Afterwards. AKA> Bitter/Sweet.
We emerge, blinking, into a new world. Sunshine kisses our pale skin and assaults our senses.
Freedom feels unnatural.
Sloth like we check our surroundings, seeing things in a new light. Suddenly appreciating the things we previously took for granted.
Someone comes into view. We hesitate as we look at each other, we smile, still wary of getting too close, but wanting to engage. We allow each other to pass. Emotions overlap, it will take time for the fear to leave us.
We cry a little, sorrow for the human race.
We keep walking. Taking in businesses that are still locked down. Will they ever return or are they too just blinking and feeling their way into a new world.
There are few people around, leaving towns looking post apocalyptic. The eerie silence is deafening. In the distance, the sound of an engine, but no sign of a vehicle. The breeze carries the sound from who know how far, it dies away. The sound overtaken by a birds cry, nature has never seemed so loud.
Hedges overgrown and front gardens being reclaimed by nature. We may never again get the chance to appreciate the sheer beauty of stillness but the cost of that appreciation is too high a price to pay.
Shelly stood in her sunny kitchen making up a new recipe for ice-cream, it was her favourite pastime and the family enjoyed experimenting with her new flavours. Today she was doing it to take her mind off things not purely for enjoyment.
This morning her best friend Myra had popped in with gossip about a new woman in town, gossip that Shelly really didn’t want to hear. Myra was busy telling her about this new woman who’d been bragging about ‘having any man she wanted’ and apparently the news was that she’d snagged herself a man who was already taken and he was smitten. She’d only moved into the town a month ago and already she’d got herself a reputation. Shelly knew the woman, Sue, she’d popped in to say hello when she was new to the area. She had seemed nice enough, a bit flash but pleasant. Myra left after she had shared the gossip over a cup of coffee, merrily going about her day. Leaving Shelly wondering.
It had been three weeks ago when her husband had told her that he had a new account at work which he had to take care of personally, he had been putting in a lot of extra hours. Shelly had been suspicious then, and now it almost seemed like Myra had confirmed her worst thoughts. Her husband was handsome, quite a catch and she loved him so much more than she believed he loved her and now her worst nightmare was coming true. She threw herself into her mixing and preparing her new ice-cream flavour, tears rolling down her cheeks. She smiled a little as she thought she would have to call this new flavour ‘salted tears’, naming things didn’t usually come so easily to her. She heard the front door open and she used her sleeve to quickly try to dry her red puffy eyes. “You’re home early, for a change.” She said without looking round. She had no idea how she was going to approach this conversation, her world felt like it was about to cave in.
“Shelly, I’ve brought someone to meet you.” He replied, frowning when she hadn’t turned to talk to him.
“Oh Okay.” Her body filled with dread as she slowly turned to face him.
“You’re crying, what’s wrong?” He asked, concerned. She looked up at him through a sheen of tears and saw a couple with a small child smiling at her, “This is Mike and Jenny Johnson and Jimmy their son, my new clients, I thought you’d like to meet them.”
“Oh hello.” She manged to say. “Sorry I’ve been chopping onions.” Their eyes strayed to the chocolate, caramel and vanilla as she quickly tried to usher them from the room. Relief sweeping over her.
Lynn had heard about this concept, how women when they reached fifty years old went either headlong into madness or disappeared into old age making themselves invisible. She had recently entered her fifties and found that as yet she had no idea which way she would go.
The family had moved away now and the home belonged to just her and her husband just like it had when they had first started out their lives together only this time the mortgage was paid, so life would be financially easier.
At fifty one Lynn has slipped into and had tried to look on the bright side, it brought with it the hot flushes that would creep up her spine and lodge itself at the back of her neck uncomfortably dampening her hair and in bed at night she would give off enough heat to open herself up as an electrical substation. It also meant the electricity bills were smaller.
At fifty two she was doing well and had adapted to the menopause, trying hard to be positive about the challenges it brought with it. She had even had to stop eating some of her favourite foods to lessen the cruel effects of her age, now she was living on rice crackers and mung beans or so it felt. The up side the shopping expenditure was a lot less.
