Kyle flicked the bill of his baseball cap. “I have a feeling, correct me if I’m wrong, but there isn’t much about you that gets old,” he said, as he pointed a finger in her direction.
Andy’s mouth gapped open. Kyle’s eyes darted around her lips. Her eyes flared with surprise. His fingers flinched with a need to touch her bottom lip.
“What…?” She was speechless for about a second. Then the sound that came out next made everything right with the world.
Kyle’s eyes never left her face, that laugh, the best part was that she was giving it away for free.
********** Continue reading
Kyle sized up his surroundings and walked towards the bar. There were two older gentlemen, deep in conversation, and sitting at the end. One was drinking black coffee. Kyle watched the steam float up as the bartender placed a cup down in front of a man. A man she obviously new well. It was the reassuring way she touched his swollen and aging hand. The man’s confidant was holding a short class with mostly ice inside. Kyle had seen his father’s associates holding glasses like that one. Typically, while in deep discussion, as well. The bottom of the glass had once held a layer of whiskey, he’d bet. The man looked to have had a few of them. Continue reading
“Well, it could have gone differently, I believe, but seeing how well it’s turned out, I’d say she dodged a bullet.”
Idiot. What did he know anyway, ‘how well it’s turned out’, give me a break!
His tires barked as he slammed his foot down on the gas pedal. Requesting the song, he shouted out to his car and flipped the volume way up. He wanted that song now! The music quickly started and everything his father had said began to drown out. Finally, now it didn’t matter where his car took him. His pulse began to lessen.
Turning left or right wasn’t his concern, frankly he couldn’t give a damn, as long as he put distance between them. Continue reading
Yes, well the city’s Christmas lights were illuminating the twilight air, as thick fog stood still in front of everyone crossing the busy street. Noise from the luxury cars passing by created an evening air fit for the Art District. The shadow society of downtown was dressed in proper black, some even sparkling like stars on a prairie sky.
Walking by the valet drivers, up the stairs and into the restaurant took everything she had. After today this kind of evening so much more unfamiliar to her. She feared the strength she’d need wouldn’t be there. She had a lot on her mind it was somewhere else, stories swirling in her head. One, a story she’d have to tuck away for the time being. How would she write for him, as if taking on the role of a Captain, he’d musted and commanded her to write of swords. A welcomed blank page for releasing anger, a well suited possibility, it seemed.
“Well, honestly? You’re an Angel. You’re sitting here with me right now. I didn’t even know Angels could do that, Necia. Your presence shocks me, your light silences me and your…your, well I don’t know. I mean, since you’ve arrived I’m not the same,” he shared as openly as he could.
Joe noticed the dirt on his dry, cold and chapped hands. He reached into his right pocket and pulled out his goat skin gloves. He put them on, instantly comforted in knowing he had hidden his soiled hands.
“Joe, I didn’t come to you because I had to, I came to you in spite of my calling. Would you want to be defined by what you do for a living? Aren’t you more than that? I know you are, I’ve watched you. It isn’t just what I am, but it’s also who I am, I agree. I’m also, Necia. I’ve come to you as Necia, I didn’t come to you with my badge first. You understand, right?”
“I don’t even know what to say to that.”
“Try, I need to hear that you’ll try.”
“I can’t even look at you, Necia. How do I speak from such an unfamiliar place?” he asked as he focused on their tree.
“There’s time, I have time for your words, Joe.”
“Speaking isn’t what I know well, you see? I can’t say anyone has pushed back at me in such a way. I work, I maintain these grounds. I’m just a caretaker of sorts, this place is all I know. People confuse me, I haven’t taken the time to invest in this world. You must understand that speaking to you, in this way, is asking a lot of me.”
“Joe, you need to try and trust me. Please know that you are safe with me. Remember the first day…?” she offered to him as she followed his gaze to the tree.
He noticed how just looking at the tree softened her face. He wondered how it was even possible, she was made of such untroubled symmetry. The idea of her beauty going one step further seemed divinely generated.
Going back to their first encounter seemed much safer for Joe. He recalled what she had already told him, but there were still parts he couldn’t get past. In her narration of the first moment, she explained to him that she had seen him working. He had been cleaning stones like a father would tend to his child. Those were her words, not his. He was simply doing his job.
