#AtoZ2016 : P Is For Patience

There is one thing in this life
I will never have enough of.
One thing I will run out of
Every day.
One thing I won’t have
When I need it most.

You know this thing too.
And like me,
You wish you had more.
So much more.

I need it when I’m listening
To someone who hasn’t got a clue
Try to explain their point of view.
Limited as it is.
Blind as it is.
To me.

I need it when I’m teaching
Someone something new.
Something they don’t know.
They may not understand.
That may scare them.
That’s simple to me.

You know this thing too.
And like me,
You could use more,
So much more,
Than you have.

I need it when I’m driving,
To anywhere.
Dealing with the traffic on the roads.
With people being people.
Driving too slow.
Driving too fast.
Running stoplights.
Stopping to turn right.
And, in general,
Driving me nuts.

I need it when there’s something,
Anything, really,
I want to do.
Because sometimes,
I can’t do what I want,
When I want to.
Because I have to work.
Or take care of my home.
Or spend time with her.

You know this thing too.
And like me,
You’ll never have enough.
You’ll always need more.

I need it when I read something
Someone wrote.
Something I don’t agree with,
That angers me,
Frustrates me,
Makes me ask,
“How can they be that way?”

Because I know this truth.
And you know it too.
All it takes
Is a little time.
A little perspective.
A little patience.

And everything changes.
The anger fades,
The frustration washes away.
And everything becomes
Okay.

I know this thing I need.
This thing I won’t ever have
In sufficient quantity.

You know this thing too.
And like me,
You won’t ever have enough.

Patience.

God.
Do I need more.


It’s April 20th, and I’m a still one day behind on the A to Z Challenge for 2016. I expect to catch up on Sunday. Only 10 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.

#MWBB Week 2.44 – Wake Up In New York

The electric scream of the alarm clock shattered my sleep at 4 AM. The timers automatically turned on the lights in the room, forcing my eyes to snap shut. At 4 AM in New York, it’s still dark. I took a deep breath, opened my eyes, tossed aside the blankets, and rolled out of bed.

“Time to get ready for work!”

Work. The same damn thing as always. In the same building as always. With the same people. The same problems. The same lunches.

I wanted to go back to sleep. Fall into bed, bury myself under the blankets, and wake up when I woke up. But, that wasn’t life. That wasn’t grown up. Mature. Responsible. I pushed my body into motion. Got my shower, shaved, got dressed.

The sofa called as I walked past, “Come! Lie down. Stretch out. Relax.” But, I had bills to pay, rent, car, heat, water, electricity, phone. Hell, the damned phone was over $100 a month. I moved past it, ignored it, ignored the cry of my legs, “Let us rest!” I pushed on to the kitchen.

My usual breakfast. Three frozen sausage links, two frozen waffles, one banana, and a can of Amp. Aptly named, Amp. The solid food gave me protein and carbs to get me through to lunch. The Amp kick started me, got me out of the house and to work. I tossed the empty can in the recycling bin and shook my head to clear the cobwebs from my brain.

New York, the big apple, land of money, money, money. Land of the punched clock, unpaid overtime, unused vacation sold back to the company. New York, where nothing ever stopped. Where I got up every morning, before the sun, and pushed myself to work, along with millions of others. Where I worked long past sunset, then staggered home to eat another fast food meal picked up on the way. So I could crash, just in time for the alarm to shatter my sleep at 4 AM the next day. So I could do it all over again. And again.

I took her picture down months ago. She left, said I didn’t love her anymore. Said I loved my work more than her. She walked out with a suitcase, never came back.

She was right, you know. The job was all I was. All I did. Hell, I didn’t even dream at night. Except for nightmares, when I was at work, and the building got hit by a plane, or a bomb went off, or someone went bat shit crazy and shot everyone, like that guy in that movie theater in Colorado did one time.

It was time to go to work. I left my apartment, pulled the door shut behind me, I didn’t look back. If I looked back, I remembered.

Her.

I didn’t want to remember. I didn’t have time to remember. I had to get to work. I was a grown up. Responsible. Mature. I didn’t have time to remember.

Her.

