Minutes became hours-
Hours became days.
Here I am,
An open field-
Lost in my own maze.
I built these walls
With my own bare hands
As you forged a path
With stone that barely stands.
Finally, I open my eyes
Just to sit and stare.
As now I am only a part
Of what once was a pair.
I can only remember
Where we began-
A shot was fired
So I ran
And I ran.
Must have held you
Close beside me
With my tightest grip.
I went too far ahead-
So we both fell hard
Tied to bits and pieces
Of the little that we shared
I left a trail
For you to follow
“He never knew”
I’ll tell myself,
he never cared.
I miss you, I guess
I saw your mom today, it was normal because I see her all the time. She waved at my car and I waved back, and pretended it didn’t hurt.
It made me think of you,
of nights spent on the living room floor on a blow up mattress;
of midnight drives to get ice cream because the movie made us cry.
I still think about the nights I slept on your bedroom floor because my mom and I were fighting. You were my safe space. I don’t want to admit it because it makes me feel weak, but: I miss you, I guess.
It doesn’t seem fair, that you cut me out without an explanation. Why was I the piece of your life that got tossed aside? It was hard to hear that you felt that we couldn’t be friends anymore. I suppose eighteen years doesn’t much these days.
I’m not angry anymore, but I still feel like I am missing a piece of myself. I miss you, I guess.
Remember when you came to my wedding, but instead of standing next to me where you belonged, you were in the back row in a black dress.
I hugged you, but I was angry.
Remember when you came to my graduation, not for me but you were there.
I hugged you, I cried into your hair.
Remember your grandfather’s funeral, when we drank tequila and talked about the past. It felt like old times, that was weird.
I hugged you, and that time the tears weren’t over you.
Remember the family reunion, we played soccer with Danny and Sam. We talked about tattoos and jobs. I laughed, but I was hurting.
Its hard to say goodbye to people you still see but know they aren’t thinking about you anymore. You could call me tonight and I’d drive to Ohio, but I know I’m still blocked on your phone.
I miss you, I guess.
Rage Against Dying
Every second of every day
I have to convince myself that there’s a reason to stay,
hanging from the edge by my pinkies,
about to tumble down this cliff side like a broken slinky,
reaching for my kids, my music, my words,
the branches I’m hanging from until my will to live stirs;
my anger, resentment, pain, spite
that keeps me alive from the morning to the lonely night.
I fight and fight, white knuckles bleeding.
I scream into the abyss: today I’m not leaving.
And I run and punch and block and kick.
Beat my demons down with sticks
burning with the fires of my angry soul,
raging with flames and burning hot coals
until I simmer down and walk the night
like a caged tiger, a dragon, a Phoenix in flight.
Mythological Creatures Challenge Winner
Thanks to all who entered my challenge. I truly enjoyed reading each imaginative and magical post.
This was an exciting, “win by likes” race; we even had a three-way tie for a bit. However, Huckleberry Hoo and Rhiannon3 just barely got edged out at the end by Misschevivon.
Thanks again, all you beautiful wordsmiths. I hope to see you again soon in my next challenge <3
The Brilliant Conversationalist and Story Teller Reaper
I don't know if he (or maybe she?) qualifies as a creature, so my entry may be disqualified, but that's okay. My favorite mythological being is the Grim Reaper (Let's call him G.R for short). Frankly, G.R gets a bad rap. I think the heavy metal album covers, black light posters, and tattoos featuring G.R don't represent him fairly. I believe the misrepresentation comes from the unsupported supposition that G.R has some part in the person's demise. This isn't the case. G.R is an escort for the dead, nothing more, nothing less. Think of him as a UPS delivery guy who has very exclusive delivery destinations and doesn't have to wear those stupid brown shorts.
