Binary choice

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It took years. This search for the answer to “who am I?” She doubts if she is any closer to the truth, assuming there is one. Each time she thought she was near, the road lengthened. She felt a sense of belonging in her world, moving within it with ease and confidence, only to be jolted by an unkind word or an ignorant perhaps innocent question. “Where are you from?” Betrayed by the colour of her skin.

Frankly, she never fully belonged in any one place. Something other always beckoning. Certainly not in her childhood. In that place far from where she is now, she was the loner. Children played on dusty streets, delighting in the after-school romps and occasional ice-cream from the ice-cream man, sweaty from the tropical sun as he leaned out from the little van. She was in her room immersed in her own world of words and thoughts, sometimes annoyed by the of sounds of glee punctuating her hard won quiet. Living in a modest single-storey 3-bedroom house and accommodating six, her moments of quiet were precious and rare. There in pages of her books she dreamt of a world far away, in fact quite similar to where she is now, where children are seen and respected as individuals with voice. Where her female-ness is cherished for more than its pretty-ness. It is easy now to look back and identify the insidious manner in which she was undermined. Being a young girl, her accomplishments, and there were many, were badges worn by her parents, an honour ascribed to her family. Where she was not a person yet but she would soon, or so she thought.

That did not come to pass. The struggle to be her own person intensified throughout her adolescence and teenage years. For every intelligent gesture, she was brought down by a fact she could not deny, she was a girl. For every intelligent word, she was told she would marry anyway and they would be in vain. For every little act of kindness and love, a show of vulnerability and compassion, she was confirmed as weak.

So she learnt to be tough, to armour up against a world which sought to “protect” women by disempowering them. She learnt to be like a man, though penis-envy did not last long. She learnt to use her intelligence to convince the rational men of her “right-ness”. Little did she know, she would only be labelled arrogant, a bitch. For intelligence in a man is privileged, in a woman it is threatening and deserving of scorn.

She left that oppressive world with cunning and great effort. Appealing to her father’s pride, she arrived in a land antithesis to hers. The freedom exhibited by those around her was exhilarating and full of promise. She had found the world of her childhood books. The possibilities inspiring and … intimidating. That was when she discovered she had not escaped after all. While she might peer into this world, she found herself restrained by an impulse to hide. While she longed for the limelight, she suspected she was not good enough. She played in the shadows, daring only to step into the peripheral of light in one aspect of her life which had never failed her – academia. Here at least she could be queen for a day. She knew then that unless she kept up with her efforts, this too would be lost to her. And she paid the price of self-sufficiency willingly, withdrawing further into a world of thoughts. The bars of her self-doubt and unworthiness caged around her, seemingly never to leave.

And when her knight in shining armour arrived, it was not on a noble steed but a black charger She found what she had lost many years ago in that far away land. The expression of her freedom and care free existence, and the power that came with giving the world the proverbial middle finger. She was happy, at last.

DINKs (Double Income No Kids), they were called and remained so for many years. She continued to exist within the boundaries of her cage, not that she knew or cared. Her world beguiled. And she met the expectations for a corporate professional living in a capitalist Western urban environment. Yet her past whispered incessantly, reminding her of what she had denounced. Amidst the oppressive world of her childhood, light did shine. The sense of connection and belonging to familiar rituals and common purpose; attuning to a sense of community and doing for a greater good than the self. Again, she fought. The self she had claimed within her so-called new world had equipped her with stronger armour – that of social and financial independence, freedom of speech and the language of rights – reinforcing the battle lines between old and new worlds. She had chosen, yet unease remained. She ought to be happy, contend at least but even that was slipping away.

Losing herself was something she never thought to experience or believed possible. But some things, she saw with hindsight, were beyond her control. That was at least a comforting thought. And this loss and the emptiness did not stand in her way of success and family. Ironically the portent from the life she thought she had escaped, the words “you’ll just marry and have children no matter how clever you are” had come to pass despite the resistance. She can now smile at her younger naïve self who believed in the dichotomy between marriage and family, and success. It is but an exercise in interpretation.

She had never fought so hard, but she did then – for herself and to know what she wanted from the one life she had. She saw now the lessons of her youth. The travels from being caged by her past through recriminations and blame to acknowledging the lessons of her youth. These well-intentioned lessons delivered via suspect means were valuable after all. Together with a parallel exploration of the flawed self and the integrated life she must live, change was inevitable.

