Lost in time

cal

She trod the lonely path homewards, as the day drew to a dismal close.  Heavy clouds threatened a downpour but she remained determined to beat the rain home.  Her slow pace, weary with shopping, suddenly picked up speed as the first drops plopped onto her silvered hair.  She turned the key in the door and the clouds finally burst and delivered their chilly load to all which lay beneath. It felt like a tiny victory and a smile crept across her face. The shopping bags dropped onto the flagstone floor and she examined the temporary red welts left by the evil plastic handles.  She blew on her hands and flicked on the kettle.

The warm fluid gently revived her parched throat as she deposited items into the cupboards. The house was silent, and she stopped to listen.  Only the ticking of the clock, which once belonged to her Grandmother, sounded and she looked at her watch.  Where were they all? They should be home by now. Her stomach churned and she swallowed hard…perhaps something had happened? But she quickly pushed away the dark thoughts which loomed, just as the clouds had all the way home, and continued working through her daily routine.

After the clock in the hall struck 6, and the table was laid but still empty, she began to pace.  Something was amiss…it was odd…but she couldn’t quite put her finger on it. She rubbed her forehead with her fingertips as though trying to access some long forgotten detail, but nothing sprung to her rescue.  ‘They should all be home,’ she thought as she wandered to the French doors and stared out at the lush green grass, which was enjoying a soak. A plump robin appeared and sat on the edge of the stone bird bath.  There was a pair who regularly visited for a splash and snack, but this day he was alone, like her.  He froze for a minute before fluttering to the feeder and whizzing off, perhaps to share his bounty.  A charcoal smell penetrated her nose, “Oh hell!” She muttered, grabbing the oven gloves and pulling out the crisp blackened lasagna.  Perhaps I could scrape off the burnt pieces? But as the layers congealed resolutely, she realised it was a lost cause and with a sigh scraped the meal into the food waste.

The thud of the cat-flap made her jump and her hand flew to her mouth. “You scared me to death, you silly thing! I suppose at least someone has come home for tea…eh? Come on then, let’s get you fed.” The tortoiseshell cat meowed and pushed his head against her leg, the bell on his collar jingled as he moved. “Where are they all – eh?” She forked the cat meat into a bowl and placed it on the mat next to his water bowl. Perhaps they had broken down or maybe Simon had lost his keys and was busy looking for them.   She wandered through the hallway and noticed a light flashing…what was that? A large yellow post it note displayed the words in capital letters: PRESS ME!  So she did.

“You have one new message.” Followed by:  “Hi Mum! Hope you’ve had a good day.  Remember that Dad is at work this evening and will not be back until eight.  I will come and see you tomorrow, when my shift finishes.  Sit tight and if you need anything call Maggie, the number is next to this machine.” Her eyes flicked to the large sheet, containing names and numbers in bold printed text. Her heart double jumped and the corners of her mouth turned down.  A light flicked on in her mind as she remembered a word. Her legs wobbled but she threw herself up the stairs towards the bedroom of her daughters.  She anticipated pink walls, fluffy teddy bears and a floor littered with Sindy and Barbie dolls but as she opened the door, she gasped.  The walls were cream and a double bed adorned with a quilted throw filled the sanded wooden floor.  There were no posters upon the walls, or toys strewn along the floor.  Dirty clothes were not scattered amongst the clean and this was not the room belonging to two little girls. A photograph frame, displayed proudly, two pictures of beautiful young women and her. They were wearing caps and gowns and smiles emanated from the essence of the pictures.  She knew, that these were her little girls. She understood for that moment, that they were not coming home for dinner, because they no longer lived with her.  And she remembered the really important word which the doctor had spoken. Dementia. She crumpled to the floor and sobbed, sobbed for all of the precious memories she had lost and for the emptiness which filled her mind more and more.

She wiped her nose with a tissue from the box beside the bed and straightened her skirt.  She looked at her watch.  Simon would be back in ten minutes, so she wandered down the stairs.

The table was set for four and the only evidence of the disastrous meal was the smell of charcoal in the air.  What would she cook them for dinner now? Where were they anyway? Shouldn’t they be home by now? She wandered over to the French windows, to see if the robin was there, but the garden was deserted.  The rain was busy washing the world clean as she wondered when her family would be home for dinner.