Her husband was so pleased that she decided that with all the money that had been saved she needed a treat so she went shopping, clothes, jewellery, gadgets. She was spending like a woman possessed.
At fifty three her husband had gently mentioned that she was gaining a little weight and he’d noticed that she had let her exercise regime slip. That was enough for Lynn she hauled a saucepan at him and caught him square on the head, he dropped like a stone. She had turned and left the room, he wouldn’t say anything like that again. When she returned to the room he was still where she had left him. All hell broke loose after that, police, ambulances, solicitors, judges, it all went by in a haze to her, she just wanted her husband back.
At fifty four she sat in her cell, no coffee, no rice cakes or mung beans and no husband. Her living costs were now zero.
So with a choice of madness or disappearing into old age, she had managed to do both.
I bought yoga pants.
Yes and today I wore them…
Fantastic, comfortable and to get the best out of them,
I wore them all day…
I got home and looked in the mirror,nope they didn’t work…
I’ll give them another hour… just in case
Come Back In Peace and Love
She sits in the dark of her room with the curtains pulled wide open to allow the light of the supermoon to fall across her altar. The flames from her black candles danced with a slight breeze that moved through the room.
Tonight for this special ceremony she wore a purple and white flowing gown, she leaned towards the altar and lit her patchouli incense, the smell sweeping over her and calming her as she wrote a word on a piece of parchment, folded it up and placed it under a piece of carnelian.
I banish you negativity,
I banish you negative attitude,
I banish you bad spirit
I welcome happiness and love.
She took a deep breath and whispered “Come back to me now in peace and love.” Stood up and swirled around, the breeze from her gown extinguished the candles, she picked up the carnelian and the parchment underneath. The carnelian was for success, she always used it for her spells and this one was the most important of her life. She confidently strode out into the garden and scraped away some dirt and placed the paper and stone in the ground allowing the light of the moon to bathe it.
The next morning she woke up and without even opening her eyes and reached out to her left, there was the warm soft skin of the man she loved, she rolled towards him and wound her arm around his chest. He was here and he was real and this time she would make it work. It had been her promise to the super moon.
The shop assistant welcomes him…..
He walks into the shop every inch a grown man but acts like a child, he walks around having to touch everything his eyes see, when he sees a sign that says ‘Please Do Not Touch’ it is not seen as a request, it is seen as a challenge. So he touches with no respect for the things that he has no intention of buying.
The shop assistant watches…
He continues around the shop, handling everything as he goes, eventually he comes to a large display of cuddly dragons, all colours, all sizes, he picks up a small one but tosses it back onto the shelf, when he notices a purple one deep inside the pile, he has to see that. He plunges his hand in.
The shop assistant holds her breath…
He lets out an ear piercing scream and sharply pulls his arm away from the display. Attached to his bleeding fingers an improbably bright purple dragons with smiling eyes.
The shop assistant shrugs and points to the sign. ‘Please Do Not Touch’.
She followed him on Twitter and she found his facebook page, the photos of him on the internet made her heart quicken, today on his page she noticed he had confirmed he would be at an event, it was next week, that would be her opportunity to get up close to him.
She truly believed that the moment he spoke to her , he would see the possibilities, he would be besotted and he would be hers. He wasn’t a movie star or a singing sensation, just a normal guy but to her he was the only man she had every truly loved. They had been at college together although he never knew she had existed, she had fallen in love with him from a distance and after following him, occasionally shyly sending him messages on social media but letting him know she was there for him should he need a friend. He knew she would be at the party, she had messaged and told him how she couldn’t wait. He didn’t reply, he never did anymore but that didn’t stop her hoping and it was beside the point he just hadn’t met her properly yet, she had been waiting for this opportunity.
She picked up her phone to check her messages for at least the tenth time this morning, she gasped, there was a message from him. Her heart did somersaults when she saw his profile picture flash up. She savoured the moment and clicked on the message. There were six words that tore at her heart ‘Stop stalking me… I’m not interested.’