500 Words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry for Year 2, Week 44 (Week 2.44) of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. This week the prompt is the song, “Wake Up In New York” by Craig Armstrong and Evan Dando. Please, go read the other stories in this week’s challenge.

#Rebirth : A Waste Of Time

“Have you watched him?” Kelly smiled as she pointed toward Edward.

“No.” Kelly admitted. “I’ve never been here with him.”

The two walked through the Camellia garden, taking their time, drinking in the colors and shapes of the Camellia blossoms filling the trees. “You should watch him.”

“Why?”

“Because.”

Cynthia watched Edward walk among the trees, with his camera. Edward stopped often and took another picture of another Camellia bloom. Sometimes, he took a dozen pictures of booms on a single tree. Sometimes, he took a dozen pictures of a single bloom. “What am I supposed to see?”

“Him.”

Him? She saw him five times a week at work. She talked with him, ate lunch with him, swapped birthday cards with him. Edward was her friend from work.

They followed Edward through the trees, keeping him in sight as he moved from tree to tree. He moved in circles, and zig zag lines. He stopped at a tree, took pictures, then looked around, spotted another tree, and made his way to it.

Cynthia checked the time on her watch. Twenty minutes of walking from tree to tree. “What is he doing?”

Kelly giggled. “He’s remembering.”

“Remembering what?”

Kelly didn’t answer. Cynthia shook her head. Twenty minutes staring at trees. Taking pictures with no rhyme, no reason. He had plenty of pictures. How many pictures could he take of Camellia trees and their flowers?

“He has thousands of pictures of Camellia blooms.”

“He does?”

Kelly’s smile was a relaxed, happy smile. “And he still takes more.” She watched Edward moving around a specific bloom, trying to hold his camera to take the best shot, with the best framing and background. “Don’t you wonder why?”

“It’s a waste of time.”

“Is it?”

Cynthia wanted to scream, “Yes! I have things to do! Places to go! A life to live! Deadlines, and commitments. I can’t be here, wasting time, wandering through a bunch of trees, looking at stupid flowers!”

“Why is it a waste of time?”

“What?” Surely, Kelly knew she’d asked a stupid question.

“Why is it a waste of time?” Kelly’s grin told Cynthia she knew everything, every reason taking pictures of flowers was silly, and a waste of time.

“You know.”

“So tell me.”

Cynthia took a deep breath and shook her head. “It’s his day off. He’s got things to do. A home to take care of. Laundry to wash. Dishes to wash. A lawn to mow. His family to take care of. Groceries to buy.”

“Yes. He does.”

“He doesn’t have time to wander around, taking stupid pictures.”

“Watch him.” Kelly resumed watching Edward, her eyes alive with color, and light, as if seeing something beautiful, something special. Cynthia had seen that look, she knew what it meant.

“What are you watching?”

“Just watch.”

She watched Kelly, as Kelly watched Edward. She realized Kelly was stopping at the same trees Edward stopped at, looking at the same Camellia blooms he looked at, watching him to see where he went, what he looked at.

“He always finds the prettiest blooms.”

Cynthia looked at the Camellia blooms too. Pink, red, white, and variegated, pink and red, pink and white, red and white. All of them different. Some just starting to open. Others in full bloom. Bright green leaves, others dark forest green, others almost pastel green, dark green, almost black veins laced through them.

The petals of the booms weren’t solid colors. Some looked like velvet. Others were like the leaves, veins of color laced through them. Pink with pink veins. Red with black veins. White with white.

She found herself carefully examining Camellia blooms. Their colors, their textures, their shapes. She found her eyes drinking in their colors, trying to burn them into her memory, so she could see them when she closed her eyes. So she could dream of them at night.

Cynthia watched Edward move from tree to tree, “He doesn’t care about the pictures, does he.”

“He doesn’t.” Kelly smiled, closed her eyes, and took a deep breath.

“He’s not here to take pictures.”

Kelly didn’t answer, moving to another of the Camellia blooms Edward has stopped at. Cynthia joined her, the two of them drinking in the sights Edward lead them too. Cynthia forgot about time. About responsibilities. About everything.

“Do you understand?”

