The Real Grown-Ups

I always wondered who made up the names for nail polish. No, really. That has to be the coolest job on the planet. Please sign me up. I’m pretty sure I would just come back from a long liquid lunch and pull out a thesaurus or a box of crayons. Or both. I’m looking through my personal collection of polish now. ‘Madison Ave-hue’ (This is just downright lazy – it’s a bright pink and isn’t Madison Avenue more glam??) ‘Splash of Grenadine’ (It actually looks kinda like grenadine so I’ll give them that) ‘Koala Beary’ (I was expecting an earthier tone) ‘A Rose At Dawn’ (Is this a cheap play on words?) ‘Dim Sum Plum’ (I’ve never had dim sum {mini shocker} but I guess they serve it with plum sauce???) ‘Boom Boom’ (This one-two punch doesn’t quite hit the mark) ‘Outrageous’ (Ummm, I’m not sure what outrageous looks like, but I picture it much darker) ‘Chicago Champagne Toast’ (The color is right but did it have to be in Chi Town?) Apparently I missed my calling. I could have been making up nail polish names for a living. It seems kinda random but kinda fun at the same time.

Reunited

09-c-e-ayr-04-june-2017© C E Ayr

Sophie pushed through the crowded terminal. She had to make this flight. In ten minutes the doors would close. She picked up her pace and prayed she didn’t clip anyone with her rolling carry-on bag.

She thought back to their conversation the night before. She and Nate had a nasty fight and she’d said some awful things. The kind of things you can’t un-say. She’d tried to call him back to apologize but all twenty calls had gone straight to voicemail. She’d done the only sane thing she could think of – booked the first flight to Boston. Sane is in the eye of the beholder.

Downtown traffic was heavier than usual and she was close to missing her flight. Just ahead in the crowd she saw a pocket open and she rushed forward, hoping to move past the lollygaggers. She stopped abruptly when she saw it – the statue of the lovers, reunited and locked in a passionate embrace.

She thought of Nate and imagined him holding her in just that same way. Kissing her and telling her all was forgiven.  A wistful smile crossed her lips and she moved again with renewed energy toward Gate 47A. Toward her future.

Things We Lost In The Fire

charred-toys
PHOTO PROMPT © Karuna

“You shouldn’t put yourself through this now.”

She ignored his plea and stepped out of the car into the cold December air.

Standing in borrowed clothes before the charred clapboard skeleton, she took tentative steps forward in the rubble.

She felt confusion and frustration at being lost in her own home.

Finally, she found the playroom and fell to her knees, hands sifting through the burned remains.

There – underneath a broken rocking chair – the children’s toys.

A hand on her shoulder held her back. “Don’t do this.”

Her teary eyes met his. “It’s all I have left.”

 

Only The Good

I dropped onto the damp grass, a cold bottle of Riesling in my hand. I made sure to get the one with the screw-cap – it would be easier. Opening the lid, I tilted the bottle in a mock salute and took a long drink. A few tears escaped my eyes, snaking down my cheeks and dropping onto my bare legs, untanned from long months inside, escaping the cold winter.

Dammit, Lizzie! It was supposed to be me. I was the screw-up. You were the one who prayed, who went to church, who helped others and did charity work. Mother Teresa I used to call you, only half joking. You, you could save the world. Me? I was destined to destroy it. Or at least destroy anything that came into my path. It’s not supposed to work this way. “Only the good die young?” That’s bullshit. The world needs all the good people it can get. More you, less me.

I put my hand against the cold granite.

Elizabeth Anne Donohue
~
Mother * Wife * Daughter * Sister
~
January 14, 1974 – April 20, 2017

My finger traced over the word ‘sister’. You were so much more than a sister. You were everything to me. Big sister, best friend, mother, confidant, partner in crime. You weren’t supposed to leave me. Not now, not this soon. We didn’t even have a chance to grow old and wear purple and join the red hat society.

I poured some wine into the grass, as if you could taste it, and took another long swig myself. Looking up at the cloudy sky I thought of all the dark days in front of me. “I guess I have to be the responsible one now, huh?” I said aloud, as if you were sitting next to me. But then I did feel you, right next to me, nudging me like an over-protective big sister would. “Whatever, Lizzie.” I finished the wine and nestled myself against your tombstone. “Just let me rest a bit first.”

