My mother kept the wine glass in her china cabinet along with her porcelain tea sets and figurines. It was ugly: a misshapen, unbalanced lump that looked like it had been produced by some country fair hippy who thought he was an artist, but was in fact an ordinary suburban nine-to-fiver with illusions of escaping the daily grind for a more authentic life.
Which it was. The wine glass, that is.
There used to be two. They sort of matched. He made them for her, long ago, back when she still saw beauty and hope in everything he did.
I’ve missed a few weeks of Friday Fictioneers. It’s good to be back on deck, even if I’m once again dragging my tail with this story. Is that a mixed metaphor? Probably.
I’ve been doing lots of reading about writing, which I hoped would stimulate my creative spark, if I have one, and maybe this morning it did, who knows? I do know that I don’t enjoy those weeks of floundering around with no original or interesting ideas appearing.
So, among other sources of inspiration and knowledge, I’ve recently subscribed to a newsletter from George Saunders (author of Lincoln in the Bardo) and it’s wonderful. So much good information on his website. And this morning I read a fascinating article about the history of the paragraph. Who’d have guessed that a writing convention we take so much for granted could have such an interesting story?
Kevin was transformed. No longer the skinny, wimpy kid who kept his t-shirt on at the beach, next summer he’d show them all.
He shrugged off his parents’ worried nagging. He had found the secret and he wasn’t stopping. Dr Aire’s Amazing All Natural Muscle Maker had fulfilled its promise; it had made him a man.
Each morning Kevin prepared the apparatus and injected the recommended amount of the elixir. Today, feeling that he could take on the world, he quadrupled the dose, inserted the applicator, opened the valve and, with a whoosh, rose to the ceiling and exploded.
She lies awake beside him, willing the morning sun not to rise.
Soon enough he’ll wake, eat, kiss the children goodbye, hold her close, and go.
They’ll watch him cross the rickety walkway suspended over waterlogged soil that was dry land before the ocean crept in, drowning their vegetable gardens and destroying their livelihood. He’ll turn to wave where the track bends.
They will all be a year older when he returns. Twelve months of his factory wages will have kept them alive.
She knows they must soon decide. Everyone must leave. Soon their village, their whole island, will disappear.
My 100 word story for Friday Fictioneers, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Click here to read all the contributions to this week’s photo prompt.
She doesn’t believe he is unfaithful, not really. But who can say where the uncrossable line lies? Who can say if a little playful frolicking in the rainbow-land of his imagination is a deal-breaker? What if, where she finds comfort and peace in the rounded edges and smooth surfaces of their long years together, he finds only tedium?
Why else does he stay so long in conversation with Betty or Edith or Anne, on his morning walks around the neighbourhood? Just talking gardening, he says.
But why does he find their roses so much more fascinating than hers?
I’ll tell him it was easy. I answered opportunity’s golden knock, like he taught me: Observe who’s slack with shop front security, sweep through when they’re distracted, then exit, walking. Never run. A quick commute to the pawnshop to offload, then off to the pub to celebrate.
I’ll tell him it was just a bump in the highway of success, like he warned me about. In future I’ll skirt round CCTV, and I’ll keep my big mouth shut when I’m plastered.
He’ll tell me I’m a chip off the old block. What a team we’ll make when we both get out.