Feel. Now.

I’ve learned so much
In the past two years.
About the life
I’ve been blessed with.

I’ve learned that sometimes
I just get wrapped up
Remembering my past.
The things that went wrong.
The things that caused me pain.
The things that made my heart
Ache so very much.
And cause my soul
To shed so many
Tears of pain.

Other times
I get wrapped up
In the schedule for my life.
The things on the to do list
For today,
This week,
This month,
My life.
And I feel so frustrated.
As if there’s no me left.
Like everything is planned,
And the plan is who I am.

But I’ve learned
In these past two years,
On this journey I’ve been on,
That when I get wrapped up
In my memories,
Or plans.

It’s time to stop.
To take a moment.
And remember
The gift this life
Has given me.

It’s time to close my eyes.
And simply breathe.
And remind myself
Of now.
This heartbeat.
This breath.

It’s time for me to stop.
And feel.
Feel the air
Caress my skin.
Feel the heat or cold.
Feel the wind.
Smell the smells
Of this world
That we all live in.
Hear the words
Of those around me.
Laughter,
Tears,
Frustration,
Sorrow,
Joy.

Feel my own body’s pulse.
My own heart’s beat.

And just remember
The priceless gift
Of life
That I’ve been given.

I’ve learned
Every time I do.
Every time I stop.
And feel.
And return to now.
This moment of time.
This heartbeat.
This breath.

That all the things
That stress me out.
Simply
Fall
Away.

The Prompt Was A Song

I wanted to try my hand
At a new flash fiction challenge.
So last night,
I visited the site
Of the challenge.
I reviewed the rules,
To make sure I knew
What I was doing.
And then I read the prompt.

The prompt was a song.
One I’d never heard before.
The kind of music
I don’t listen to.
But, change is good.
Different is good too.
So I listened to the song.
To see what I could come up with
In 500 words or less,
When using the song
As a source of inspiration.

And over and over again
That song said just one thing.
“C’mon. Talk.”

That’s when I became
Overwhelmed.
Overloaded.

Memories flooded me.
Of countless times
I couldn’t talk.
I couldn’t say a word.
Times my voice,
My body,
My emotions,
All ran wild.
And I couldn’t talk at all.

Times when I was a church.
In high school.
35 years ago.
“Talk to me!”
She begged.
She pleaded.
And I couldn’t say a word.

I wanted to!
Oh, God, how I wanted to!
No one will ever know
How much I wished
I could have found a way
To talk.

But that part of me
Just didn’t work.
No matter what I did.
No matter how I tried.

The times the church group
Had an event,
Where everyone attended.
And I wound up
Left out
Yet again.

Because I couldn’t talk.
I couldn’t ask
To be let in.
I couldn’t say,
“Don’t leave me as
The odd one out
Again.”

The times my friends
All said to me,
“You can’t be that way.
It’s wrong.
You have to change.”

And I wanted to ask why.
What was I doing wrong.
How could they be
The way they were.
I didn’t understand.

But no words ever came.
No words ever came.

My days in college
Were the same.
There were times
I couldn’t talk.

I remember the computer lab
On one Friday morning
Around 0500 hours.
When the pretty girl and I
Sat in the lab.
Waiting for the computers
To come back on-line
From maintenance,
As we ate junk food
From 7-11.

I remember how
I never really said a word.
Hell,
It never even occurred to me
To ask her out
To a movie.

I let her talk,
When she wanted to.
But like always
I couldn’t find a thing
To say.

Not one damn thing.

The list of memories
Goes on and on and on.
The stories are so plentiful
They all blur together.

Like one from July,
Just 2 years ago.
When a friend of mine
Saw me walking in the hall
At work.

She took me by the hand
And said so many times,
“Talk to me, Mark.
Talk to me, please!”

It was the first time
I found any words at all.
And she will never know
How hard it was to talk.
How much it hurt my
Physically.
To say just two words.
“Don’t leave.”

I’ve learned,
After all these years,
What was going on.
That my inability to talk
Was just another symptom
Of my ASD.
That sometimes things just happen
That overwhelm me.

I can’t figure those things out.
And I feel completely lost.
Not knowing what to do.
Not knowing what to say.
With a million thoughts
Racing through my mind
All at the same time.

Everything locks up.
And I just can’t talk.

If you ever talk with me.
And you find a time
When I can’t say a word.
Please know
It’s not that I don’t want
To talk with you.

It’s that I’m overwhelmed.
That I need time to clear my head.
I need time to think.
And that I don’t understand at all
What’s happening
Right then.

It’s that I just don’t understand
At all.

#55WordChallenge Week 19 – Chocolate For Desert

Jezri hosts the #55WordChallenge each week on her blog. I like to enter it. It’s fun. And there are always great entries from so many writers. Please go read them all. This week, my 55 words was deemed the winner. What follows are the picture prompt I wrote to, and the 55 words.

