Head above Water

211-09-september-10th-2017

I’ve always wanted the best view from my window.

This. Cascading water. The bustle that I could ignore. The peace.

An address that read- 24/7, Head above Water Retreat, Off the Road…

It was either this or the meds. Did I really have a choice?

I was asked where I would feel good.

It was either the mountains or water.

I loved the suspended animation the mountains could give me. But the gurgle of water soothed me.

Lofty mountains and all the chance of elevated escape, or drowning in the depths of inviting water?

I could not choose.

This little retreat that bridged the canal, perched rather precariously over the river, came into view just around the corner of the leafy lane.

To Let.

I figured out a way to get there.

Now the river sighs and gurgles under me and I am perched at a height, away from it all.

Blessed peace.

The water gushes under my haven and, with renewed energy, I marvel at the magnificent torrent that surges ahead.

The ducks paddle their placid way, pleasantly surprised by the bread I toss at them, accepting this manna from heaven.

Well, I am in Heaven.

[196 Words]

Thank you, Al, for hosting the Sunday Photo Fiction. Such a lovely platform to share stories on. Thank you, A Mixed bag for the intriguing photograph.

spf

 

Advertisements

Amma’s Congee

Pot story

An iron fence separated the park from the lakeside where a few villagers set up their makeshift tents. Living by the lake assured them a new life, the luxuries of, cooking, cleaning and maybe even bathing, when the guard looked the other way.

Amma, eighty years old, ever-present, self-appointed mother of the lot worked around houses, ingratiating herself to the security folk of the imposing mansions. When the maids swung haughtily down the road to dump trash from the kitchen, Amma would scavenge, marvelling at the waste of good food. Chopped stubs of onions, juicy flesh intact, baked potato still clinging to peel, good enough to eat. Green chilies and curry leaves thrown away untouched were salvaged by Amma who returned home with her loot, that eventually found salvation in the boiling pots.

After excruciatingly hard labour, returning home in the evening, tired and hungry eyes lit up at this welcome sight, aromas wafting to their pinched nostrils.The flavour of the congee was so comforting.

Amma grinned as she gathered the empty pots to scour.

[175 words]

Thank you, yarnspinner for the evocative photograph, I enjoyed writing a piece centred around it.

Thank you PJ for hosting the FFFAW challenge!

photo-20170619154626950

 

Common Ground

photo-20170619154627204

A cramped space this. I need to stretch, feel the earth under my feet. A little less talk and a little more quiet.

Thriving in closed spaces, you’ve mastered the art of contorting yourself, being stashed away.

The air is mine own. My mind lifts off- a sailboat in flight, the air my water, the water grounding me and the earth a vast expanse of ocean I float on.

You and I see the same road.

You are intent; and I never really look.

When did I begin to speak a different language?

Your eyes unseeing, uncomprehending, a thousand miles away.

Your every word, every drawn breath, every expelled curse- so easy to understand, mired in the world.

I surged ahead, wanting nothing.

And yet, here we are.

You lead, your eyes on the road.

I follow. My eyes also on the road.

The darkness is complete till dawn breaks.

The sky bursts. Clouds scud across the palette. Tints shifting settling into a golden hue.

Let us stop here and confront each other in enforced silence.

After breakfast at this lovely place, things will seem a little less intense, our bellies warm with pancakes, omelettes, buttered toast and hot coffee.

[200 words]

Priceless Joy Thank you for hosting this challenge. I’ve missed your challenges, missed writing and it feels great to be back and alive once again. Footy and Foodie, thank you for the photograph.

photo-20170619154626950

 

Celluloid Eyrie

203 06 June 18th 2017

Murthy’s shadow loomed on the white sheet that stretched pole to pole at the little ‘hall’ with tin sheets for a roof.

A little better than an oven when the weather was pleasant and a lot worse than a sieve on rainy days, its only claim to grandeur was a statue of a rather pompous looking bird that had seen better days.

A fire caused an uneasy calm.

It was painstakingly restored when the demand for movies became greater especially when times changed from bad to worse.

The booming from the inside, invited the passers-by in once again. Anything to escape the direct scorching heat of the midday sun. Anything to escape.

It was like an oven inside, though fans whirred sleepily when the power was there. Power cuts saw the generator operate just the projector, improving the air immensely with Kerosene fumes.

Months morphed into years. Murthy’s routine never faltered.

A sloshed brother made a half-hearted attempt to follow the enigmatic Murthy one evening and passed out effortlessly.

Nobody knew what he looked like, where he came from and where he went.

Nobody cared.

Only the haughty eagle knew, but wouldn’t say a word.

Splat!

Damn! A passing crow.

