Notebook

Bittersweet Memory

First published in my old notebook February 8, 2014

Bittersweet Memory

My daughter exists only here now, trapped in this yellowing photo, her features scarred with fold marks caused by her long imprisonment in my wallet.

The memory of her face hovers at the back of my mind; a vibrant sweetness that I can’t ever touch again. This likeness is but a pale reflection of all she was. I hate it for not capturing her essence, but it’s all I have now. I cling to it like a lover that I’ve lost interest in, but daren’t give up.

Will I still carry this imitation in my pocket and my heart when it stops conjuring her in my mind? Will I ever forget the perfection of her smile? Will the trust in her eyes fade to a shadow of a dream?

I can’t imagine ever casting it aside, even though it just taunts me with my ultimate failure. It will be my personal millstone forever.

I fold the photo back into its tiny, safe square again, hold it to my lips. My fingers grip it tight, pinching like I’m trying to stem blood from a wound. I wish I’d held on to her small hand this tight in that crowd all those years ago.

I wrote this story for the monthly writing competition in the Amazon Kindle Owners group on Goodreads. The theme was “old photos” and the word count limit was 200 words.  I was  surprised and delighted when it won.

Angels

First published in my notebook  January 12, 2013, a later version of this story made it into the second Strange Stories book, Strange Worlds- Surreal Stories and Tainted Tales.

Angels

It was raining when I met my wife.  It was about two in the morning, the streets just starting to fill with belligerent drunks. She had been out with a friendbut the friend got lucky and left her to get home alone. She had run out of money but decided to walk home as she didn’t live far from the town centre. To this day she insists that she would have gotten home just fine if her stiletto heel hadn’t caught in a drain, breaking the heel and twisting her ankle quite badly.
I was tipsy myself, having left my mates because they were already
out drinking me, and settling down for a serious session of liver murdering. I had a headache and was just finding it all a bit much. I had hoped the cool air would clear my head.
I offered her help, maybe hoping if I’m honest that tonight would turn out to be a good night after all. As soon as I got close I realised she was far too far gone to know what she was doing. I couldn’t take advantage, but I couldn’t leave her there, easy prey for any passing predator. I could have put her in a taxi, I suppose, but it just didn’t feel right. She was so ridiculously beautiful, and so ridiculously drunk. It didn’t feel safe.

Continue reading “Angels”

Inside your mind

First scribbled in my last notebook on January 11 2014

Inside your Mind

I want to wear your mind for a day,
walk the world your different way.
I want to feel sounds with your skin,
to taste the colours and the noise ,
and the chaos all around,
feel it knotting and winding inside,
and overtaking all.
Feel my tongue tie to my mouth,
and my language dwindle,
and finally understand the answer,
that you cannot give or cannot know
or cannot birth with words.

I want to feel the rain as shards of glass,
when it falls upon your face,
know the utter pain of soft grass
on your bare, exposed feet.
Experience the utter security and rightness
of a silky label on an old vest.

I want to feel the unfettered joy,
when the world clicks and the cloud parts
and, for a forever moment, all is well
and calm and ordered
and simple and it works
and you fly.

I want to go to that place you go,
when it is all too much here
but your body has to stay,
when you sink into colour
and fade out of sound.

What it is like in that place
that only you can go,
only you will ever know?
Is it better than here
in your other world?
Is it safe and kind and all silky labels?
or is it just colour and nothingness?

I want to know if you want to see
what it is like to be me,
how all that is impossible to you
is at my feet with ease,
if you envy it or hope for it
or are indifferent to it,
or if it is just another thought
your soul shrinks from.

I wonder because I want to understand
to be you for a day
to get you
to know what the weather is like
inside your mind
so I can make that smile happen
again and again and again.

The Show Must Go On

First scribbled in my last notebook on October 7, 2012

The Show Must Go On

Everyone loves a good show, the lights, the make-up, the pretty girls singing songs, the actors that can produce a smile or a laugh or a
tear with the mere twitch of an eyebrow, the carefully pitched tone of a line.

The show must go on. So few ask why.

Partly it is the sheer energy that goes into it, the months of rehearsals, the bitter arguments over the precise stance of an actor delivering his monologue, the momentum. The performers think the show must go
on because of the paying audience, people who have worked long hours, denied themselves luxuries for this one evening of entertainment. The audience thinks the show must go on because of the hours of hard work the performers have invested, the energy and the time. They see it as a mark of respect, thanking those people for their time with rapturous applause.  The truth is the build-up of those things – the energy it all creates.

The show must go on, for They need to be fed. Continue reading “The Show Must Go On”

Promises

I thought I had seen every expression your perfect face could make.
I have seen your smile, sudden as spring sunshine, light up your face. I have seen tears of joy running rivulets of silver over your delicate features, seen your face puffed up with heaving racking sobs and every variation in between. I have seen your features contort in the agony of purest ecstasy, toes curling, body shuddering. I have watched your cheeks flush with the prettiest of blushes, seen your brow crease in concentration. I have seen the perfect peace and joy in your features when you held our children for the very first time.
I thought I had seen every expression your face could make. I never thought I would see you like this.

Continue reading “Promises”

The Reunion

I am scattering content from my old notebook amongst the new so if you followed my last blog you may have read this story before.

This was written for a Goodreads writing contest (in the amazon kindle group), and it didn’t come last (always a positive). The theme was “memories inspired by colour” and the word count limit was 200 words, so I had to cut it a little more than I’d have liked to. Here is the slightly expanded version.

The Reunion

I order a glass of rosé while I wait and regret my choice immediately. The swirling soft pink in my glass takes me back 22 years in a moment. I swallow down the lump in my throat. This is supposed to be a happy day. Continue reading “The Reunion”

Finding God

You mean I never told you how I found God? What, never? You won’t believe me anyway. I mean, I wouldn’t. Oh you still want to know? Ok, here’s what happened. It was a few years back and I was on on a road trip. Sheila had left me a couple months before and I was looking for something. Not God or religion, or anything like that. I suppose you could say I was looking for myself, although I didn’t know it at the time. I just had the urge to wander. I  was just passing through the town, on my way somewhere more interesting. It was that kind of town, if you understand what I mean, just somewhere to pass through, a few houses, a bar, a dilapidated church. A two horse town, if they’d had another horse. Nothing to write home about.My car had broken down a couple of miles back and I had walked into town to see if there was a mechanic, or even a car rentals place anywhere nearby. It was easily ninety degrees in the shade though, my head was pounding and my legs were tired, so I ended up heading straight to the bar instead. I was blinded by the gloom when I first walked in, couldn’t see much of the dingy exterior to start. A bored barmaid  gave me a tall glass of water and I chugged down half of it without stopping. Then I ordered a bud and looked around for somewhere to sit, blinking the sunspots out off my vision. The bar was empty except for me and some old guy at the end of the bar, nodding into his whiskey, so I wandered to the other end of the bar, sat heavily and laid my head on the table. Everything from the last few months seemed to catch up with me then – Sheila leaving, losing my job, gambling away all of my money, being stuck in this ghost town that was hotter than hell.“Oh God!” I groaned into the table.

“Well it’s hardly my fault is it?”

Continue reading “Finding God”