The Joneses

 

“Did you see what the Joneses got?” Marco gazed out the window.

“Don’t tell me you are falling for this nonsense!”

Marco swallowed a retort. His wife often yelled first and considered second. Getting into an argument in ‘phase one’ only delayed (or destroyed any possibility for) ‘phase two.’

“So?” her hands left wrinkled wet spots on her kitchen apron.

“I’m considering it,” he allowed. Silence tended to increase her ire.

“And for what Godawful blasted reason?”

He shrugged and tried for his one-sided smile. It used to work like magic in the past. Still did, sporadically. Worth a try.

The corners of her eyebrows shifted slightly away from each other. Good or bad, he wasn’t sure, but it was now or never.

“We could tie our Blimp to it, Dear. It is all the rage to have one’s own anchor. Makes it so much easier to unload the groceries.”

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge #64

 

 

Last Course

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

“So nice of them to give us ice-cream!” Sheri grinned. It was her favorite brand, too. On a plane! How fun!

“Even people on death row get a last meal.”

She elbowed him. Her friends said Robert was a party-popper. A fuddy-duddy, spoil sport, malcontent. Sometimes she wondered if they were right. Her husband did have a way of deflating. She felt bad for him. Life must be so gray, to experience life his way.

“Well, I’m going to enjoy mine,” she announced, infusing extra-cheer into her voice. “If it’s my last course, I’ll be halfway up to heaven already.”

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

(Note: Thank you, Rochelle for using my potentially boring 16 hour direct flight photo from JFK to Hong-Kong from the summer before last … While this is not an ad, the ice-cream sure was a comfort … 🙂 )

 

 

For Eternity

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Photo: Freddy Castro on Unsplash

 

He visited her grave every year on the day they’d met. Every year on the day he’d proposed. Every year on the day they’d gotten married. Every year on the day she’d passed on and left him bereft of the best part of himself.

Sometimes if he was alone in the cemetery, he’d stretch on the ground near her headstone and mouth the words she’d left him in her note. She’d given him the sealed envelope shortly after she was diagnosed. Made him promise not to open it. Until. He knew them all by heart.

The Rock cries out to us today,” she wrote. “You may stand upon me, But do not hide your face. You are and always have been my core. My spirit will no longer be bound to this body, but our souls will continue traveling together. For eternity and beyond.”

 

 

(Note: Italics = prompt quote by Maya Angelou)

For the dVerse Prosery challenge

 

 

Eden In A Bubble

Photo prompt © J Hardy Carroll

 

They were going to have to move.

Her health. His job.

They were going to miss so many things.

The beach. Their yard. The hours spent outdoors.

He laid in bed at night, awake. Her breath gentle at his side.

She would not complain. Even if she could still speak, he knew she wouldn’t put that burden on him. It broke his heart.

He put the shards into action. Poured his mind into design.

He’d build a bubble. An Eden in the forbidding landlocked wintry ground. A lush oasis where they could both breathe in the memories of better times.

 

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

Making A Day Of It

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They were going to make a day of it.

Get some fresh air.

“It would do you good,” she’d said. “You’ve been cooped in for far too long.”

And he had. And he didn’t really care if he stayed cocooned indoors for a few more weeks. Or months. Or years. Or till life’s end.

But he also didn’t want to upset her, and she’d been putting up with him, moody silences and pacing through the nights and appetites that came and went in both extremes and often not for what she’d taken the time to prepare.

So he agreed. And washed. And dressed in something less wrinkled than what he’d been living in. And they went.

The air did do him good.

The open space. The light. The breeze. The views.

Until.

She’d seen them first and tried to shield him, but his mother has never been very good at hiding her distress, and he read through it and looked in the direction she was clearly hoping he would not.

His ex. The girl who’d left him at the altar, who abandoned him to do all the explaining and pay all the bills and mollify all the aunties and absorb all the pitying looks and lose face and his dignity and eventually his job.

There she was. Pressed into another man.

His blood rushed into his ears as he remembered: he had the same photo taken. With her. Wearing the same smitten look.

