Sleeping Ghosts

I softly whispered, “Where did you go?”
To the sleeping ghost of a man beside me.
He was all but gone from me now.
The only thing left was the actual goodbye.
He had been leaving for a while now,
It was a long time coming.
Still, I was wholly unprepared
For the ache in my heart
And the hole in my life
That had yet to appear
But had already consumed me.
For now, I would lie next to him
And welcome his warmth.
And take this one last chance
To remember all that might have been.

Red Balloon

He tugged on my sleeve, a tiny urchin who couldn’t have been more than four, and deep, soulful brown eyes locked with mine as he motioned behind me to a balloon bobbing against the ceiling. Smiling, I stretched my hand to the bright ribbon trailing down through the air and tugged it down to his chubby fingers. With a giggle he was off, running happily down the hall with the red balloon sailing behind him.

A Strange Request at a Piano Bar

Savannah turned the corner from her bedroom and entered the kitchen, fastening the gold hoop earring on her lobe and fluffing out her long auburn hair. A steaming bowl of rich gumbo, thickened with a distinctive sassafras filé, sat on the counter, no doubt left by her Maw Maw who always left something for supper before she went to Mass on Saturday. Luckily, Savannah was alone to eat, able to avoid the awkward conversation that frequently arose at mealtime about the fact she was still single at the age of thirty. An unprecedented occurrence in her family which caused a controversy that was brought up at every opportunity, including family dinners on Saturday with all her aunts, uncles and cousins chiming in with their respective opinions. Sometimes a large family was a disadvantage.

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Thursday Night Sitcom Life

Her life was messy in a complicated Thursday night sitcom sort of way. Although her apartment wasn’t quite as nice, and she didn’t have nearly as much free time. Still, sometimes she could laugh, and other times she only wanted to cry. There were nights, lying alone in bed when she desperately waited for the director to yell “Cut.” But it never came. So, she woke, and dressed, and went about her day, half fantasy and half reality. Living in her messy, complicated, Thursday night sitcom life.

Keep The Fire Burning

She sat in her favorite cozy overstuffed chair, flames of orange danced in the fireplace and cast a warm glow in the darkening room. A half-drunk cup of Earl Grey tea kept her hands company in her lap as her mind played over memories of the last ten years with him. The smile on her face changed from timid to beaming to amused to sad as she relived every moment, every adventure, every heartbreak to the last good-bye. When she was finished, she tucked them all away for the night, like a mother bundling her precious babies. She was certain would take them out again. On another cold and lonely night, in front of a comforting and warm fire, until she was over him.

A Christmas Gift

Driving through the country roads towards the small town where I lived, in the last evening light, my mind was ticking off the items on my to-do list when an old but familiar voice softly crooned on the radio. Jolted from my thoughts, I reached for the dial and turned the sound up, fingertips lingering on the knob while a wistful smile crossed my face. “Do you hear what I hear? Ringing through the sky shepherd boy.” My cowboy was singing, not just for me but for everyone.

The setting sun was glistening off the lightly falling snow and the meadow in front of me looked perfectly arranged for a winter wedding; late blooms of color peeking out of the new snow, circles of evergreen giving promise of new life, and the fresh, white snow signaling a brand-new start. A sob formed in my chest and unexpected tears slipped down my cheeks, I quickly brushed them away as if it could ease the sudden ache that had formed in the center of my heart, the place where he began and ended.

I was sadly proud of him. In the years that we had spent apart, he had made a name for himself and shared his beautiful gift of song with the world. It was what he dreamed about and that made it my dream too. I hadn’t known then what I would be giving up now. But isn’t that the way the world goes? It was subtle, a week away, then two, a month here and there. Not unlike his life before only different. Too late we realized how much had changed and then, you really can never go back.

My thoughts returned to the deep whiskey melody filling my car. Maybe it was fate, hearing him on the radio, singing my favorite Christmas song after all these years. Maybe he hadn’t even remembered it was my favorite song. Either way, our life together had not worked out. But I found happiness anyway. I hoped with all my heart that he had too. And, I would always cherish my memories of him, my sweet cowboy.

