Friday Fiction-Asa’s Hell

“Focus!”

Linda was clearly frustrated as she helped to move the tiny one’s hand across the sheet of waxy paper. They were finger painting, again. She couldn’t see what good it did to sit here several times a week and coach Asa in his lessons. This child is more suited to manual labor, Linda thought. She didn’t say it though, because that kind of negative talk was unacceptable, and one never knew who was listening to what one said. They hadn’t figured out yet a way to crawl inside her skull and extricate her thoughts, but she was sure that little bit of trickery was only a short way down the road. For now, she could think what she liked, but what she said had to be censored.

The door to their tiny apartment opened and in walked Jed and little Bud. Their son’s real name was Maynard, but everybody called him Bud. He just looked like a Bud, and he acted like one too. Unlike Asa, he was an easy child to love.

“What’s for dinner?” Jed asked.

“Same ole, same ole,” she replied. “It’s Tuesday, so that means pasta and garlic bread. It’s in the freezer. Can you pop it in the micro to warm it up? I have to finish up this project with the monster, the assessors want it done by tomorrow.  She said the word “monster” with a cheery little up-tick in her voice so that anyone listening would think she was being jovial and fun, and not dead serious.

“Can’t we have something fresh tonight?” Jed asked. “I’ve had warmed-up pasta three times in the last three weeks and it’s getting old.”

“Yeah? Well guess what,” said Linda, “working with this kid is getting old too. Everything he does takes ten times as long to accomplish as it ever did with Bud!” She hoped that hadn’t come off too brutal-sounding. There was a price to pay if she didn’t comply with orders to condescend and she was hesitant to pay it. Quite hesitant.

“Hey, buddy, where’s your coat?” Linda inquired of Bud.

“Oh no, I think I left it back at school.”

Technically speaking, that was a lie. Bud didn’t go to school. Bud went to a state sponsored asylum they called a school, and he was the brightest “student” enrolled there, Linda thought.

“Oh, that’s okay buddy, we’ll get it tomorrow,” his mum said.

“Asa, will you please stop smearing paint everywhere!?” Another exasperated message had left her lips, this time without her even noticing how exasperated it sounded.

“Lin…” Jed whispered, motioning with his hand in a way that told Linda that she needed to tweak her tone and quit complaining.

“I don’t care, Jed,” she replied. “You stay home with this little jerk every day and see how you feel at the end of the week.” With that Linda batted Asa on the back of the head with the tips of her fingers and huffed off to the bedroom to get away from the insanity that had become her daily routine.

How in the world can anyone expect me to teach that “thing” anything; he’s devoid of any sense, she thought to herself, but she didn’t utter a word.

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The Cornfield

Sex almost never clicks the ticket for me. Don’t get me wrong. I love touch, but no act motivated by the need to “get ‘er done” has ever been able to claim my heart. That’s why I prefer that slow hand and lack of urgency that comes from a mature mate.  Maybe it’s the same for you?

Tell me I’m not alone in this.

Sex for sex’s sake I can take, but more often leave.
Sex born of love and commitment, give me that stuff every time, every day, in every way!

As an homage to loyalty and love, and maybe a little bit of the healing that comes of loving the right way, I offer today’s post.

THE CORNFIELD

A cornfield is where he laid her down. Where he moved her hair so that he could see every telltale sign of recognition that passed between them.  A cornfield is where he chased away reluctance. It’s where tears covered his cheeks and she found her voice; voice the Builder’d given; sound encased in balm. This time the healing was for him, but her too.

As the winds of northeastern Pennsylvania pushed seed over remnants hung on clothes line, newly washed jeans and t-shirts, swaying back, then forth, then back again, so did he match their rhythm.

She closed her eyes. She wanted to be fully aware in this moment; fully conscious of what was happening to him, fully synced to his movements and emotions. She had one chance and one chance only to absorb the sorrow that had left him blistered in the past. One chance to restore wholeness. One chance to allow the miracle to flow through her.

He laid full upon her chest now, spent. He’d given everything he had to her, and she’d received it as a precious gift returned in kind, the treasure of authenticity and complete trust that he’d forgotten he had; the pearl of great price he thought he’d never have again.

Journalism 101?

courtyard

“She’d taken the world by storm; this thin, auburn-haired transplant from the north. Everybody said so, but that was before Tuesday. Before someone smashed in her skull with a saber saw. Before flecks of brain matter painted the walls of her Myrtle Beach bungalow pink. Before her mottled brown boxer had tracked blood through the house and down the steps to the courtyard left open by her escaping assailant. Now, all that remained of her once brilliantly millennial majesty was coffin flies and a rotting corpse. How was Elizabeth to cover this disaster that had occurred in her own back yard? Nothing she’d learned in journalism 101 could ever have prepared her for this, or what was about to happen.”

I think this would make a great lead-in to a book proposal. What say you?

The Bus Stop

bus stop

He showed up at the bus stop every day. Sat inches away from her, every day. Smiled pleasingly every day, but she was leery. She hadn’t trusted a man in a long time; not for affection, not for protection, not for any kind of emotional support or feelings of belonging. He was on her mind as she sat on the sidewalk having coffee with Susan.

“I just can’t get him out of my head,” she said.

“And why do you think that is?” Susan replied.

“I suppose I’m obsessed with the idea of him,” she said. “But ideas about men have gotten me into dark alleys and unending trouble in the past.”

“Doesn’t mean this one is a bad guy.”

“No, but it does mean I need to tread lightly, wherever men are concerned. I’ve learned my lesson with them.”

They both fell silent for a minute, Lisa tapping her acrylic fingernails against the table first, then her paper coffee cup, and finally her spoon. She was deep in thought when Susan spoke again.

“Tell me again what he looks like.”

Dreamy-eyed, Lisa explained, “He’s tall. Salt and pepper on top with lots of hair. It’s swept to the side. He always has a rain coat with him, though it never rains here. He has a tan-colored brief case, too. No wedding ring; no hint of shadow on his ring finger either, like he’s removed the ring before he approached the bench. He looks like your average, moderately successful businessman on the outside, but when he looks my way and smiles, I can see something else underneath. Like a second guy, someone who is full of light and, I don’t know, glowing. Not really glowing, but radiant, ya know?”

“What does he say?” Susan asked.

“Small talk. ‘How are you? It’s sunny this morning, isn’t it? Are you ready for another week of changing the world?’ He always asks me that on Mondays, without fail. ‘Are you ready for another week of changing the world?’”

“Well, are you?” Susan asked.

“Tell you what, he almost makes me think I could. Almost, but then reality seeps back in as soon as I get on the bus, and another plain, ordinary, uneventful, I-did-not-change-the-world type of week begins.”

“Maybe next time he says it, you should say, ‘I just might believe I could, if I had someone like you in my life.’”

“Be serious!” Lisa replied!