Category Archives: creative writing

Echo

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She stood in the middle of the baren room, and she sighed. The sound tiredness and uncertainty echoed off the walls where once stood towers of books. A lifetimes worth of lifetimes gathered and lives through the word. It bounced off the empty cupboards. We used to argue about how she could never remember to close them.

She took a step into the hallway, and the pitter-patter of her tiny heel clad feet echoed off the cavernous maws that used to be our bedroom and those of our children. She took slow steps as she passed each one. Murmuring about checking to see if we had left anything behind. But I knew that behind her eyes, she was seeing 7 years worth of tears and laughter and arguments and making up.

She lingered at the door when she finished. Took one last look and released one more breath and closed the door on the echo.

We didn’t talk on the ride away. She didn’t glance back, just squared her shoulders as I drove her into our future.

When we arrived at our new home. Our own home. She bound up the steps and entered the house with the names of our kids on her lips. The chorus of “Yes mom” greeted her and she swept all 4 into her arms. When they broke the embrace it was my turn and she whispered in my ear. “This is our home, it will ever echo.”

It never would.

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What I did not know

Flying-Saucer-UFOS-hover-over-Arizona One day the mothership would return. I knew it. I felt it in my bones. I felt it in every follicle of my me-ness. I knew. So when the stars started twinkling all funny and growing and then showing themselves to be flying-freaking-saucers!! I knew, I just knew, that they had come back for me!!!!

I knew, that my days toiling in the chalk spattered trenches, my run in with bronchitis, the endless headaches caused by talking to the producers of leaderless offspring were worth it. It all made sense, listening to folks more learned than me oratoriate – is that even a word? It feels like a word. It feels like it describes people who know a lot of nothing and release a lot of mouth farts they think make sense. So I’ll let it stand- about what they think I do, reverting the education discussion to a hot, steamy, hopeless, tangle of mamagism -that one is a real word that I did not make up, thank you very much- was all worth it!

I knew so, while cities burst into riots and chaos, while people boarded windows and ran on PricePro, I went up to my roof in my nighty, no less, and let the star children know most ineloquently, that I do not want to live on this planet anymore. See, I knew I did not belong among these people.

I was wrong. They did not belong around me! I know because I saw the neighbor who had borrowed my sprinkle kit and tried to make me feel bad for wanting it back, ascend in a column of soft blue light. Indeed the neighbor who walked around naked with the curtains open and complained when passersby complained. Crying about her lack of privacy gave me one final blue illuminated full moon!

Disappointed I went to the book of faces to air my hurt and three-quarters of my friend list had been deleted! In hindsight I don’t even know why I had so many, I only needed the 6 people who responded to my posts and foody channels I followed.

The next morning to my surprise most of the news stations were abuzz. Most of the government people had been taken! But that wasn’t the best part. A bewildered intern or technician, apologizing for the missing anchors, explained that the aliens had left an apology and had cleaned the oceans, refrozen the ice caps and filled in the ozone hole.

Foreign thoughts

In response to Photo-Fiction #83

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“Chineyyy!!! Gimme a small fried chicken fried rice!!” The man shouted over the counter despite the shop being empty except him.

I had grown accustomed to the racist slurs and the aggression of “hangry” people shouting at the child behind the counter. I had grown accustomed to the smell of garlic and grease as I toiled over the school books from which I was constantly interrupted.

“One small fried chicken fried rice,” I shouted in mandarin over my shoulder. My mother shouted back from the kitchen. “I’m fine, just trying to finish my homework before the dinner rush.” All in mandarin.

The man eyed me suspiciously, and I ignored him. It was him or someone like him, every day, gawking through the white painted iron bars. I thought nothing of it. Nothing at all until a red glow seeped into my peripheral vision. Nothing until a low growl registered in my hearing. Until the world went crazy as a flurry of fur, claws, and teeth raged against the iron bars. The bars moaning as they bent towards me. The heat of his breath and spittle, on my cheeks as the give in the bars let him get within swiping distance.