It took him back a few steps to learn that she had first seen him in early August, here at the cemetery and after work. He’d discovered a stone, something the ground had nearly over taken. A bush had been hiding the grave marker, but they’d lost the bush in the freeze last winter. It was August before he’d gotten around to digging it up.
The maps to the cemetery were long gone. Joe had memorized the newer graves and their markers long ago, it came easily to him. He’d figured that most of the really old stones were in obvious places, since there was no way of knowing how to locate each one. It had been some time since anyone had needed his services on that side. The space was left unattended to some degree. He did what he could, but he was only one man.
He was clearing the rubbish away when he saw the corner piece of the stone peeking through the ground. He started pulling at the overgrowth of grass, which surrounded the quarry, and it revealed a stone.
The piece had engravings on it and his interest was sparked. Joe ran to his truck and grabbed his bag. There was a time when all Joe wanted out of life was to be an archeologist, the idea of uncovering lost treasures, bones and identification from long ago thrilled him. It was probably simple of him to get so excited over something so meager in comparison, pathetic really. After work, he often times found himself with his paper and lead. There was nothing better than being lost in a story he’d created, while being cautious of not abrading the limestone slab.
“You saw me at the Davis stone that evening,” he said watching her settle herself on to the tree trunk. “I wasn’t aware I was being watched and especially not by you.” Joe took his left glove off and slapped the side of his leg. He rubbed his hand down his worn out blue jeans. He allowed for a bit of friction between his hand and the jeans, unaware that this nervous tic of his was noticed by Necia.
“It was the first time I’d allowed you to notice me watching you.” she admitted.
“I don’t know what made me look up and over towards the brush. I’d heard a rustle in the leaves. I thought it was a deer looking for food. I was curious, I guess.”
“You were so busy. I enjoyed watching your face, as your thoughts had you transported somewhere else. I wanted to know where you were, and if by chance it was somewhere we could go together.” Necia admitted easily.
He was envious of her calm assurance when speaking to him. He couldn’t make his eyes meet hers. “Necia, you let me look at you. I couldn’t turn away. I worried that the slightest move would make you disappear.” Joe was well aware that she knew he’d be caught off guard, he didn’t need to remind her.
“I waited a few minutes, so you could relax in hopes that you’d remember me when I returned another day.”
“I may never forget that moment, Necia. When I saw you it was like seeing a ghost.” Joe mentioned while watching a feather being caressed by the wind, as it floated to the ground. He fought the urge to grab it, the sudden start and stop of bending down he hoped went unnoticed, as he tried to focus on her.
“I knew the first time would be the hardest to comprehend, so I came to you venerable, Joe.” Necia said as if understanding where his mind was then. She bent down and lightly picked up the feather and placed it into his left hand.
“I appreciate that. Resplendently venerable, I’d say,” he whispered remembering the sight of her wings. He was taken off guard by his hands, they were shaking. Joe looked up quickly just sure that she’d vanished.
Grave Stone (Photo credit: patrick.ward04)
The first part in this series can be found here. Winter’s Gift: She Rewarded His Anticipation
Necia reached her hand out to touch the light fluffy snow, the branches around them seemed to cradle the snowflakes as the winter wind blew around. Joe watched her move towards the tree he had found. She gazed at the tip of her finger as a single drop of snow raced down.
It was the longest finger he’d considered holding in ages. He placed another feather in his pocket, he silently zipped the opening as if to trap the treasures inside.
“It’s the perfect tree, Joe.” Necia offered as she turned around to face him.
“I wasn’t sure it would work at first, but after a closer look, I think it’s just as you described. I wanted you to see it first,” he replied while focusing on the pine tree. What he wanted to tell her, was that it was her approval he anticipated. He hadn’t been able to produce the reaction in her that he craved, he wanted to see her mind travel back in time.
“I didn’t expect this so soon, I have to admit. I figured we had a few more weeks before we’d need this tree. It is the perfect one,” she admitted as her mind trailed off somewhere else. She reached up to touch more snow. “You know, for me, snow has always been the first gift of the season. Beautiful evidence, proving that the Christmas was upon us.”
He was beginning to understand that it had been years since she’d seen it. He was suddenly envious of the snow and the emotions it composed inside Necia.
“I’ll take care of it then, if you believe it’s the right one,” he decided. It hadn’t occurred to him that she would agree so easily. Did she realize what the tree meant, more so what it meant that she was using words like we and need? He relaxed a bit in that moment. She had included him on a future event. Finally, as if for the first time, it made him appear as more than just someone merely existing.