Many images of G.R portray him as one who relishes death. I kind of doubt he does because unlike a Door Dash driver, he doesn't get tips and has ZERO time off. There's no extra incentive involved and G.R won't be able to rest until the last soul on Earth is reaped. I think G.R does the job to the best of his ability without expectation. There are no judgements, no bonuses, or quotas. G.R comes for all with the same dedication to his task. He doesn't care if you're young, old, rich, poor, Christian, Atheist, or anything else. I would argue that G.R is probably the most unprejudiced entity in the universe. I take comfort in the fact that even the likes of Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Jeff Bezos have the same end as everyone else. Just like the poorest of the poor, the hearts of these rich motherfuckers will stop, their brains will shut down, and their bowels and bladder will evacuate themselves. So, rich or poor, we all meet our ends in our own shit and piss. I'm guessing this probably makes the lack of a nose a blessing for the Grim Reaper.
As the reaper of souls, I'm sure G.R gets a lot of heat when his job involves children. Nothing is really mentioned in folklore, but I can see how maybe an ancestor of the departed is assigned to go with G.R to reap and then deliver the tiny soul. I can also see how honorably fallen soldiers may receive an honor guard escort to provide companionship as G.R takes them to where good soldiers go when their fighting is done.
One thing that isn't talked a lot about in G.R's folklore is how he interacts with the soul he is reaping. Has anyone ever considered how many stories G.R can tell? He has escorted all of humanity to the Great Beyond. I'm sure he got tired of the likes of Columbus, Andrew Jackson, Hitler, and Mussolini sniveling like the impotent cowards they were as they grew closer to their unseasonably hot destination. I bet he sang an acapella version of, "Another One Bites the Dust" with Freddie Mercury. He probably traded jokes with George Carlin, Sam Kinison, and Bob Hope. I bet he, Bon Scott, John Bonham, Janice Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Malcom Young, Mama Cass, Randy Rhodes, and Lemmy stopped for a beer on the way to rock and roll heaven. G.R probably discussed literature with Shakespeare, Twain, and Steinbeck. Instead of the Grim Reaper, I bet it's more accurate to call him the, Brilliant Conversationalist and Story Teller Reaper. I'd be grim too if everyone thought I was evil when I'm just doing my job. I bet he could keep me on the edge of my seat for hours just describing the cluster fuck that was the bubonic plague and how the only time he was ever tempted to do violence is when Native Americans, Jews, and other peoples were killed by the millions during our all too frequent dark periods of genocide. G.R may deliver without judgement, but that doesn't mean he doesn't recognize the stupidity of blind hate, arrogance, ignorance, and greed when he sees it.
Unless you're Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, death is inevitable. No one escapes it. Frankly, living forever would be boring anyway if you think about it. Humanity is supposed to have a fairly short shelf-life. It makes us appreciate the wonders of the universe and our small place in it. If he's out there, I am glad the Grim Reaper is on the job.
The fartblossom (Flatulus malodorus) is an aquatic or ground plant whose leaves float atop the water or protrude from the ground and whose stem and roots extend vertically below the surface. It uses a hybrid type of photosynthesis that converts CO2 to hydrogen sulfide, although other byproducts are released, presenting as a bouquet of flatus variations as perceived by Cranial Nerve I (Olfactory Nerve). Many descriptions have been proffered to describe its perfume, e.g., "dead rat," "pus ball," "burned mucus retention clots" (i.e., burned boogers), and Lazarus just before being raised from the dead (John 11:38-40).
Its bloom, which is typically VERY SUDDEN, is accompanied by the plant tilting to one side or the other and a sound much like a thunderburst. Some botanists have claimed to have observed a "silent but deadly" variation of its bloom, with either no sound at all or accompanied by a sound much like the scratching sound of a Geiger counter. But they died. Further research into this phenomenon is currently underway with prisoner volunteers, usually sex offenders.
The slightest contact with it will provoke the paroxysmal bloom and its exudate is difficult to remove when it is aerosolized into the air and lands on hair, skin, clothing, etc. Seeds are very prolific in the spontaneous generation of buds soon thereafter and are often thrown onto others' properties during neighborhood disagreements. Others plant them as a strategy to keep dogs from moving their bowels on their property, relying on the wind to mitigate this questionable trade-off.
