Writing Snippet: In Farewell

Writing Snippet: In Farewell

(As an aside, I did a little writing exercise in one of my creative writing classes to the tune of Linda Barry’s 9-minute writing exercise video. This was the result. Oh what one can learn about oneself in nine minutes… Anyway, if you’re interested, start out with either a word in mind that means quite a lot to you, or a little bag of words that you will, subsequently, choose one of. Farewell was mine.)

 

In Farewell

The earth was hard during that dry season. Kayla could think of nothing else as she shoveled the hard gravel in her backyard. Certainly not those little white whiskers and soft fur. No. Around her, the house was quiet and solemn. Any other day, she would be engaged in a game of tag with her two sisters, or taking out the slip’n’slide they played with on the hotter days. The green leaves of the trees surrounding her would sway despite the muggy lack of wind. The trees would seem to revel in the childish foolery, tossing this way and that, as though if they had legs, they might just join in.

But not today.

The quiet seemed almost to echo, and when a car passed down the little gravel road a hundred feet from Kayla, speeding, rocks flying, it startled birds and leaves from the still trees, and the neighbors’ chickens. And little Kayla. The neighbors always drove so fast, not waiting for tiny, little paws of beloved four-legged creatures to scamper from the road, hurrying inside for food and shelter.

They never waited.

In Memory of the Old Days

In Memory of the Old Days

“I can’t stand it to think my life is going so fast and I’m not really living it.”
– Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises

 

In Memory of the Old Days

In the old days the couples’ house was quaint. Black and white pictures lined the hall. A small television, overflowing bookshelf, and stacked newspapers served as entertainment. The house was quiet. The couple lived quietly, ate slowly, and enjoyed the view of the lake from the porch. Then one day the desk in the study was replaced by a bassinet. The child grew older and the life outside changed as she did. Look-alike houses were built around the lake. Two more children were born. The wife stored the small tv in the attic, soon replaced by a flat-screen television, dvd player, and Wii console. An electric fire was installed where once real flames had burned through logs collected from the nearby forest. The twin boys were loud. Their elder sister was anything but old-fashioned.

From the porch, all that could be seen was other backyards. Children played in the backyards with their phones in their pockets and a mother watching them from the screen doorway.

Twenty years had passed and now there was only a small lake to remind Jack of the old days. He sat at the kitchen table and stirred his coffee methodically, though it was black and half empty. Caroline sat across from him. Her fingers traced grooves in the table, long worn down by use and age. She knew that if she followed the groove to the edge of the table, she would cut herself on it.

“Do you have to go?” she asked.

He turned a page of the newspaper, black residue coming off on his fingertips.

Every Sunday, early in the morning, he left the house and walked down to the lake, a fishing pole, writing pad, and home-made lunch making the journey with him. He stayed there until the sun sank low over the hills and he could no longer see the bobber afloat in the water. Some days he stayed later. The lake was calm and had but one fishing pier. He sat alone on the pier, feeling the gaze of the neighbors upon him as he baited his line and cast it out, opened his writing pad and began his weekly routine.

“I go every Sunday,” he said.

“Stay. Just this once. The boys will be awake soon and your daughter is coming back home for the week. She misses you.”

He closed the newspaper, folding it until it would fit in his pack.

“You know I do this every week, Caroline. Anna will still be here tomorrow.” He stirred his coffee once more, finished the dregs, and rose from the chair. He crossed to the living room, retrieved his pack, and stuffed the newspaper inside.

Caroline usually slept in these mornings and woke as the twin boys did to come yawning down the stairs after Jack had left. She made them breakfast, watched over them as they finished homework and sat for hours in front of the television. Some days, she would call her daughter and ask how college was going. But reading took up most of her day. She would sit with a book in her lap and one eye on the clock in the back corner. The day went by slowly as she waited for her husband to return. Some days he brought fish with him.

Today she had forced herself awake when he left the bed. No alarm rang to alert him of the time, yet she was sure he left at the same time each Sunday. Fighting off sleep, she had padded down the hall after him and watched him make coffee from the table. Perhaps he would stay today, if she asked.

“Don’t you want to be here?” she asked.

Jack, his pack thrown over his shoulder, stared at her from the next room. She felt his gaze as if for the first time in years.

He stepped toward her. His palm touched against her cheek. He leaned in as though to kiss her and Caroline closed her eyes. She felt his breath against her forehead and then a quick peck of his lips. The air felt cool against that spot when he drew back.

When she opened her eyes, he was gone.

