It’s my prerogative to break the rule that not one more story should begin ‘Once upon a time’ for, once upon a time all I wanted was you, you, you.
Once upon a time, we happily followed agreed-upon lines. My space. Your space. Our space.
Slowly, lines blurred. You convinced me black is white. I’m wrong, you’re right. Always.
You drew me into a vodka-filled world sprinkled with pills. Kept my brain soft even as your words hardened my heart.
Now, at this time, I’m through with your ratchety emotional staircase – spiraling down.
There is so much more than you.

After last week’s dark post, I promised to write a light-hearted tale for Pegman who took us to Free State, South Africa this week. 147-words later, I think I’ve managed to do just that.

Life is good. Always.

Even in early spring when the weather turns hot and dry, and plants are dead or dormant, and supplies of autumn nuts are exhausted. In that season our people gather around permanent waterholes to hunt besbok and wildebeest that cannot range far from the receding waters. After rain replenishes the earth, ladies gather fruit, berries, bush onions. Children capture grasshoppers, beetles, caterpillars, and moths to supplement the meat our men bring home.

Mornings are met with a smile. We know what is expected and band together to accomplish our tasks. Community is key.

Evenings bring peace. The world softens. We laugh and dance and make love in the shadows. Women pass babies from lap to lap so they know they are loved. No one shouts at the children. Ever.

Our lives may seem simple but we would never trade them for yours.

Postcards

Posted: January 11, 2020 in What Pegman Saw
Tags: , , , , ,

Today Pegman took us to Minsk. I’ve once again gone to the dark side because I’ve recently started a class about the Holocaust. Dark times. Dark story. On the other hand, Happy New Year, fellow Pegman Writers!

You send taunting postcards from AfricaChinaNorwayPortugal. Some signed MissYou, WishYouWereHere. Others WeWillVisitHereTogether-Someday. The worst say WeWillNeverSeeOneAnotherAgain. They arrive in a neverending mixed-up rotation I can’t process.
But this last postcard broke me. You are the one person who knows my parents were thrown into a ditch then shot by Schutzmannschaft in Minsk. You know, because, just as you shouldered your rifle you noticed me, legs shattered by a hail of bullets, clinging to my father’s chest.
For some godforsaken reason, you pulled me out of the mud. Hid me inside your coat. Gifted me to your wife who kept me as if I were a child of her own. You? You merely kept me.
Twenty years later I lie here, half a woman with a gun beside my bed while you travel the world with your mistress, and send postcards. Today, Herr Stein, I choose WeWillNeverSeeOneAnotherAgain.

Attitude of Gratitude

Posted: January 6, 2020 in Uncategorized

Four years ago Dawn Q. Laundau of Tales from the Motherland (Click for more details) presented other bloggers with the challenge to spread gratitude throughout the internet. It’s very simple. Take 10 minutes to list 50 or more things you are thankful for

It’s time to look back on 2019 and list the positive things in our lives. #AttitudeOfGratitude #BloggersUnite. Here’s my list:

1. Good friends
2. A WONDERFUL husband who sticks by me through thick and thin
3. The world’s sweetest cat
4. All the ladies who come to my aerobics classes
5. Rain
6. Moss
7. Childhood memories my sisters don’t recall (maybe they’re adopted?)
8. SISTERS!
9. Sisters-in-law
10. Brothers-in-law
11. Outlaws!
12. Writing – need to do more
13. Making soap
14. Walks in the woods
15. Jazz
16. Dancing Dancing Dancing
17. Reading
18. Travel – Africa here we come, someday
19. All the friends I’ve met through Friday Fictioneers
20. The Stitch-n-Bitch group
21. The variety of birds that visit our suet
22. The fact I have luxuries including a washing machine, a dishwasher, hot water, clean sheets, and a warm bed
23. A good hair day
24. Moths and butterflies
25. Black and white movies
26. Candlelight
27. Craft projects ~ including the Metal Earth dragon that made me crazy last year
28. Lavender
28. Lemons
29. Mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, and a hotdog (Thanks, Mom)
30. Champagne
31. Alone time X 10
32. Snow
33. Museums
34. Great photography
35. A car that runs
36. Train rides!
37. Sushi
38. Barbecues
39. The color green
40. Good health
41. A good night’s sleep!
42. My parents, oh, my parents. Such sweeties they were.
43. A pair of hiking boots that are supportive but feel a bit like slippers
44. Socks!!! I love socks!!!
45. The scent of sage or cedar or a delicate rose
46. Naps
47. Songs that bring back memories of High School or college, a lost love or the found love that makes you happy
48. Childhood friends
49. A meal out
50. A meal in
51. Popcorn
52. Ravens and crows

Today Pegman took us to Aosta Valley, Italy. What a beautiful place!

Isabelle, something’s wrong with your Grandmother.
Why not call her Mother? What?
Look at her quilt. No pattern. The threads are all off-kilter.
For God’s sake, she’s already done Log Cabin, Flying Geese, Bear Paw. Leave her alone! Let her color outside the lines. Let her be.
It’s not like her. Do you think she has Alzheimer’s?
No more than you or I. Why don’t you ask her what she’s up to? Such beauty in the colors. The velvet textures. The silver thread. Look closely, Mother, look.

Come here, daughter.
I knew Grandma was listening.
See this zig-zag line?
Of course.
The road your father and I traveled to escape Aosta Valley during the war.
The unusual colors?
Unusual?
The colors of the mountains that sheltered our home.
This is . . . beautiful. But you’re scaring me.
Why? There’s a sweet memory in each stitch and every one leads to you.

I’m so grateful to Rochelle for posting the Friday Fictioneers prompt a day early! I’ve missed being here and her wee error was perfectly timed. She truly is a wonderful Fairy Blog Mother!

Most have forgotten. Shame on them.
Some say it never happened. They are wrong.
I was there, picking up the pieces.

Before it began I collected grandmothers exhausted by a good life,
babies that died too soon, worn-out fathers.
A simple cycle. Life. Death. Life.

After? Oh, after, I lifted souls from broken bodies on battlefields,
from children in the rubble of bombed-out houses,
from Jews, homosexuals, the crippled and mentally insane
left in makeshift graves dug in forest mud.

Please believe me. I do have a heart.
And you, mankind, broke it every day for six interminable years.

It’s been a while since I took a trip with Pegman. I’ve missed the fun. I rarely read other author’s work before writing a story of my own, but I did this time and am glad. “Big Plans” is piggy-backed on Lynn Love’s story. Thanks, Lynn, for inspiring me. Happy Holidays!

Photo by: Iakov Filimonov / Shutterstock.com.

Do you see the boy? No, not the one in the red shirt, the other boy.
Oh, yes, the look in your eye tells me you see him now. His face is pleasing is it not?
When I grow up I will marry him and have at least six children.
We will live in a house made of red brick held together by fine-grained mortar flecked with gold.
Our garden will overflow with passion flowers and iridescent blue butterflies.

What? Impossible? Nothing is impossible.
I will not sell mangoes as Mother does.
Nor will I continue to mudlark while Father unloads ships on the dock.
For I have discovered what is in the containers being sent offshore.

I may be young but I am not ignorant.
The men who own those metal boxes will pay me to stay silent.
What? Indeed, they will pay me very, very well.