Before the Storm

As she sat in the corner of the sofa, feet tucked in, cup of coffee in hand and the blue of the sky enveloping her mood, she contemplated what was to come. The inevitable storm that would follow on this wintry day, where the air was cold and she would fight to keep warm in it all.

She knew it was coming, but she could not foresee what it would bring, just knowing that there would be trouble.

The only way was to wrap herself up protected from the elements and hunker down until it would pass, after all there was nothing she could do to change it.

It made her feel so helpless. Powerless as the weather and emotions exploded around her bringing about a change in the way that she would view things. The world she had known and loved now immeasurably different than before. Would she still find comfort in those little things. Pleasures in the simplicity of the life she had known back then.

Would she still be at one with nature and the beauty of the things that surround her. Could she still love in the same way.

The clock ticked and as the time went by she thought about all that had happened. How the years had gone and how it made her feel. The hurt and the resentment which could have swallowed her whole if she had allowed it to. But the old familiar hidden strength saved her from herself then just as it would again. Resilience was a family trait, she would not be beaten and before she knew it the storm had passed. On its way to somewhere and someone new.

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Is it The End?

I’ve decided I will be writing a few short stories into the blog occasionally, just now and then. This one was borne out of one of the daily prompts.

via Daily Prompt: Final

She could not explain why it felt so final.

As she prepared to go on her journey, the moment that she booked the ticket, what he had said, he talked of if she didn’t come back to them.  Is that what he thought? Surely not.  Where on earth would she go, she did not wish to be anywhere else.  She did not even wish to go back in the first place.  To leave them at all.  What a funny thing to say, she thought to herself as she booked the ticket.  So off he went shopping alone, gathering foodstuffs for a single man.  There would be no meals cooked whilst she was gone, would he survive on sandwiches and pies, chocolate and biscuits. No chance of a staple diet, she worried about him.

They would be alright, he promised not to do anything silly in her absence, nothing that would cause him damage, he would rest, he said.  A friend was taking her to the station, they would not be there to bid her farewell, the kisses and hugs would have to be had before the short journey to the train.

It was only going to be a few days. So why was he speaking as though she would not be back? She did not understand, but hoped that the paranoia would not overtake sensible thought even for a moment.

But it sounded so final.

As she left for the return journey the conversation of the night before with someone else played on her mind. The words still rang in her head. “You must get there and not come back!” It seemed as though she belonged in neither place at the time. But she knew that she was right. This was no longer right for her. So much had changed in such a short time. Almost as though it was like she blinked and missed it, some altered state making her unaware of the when and how.

The Man on our Walk

It was growing dark. The man shuffled slowly towards us, dragging his foot as he went. His shoes worn lopsided from the effort and his clothes dishevelled. His breathing was laboured, he shot me a strange look as he passed by us and I wondered why. I did not worry and did not feel under threat.

The dog was suspicious leaning his body into mine protective in his stance. The puppy with fluffy ears and long legs suddenly wolf like. There to defend me if required. Forgetting for a moment that he did not need to guard we were just out. He did not make a sound.

The man shuffled on past continuing on his way, scowling to wherever his journey took him. Moments later the puppy looked up at me and wagged his tail, whatever danger he suspected had passed. I stroked his ears, reassurance that all was well as we continued on our walk. Our breath visible in the night air, thick around our heads, clothing pulled tightly around our bodies for warmth, striding purposefully home with my furry protector.

The End of an Affair

A Short Story

As the couple stood underneath the departures board at the station. People waiting all around to see which platform they needed her eyes were drawn to them. A well dressed man stood in front of her with a well dressed woman. He looked anxious as he was talking loudly to her. Almost shouting but unintentionally he just had one of those voices which carried. He was not speaking quietly but he looked concerned as he spoke.