Cynthia felt lighter. Less encumbered. Less trapped. She closed her eyes, and had to smile. “I want to look at more flowers.”

“Tell Edward.” Kelly pushed her toward Edward. “He’s been here dozens of times. He knows where all the flowers are. When they bloom. When they peak. When to find them.”

“I can’t. I don’t want to bother him.”

Kelly giggled again. She marched up to Edward. “Cynthia wants to see more flowers.”

Edward grinned, nodded, and off he went. They followed him, through the camellias, to a paved path to another part of the garden filled with Azaleas in full bloom.

He smiled at Kelly. “Will this do?”

All she could do was nod.

“You’re welcome,” and he smiled. She’d never seen his eyes so alive. She watched him walk through the Azaleas, many so filled with color, and with blooms, she couldn’t even see their leaves. Some towered over her. Some were tiny bushes, barely knee-high. Some lined walkways with walls of color. Pink, red, almost orange, white, and even blue with white middles. Oceans of blooms.

“I told you to watch him.”

Cynthia giggled.

“Do you know why?”

“He remembers, doesn’t he.”

Kelly laughed.

“He remembers what life is.”

Kelly drank in the colors and fragrances of the Azaleas. “Yes, he does. And every time he comes here, it brings him back to life.”

Cynthia couldn’t argue with her. Just by watching Edward, she’d felt her heart and soul wake up from the sleep she put them in each day when she became a responsible grown up.

“He remembers.”

“Shut up, Kelly. I have Azaleas to look at.”

They both laughed.

#VisDare 47 : Contemplating

Alice and I walked by the lake. “Perhaps it’s time I learned more about Jessica.”

“She’s not what they teach in the caves.”

“I know.” One day soon, I’d tell her about my life in the caves. “Nothing is what I learned in the caves.”

We went back to Old Phoenix, to an old theater. Alice taught me to make popcorn. I’d never seen anything like it. “Popcorn and soda,” she said, “perfect for watching movies.”

And we watched movies. For hours. “These tell the story of the end of what was. And the start of what is.”

“Alice,” I felt her fingers, so graceful, so delicate, laced between mine thick, scared, brutal fingers. “When the movies end…”

She interrupted me, “We’ll talk.”

“Yeah.”

I wished I could freeze time and stay in that moment, with her, and her smile, and her hand in mine, forever.

146 words
@LurchMunster


This is part 30 in the continuing story I’m working on for Angela Goff’s Visual Dare. Please read the other entries in this week’s Visual Dare challenge.

The entire story, from part 30 to part 1, is located here.

#MWBB 46 : End Of Time

I realized, standing there, looking into my eyes in the mirror, looking back at me, I hadn’t looked into them in years. I almost smiled at that. I’d told everyone, for years, I was OK. “I can look into my own eyes in the mirror, no problem.” And yet, I never did.

“I should have noticed that.”

I should have. Years ago. If I had, perhaps things would have turned out different. Better. I hadn’t. And it was far too late to change anything.

“I never noticed how empty they look.” They looked glazed over. Dull. Like eyes that no longer saw anything. Eyes that no longer worked. If only I’d have looked years earlier.

I started at myself, remembering her.

“I’m supposed to cry, right?” I asked the me I saw in the mirror. “Or get angry.” But the me in the mirror never answered. He just looked at me, his empty, glazed over eyes staring into mine. I didn’t cry. I didn’t get angry. I stood there. Staring into those empty eyes.

“The eyes are the mirror to the soul.” An old proverb I’d heard growing up. One I’d heard in countless songs. So many songs.

“How can you see into my eyes, like open doors? Leading you down into my core, where I’ve become so numb.”

I asked the man in the mirror, “Don’t people cry when they have broken hearts?” He just stared at me. A lifeless, empty stare. He didn’t smile. He just stood there. Carved of stone. As if he had no heart left. No feeling left. No soul.

I remembered the note she’d left on the bed, where I couldn’t help but find it. Handwritten. She never wrote anything by hand. Unless she meant it. Unless it was special.

“You don’t love me any more.”

Those words echoed in my head. In her voice. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw her, saying those words. “You don’t love me any more.”