Her attention towards him released a desire he’d thought was gone forever.
“Joe? Do you mind if we stay a little longer? Are you too cold to stay?” Necia asked politely.
“We can stay, I…I’ve got my jacket,” he stammered, showing his excitement, probably too quickly.
He watched her gracefully walk over to a fresh tree stump. It was the remainder of the tree he’d chopped down recently. She considered sitting down on it’s rather large trunk , which had fallen close by. He instantly felt regret. He should have finished this particular project the other day. It would have only been another hour’s worth of work, but he was anxious to get started on a side project.
Then again the unfinished work had provided a place for them to be together today. He was suddenly filled with ease over his procrastination. Looking at the trunk reminded him that he should have his axe looked at, mostly sharpened, as winter would only get tougher as the season progressed.
The muscles in his forearms twitched as he considered how he’d remember to get the axe serviced. He didn’t trust his retention with her around.
Joe never tired of watching her. She moved in such a way that he found himself obsessing over her. He welcomed the moments when she wasn’t aware of him. They finally allowed him to show his weakness for her.
“I’m clearing this spot off, if you don’t mind, Joe. I think the wind will break just behind us, if we sit here. We have an unfinished conversation I’d like to visit, if you feel up to it.” Necia proposed. Her hands wiped the icy snow away from the bark of the tree trunk.
Joe witnessed her wings flow with her as she completed the simple task of clearing a spot to sit. He observed her intently. How come she never seemed too cold or concerned for herself? It was shivery out here, but she wasn’t human, he reminded himself so rationalizing seemed like a lost cause. They had no history, yet he had a desire to shield her from the wintery conditions.
He couldn’t take his eyes off her. He wanted these unspoiled moments to continue, the feelings to stay. Necia had caught him off guard when she emerged last week, and he vowed to take advantage of what today could bring, if she came.
Joe exhaled, she had come.
Their first encounter suffered from awkwardness, as he was lost in such disbelief over Necia. He’ll never forget how she emerged through the trees. On foot, her wings spread out, each white feather just shorter than the other as they cascaded down her back, she appeared.
Her feet lightly moving her along, while she made her way towards the area of the old cemetery he’d been working in. She stopped a safe distance from him and offered a shy smile.
Without eye contact, he took in as much of her in as he could without revealing the longing he’d instantly felt. She looked as though she’d caught who she was searching for, she seemed relieved.
He found himself transfixed on her glow as his voice fell through to his stomach. In that moment, Necia had taken his words right from him. She petrified him.
“Joe?” she nudged.
He flinched, instantly placing his hand on his pocket of feathers. His cheeks reacted quickly to hearing his name,”Yes, Necia, this will work fine. I’m sorry, I was thinking about, well you and our first meeting.”
“Yes, and what were you thinking about?” she challenged.
There she went again, his natural inclinations couldn’t handle the moments when she spoke so directly to him. He found himself working on finding a way to breathe. His mind was reeling over who she was and why she was here. Why did she move him so?
Who desires someone like her? It just didn’t add up right, in his mind. He fought his feelings, yet his body seemed to override his knowledge of Angels, and the job they dutifully held.
(Photo Credit: Pine Tree: Mike Rohde & Photo Credit: Happy Sleepy)
Joe walked up behind her, bending down fluently to pick up yet another feather that had fallen from her wings. It was like finding a penny on the street as a boy. His left hand was filling up rapidly. He noticed how pristine the feathers were and how hard it was to know where they came from as he took in the beauty of her back.
He let out a sigh of relief, yet he couldn’t make eye contact. Slowly the air left his lungs. There was a time when he could slow his own heart rate down, her standing so close to him right now didn’t allow for him to accomplish it.
One of her finest qualities was her ability to be seemingly perfect and pure, yet she was here with him. She had agreed to meet him.
McCollin’s cemetery was a lonely place, he couldn’t remember the last time anyone needed to drive this far down the quiet road. In spite of that, this place was still his to care for daily. Tending to the souls who found rest here, his only job.
It was his assumption that getting her here would be the hard part. Angels didn’t take meetings with regular guys who had dirt under their nails. Men who could use a shave. Or so he’d thought. She was beautiful, rightly perfect and by far the best listener he’d found out here.