A Meager Offering

It’s easy to write every day. You simply write something. Every day. But to write something good, that’s a bit more challenging. And often what keeps writers from writing. Every day. It’s not enough to speak for the sake of speaking. Words should provoke thought, emotion, feeling. Words without meaning are merely noise. A meager offering to a starving crowd.

To write every day requires words yes, but also something to say. Please forgive my silence.

Thief of Hearts

She woke in a dark room
The silhouette of a familiar stranger tangled in the sheets beside her
She slipped quietly out of the bed and dressed quickly
Eager to leave before he stirred

Like a thief stealing away without a trace
Into the early morning dawn
The promises of a new day on the horizon

She was the thief of her own heart
Never allowing herself close enough to anyone
To risk the loss

Love Song

He sat on a stool in the center of the smoky stage, soft lights focused on his face, his hands, his guitar. The sleeves of his worn plaid shirt were rolled up, revealing his tanned forearms, strong hands with calloused fingers gently strumming a beautiful melody. His chestnut hair was longer now, falling in soft layers that framed his face, then curling into waves at the nape. His eyes were closed, fringed with long, dark lashes. Rough stubble darkened his face, giving him a disheveled, sexy appeal. As he sang, his lips formed that familiar heart shape when they pursed together, and unleashed a deep croon when they came apart. The effect was altogether sensual.

I sat motionless on my bar stool, not daring to move – not wanting to leave this moment. He sang for me. In his deep whiskey siren song, I heard the pleas of his heart and the promises from his soul. I succumbed to the overwhelming emotions coursing through me and tasted the salty relief that slid down my cheeks. As he asked, my heart had listened and his song had moved me to tears. For so long I had questioned his intentions and his motivations. Life had beaten him down, broken his spirit. I wondered if the past would always haunt him. While he wandered and chased his dream, I hoped that he would realize his dream was waiting for him to come home.

That night my cowboy sang his song for me. His words touched my soul. And I finally saw forever in his eyes.


The Cowboy Series

Whiskey Siren Song    The Return    My Forever Man    Midnight Cowboy    Cowboy’s Delight    Reunion    Listen With Your Heart

Listen With Your Heart

I walked into the smoky room and scanned the crowd, settling my sight on a figure standing at the bar. His snug denim jeans and worn plaid shirt only highlighted his muscular, athletic frame underneath. If I didn’t know him I might have mistaken him for a player on the local minor league baseball team. But this man’s talents were in the deep whiskey croon of his voice and the sweet melodies that sprang from his guitar. Walking up behind him, I snaked my arm around his thick waist and pressed my head against his back.

He turned and pulled me into his arms, tipping my head up and stealing a kiss. “Hello darlin’. You’re just in time.” A bright spotlight lit the stage and the host walked out to warm the crowd up. He bent his head down, kissing me again. “Sit here, it’s the best view in the house.” He nodded to the bartender. “Brian, take care of my girl.” I watched him walk backstage and sighed. He had a new song tonight – I’d not yet heard it – and my stomach fluttered in anticipation. He would only say it was a love song and I should listen with my heart. Soon I heard his name being called out and, as he walked on stage, a smile crossed my lips. My heart was listening.

Happily Ever After

Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting Friday Fictioneers.

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PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bulltot

“Mama, that doesn’t look like happy ever after.”

Ella’s deflated voice was another bitter reminder of our disastrous vacation. My precocious daughter had been so excited to see a real castle. I should have known better. How could a six-year old see past her Disney-colored glasses at the beauty of this twelfth century wonder? I looked up in awe and imagined an idyllic Camelot, my own unachievable idea of happily ever after.

Time for a change.

I knelt next to her and pressed my hand to her heart. “Sweetie, happily ever after isn’t in a castle. It’s in here.”