The fartblossom is the national flower of Hell. It is also the real reason Vincent van Gogh took his life, while doing his unfinished still life, "Plant Indisposed." (He should have cut off his nose, instead, like Tycho Brahe, who fell into a nest Flatuli malodori in a tragic misstep.)
Each and Every Bump in the Road (courtesy of Temptation Press and 2018)
“I will NEVER do this again!” I had only 10 seconds, on a borrowed cell phone to leave this message for my brother. He wants to get married so I am happy for him. In his bride’s home town in Western Honduras; no problem there. Two planes from New York to San Diego to Tegucigalpa; I can live with that. Bumped from the first, with a four hour layover, my luggage lost, and I’ve seen better days. But to have to bus ride for ten hours to a small town called Belén Gualcho in the district (or as they call it, the department) of Ocotepeque is where I draw the line. My only shoes have three inch heels and they are killing my feet. I should be happy they are not higher. I am low on toothpaste and perfume. I have a comb, but no humidity-proof makeup. Presently I am presentable because I found the patron saint of chivalry who gave up his chair at the bus station allowing me to sleep for a single hour. From what I heard about my bus is that it is always crowded, with riders carrying chickens, sans air conditioning. I know I will eventually arrive for a wedding. However, I may just depart from a funeral, not mine, but my brother’s.
So here I am, waiting for the sunset bus to meet my new sister-in-law. She had better be worth the effort of moving Heaven and Earth to get here. Previously to her, or should I say, Maria, Robert, or should I say, my ungrateful twin brother, had poorer taste in women than I ever had with men. Both of us have been engaged and both of us have had our hearts broken. All we ever could count on was each other, thus my trek through “paradise” for me to be with him. Maybe I want to see if he could actually get married. Maybe I wanted to see him fail. The last would be both selfish and pathetic, but it would keep us on even footing in true love’s basement. Smart money is on the return of the wedding bands.
Ever the optimist, I hear my bus arrive and confirm my laundry list of low expectations. I could board after the poultry conventioneers, but I choose otherwise. The last few riders must expect to stand for the duration and are dressed accordingly. Sensible shoes, little in the way of baggage, and relatively quiet. They may be of a professional class or church going or maybe solely interested setting an example. Earlier, I felt selfish and pathetic before boarding. Now I feel selfish and (somewhat) hopeful when I board the bus within this group.
My itinerary was as simple as possible. Bus number 112 travels the length of Honduras and back again with a five day frequency (barring roadside repairs). My Spanish is poor, so I have to depend on the driver maintaining his schedule. Should I have to deviate from my Plan A, I will miss the wedding of Robert and Maria and my journey will be for naught. I have no contingency in which to improvise. Should I have to rely on the kindness of strangers, I will be out of my element in asking for such hospitality.
At least I thought so.
While walking to the rear of the bus, to stand, I found no male patrons willing to sacrifice their seat. I did find a somewhat bizarre local who kept motioning me to sit on his lap. Maybe he thought my wrap dress would permit him the adolescent fantasy neither time past or wife present would authorize. I am sure his sleeping esposa was only pretending to be asleep. Scrutinizing his every move, he was not going to be on my dance card. So standing remained my only option. However, standing without a secure overhead grasp was not an option. I may be squeezed sardine style, but I could not be subject to the random motions of spring-less, dirt-road, mountainous, vehicular kinetics. I knew this as a fact. So did he.
By he, I mean the dashing knight who understood my predicament, but maybe not my language. He did not speak with words, but instead, with actions. All he did was turn a mere ninety degrees to face me. Without speaking, he effortlessly raised my left hand and rested it on his right shoulder to help me with balance. His white dress shirt was not silk, but very close. Possibly a synthetic or blended fabric designed for coolness was all the reason he needed to wear it. I found my hand comfortably placed. We became closer together as the last rider to embark did embark, I offered no resistance to such boldness. He belatedly asked permission with his full blue eyes. These were the dreamy eyes I fantasized about as a young girl. These were the blue eyes I dreamed my future husband would possess. I could have broken his gaze, if I had wanted to, but I didn’t. Who am I kidding, I couldn’t. I found no wedding ring or obvious sign of attachment. Likewise, I offered neither for him to discover.