 

 

 

“I’m in here,” she called from the kitchen. Chocolate was everywhere. She was in the middle of it all. Naked. A stream of chocolate running from her mouth, down her chin, almost to her chest. “I wanted to make something chocolate for you.” She pouted. “I failed.” I skipped dinner that night for desert…

23rd #SatSunTails Entry

This is my entry in the 23rd #SatSunTails Flash Fiction challenge, hosted by Rebecca Clare Smith. She liked it. I won. Wow. Go read all the entries. They’re all good.

I yelled, “No guts, no glory! No pain, no gain!” and took three steps, launching myself off the diving board, trying to land pancake flat on the water. I hit so flat, the water knocked the breath right out of me.

Her bucket list was gonna kill me someday. “It’s all about exposure to feeling. Breathing. Touching. Laughing. Crying. Ecstasy. Pain. Life!”

She was part of my heart and soul. I was not whole without her. So I promised I would walk by her side through her bucket list. Even enduring exposure to things like experiencing a belly flop off a diving board.

When I got to the side of the pool, I was pink, from my chest to my knees. Mother, but that hurt. But she was laughing that magic laugh of hers. And I knew, if she asked, I’d do another belly flop. Just for her.

Fairies : Sunshine Got To Say Good-Bye

Dream looked at her adopted sister, Sunshine.
“I know I promised
I would make a dream for you.
Any dream you wish.
But, sister,
Is that really
The story you wish?”

Sunshine smiled, “Yes.”

As Sunshine slept that night,
Dream came to visit her.
She placed her little hands
On Sunshine’s cheeks.
“Dream,” was all she said.

Sunshine had a dream that night
Of the night
Her Father died
Trying to save her sister
Musica.

She saw her sister Musica,
Broken and bleeding
On the floor.
A man was standing over her.
Beating her to death.

Sunshine’s father entered,
Breaking through the door.
His fairy wings were broken.
He could not fly right then.

The roof of the house
Just lifted up
And sailed away.
Leaving Scream the dragon
Standing there,
Looking into the room.

Scream picked up the man
Beating Musica.
And crushed him
Like he was a grape.

Then Scream screamed,
He gently lifted Musica.
To take her someplace safe.

As he left the village that night
He used his dragon breath
Setting everything on fire.

Sunshine’s father died that night.
In the fires Scream had set.
He couldn’t fly
To get away.

Sunshine never got the chance
To say good-bye to him.

But in her dream that night,
Sunshine got to speak
With her Father one last time.
In her dream that night,

Sunshine got to say good-bye.

Fairies : Happy Tears

Sunshine woke up one morning.
Just as the sun was peaking
Over the trees
And lighting up the lake.

“Oh, pretty,” she thought.
So she pulled her sun-dress on,
Went to the hole in the floor of her home.
And dropped to the ground below.

She walked to the side of the lake,
Where she turned to the East,
And watched the sun
As it peeked through the top branches
Of the trees.

“Oh, pretty,” she thought once more.
So she stood there for a while,
Watching as the sun slowly rose
Above the trees.
And brought all the colors
Of the world
To her eyes once again.

Sunshine smiled.
“Good morning, Mr. Sun.”
She laughed.
And then she waved at the sun
Up in the sky.
“Thank you for today.”

Sunshine walked
Along the edge of the lake.
Until she reached the trees
At the lake’s Northern edge.
And that’s when she saw
Her favorite wild rose-bush.

It was her favorite bush.
With hundreds of pink flowers.
Like the ones the villagers
Had put on the cake
They’d made for her
One day.

Sunshine looked at the rose-bush.
And saw that it was wilting some.
She knew it would be.
It had been slowly wilting
In the past few days.

Sunshine had been very happy
Living by the lake.
In a home all her own.
With her big sister, Musica,
And he little sister, Dream.
And her favorite Mother ever,
Mystica.

Sunshine knew she could make it rain,
Just by being sad.
By crying tears of loneliness.
And she could make it storm
By crying tears of hurt and pain.
But the weather got really bad
When Sunshine got mad.

She liked to be happy.
Because on the days she was happy.
It never, ever rained.
And the sky was always blue.
With cottony white clouds
Floating up above the trees.

Sunshine wished there was something
She could do.
To help the rose-bush out.
She knew it had enough water,
It was right next to the lake.

But she’d begun to think
That living things,
Like trees,
And grass,
And roses,
Needed rain sometimes.
Just to be OK.

That if rain didn’t fall
Every now and then,
The plants would miss something.
And it would hurt them.
And make them sad.
And they’d begin to wilt.
Like her friend
The rose-bush had.

So she closed her eyes,
And thought real hard,
About what to do.

She wasn’t sad at all.
That meant it wouldn’t rain.
So she reached out her little hands,
And gently touched the rose-bush
While she apologized to it.
“I’m sorry my dear friend.
That I haven’t found a way
To bring to you today
The rain you need so much.
Please tell me you’re OK.”

