dinner.”
“He had to invite someone or he’d have looked strange.”
“Very strange… And then you had to take time out to phone him in the middle of our visit.”
Jennifer suddenly shouted, “Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom! Stop the car.”
“Why dear?”
“Because Steven’s over there.”

Thursday, February 25, 2010

February drabbles - 25

He hadn’t seen her when she noticed him with his back to the road. Such a straight back, she thought, though the tails of his coat were threadbare and his feet less well-shod. His hair was wilder too, uncombed, and his arms stuck out too far from his shirt sleeves. Ah how he’d suffered since she moved on.

Slipping between the carriages—so very foreword of her—she almost tumbled into him.

“Beg pardon,” said he turning around to her. She saw it wasn’t him after all, but she fell in love just the same. They were married next fall.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

February drabbles - 24

When he’s not there the night-time rituals drag almost to day. Switch off TVs. Close down computers. Crawl under desks, cleaning garbage from carpets. Make sure the plug sockets aren’t warm.

She looks at the cooker, cold ages ago, then rests her hand on the door and over burners just to make sure.

Checking the keys, she rattles the front, back, side, checks the window-frames too; barefoot in the garage to see that it’s closed. Watches children; the day’s coming soon.

Lie down. Get up again.

When he’s home his goodnight kiss is comfort till dawn; she’s not scared anymore.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

February drabbles - 23

“Of course, he’s just like his father,” she said. “Totally incapable of making any kind of decision. We courted five whole years before he acknowledged we might be a couple.”

“She’s like her mother. Runs into everything full-tilt. I wonder sometimes, does she really see so much further than everyone else or is it just show. She acts like the future eats out her hand.”

“But I knew he’d settle down one day.”

“She said she always knew.”

“Still, who asked whom?”

“She asked him, of course.”

“Figures. To tell the truth, I asked his Dad too.”

“Figures.” They smiled.

Monday, February 22, 2010

February drabbles - 22

Prim and propper, she sat on her deck-chair, gloved hands folded, feet together and a handky perched on top of her gray head. She seemed a picture of misery. The beach scene unfolded, bright sea under featureless sky, pale sand scuffed, children’s feet and animal paws, seagull claws and happy laughs and caws; she ignored it all.

Trousers rolled to his knees, barefoot (and hairy of foot), Grandpa kicked the beach-ball between seashell goals and laughed as he played with the child. Then they came together to sit by gGandma’s knee, their love the key. Prim and proper, she smiled.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

February drabbles - 21

She loves me. She loves me not. I pick and drop pink petals and she chews them eagerly, so what’s that mean?

Meanwhile he… Well he’s brought a dead squirrel, not flowers, and no kind of head. Sadly, they say that’s pure devotion.

She loves me I know, and waits for whatever I’ll give, while he gives gifts with love. But I guess I should follow that brown-blood trail that was red and I might find the head, what’s left of it.

And if the dog finds it first she’ll probably eat it.

Kitten and puppy: They both love me.

February drabbles - 20

He threaded the blue bead first for sky, then a green one for the trees. The yellow one was walls, not the sun, and the teacher got it wrong but his friend got it right. Red was the floor because there wasn’t a brown.

He plaited the yellow strand first, for her hair, then the green one for her eyes. Red was her lips, or maybe his heart; he didn’t want to say. And blue was the future, waiting, wondering.

He became a jeweler later; gave her a ring with four stones the day he asked her to marry him.

Friday, February 19, 2010

February drabbles - 19

His most august majesty sits above us, cool in his shade while we broil in the heat down below. We watch and wait for his command.

His lazy movement implies no procrastination will be allowed. Remember now, he seems to say, you mortals merely live to understand and to obey.

The hanging tail twitches again. The claws cling tight to the tree. Then we who serve find a stepladder to rescue our errant friend.

And mother lives to serve the child; the child to serve the future; while the august cat that rules us all is contentedly serving the past.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

February drabbles - 18

I didn’t know what it was when I first heard it – the clanking sound like something mechanical grappling with its constraints. The young man beside me was my husband, newly-wed, and he pointed my gaze at the wires near the tops of the masts. “Just the wind,” he said. “Just the tackle blowing in the wind.”

His arm wrapped gently round my waist, but my heart continued its steady unaltered beat, something natural, constrained.

Today, when I hear the song of the boats, my heart seems to smile and remember, only those things held in check can truly be free.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

February drabbles - 17

“I can’t see you,” she said. “I’m with… no… who’s out there?” And Tom asked where but she screamed; then the line went dead.