It was Christmas week, as people were thinking about spending time together. Although she was looking up at the departure board, her eye was being drawn to the couple below it. It was clearly the time to end their affair. He was trying to work out why she was watching them, did she look familiar or perhaps know one of them. It was sad she felt for the woman whose face she could not see, it seemed so insensitive to do this in not only a public place but right under the departure board. The onlooker wondered why he would pick such a public place to end it, where there is no where in private to mask the inevitable emotions that follow a break up. He started to look uncomfortable but kept watching the onlooker over his lady’s shoulder, wondering if he had been recognised but still they did not move away. The onlooker willed her train platform to appear on the board but there was a full 20 minutes before it was due to leave. He stood talking, reasoning as the words drifted across to the ones who waited there. All the time she stood motionless. “You’re a lovely girl.” He placed a hand on each arm like you would to steady a child who was out of control, or as you would draw someone into an embrace. But he did neither, he just continued “But I am a Married Man and I don’t know what I can do” Her response was inaudible but she may have tried to reason with him, or had she known all along just be accepting. He told her not to cry so within a moment it was clear the outcome but she did not shake and appeared composed. He moved her to one side about 20 feet away and dropped his voice slightly, the noise of the busy station muffled the words, leaving the rest only to her imagination. The onlooker hoped that they would not be on the same train, not in the same carriage and hoped that the woman would be alright. At least she could start the New Year with a new start, not clinging to the old life for it would no longer serve her. She did not have such concern for the man who was dumping her. At that point he became insignificant. As the onlooker looked again above them at the departures, she hoped that this new year would bring good things for the people she loved and even herself, if that was allowed. She looked forward to the welcome she would get from her family as she stepped inside the door as she arrived home. The embraces and laughter. She thought of the wonderful gift of time spent with loved ones that she had been given and felt happy. As she smiled to herself she looked below and the couple had vanished, just as quickly as they had appeared.

A Recipe for Love?

A short story. 

It was strange, there was a time when she thought that she may have loved him.  They had been around each other for a while. As friends, she liked his company, they laughed easily together. It was all there in the mix, the mutual and intense physical attraction. They Cooked meals together, drank wine, made love easily and talked freely. They had pastimes and interests which intermingled. They met quite regularly back then, so one day she summoned the courage to ask him whether he would ever see her as anything more than an affair. Perhaps in a bid to elicit feelings which were not really there, to find out whether they could be anything more, she swallowed her pride and broached the subject one day while he was getting ready to go.  They had fun, the memories of that would stay with her for a while, there were fireworks and chemistry, but he did not want any more. Maybe the time just wasn’t right for them. She had to ask, if her feelings were reciprocated then this could be a turning point for the relationships thus far. She wondered what she was doing wrong then she would know for sure which direction to take.

Although it wasn’t really meant as an ultimatum it suddenly seemed so. So that was it. He had decided that he wanted something different. A short while after that, she changed her social circle and found work in a different town. There was someone new and she moved on with her life not wanting to prolong or encourage the torture of his rejection. It was obviously just not meant to be. She was disappointed so did not go out of her way to see him, or frequent the places where they had been previously. She never found out whether it was love or not. But settled on a fondness for the time that they’d had. Some memories remained, good ones, they could have been much more, but she would keep the memories and occasionally they would make her smile.  She didn’t hold it against him, she was young, probably erratic at the time, she may have been too much of a liability, but she was certainly not what he was looking for.

It was strange when years later, she would suddenly look up as she drove past his place.  She remembered that he had a beautiful apartment where you could watch the sunrise from the bedroom its light bathing the space and welcoming the day. The window seat overlooking water and listening to the gulls flying overhead. A place where the sunsets warmed the skin and the soul. She often did that with people she knew though, look for the places which were familiar to her. Was it also odd when she would hear from him all those years later and he would send a message that said, “I looked for you once, without success, assumed that you had married and changed your name. I can’t believe that our paths never crossed again. I have good memories of our time together, as short as it was.” 
She smiled as they chatted online for a while.  Like old friends, just as they had been really.  They knew some of the same people although she hadn’t seen them in a while it always was a small town. She’d grown over those years, any person would it had been so many. She felt no bitterness, or remorse for what could have been and yes things could have been different but after all had been and gone she was happy. He had been married after it ended. Since divorced and now had a football team of grandchildren to be proud of. She hoped that he was happy again too now. 

The Daily Post – Elicit

 

The Blank Canvas

IMG_4198

The Blank Canvas

When she moved away from her previous life, she bought the biggest one she could find and hung the blank canvas upon the wall.

And there it was….

Proudly displayed, her new life in her new home. Away from the hurt, anguish and resentment of the old one, a new beginning for her.
Still wrapped in plastic, a grubby mark in one corner, smudged, dirtied in transit.

It waited.

Not knowing what would be thrown in it’s direction, where the paint would land.
What would become of it?
What image would appear and how would it be received by those who saw it?
Three years later, she unwrapped it.

At last ready to begin, only to find that the smudge was not there at all. The outer packaging, peeled back to reveal the unblemished canvas underneath it all that time.

