Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2020_04_01 (Week 148)

My mother was too old to be in the forest behind her house, but she’d insisted. “There’s something you need to see.” I’d tried to talk her into staying in the house, to tell me where to look, or to let me put her in her wheelchair, and push her where she wanted to go. She was stubborn, and wouldn’t hear of that. “I promised I’d show you.”

It had been slow going. She’d had to stop several times to rest, and catch her breath. But, always, she was stubborn, and answered any concerns I had for her with, “I promised I’d show you.”

Eventually, we came to a small clearing, beneath a canopy of leaves. “Here we are.” Mother smiled, and patted me on the shoulder, “Here we are.”

It wasn’t anywhere special. I thought it looked like a half dozen small clearings under the trees we’d already seen. Until Mother pointed at something. “There.” It was a park bench. And old, wooden one, covered in mosses, and partially rotten. “There.”

She wobbled over to it, and sat down. “This is where I promised I’d show you.”

“This?”

“And before you say anything, a picture wouldn’t work, because I promised him I’d show you.”

“Who did you promise, and show me what?”

“Your father. I promised him.”

She hadn’t spoken of him since he’d passed nearly a decade ago. If anything, she’d carried on like she’d never been married, and never had anyone to miss. “Life goes on.” That’s what she told me.

“Dad?”

“Yes.” She leaned back against the wood. I worried it might collapse under her weight. “Don’t worry. He built this well. It’ll be here another hundred years.”

“Dad wanted you to show me something? Something here?”

“No. He didn’t want me to show you something. He wanted me to show you this place.”

“I don’t understand.”

“That’s what he said. ‘Mary, he’ll tell you he doesn’t understand. You’ll have to explain it. And show it to him. So.” She patted the space on the bench next to her. “Have a seat.”

What else could I do? I frowned, and sat down. Mother chuckled, “That’s just like you. No time for anything. Not even time to breathe.” She took a deep breath, “Humor an old woman, and sit still for a bit, while I talk.”

She sang instead. Amazing Grace. I hadn’t heard that song in years, but I knew the words. She’d always sang it, every Sunday.

Amazing Grace, How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found
T’was blind but now I see

Mother stopped there. “Just sit, and listen to this old woman.”

She didn’t say a word. I waited for her to talk, but she didn’t. Just before I asked her if she was going to say anything, she cut me off, “I said listen.”

It took a while, but eventually I began to notice sounds. Leaves on trees rustling when the wind blew through them. A couple of birds singing, somewhere. Mother smiled at me. “Just listen.”

I waited, and watched Mother, and listened. I watched as she fell asleep on that bench. I listened to her breathe, to know she was still alive. I listened to my own breath. I’d forgotten what it sounded like. I listened to the trees. To the forest.

I didn’t notice when she woke. I was watching the sunlight patterns on the ground, where the sun peeked through the canopy. It changed all the time, every time the wind blew, and the leaves shifted. I noticed the sound of the wind always happened before the pattern changed. Then, I realized I was listening for the wind, just to see the pattern change.

“I promised him I’d show you.” Mother smiled. “Promised him I’d remind you of all that really mattered.”

I helped her to her feet, and we started home. “He’ll be happy now. Now, when I see him, I can tell him your heart is still alive. That there’s still hope you might learn how to live.”

I didn’t say a word on the walk back, but Mother knew. Somehow, she knew. My father had been right. I’d forgotten what it meant to be alive.

710 words
@mysoulstears


Written in response to the prompt for week 148 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can learn about Miranda’s challenge here. The stories people share for the weekly challenge are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. Please go read them all.

 

#ThursThreads Week 195: I’m Willing To Listen

The woman sat at her kitchen table, a glass of whiskey in her hand. It was 0200 hours, on a Sunday morning. As she sat she began to cry, “No one ever listens. No one cares.” She took a drink from the whiskey, then threw the glass against the wall where it shattered into hundreds of pieces. Her arms found the table, her head rested on her crossed arms, and she broke down.

“Black.” The armor became visible. I put an armored hand on her shoulder, “I’m willing to listen,” my electronically modified voice wasn’t human, but I knew that didn’t matter.

She sat up, shock in her eyes, “Who?”

I walked to the opposite side of the table, “No one of any importance.” I sat. “I’m willing to listen.”

She didn’t move. Didn’t blink. Just sat there, like she wasn’t sure she was seeing something real.

“I can leave if you wish,” I hope she didn’t wish, “Active.” The armor clocked, and I was invisible. I paused, “Black,” and returned to visibility. “I’m willing to listen.”

I studied her face, her eyes. I knew she wanted to talk. To tell me what was going on, tell me about her husband, how he abused her, how he used his daughter, and of the nasty, mean people her husband was friends with.

“Tell me about James.”

She took a breath, “What do you want to know?”

“Everything.”

She’d been waiting for someone to listen.

