Mostly, she would miss the bumps in the night, the toppled picture frames, the bookcase knick-knacks nudged from their dusty footprints by the mischievous poltergeist lurking in the upper reaches of her rooms.
She would miss having another spectral shadow to soft-foot through midnight moonbeams with, another restless spirit to help her bear the ticking clock‘s smallest, but longest hours.
She would miss the curdling screams and yowls behind the tinkling bells and squeaks of a bored phantom at play.
She placed the scratch-post down alongside the curb, the soft rain already soaking it’s carpet wrapped wood. She would miss the aisle at the market with its toys and treats, and she would miss the small, gentle spirit droning its joy that she was returned home again safely.
She was happy for the rain to hide her tears from the unfeeling drivers of the passing cars, and from the large-eyed children sitting beside them. She stood a good while in it, recalling the things she would miss, counting them up. If she stood there long enough the cold rain might take her too from an ever lonelier world.
What to do when you've outlived your Ghost?
The Clock Ticks
The clock ticks
Brought her comfort
As she dried her eyes.
She knew it was time to go
To the shops
And leave the silence of this room
The clock ticks
To remind her
Of the passing
Friendship and comfort.
With warmth abandoning her
Save now for the warmth of the fire.
She feared going out
With no special love
To come home to.
But she has to eat
Though now she will buy for one.
Leaves her room.
As she closes the door
In the silence
The clock ticks.
Ignorant Bliss (a.k.a. whatever did Rose forget?)
Rose surveyed the front room with one narrowed eye. Something was definitely missing, but she just couldn’t put her finger on it...
Out of habit, she reached up to her face and touched her glass eye, popping it in and out of its wrinkled socket. She ran her tongue through her mouth, touching each tooth along her denture. Nothing missing from her face.
Birds sang happily outside. For once, they flocked around the feeder in the courtyard. Their carefree melodies, along with the sunlight streaming through the window, helped put Rose’s strange feeling to rest. How could anything be wrong on a wonderful day like this?
She eased into her rocking chair, picking up the knitting from the coffee table. Grasping one end of the yarn, she let the ball itself roll down her lap onto the floor. Her arthritis was acting up, so she put her needles back, choosing a large plastic crochet hook instead. A doily pattern would be easier on her aching hands.
Halfway though her fourth spiral, Rose started to notice all the hair that had accumulated on her skirt and chair. Short, orange-y strands clumped together on her furniture. They definitely weren’t hers: she had a head of silver hair.
“This won’t do…this won’t do…” she muttered, picking away at the hairs. She stood and found a handy-dandy lint roller in the bottom of her knitting basket.
As she finished rolling away the hair, a knock sounded at the door and two people burst through.
“Mom! How are you doing?” Abigail ran over and enveloped Rose in a bear-hug. “I’m so sorry! Was it a rough night? I know you’ve missed…her.”
Flabbergasted, Rose shook her head and held her daughter’s shoulders. “What ever are you talking about dear?”
Abigail’s eyebrows shot up, and she glanced over at John, who was still standing in the doorway, holding a small bouquet and a black, heavy-looking shoebox. He shook his head at Abigail. “She forgot,” he hissed.
Rose frowned at the two. “Forgot what? Don’t treat me like a little old lady. Next thing I know you’ll want to put me in a home.”
“I—erh…forgot…forgot…” Abigail stuttered for a moment, doing the verbal equivalent of stumbling backwards with pinwheeling arms. “Uh, forgot that we’re supposed to go out for specialty ice cream today!”
Rose lit up and promptly dropped her knitting and lint roller into the basket. “Why didn’t you say so? Let’s go!”
The three pushed out the door toward John’s car. He handed Rose the flowers awkwardly while trying to pull his keys out of his pocket. When Rose turned her back, he shoved the shoebox underneath the backseat.
Rose smiled at her two kids, clutching the flowers in her arms. “I’m just so glad you guys came to visit me!” She plopped into the passenger seat. “But John, dear, for future reference, lilies, cattails, and carnations are a strange combination—they’re often used as funeral flowers.”
Darling, I can still hear it still
It came unstuck last night.
I told Tabitha to fix it. I told her. I really did this time.
Last time though, I forgot.
