L is for…

If love is the way,
I find myself wondering
Why do we have wars?

If life is priceless,
Why do we let people die
While we keep our cash?

If love is the way,
Why are there homeless people
Dieing on our streets?

Is there liberty
When we bully and abuse
Those who aren’t like us?

If love is the way,
Why do we jail people who
Steal food when starving?


I know, I know. It’s April 16th. I was out of town on the 14th and 15th, so I’m trying to catch up. With that in mind, here’s all I came up with for the letter L for the 2015 A to Z Challenge. This is the 12th of 26 pieces I’m writing in April. Next up is M.

#NaNoWriMo – A Clip From Heartsong (an unedited work in progress)

Kellie and I visited the cemetery the day after they put Lillian’s headstone back, where I’d modified it. I knelt by Lillian’s grave, placed my hand on the runner of roses, and cried. My daughter was gone. I knew that. I also knew it was almost time to say goodbye. All I had left was to Jillian’s headstone. After that, I’d be able to say goodbye to them.

“Lillian, sweetheart, there’s something I have to tell you.” My hand rested on the headstone. “I want you to know, you don’t need to worry about me.” I reached for Kellie’s hand, pulled her forward. “I want you to meet Kellie.”Kel

Before Kellie could say anything I continued talking to Lillian, “See. I’ve met Kellie. So, I’m not alone here anymore.” I smiled, through the tears. “She’s my best friend. And I love her.” I spoke to Lillian like she was there. To me, she was. “I met her at breakfast one morning.”

“We became friends, started dating.” I patted the headstone. “Yeah. Me. Dating. I bet you never thought that would happen.” I paused, then continued my one-sided conversation with Lillian, “Now, don’t be mad. I know. She’s not your mother. But I know your mother would understand.”

“See, Lillian, Kellie’s moved in with me. We live together. We call it our home.” I smiled, wiped my eyes, cleared my tears, “We call just about everything ours. Our home, our cars, our money.” I did my best to smile.

“You know I’m slow sometimes.” I knew Lillian would laugh at that. “And it takes me a while to figure some things out.” I stuck my hand in my pocket. The small box with the ring inside rested in the palm of my hand. “It took me a while to figure out how I feel about her.” It was time to go for it. “I figured that out when I made a fairy for her.” Kellie almost blushed at that. “And you know, I don’t make things for people without a reason.” I took Kellie’s hand. “I told you I love her.” I paused, looked into Kellie’s eyes. Something I wanted to do every day, forever. “And I know your mother would approve of what I’m about to do.”

I stayed on my knees, shifted to face Kellie. Then, moved one leg forward, so I was on one knee. I put my hand back in my pocket, wrapped my fingers around the box. “Kellie, my love.” I pulled the ring out, opened the box, and held it out to her. “Will you marry me?”

She knocked me over as she threw her arms around my neck, and we wound up on the ground, in one heck of a kiss. When she finally came up for air I managed to get out, “I take it that’s a yes?”

“Yes!” she screamed and kissed me once more. “Yes!”

I got to my knees, helped Kellie to hers, then patted the top of Lillian’s headstone. “Well, Lillian, what do you think? You’re not angry are you?”

To this day I swear I heard her answer, “I’m so happy!”

It was my turn to kiss Kellie. And that’s exactly what I did.

And the voice between heartbeats said, “It’s almost time. Listen to your heart. It will tell you what to do. It won’t ever lie to you.”

We left the cemetery and headed back to our home. That’s what it was. What we wanted. Our home.

#MWBB 39 : Heavy In Your Arms

“It used to matter.”

“What?”

“What I wanted.”

Doc just gave me the look that said, “keep going.”

“It used to matter.” I took a long, slow, deep breath, held it in a few moments, and let it leak out slowly. I did that again. “What I wanted. It used to matter.”

He gave me that look again.

“I used to want to be happy.”

“Oh?” Sometimes, the man reminded me of Mr. Spock. ‘Cept he didn’t have pointed ears.

“Yeah. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to want? To be happy?”

“You know the answer to that.”

“Well. It used to matter. It doesn’t anymore.”

“Why?”

Damn, but that man could be so nosey! That was the trouble with meeting with the Doc every week. And him being good at what he did didn’t help any. I had to take another long breath. I kept thinking to myself, “It’s only anger, dude. Only anger. Just a feeling. Nothing more. Feelings can’t hurt you. Or control you.”

“Because of her!” Yeah. I practically screamed that. “Because of her.” Sometimes, all I really wanted to do was stand up, and go stare out the window at the park behind his office. Or just pace around the room.

I never did.

And I knew what he was going to ask before he asked, “Why?”

Because what she felt mattered to me. Because I wanted to make her happy. Because I hated all the things she loved to do, and all the times I went with her, and did those things. Because I couldn’t ask her to do anything I liked to do.