And he wondered if someone had stared at them, too, at the time, and considered him the next man she’d rob.

 

 

 

(Note: This story is fiction. I don’t know anyone in this photo and no real connection between the photo prompt and the content is intended.)

For Keith’s Kreative Kue #244

 

 

The Vow

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Photo: Fabrizio Verrecchia on Unsplash

 

It was to be a fervent

Vow

For all the things their souls

Allow

For hopes and dreams, and yet

Somehow

The time and place did not

Allow

And left them both perplexed,

What now?

 

 

For Linda Hill’s SoCS (and JusJoJan) challenge

 

 

A Long Walk

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Aosta Valley, Italy (Carl Borg on Unsplash)

 

It had been a misty sunrise. The light rode soft atop the milky white outside.

He thought it was an omen and that she ought to stay in. “You won’t see where you’re going,” he fretted.

She told him the mist would clear. She could read it in the air. She could smell it in the tang of pine. She readied her day-bag and rushed through her chores.

Still he fussed. “What if not?”

She understood. She also knew he hadn’t grown up in these mountains. His roots did not go deep into this land, while her family traced their ancestry to the Ligures. Her people lived in these environs even before the Celts had arrived.

He feared what she did not.

In more ways than one, she realized.

It was another reason that she needed to take a long walk. Exactly so she could see where she was going.

 

 

 

For What Pegman saw: Aosta Valley, Italy

 

 

Present Time

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Photo: Annie Spratt on Unsplash

 

It is time for the presents

It is time for the wraps

It is time for the ribbons

All the holiday traps.

You will ooh and will ahh

You will grin in delight

And I’ll hold my breath hoping

Your smile holds upon sight.

It will be what you wanted

Whether you know it or not

Because no matter the present

It wasn’t one that you bought.

As the evening progresses

And the empty box stares

I will hope you remember

Just how deeply I care.

So I gift you the plenty

That I hold in my heart

And the dream of tomorrow

Where we shan’t be apart.

 

 

 

For the dVerse challenge: gift rhymes

 

 

No Big-Mart

 

“It says this way to the manor,” Doug tugged Lily’s sleeve.

“I know,” she shrugged to release his hold. At thirty-four, he was really quite too old to tug on clothing for attention.

“So why are we going in the opposite?”

She wondered how it was that there was a time when the nasal tone of his petulance didn’t bother her. Had she simply ignored it in the beginning, when infatuation took precedence to logic? Doug was still easy on the eyes, but her heart had become wiser.

“Because the manor will still be there later, while this Farmer’s Market stall might not.”

“What’s wrong with Big-Mart?”

Her lips tightened. She couldn’t believe he actually whined. “Big-Mart has no proper food. Everything’s processed. And anyway, I’d much rather support local farmers than corporate executives.”

She cringed at the sound of her own voice. She’d become her mother. To her boyfriend.

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimsons Creative Challenge #57

 

Backdrop

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

They were cold to the bone, but it did not matter once the light broke out to illuminate the edge of clouds.

“We’ll be home soon,” he breathed into her neck.

“I know,” she whispered, her teeth no longer chattering. She’d stopped feeling her toes so long ago she almost forgot she had ones.

It would have worried her, in the past. The risk of frostbite. Amputation. Loss of the ability to walk.

Not anymore.

They were beyond all these things now.

They were going home.

For the rest of time.

“How long?” she asked, fretting a bit in spite of herself. She never found transitions as easy as he had. Especially such big ones. Especially those that were irreversible.

“Soon,” his voice was barely audible but she felt it reverberate through her chest. The finality of it.

The knowledge.

His strength.

She sighed, and though he did not move she knew that he was smiling.

Another moment passed. Or perhaps it was an hour. She’d lost track of time now that it made no difference.

As her body chilled, her eyes stayed focused on the shimmering curtain of light. Its movement became the backdrop to the last views she will ever have of Earth.

Before it neared enough to carry them.

Home.

For all the eras yet to come.

 

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s Write Photo Challenge