I am always forgetting things.
Like why, when I wake, my bed is always so very cold, as if a shadow walked over my soul.
And why, when I dress, each garment itches, though I had determined months previously to extract every label, every loose stitch, every imperfection.
Yet still, my skin crawls as the fine hairs of my clothing send spiders scuttling over the surface of my warped and wrinkled flesh.
But the flap was different.
I remembered the flap.
I remember how it sounded, disturbing the silence with its metallic screech, the patter of paws and the clatter of claws, stealing through my frozen heart.
Every time the strays descend, the armada lurches in my chest. The waves rise and the ocean lifts, and the spray then seals my lungs. I cry out at night, praying now for silence, when once, the sounds meant peace.
So please, darling, when you visit next, tell Tabitha to nail the flap, to bury those memories.
A broken heart cannot bear the sound, especially when it’s me.
#author #writer #dream #fiction #fantasy #memory
Blog - Hannahvernon.co.uk
The Hidden Secret (What can it be?)
Daphne just can’t seem to figure out why there are so many hot dogs, chicken nuggets, packages of bologna and cans of tuna in the fridge and cupboard these days. She swears she remembers a time when those items kept disappearing and she would have to call Allan, the young man who has been buying her groceries for the last several months, and ask him to go buy more.
“Allan,” she vaguely remembers saying. “Please go purchase more meat immediately. I need this kept in stock at all times; it’s very important, dear.”
But lately, sixty-seven year old Daphne can’t seem to use up the food fast enough. And though she racks her brain like crazy, she can’t think of the reason why she even told Allan to fetch such rubbish for her in the first place. For heaven’s sake, she would bet her life that she never liked any of that processed smelly full-of-nitrates type garbage. She can’t even stomach the thought of chewing on such vile junk food full of salt and chemicals. It makes her queasy just thinking about it. It seems like such a mystery to her. Why on earth is it in her house anyway? And so much of it to boot?
She sits in her easy chair and cries, the tears dribbling down her soft wrinkled cheeks and dripping down her chin. For no reason she can think of… not one… she cries. She wants to bawl her eyes out. She doesn’t know why, but she feels … lonely and weepy and … empty.
Even when Evelyn comes to visit and pats her back and says “now, now. It will be alright. You will feel better soon.” And then makes her hot lemon tea. Even when her son Daniel storms in with his two loud seven-year old twins in tow and they run circles around her yelling “grandma we’ve got a surprise for you!” And then proceed to give her all kinds of arts and crafts they made for her in school. And even when she turns the TV on at night and is lulled into a trance by her favorite show Anne of Green Gables, which distracts her for an hour or so. Even then… she can’t shake a strange kind of desolate feeling. A feeling of heartbreak and lonesomeness she’s never felt before.
But life goes on… at least for a little while longer and she’ll make the best of it. Thank goodness she can count on her family and friends to clean out her fridge and throw away all that yucky meat each time they visit her. She wonders why they don’t just get rid of it in one fell swoop, all at once. Oh well... she guesses it’s just another mystery she’ll never solve. A hidden secret. But it’s okay, that sensation of sorrow seems to be diminishing with each passing day. Not to worry, she’ll get past it soon enough.
Thinking of Her
I do not speak of her.
Or type of her.
Or write of her.
I only ever think about her.
I can’t stop that, not on the lonely nights, when my feet are cold without the furry warmth.
I always think of her when I look at the clean floor around me.
I always hated the mess of tabby fur on my floor, but it feels sickly clean without it.
My windchimes remind me of her.
I made them out of her old, belled collors that she bit and clawed.
Everytime I heard footsteps on the hardwood floor of my house, I reminded myself that they couldn’t belong to her.
Not to mention the emtiness of the corner that once held her litterbox.
Emty, too empty.
I had been filled with the love and compasion of people.
I would always miss and love her, but I now know I can’t cling to another species, not for all that.
I relied on my pet to much.
I supose the most horible things happen for a reason.
Somehow she didn’t mind the smell of the litter box
Somehow she woke up still feeling a nudge of a paw
Somehow she felt sad when she came home to no greeting
Somehow she knew she was not ever far away
Somehow she laid down to sleep and died
Somehow they were together again
I am used to feeling the breeze on a Saturday morning but never have I felt this chill before.