 ***************************************************

This story was inspired by my Mother in Law, who passed away last year.  It got me thinking about things and looking at different perspectives. I cannot imagine how hard it must be in those moments of clarity to understand what is happening and it moved me beyond words.  But being a writer I wanted to try and find some words, to attempt to create a window into how this might feel. All I hope for this piece, is that it is provoking. Thank you for reading it.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/94471921@N00/376121027″>Calender</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Enough

She looked out upon Robin, perched tentatively by the birdbath. In her mind she spoke to him.

rob

“Hello, I like it when you visit me, with your chirpy demeanour and gentle nature.  You seem to appear when the clouds of darkness begin to creep across my mind…do you sense it little friend? Do you know me so well, that you, and only you it seems, arrive just at the moment when I need a friend most? For I cannot help but smile when you visit and the precious distraction you offer from my cloudy mind, busy whirling over the problems of the day, eases with your presence.”

Robin flapped into the water, lovingly filled by her and flew away…unaware of the comfort he offered without having uttered a single word.

We don’t always need to offer an answer, sometimes it is ENOUGH just to be there.

photo credit: Beautifull!!! via photopin (license)

Up You Get! #blonde #blogbattle

I thought I may have another go at a short story for the #Blogbattle hosted by http://rachaelritchey.com/ …I seem to be writing short tales with a message at the moment – not sure why though! Thanks for the opportunity for sharing!

Up you get!

Her blonde curls danced upon her tiny shoulders as she bounced on the trampoline. With each jump, she got higher and higher until her feather-light body hurled off and landed onto the floor. Her screams pierced the air and her mother joined in the cacophony with her own, as she ran to her daughter’s aid.  She scooped her up and carried her over to the swing chair, frantically checking for injuries, lifting the blonde curls and examining her head beneath.

“It’s ok my darling,” she whispered over and over.  Hysteria calmed to a moan as she gently rocked the chair back and forth. She should never have allowed her on that trampoline. Her little girl could have been killed …what was she thinking? From now on it would be out of bounds, it was a mindless danger and completely avoidable.  No, she must protect her, keep her safe from harm. She wiped her daughter’s nose with a tissue and continued to rock.

After a moment or two, the little body began to squirm and wriggle, desperate to climb back up and bounce. She was like a slippery worm and escaped the tight hold which her mother thought she had. Her tiny legs moved quickly and she was rocketing into the air within seconds. “Please darling, come down at once…it isn’t safe for you.” But the smile upon her daughter’s face and squeals of delight melted the fear within, and as she stood watching her once again, rationality returned.

After all wasn’t life all about getting back up again?

The End or a Beginning? Flash Fiction (attempt one)

For a change tonight, I thought I would have a go at a piece of flash fiction (a new territory for me) and this is what I ended up with…I am sure I have much to learn and hope to get better with time!

 

The End or a Beginning?

seedy

She stormed into the bar with a fist full of dollars.   “Here you might need these!” Her face displayed a smile which was not created by happiness. He turned and his mouth fell at the sight of her.  A hand outstretched thrusting money towards him. How did she know he would be there and what could he say to make it better? “ I…I…”

“Save it, for the ladies…Perhaps they would like to launder your washing, or iron your shirts? Maybe they will gladly listen whilst you tell them about your boring job?  Or they may like to pick up your mother for dinner every Saturday whilst you play golf? Well, truth is my love, I won’t be doing those things any more…” She turned from her husband and tucked a dollar into the thong of the awkwardly stood dancer, who since her arrival, stared wide-eyed towards them, “Thank you so much for looking after my husband so well…” Her tone was insincere as she eyed the lithe body of the woman, whom her husband deemed worthy of their hard earned cash, and left.

She was free, and for her, it was just the beginning.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/23307937@N04/16549286796″>Yes, I am looking for the ATM….</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

#BLOGBATTLE – SILVER

An email pinged and I read it..it was a challenge by  Writing Rachael Ritchey..to go into battle – BLOG BATTLE. I am not one for battling, but for some reason this caught my imagination tonight and fancying a break from the project I am currently beavering away on, I decided to have a go!

So here it is…my effort at a little story evolved from the word

 SILVER!

blog

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/38454047@N05/9646912204″>50mm</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Her lithe body stretched out on the sun lounger; pearls of chlorinated water trailed her skin.  The burning sun, high up in the azure sky ruthlessly beat down upon her already tanned body and within moments she was dry. She reached across to the side table, stirred her cool drink with the plastic straw and sipped. A sigh escaped her lips. This was heaven on earth, almost.

 He was showering. Then he would pour coffee, followed by approximately an hour at the patio table, reading the daily paper. It was the same routine every day.  She wondered when it had all changed.  Since when did the rigidity of his routine seep into their holidays? It must have crept up, on tiptoe and stolen their fun like a thief in the night.

