Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2018/10/03

Julia carefully straightened one last misplaced curl of my wig, “There. That’s better.” She examined me from head to foot, a thorough once over. “I know why you’re doing this, you know. But you could just dress as yourself. No one would really mind.”

I stared into the mirror for a moment. “Mom always said she wanted me to have a proper wedding. One with a bride, and a groom, and a grand wedding dress, in a grand old church.”

“I know.” She adjusted the white fabric flower on my left sleeve again. “There. That’s better.”

“You’re certain you have everything right? Nothing missing?”

She nodded. “You couldn’t look any more like a bride if you were a girl, dude.”

I looked at myself in that mirror again. “You know. I’ve never had on a wig, or makeup before.”

“I know.” Julia grinned.

“I honestly don’t know how you guys deal with all this stuff. Every single day. It would drive me crazy.”

She had a fun laugh, I’d always thought that. Almost a cross between a giggle, and a guffaw. It was what I needed right then, it made me feel better. “See, Bobby? See? That’s the smile you need today. That smile.”

I keep smiling into the mirror. “Bobby, you make a gorgeous looking bride.”

It was my time to laugh, “No. You made me a gorgeous looking bride. On my own, I’d look like some bearded woman in a pile of wrinkled fabric.”

She gave me a hug, like any big sister would. “You ready? It’s almost time.”

I nodded. “Yeah. Let’s do this.”

James was resplendent in his tuxedo, standing at the front of the church, next to the pastor, with Alexander standing next to him. Mary and Danielle stood on the bride’s side of the pastor, and watched as my boss from work, Stephen, escorted me down the aisle.

I was terrified. Walking in those damn high heels, with those straps cutting into my ankles, to keep the shoes from coming off. And my legs felt all wrong, having been shaved, and having none of the hair they’d always had.

But, if I was getting married, I wanted it to be a wedding Mom would approve of. And she’d wanted me to find someone to love. My other half, she called them. And have a big celebration, with a church wedding, and a beautiful, classic brides gown.

I’d always loved my Mom. Always. And I wished, as I walked down the aisle, she could be there, on that front row, next to Julia, and her family, to see the wedding I’d arranged.

It was beautiful. I know Mom would have loved it. And I hoped she would approve of me having found my other half in James. As I walked that aisle that day, it was like I could see her looking down from heaven, watching.

It had been Mom’s wish. And I’d found a way to make it come true.

496 words

Saw the picture for week 75 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge, and this little bit of fiction popped into my head. As a friend said, “Your blog. Post whatever you want.” So, here it is. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. And many of them are amazing.


#AtoZ2016 : L Is For Late

I think everybody’s late. Yep. That has to be the case. Everybody’s late. Have you seen how people behave? How they drive? How they rush through the stores? How they watch their watches when they’re on the beach?

Everybody’s late. For something.

I first noticed this at the Norfolk Botanical Garden, as I walked along, and took pictures of everything, daisies, roses, lilies, magnolias, camellias, squirrels, birds, ducks. I took pictures of everything. And while I wandered through the garden, I listened to the music I liked, playing on my MP3 player. I was always there at least two hours, and sometimes over three.

I never had a schedule while I was there. Never thought, “I need to see this, and then this, and then this.” Never thought, “I have to be home by this time.”

You do know, don’t you, I don’t wear a watch. I don’t even own a watch.

As I walked through the garden, I noticed other people walking. And almost all of them were walking for a purpose. Walking to an objective, or a goal. They were running a lap around the garden, or walking a lap, and when the lap ended, they left. They didn’t stop to look at the flowers, or the trees. They marched straight through, until they wound up back at their cars.

It made me sad. Made me feel sorry for them. Because I knew they didn’t see the things I saw. Didn’t see the beauty of the camellia trees in full bloom in January and February. Didn’t see the pinks, whites, or reds of those blooms. They stayed to their paths, and got done with what they were doing. And all the colors, all the blooms, all the beauty of the place, wasn’t on the paths. It was between the trees, hidden from the paved walkways.

They didn’t see the delicate beauty of the roses. Over 1000 rose bushes, and most of them walked through. They looked side to side, saw the colors, but never stopped, never took the time to look, and see the velvety texture of the petals, or the morning dew on them.

Always, they returned to their cars, and left. Right on schedule. Right on time for whatever they had next on their schedules.