“But I love you.” She screamed.
Don’t Forget To Live
It sits there by our side day in, day out darkly brooding until something wakes it up then it buzzes and hums desperate to get some attention. Even in the darkness, it is watching, waiting, collecting, it never sleeps, consuming lives and waiting to spew its new found gossip into an unsuspecting being. It rules, divides, loves and hates, it can make or break you. Yet still we yearn for it, allowing it to shape us and change our mood at will. It will never allow us to find peace and contentment it constantly demands. At first, it whispers sweet nothings and when we are bored with that it demands, insists and promises new dreams in all shapes and sizes and every time we fall for its charms never learning, never remembering how life used to be.
Still we allow this, even encourage it and wait eagerly for the latest shiny technology to come out that will be able to take over even more of our lives, they’ll tell us it will make us more efficient.
Be careful your life is not played out in front of other people on a screen, take back your power and remember to live the way we used to.
Fiona and the Fairy
‘Generally depicted as cute, delicate, feminine forms fairies are anything but… look into the history of the fey and you will see they are impish, meddlesome and sometimes fun but generally causing mayhem wherever they go. They love to tease and play tricks on us humans and bewitch us with their antics. If you ever see one, pretend you haven’t, turn away and let the fairy move on to play their little games on another unwitting person. You will never be free of them once you have been bewitched by the fairies – You have been warned.’
Fiona found this hand written note in her Grandmas dressing table drawer and thought that her Grandma must have been going senile before she died. Nobody believed in fairies they’re just in made up stories for kids. Fiona was eleven now and thought herself far too grown up to fall for these tales.
Out of the corner of her eye she saw a movement and a box fell from the top of the wardrobe and emptied its contents across the floor, ‘Damn’ she thought I’m supposed to be tidying up. She went to investigate and put everything away again, the box must have been unbalanced, as she bent to pick things up she heard a crash behind her, she turned and saw that all of the items that had been sitting tidily on the top of the dressing table were now deposited on the floor. She looked up to the now empty space on the dresser and there she saw a very small child sat cross legged where all of her Grandmas belongings had been. “Who are you?” She asked, not a bit scared.
“I’m Fiona.” The child replied.
“No, you’re not… I’m Fiona. What are you doing here?”
“Your Grandma sent me; she told me you’d stopped believing.”
“You’re just in my mind, go away.” Fiona shouted and suddenly the child was gone leaving behind nothing but a smell of rotting vegetation. Then the wardrobe door opened and clothes started throwing themselves out landing haphazardly around the room. “Stop it, stop it.” Fiona cried. The child’s head poked out of the wardrobe now jauntily wearing one of Grandma’s favourite hats and she leapt onto the bed laughing.
“Fiona, FIONA! What are you doing up there?” Her Mum shouted from downstairs where she was busy trying to clear out Grandmas kitchen, it was never an easy job after the upset of losing a family member.
“Nothing Mum, it’s okay.” She shouted in reply. The child on the bed laughed and jumped up and down messing the bedclothes up and flung a pillow at Fiona. “Put it all back” Fiona said.
“No, you put it back.”
Fiona started to pick things up and return them to their rightful place but as fast as she did the child cast them back to the floor. The faster she tidied the faster the child in rags and Grandmas hat would mess everything up again.
The door burst open and Fiona’s Mum stood there. “Oh Fiona, what are you doing?”
Fiona turned around “It was her” she cried pointing at the wardrobe.
“Stop messing about and put that hat back where it should be, you’re too old for invisible friends.”
Fiona looked around, the child was gone and the room was as tidy a when she first entered it except for the hat that was balanced at a jaunty angle on her head.
Time for Tanya
She looked into his eyes with such tenderness, this man was dangerous and took her beyond temptation. She couldn’t believe how lucky she was to have found a man who made her feel like this and they had only just met. What could the future hold for them? Marriage, children, in those moments the possibility for her future stretched happily ahead of her, it would be perfect. He touched her face, a jolt of electricity surging between them, she leant in for the first kiss that would start the rest of her life. Their lips touched with such a tenderness she thought her heart would explode and then changed to a hunger they both needed to feed.