[200 words]

Thank you Al, for hosting Sunday Photo Fiction

spf

 

L’amour toujours

photo-20170327143644962

Madame Sophie collected the finest things in life first. Waterford crystal. Flora Danica. And then she set her sights on people, for people were attracted to things, mais oui!

She was known for her exquisite soirees. The lustrous rope of pearls felt cool against her fevered skin. She took her place by the piano, accompanied by her dear doting husband.

Alas! La Belle Madame could not sustain the high note. She would reach it but didn’t have the confidence or the passion to stay there. She would break off…Such a pity. Oh, Mon Dieu!

She never gave up though.

Madame began trilling. She scaled higher and higher.

‘Wait for it, here it comes!’

‘Now.’

As if on cue, little Gregory, Madame Sophie’s youngest, held up the bowl of Waterford crystal and put it on his head.

Madame was well into her range when she espied little Gregory and her precious bowl. The notes escaped her glorious throat, soaring higher and higher, as she let herself go completely.

Resounding applause brought her back.

A beaming Monsieur slipped an extra pastry to Gregory.

You see, Monsieur had decided that Madame had had enough disappointment.

[193 words]

Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers is a weekly challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. Thank you PJ, for the awesome opportunity! Thank you Louise with The Storyteller’s Abode for the photograph!

 

 

A Game of Hornes

cow

Presenting-“The Cowntess Moasty-Toasty of the House Cocoamuff, First of Her Name, the Unburnt Toast Almost, Queen of all Ambling Bovines and the First Moos, Cowleesi of the Great Grassland Stretch, Breaker of Great Wind and prospective mother of Prize Heifers…”

A secret tryst in the barn, induced by unlimited Cocoa and muffins, Pat-a-cake being the predominant theme, Moasty-Toasty was christened after her gleaming brown coat reminded the others the toast was almost burnt before her first Moo.

The First of Her Name, and probably the Last. It won’t catch on, really now, would it?

The Queen of all Ambling Bovines, for Moasty Toasty has been known to emulate her mother, the Cowager, who was known errr, for  mooching. The Cowager has long since been forgotten, the public having such short moomory.

Thus, the addition First Moos.

Cowleesi,  note the eyes, the tuft of hair, the distinct resemblance. The sun never sets on the Prairies, Pampas,  Veld,  Rangelands, Steppes, and Savannah, Great Grassland stretches all.

The ABC diet, rich in asparagus, beans, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cabbage contribute to the penultimate title.

Throw in handsome Angus, and you’ll have little Bullah, and Cownnie gamboling in no time at all.

Charmed.

[200 words] Sorry, went overboard!  😀

Thank you majesticgoldenrose for the photograph. A million thanks, PJ, for hosting Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge! I had loads of fun with this!  ❤

 

Dingy Digs

hotel

Ye olde County Hotel,

Vestigial pride of the city.

No need for reservations.

Who comes here anymore?

 

Dark corridors, damp walls and mouldy furniture.

The door creaks open. A dingy little room.

A lumpy mattress.

 

A television set in the corner blinks to life.

The sound of traffic from the street.

Persistent.

 

A mini refrigerator rattles with a couple of sodas.

A packet of crisps, a carton of cookies and salted peanuts.

The electric kettle hisses steam.

The teabag rests in the mug waiting to become an infusion, exploding into clouds of golden light.

The steady hum of the air conditioner is comforting.

 

The evening palls the horizon.

Everywhere lights are switched on.

Pockets of illumination.

 

I lie on my back, my shoes kicked off.

My head hits the pillow.

I close my eyes.

 

Like Pippa,

on her one single holiday of the year,

I make the most of my shoestring budget.

 

I’m on vacation too.

 

No cocktails, racy fiction, harmless flirtation by the beach; moonlight, starlight, sunrise or sunset; frangipani, marigold and magnolias; canapes, lobster swimming in butter, eclairs; satin sheets, fluffy towels, scented soap.

 

Hello, room service…

I’ll have a cheeseburger.

 

Who are you to judge?

Now scoot!

 

[200 words]

Written for Sunday Photo Fiction. To read more entries click here.

 

 

 

A Home Truth

​I am in my special place, the couch actually, and close my eyes. 

The lights are dimmed and I slip into a trance.

I am done for this minute, hour, day, week, month, year and even lifetime, maybe, and await further instructions from deep within to attain Samadhi state. A state of Nirvana. Having done all I can, having conquered all impulses, except maybe shopping, I am content to wait for eternal bliss to come my way. After some tea perhaps, or some mind-numbing television even.

At least silence works, for the moment.

The telephone. 

Where’s your mobile? 

I don’t know. 

Voices, trying to get into my head. Actually one voice. A voice that asks questions, answers them and makes observations and gives obvious conclusions, sounding pleased, waiting for accolades at such display of life and enthusiasm.

