#ThursThreads Week 89 : Then I Can Help You

Jonathan had not touched the clay he  loved so much in years. Every time he thought of his clays, he saw his beloved Daphne, and their daughter Chelsea, and his hands went cold, and his world turned black.

Everyone lied. “Give it time. You will get over it.” But the magic was gone.

He sat at his table. His tools to his left, a block of clay before him, and wondered if he could ever touch clay again, or if all his dreams had died with them.

He watched his hands shake, then closed his eyes. “Just remember to breathe. Remember to breathe.”

I floated close to him, and whispered in his ear, “Listen to your heart.” Jonathan sat, motionless, as the hands of the clock on the wall moved. “Listen to the words it speaks to you.”

His hands touched the clay, and slowly began tearing chunks away. Then they reached for his tools and began carefully carving fine lines, curves, surfaces. Placing fine detail in. Bringing the clay to life.

For three days, he left the table only for another can of soda, or to answer the call of nature. When he finished, he studied his work.

A Valentine’s heart, torn in half, jagged edges unable to heal. Two tombstones, one on each side of his heart. A river of tears flowing from the heart to the ground.

I whispered in his hear. “When you listen to your heartsong, then I can help you.”

246 Words

I wrote this for Siobhan Muir‘s #ThursThreads, Week 89. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are good reading.

#MWBB 20 : Home

I left her. I got up that Monday morning, and got ready for work, like I had for years. I left the house precisely at 0715 hours, like I had on Mondays for years. But I didn’t drive to work. I drove. I left town, and I kept driving, heading west. I drove all day long, stopping only for food and restroom breaks.

I left her. I left my job. I left my home. I left my life. I had to.

As I drove, I remembered my parents, growing up in their home. I’d never known they were in love. They always screamed at each other. Night after endless night. I used to lie awake at night, listening to the front door slam as Dad left. Listening to Mother cry. Listening to the silence when she finally fell asleep on the sofa, Listening to the front door open as Dad got home, just before dawn. Listening to him stagger through the house to the bathroom, where he threw up again, from drinking himself sick.

As I drove, I remembered the night Mom stayed awake until he got home. He was drunk, of course. She screamed at him. He screamed back at her. They fought. I remember seeing the bruises on both of them at breakfast that morning.

As I drove, I remembered my brother’s wedding, how he and Tabitha had been so happy. I remembered how proud he was of his baby girl. How he got sick at work one day, heaving his guts into the toilet. How they sent him home that day, and he walked into his own home, where Tabitha was naked, sitting on a naked man he’d never seen, her legs straddling him, as she softly moaned.

As I drove, I remembered the niece I had once. How my brother covered her head with a pillow, suffocating her, then went to the garage of his home, locked the door, got in his car, and turned it on. How they found him the next day, cold as ice, with the car still running.

As I drove, I remembered the woman I loved so passionately. How she always wanted more. More of everything. How I had to stay in that job I hated, to keep buying her the things she wanted. How she never slept with me any more, or even slept in the same room as me any more. How she always went out at night, “with the girls”. How I wondered if who she was sleeping with.

As I drove, I remembered how she’d once been beautiful. How her smile faded away with time, being replaced by empty eyes, and lines of age on her face. How he figure changed from a beautiful hourglass to a pear. We used to hold hands, years ago. I wondered when that stopped. She used to kiss me good morning, and fix me breakfast. That too faded, until she never stirred when I woke to go to work, and breakfast became a can of soda, and a bowl of cold cereal with milk.

As i drove, I remembered how I’d once been in love with her. How that love had grown cold and died. Like the love my Mom and Dad once had. I knew that’s why people started homes. They were in love. And thought they always would be.

I left her on a Monday morning, while she was still asleep, and I was heading to work.

Because I remembered homes become cold, and lifeless, and slowly kill the people living in them. And I knew the only thing I could do for her, and for me, was leave. And in so doing, free us both from the trap our home had become.

624 Words

My entry, in all its unedited glory, for week 20 of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge.

#MidWeekBluesBuster : Is This Love

I always liked Mexican food, and I especially liked Mexican drinks. That night, I needed to do something I liked. When I sat at the bar, I sat alone. Some crazy Latino music was playing in the background. I couldn’t understand a word of it. The bartender was singing right along with it as he sat chips and salsa on the bar in front of me. “Somethin’ to drink, Senor?”

I nodded, “Something big. With lots of Tequila.”

“For you, Senor, I have just the thing.”

He’d come back with a giant Margarita that had to weigh a couple of pounds. Plunked that sucker down in front of me, and then put two shot glasses of Cuervo Gold next to it. “The biggest drink we have, and lots of Tequila to go with it.” I handed him a $20. “If you need anything else, Senor, you just let me know.”

I sat there, eating chips and salsa, planning to get too drunk to drive anywhere. And doing anything I could so I wouldn’t cry. Not one damn tear. Hell, I’d stand in front of a truck on the highway before I shed one damn tear. I picked up my drink, “Here’s to you, bitch,” I mumbled, and took a long chug, clean up to where I got brain freeze.