What will she fill the space with?

Words will come, songs of the heart. Raw emotions apparent, new memories created there and then.

The Blank Canvas is no more…

Filled with a new story, which has now begun.

 

The Daily Post – Transformation

This is about the Blank Canvas which hangs in my Mother’s home. It is her Birthday today, which is why I have chosen to post this now.  #Happy Birthday! Bizarrely though I wrote this and when I spoke with my mother two days later she told me that the very same day, she had begun painting her words on her Blank Canvas.

Photo: http://www.morguefile.com

The Home Made Dark Room

IMG_0034_v2The Homemade Dark Room.

Where we all had to go to the bathroom before we started, as no-one could use the toilet while we were all in there!

I was thirteen when I really noticeably got into Photography. At the time, my parents attended a church. They ran an award scheme for the children, it was a bit like after school clubs, or youth clubs for all the kids in the church. It was called the Kings Award Scheme and upon completion of the course, which was usually 4-6 weeks duration, for a couple of hours per week, you received a certificate.

Since such certificates of merit were not commonplace or even given out in our school. It gave me a real sense of achievement back then to be able to do something useful, and practical.  It also gave the people in the church with practical skills, the opportunity to teach them to the kids. It also meant that if someone wanted to have something done on their house, they were able to get it done by someone in the church and a team of kids for the price of materials and refreshments. It is the place where I learned to plaster a wall, lay and point bricks to build a barbeque and develop photographs and later Mum and Dad decided that they wanted to have a go too.

So that is how we decided to turn our family bathroom into a temporary Dark Room, in the evenings while my sister, who was a toddler at the time was sleeping upstairs, we trooped into the bathroom. You see we had to have somewhere with a water supply and there was way too much light in the kitchen. So ever the practical ones, we created this space. A bright orange gloss painted door was placed over the bath, this was now surplus to requirements and the only thing large enough to so that we could lay our trays of developing fluid on it and the wash. On the cupboard in the corner, we placed the photographic enlarger, and the plug for it went through an extension lead which went out under the door. We tried to cover all other light sources with a bath towel so that small shaft of light could not seep underneath spoiling our efforts. The final addition was a large blanket covering the window. We also had a torch, for when we needed some light, since the light switch was on the outside of the bathroom door.

We were limited in our prints, to black and white and I noticed that if each process was prolonged there were interesting effects upon the printed results. The negatives had been selected beforehand in a room with the lights on, so we knew which ones we wanted to do. But that is how we spent several evenings, the three of us cramped in the bathroom, whilst my sister was sleeping soundly for the night. I loved those developing sessions. The smell of chemicals was heavy in the air and probably encouraged at least some of our artistic outcomes, but it was a time when I was able to bond with both of my parents simultaneously and also have a physical memento from it.

It also gave us the opportunity to go through the slides, which were the only film my father used to take photographs on when I was a small child. There were a few cine films too of other family members. But save for the school photographs, all the childhood pictures from when I was a baby were on slides, which meant we rarely got to see them. Unless the slide projector came out for an evening, which was too much hassle. I remember one time they did get the projector out though and being absolutely mortified when in a room full of people suddenly I was confronted with an image of me as a two year old sitting in the car seat in the back of a Morris Minor, absolutely covered in chocolate. I asked what had happened. Mum explained that “Daddy had given me a 2 finger KitKat and was surprised as to just how far it had travelled on a sunny afternoon” He was taking the photo, when Mum asked me to give him a cuddle, so there I was ear to ear grin and arms outstretched to greet him. I was so embarrassed that the memory of that has stayed with me. It is quite an innocent image, so I cannot understand why. I was too young to remember the actual memory of that day.
Other than that I did enjoy the nights when either cine or slides were set up in the lounge, the slides would allow us a peek into the family history, people from the past and happy occasions, holidays, parties and relatives.
I have been trying to encourage my parents to allow me to borrow these, so that I can see them again. Show them to my partner who has never seen them. Unfortunately neither parent is particularly keen to assist with this. My aim is to get be able to photograph them as they appear on the projector, so that I can turn them into a family album that can be shared between us all in years to come. No-one else seems bothered to do it, or even bothered that they may never be seen again. I am the sentimental one of my siblings, the others have their moments, occasionally we share in a memory, my sister being several years younger than my brother and I, has slightly different memories as we were so grown up when she was still small.

Some of the past it would be nice to keep alive. It shouldn’t all be buried and forgotten, there were good bits.