Because I needed the job I hated to make enough money to do the things she wanted to do. Because I had to burn through every hour of vacation I earned taking care of all the things she couldn’t get off of work to take care of. Because I only got time off by calling in sick to work once in a while, and taking a sanity maintenance day.

“Do you really love her?”

Yeah. That was the worst part of it. I did. I loved her. Maybe even too much. I couldn’t say no to her. I’d do whatever I had to, whatever I could, to give her everything she wanted. Because what she wanted mattered to me. What she felt mattered. What she dreamed of mattered.

And to help her have her dreams, I had to give up mine.

Don’t people do that for love?

When my session was over for the week, I left Doc’s office. But I didn’t go straight home. I stopped. At a Dairy Queen. Bought myself an ice cream cone. Sat in my car, and ate it. Listing to my music. Enjoying a moment without her.

Before I got home.

And I didn’t matter anymore.

471 Words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry for week 39 of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge.

#FTT 23 : This, To Me, Represents Love

“This, to me, represents love.” I held up a dozen cut roses. They had been Valerie’s favorite kind. Yellow in the middle, with red along the edges. I will never forget the day she left. She didn’t say where she was going. She just left a note, explaining she was leaving to find herself.

“Roses?” Helen laughed. “The ancient symbol of love, and beauty.” She looked at the roses. “And they are beautiful.”

Helen was a good friend. I sometimes dreamed of falling for her. But it was always just a dream. I knew it couldn’t happen. She was my friend. And love? Well. All I had to do was remember Valerie.

And remembering Valerie always caused me to hear Dan McCafferty’s voice, screaming in my mind.

“Love hurts,
Love scars,
Love wounds,
And mars,
Any heart
Not tough or strong enough
To take a lot of pain,
Take a lot of pain.”

I knew I’d never fall in love again. I knew I’d never survive that kind of pain again. I could still see holes in my heart where pieces had been. Pieces gone since Valerie left.

“You think they’re beautiful?” I had to ask.

“Yes,” she smiled, and grabbed my hand, slipping her fingers between mine. “But, fleeting.”

“How so?”

“They’re cut. They’re pretty enough now. But in a few days, they’re whither. Their petals will turn brown, and black, and fall off. And they’ll become slimy where they’re in the water in the vase.” She squeezed my hand. It felt good. I squeezed back, enjoying the simple physical contact. Just being able to touch her. Feel her hand in mine. I always found my smile when we held hands.

“Yep. Just like love.”

She frowned, but didn’t let go of my hand. “I know. You’re still wounded from her.”

I had to stare at the roses. I couldn’t look at Helen. Not right then. I couldn’t let her see the parts of me missing. I couldn’t.

I was too afraid. Afraid of what she’d see. Afraid of what I’d feel. Afraid of how I felt about her. Afraid of so many things.

“It’s OK. The roses always grow back.” She smiled again. “Every year, they bloom again.” She put her hand under my chin, and gently lifted it up, looking into my eyes. “Just like love blooms again.”

I handed her the roses. “For you.” I whispered those words.

She squeezed my hand again. “I love them.” She smiled. “And I’m not going anywhere.” She kept looking into my eyes. “I’ve got plenty of time. I intend to wait for spring, when love blooms again.” She let me look away, but kept holding my hand.

“I’ll wait for the roses to bloom again.”

456 words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Week 23 of Alissa Leonard‘s Finish That Thought. Please, go read all the creatively shared stories in this week’s challenge.

Fifteen Years

One day, there she was. We hadn’t seen each other in fifteen years. She was with her spouse. They’d been together 25 years at that point. She recognized me. I’ve been told I never really change. Just age. The lines in my face growing deeper. My hair growing more grey, and ever thinner up top. “Tom?”

I heard her voice. I stopped walking, and turned to look for who had asked my name. I saw her standing there, staring right at me. I didn’t know who she was. “Tom?” she asked again. “Is it you?”

I didn’t speak. My mind was racing through my mental archives. Searching through everyone I’d ever known. Everyone I remembered. Trying to remember people I’d long ago forgotten. She spoke as if she knew me. “Tom. It’s me. Barbara.”

I tilted my head to the side. “Barbara?” My mind searched for that name. I’d only known two people with that name in my 65 years on Earth. One in high school. One from the land of work. A land I’d exited rather suddenly.

As I stood there I remembered her. “You don’t remember me,” she said. “Do you.”

She was wrong. “I remember.” I wanted to add, “How could I forget?” I didn’t. It wouldn’t have been right. I’d come to realize in the years after my exit from the working world, I’d hurt her. I’d never meant to. But I had. It took me years to figure out what I’d done. And how my coming apart had hurt her.

I still didn’t really understand what I’d done. How what I’d done had caused so much damage. I only knew it had. I had.

“You look well,” I threw out a phrase I’d learned through the years. Something I knew people said to each other. It was a social skill I didn’t have. One I could mimic, but I couldn’t understand it. Small talk. “You look happy.”

She smiled. “It’s been a long time.”