“Will you walk towards that tree with me?” he asked noticing a feather float side to side all the way down to his boot. Swiftly he was down and back up without notice. Was it normal for her to lose those soft whispers? Did she know he’d kept them all?
“Yes, you know I will.” she admitted almost soundlessly.
Shocked, still he recovered with little effort, did she know she had all the control? He wanted to show her the place he’d found today, he stuffed her feathers inside his coat pocket. He made a wish for them be there later when he was alone. His proof that she existed.
“I didn’t think you’d come,” Joe admitted refusing to walk behind her. He found comfort walking just ahead of her scanning the area for anything that could harm her.
“I’ve always come to you. Have I never?” She replied as she pushed back.
It was a sight to see her walk across the grounds, she proceeded slowly. Seconds had past, yet they were already looking at the perfect tree in front of them. It startled Joe at how quickly they walked together. The pine tree had been covered by this morning’s snow. In spite of the snow, he was sure she’d still understand what drew him to this place.
“What do you think?” Joe asked after choosing to glance just over the top of her head, purposely avoiding her eyes. He just allowed his left hand to lay silently in his jacket pocket, surrounding itself with pieces of her. “Do you think we could use this one?” he whispered quietly towards her, waiting to hear if the tree provided the same feelings in her, as it had for him.
I’ve been working on another moment in my short story, She Waits With Music. This poem came to me last night.
Ask with eyes casted down, will you give?
Reveal my slow hands, do you receive?
Feel every heart beat, can you handle it?
Fall as any woman would, do you accept?
Lost in your eyes, as blue as the sky.
A classic story; I’ll be yours, you’ll be mine.
Minds crescendoing; another night’s dream.
Today, while focusing on my class during recess, I noticed a woman walking towards the church. I immediately observed that as she walked, she also alternately carried or rolled a suitcase behind her. It was folded up flat and it blew around with the wind as she fought with it. The suitcase held a flowery print and it was black in color, it seemed that the two wheels attached to the bag were in good working order. The bag was empty. She had a bit of a messy walk about her. I have no idea whether it was due to her age or if a substance was controlling how she managed herself, but either way her walk caught my eye.
I can’t recall the colors that would reveal how she was dressed or if her shoes seemed decent for the cool 40 degree weather we were experiencing. The aging woman didn’t have a coat on her thin body. She wore long pants and sleeves, this I cataloged in my mind.
It takes a while to walk to the back doors of the church from the rear parking lot. It was a long distance for someone who appeared to have walked her way into the area. There was no need for me or the children to feel threatened. I gave a quick thankful prayer that the food bank was inside and available to fill so many needs. I watched her clear the weed infested crumbling curb without much trouble. She walked the cold sidewalk and entered the double doors like she’d visited the church previously. She walked inside.
I can only assume she was probably feeling relief as the warm air healed her cold hands. I didn’t think of her again. She was out of my sight. I turned my attention back to the children. I found comfort knowing she would be taken care of shortly after finding the correct office.
A few minutes went by, probably fifteen, it would have been less if she would’ve had the ability to walk in a quicker fashion. When she reappeared, faster than I had expected, I was instantly reminded of the hour. I watched her walk away from the heavy church doors. Her head hung down and her bag was no longer being carried by her arms. It was rolling behind her now, bouncing back and forth, from one wheel to the other like an empty trailer being pulled by a truck going way too quickly down a highway. She wasn’t going swiftly, but it was obvious that her temperament had changed. It occurred to me quite readily that she hadn’t gotten what she had walked so far to receive.
The reason her bag was still empty was obvious, and it hit me hard. My heart hurt instantly and still does. She had missed the opportunity to fill her bag due to the time of day. The hours had expired, as well as any chance of finding someone who had the authority to get to where the food was kept. I wanted to run out to her, and ask her if my assumptions were true.
Excuse me, Ma’am? By chance, were you in search of food to fill your bag?
Yes. I will have to try again another day.
No, we’ll go. We’ll fill it together. Just let me get my class. Run quickly little darlings, we’ll just be gone a minute. Let’s go down to the corner, no one will miss us if we just hurry.
No Ma’am, they aren’t all mine. I just tend to them a few hours a day.
Now, do you need three cans of this, how about four of that? We’ll get them all and you can decide how to prepare them. Yes, all of them and I’m very sure.
No, let me handle that.
