Friday Fictioneers: Venetian Vixen

Fatima Faker Deria

Photo courtesy:  Fatima Fakier Deria

Venetian Vixen

Word count:  100

 

Sylvia cupped her chin in her hands and watched Louis.  Her elbows rested on the window sill while her bottom smooshed against the end kitchen cabinet.  It was a small kitchen in a small apartment.

Louis would visit this evening after he had finished unloading the barge, and his clothes would smell of fruit and vegetables.  She would help him remove his shirt then press her mouth to his warm, damp skin.  He would taste divine.

Across the street, Martha watched from her window.  She was not interested in her husband; only in the woman who had stolen his affection.

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All the small things

Almost a year has passed.

Our Christmas holiday felt like the most connected in many years.  Wholly.  Not just parts of it, like the time he gave me a lovely necklace.  The gifts were thoughtful and personal, yes, but it was more than that.

He asked me last year, through tears, what about all of our pictures, and our movies, and our inside jokes?  At the time, they seemed irrelevant.  I was looking at what I thought was the bigger picture.  It was indeed, but I think mostly it was a rear-facing mirror image and it was so big, I just couldn’t see my way around it.  I figured the only way to move forward was to leave all of that behind, and that included tossing aside all the small things.

From far away, they are like a mosaic; a living, growing work of art.  The weekend trips to the beach punctuated by familiar words and phrases when familiar landmarks and places are within sight.  The holiday movies, the actors’ lines that we repeat together, or say individually which evokes laughter every single time, year after year.  The songs and lyrics culminated over time that can pinpoint a memory like a single star in a giant constellation.  The “Do you remember when’s” and “omg, what about’s” and “Can you believe we’s”.

I didn’t realize just how important these things were during the first half of last year when I was ready to leave and create a new mosaic.

Our picture has not been pretty, but it’s ours.  Our life.  Our knitting together of experiences, and though the edges are tattered, they continue to stretch out and grow, and the center is most solid.

 

 

Friday Fictioneers – April’s Flowers

Dale rogerson

Photo courtesy – Dale Rogerson

April’s Flowers

Word Count:  100

April stared forlornly at the arrangements.  The tall one was a bit sparse and the little one looked like something her Grandmother might have on the dining room table.  Still, she longed for someone to think enough of her to send flowers to work.

Imagine her coworkers’ reactions!  “She’s just the receptionist.” They’d say, incredulous.  “She lives alone with her cats, and wears dowdy clothes!”

Maybe, April thought, she’d fix it so that “someone” did think of her that way.

She continued staring at the flowers, knowing full well that the deception would only serve to make her more miserable.

 

Swings and Roundabouts

This process of reconnecting with self while at the same time, trying to find the connection with husband, oftentimes feels like two steps forward, a hundred steps back. The connections to husband are like rusty prongs which no longer fit the holes they once did, and no matter how I try to needle them in, they just won’t go.

Often, I’ll wonder if I will love him the same way.  In those moments, I really need to pay attention to the voice that says, “No, you won’t.  How can you?”  The old way was mothering; a trap I fell into, a trap many women fall into, though this was no fault of my own.

So, I guess I’m learning how to be a wife to my husband, and it feels a bit like the USS Enterprise saucer separation, which is an odd analogy, but consider this:  two months ago, I felt an absolute separation, as if all parts of me fled.  But perhaps they didn’t, perhaps they simply ran for cover when the reality of what I was saying sunk in.

He and I have had some frank conversations lately about sex, usually when we are drunk and/or stoned, which has led to things I truly was unsure about doing.  I know now that I am definitely not ready for that; it’s like running before you can walk.

So, how do we move forward?  Slowly.  Patiently.  Cognizant of the others’ triggers.  Not as mother and husband, but as husband and wife, as friends, as partners.

Of course, there’s the child in me that is quite petulant.  Her arms her arms crossed, and she is pouty faced.  She is stubborn and still thinks that she’s better off alone.  That no matter the changes in him, no matter the work they are doing, she cannot see the point.