So we just stood in place. He, absorbing the imperfections of the road with his legs and grip on the luggage rack. Me, absorbing the shuffle of the others with my shoulders and touch on his firm shoulder. I might be able to withstand ten hours of his company if past performance is indicative of future returns.
The summer sun sets slowly in Honduras and the riders adhere to strict nocturnal rituals passed thru the generations. The hens bedded down for their silent slumber. The children found their mother’s shoulder in which to rest upon. Even the bizarre man reconciled with his wife and found solace in her company. The bus’s engine provided a soft hum of constant velocity and the night wore steadily on. The temperature began to drop and the proximity of other riders became a scant more distant than earlier. Everyone eventually found their spatial, tolerable equilibrium. Only the man with the blue eyes remained on constant vigil. His strength never wavered in correcting the driver’s aberrant regard to pothole avoidance. I found, as time passed, a host of questions I wanted to ask, but became afraid that if I did, and he did not speak English, or spoke with a buffoon voice, or slurred his words, the burgeoning magic we shared may be extinguished. Weighed against the risk of nine additional hours of uncomfortable proximity versus immediate knowledge, I cast aside the vocabulary requirements of this stranger and began to examine his attributes in silence.
He must have drawn the same conclusion and followed my lead.
By 11pm, I needed to shift my footing to relax some of my leg muscles and divest myself of my heels. I candidly raised my free hand to his field of vision and lightly grasped his left shoulder for balance. His eyes followed my eyes to encourage my action. Fortunately for me, pumps are easily removed with a gravitational accomplice and I found my feet flattened against the wooden floorboards of the bus. Now, three inches shorter, my grip on him became more of a requirement than an option. Now, three inches shorter, I had to raise my head to continue eye contact. If my feet did not hurt as much as they did, I would have never discarded my height advantage. But, because I did, I found relief and opportunity.
Relief from the rescinding pain in the toes and opportunity in that he lowered his free hand to my waist.
It was a deliberate move, deliberately moved. Once again, in doing so, he did not ask, he just did. Slowly, his right hand found the exact place a gentleman finds when contemplating further action. This nexus between my lower back and upper hip welcomed his maneuver prior to cerebral authorization. The hum of the engine and the constant motion of the bus did not jar our fellow passengers from their sleep. In fact, the former helped conceal his actions from the dozens of prying eyes who could have watched. I did watch and found myself incapable of mounting a reasonable defense against further encroachment. He was as brazen as he was polite. His hand did continue its sojourn across my waist. Slowly. Effortlessly. And with all intention, it repositioned. I wanted to remain inaudible, but to no avail. He heard my small gasp and responded with a barely detectable quantity of pressure. So slight his touch, so as not to move me more than an imperceptible distance from the adjacent people and a galaxy closer to him. There I stood, watching him watch me. Minutes passed. I waited for him to make the next move. He didn’t and he did. To explain the first, he remained rigidly composed, as a statue, to counter the constant sway of the moving vehicle. To explain the second, he began to fan his fingers both above my waistline and below. Each finger gradually proceeded to a new position, perhaps to stabilize me during a well-known portion of difficult road or perhaps to engage in reconnaissance of my defenses. The Victorian in me assumed the former. The adventuress desired the latter. I informed “blue-eyes” to my acceptance of his advances by placing my head near his chest. Not exactly resting on his shirt, but in close proximity should further reassurances arise.
The next hour found the two of us watching each other. The next hour found the two of us swaying to the hypnotic rhythm of the resonance between the road and the chassis of the bus. Without thinking, or perchance I was, I began rocking with the sway “of the road”. Its gentle motion permitted me small movements leaving the nearby passengers uninterested.