In the old days, they would laugh, a lot. Leisurely lunches would linger on through the afternoon and into the evening.  Together, hand in hand they would stroll home, the warmth of the evening air encouraging a late dip in the pool. He fussed over her in those days; actually looked at her.  Now, she was lucky if he even glanced her way. Maybe it happened as slowly as his hair turning silver? That was so gradual that she barely noticed it change.  All of her recollections, her happy times, were when it was still a shade of chestnut, when he was attentive and loving.  Her fingers twirled the ring on her wedding finger, round and round.

Somewhere behind her, she could hear him pouring his coffee from the Cafetiere…she shivered. Was this how their future would be from now on?

“Shall we go out for lunch today?” Her tone was hopeful.

“Huh?” His eyes did not leave the words on the newspaper.

“Nothing,” she mumbled.

As she swung her legs off the sun lounger, she yawned and stretched her arms wide.  The pool was calling her, so she flicked off her flip flops and sat with her feet submerged in the cool water. Her oversized sun glasses kept the blinding sun off her eyes, but she squinted at him.  She wanted to shake him and scream, “LOOK AT ME!! LOOK AT ME – I’M HERE!” But would it make any difference anyway?She circled her feet in the crystal water, deciding on her next move.

“Tony? Why don’t you come over here? Come and join me? The water’s so refreshing.” She offered. But what she wanted to say was, “Hey You – sat over there, ignoring me…what’s going on with you? Why don’t you love me anymore?” _______________________________________________________________________________

The powerful shower jets invigorated his tired body.  He needed this holiday, he suddenly felt old.  The man, who the mirror reflected back to him these days, seemed alien. His skin was wrinkling and his hair more silver than chestnut.  Age is only a number, so they say, but when you marry a woman, much younger than yourself…it becomes an issue at some point, it’s inevitable.

She was still stunning…her body taut in all the right places. Her eyes still held that youthful twinkle.  He saw how she turned heads whenever they went out.  Did they look at them and wonder if he was her father? The thought turned his stomach.

He used to feel proud that she was his. He dried his face on the small fluffy towel and placed it back neatly on the rail.  With a deep sigh he left the bathroom and took the tray with coffee to the patio table where his paper lay, waiting. Why wouldn’t she come and drink a coffee with him, chat about the papers, do the crossword? Was he really that repulsive to her? He dived into the paper and tried to forget about his insecurities.

If only he knew how she felt…he wanted to say, “WHY DON’T YOU LOVE ME ANYMORE?”  But what was the point? He pushed his fingers through his thick silver mane and sighed.

Newnham on Severn

Newnham on Severn, sits along the river funnily enough! The core of the village is a designated conservation area, and the main street, is entirely old buildings.  Even the new Doctors Surgery is hidden behind a crumbly old wall.

In the late 18th century it was one of the most important ports in the area, specialising in transhipment of cargo up and down the Severn.  As a writer, my head was filled with ghosts from the past as I wandered the streets, gazing at the rich historical buildings. I imagined the noise, bustling people plying their trades and the visitors alighting for comfort, perhaps in the now derelict coaching Inn at the top of the main road.

If you look for them, there are signs that life in Newnham once revolved around the river.  Severn street, reminded me of somewhere in Cornwall and I kept expecting to find the sea around each corner. It is a peaceful place now, with few surviving shops, but from what I can gather is a tight community still, who are proud of their village.

The George Inn, which was once a hotel, now serves delicious food in comfortable surroundings.  They even have an art gallery to promote local talent!

Teenage Mess

messyroom

Why won’t you listen?

Can you not hear?

The sounds that I’m making…

Are they not clear?

Do I speak in a way

Which you don’t understand?

Should I stop for a moment?

Perhaps wave my hand?

Would it get your attention..

If I bang on your door?

Would you answer my question?

Can I ask any more?

“Please tidy your room-

It’s quite easy to do…

Just pick up the clothes!

Is all I ask of YOU!”

Ecclesiastical Escape…

With a muddled brain, in search of peace, en-route to town for errands – I followed a sign leading to a Church which I have never visited before.  I stole ten minutes from my hectic schedule, just enough to recharge my failing batteries and snap a few pictures. The solace of solitude is sometimes just what you need in order to keep treading that fast pace of life….

I hope you enjoy these pictures.

Keep on walking

tree1

I stumble but somehow remain rooted.

I seek light but the darkness follows me.

Whichever way I turn the sunshine hides.

I open my mouth but no sound escapes.

There are no ears to hear my silent cries.

Through the trees I weave and wind.

I will emerge through the thicket

And will turn my face to the sunshine.

I must keep on walking.