They race to work each day, don’t they. I know, I’ve watched them. I’ve seen them wait until the last possible moment, then dash to their cars, many still getting ready for work, drinking their coffee, eating a muffin, or pop-tart, or cereal bar. I’ve watched women in the car behind me, as they put on their makeup, eye-shadow, toner, lipstick, and whatever else they use. Makeup is a mystery to me. I found it interesting to watch. But I also knew, they put it on in the car, because they were late. They didn’t have time to finish at home.

I’ve watched men shave with electric razors, as they drove along the highway, at 65 or more. One hand on the wheel, one on the razor, dragging it all over their face. And I’ve wondered how they get where they’re going without crashing.

Always, they rush. Always, they’re late.

Late for work. Late for church. Late for the opening of the store. Late for breakfast. Late for lunch. Late for dinner. Late getting home. Late, late, late.

Did I mention I don’t have a watch?

In the first year I was in therapy, the receptionist said to me, “You don’t have a watch, do you.”

I held up my wrist, no watch on it, “Nope.”

She sighed, and looked puzzled, and asked, “How come you’re never late?”

The simple answer to her question? Because I always leave on time.

And I wonder, why does everyone rush so much? Why are they in such a hurry? Why do they always look at their watches, and the clocks on their phones, and in their cars?

Why are they always late?

I have a doctor’s appointment in June. I know the time. I know the date. I know I’ll be there with time to spare. I won’t be late. And I won’t have to rush, or hurry, to get there. Just like I never race to get to work, where I’m scheduled to be five times a week. And no one remembers when I was late, or if I ever was. I’m not there on time. I’m there early. Always early.

And so I wonder. Why all the rush? Why all the insanity.

Is everyone late?

It’s April 16th, and I’m a still two days behind on the A to Z Challenge for 2016. Only 14 more letters to write stories for this month.

Please, go explore the A to Z Challenge, and the sites of others who are participating in this adventure.

Yep, That Was The Stupidest Thing I’ve Ever Done

Yep, that was the stupidest thing I’ve ever done. But I’d do it again, in a heartbeat. Because it was the right thing to do. Let me explain.

Five years ago, Becky sat in the cube next to mine at work. Her laugh always made me smile, and I wanted so much to just stare into her blue eyes. I’d asked her to lunch once, but she’d refused. “My boyfriend wouldn’t like it.”

I settled for the usual, safe office small talk. “How was your weekend?” and “How did you celebrate the holiday?” Meaningless, safe stuff. Stuff everyone knows they can talk about. Like asking, “How was your vacation?” when she came back after a trip, or “Hope you’re feeling better now,” when she’d been out sick. Small talk. Nothing nosey.

But I noticed those mornings she came in with a little extra makeup on. Those days she winced when she reached for the phone. Those days she wore long sleeves in the spring or summer.

I noticed those days she called in sick, and came in a day or two later, walking a little carefully and slowly. I noticed how she always wore mascara on those days, and long sleeves.

I knew the story the details covered up.

On Becky’s birthday, the office bunch went took her to lunch. Her boyfriend showed up. Becky was really quiet, and didn’t talk like she normally did. I knew why. She was scared of him, the loud, arrogant person that made sure everyone knew Becky was his. Like she was a possession of some kind.

Lunch was eventful as everyone tiptoed around the topic of Becky’s long sleeves, and extra makeup. “Nice to meet you,” and “So you’re the guy she’s told us about,” and “You’re a lucky guy, having a girl like her.”

Everything was small talk, until he was ready to leave. That’s when things went bad. Really bad. Becky didn’t want to go with him. “I have to go back to work,” she’d said.

The guy yanked her to her feet, “No one will mind if you spend the afternoon with me.”

That’s when Becky looked at me, with her eyes screaming, “Help me!”, and she whispered to me, “Please.”

So, I stood up, and stepped in front of him. “She doesn’t want to go. And I’m not letting you hurt her any more.”

I got the beating of my life that day. A broken jaw, cracked ribs, bruises everywhere. But I stood up to the bad guy. And the restaurant staff called the cops, and an ambulance. Becky rode to the hospital with me. The cops arrested her boyfriend. And that’s when the domestic violence and assault charges got filed.

It took weeks for me to breath without wincing. My ribs hurt for months. I had 27 stitches in my lips and chin. It was the stupidest thing I’ve ever done, standing up to that guy. But, I’d do it again. See.

I got Becky too.

498 Words

I wrote this for Alissa Leonard‘s Finish That Thought flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge. I found them all worth reading.