She’d left. Didn’t tell me where she was going. Just, “You don’t love me any more. Don’t try to follow me. Good bye.”

I saw the tear stains on the paper. I couldn’t miss them.

I looked at the cold, heartless, stone man in the mirror. I wanted to scream at him. I wanted to scratch his eyes out. I wanted to rip his heart from his chest, and throw it away. He didn’t need it. He had no heart left. No soul. He was a walking dead man.

And he stood there, in the mirror, his glazed, empty eyes, staring back at me. He never said a word. Never shed a tear. As if he were a man of stone.

She’d written the words of a song on her note.

“I’ve come to realize
Tonight my friend the end of time
Is not so far away
We cannot pray to save our lives”

I stared at the dead man in the mirror. “Cry, damn you. Cry.” I whispered the words. Knowing the man in the mirror wouldn’t cry. Couldn’t cry. He’d forgotten how so long ago. And I kept hearing her speak the words she’d written. Her last words to me.

“You don’t love me any more. Tonight my friend, the end of time is not so far away.”

And I knew. There was nothing left of the man I saw in the mirror that day. He’d reached the end of his time.

571 Words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry for week 46 of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other stories in the challenge.

NOTE : Song lyrics referenced in this piece consist of:

1. Evanesence – Bring Me To Life
2. Lacuna Coil – End Of Time

#ThursThreads Week 83 : In And Out With A Quick Swipe Of Alcohol

Former Corporal Andrew James sat on the ground, leaning against the cinder blocks holding the single wide trailer up. He raised a nearly empty bottle of Southern Comfort to his mouth, and took a long chug. As he let the bottle fall, he whispered, “To you guys.”

Andrew staggered to his feet, “No, no. I don’t need help to get up.” Swaying as he stood, he put an arm around the shoulders of Corporal Timothy Simmons. “Right, Tim?” He looked Timothy in the eyes, “Tell ‘em. Tell ‘em I’m OK.”

Andrew looked up, spotted PFC Arthur Richardson, “Hey, Arth! Rough day out there, or what?”

No one answered. Except in Andrew’s mind. I knew he’d get through the bottle, pass out on the ground, and wake up with a hell of a headache tomorrow. But he’d be OK. All he needed was time. And friends. And to keep taking his meds, and talking with his doc.

It was one year since the IED went off. Since half of Timothy’s head ceased to exist. Since Arthur’s neck got snapped by the shock wave from the explosion. Since Timothy lost his right leg from the knee down.

He’d wanted to celebrate. “An anniversary! We’ll make a quick stop at the ABC store. In and out with a quick swipe of alcohol.” I’d let him. I’d know what would happen. But I knew he was still mourning. I knew he needed the release. I’d take care of him. We were Army brothers.

249 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Siobhan Muir‘s #ThursThreads, Week 83. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are good reading.

#ThursThreads Week 82 : That Wasn’t Really The Worst Part

“You’re still finding your way, aren’t you?”

I laughed. That question was all Shelly.

“Tom, I’m serious.”

I made a point of looking into her soft, green eyes, so she’d understand I was paying attention to her. “Yes.”

“A normal person would have gone back to work by now.”

I shook my head. “I’m not normal. You know that.”

“But you had a good job. You were successful. You were part of society.”

I knew she felt I’d come apart. Collapsed. Fallen to pieces. What happened to me made her sad. I knew she didn’t understand the life journey I was on. I knew she never would.

All I could do was smile.

She pulled her hair back over her shoulders. She did that when she tried to think through something.

“I can’t return to the world that nearly killed me.”

“Then find another job. Don’t let your skills go to waste.” Her eyes had that look people give each other when they know what they’re talking about. I know those looks exist. But I don’t know what they mean. “It’s like you’ve given up.”

I wanted to tell her I hadn’t given up. I’d awakened. Come alive. Stepped beyond the walls of the life she lived in. Walls she couldn’t even see. And that wasn’t really the worst of it. The worst was she believed I no longer cared.

“I will.”

“When?”

“When I find what I’m looking for.”

240 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Siobhan Muir‘s #ThursThreads, Week 82. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are good reading.