Choreographed as a slow dance, I slid my hands around his neck and finally rested my head on his silken shirt. While technically not a surrender, I became enamored with his build and his strength. He carried himself well. His shirt had that freshly ironed linen smell that always attracts me. How he managed this, under these circumstances, I would never know. And for the first time since we met, I saw a reflection of him smile.
For the first time since we met, I wanted him and I wanted him to know I wanted him.
And then I became greedy.
I have been in love before. Deeply in love. So deep I felt its full force impact my very existence. Love consumed me, both body and soul. I lost sleep over love. I made mistakes because of love. I lost jobs, opportunities, and my reputation because of what I now know as “what I thought was love”. He would not be my first love and because of where I found myself (and the slim chance of ever making this work), he would not be my last love. But he was here and he was with me and I still wanted him to realize I still wanted him, if only for this ride.
So, slowly, so very slowly, I pushed my pelvis into his. Slowly, I forced him to respond in kind. I think he understood the fallacy of the two of us witnessing the lark’s morning song. He had nothing to lose and became a willing participant. His retort was a long time coming, but it was worth the wait.
He was “interested” in my advance. He broke character, only for a moment, to breathe deeply after my encroachment. I wondered about how far I could pursue this line of attack. The damage to the road would hide sudden corrections to distortions in posture and balance. I might be able to pursue this one way avenue to its complete finish. If I chose this path, he may not have a choice to refuse my advances.
But, I did not have to make such a choice; he declined to defend.
He shifted his weight left and moved his right foot between my two bare feet. Using his hand, he pushed me closer onto his leg. Implicitly understood, I lowered my left hand to assist parting my wrap dress open to expedite his progress. Without missing a beat, I used his trousered leg to garner the satisfaction I desired without the expenditure of disclosure capital. In doing so, I was more selfish than I have ever been at any time in my life. He was my knight and I was using him solely for my gratification. The vibrations moving through the bus pulsated though me. His fingers began exploring across the top of my rear. Within seconds, he understood the full extent my lingerie encompassed. Bra and panties offer only token resistance against the concerted effort he began. I wanted absolution for my actions and he offered it with his. By now, I didn’t want to think. I wanted only to act. I wanted only to be carnal. I had desire and I wanted more than he could offer on this bus.
With each and every bump in the road, my gyrations became more intense. With every pull from his hand, my push on his leg became more concentrated. My thoughts became lewd, beyond that of my control. I craved a scream. I coveted more than his leg. And I yearned for more of his touch. If left to my own devices, I might have raped my suitor. I planned to chew him up and spit him out. If left to me, I would dehydrate this man. No. Wait. I would desiccate him where he stood. His very essence would be mine for the taking and taking is what I planned.
And what he planned also.
His hand found my rear and began a series of caresses that did not divulge his true intentions should he require plausible deniability if the other passengers awoke prematurely. He never raised my hemline, but he did apply a deft touch exactly when and where he fancied. His pinky extended below my waist curling upward once assured contact with my lower panty seam. In essence, he was pulling what little I had on to provide an additional frictional contact. This was an advanced wedging move usually associated with back-seat petting during high school. He was using me more than I was using him. Because I acted the slut, he treated me as one. This man had intimate knowledge of me; knowledge I did not even have myself. I shifted my right foot outward, then my left foot likewise. He accepted the signal to deploy his index finger to the other side of my panties to lift them with similar skills. He could play me with the vibrato of a cello or the masterstroke of a masseuse. I became putty. I became a smoldering cauldron of heat. Within this moment, I became his.
The next large rut in the pavement permitted him to forcefully raise my lingerie upward, pulling the wispiest front fabric tightly against my sex.
I nearly screamed to high Heaven from the pain and (I am blushing here) the pleasure.
I turned my head into his shoulder and bit hard.
Another damaged section of road. Another panty grasped pulled hard and high.
Now, I came. It was silent, but it was epic. My thighs clenched his trouser leg as I rose on my toes to enforce the friction I endured. His hand never released his prize.