She sat on the bed watching her children sleep, watching over them whilst remembering the start of the relationship that created these precious lives. She would sit there and recall every detail of how the relationship unfolded whilst she watched over them.
She looked around the room that was decorated with photos of the children playing and laughing, there were pictures of them with her husband mainly, she was missing from most of them. She’d had to go away for a while and leave them with her husband, he took care of them well, they were their perfect children after all. Her husband stood in the doorway watching her. “This was all yours Tanya.”
“No! You destroyed it.” She sobbed.
He looked at the ground accepting the truth of the statement. He had had an affair, it had meant nothing to him beyond the physical gratification but it had destroyed Tanya. That had been when she took the car and drove it at his mistress, snuffing her life out in an instant.
Tanya had been away for four years and now got occasional day release but was never to be left alone with the children. The officer would be here to collect her in a moment.
She kissed her children goodbye.
Be Careful What You Wish For
As a boy at school Vincent had loved the word vagabond, it conjured up images of romance, of a lone wanderer, a person who took no heed of the normal rules and travelled freely and went his own way in life. He imagined wearing a long leather coat and walking across deserts and sleeping under the stars. When his Mum asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up he would always reply I want to be a vagabond and she would always tell him no that was the last thing he wanted to be. To him the idea was magical , he could travel the world and take care of the earth, he would be a modern day Robin Hood or some other legendary hero. When he had birthdays he would blow out the candles on his cakes and wish really hard to be a vagabond, sometimes with his own dog as a companion.
As he grew up he was a good student with good grades, his friends loved the way he dressed in flamboyant outfits and was never afraid to stand up for the things he believed were right, he planned everything and even had a bag packed with the things he thought he would need for his adventures as he travelled and took care of people and animals and trod carefully upon the earth.
Now he was older and knew better, he sat with his back against the shop’s wall on a piece of stolen cardboard to keep the winter chills away and a sign that read ‘Homeless, please help’ propped up against the very bag he had packed for his adventures, now he was here and luck had not been his friend, he remembered what he had wished for all of those years ago but nobody called him a vagabond. People mostly didn’t call him anything but the ones that did called him a low life vagrant.
Be Careful What You Wish For.
Rapid, Antiques, Grin
“Hurry up Pen.” Gary shouted from the car. “We’re going to be late.” He heaves a sigh and gets back to listening to the cricket on the radio, for once England are doing well. Penny is always running late and after twenty years of marriage ha had just about got used to it but that didn’t stop him feeling irritated. Finally she comes out of the house checking her bag whilst trying to struggle into her cardigan, she slams the front door and heads towards the car. He watched her juggling with her everything she was trying to do and he had to smile.
They were off to the annual antique fair that was held to raise money for the local animal sanctuary, so if they were a few minutes late Gary figures that it might just save him some money so he wasn’t going to complain about her time keeping, Penny was always very generous at these gatherings. Penny slipped into the passenger seat with a big grin on her face. “You’d better put your foot down Gary and get there a bit rapid, I don’t want to miss the first lot.”
Gary sighed again and did as he was told, anything for a quiet life.
The day gently dawns. I sit behind my window with the net curtains pushed off to one side and watch as Jack Frost kisses his surroundings and leaves everything he touches coated in a dusting of frozen dew, gradually as the light grows stronger the surroundings appear starker, whiter and less romantic. My gaze falls beyond the frost kissed trees and bushes and settles on the field, soon people will start appearing, walking their dogs and making their way to work and the day will open up much as any other but in these moments the world is still and there is no one here except for me.