I enjoyed our ride, too. I must hurry back…
Then, as the children played happily, I realized I was still on the playground, nothing had changed and she was gone. I have no idea if she turned left or right. I’d lost her.
From that moment on, I feared that I should have made the effort to run after her.
I unknowingly had played the moment out in my mind. I watched myself grab her hands as I walked her to my vehicle. I saw myself driving her to the store on the corner. I visioned us walking the isles. I grabbed everything in my immediate space, while dropping items into our cart I encouraged her to get everything she needed. I saw myself checking her out and putting the food inside her bag. I saw myself then driving back to the church and dropping her off right where she had first caught my eye.
I saw her walking away with both wheels on the ground. I saw that the bag weighing her down and settling her path. I watched her walk steadily away. I can’t tell you what her face looks like. I may never forget her walk.
My mind is on rewind. I picture her bag constantly. The knots in my stomach send me to my knees. Who was she, did she have children to feed? A husband too old to walk with her, was he home hungry? What was running through her mind as she walked back the way she came?
I keep replaying this moment today.
Had I grabbed the children and ran after this woman would I be in jail tonight? I assume it was the only fear that I had. It kept me from jumping the fence and pushing a stranger and gaggle of children into my car, as I cried out that we were headed on some sort of field trip.
I find myself no longer being able to sit with myself. I fight the urge to walk the dark streets of a neighborhood, one I know nothing about, in an effort to find her. It seems the only way to forgive myself for not acting out today. In essence, to right my wrong.
That blasted empty bag and crooked walk needed me. I came home and cooked. I stuffed my family full. Portions out of control, it occurred to me that I was trying to find a way to fix how I still felt. What am I to do?
I’d rather remain in bed,
I’m thankful You raise me.
I’m shouting frustrations,
I’m thankful You calm me.
I’m lost and wandering about,
I’m thankful You’re with me.
I’m weak as tears roll down my face,
I’m thankful You see through me.
I’m not who You created me to be,
I’m thankful You stand beside me.
I’m feeling emptiness in my heart,
I’m thankful You work to find me.
I’m content with evilness inside me,
I’m thankful Your grace reminds me.
I have doubts I am who You say I am,
I’m thankful You made me.
I don’t know,
I’m thankful You do.
“The Theme you play at the start of a number is the territory,
and what comes after, which may have very little to do with it,
is the Adventure!” – Ornette Coleman
She Waits With Music
by: Audrey Dawn
Patrons walked by her. They paused to take a look, but then chose to move on, often times with a glance back, as if wondering whether she’d be okay. Yes, it was late and she’d been there awhile listening to the light leftover sounds of the imaginative and free style jazz music coming from Basie’s place. A woman isn’t normally out by herself on a street full of dark alleys; short streets filled with dirty puddles which contain the smells rejected by most. She couldn’t allow herself to go inside the bar.
What if she missed him walking by that corner over there or there. Her eyes drifted side to side. She’d decided that the open air, coupled with waiting close by, would allow her to see each visitor who enjoyed this part of town. This time of night. Ambrosia knew she shouldn’t wait outside alone, yet she’d told herself she’d engage in the hopes of finding him. Continue reading
My Protagonist’s First Thoughts, a Daily Prompt…
I know how I got to where I am today. Within me is an old abandoned well, dark and lonely. Sadly, I’d witnessed no sign or hope that water had been here, maybe not even a long time ago. I am aware that there is nothing positive about my well, we won’t find dampness here, yet it is my place to exist for now.
This was not once a wishing well, either. I’m not standing on someone else’s wishes made of silver or copper coins, which would have been tossed in with the belief that wishes came true. So nothing lost, but yet nothing gained. A relief for the hopeful. How sad for me.
This dry, old and forgotten well had found me and not the other way around. It’s too bad, really; wells with forgotten coins full of wishes, or the dampness of a working water well, would have given me hope.
I would have liked there.
How many times do you say thank you for something you’re not thankful for?
She was lost in her own thoughts as she jumped the broken curb trying to get out-of-the-way and out of the street as a van charged forward from a stopped position at a red light. Abby’s soaking wet blonde hair hung in front of her eyes.
“Doesn’t anyone watch where they’re going!” Shouted someone one from behind her.
She didn’t flinch but logged that experience towards the back of her mind. She had other things to worry about and currently picking at the hangnail on her thumb was one of them as she revisited the same thoughts from yesterday, this morning. Continue reading