‘Twas the Night Before Amsterdam

If you called me a procrastinator, I would say guilty as charged.  Most of the time I am distracted by lines of poetry and prose that I compose while I’m washing the dishes, cooking dinner, grading essays, lesson planning, and a multitude of activities where I’d rather be doing something else.  Tonight that activity is packing.  In all reality, I know I should’ve already packed for the trip, but I at least made a checklist of what I wanted to take so I’m not completely behind schedule.  

The sheer excitement I feel pulsating through my veins is the same excitement I would feel climbing into bed on Christmas evening.  The excitement that no matter how tight you squeeze your eyes shut hoping to fall asleep you can’t.  At least not until that sweet exhaustion anticipation has caught up with you and you drift off, a small smile still playing at the corners of your lips.  However, the nap after opening presents is the soundest, most peaceful rest of the year.  That will be me tomorrow about 6pm as we take off from Chicago O’Hare on an eight hour flight to Amsterdam.

For now, it’s the night before Amsterdam, and I am letting visions of tulips dance in my head:

‘Twas the night before Amsterdam, when all through the house
I was frantically searching for the perfect blouse.
The luggage stood empty; the clothes were not there.
I has to de-fuzz them as they were covered in corgi hair.
Final arrangements were made, itineraries were reread
When all I wanted was to sleep in my bed.
The hotel and “must see’s” were checked on the map.
A forte for planning would ensure no mishap.
When all of a sudden I squealed with laughter.
This anxious excitement was all procrastination blabber.

Tomorrow the adventure starts; it’s sure to be blissful.
But if I don’t get some sleep it will be more like abysmal!
So, I leave these words with you before I settle down for the night-
“Happy to travels to all, and to all a good flight!”

This post initially appeared at Miss Ross’s Blog via my school district.
Featured Image: Pixabay – “Flight” by ThePixelman (CC0 Public Domain)

Elise Lifting the Sun

“What if hearts were made of waffles?” Elise mused, her pigtails bobbing slightly as syrup from the bottle pooled on her plate and drizzled over the side from the unsteadiness of hands not quite as big as the questions she posed.

“Well, then love would be as deliciously sweet as you are,” I replied, dipping my finger in powdered sugar and adding a slight dusting to her cherub nose.

The scent of sugar and the late Sunday morning sun formed an amnesiac aura around the kitchen of our one bedroom apartment, impregnating the space with the peace of forgetfulness; tomorrow it will rain, papers will be washed in ink, and the acrid earthy smell of a life that was promised will drown out the candied moments of family memories shared around the breakfast table, but for now, I had waffles and syrup and Elise asking big questions that have hard answers all while lifting up the sun with her little hands.

In response to: Three Line Tales – Week Fifty-Four
Featured Image: Roman Kraft via Unsplash
Special thanks to Sonya at  Only 100 Words for organizing and curating these Three Line Tales every week.

Star Wars DaVinci

DV-2301 didn’t choose the Stormtrooper life; the Stormtrooper life chose him.

Gifted with crafting form from a brushstroke of color, his childhood was spent drawing on the various canvases of life – illuminating flickers of hope in the wake of Imperial domination which had cast its shadow over the small corner of the galaxy he called home.

Now, his canvases were orders carried out with precision and unwavering loyalty, and his palette were the whites, chromes, and blacks of his station; he was the paintbrush moved by an invisible hand who painted astoundingly beautiful atrocities in the name of peace.

In response to: Three Line Tales – Week Fifty-Three
In response to Daily Prompt: Craft
Featured Image: Daniel Cheung via Unsplash (CC0 Public Domain)
Special thanks to Sonya at Only 100 Words for organizing and curating these Three Line Tales every week.

Family Fruit

“The best families have fruit, some sweet like berries and some sour like citrus, a few nuts for variety, the grains of flour holding us all together, a splash of rum to warm the spirit, but the best part is the proverbial cherry on top – that’s you my dear,” Granny smiled as she delicately sliced the loaf.

I smiled up at her, briefly acknowledged her musings, and turned back to the text messages on my phone, oblivious to the allusion she made; Granny always drank while she was baking, and the more she drank, the more she tended to speak in innuendos and vague metaphors and the more people tended to smile at her good natured ramblings ignoring their true meaning.

It’s been six years since Granny baked her last fruitcake and ruminated on the spirits of Christmases past; it’s been seven years since I put on the apron taking my place beside the stove, kneading breads, baking cakes, making candy, and drinking rum – the cherry hasn’t fallen far from the tree.

In response to: Three Line Tales, Week Forty-Seven
Featured Image: Jennifer Pallian via Unsplash (CC0 Public Domain)
Special thanks to  Sonya at Only 100 Words for organizing and curating these Three Line Tales every week. 

The River is a Wily Mistress

Running cattle was a man’s work, and Oscar was just old enough to make his first drive across the ranch.  He couldn’t afford to make a mistake.  Rattlesnakes and coyotes would be the last of his problems if he couldn’t find food and water.  “You have to learn how to read the river like you would read a map.  Like a wily mistress, it holds secrets amongst its banks,” the old man told his son.

Oscar had been given the job of retrieving one of the three hundred and fifty head who wandered off.  He needed to return the heifer to the herd and himself to the team before too long.  Failure to do so would endanger more than one life.  The heifer would give birth soon.  A twelve year old boy, exhausted mother, and newly-birthed calf would make for easy pickings.

