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.

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 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.

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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.

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.

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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.

 

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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.

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 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.

Time lost

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Drunk

He tries looking beyond the crowd, to the source of the haunting voice. It has appeared from nowhere …and he just has to see. If only the throbbing would stop…

His head is ready to explode… and the pressure behind his eyes… what a sweet song. Who is she? A feeling of dread … of curiosity… of…, oh he can’t think, trying to focus. On the voice.

His chest constricts, a twisting sensation. Gasping for air, he chokes on the smoke assaulting his throat… Taking another gulp, hoping for some soothing, some comfort… Awful… yeah, he has left his drink for too long. Tepid beer…

Lifting his arm, he tries again to usher the crowd aside… his hand connecting with the nicotine-filled air and drops to his side. That voice…if only he remembers but…

Swivelling back on the barstool, he raises his hand , lifting his index finger…red, he decides as his eyes connect with the bottles lining the wall behind the bartender. His mind drifts to bodies swaying gently, the sensations of her dress brushing against him, her hands in his hair…his heart fills full; she was smiling, her eyes shining with love for him, her beauty was unsurpassed, he would tell anyone this…now…but…

Mhmm, damn thirsty, he thinks as he downs it in one long swill… nice red. Crimson spreads across his striped shirt. He does not notice. Craning his neck to catch a glimpse of her. He is not leaving without seeing who she is… no, he can’t leave his friends.

Oh, where are they? They must be up front, where she is… yes, he remembers…they used to dance to her songs. He must say hello, she’ll remember them…she must. He jumps off the barstool, his forehead meeting the floor in one graceless fall. His world darkens.

Ticks and tocks of essential time, sink the spirits lower than wine.

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This is in response to a weekly fiction writing prompt hosted by RonovanFriday Fiction with RonovanWrites.  Join in for some writing fun!

– FlorenceT

 

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

At last

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regret

And he never did after the many plans, fantasies I now know, that we made.

The meeting at the bar in the hotel where I would stay with the excitement of young lovers, restrained familiarity. The coming upon each other on our favourite beach, somewhere where he as I would love to sit and listen to the waves rolling in. The anticipation of the airport first encounter when he would exit the arrival hall and into my arms, or more I into his.

There will be no sitting on the deck of our beach home, at peace in each other’s company. No back rubs in the afternoon after a weary day of writing. Those meals we had savoured in our minds, the diverse flavours which our adventurous selves had vowed to experiment. Those carefree mornings, though few but complete with sensuous lovemaking and a bagel and coffee to follow.

To have the children visit on special occasions, bringing laughter and joy while we secretly looked forward to being on our own at night, if only so we could sing their praises of how they are faring in their world. To be comforted by how contented we are in ours.

So many dreams that will never come to pass.

Here they all are… my people here for me. I watch them making their way over, despite the dis-ease of being here, their love I still can feel. My boy holding himself so tightly… “It is alright, breathe”. I used to say to him. Wish I could now. It is indeed a beautiful gathering… everything organised to the finest detail. If this is how she copes, then I won’t complain. “Mum loved these purple hues.” There you are, regal no matter the circumstance. Losing one’s mother is not easy. I know.

If only they could see me… finally free from the ties that had bound me to them. If only they knew how important these ties were yet how restrictive they had been, how much sacrifice they had demanded of me. I had made them all. Perhaps they feel it now. Ah, but what use is that to me now. And …

Oh, who is that… almost hidden behind the casuarina… looks like him… but it cannot be … but how… It is him. He made it after all this time, well I guess better late than never. Ironic after such indeterminate silence … I wonder if he will make his presence known, his identity … us. What will my people say?

That is no longer my concern. Time to go.

Is he waving at me? No… yes, he sees me but how… Oh dear man, is that why you never said goodbye.

“Oh my love…at last.”

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My flash fiction challenge with RonovanWrites. Somewhat morbid…well, I sat down to write with the challenge of “Write about a family gathering” and this is what turned up.

– FlorenceT

© 2015 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

Memento

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“Mum, mum, he hurt me, he hurt me!” Sophie runs across the room, hurling herself onto my lap. She curls tight and places her head on my chest, waiting for my soothing words. Peace is shattered. I sigh.

The decibels had gone up, steadily and I knew it was a matter of time before Sophie was in my study. She and Robbie had been playing companionably in the rumpus for an hour or so now. I guess an hour of solitude for me is nothing to scoff at, though it frustrates me how these two kids just can’t play amiably. There is a large space, enough to leave each other alone if they so choose. There is a wide selection of toys and games, both single play or shared play to occupy their attention. So…

I place my hand on her head, gently stroking her hair. My mind still on the recent past. “It’s alright, darling. It’ll pass.”

“No it won’t! It hurts and it’s all his fault. Robbie is mean.”