It felt like nausea, as I stood there frozen, in fear or terror. It felt like bile rising in my throat. It burned and then it exploded from my lips, blue-white flames that engulfed the thing that used to be the man that ordered a small fried chicken fried rice.

It cried and ran, a streak of burning fur, disappearing into the darkness. Before my mind could panic, the melody of my mother’s stories came back, stories of a proud people, a land of dwindling magic, of an exodus, fleeing progress. I heard fairytales. I heard my truth.

A thief’s comfort

In response to photo-fiction #3

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If you were sitting on a beach or overlooking a cove the sound I was hearing would be peaceful. It would be a great therapy to hear what sounds like waves breaking on a rocky shore. To think of the permanence of land against the formless brutality of the sea is a great comfort. That the sea must subside when faced with the rugged surface of the land. Or if you are a bit of an anarchist you would think of how ironic that something so soft and soothing could erode such a mighty medium.

In any case, one would be at peace. One would be comforted by the ebb and flow of the sound. Of the crest and fall of octave after octave of raw energy. You would be comforted, so would I, but for the fact that I am breathless and sweaty. That my legs burn and my chest is tight all while threatening to explode.

It would be a comfort except for the fact that when I slow and the sound begins to vibrate my bones, I know that it is because my executioners are at my heal. It would be a comfort except that I know that the ebb of the roar is only short-lived until the next obstacle slows me down. Only as short-lived as the tiny reserve of energy I have left.

I would be comforted if I wasn’t a poor man who had bested a whole lot of rich ones, making a fortune no one ever intended to be mine. If I wasn’t a more cunning thing that the ones who rob the poor and call it taxes. It will be comfort if I can make it to the port, and the real sea embraces my good fortune.

An unoriginal tale

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My story is not a new one, it’s not original. It is the story of many women, through time, in this small place. From my grandmother’s bare floored wattle house, to my mother’s’ modest wooden two bedroom nestled between the coconut trees of Old road and then in my house, modern and picturesque still among the coconut trees, still touched by sweet sea breezes. It’s not a unique story.

I saw my mother give her life to a man, my father. A man who managed to be absent even in his presence. Stoic, unapproachable and rough.

I watched my mother wilt, from vibrancy to defeat. Her eyes grew sunken and sullen, the light of youthful exuberance gone even before she was properly forty. I saw her smile become a rare thing sometimes sliding off her face to be replaced by a look of miserable resignation when she heard heavy construction boots on the gallery in the afternoon, or the pitter patter and laughter of the little feet of his other children. The ones he had charged her with raising. I saw her skin take on a pallid waxy tone as if life itself was sucked from her bones by this ogre, who only spoke to command or criticize.

I never saw softness pass between them. In fact, what little of them in private I gleaned, was heavy breathing, grunting and then sobs punctuated by snoring heard through the thin wooden walls when I was supposed to be asleep. It was the way of things, and so I tried to accept that this was the way for me.

Until that day. The day I heard a stranger’s impassioned moans from my bedroom. Standing in the hallway, gazing into the mirror, looking at skin beginning to turn that pallid cast, and eyes and lip that had forgotten how to smile. I touched that face with hands ten years older than the rest of me. I was looking at my mother, as her cries echoed with the rhythm of loving that I could never remember being so inflamed by. A testament to pure pleasure I’m not sure I knew how to relate to. On my sheets. My scent was still on those sheets, his scent was still on me!

She cried and his voice joined hers in release. On my sheets! In my Bed! In this house meant to be our home!

“I love you.” His spent murmur. Word I had forgotten he could say.

While my mind played a myriad of memories. That used condom under the sofa, the lipstick on his collar, the smell of cheap perfume and smoke. The indifferent looks. The pregnant silences. The hunger for him to just touch my skin. The feel of my cold bed at 2 am, hoping and dreading that this would be the night he wouldn’t come home. I had not known, as I watched my mother that anyone could be so humiliated with an audience of only herself.

No, my story is not unique in it’s beginning, and in it’s end I traded one type of incarceration for another. This one is a choice and not a legacy, and perhaps the best cautionary tale I could give my daughter.