They had enough fresh water.  The Colorado ensured they wouldn’t die of dehydration under the Texas sun.  The problem was sustenance.  The horse and heifer had food enough, grazing along the banks, but Oscar’s last meal of a couple of campfire biscuits, quick scratch gravy, and slice of venison jerky was over three days ago.  The pain of hunger was starting to affect his judgement.

He couldn’t afford to stop for long to test the waters, but when the banks of the river had opened up to a wide span of calm water, he would stop briefly to cast his line.  The grasshoppers were enticing enough, but each time he pulled back his line there was an empty hook.

The group traveled on.  Oscar’s weary head dropped low in the saddle as the paint led the way, the heifer on a length of rope trailing behind.  Soon enough, the sun dipped low, streaking reds and orange sherbet along the horizon.  “Red sky by night, sailor’s delight,” Oscar mused.  The boy, his horse, and the wayward heifer bedded down for the night next to an oak along the bank.  The splashing of life just beneath the surface taunted him.

“You’ll be tempted into her wide arms, thinking you’ll find refuge there, but underneath that calm smile of hers are lies.  What you want are the murky shores, gnarled with roots.  It won’t seem right, that in this darkness you’ll find what you’re looking for, but it’s there,” the advice of his father interrupted as Oscar was about to drift off.

His eyes adjusted to the darkness around him.  He felt the roots of the oak curling around him and down into the banks of the river.  Exhaustion and hunger buzzed violently in his mind and hands as he worked to set the hooks at intervals.  The bank line was fixed to a knotted root just below the surface of the water.  “This is it.  Either she embraces me or I embrace our good Lord,” he decided as he cast his line one last time.  No sooner had he sat back against the trunk of the tree than he saw the slack in the line pull taut.  The fresh moonlight across the water betrayed that something was already on the line.

Oscar kicked back on the bank with his hat slung low over his eyes, only the hint of a smile peeked out from underneath the brim.  In a few hours, the trot would writhe with fish.  He would feast in the morning and then return the stray heifer to the herd.  A great catch for a hard day’s work.

In response to Daily Prompt: Fishing
Featured Image: Pixabay – “River” by makar92 (CC0 Public Domain)

Foolhardy Heart

He paced across the porch, hands and fingers splayed out as if he were trying to make the ever-important point as he would in lecture. How frustrating I found myself feeling like the student instead of the work colleague that I was. Abashed and staring down at my drink, I held my breath for what was coming next.

“Don’t you feel it too? I know you do,” he lowered his voice as his pacing came up short and stopped merely inches from me. His body radiated heat that stretched out, curled around me, and closed the remaining distance between our bodies.

My breath stuck in my lungs, and a million thoughts swirled in my mind. Is this really happening? Am I dreaming? Did he really just say what I think he did? Does he know how I feel? How did he know how I felt? I’d been diligent. Friendly when I thought I could handle being close; quiet and withdrawn when I knew the distance could never be spanned.

“I do feel it,” I whispered, my eyes still cast on the ground. A huge weight had been lifted, but something more unsettling had filled its place. My breathing quickened its tempo as I waited for Jeremy’s reply.

He paced away again, his hands exasperatedly splayed out once more. I finally released the breath that had been tearing its way through my chest.

“You know… Amy… I’d have no problem having an affair with you,” he spoke with just a hint of amusement but with all the seriousness of a man who was determined to get what he wanted.

My breath caught once again leaving me breathless as if I had swallowed his words and they’d caught somewhere in my windpipe. Words are not tangible. They have no formal shape. They cast no shadow and bring no light. Hell, I work with words. I shouldn’t fall prey to them.

Panic shone bright in my eyes. I slowly prepared my rebuttal, but for my entire proclivity with words, they had failed me when I needed them most.

“It’s just every time I see you… I want to kiss you,” he said and crossed the distance of the porch in two strides. His hands enclosed my face and wrenched it upwards to meet his. Before any half-hearted protest could escape my lips, his mouth had enclosed over mine with a mingling of desire, desperation, and defiance.

Only the stirring of dust deep inside me registered any change. Was it fear that kept me from responding to the kiss? Surprise that I had the power to elicit this kind of response from a man? The emptiness I’d felt at being alone for the past three years? The understanding that the kiss was a forbidden folly was not lost on me. It’s not the knowledge that I felt nothing that keeps the memory of this moment fresh in my mind, tormenting me. It’s the unspoken acknowledgement that things had irrevocably changed.

In response to Daily Prompt: Folly
Featured Image: Pixabay – “Dried Leaves” by Unsplash (CC0 Public Domain)

All in a Day’s Eye

Annabelle doodled daisies wherever she went, sidewalks, notebooks, desks, doors, windows, walls, but her favorite was plucking their sunny faces, the petals adorning her lap and hair.

It’s been years since her fascination with daisies shut like the day’s eye at night.

I hadn’t realized how much I missed their innocence until I found the memory of one pressed between the pages of her favorite book, suspended in its youth like Annabelle with her golden-crowned head and bright eyes.

In response to: Three Line Tales, Week Forty-Six
Featured Image: Bruno Nascimento via Unsplash  (CC0 Public Domain)
Special thanks to Sonya at Only 100 Words for organizing and curating Three Line Tales every week.