The bartender walked back by, singing again, this time in English, “Is this love, is this love, is the love, is this love that I’m feeling?” And the song continued on.

“Yeah, baby. This is love.” I looked at my drink. It wasn’t going to be big enough.

I remembered that afternoon when I got home. She was gone. She’d left a note. All it said was “You don’t love me anymore.” I knew she was never coming back. For two years, we’d lived together, slept together, shopped together. I’d given her everything she’d ever asked for. And I loved every minute of that two years. I loved her. I loved having her around. I loved being able to hold her, touch her, kiss her.

And she was gone.

I’d never seen it coming. And I sat there, at the bar, listening to crappy Latino music, drinking straight shots of Tequila, and liters of Margaritas, wondering how she could abandon me like she had. How she could leave me.

Another song was playing in the background. Some kind of Spanish Love Ballad. The bartender walked by, heading to the couple halfway down the bar, singing right along with the song, “You don’t bring me flowers…”


And, God damn-it to hell, I cried. Because she been right. She’d become a prized possession. Something I could show off. A prize of some kind. I didn’t love her anymore. And I kept hearing her voice saying those words on that note, “You don’t love me anymore.”

And the bartender walked by, singing along with that crap music once again, “Cold. As. Ice. You’re cold as ice to me.”

I swore that night, I’d never fall in love again. That was 16 years ago. And I’ve kept my word since then. I’ve kept my word.

543 Words

This pile of words came out of me in response to the prompt for Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster challenge. Please go read all the other entries in the challenge. They’re better than mine. 🙂

#5SF : Cherish

She’d asked me who I cherished, who I loved, who mattered to me. I hadn’t answered her. She’d stared into my eyes for a time, waiting for me to speak; I never did. “Please,” she asked, she begged, she pleaded. Then, she turned, and walked away, drying the tears she had begun to cry. She knew I cared for no one, I cherished no one, for long ago my heart had frozen colder than any ice and harder than any stone.

Here’s my weekly attempt at Lillie McFerrin‘s flash fiction challenge, Five Sentence Fiction. This week, the prompt is Cherish.

Please, go read all the other entries to this week’s Five Sentence Fiction. It’s amazing what creative people can do with just five sentences.

The Day After

It’s always the day after an event
That disturbs me the most.
Usually I’d just let it go at that.
Just say because.
But today,
I try to explain.

I can take the easy way out
And just say,
“It’s an ASD thing.
With my autistic nature,
It’s just the way things are.”
But that doesn’t help anyone.
Certainly not me.

Where to start.
How to explain.
I’ve tried.
I’ve tried for years.
No one understands.

After Columbine.
After the USS Cole.
After Oklahoma.
After 9/11.
After Norway.
After Virginia Tech.
The list is endless.

I always react the same.
I wonder what it is
That everyone around me feels.
I don’t feel a thing.
Not one damned thing.

My best guess is
It’s an empathetic reaction
That people have.
One of those social skills
I wasn’t born with.
And just can’t seem to learn.

I want to say something.
I do.
But everywhere I go
On the Internet.
Facebook and Twitter too,
It’s all the same.

People saying endlessly,
“My heart bleeds for those of you
Whose lives this storm’s destroyed.”

And I don’t understand.
I don’t understand at all.
Because they were not hurt.
Their lives
Remain unchanged.
How can their hearts bleed
For people they don’t know,
People they have never met,
People a thousand miles away?

I don’t understand at all.

I try.
I do.
I try.

I’ve watched the way people behave.
I’ve listened to the things they say.
I’ve studied their body language.
The moves the make.
The details in the things they do.

I can fake it.
I can imitate it.
I can pretend to feel like them.
I can blend right in.
So no one will know
That I don’t feel a thing.
Not one damned thing.

I end up putting everyone at ease.
Everyone feels better.
Everyone relaxes.
It’s as if their view
Of the world
And how it works,
Just got reinforced.

But I end up in hell.
Wondering how long it will be
Until someone finds out the truth
About me.
That I don’t feel a thing.

It’s not that I don’t care.
It’s not that way at all.
I care for those around me
More than you will ever

It’s that to my rational,
Linear mind.
The people hurt in an event
Such as the hurricane this week.
Are just like the people living
In Syria.
Being mowed down relentlessly
By their own government.
Or the people that die
Every day.
In car accidents.
Or the children beaten to death
By their own parents.

I don’t know them.

It’s sad,
I know it’s sad.
That these things happen.
I understand that.

And there are times,
Oh, there are times,
When I wish I felt
What other people felt.
So that I could understand,
And know,
Why people react
The way they do
To such an event
As this hurricane.

But instead.
I don’t feel
A single thing.
Not one single thing.

Why did you make me so

Every Now And Then

Every now and then
I remember.
Who I used to be.
What I used to do.
Who I used to know.

I remember the words
The Princess of Laughter spoke.
“We will always be friends.”
“I promise you.
We will both be OK.”

I remember names.
I remember faces.
Of people I worked with.
Some of them
For 13 years.

