The forlorn foghorn rang out in the dense night air, as if calling for her lost love, to bring him safely home.
He bent down and kissed her forehead and a wave of emotion surged through her. Flashing a winsome smile, he disappeared through the doorway, waving goodbye. “I’ll see you tonight, sweetheart.”
It would be the last time she would see his smile.
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.
I confess my love in silence
Words of adoration offered as a prayer
You, unwilling victim
Never knowing my heart’s desire
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.
Alone. I sat in the dark stillness, silent tears threatening to betray my broken heart. New beginnings only sound shiny and cheerful in greeting cards and inspirational posters. My future didn’t look bright, just lonely and sad.
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.
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
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
She arrived fashionably late and charmingly tipsy, trailing bubbles of laughter like a champagne bottle that had popped its cork.
We deny our feelings as if we could avoid the pain of loss and the misery of a broken heart simply by our silent assent.
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.
Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting Friday Fictioneers.
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.”
His suitcase lay on the bed, clothes thrown in haphazardly. I sat perched on the edge of the mattress, fidgeting with the pillows. Hugging his to my chest, I softly inhaled and savored his soapy smell. I peered up at him and memorized his face so I could pull it from my mind later, when I was alone and sad and looking for comfort.
Bright cornflower blue eyes with soft lines at the corners that crinkled when he smiled. Plump, pink lips that easily curved into the shape of a heart. Chestnut brown hair, short and spiky on top and curling into longer waves at the nape. I closed my eyes and imagined that face hovering near mine, hearing his deep, whiskey voice whisper my name just before his lips claimed mine. A single tear slid down my cheek and I quickly brushed it away before he noticed.
Finally, bags packed, it was time to say good-bye. “I’ll always love you.” I said. He only nodded and my heart broke into a million pieces all over again.
A poem doesn’t have to rhyme
To take your breath away
It doesn’t have to be complete
To break your heart
Omit a line, misspell a word
You can still touch a soul
It’s a secret I keep, nobody knows, but he still inhabits a tiny corner of my heart.
Tears laced with betrayal leaked from my eyes
My shattered heart oozed crimson regret
My soul was consumed with fiery flames of jealous rage
The broken bonds of love lay scattered in the ruins.
I climbed onto the ferry boat in the early morning hours, before the sun had a chance to peek through the clouds hanging low on the eastern horizon. I felt the ship lurch beneath my feet. The boat felt as unsteady as my nerves. I was leaving him for good this time. I’d been here before, heart shattered and faith destroyed. It was the last time I would let him make me feel this way. I let the cool ocean breeze wash over me as I left my broken life behind me. Beams of sunlight finally broke through the clouds and warmed my face, signaling a bright new beginning.
His toothbrush is still sitting in the cup next to mine. It’s the last thing, the only thing I have left of him. It’s a silly thing to hold onto, a piece of plastic. Still I can’t bear to throw it away. It gives me a strange sort of comfort seeing it sitting next to mine in the cup on the vanity in the bathroom we used to share.
Bury my heart in a shallow grave.
Water the flowers with my tears.
My soul at rest, I no longer crave
The promise of our eternal years.