She stood there with her hands
Touching leaves on the rose-bush.
And each leave she touched
Was so beautiful to her.
She got so very happy
That she cried.

At first she didn’t understand
How she could cry and be happy
At the same time.
But she realized
It was a natural thing.
Just like sunshine.
Just like rain.
That sometimes you could be
So very, very happy,
That you cried tears of joy,
Not tears of pain.

And as Sunshine stood there
Touching those rose leaves,
That’s just what she did.
She cried tears of joy.
For that rose-bush
Was so very beautiful to her.

And as she cried,
It began to rain.
But it was not a cold rain.
There were no clouds at all
Up in the sky.
Oh, no.

This was a spring shower.
A gentle,
Soothing rain.
That brought water to everything
Above the lake.

It only lasted
For a little while.
Just ten minutes
At the most.

But it was exactly
What the rose-bush needed.
And the rose-bush thanked her
For the shower
As Sunshine stood there
Amazed,
And watched the wilted leaves
On her friend the rose-bush
Perk right up again.

That was the day that Sunshine learned
That not all rain is bad.
Sometimes rain is good.
And gives each one of us,
Plant and animal,
Something that we need.
Something we’re not whole without.

That was the day Sunshine learned
Nothing can live at all
With out the rain.

The day she became no longer afraid
To cry
Ever again.

#MenageMonday 40, Uncut Version

There is a 200 word limit to the #MenageMonday flash fiction challenge. So, yesterday, I had to strip my little story down from over 600 words, to under 200. As you can imagine, a lot of detail was lost in the reworking of the piece. So, I’m putting the full 600+ words up, here.

Feel free to go visit Cara Michael’s blog, and read all 38 of the #MenageMonday entries. This was the 40th week. And there were a lot of great entries.

———-

I was asleep on my sofa. Didn’t have to work that day. I was on vacation. And I was having a perfect nap. I liked to take naps when I was tired. I liked them in the middle of the afternoon. I liked naps. They were fun.

I woke up when  an alarm went off. Swatted the top of the clock radio at the end of the sofa. The alarm kept going off. And it was all wrong sounding for the clock radio anyway. It wasn’t music. It was this beeping sound. “Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!” I sat up, and looked around. But there was nothing in the room. The TV was on. I’d fallen asleep while a movie was playing. The movie had ended. And the player had gone into screen saver mode, playing the discs menu over, and over again.

“Hon? What’s that beeping?” I looked toward the kitchen. She wasn’t there. The kitchen wasn’t there either. I closed my eyes. Shook my head. And opened them again. The sofa was gone. The clock too. I was on a bed. In a stark, white room. Damn, but it hurt to open my eyes, and look around. I mumbled, “Turn off those friggin’ lights,” and tried to put my hand over my eyes. It wouldn’t move. Hell. Nothing moved.

I heard a voice. “He’s awake, doctor!” I tried to look around again. There was a door to the room I was in. It opened. “Ah, Mr. Taylor. You finally woke up,” this guy in a white medical robe said. He seemed genuinely relieved.

“Who are you?” I tried to mumble. It came out sounding more like, “moohareww.”

The voice answered, “Let me call your wife. She will be so excited to see you.” A few minutes later, this tall, middle-aged blond woman came in. She saw me, practically leaped across the room, landing beside me, and draping herself across me, kissing my cheek, hugging me. “Thank God, you’re alive!”

The first voice spoke again, “Do you remember anything that happened? Do you remember the fires? And the explosions?”

“Hunh?”

The woman hugged me some more. “You’re alive. That’s all that matters.”

Over the next two days, I faded in and out a lot. Mostly sleeping. Sometimes waking up screaming. The Doctor kept telling the woman (I learned she was my wife) that I would be OK with time. That I was remembering things in my dreams as I slept.

That third night I woke up. And I saw, painted on the wall of the room, the plant. The power plant. It was big. It was night. And the plant had these stupid purple, red, and blue lights that lite them up from the outside. So they would look imposing, and impressive, I suppose. “I worked there, didn’t I?”

I realized she was awake. “Hmm?” she’d looked at me, questioningly.

“At the power plant. I worked there.”

“Yes, dear. You did.”

“I went to work.” I remembered walking into the first of the two power generator buildings. I remembered going to my locker in the break room, and putting my lunch away. I remembered getting my helmet out, putting it on. I remembered walking out the door of the room. The door shut. And two parallel streaks of sparks flew from the door, down the hallway, in opposite directions. I remember thinking, “Oh, shit.” And then I watched the world explode with color.

“You remember, don’t you.” The woman’s name was Elaina. She was my wife. We’d been married for 25 years.

“Yes.” She was holding me. “I remember,” I whispered. I kissed her. Softly. “And I remember what you said the first night I was here, in the hospital.”

Elaina smiled. She started crying. Happy tears. “I remember you said we could survive this. I could survive this. I had to survive this. You needed me.”

She kissed me then. Softly.

I whispered once again, “I had to survive. I need you too.”