On steroids? 

Nope. A blithe spirit. A friend. A well-meaning, genuinely caring friend.

A devoted soul, brimming with concern enters the zone with all energy, brimming with cheerfulness that grates on my frayed nerves.

What are you doing?

What is this? Why? How? Where? 

And why are you so quiet? What did I say now? What did I do? Shouldn’t I have called? Shouldn’t you have answered first?

Hmm. Yes. No. Really. For the next ten minutes.

 I reel from the onslaught and ignore it while I can and then – Enough!

As expected, easy tears, the waterworks. The works! The efforts to pile guilt on me. 

GUILT.

I refuse to feel any, for I know I am in MY space, it’s MY time and MY life.

Don’t snap at me! How dare you treat me this way? After all  that I have invested into this relationship!

Oh Hell! That’s not how I remember it. Anyway I don’t think so.

You have not got any returns from this relationship?

 Only  incurred losses?

I’m not going down that road. I know she is itching for an argument now. I hold the receiver a little away from my ear and pace the room, now lit up in harsh lights, the blood rushing to my head.

From my window, I now look at the dog that won’t let go of a bone, worrying it till it cracks into splinters and then looks surprised as to why its mouth is bleeding. It yelps in pain. Some children playing on the street rush to call for help.

So I say- Could you please not think aloud? Resolve the way you feel. It’s not my problem.I am the problem here. So you need to let go. Deal with it. I want to be alone. I want silence. I don’t want to talk about anybody. To anybody. For anybody. Sometimes I just could go through the motions and not disturb the very air around me.

Nothing works out. The assault continues.

So I say, in all exasperation-Would it make things easy if I quit? OK. I quit. Even if it makes me more miserable than I am. Move away? Fine.  Even die? Yay! Why not! 

I will go. Why should you? Anyway, I do so much for you. I am such a good friend. You never think about me. In fact I watch out for you…

Yes, I’m so tired of all this now. Listen! You are the good one here. Miss Congenialty.You are the best. Could you now go spread some sunshine in other lives? Please? And if you have a real problem, you know where to find me. You have millions of friends, a wonderful family even. What can you want from a loser like me? Do you want to finish the job life started? Annihilate me?

Does nothing matter to you?

No.

Don’t people matter? 

No.

Who behaves like this?

I do.

Oh, the times you take ‘U Turns’ and behave so unpredictably. I never know where I am with you!

Yes. The U Turn. It’s called survival.

Don’t be sarcastic! AHHHH! Nothing matters to you!

Well, you see, so much matters. Peace, silence, and solitude matter. I feel stifled with all this attention. You’ve helped me, I am grateful to you. You are a wonderful friend. I get it. I’m eternally grateful. But I never asked you for help. Never. You did it out of the kindness of your heart. Don’t kill me with so much kindness. Find yourself another project to work on, another relationship to invest in. This here is done. You are flogging a dead horse. I have nothing to give. I am Nothing. Let me slip into Nothingness. No, I don’t need anybody to rescue me. I just want out. OUT! It cannot get more specific than that really!

But then, she chooses to think I’m in a bad mood. I know she thinks I am fraught with stress and other problems and I need tender loving care. Lol! Despite the blood pressure shooting up to alarming levels, I cannot suppress a smile. I am glad she cannot see me smile for she’d be really mad!

After what seems an eternity it comes.

I’m sorry. I know you didn’t mean anything bad. 

I know. I didn’t mean anything bad. 

Sob! Then why do you do this?

Hell, woman, haven’t you any sense of space? Any sense of self?

 I am a bad person. A horrible friend. Face it. I can’t be what you want me to be. I will be quiet more times than not. I will look into far away spaces and sit still. I will walk away inexplicably. I will be myself. I will take U turns. I refuse to pretend to be happy and jolly when I am a shattered being trying to make pieces of my self whole again.

And it is all my fault. Please accept this. And, I won’t change. I cannot. 

You don’t mean it!

But, I mean it all.

Every single word.

Specific

Silent Spaces

piic

Your narrow window to the world

tightly frames your limited thought.

Boxed in, your spirit

is beaten into submission.

Cracks, fissures and fractures

immobilize you.

Rejecting your body,

your soul floats away

seeking vast expanses.

Your breathing, shallow.

No movement,

for any imperceptible tremor

significantly magnifies the pain.

Limp, spent,

reduced to a quivering mess

of bleeding pulp.

You try to get used to it.

 

This life.

 

Try this. Get up. Walk.

Take the roads

that lead you away.

Move

till you reach the open spaces.

One step at a time.

Trek your way till you find a spot,

your private domain.

The wind now whispers in your ears

and the sun blazes on high.

