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.

Bear River and the Diamond in the Rough

Some years ago, before Scotland or the Puppy even came into the equation about 2008, I was looking at property in a much more interesting place, to the one we inhabit.

Yes, I had itchy feet and thought about what it would be like to live in a different country. So a quick search for property abroad threw some interesting places into my thoughts. I thought about France, an awful lot.  I have always wanted a place in France….

But I also thought about somewhere farther afield where I might be able to get some land and make a beautiful place for holidays and could rent out.  It has always been something that is in the grand plan.

That was when I spotted it, a place which by name alone, fired the imagination and I began my research into this wonderful sounding place.

Bear River, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Now, it’s a bit of a way away from the folks if we were to up sticks and head off there, but it would be a fantastic adventure I’m sure and might be an ideal place to open a business of some sort at the time and is a tidal river which means it’s most likely to have a good availability for Seafood, which is important to me.

So what could go wrong, there were relatively cheap flights to Canada from the UK accessible airports to us and the very sound of the place sounded idyllic. The exchange rate of the Canadian Dollar meant that there was 2.3 dollars against the British Pound at the time.  Which was pretty darn good.

I had cousins which emigrated to Canada about 30 years ago, never to be seen again, they loved it so much there that they have not returned to the UK.  And trust me, when you have got the getaways, then that sounds just far enough away to do it.  I tried to research the area as much as possible.  It ticked a lot of boxes for me at the time. The area is not far from the ferry crossing from Digby to Maine, in the US which is another place I have longed to see, for many years.  Lobster and Scallops are readily available on the Canadian side near to Bear River and since I have a love of Bears, it seemed the perfect place to take my partner.  It is after all his nickname.  Apparently it is a haven for artists and there are boats nearby whilst being surrounded by wonderful forests and mountains, which you could access to ski all within about an hours travelling time.  The nearest airport, Halifax was also about an hour away.  See, I am painting a beautiful picture.

There was a house there which was not furnished, which means that my imagination could furnish it at the same time, with endless possibilities.  A timber clad house in a slightly New England style built in the early 1900’s. I wish that I still had the file with the photos which I had saved of it (but the loss of a hard drive put pay to that).  It had everything that I wanted in a house, huge space, a porch going around the outside.  A utility room, basement and attic, more space than I could think to fill and was described as a “Diamond in the Rough” by the agent selling it.  The rooms were painted in bright colours, it had huge windows which overlooked a massive garden of at least a couple of acres and was on the outskirts of town.  So it was rural enough but still had facilities nearby.  The rooms lent themselves to antique furniture and the whole place reminded me of a huge American or Scandinavian Lake house, the type I would love to live in.  It had four large bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and large receptions, more than enough space to do the entertaining that I thought I would get the opportunity to do once all our friends came out to visit us there for holidays, the parties we would have there. Oh Boy, Christmas would be just amazing in a place like that.  Yes, I had imagined the Christmas Tree in the hallway.

Alas, It was not meant to be…  I looked into selling most of our worldly goods to get the place and thought about what our new life there might bring.

Then two things brought me back to earth with a bump.  Or more like a thud actually.  At the time I was in touch with Wilf, someone I was connected with on MySpace, (Oh the early days of ancient social media, before Myspace became a bit sordid).  He was a DJ who built Kayaks in his spare time, they were beautiful, real pieces of art.  It turned out that he knew the area and when I mentioned that I had been looking at properties there, advised me against it. Wilf told me that it used to be lovely, just like I had imagined, but in recent years the place had gone downhill and there was now a crime and drug problem there due to the closure of an industry and the mass unemployment that followed.

Just to add water to the fire, my partner also scuppered the plan completely after lengthy discussions about the possibility of living there.  He agreed that it sounded great, but said that I could not anticipate how cold the winter months would be.  Having travelled a bit and spent some time in Canada he was ahead of me and recalled just how low the temperatures are.  The fact that you can be cut off from civilisation for weeks, sometimes months.  He asked how would I feel about that? Hmm I thought, perhaps it would make a good summer residence then? (I wasn’t giving up hope) But summer is going to be colder than here in the UK too possibly.  My bones and joints ached at the mere thought of it so I resigned myself to the fact, that it could be lonely and cold there.

But after all that the memory of the place, specifically the house, that “Diamond in the Rough” has returned in my thoughts for several years, like a wonderful place on my wish list.  I think of what I would have done to that house and how living surrounded by the mountains and Bears near to a river, in a town filled with Artists and Artisans could fire the imagination.