I lift my hands to my face to catch those tears. Oh what wrinkled hands. I am aged but now will I also wither?
I reach down to pet...the air.
The tears flow when the comfort I seek does not come.
She twitched, woke, and looked in the space between the worn curtains. Drifted off, won’t sleep tonight, she thought. She pushed the old green quilt off and herself out of the recliner toward the kitchen and knew there was less hurt in her back. She entered the little galley and turned on the stove and the faucet and filled the kettle. The teabag was open and in a cup without a thought.
What time was it? She looked at the clock. Not late enough to force herself to lie in bed. What had to be done tomorrow? The mail, the store, make calls? The kettle whistled. She poured the water and wondered about the girls. They get colds so much at that age. Maybe in two weekends. She’d call Deb tomorrow to plan. Not a hundred miles but always too hard to make it work. The idea of moving came again for the moment it took her to think would Deb like it, even Jimmy?
She poured and turned and her foot kicked the little dish on the floor. So she hurried back to the chair and sat and looked at her crossword and crochet and the television then stared at the floor for a long time and sipped. Supposed to make sleep come sooner but never does. Tom never liked tea. Could have coffee after dinner and still be asleep by ten every damn night. She used to resent it. She remembered staring at him. The kids tearing the house apart, Eric’s crazy dog barking, the bedwetting and laundry and school lunches and dishes and baths and fights over homework. And then it would be done for the night and the house would be quiet and she would lean back on the headboard and know it wouldn’t come. The room was always so silent and still except him breathing away like clockwork. She could have smothered him. Of course he’d never wanted anything crawling around at two in the morning. That’s how he put it.
Until it did come, in the apartment. The quiet was fine here. Worse aches and longer days and rolling and half waking but she finally slept. She pulled the quilt up over her lap and sighed. A few strands of gray caught her eye in the green threads so she pushed it back over the side of the chair to the carpet. Should vacuum and wash everything anyway. No point waiting around. Besides, she finally felt up to it. The knees, sure. But the back was better. Almost good for once. A week without shifting all night.
She drained her cup and set it down on the side table. Tomorrow. I’ll take care of it all tomorrow. The dish, the box, the dirty carpets. Its time. She stared at the wall and the darkness between the curtains. There was stillness and nothing to move for so she hoped to drift a while at least.
I left the bed be, even though he picked it, even though I never liked it. Something felt off when I thought of throwing it out, but it wasn't that I wanted to resell it or even donate it. Stains marred the once white surface, he was always so messy.
My sister had told me to train him, "They're like dogs," but everyone knows that isn't true. Dogs have this manner about them, this loyal, attentive glare in their eyes, but he had been too smart to depend on me. Most days, I felt like I depended on him for love, affection, comfort.
What we had was rare, growing old together though all others my age were alone, but with a sigh, I realized I was alone too. When I came back from grocery shopping, he wouldn't be there, sitting in his favorite chair, reclined and peaceful. When I woke up in the morning, he wouldn't be beside me, the bed would be empty without him, cold and lonely.
If Margie from bingo had suffered such a loss, she would scoff at his infidelity, lament that she always knew he would leave her; his gaze was always ogling other women, she'd insist. She'd fill the void with a dog, a yappy little one who would never stray from her side, but it defeated the point of companionship! What's the worth in a relationship if your partner is only there out of self-preservation? Whenever I saw him looking out the window at passerby, I knew he considered their worth as only he could. He'd observe their movements, their words, their lives as much as he could, and he had always come to the conclusion that I was worth staying with.
Until now, and I wondered what could he have seen? His health had gotten worse, declining sharper than mine, but I had still loved him as though he were young again. Maybe he had seen someone with a kinder gaze than me, someone who loved him more, and had left with the intention of a better life for himself.
I should be angry, I should be calling my sister to complain, but I just felt, well, calm. I knew he had loved me, enough to know I didn't need him anymore. Life was growing dim, and he had watched me too, seeing that I would never leave him if my bones crumbled and my skin withered. He made the choice for me, and I'll always love him for that. So I left the bed there, smiling at it fondly as the room began to fade and peace overtook me. I knew I would see him again someday.