The rock is warm to touch.

Steady, solid rock.

Lean back

and feel the warmth seep into you.

Breathe in.

The air so pure

it hits your lungs.

Your heart explodes.

So much beauty.

Such peace.

Walk away from those confines.

Break those shackles.

Now.

For, after this,

you can never break yourself into bits

to fit that box

again.

[175 words]

 

Thank you, Grant, for the beautiful photograph.

A million thanks to you PJ  for hosting this challenge Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Happy New Year! 😀

Archaeopteryx

This is not my life. This is not me. This is the thought that pounds at my mind, never allowing me to be content with my lot in life.
This is not my life. This is not me. This is the refrain that courses through my blood, ringing in my ears, never allowing me to rest.

This is not my life. This is not me. For I am the missing link. I never knew that at first, but destiny led me to believe that only I am the connect between all that I am and all that I can be.

This is not my life. This is not me. Slithering among my fellows, revelling in the sun, I waited, this buzz in my head preventing me from basking in peace. 

No, this was not the life for me.

I wasn’t cold blooded, you know.

I wasn’t cold at all.

In me, there beat a heart, there pulsed a thought- This is not my life. This is not me. This is not my life. This is not me. This is not my life. This is not me. This is not my life. This is not me. This is not my life. This is not me.

This is not my life. This is not me.

This is not my life. 

This is not me.

I waited. I watched. Change embraced me, slowly at first and then with indecent haste. They stared at me with distaste. How dare I?

I realized once you accept the inevitable, things fall into place.

My scales soon shed, of their own accord.

My beating heart made the connect, completing the leap it had begun a million years ago. I felt different. But it felt so right. Oh, so right!

But the others. They watched aghast as I changed from within. Soon the difference was apparent. There was a certain degree of alarm and a whole lot of conjecture.

At first I actually care to make them understand. It wasn’t their fault, you see. It was all me.

I said to anybody who would listen-

This is not my life. This is not me.

They blinked in all their incomprehension.

My beating heart sang this refrain. Over and over again. This is not my life. This is not me.
My heart changed as well. I now had four chambers. My love for life pumped through every chamber- I didn’t know when my body turned warm. So much joy! So much peace! I was doing what I wanted to do! I was being me! Oh the possibilities that awaited me!

They looked at me balefully and coldly.

How dare I even presume?

Hiding in the cracks during the day, they slithered onto the warm rocks at nightfall, cold and unfeeling except for the one common thing they had for me. Malevolent hatred.

Grouped together ominously for comfort, they twined and intertwined and it became less obvious where one ended and the other began. They looked my way a vengeful collective of dark, brooding menace.

All I knew was solitude.

Solitude was bliss. Ignorance more so.

Vital life coursed through my veins. I flexed my shoulders and hopped about in glee! A kind one shushed me and motioned at me with a blink but I paid no heed. I tested my arms, wiggled my digits and spread the membranes that defined me. I flapped. Blood surged through me.

I took flight.

A serpent reared its head and hissed- You freak! You moron! What do you think you are doing?

I looked down from my primordial perch and shrugged.

I didn’t have an answer to that. I didn’t have an answer to anything, really. You see, sometimes there are no answers. You just are. Things are. And that is all there really is.

All through my flight, my heart simply told me -This is not my life. This is not me.

I repeated these words to the now coiling serpent who slumbered on the still warm rock.

This is not my life. This is not me.

They fell on deaf ears.

I spread my wings. I left my perch behind. Far behind.

I now could view my primitive life from a different angle. Oh, the pettiness of it all. The struggle for existence. The futility of it all. I flew. Every flight I undertook changed me ever so slightly. I became this fascinating creature, at least I thought I was and began something I knew was unstoppable. I didn’t understand it myself, but all I knew I had to try. Well, you see it was my job to try. If I hadn’t tried, you wouldn’t have had these beautiful creatures who dot the skies, who wake you up with their song, need I really say more?

Who am I?

Do you need names, labels, categories?

You see I don’t really fit in.

I never belonged. I am different. And the whole world knows me. Because I dared. To be unique.

For I am Archaeopteryx.

I am the missing link.

I dared to dream. I dared to try. Alone. Never let them hold me back.

Where am I now?

Frankly, I don’t know. 

And really, I don’t care.

I lived my life. I mean, I really did. 

I was real.

Now, I am a fossil.

I am reduced to a theory.

I exist in your dust laden tomes. 

And maybe even in your vestigial imagination.

I am the bridge that forged itself between the cold and the warm

Between the unfeeling and the aspirers.

I am the pioneer of flight.

It all began when I said to myself-This is not my life. This is not me.

So much joy! So much peace! Oh the possibilities that awaited me!

Missing