The golden days of summer picnics with sweetly scented jam, crusty bread, cold slices and chilled fruit platters live only in our memories – a clear line in our collective consciousness separating time before and after the incident we refer to as The Final March.
The chemical weaponry disoriented many of us, sending the synchronised beat of our hearts off kilter, heady toxins muting all our sensory navigational cues. Only some made it back to the nest where we now reminisce about the old days and remind our young to give the big house a wide berth as we continue what our ancestors have done for millenia.
We hush and tread softly when within sight of the place of carnage, paying our respects to generations wiped out at the callous hands of the then new owner. Marching in single file, we lift far more than our weight.
“No such thing as a free lunch” he’d huffed, but the cost of that meal was an exorbitant act of insecticide.
This story has lived in my phone’s memo app for months. It was time to release it. I may add an illustration at a later date.
First published July 19, 2017. Illustration added August 8, 2017.
and at home in the hessian tones of the captain’s embrace.
Content in all his coats save for the blues of the glistening sea-
he’d failed to shake those drops off when disembarking number nine.
haunt the patina of his bronzed likeness,
unravelling his immortal coil between the
he never sleeps- perchance to dream and lose his footing.
Inspired by Sonya’s Three Line Tales, Week 70 and after the initial concept, inspired further by a ferret down an online rabbit hole that made me stumble and trip on Shakespeare’s Hamlet. I do not claim to have read Hamlet in its entirety but was pleased with how parts of his soliloquy worked with my idea.
The silent assassin, a chameleon with a saccharine smile, gracious only in affording her victims their choice of poison. Salivating, they were lulled into a false sense of security with the crayon hued assortment. Nostalgic for the colours of their youth, their mouths moved of their own volition, each bite leaving tell tale crumbs of life’s gradual erosion.
The carriage was full, travelers standing with shoulders, backpacks and elbows pressed, a carnival of scarves and beanies as the game-attending crowd created jostling hues of their allegiances.
With the approach of their stop, the ebb and flow of chatter reached a crescendo of deafening laughter and chanting, morphing the game crowd into a single organism, leaving Elise feeling even more alone on what was for her a milestone journey.
Replaying the moment in nightmares and obsessive thoughts of waking hours, she hadn’t imagined the station being a welcome sight, but with the crowd’s departure, there was momentary relief in tears no longer forced back by a levee of laughing eyes, blurring the tracks and trees like rain streaking the window, her sobbing gasps filling the void they’d left as the train crawled past the spot marked by cellophane and ribbons of a bouquet long gone.
She always said family is strengthened by sticking together through life’s twists and turns.
As the matriarch, she’d kept us close with her stories, recipes that could not be recreated by anyone else, and hugs that spoke volumes where words failed to capture the nuances of shared joys, sorrows, or more often, everyday moments that would have otherwise gone forgotten if not infused with her love.
Now her home spun twine is unraveling, edges frayed from the tug-o-war over everything she’s left behind.
After coming up with the title, I looked it up to see if one of the other 7billion people on the planet had thought up that combination. Yes, apparently not much original thought remains (I’m kidding), there is a film of the same name that has received an 8% rating on rotten tomatoes, ouch! Have you seen it? Would that rating stop you from watching it, or would you happily put aside 1 hour and 27 minutes of your life for a little Rick Moranis?
Postscript: It was after posting this that out of curiosity, I read about the scent of violets (it is late here, so I couldn’t go seeking violets to have a whiff). I learnt that after stimulating your olfactory receptors, the aromatic compound that gives violets their scent (ionone) temporarily shuts off the receptors, taking away your ability to smell the flower. How fitting and serendipitous that violets are known for their ephemeral scent! There is nothing more I’d like to do right now than smell a violet for a little while.
James extended the wooden ladder against the side of their house, its gutter bursting with leaves being washed away from their summer resting place. He was racing against time, the elements and his wife’s contractions. Alice was at the Royal, 14 hours into labour. The sudden wild, torrential rain had given James reprieve from his helpless, emasculated presence at her hospital bedside. Continue reading →
Pulling back the curtain of canvas and hanging Wisteria, Ella considered the day ahead. There was a certain predictability in the routine of others that let her know roughly what time it was, and whether it was a weekday or weekend, if she lost track.
The jogger, a slim woman always dressed in black that made her look slimmer still, stood out with her swatch of red hair that she neatly tied back in a ponytail with a single braid, a metronome keeping time to her pace. She slowed to a stop in front of the kiosk, stretching her arms up toward the sky- grey in its non-committal stance, leaving her guessing whether the forecast from yesterday’s paper should be trusted. Picking up her pace after grabbing two bananas and a coffee, the jogger approached with her usual gait, prompting Ella to once again imagine what she’d say if someone asked, rather than surmising her story and leaving her to translate their misinterpretation in looks of pity, charity or just plain indifference. The best she’d come up with was an enigmatic