He’d find her, come for her, eliminate her assailant. Of course he would. But as he slid the phone back into his pocket he’d no idea how. Find her; come for her; who was he kidding? She was with someone else. Tom called 911 and waited and explained. The cops would find and rescue her instead.

On TV, policemen praised the anonymous caller who’d saved her life. And Katy wrapped her arms round the other guy.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

February drabbles - 16

It had been a long day. The cat-house sent him sixteen strays. Mrs. Adams brought her dog. Todd Elliot needed him out at the farm. And the zoo-vet wanted an elephant consultation. Meanwhile Annabelle hadn’t called. This on-again off-again love affair was driving him up the wall.

Night fell. He locked the cabinets and went to the door. A tiny bat lay helpless on the floor; poor thing. Annabelle did so love them, so he brought it inside.

Then her kiss, sudden and sharp against his throat, triggered fluttering fear. Long day indeed; she promised the night would be longer.

Monday, February 15, 2010

February drabbles - 15

Do you know why he drinks? In the corner of the ruins with a bottle in his hands? The whole street came down in the air-raid but he wasn’t home. He found her picture, picked out the shards of glass, then found the vodka bottle in shiny silk, layers of luxury that saved it from the blast.

So that’s what he’s drinking now, in memory of her, while they sort body parts. They’ll give him a ticket when they’re done but it won’t bring her back.

Red silk, a picture, the petals of fifteen roses; and a lonely old man.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

February drabbles - 14

Laughter of children, slap of sandals on sand, slip-sliding sun-tan oil slathered on skin, and sounds of Velcro fastenings torn apart; toy-bags, beach-bags, trainers and children’s clothes...

Ah yes, and the whisper of wind over sea, call of seabirds, shush of water; she heard these too while inside she silently cried; boyfriend gone; she’d never belong; always separate from it all.

The cool touch of his shadow opened her eyes. “This spot taken?” He pointed beside her and she smiled. Not taken yet. Children, sandals and sunscreen might follow, but for now sweet love-birds Velcroed their hearts in the sky.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

February drabbles - 13

Is my name Murphy she wondered. Three years she’d saved up, and now on her first day’s skiing some idiot knocks her down. She sat in the lodge with crackling fire, reading a book, while fat white flakes dripped misery.

“This seat taken?” asked the stranger. He brushed stray crumbs from their hiding place on the cushion’s glowing velvet and asked what she was reading.

“Murphy’s Law.”

“Ah… the foot.” He smiled. “I’m only here for the beer.” His arm was in a sling, so he helped her walk while she helped him drink and together they fell in love.

Friday, February 12, 2010

February drabbles - 12

The sounds of violin-music rolled like waves of silk over her skin. Sweetness on her lips and salt on her tongue were the tingling tastes of his kiss. Candle-light sparkled bright in the depths of the diamond he’d offered her, like the love in his eyes. But gold is solid, diamond hard and sure. Could love really last?

She heard the waves of Venice lapping soft in the waters below. Ever falling, ever rising, ever surviving, this curious place. Then she thought, if Venice could live, maybe love might too, so she laced her fingers in his and answered “Yes.”

Thursday, February 11, 2010

February drabbles - 11

She’s in her nightdress, locked out, slippers slapping on stones. He’s in his father’s sweatshirt, barefoot in sand, bravely searching the shore. Between them wild grass blowing in the wind, separates sea from sky.

Their gazes meet. He cries, embarrassed, pretends he’s not really afraid. She blames salt in the air.

“Let me call you a locksmith,” says the neighbor swiftly retrieving his errant son. “Want a coffee while you wait?”

Then she sits with the wide kitchen table separating them, till the child climbs in her lap. “Will you be my Mommy?” He’s holding her keys in his hand.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

February drabbles - 10

Love burns.

Love turns your dreams on end, the world sent screaming.

Mother weans the babe but which cries louder? "Out!" He's gone. And love still burns.

Her husband’s heart had turned from wreck of home to deck of cards, to gambling green. She took his leaving hard.

"He's burned through all our savings now," she cursed, but would he still reverse the pain, come home again?

Dark wrack and ruin nurtured seeds of love and love's return. She could not spurn his sorrow, only held the child. “Is this tomorrow?” Smiled.

Love heals as well. And true love tells.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

February drabbles - 9

He lived the wrong side of the tracks, wore the same camouflage T-shirt to school every day, and carried a plastic gun with bright orange flare.

She, from the rich side of town, dressed in satins and lace with shoes to match and a halo on her head.