This is the time of the day where I could easily believe that I am the only person in the world or that there are endless possibilities to be had in this day, something amazing could happen or it could be the day I leave this earth. Such thoughts flit through my mind and I find cold comfort in them as I pull my dressing gown a little tighter around me. Who would miss me if I were to die, here, now, would I be found or would I be left here to lie untouched for weeks, maybe months? If I were no longer here would the days still be the same, would Jack Frost continue his quest of covering the world in white or would all of this beauty die with me? As this morbid line of thought flits across my consciousness I hear the echoing bark of the first dog of the day and catch the blur of a ball flying across my line of vision, swiftly followed by a scruffy black dog bounding in the same direction. I envy dogs it doesn’t take much to make them happy, if only it was so easy with humans. The dog’s owner comes into view, easy to spot in pink and red leggings. I push myself out of my chair and raise my arm, waving to her but she’s just too far away to notice me, I wonder if she knows that I watch her every morning as she exercises her dog. I’ve never met her but in my mind she has a happy name like Lucy or Sally and she works as a nurse, she looks kind, helpful, happy, just the kind of person that everyone would like and look up to, I’d like to meet her one day just to see if I’m right, I’ve built her a complete life in my own mind, with a big family and friends, I hope she lives it well.
Shortly afterwards others arrive, I sit here counting them in and counting them back out again and still not one of them notices me sitting here observing them, sometimes two or more of them will stop and chat, if they happen to look my way I wave at them but they never seem to see me, it’s an awful feeling being invisible.
I have my other window on the world in the form of my computer, there I have people who call themselves friends but they have never visited me or sat alongside me with a cup of tea asking about my life or how I am feeling, still it’s better than having no one at all to talk to. I try to stretch out my useless old leg but it’s too stiff and refuses to work anymore. It feels cruel that the body ages and disintegrates whilst my mind is still so fresh and eager to be used but sadly people don’t see beyond the shell. I look up but all of the dog walkers have moved on now and the frost is starting to disappear, uncovering the sight of a lush green field.
One of these days I will be free of this stiff old body and my spirit will once more run over the fields alongside the dogs and soar above them amongst the birds, that day ever closer.
Age, Widom and Wrinkles
I looked in the mirror this morning & found a new wrinkle… It made me smile.
I got these wrinkles from laughter, from some of the most amazing times of my life. They would mean nothing to you dear reader but belly laughing as often as possible is, I promise you wonderful for your health. Friends, family and lovers be sure to laugh often with them, life is too serious try to make light of it whenever you can.
Then there’s the wrinkles borne of tragedy, the deep sorrow at losing a love that you thought would last forever, a family member or a pet. It’s a secret but I’ll share…. nothing lasts forever, enjoy it whilst you have it. Allow that sorrow to change into smiles with acceptance of a situation.
Then people say ahhhh but those wrinkles are from squinting you should get rid of those, a good plastic surgeon could help. I answer yes, absolutely from times when I’ve squinted to see a beautiful scene through full sunlight, images that if I could show them to you would lighten your very soul. Take every experience of your life and let it show on your face, it will make you beautiful. No plastic surgeon could replace those images with anything sweeter.
Enjoy your life and your wrinkles, smile often, laugh more so. For it is a fact no-one gets out of this life alive.
She looked at it, after just a matter of weeks it was gone, how could he do this to her? Didn’t he know she still loved him, she would always love him and had hoped it wouldn’t be too long before they were back together. In her mind they were the perfect couple, young, in love, made for each other in every way. She would have given him the world had it been hers to give. Everyone told her that her first love would be that way they didn’t warn her of the pain it would leave behind.
Her mind wandered back to the first time they had met, they were both out with their friends, there was an instant attraction, he was far more experienced in affairs of the heart than her but they both felt that jolt, that wonderful energy that shot between them and there it began. She was so happy, her life was on track, she had found the love of her life. He met her one day grinning from ear to ear, proudly showing off the tattoo he had had on his arm with her name sitting beautifully on his tanned, smooth skin, they went out and celebrated. She never thought a human being could be so happy, she would never let this man go.
Three years later she had been savagely dumped. One trip to the tattooist and she had been erased from his life, it had been that easy. She had been left with nothing, he walked away to another life and she didn’t know what to do, how to move on. She had thought it would work out, just a bump in the road along the way but three weeks after they split up her name was gone along with her heart.