A quick return via Google takes me to a wonderful article, Welcome to Bear River – Huffpost  which was written in 2014 and sums up exactly what I thought the place could be and how it might have become that special place for us. At the time when we were looking the country was apparently in deep recession as the UK was about to be too and I was to find out. Clearly the time was not right for us, but never say never, after all we now have a puppy who would love the cold, and there is always a log burner to keep us warm.

Oh Daydreamer, when will you learn…

 

Finding Inspiration in Unlikely Places.

I feel that if I were to face my fear and walk up to the door and knock on it, something interesting will happen.  The anticipation of the situation is eating away at me.  If I ignore the feeling that a strange or dangerous person may be hiding there, I might just get a nice surprise.

I have day-dreamed of the moment that I do that. Instead of passing the house which intrigues me so much.  It has been derelict for some years, for at least the five years that I have lived nearby.  It was once neat and tidy bungalow with a nice garden, but the lack of care means that you now cannot see the garden and the archway which once covered the front of the pathway has grown all the way along it, leaving a tunnel to the door.  It is in darkness, but someone has cut a walk through to the door.  I often drove past it on the way home and looked for lights and signs of life throughout the winter months when it grew dark early, there has been none.  There is an old camper van parked in the driveway, which has not turned a wheel during that time either.  In fact it has been there for so long that a grapevine has grown up around it over the top and when it overhangs the pavement, someone cuts the edges back and slings the pieces over the fence again.  You would barely notice what was stored behind what is now the makeshift hedge. The roof of the house is showing signs of damage, the odd loose slate here and there, the pointing around the chimney loose and the gutters hanging down in places.  You cannot see the windows at the front of the house. I would love to get in there and take a look.  It’s not one of those big old houses, which I loved to go and look at if we passed them on rides out in the car.  It’s just what was once someone’s home, probably built around the 1930’s.  My kind of era for houses.

I imagine that I will summon the courage and knock at the door one day.  That some elderly person will shuffle their way to the door and we will begin to talk.  They will not want to be rude or send me packing for disturbing their day.  I will offer help, perhaps to cut back the hedge for them and let some light return to their house if they would like that, or help them with getting some shopping maybe. I will listen to their stories and hear about their life. It might inspire me to write about them, in some future book.  I look for characters everywhere, inspiration in the strangest of places.  Meanwhile, we will walk the dog past the house as often as possible and dream of what is behind the front door, of how the garden looks, of what story it can tell me.

I think of the person who has left this place as it stands for so many years.  Maybe they have left and not returned, maybe they have been there all along, waiting for the knock at the door to find out if anyone will care.  Maybe I will brighten’s someone day by offering some form of comfort or help when they need it and show them some understanding. I hope that I will not be too late for them.

Time to knock at the door…

The Daily Post – Understanding

 

Fragile, Handle with Care

It felt like possibly her darkest hour, when, not understanding what is happening to her, Carlotta sank into a deeper depression. She didn’t think that it would be possible to feel more depressed than she had felt before, but it was as though her previous experience had barely scratched the surface of the depth of these feelings. To be even lower than the low that she had previously experienced.

So many things can trigger it, past feelings coming back to the fore, emotions are raw and at that time she didn’t know what had hit her. She then suddenly and inexplicably felt quite so totally alone, like never before. Like no-one could break through it, unreachable in a glass box for all to see, but unable to break out of it. To be abandoned by both friends and family for a while. She may have put herself there, shutting herself away trying to deal with the thoughts in her head and the feelings she may be coming to terms with, or it may be that they had no idea what to do with her, how to cope with the new version of her which they may be seeing for the first time ever. The person whom they know and love, hidden so deeply within that they can no longer see them. Had she become a shadow of her former self? Perhaps she was a wilder, more erratic person, signs of all the things that she hated about herself, bright and raw, there for her and everyone to see. All her emotional scars visible to the naked eye. She was once so vibrant, un-phased by it all, seemed to take it all in her stride, where has that confidence gone? Well, that walked out along with the people who couldn’t take it. Perhaps they all left town together on their road trip, perhaps they will send her a postcard. Maybe not.

She hoped that in time that both she and they will see a new person appear. It may look like the original on the outside, but if she is lucky she will have gained strength from the experience, it will not have weakened her beyond repair. There will be shades of the original there for the friends and family who have not given up on her. They will tread tentatively around her for a while, while they figure out where the new boundaries are. Other people she may know may take this opportunity to test how far she can be pushed, what she will stand for. As long as she doesn’t break again in the whole process she has a chance of recovering her momentum once again. Will she regain a sense of purpose, power over it again and move on?

The new version will be more determined, much stronger, less trampled by others, the new version of her will be a force to be reckoned with.

Time is a great healer, Time will also tell.

The Daily Post – Abandoned – Fragile, Handle with Care

#linkyourlife