242 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Siobhan Muir‘s #ThursThreads, Week 195. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are good reading.

#VisDare 8 : Listen

The door closed behind us, and Alice kept pulling me along. We were in another hall, that led to a train tunnel. A train was waiting. Alice pulled me into a car, and thought, “Please, sit where you wish.”

I sat next to the doors of the car. The train started moving. “Listen, Alice,” I asked, my voice filling the car, “You’re pretty, so I don’t mind following you, but I’d like to know where we’re going.”

Two voices spoke in my head. One was Alice. I’d never heard the other. I didn’t understand either voice. When the voices stopped, Alice sat down beside me, and spoke, “I’ll  tell you where we are going, but first,” she looked at me and smiled. I thought she had a gorgeous smile, stunning eyes, and very kissable lips. “Do you really think I’m pretty?”

150 Words
@LurchMunster


This piece is the fifth in a continuing story I’m working through for Angela Goff’s Visual Dare. Please read the other entries in this week’s Visual Dare challenge. I like all of them.

Finding My Wings : For Amy

Tonight,
I make this wish.
A wish for a friend.
A simple wish
For I have learned,
Those are the best wishes
Of all.

I wish  for you tonight
To find your heart and soul.
Your self.
The you that life intended
To bless this world with
On the day your were born.

It won’t be easy.
I speak from experience.
But that’s not really the point.
Nor is finding that answer
To the question
“Who am I?”

It’s a question I’ve been asking
Of this life
More than twice as long
As you’ve been alive.
And I truly don’t know
If there’s an answer
At all.

But I’ve learned.
It’s not the answer
That matters.
It’s the journey.
The walk.
And all the things that happen
On the way.

It was almost 2 years ago
When the journey I am on
Changed dramatically.
I’ve told you that before.
And that change
Was wrought with pain.
More than I have ever known.

But it seems to me
Sometimes
Pain is what we have to face
To take the next step
Down the path
Of the journey
Each of us is on.

I know to many souls
That stopped walking
Long ago.
The pain got in the way.
And they became afraid.
And settled for staying
Where they were.

They haven’t changed.
They haven’t grown.
In years.
Some of them in decades.

I know this to be true.
Not so very long ago
I was one of them.

But you,
My friend,
Have not let fear
Stop you.

I can’t imagine
What it took
To take the step
You took this week.

I wish I could tell you
What it is you’ll find
On this journey you are on.
But I know I can’t.
For it’s your journey to take
Not mine.

Life’s like that.
We’re each different.
We each walk
A different path.

But I’ve seen you take
Your next big step
Along the way.
And I can‘t help but feel
It was so hard to do.
And I can’t help but know
It’s what you heart told you
You had to do.

And that’s good enough for me.

Follow your heart,
Dear friend.
For written in your heart
Is the story of the path
Life wished for you
On the day
You were born.

If you listen carefully.
It will never lie to you.
It will simply be your guide
In life.

On your journey
To find you.

Tonight,

I make this wish.

A wish for a friend.

A simple wish

For I have learned,

Those are the best wishes

Of all.

I wish  for you tonight

To find your heart and soul.

Your self.

The you that life intended

To bless this world with

On the day your were born.

It won’t be easy.

I speak from experience.

But that’s not really the point.

Nor is finding that answer

To the question

“Who am I?”

It’s a question I’ve been asking

Of this life

More than twice as long

As you’ve been alive.

And I truly don’t know

If there’s an answer

At all.

But I’ve learned.

It’s not the answer

That matters.

It’s the journey.

The walk.

And all the things that happen

On the way.

It was almost 2 years ago

When the journey I am on

Changed dramatically.

I’ve told you that before.

And that change

Was wrought with pain.

More than I have ever known.

But it seems to me

Sometimes

Pain is what we have to face

To take the next step

Down the path

Of the journey

Each of us is on.

I know to many souls

That stopped walking

Long ago.

The pain got in the way.

And they became afraid.

And settled for staying

Where they were.

They haven’t changed.

They haven’t grown.

In years.

Some of them in decades.

I know this to be true.

Not so very long ago

I was one of them.

But you,

My friend,

Have not let fear

Stop you.

I can’t imagine

What it took

To take the step

You took this week.

I wish I could tell you

What it is you’ll find

On this journey you are on.

But I know I can’t.

For it’s your journey to take

Not mine.

Life’s like that.

We’re each different.

We each walk

A different path.

But I’ve seen you take

Your next big step

Along the way.

And I can‘t help but feel

It was so hard to do.

And I can’t help but know

It’s what you heart told you

You had to do.

And that’s good enough for me.

Follow your heart,

Dear friend.

For written in your heart

Is the story of the path

Life wished for you

On the day

You were born.

If you listen carefully.

It will never lie to you.

It will simply be your guide

In life.

On your journey

To find you.