I knew how long. I’m like that. I remember dates. Times. Events. Like the date and pretty close to the time of day I’d met my wife. The date, and time each of our children were born. Dates my mind considered important always remained in my mind. I could never forget them.

I could never forget the dates tied to her. The date she told me she was ill. The date the people at work had sent me home, forcing me out on leave. The date those same people declared I was never to talk with any of them again. For any reason. So many dates.

I remembered other dates. The one I’d told her I’d take her out on a boat, on the river, any day she asked, for as long as she wanted to go. The date I’d told her I’d send her a picture of a rose once a week until she got well. The date she’d come back to work after her first round of surgery. So many dates.

“15 years. Give or take,” I’d learned to fuzzy up the answer. I’d learned imprecision. Precision upset people. It disturbed them. Made them uncomfortable.

“How’ve you been?” She smiled as she asked. I remembered her smile. And her eyes. Both still reached right to my soul, touching my heart. I knew I could still forget everything just by looking into her eyes, seeing her smile.

She’d never understood, I knew that. No one ever had understood. Except my family. And my doctor. They knew. They understood me. They knew I loved Barbara. They knew I believed she was my friend. Someone I never wanted to hurt. Someone I would help any way I could.

Barbara never understood that kind of love. Learning I cared for her, learning I loved her scared her. She backed away. And everyone that knew both of us acted to keep her safe from me. Now, there she was. Standing an arm’s length away from me. Smiling.

I took a chance. I glanced, briefly, into her eyes. Then, I looked at her husband. I smiled at him, and extended my hand. He accepted the gesture. “Good to see you both,” I stated the greeting I’d learned over the years.

I’d promised myself I’d do one thing if I ever saw her again. I’m a lot of things. Disturbing. Disruptive. Confusing. Lost in a social environment. But I always tried to keep my word, and I’d promised myself, and God, I’d apologize to her if I ever saw her again.

I looked back at her eyes. She always had such beautiful eyes. “I’m sorry, you know.”

She just looked at me.

“I never meant to hurt you.”

I looked at him once more. “It’s been good seeing you both. I wish you well.”

With that, I smiled one last time, at her. Then I did what I had to. I turned and walked away. I knew how much I’d changed. I knew she didn’t know who I was. She only knew who I’d once been. I knew too, she’d never understand me, what I’d become, who I’d become. Part of why my time in the working world ended as badly as it did was to protect her. From me.

I wouldn’t take the chance to hurt her again. I would honor the wishes of the people I’d once known, and protect her from me.

So I turned, and walked away.

#ThursThreads #67 : Not Even Once

My Dad looked at me, handing my 10 day old son to me, “Woah, this fella’s a little ripe!”

I took my son from Dad, “Ripe?”

My wife, Deborah, sitting on the sofa in her house robe, next to my mother, explained, “He pooped in his Pamper, dear.”

I stammered, “Oh! Ripe!”

Dad looked at Deborah, “Lemme guess, he ain’t changed the baby yet.”

She nodded, “Not even once.”

“There ain’t no time like the present!” he announced, heading toward the baby’s room.

Deborah motioned me to follow Dad. Mom was laughing. “I’m gonna like bein’ a gran’ ma!”

Dad stood me next to the changing table. “Put the little fella down.” I did. He handed me a clean Pamper, the baby wipes, and a little blue plastic bag. “Take off the old one, put it in the bag, clean him up with the wipes, put the wipes in the bag too, then put him in a clean one.”

I set the wipes down, opened up the blue bag, and pulled the tape straps on his Pamper. “Holy shit!”

Dad laughed, “Yep. That’s what it is.”

“It’s green!” Dad just nodded, “Like, like…”

“Baby shit,” Dad finished my sentence for me.

He talked me through the changing process, then he told me, “Do this every night before you put him to bed. It stinks. But it’ll show her how much you love her.”

When we returned to the family room, Dad declared, “Now he’s a real man!”

@247 Words
LurchMunster


I wrote this for Siobhan Muir‘s #ThursThreads, Week 67. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are good reading.

#MondayMixer : The Engagement Ring

The restaurant sat at the end of a small peninsula that extended into the river. It was styled like an old riverboat, and even had a functioning paddle wheel at the back. That’s where we met, lawyers and all.

The lawyers made sure we signed all the appropriate paperwork making our divorce legal, and final. We’d been in love once. But we’d both changed. Our tastes, lives, likes, and loves had taken divergent paths. Divorce was the natural, appropriate ending to our relationship.

Before we went our separate ways, she loosened the drawstring on her reticule and pulled out the engagement ring I’d given her. “I won’t be needing this.”

“It’s yours to keep. I bought it for you.”

She smiled. “It would only remind me of you.”

The ring rests in my desk’s top right drawer, but I never think of her.

150 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this little ditty for Jeffery Hollar‘s weekly Monday Mixer flash fiction challenge. Please, go read all the other entries in this week’s challenge. They are all well crafted.

And yes, the Inlinkz list was closed when I posted this tonight…