She would not be a fugitive forever, running away, hiding and avoiding. She would be all of herself – the old, the new, the one to come and everything in-between – embracing them in her world that she has created. Yes, she has rediscovered her creativity too.

So it is that she is still taken aback when she is required to locate herself in one world or another. Where is she from? Where will she begin?

Life does not exist through binary choice – old or new, success or failure, married or single, holding on or letting go… It is a journey of continuous connections and separations, relationships and aloneness, belonging and isolation, lost and found; measured by the subjective internal barometer of “right-ness” which evolves.

And her heart still aches for that younger person who had experienced much, and fills with compassion for the one who is naming them.

 

~ FlorenceT

 

© 2017 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

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Naked… Nude… Pornography…

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(WARNING: Content for persons over 15 years old and may offend :-))

Naked… Nude… Pornography…

What’s the difference? Not a lot, and a matter of perception.

As I found out during a tour of the ‘Nude: from the Tate Collection’ exhibition, “naked” is merely without clothes and common and “nude” is an idealised artistic expression of nakedness. And “pornography” brings up the image of unacceptable nakedness and base.

Lord Kenneth Clark, one of the most respected art historians of the 20th century had this to say (in his classic book, The Nude: A Study in Ideal Form),

“To be naked is to be deprived of our clothes, and the word implies some of the embarrassment most of us feel in that condition. The word ‘nude,’ on the other hand, carries, in educated usage, no uncomfortable overtone. The vague image it projects into the mind is not of a huddled, defenseless body, but of a balanced, prosperous, and confident body.”

So naked is vulnerable, nude is power?

What delineates one from the other? Is it a nude because it is deemed ‘art’ or is it ‘art’ because it has been idealised?

Does the classification as ‘naked’ or ‘nude’ make the subject or its message more or less powerful?

Here are some pieces of art (as they have been pronounced to be so and exhibited as such 🙂 ) from the exhibition.

The bath of Psyche (Frederic, Lord Deighton)

Nude, the art form as goddess (yes, usually female) and reverent beauty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nude as a form of ‘style’. Naturalist, and gone is the marble-like skin. Real and vulnerable.

The knight errant

The knight errant (Sir John Everett Millais)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pieces from series in red (Louise Bourgeois)

 

 

Nude as body politics, and confronting.

 

 

 

 

 

Nude denoting distance or intimacy, pain or love. The power of the images speaks for itself.

The kiss (Rodin)

Job (Francis Gruber)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nude as eroticism and love.

Etching L.16

Etching L.16 (Picasso)

Nude woman in a red armchair (Picasso)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Split nude (Fiona Banner)

What do these images say to you? Are you enticed, enliven, inspired, repulsed, embarassed,…? The intensity of your reactions to them is indicative of the power of their message, does it not?

 

And pornography? Well, pornography shall be invisible. It subsists in the underbelly of sexual desires, does it not?

Not quite.

Depictions of naked bodies and sexual acts have been around for centuries. But the concept of pornography didn’t really exist until the Victorian era when explicit sexual acts depicted in paintings were condemned for their licentiousness. Looking at sexual imagery became outlawed. Therefore, pornography is not a creation, rather a definition.

Society since then has prescribed acceptable ways for the display of our naked bodies and how to perform sex acts. As I see it, this does not make other ways “wrong” or “bad”, merely uncommon. And the stronger the “rejection” of this recent construct called ‘pornography’, the greater the attraction for its illicit ‘nature’. Fancy that?!

My opposition to sexually explicit images is their treatment of the subjects. Is it respectful? Is it exploitation – physical, mental, emotional or financial? Is it harmful as subjectively experienced (not “objectively defined”)?

So the dilemma is this: the human body, male or female, is natural and nothing to be ashamed of. A line is crossed when it symbolizes, or is in actuality, an ab-use of our bodies. What is that line? For you? Are we guided by societal norms or political agendas when we look at naked human forms – nude, pornography or just naked?

 

Art is conversation, so keep talking 😉
~ FlorenceT

 

© 2017 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

She, a micro story

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She did not know what hit her. One moment she was in the dumps, disappointed with life and who she had become; the next she was awakened to life’s possibilities, her dreams no longer a distant past but a possible future.

 

If she knew the road ahead, she might have been less thrilled… then again perhaps not. She had made a right turn without realising, chosen a fork on the road without being asked to… but then she had been asleep, dead to herself so how would she have known. Which made it all the more miraculous, incredible in its simplicity and bounty.