Generations

She pulled the diamond solitaire from the dusty box, carefully as if it could shatter. The gem was lackluster from years of neglect, the gold band dull and lifeless. She thought back to the last time it had seen light, it had been almost fifteen years since the funeral. Cradling the ring in her fingers, she gently rubbed and buffed it until it shone like the glistening sun. When she delivered it to her eldest son, a gift to his betrothed, she wanted it to shine just like the day her beloved husband had presented it to her. A token passed down generation to generation. She wished her husband could be here to give it to Matthew; although, if he was here, she would still be wearing it. She stifled back a tear. Now was not the time to get weepy. It was a celebration. Jason was surely smiling down on them.

Final Good-Bye

j-hardy-rubble

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

She stood in the rubble, memories flooding back like ocean waves. She was twenty-two and dressed to the nines. The sounds of jazz and laughter filled the air. Then she saw him and the room faded away. The melody that rang out from his trumpet was like a siren call. She knew he was the one. Sixty years later, after the funeral, when she was alone, she returned to the place where they first met, where she first fell in love. She found the place in shambles, much like her heart. And she said her final good-bye.

Impressions

He loved me completely. At times soft and sweet, then with the passion and fury of a madman unleashed. He teased me with his sweet words and played me with his strong fingers. When we made love the mountains moved and the heavens opened to hear our cries. When we came down our bodies molded into one, with no beginning and no end. When he was gone I wept, not for the loss but for what he had given to me. He left an impression on my heart that nobody would ever be able to fill.

Midnight Cowboy

He’s back, my midnight cowboy. Singing sweet words in his deep whiskey siren voice for an audience of one. Night after endless night playing in smoky bars didn’t catapult him to fame. He returned slightly rumpled, ego bruised and I welcomed him with a standing ovation. I inhaled the smell of his cologne and sweat as I pulled him tightly to me and whispered in his ear, “Welcome home cowboy.”

Sailing

The sun peeked through the bedroom curtains, casting a glow on his scruffy beard, and my head raced with excitement. We’d waited through weeks of rain for this beautiful clear spring morning. I didn’t want to waste any of it. I did have a small pang of regret for waking him. He was so peaceful and beautiful in slumber. I could watch him for hours, his normally furrowed brow at rest, long dark lashes hiding his mesmerizing cornflower blue eyes. But this morning I couldn’t wait. I shook him like a child waking her parents on Christmas morning. “Spencer. Wake up.”

After a stop at the coffee shop – black coffee for him, Earl Grey for me – we walked hand in hand to the park. I tipped my head back, allowed the sun to warm my face and smiled. “You’re beautiful.” I turned to see his grinning face, heart-shaped lips stained red from the fresh strawberries we ate at breakfast. I waggled my eyebrows at him, “Race you” then took off running, laughter bouncing off the tree branches.

When we reached Conservatory Water I slowed and approached in awe. It was our first visit of the season and I marveled at the deep blue color of the glassy water. The light wind would be perfect for sailing boats. When we were finally ready we put our boats in the water and I watched the surface break, sending wave after tiny wave out in perfect circles. We looked at each other as if we were five-years-old, the innocence and wonder of a child pure in our eyes. A simple nod was all it took – our boats were in the water, set adrift to wait for a puff of wind that would send them sailing as far as our hearts allowed.

The Voice

My heels sunk into the soft grass. I didn’t care that they would be ruined but I couldn’t help but wonder why women wore heels to funerals or why they didn’t put something on the ground for women to walk on so they wouldn’t ruin their heels. It was a strange thought to have, considering the circumstances. My face showed no sign of the turmoil brewing deep within. A drunk driver had not only killed my husband, but by default had killed me too. I was only a shell left to muddle through the days as if life had a meaning. A single tear escaped my eye and snaked down my cheek. Making no move to wipe it away I stood woodenly alone. Too soon my family and friends would descend, smiles plastered on their faces, feigned concern in their voice. No, for now I was alone. I broke the silent morning air. “You bastard. How could you leave me?” Then finally, I smiled. Because in my head I could hear his voice echoing back. “You know, you’re ruining your favorite heels.”

Phone Etiquette

inside-the-dinerPHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

Blurry eyes struggled to focus. A very late night and too many tequila shots led us to this late-night diner.

“You shouldna given ‘im your number.” Tessa’s slurred words rang true and regret filled my veins.

“I got this.” I made a zigzag path down the aisle. “Scuse me. Y’want my phone?”

The girls’ shocked looks never registered as I dropped my phone on the stained Formica counter and wobbled away.

“See. Problem fixed.” I brushed my hands together and dropped into the booth, stuffing a handful of fries into my grinning mouth.