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Sunday, July 25, 2010
I’ve been away for a few weeks – writers block? Not sure, but something has kept me away from writing. This week, though, the prompt caught my eye and my imagination immediately, just took a few days to get to putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). So here’s my contribution in response to this picture:
All they had was this one little room in the attic. Well, actually they didn’t have that, it was only rented, along with all of the furniture and necessities for living. What they really owned was only their clothing and a few personal items. But as long as Peter was in school, this was all they could afford – one room, used to be called a bed-sitter. The furniture consisted of a sofa-bed on one wall, a chest of drawers with an old TV perched on top on the opposite wall, a table and two chairs tucked in one corner, and a cabinet under the window with sink, microwave, and hot-plate . They could practically stand in the middle of the room and touch something, anything. It was certainly cozy.
Most importantly, though, they had each other. Neither of their parents had been pleased at their decision to get married, Sophie putting her education on hold so that Peter could finish first. Because of the parents’ displeasure, they were truly on their own with Sophie’s wages from the diner paying the rent and putting food on the table. There was nothing left over at the end of the month - except love, lots of love.
Sophie was proud of their little home, and kept it pristeen. She made sure everything was tidy, nothing out of order, every surface dusted or wiped down, not a speck of dust in her house!And most importantly the bed must be made up every morning. Heaven forbid that anybody should walk in and see the bed unmade – not that they had much company as Peter spent every spare minute studying while Sophie kept house.
They’d been married for four weeks and three days.
On this, their one-month anniversary, Sophie left the diner, stopping at the local deli for dinner fixings. She was excited to be planning to surprise Peter with his favorite dinner – pork chops in mushroom gravy (just reheat and serve), mashed potatoes (from a box), and canned green beans. Not exactly the way his mother would have made them, but the best she could do with two pots and a hot-plate. For dessert – she splurged on two apple strudel pieces. All day she had been planning how she’d have everything ready when Peter got home from his study group. But something was niggling at the back of her mind, something that wasn’t quite right, something that made her think the evening may not go exactly as planned.
When she opened the door to their little home, she knew immediately. The sofa-bed wasn’t made up! There it sat, folded out as if they’d just gotten out of it, covers thrown back, pillows mussed, certainly not fit for company, or even for an evening of television or reading while Peter studied at the table. Sophie remembered their disagreement in the morning over whose turn it was to make the bed, and she’d rushed out before their difference was settled, almost late for work, thinking surely Peter would just take care of it. Obviously he hadn’t!
Well, neither would she!
Sophie turned on the television to the news, and proceeded to get dinner ready. Just as everything was warmed up, Peter arrived home – perfect timing, Sophie felt proud of herself. Peter looked at the sofa-bed, but didn’t say anything. She greeted him with a kiss, and they sat down to dinner. Conversation was a little stilted, the unmade bed and the disagreement of the morning hanging in the air between them like a cloud just waiting to burst.
In between bursts of small talk, the evening news filled the little room with sound. When the sportscaster announced the soccer game between Manchester and Liverpool, showing right after the news, Sophie and Peter looked at each other and grinned. As one, they picked up their plates from the table, piled them in the sink, undressed and crawled into the bed.
Who needs to make beds, do dishes, or study when they had a soccer game to watch – and each other!
Visit Magpie Tales for more wonderful stories and poems based on the prompt Willow has posted.
Monday, June 28, 2010
I missed last week, because I was away on vacation, and just didn’t get time to think of a tale for the prompt. This week’s prompt caught my imagination right away, and I’ve been mulling this over for 4 days already. This tale is based on a story a friend told us once.
We sat around the campfire at our annual family trip, laughing, talking, vying for the best story.
These trips had only begun after our parents were already gone, and our children mostly grown. Eight of us, so scattered that it had at times been years between visits for some of us, as we all focused on making a living and raising our children. But now, we wouldn’t miss this for anything.
We gathered for these few precious days each summer, Jimbo, Suz, Fritz, Lindy, Mack, Mo, Biff, and me, Kit, along with our spouses, and sometimes a few of our children, although they were mostly in the phase of busyness that comes with raising families themselves and often weren’t able to make it.