 

She would never understand how it had come to pass but it did. Simple words, always words that meant so much. Her longing grew each day as they were all she had on this path… just that and even so, more than she had thought herself deserving or needing. Before, rarely a thought for herself but of the needs of others; and at times resenting yet persisting with the duties that made her who she was, without which she had believed rendered her nothing. She knows now she is more, those words arrive daily of the mundane, the unique, the humorous, of everything – to comfort, to support, to hold – filling her days with meaning and purpose.

 

She has walked this path longer than she thought she could, inspired by the goodness she felt, the strength she desired, the vulnerability she respected, the peace she yearned – this uplifting journey she hopes to remain. And on the low ebb days, those fears of rejection and abandonment still arise. She had lost her faith a little, tempered her trust of others; she might even have told herself she would be better alone. But she is healing on this path; and though confident she can be all that she wants on her own, she knows it’s manifold better and greater here on this road.

 

She is reminded of her needs and desires, those she had met for others, those she will now embrace for herself. For she craves attention too; care and kind gestures a balm. Now she loves again, she trusts; she has faith again. She will truly be free, she will have it all… perhaps. No matter, the journey is enough, more than she hoped. And all because of the enticing words that beckoned in the beginning, and the many many words that have followed across space and time… words, his.

 

~ FlorenceT

 

© 2016 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

A woman reborn

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

The final thing the old woman said was this.

“You are a creative soul. The time is ripe for you to grasp what is written in the stars. If you stay, it will kill you. And no matter what you do, you will always have enough.”

She could not believe the words. Her life has not been dull. She has done much and achieved a great many things. She has made a life as the patron of many charitable works, most of which supported art programs for the underprivileged, the disenfranchised. She had hosted many events which were the talk of the banking industry, in which her husband is a major player. She had raised three beautiful, well-behaved children who are also citizens of the world, knowledgeable and compassionate. This is for her the ultimate success.

As she stumbled over the cobbled stones and headed to ‘Antoine’s’ where her family must be waiting by now, mixed emotions assailed her. Has she made a success of her life? What’s the meaning of ‘success’? Has she hidden behind the façade of duty and care all this time? Or is it…

“Mum, over here.”

“Hi sweetheart, sorry I was daydreaming. Did you have a good time?” she asked as she looked expectantly at the other two faces staring at her.

“What?”

“Mum, you look, um, kinda I don’t know, different..?”

“Oh, must be the brisk walk I took…”

“No, it isn’t that, I…”

“No matter, guys. Mum looks like she has had an interesting time. Now, let’s order. I’m famished.”

Something dislodged within her. She sat down and picked up her menu, wondering how familiar yet alien these people at the table are to her. It’s like she was seeing them for the first time, through unfiltered lens.

Do I even know them? Do they know me? The real me. She stilled at the realisation of what she has said, in her head. Taking a deep breath, her fingers gripped the menu tighter as she tried to reconcile the sensation emerging from the pit of her belly.

“Darling, you ok?”

She turned to the man she has been married to for close to 26 years, and smiled.

“Yes, I am. I think I finally am.”

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

How many of us are privileged to be reminded of soul desires?

How many of us are willing to step out from the life we have to a life we could have?

How many of us are prepared to let go and grasp each new moment?

 

This is a continuation of a short story I wrote last week, and is in response to #WritersQuoteWednesdayWritingChallenge . This week’s theme is ‘rebirth’.  Join in! 🙂

~ FlorenceT

© 2016 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

The spirit beckons?

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She meandered through the cobbled-stone streets of the old city. Thoughts swirled in her mind, as she wondered about this … and that. Of what-ifs? And how-coulds? And but-whys? Her heart beating a little faster each time she encountered the new, the mysterious, the different… and then she saw her.

She had crossed this square before, and this was the first she had seen the old woman with dread locks hanging loose over her shoulders. She seemed to hold court, sitting on her fold-able nylon chair. Something about her demeanor, the piercing grey of her eyes and toothless smile…irresistible.

Feet which seemed to take on a life of their own carried her to the chair across from the old woman. She sat down, as if compelled. Not knowing what to expect, she smiled.

‘Take, hold and rub if you wish until you feel one which calls to you.’

She nodded, her hands tentatively reached over. Odd sensations ran through her as she caressed each deck. Her mind could not comprehend but she sensed the difference of sensations. Till she finds… comfort… familiarity… in the final deck. She shuffled the cards and handed them over, noticing for the first time the look of alarm and curiosity on the old woman’s face.