Now, I wanted this pose to last longer than the twenty or thirty seconds I held it.
Now, I wanted to be his forever.
And I wanted him to be mine forever.
And when my orgasm subsided, that’s when the magic ended.
I caught myself reasoning.
This led to thinking about what I was doing.
I threw caution to the wind only to run outside and catch it before it became dirty.
And then I felt dirty.
And then I felt I should stop.
Unfortunately, he felt it also. Fortunately, he remained the gentleman. I excused myself to exit his leg and extricate myself from his grasp. I did not want to leave him. I could not leave him, but I had to leave him. I straightened my dress and found my heels. My watch said 3am and I felt flush with embarrassment for my loss of control. I scanned the bus for an open seat. There wasn’t one when the bus first moved and there was no possibility of one now. I began to feel claustrophobic. There were too many people here. I started to sweat and my breathing became difficult. I made a fool of myself to a cast of dozens and an audience of one. Did I jeopardize another chance at happiness? I wanted to sit down for my legs began to show the wear and tear of today’s travel. I looked up to find the ceiling of the bus begin to spin. I wish I had not worn heels today….
When I awoke, the bus stopped and a woman I never paid any attention to dabbed my forehead with a wet cloth. I sat in the seat her son previously sat. I felt safe.
But I also felt lonely for she informed me that during our stop, he had left. I allowed that information to diffuse into my dreams during the remainder of the bus trip.
My seat-mate’s son prodded my shoulder when the bus finally stopped in Belén Gualcho. I exited somewhat bewildered and definitely disheveled. I must have looked a fright when my brother grabbed my hand and hugged me. Instinctively, I reached into my purse for a brush. Instead, I found a business card with his picture on it. His name is Carlos and he left his phone number. Maria, Robert’s wife-to-be told me at the wedding that she saw my first smile from my reflection in the side-view mirror of her car. This time I caught myself reasoning and it made me smile again.
Thanks to My Novel
Receiving that substantial check for my debut novel was like a dream come true. It was a moment I had always envisioned but never truly believed would happen. Now, with this unexpected windfall in my hands, I needed to decide how to make the most of it.
First and foremost, I wanted to secure my financial future. I'd heard enough stories of writers who had tasted success only to find themselves struggling later on. So, a substantial portion of the money would go towards responsible investments and savings. It was my way of ensuring that I wouldn't have to worry about the basics and could continue pursuing my writing passion without undue financial stress.
However, I couldn't help but indulge in a bit of a splurge. I'd always dreamed of a cozy cabin tucked away in the mountains, a writer's retreat where I could find inspiration in the tranquility of nature. So, I decided to use some of the funds to make that dream a reality. It wasn't extravagant, but it was a place where creativity would flow freely, and I could immerse myself in the worlds I created.
Then, there was the matter of giving back. I'd grown up with a strong sense of community, and I knew that I wanted to use this opportunity to support causes that mattered to me. A portion of the money would be donated to local charities and initiatives focused on education and literacy. I wanted to pay it forward, recognizing that my success was built on the foundation of education and a love for books.
One thing that excited me most was the chance to embark on a passion project. I'd always been fascinated the story of the great Amelia Earhart . With the financial cushion this windfall provided, I could now dedicate the time and resources needed to research and write a book about her. This project felt like a labor of love, an opportunity to dive deep into a subject that had long captivated my imagination.
Lastly, I couldn't forget my support system. My family and close friends had been my pillars of strength throughout my writing journey. They had cheered me on during the tough times and celebrated with me during the good ones. I wanted to share some of this newfound success with them, perhaps by organizing a special gathering or helping them pursue their own dreams and aspirations.
In the end, my plan for the windfall was a mix of prudence, indulgence, generosity, and creativity. It was about ensuring financial stability, fulfilling personal dreams, giving back to the community, pursuing a writing passion, and expressing gratitude to those who had stood by my side. This windfall wasn't just about money; it was about making the most of an unexpected opportunity to shape my future as a writer and a person.