Spouses and children endured the tales of chores and school teachers, piano lessons and baseball games, toboggan runs and the swimming hole, camping trips, town fairs, 4H, weddings and funerals. This particular evening the reminiscing had somehow turned to various spats we’d had.
One common memory was Mom’s dish-cloth, that settled most arguments with just a flick of her wrist. Oh, but she was good at that – getting a bare arm or leg just right with a sting that stopped angry, whiny words immediately. She always said, ‘You kids get along now, someday you might not have each other around.’
Jimbo and Fritz recalled their fist-fight over a girl – Sandra or something like that, neither could remember her name, but they got into it in the barn, each apparently claiming she liked him best.
Lindy and I both claimed that it was the other one who would never turn out the light at night for wanting to read ‘just one more page’.
We all fought over who got to practice piano last – interesting that now most of us contributed to the music ministry in our churches.
Suz and Lindy both hated to dry dishes, and always managed to waste time trying to decide who should take on that dreaded task when it was their turn to clean up the kitchen.
Mack recalled the time Biff was mad at him – neither knew why any longer – and Biff picked up a handful of peas to ‘pass’ and threw them down the table. The food fight that ensued was one of the best (Mom and Dad weren’t home that evening).
The laughter had just died down after that story, and we were all just gazing into the fire, when Mo’s voice broke into our thoughts. Quiet, mousey, little Mo, twin to Mack, third youngest, most often found with her nose in a book, usually got kind of lost in the boisterous shuffle of our large family. What she said really startled us, as much because she said it, as for what she said.
‘I don’t know why you all bothered to fight so much. Whenever I was mad at one, or all, of you, I’d simply go to the bathroom and swish your toothbrush in the toilet.’
Go to Magpie Tales for more stories and poems.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Here’s my contribution – be sure to visit her site to see the many other wonderful stories and poems.
My sister agreed to model. I gathered all my tools and bought a chunk of clay. I booked the wheel at the community arts center. There – all set to try my hand at sculpting.
I’d been taking pottery classes for a few months, and really enjoyed getting my hands dirty in the clay, molding and shaping bowls, cups, vases while the wheel spun around. My work had been gradually improving until some of my pieces I’d decided could be nice enough for little Christmas gifts.
Last week, the instructor suggested I combine pottery wheel work with some artistic sculpting. So today was the day.
With my sister relaxing in a chair, the light just right, clay on its platform, water bucket at my side, I put my foot on the pedal to start the wheel turning. Gradually the clay took on the form of shoulders, neck, head. When I thought it was the perfect oval ‘balloon’, I stopped the wheel, slid the spatula underneath the form and transferred it to the sculpting table – and began to whittle away. Hair, eyes, ears, nose, cheeks, mouth, chin – my sister’s only request was that I omit the wrinkles. Slowly her face took shape, and then it was time to put it in the kiln. I was quite pleased with the end result, but refused to show it to my sister – I wanted her to see the final finished product.
We went out for coffee while waiting for the firing to finish. We always have such good times together, giggling about past teenage escapades, laughing at the antics of our children, poking fun at husbands, often playing silly jokes on each other. We’re alike in so many ways, with lots of interests in common, but where I like to make things – sewing, crafting, cooking – my sister is a doer and her artistic talent runs to dancing, singing, local theatre. We completely support each other, with me attending her productions, and she’s always ready to taste my latest culinary efforts, or model for me like she did today.
When we got back to the arts center, the attendant said we were just in time, the kiln was cool enough to pull out my sculpture, and went to get it for us. I knew what it looked like, so I watched my sister’s face, anticipating her beaming smile and nod of approval when she got her first glimpse of my masterpiece.
Her look of horror and dismay, eyes bulging and jaw dropped, caused me to whirl around to face the attendant holding the finished piece. Several thoughts passed through my head all at once – explosion, sabotage, misfiring, meltdown, maybe I thought I was too good.
But it was perfect, the sculpture really did look like her: elegant, timeless beauty that she is.
‘Gotcha!!’ And my sister laughed all the way home.