She is the one who hears his I Love You but clamps the mouth shut in response.  She is the one that gets irritated when he walks on eggshells, or looks at her in that way that I can’t describe in words.  She is the one who balks, indignant at the thought of discovering him sexually.  Why should she have to find out about him?  She’s the one that’s done the work for all these years; she’s not willing to put in the effort.

It’s a constant conflict between the child and the adult. I am somewhere in between, muddling through.  Trying to reconcile, trying to connect with him sometimes and other times, not.  Working on not being niggly, trying to be aware of what I’m feeling or thinking and expressing them, if need be.  I’m not very good at the awareness thing because the child is still very much a wounded creature.  This will take extra focus.

Finding my way back to a cohesive, loving partnership seems like a nice goal.  With fifteen years of backlog, we both have to remember to be patient with each other.

Pieces.

shattered_statue_by_hecatean-d8o9rd2

What courage have I?  In the moment, it is simply a thing I have to do.  Tired of picking up pieces; the result of others’ choices, I made my own, and scattered my marriage, my life and his life to all points and corners.

I had envisioned months and months of civil side-by-side living while I cultivated the desire to live away from him.  I was shut down, closed off, impenetrable, had made my decision and dammit, I’d had enough.  I loved my children but I did not love my husband anymore.  Even the little, familiar things we shared seemed inconsequential and did not affect my ambition.

Six weeks later, I find myself rummaging for all the pieces.  Slowly, deliberately, even perhaps letting them come find me for repair.  As in Kintsugi, we are reconstructing in new ways.  Our marriage from before is dead; exploded, and the new one is beginning to look much different.

With this slow repair though, comes a devil on my shoulder.  The doubter, nagger, and all around pessimist.  She is obstinate and doesn’t want to move forward.  She is petulant and refuses to show any kind of affection.  She throws emotional grenades that make me break down in counseling sessions.  But what she fails to realize is that her work aids progress; she is part of the yin and yang of me.  However, she’s been the larger of the two for a long time and she’s not keen on sharing power.

So, I am struggling with conflict.  The desire to move forward and to not.

These are interesting times.  I see my husband in a new light but I don’t yet know who I am, or who I am in this relationship.  It’s a new thing, but not.  It’s not like a new relationship that’s thrilling and butterfly-inducing; it has a history.

So, I work on myself.  Or sit with myself.  Do nothing.  Think nothing.  Feel nothing.  Other times, I do, think and feel it all at once.  It’s still choppy waters.

But that devil…..boy, she’s had her way for so long.  I mustn’t fight her, but allowing her just to be makes my life quite challenging.

 

The Way Forward

I have spent years in the wilderness.  I found a clearing a few years ago but it did not lead to any sort of opening or escape.  On more than one occasion, I thought that I could bolt through the forest to find my way out but that proved to be futile.

Now is my time, and I have found the path.

I speak metaphorically, of course.  The clearing I speak of was discovered when I began the practice of meditation in 2013.  For some, tuning in to self cannot come from simply sitting and being, but I fell into it with ease.  I understood that chatter was okay; that it was fine to set an intention but at the end of each practice, nothing need be accomplished.

It just is.  I can just.be.

Currently, there are major shifts in this soul’s life, so I returned to practice.  I came home to the sangha and was welcomed as if by family.  It’s been only two weeks since I picked up where I left off but the clarity and stillness cultivated long ago never left.  Just like seedlings in a field; they have been dormant.  The only thing they needed was for me to notice.  To provide awareness.

My path ahead is uncertain.  I know to some degree what I do and do not want.

My practice will help me through.  And forward.

Friday Fictioneers: Sweet Maggie

jhardy

Photo courtesy: J Hardy Carroll

Sweet Maggie

Word count:  100

She was a shivery thing huddled in the corner, trying to appear smaller to the junkies who taunted and threw stones.  Even in my addled state, my heart broke.  I scooped her up, tucked her inside my jacket and fled the building with their jeers following.

Fourteen years ago, that kitten saved me; I took on a responsibility and I loved her.  We’ve been through a lot but no matter how far down the mental well I tumbled, she was right there to haul me up.

She died yesterday.

Helpless; hopeless, I’ve returned to chase the dragon one last time.

 

**For our cat, Maggie.  I’m so sorry.**