They ate jello and fairy-cakes and drank blackcurrant juice. When he swung his weapon and she stopped him, he knocked the cup from her hand, spilling red down her skirt.

She cried. He looked dismayed. And the teacher set things to rights with a damp cloth.

They were married sixteen years later.

Monday, February 8, 2010

January drabbles - 8

“Mom always said Granny wanted me to have this when she died. D’you remember the story, how Grandpa was waiting till he could afford a real diamond? Then Granny said ‘Let’s get married,’ so they bought this instead.

“Diamond specks; that what it is I guess. Granny wound some thread all round ‘cause it was too big for her. Fits me just right.

“I thought he might be buying a ring today; thought he was the one.”

She sat alone with history and cat. Threads coming loose, she pulled them free; tied love to hope instead, and life goes on.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

February drabbles - 7

“Turn left,” says he.

“How far is it now?”

“Be less if you turned the right way.” His eyes start to frown.

Her fingers tense round the steering wheel as she feels him rejecting her skills, the glorious sparkle of her diamond fading to dusk.

Downhill and slow; musk-scented trees bow low to the engine’s murmur, darkening the sky while heaven’s diamonds shine, above the world so high…

“Turn left,” says he.

And, “How far is it now?” So he sighs. She stops the car.

“Turn my way.” She turns. He plants a kiss. And rejection flies far far away.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

February drabbles - 6

They played together as kids behind their homes: spacemen and aliens, heroes and villains, cops and robbers hiding under bramble trees.

They studied together as students: serious tomes devoured while clouds cast shadows of the future on the plain.

They planned together but grew apart till broken-hearted Jen stood in the hollow where brambles had been, long grass brushing her feet and memories of David filling her dreams.

How slow time passed till he rushed again to her side. And now they claimed the hollow as their own sweet victory, hideout for dreams, and secret place for children yet unseen.

Friday, February 5, 2010

February drabbles - 5

Water rippled over moss-covered stones, lending life to trailing fronds. Water under the bridge, David thought - water that washes and cleans - while the moon hung round and glowing above the tree tops, gazing down on him.

But stones were the gutter beside the road. Fronds were newspaper scraps with messages fading and forlorn. And treetops were a line cut low, unable to hide the bitter sodium lamps that blinded stars, anchoring apartment-block walls like cold prison bars.

He accosted her in the stairwell. “Emily?” And she smiled, because even the city knows life and trailing fronds of sweetly awakened love.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

February drabbles - 4

She lost the locket when she was a child; her mother never forgave her. “It was Grandma’s,” she said, as if the girl weren’t already more than sorry. “It can’t be replaced.”

She lost her mother when she grew up and thought, “Why couldn’t I find you?” But the young man gave her comfort then, placed a new gold chain round her throat. “Marry me,” he said.

She lost the locket; the gold chain broke. And she knew he too would condemn. But husband found locket and memories and wife, healing all with forgiveness and love, and renewing her soul.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

February drabbles - 3

It was one of those days.

The coffee-maker overflowed during her shower; brown sludge behind the fridge making sodden murk with dog-hairs and peas. She cleaned it, down on hands and knees, then had to change her clothes.

Meanwhile the dog threw up; must have snacked on grounds. Her car wouldn’t start. The rain was wet. And when she turned around the bus splashed her skirt. The coffee shop was packed.

A stranger stopped and smiled at her. He found a table; carried her cup. “Name’s Murphy,” he said. “Murphy’s Law.” Then Sandy tripped up and melted into his gaze.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

February drabbles - 2

The woman with the baby smiled at her husband. The blue-haired youth kissed his grandmother. And the teenager with safety pins in her nose reached out to hug her father.

It must be her father; he had a pin attached to the lapel of his jacket. Tom noticed things like that.

Passport and boarding card in hand, Tom reached the front of the line. Then the girl of his dreams shouted "Wait!"

The queue was three miles long, and the wait would last forever, but Tom didn't mind. She was wearing his ring at last.

Tom noticed things like that.

February drabbles - 1

Fear is a river with no escape, tumbling out of control to the waiting sea. Fear splashes wider whenever you turn, and fear drowns. So David, floundering in uncertainty, knew he was drowning for sure.

“What should I do?” he asked the empty room, having tried every dream, every seeming of his imagination. “How do I tell her?” And no one replied.

Then her knock on the door was like the gentle pecking of a dove. David opened it, took her into his arms, and drowned instead in the scent of her shampoo.

“I love you.”

“I love you too.”