‘You have not picked the easiest deck, my child. This deck has many shadows in them, you know what I mean?’

As she shook her head, the old woman continued, ‘this tarot deck is the darkest of the four. Are you prepared?’

Still trying to digest the old woman’s words, she nodded.

The old woman spread ten tarot cards out in a triangle.

And her adventure began.

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

In the French Quarter of New Orleans, on St Ann St next to Jackson Square, artists and psychics share space – all seeking to express their imagination, creativity and intuition, while seeking some connection with the sea of humanity that passes by.

Don’t we all?

This is in response to #WritersQuoteWednesdayWritingChallenge – this week’s theme is ‘adventure’. Join in! 🙂

~ FlorenceT

© 2016 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

A first time

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There is always a first time for everything. And this will be mine…for this. I do not know what came over me, but once I had it, I could not not go through with it. It was a bit of a dare and maybe with an element of a joke. Now, I am not so sure.

The vision of being stopped halts my step. Ahead of me is the barrier, its sentries looking fierce and entirely unfriendly. Maybe it is just my guilty conscience.

This is my second time visiting here, the first shortly after a terrorism threat to the country. Security was tight then, everyone was suspicious of everyone. But why are they looking grim… suspicious now?

Oh get over this. You are fine, you will be fine. It’s a minor thing, they wouldn’t care.

Each step closer to the barrier, the louder my heart beats. Oh, it is not illegal… or are they? Despite the liberalism portrayed on the big screen, America is more conservative than at face value. What if they are illegal unless a license is required…? It’s for personal use, pleasure and entertainment, they won’t … will they?

The officer smiles and beckons for me to approach. He seems friendly, not irritable or impatient. Even as I breathe a sigh of relief, another thought crosses my mind… Damn, they have time … increases the likelihood of being stopped.

I just need to brazen this out, come what may.

Smiling in reply, I walk casually to the counter, my hand clutching my luggage. ‘Good morning’, I said.

‘Good morning m’am. First time to America?’

I quickly replied in the negative, hoping this will be over soon. Looking behind me, the queue has grown significantly and getting restless. If there is a God…please.

‘‘M’am, if you could open your luggage.’

My heart sank. ‘Um…sure.’

Maybe if he saw how neatly everything is packed…

His hands reached into my luggage, somewhat carefully lifting the folded shirts then skirts then pants, moving aside my lingerie…

I groan inside… or maybe not, as he turns to look me in the eye.

I try to smile but I suspect it came out more as a … grimace?

‘M’am, are you alright?’

‘Ah, yes…it’s just I had packed my things so carefully… you know, tidy.’

His eyes narrow, as he continues with his inspection. Each movement deeper into my luggage …

Will he ask me to open the box? To take it out… I move to put myself between the officer and the passengers waiting in line behind me, to shield my luggage and the inevitable.

No longer under any illusion, I hold out my hand for the palm-sized box he found. ‘If you will, open the box and take out its contents’.

And as I slowly pull it out, his eyes gleam and his face breaks into a wide grin.

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

This is my response to Ronovan’s Friday Fiction prompt. Comments welcomed. 🙂

© 2016 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

The room within

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Connecting three dots… so bear with me.

1. Late last night, a friend thought I might enjoy Sue Vincent’s writing prompt revolving around this picture…in less than 100 words. At the time I was inspired to write of a cosy space, filled with what I love… books.  But it was late then…

hobbit-door

2. But this morning, I was struck by this sense of our humanity as I sat in my car waiting for the light to go green, watching the sea of people crossing, each unique and yet the same as we go about our daily life, making a living, caring, loving, bearing loss, feeling anxious, being grateful, experiencing pain…

3. As I sat sipping my morning coffee, I was reminded of one of my all time favourite songs “All of Me” by John Legend while reading Erika Kind’s ‘Song of the Day’ post.

And thus inspired, here is what I think lies behind the door:

Beyond the door lies a space which beckons and welcomes, lit by the warm glow of a smouldering hearth. And stepping into this room with its low whitewashed ceiling, it compels an exhale of air releasing the tension and anxiety of the day. Stretching from the floor of polished rocks to the ceiling and spanning the walls, books gently and haphazardly compete for space on shelves of polished timber.