Until October 12th
Of 2010.
That was the day
Everything changed.
That was the day
I was blocked
From the work place.

That was the day
When everything that was
Erupted into flames.
That would burn uncontrolled.
Until everything that was
Was turned to ash
That slowly floated away,
Carried on the wind.

Leaving nothing.
Nothing at all.
Of what had been.

Sometimes I remember
Lessons that I learned
Through fire.
And through pain.
About the way
That people are.
About the way
They behave.

Sometimes I remember
The words I was told
They’d all said
About me.
How they all claimed
They were concerned.

I learned, with time
They all believed they were
Concerned for me.
What I was going through.
That they were concerned
For my family.

I even learned
Some of them prayed
For me.

But there was a line
In their reality
They could not cross.
A line I’ve learned
Does not exist
For me.

I can do much more
Than pray.
For I am not afraid
Of any of the things
That could happen
If I show I care
For someone that I know.

Everyone there knew
She had cancer.
She was fighting for her life.
No one changed.
No one at all.
Except for me.

In their own way
Several of the people
I once knew
Tried to talk with me.
And warn me.
Of what would happen.

I didn’t understand their words.
Didn’t understand at all
Their concern for me.
And for the job I’d had
For 28 years
At that point.

The assumption, of course,
Was that I understood
What everyone was saying.
Because they all said
The same things.
They all behaved
The same way.

None of the people I worked with
Ever understood the truth.
That I don’t understand
Their social behavior ways.
Those ways
Elude me
To this day.
They always have.
They always will.

That’s part of what Autism is.

Sometimes I remember
People that I found
Along the way
From the life I’d had.
To the life I’m building now.

And much to my dismay,
They behaved the same way
As the people
I once worked with.

More than once
I heard the words,
“I can’t get involved.
All I can do
Is pray.”

I’ve learned.
People are afraid.
Of life.
Of pain.
Of change.
Of anything
They can’t control.
They can’t understand.

I’ve learned.
I was removed from work.
Because I was
One of those things.
That could not be controlled.
That could not be understood.

A lot of people
Were afraid of me.

They never needed to be.

Sometimes I remember
What once was.
And every time I do
I end up asking God.

Don’t give up on them.
Please don’t give up on them.
Find a way,
Like you did with me,
To wake them up.
To bring them back to life.
So they can understand
How cold.
How heartless.
How afraid.
They have become.

I can ask God for that.
For in very many ways.
I used to be the same
As the people
I once knew.

A Clip From Chapter 22 Of JuNoWriMo 2012

Rain woke the next morning. And she decided that if her name was Rain, and everyone called her that anyway, then she was going to make it rain. She was going to make it rain like no one had ever seen it rain before. She was going to make it rain like the sky itself was made of water. And she’d make the wind blow too.

And that’s just what she did. Oh, the storm she caused. The wind howled through the kingdom. It was so fierce that no one ventured outside their homes. The rain fell. As if nature itself had dumped an entire lake on the kingdom, all at one time. And in the wind, the rain fell almost horizontally to the ground.

And it was cold. A bitter, angry cold. A cold that caused the bones to ache. And the teeth to chatter. And the water on the ground, and trees, and houses, to turn to ice.

And Rain stood outside the kingdom. Beneath the sheltering wing of a dragon. And the rain did not fall there. It fell all around. She could see the ice on the ground. She could see it raining in all directions, as far as she could see. But it didn’t rain where the dragons were.

The fifth dragon protected them all from the weather.

Musica stood next to rain, beneath the wing of that dragon. And Musica cried. Tears of hurt, and pain. Tears for the loss of everything she’d had in the village she’d called her home. Tears of bitterness from when she’d been abandoned, and left to die, all alone, in the Gray Hills. Tears of anger that people could be so very cruel. Throwing away little children like her, and Rain. Because they were different. And not understood.

Musica didn’t play her flute. She didn’t sing. She was hurt. And angry. And she wished the storm that Rain was causing could somehow make everything OK. She could see how hurt Rain was. She could see the tears that Rain cried. Hot tears of anger.

The storm raged. Hour after hour. Rain stood there, beneath the wing of the dragon. And let all the hurt she felt pour out onto the ground. She’d lost everything. Her mommy. Her daddy. Her home. Even her room at the castle. Because of the nasty people of the kingdom. “She’s dangerous!” they’d said. “We need to get rid of her!” they’d said. “For the safety of us all!” they’d said. And like the little girl she was, Rain finally lashed out. And let her anger show. “I hate you all!” she screamed. “I hate you all! I hate you all!”

And the wind blew. The roofs came off of several houses. The fairies inside those homes became very wet, and very cold. And the wind buffeted them. Eyela’s soldiers did the best they could to bring those families inside the castle. Where it was safe. And dry. But even then, the wind howled, and moaned, and screamed, as it sought the windows of the castle, and came in through them. Like a living thing.

More and more people in the kingdom were leaving their homes, and heading into the castle. The first floor of the castle was filled to overflowing. And still the storm continued. There was ice on everything. Ice like no one could remember in all the years the fairies had been in the Southern Plains.

And still the storm raged.