“Sweetie, Robbie’s behaviour is mean, is it? Tell me what happened.” I ask, already knowing her reply. Her reply has not changed since 5 months ago, and it won’t today.

“Well, Mum, he hit me on the head with it and he called me names.” Oh dear, this is new. Robbie is usually a gentle child. He is angry now and has resorted to name calling but hitting? This is disturbing.

“Sophie, tell the story from the start.”

“Well, I wanted to play with it, it’s so beautiful. But Robbie said I can’t. He keeps saying it’s his and it’s special. But I wanted to, Mum. Who made him boss?”

I can’t help a little smile forming, she is a feisty one.

“Okay, so you took it anyway?”

“Yeah and he chased me, and Mum,” Sophie looks up at me, tears still glistening on her lids, “I ran faster than him”. A tone of smugness creeps into her voice.

I hug her a little tighter.

“Anyway, he got me in the end, he is bigger you know. He snatched it and then, and then…” a sob escapes her lips.

“Hey, where does it hurt?” I guess Robbie’s behaviour can wait. I need to look after this little one.

“Here.” she pointed to the top of her head. I felt the lump. Not too bad… nothing a little lavender oil can’t fix.

I reach for the oil on the shelf next to my seat. This is one of my favourite spots, on this wing-backed occasional chair Tom bought for me and had it positioned overlooking my herb garden. Tom was always thoughtful like that. I had said how wonderful it would be to have a chair here, and the next weekend, he had insisted we went shopping for one. Wouldn’t take no for an answer. That was just before he left for his conference in Italy. Only 5 months… but seems like a lifetime ago.

Shaking a small quantity on my finger, I gently rub the oil on the lump.

Sophie smiles, “magic oil mummy…”. “Yes darling.”

Sophie relaxes into me, having had her ‘injuries’ attended to with the requisite TLC. Tender loving care, as we call it in our family.

“You sit here on my favourite chair and have a little rest… I’ll go and speak to Robbie, and bring back some afternoon snack for us, alright?”

Sophie nods and closes her eyes.

I cross the hall and into the rumpus room. At first glance, Robbie is nowhere to be seen then a soft sound from behind drew my attention. Turning to the corner table, I see Robbie sitting under it with tears running down his face. Clutched in his hands is the aeroplane, a model of the one which his father had died on that fateful day 5 months ago.

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Flash fiction using visual prompt provided by Ronovan’s Friday Fiction. As usual, I am late for the deadline. but I figured it is good fun so why not.

 

© 2015 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

To live another day

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Light flickering…the candle burns to its demise. Like me, it has no choice. I welcome the end though, I wonder if the candle does, if it could think. Never mind, it’s done. What comes next is inevitable like the cliché, night will come after day.

But oh what a day I’ve had. I doubt anyone has had such bright sparkling days filled with all things beautiful. The days of freedom to roam the wild countryside, weaving my way through the trees as my feet felt the tremor of the earth, the tresses of my hair flying in the wind. I was not a beautiful child but attractive, so I was told. Women adored my gentle features, my gracious movements. Children, well they enjoyed my exuberant company. And men were fascinated by my witty intelligence. That was fine until I became a young lady, as my mother reminded me often. I could not recall being a young lady, more like an extroverted tomboy. Alas, who was I to disagree…

So it was that my attractive self, on its 15th birthday, lost my virginity in the cabin in the woods. Another cliché? My life seems to be filled with them. Perhaps it was the era I was born and raised… where conformity was a virtue. Oh I bet you want to know, who? A handsome devoted friend who pursued me till I relented. I was curious that’s all and it was glorious at the time. Till I knew better. He was 18 and not exactly the consummate lover. I would tell him so now, to his face if only he was here.

Lovers, yes I’ve had my share. Made my days brighter… and whyever not. I could not think of a life limited by social proprieties so I ventured forth. The criticisms never amounted to much in my mind. I would have paid the price if I had to live my life again. Yves, Paolo, Johan, Mick,… they were kind, generous in their own ways. I was never left wanting.

Regrets, I may have one though children would have impeded my style. Oh boy was I stylish. Haute couture, designer homes, fast cars… see, I told you…so many clichés. Glorious!

Hush, let me finish before the night comes. The places I’ve been, men and women of the silver screen whom I’ve met… well, I could have written a memoir. But confidentiality is my middle name. I am not one to kiss and tell, never have been. But the money I could have made… ah, well I’ve had my days in the sun, so why spoil it for others…

Silver has only just specked my hair. How can it be that I am about to close my eyes … to this world … forever. They never told me it would end like this, alone in a cabin once again, only this time clothed in shreds, my feet blistered and their skin cracked. To live another day… no. I am scared, you know… will he be back? Is it this time that he finally kills me… for good?

– FlorenceT

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Flash fiction using prompts provided by Ronovan’s Friday Fiction – and I used all 6 word prompts provided. These words are in bold in the story.

 

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