Throwback Friday: “Once Upon A Time” (i.e. My First Short Story)

Throwback Friday: “Once Upon A Time” (i.e. My First Short Story)

Yes, perhaps the title should be Throwback Thursday, but as it’s not Thursday and I have a marginal dislike of conventions (not anime/comic conventions, mind you), I am sharing with you my first ever Throwback Friday (not that there may ever be another one, who knows).
This story, which I only ever titled “Once Upon A Time”, is not the first story idea I ever had, nor was it the first story I ever started. But it is the first story I finished. (Not counting, of course, those stories I wrote in elementary school, with their characteristic grammatical errors.)
So, here you are, a relic of past ages. Yes, it has problems, and could use revision. But I love it all the same. It was the beginning of something extraordinary. And it’s okay to love something imperfect.
 
 
 

Once Upon A Time

by: ‘Manda

I walked through the woods, gaining ground only because I kept my feet going. Everything in me was shouting that I should turn around; I should let go.
Who knew that only days after I first met you, I would be leaving you. We’d come so far, and… now I would have to leave.
It was such a struggle, those first few steps. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the way my heart broke with each forward movement.

I had to leave. You must understand. You’ll never know the reason. Nor will we ever see each other again. But I hope that one day, you’ll forgive me. And move on.

Even though I won’t.

I loved you. How could I get over that?

Hypocrite. Yes, that’s accurate. I don’t care. I’m not strong enough.

I’m hundreds of miles away by now, doing my duty. The duty I was born to. Who knew that being a princess isn’t really worth it? I’ve gone through life wishing I was here, being a princess.

And now I’d give anything to be back there. With you.

But I’m to be married. And you have no idea where I am. Or who I am.

Is it okay to sigh here? Considering that it’s better than crying, I’m going to assume so.

Tomorrow is my wedding day. I don’t even know my intended husband, though I’m sure tomorrow night we will get more than comfortable. More comfortable than I’ve even ever been with you. Oh, how I wish things could be reversed and I could be marrying you tomorrow.

I love you. I never told you, did I? I meant to, you know. I meant to tell that you mean the world to me.
But how could I do that when I knew that I would be leaving? And I would become a queen?

Why did it have to happen then? I’d lived in that village for 18 years. 18 years. Never, not once, did I make any sort of relationship that I would miss when I left.
And then you came along. Seeking family, of all things. And you didn’t find it, did you? But you found me. And a place you belong.

I wonder, will you still belong there now that I’ve left? Or am I merely over-exaggerating my importance? Did I mean anything to you?

Perhaps, if I believed the answer to be no, things would be simpler. Perhaps, I could move on. Perhaps,
I could happily marry whichever male my uncle chose for me. Perhaps.

But I don’t. You loved me.

There it is. I can’t take it back, and I can’t help but believe it. That look in your eyes, that kiss. Of course you loved me. There could have been no one else for you.

I wonder, are you looking for me? If you found out I was here, would you seek me out? If you found out what I am, would you still care for me?

Somehow, I pray the answer is no. I will be married. Far away from you.

This is too hard. So hard. It’s not even possible to describe how hard it is. I’m about to walk down the aisle. I only have an hour left. They’re doing my hair now and I’ve already got my dress on. They’re going to finish early and perhaps they will let me step outside and have a breath of fresh air first.

Even here, in the middle of a beautiful garden, it’s not the same as in the forest.

Or in your arms.

I close my eyes. I can almost feel you beside me.

I want to cry, so badly, but I won’t let the tears fall. I won’t.

And suddenly arms wrap around me, and a body presses to my backside. I start violently, shocked. I open my eyes, but of course I can’t see who it is.
And then he whispers in my ear:

“I’ve found you.”

I don’t think I’ve ever been happier. Can I cry now? Yes, I think I can. I think it’s okay to cry because of happiness.

But this can’t happen.

I turn around. There you are. The face I never dreamed I would see again. The eyes that will always shine brightly in my heart.

It breaks my heart.

Especially because… you’re crying too. Why are you crying? Do you know? Or are you just happy to see me?

But then you whisper:

“I know.”

My eyes close. And he hugs me. Tightly. And lets go.

I have so many questions, so many questions, but I saw that understanding in your eyes. And I knew that now wasn’t the time. There would never be a time.

There were footsteps behind me, and I was led away by a strong-armed woman, determined to lead me to my unhappiness.
Unhappiness.

I don’t look back. I can’t.

The tears have stopped. I must be myself again. I must not love him.

I walk down the aisle. And there you are, waiting for me.