At the center sits a sofa of dark leather, aged by constant use, its texture softened by loving. A pale sheepskin rug lay before it. Here you find the room’s only occupants. They share this library and experience great comfort, exhilaration and joy from its contents, as much as from each other. Always acknowledging their unique human need to connect and to separate, to be individuals and to be one. No matter the disappointments, the loss, the grandeur and thrill of beyond, they know they are home to each other.

Alright, I am a romantic too… at times…when I have time to be. Interesting thought…having time to be romantic…?

– FlorenceT

 

© 2016 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

She was and is

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woman and sea

She was beautiful, but she never knew it. She attracted the attention of the boys at school, but she never saw it. She was flattered, praised and propositioned, but she never heard them. The boys made fun of her for the perceived rejection of them. The men who desired her felt utterly lost at their ineffectual attempts to possess. Some called her ‘cold’, ‘frigid’ and much worse. They could not understand how this sensual beauty was totally oblivious to the effect she had on them. Many merely wanted to be by her side, basking in the glow that was her.

The women could not decide if she was a friend or an arch-rival. And because she was always civil, kind and inclusive, there was hardly anything to be held against her. Perhaps this fueled the green-eyed monster, raising its ugly head in the guise of curiosity and advice, proffered to help her be a ‘better person’. She waved them off with a grin and a knowing in her eyes.

She has a way of making everyone whom she came in contact feel unique and worthy. Her light self-deprecating laughs fill others with giddy happiness. Her calm comforts. She is a natural being without artifice, a born people-person who lives on her own terms, a private person who has no impetus to justify her self.

That is when she meets him. The unassuming man loved by many yet at times dismissed. His good-natured acceptance is a balm to all the ‘advice’ she’d ever received. In his presence, she is able to peer over the wall of her carefree, confident, unaffected persona. In his eyes, she sees what he sees, the ‘her’ within – all her longings, her desires, her needs long suppressed. She knows then in his embrace, she would finally pull down her defences and show her vulnerable self.

One day he would recall their first meeting, his hesitation and her appeal for him to stay:

Me? I’m scared of everything. I’m scared of what I saw, I’m scared of what I did, of who I am, and most of all I’m scared of walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life the way I feel when I’m with you.

One day she would realise that in his presence, she is at her strongest and most courageous.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This is written for RonovanWrite’s Friday Fiction Challenge. A line from one of my all time favourite movies, Dirty Dancing.

 

– FlorenceT

 

© 2016 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

Another night and here we are again…

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bed hands

Another night and here we are again.

Waking next to him, my hand in his, I don’t move for fear of breaking the moment. The scent of his skin fills my lungs, so familiar as if we have known each other a lifetime, perhaps we have for many lifetimes. I am home. His lips on my cheek… comfort, love…passion, all mesh into one. This moment is beyond what I have imagined. This is what memories are made of. He feathers kisses on my forehead…I hold back a smile. Ernest. Keeping my eyes closed as I relish his attempts to wake me. It is tempting to open my eyes, to see him once again, to begin this glorious day…with him. But… that would be one day less of him. Don’t think of that now. I do not know what to feel. Tomorrow will happen no matter… enjoy now. Tears? Do not cry. Don’t go there now.

His touch lingers, a pause to his kisses making their way down my back. His arms enfold me, squeezing me tight as I curl into him. I need to know it’s alright, that it will work out. He knows. He knows me. Perhaps he is crying too. There is no need to explain this bittersweet feeling. Joy, contentment, loss…

His very being…such gentleness. His forehead on my temple, his hands slowly memorize the terrain of my body, reaching deep within. He has been doing this for the past few days, perhaps that is what I sense. Those delicate fingers trailing, tracing… constantly studying me. While I, I replay moments of our days, a sense of desperation I can’t shed, to imprint them in my mind… the ache in my heart growing as the day approaches. Trying to hold back the march of time…

Enough of these maudlin thoughts. Live now. Turning, I open my eyes to the look of immeasurable love. “You know I worship you. I love you very much.”

Stolen moments are still moments to be lived. We hold on forever.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This is a part of Friday Fiction with RonovanWrites Prompt Challenge. The prompt for this week is “[u]se the first line of one of your favorite song and begin your story with that line.”

So here are the song and lyrics:

Another night and here we are again
All our faults laid out ahead
Let it out, then let it right back in
All those voices in your head

And we both know everything, but we can’t learn to leave
So I’ll tell you what you need

(Chorus)
First thing: we make you feel better
Next stop: we pull it all together
I’ll keep you warm like a sweater
Take my hand, hold on forever
Just fall apart if you need to
I’m here and I won’t leave you now
Don’t look down
Hold on forever

Lay down all your troubles end to end
They could reach up to the stars
So many roads, you don’t know where you’ve been
But you still know who you are

And if I seem preoccupied, I’m wondering what to do
So here’s my recipe for you

(Chorus)

And we both know everything, but we can’t learn to leave
So I’ll tell you what you need

(Chorus)

– FlorenceT

© 2016 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

 

Cycle of Life

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wolf howl

Annie felt the cold ground momentarily. Pain shot through her, its heat seared as she struggled to keep her calm. She knew it was to be expected but nothing, nothing prepared her for the reality of this. Joyous, she was not feeling it at all. There were times through this ordeal where she could hardly feel her limbs, and she thought she heard the sound of the wolf howl. Who should she believe?

The wise man had said it was a sign of goodness in the world but… but the Grandmam warned of its ill omen. Grandmam was no shaman but she had been for the women of the village for so long that a patina of respectability and wisdom surrounded her, elevating her as the Woman who must not be taken lightly. Grandmam was not one of Annie’s blood relations, she was merely the woman who had raised Annie since 5 moons after her birth. Annie’s mother had gone to meet the great goddess and her father had been unable or maybe unwilling to care for Annie. No matter, Grandmam was as close to a blood relation that Annie had.

And this woman was now lifting a smoking bowl over her… to ward off the evil that would besiege her otherwise. It was a belief of the tribe that a smoking bowl of burnt pomelo skin and coal be hung over a woman on such an occasion. The way Annie was feeling then, it did not seem to her that it had done any good. Annie did not trust that it would do her any favour soon.

There it was again, the wolf howl. A cold shiver ran down Annie’s spine even as another shot of pain hit her from her lower body straight up and Annie swore it hit her mind. No one had told her this would happen, no one. For a brief moment, Annie felt her ire rose against the women in the tribe, and more against Elim. He had left her to this, this unimaginable terror. And in the dead of night. Candles were lit, bouncing light from the two people in the room… shadows moving and whispering in the dim room. Neither one was him. How could he? And where was he?

Annie found herself drifting off to happy times, that was what spring had brought. The village blossomed as the flowers of the field; smiles and laughter of a certain carefree nature. Their village was not abundant but Annie knew they managed to have enough, enough to see them through the cold period. Spring was also a time of creation… Annie smiled at where her thoughts took her, then grimaced as the pain became more unbearable. How much worse could it get?

Gusts of wind slammed against the tent. And probably snow too, Annie thought. The silence of the world outside the flapping of the cowhide walls, the cold seeping into Annie’s bones. The wolf howl gave Annie an unusual sensation, a certain foreboding.

Annie wanted to believe in the wise man, but who was she kidding… The Reverent One did not like being contradicted though he had no qualifying feature to advise to-be mothers like her. What did he know about women and childbirth?

Annie wanted Elim. He always calmed her, but tonight of all nights, he was absent from her side when she most needed him. She understood he was needed on the night hunt. The village’s food store must be filled to see them through the even colder months to come, so their warriors were sent out to do the villagers’ bidding.

Goodness or ill omen, Annie tried to stop herself from thinking about it just as another searing pain tore through her body. In the haze, she heard Grandmam’s voice telling her it was all over, the baby was born and that it was a strong boy. A boy who resembled his father. Annie smiled or tried to. This was good, another warrior for the village. Elim was a handsome man, the man whom she had fought to win over. They had been happy. Annie knew the cold must have gotten worse as numbness spread through her body. The layers of pelt and fur, laid on top of the cow hide used to insulate her from the cold, was gradually losing its effect. At least the pain was gone. A distant voice asked if she would like to feed her baby. She tried to answer, but the voice drifted away leaving her to the cold as her eyes remained closed, as her soul rose to meet her love.

And in that instant in a forest somewhere north, Elim closed his eyes against the night sky, the cold a warm blanket to his weary body.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 This is a part of Friday Fiction with RonovanWrites Prompt Challenge. The prompt for this week is “[T]ake a moment in your life of which you would celebrate and use that as inspiration…” AND “[U]se the same experience for a story in one of the following Genres: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Thriller.”

Mine was birthing and the story went where it did…  Oh, constructive feedback is most welcomed.

– FlorenceT

© 2016 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.