Prom Night – 1969 (Fiction)

My submission for a piece of writing no more than 400 words about the word ‘escape’  I didn’t write as many words this week, but I’m satisfied with the piece.   More pieces can be found here at Literary Lion.  Thanks for offering this challenge!

I am so joyful about the Supreme Court’s Gay Marriage decision that I couldn’t help but write this piece. gay_pride

Prom Night, 1969

We didn’t talk about it much in those days. So, when Tony didn’t want to kiss me good-night after our prom date, I thought it was something about me. Maybe I had bad breath. Maybe my false eye lashes were drooping off in the New Orleans humidity.  He was so damned perfectly cute, and so was I.

It wasn’t until today, when the Supreme Court voted for gay marriage and I saw Tony’s picture plastered on the front page of the Times Picayune – holding a gay pride flag and kissing some guy smack on the lips – that I realized it never had been me.

Ellespeth

Remembering My Father – Prose

At the time, I’d been married almost 30 years.  Because it was proper; because I felt safer against myself; because I was saving money for an apartment, I’d moved in with my parents during my divorce process.

My parents, as I had for almost all my life, lived in the French Quarter.  At the time, I was a secretary for a law firm about two blocks from the French Quarter.  I’d sort of lived my life in this tiny French Quarter thimble.  About 5 by 14 blocks or so.  It was difficult – if not impossible – to find men to date.

Shortly after my divorce, I met a man on the internet. A pilot for a major airline.  He seemed so cool.  Smart.  Intellectual.  Liked the arts.  Now and then, his schedule took him to New Orleans.  We’d have a lovely week-end.  Or he’d use some special flight pass and I’d fly to meet him somewhere.  And we were going to marry and live forever together.

And then he told me he was married.  And I was sobbing in my parents’ courtyard.  And I was so pissed at myself.  And my father came out.  And I told him all the sordid details that had led to my sobbing.  And he said:

“You are a beautiful woman.  One day you will meet a man worthy of you.  I hope you won’t stay in this relationship.  It isn’t going anywhere.”

I found a huge amount of comfort and hope in those words.  That I was beautiful.  That he knew I hadn’t given up on love.  That there was someone else waiting – like me.  That I’d been raised with values I believed in.  That fathers  don’t judge.   Fathers hope.

And that was a great gift from my father.  His knowledge of me and his hope for me. ..

And he liked you!

Ellespeth

Flirting With The Moon (That Kiss – Ana IV)

That Kiss

The time Conn spent healing wasn’t lost time.  It was needed time and found time.  He didn’t seem to be in a hurry to leave and my father, hoping for another man to help with the farm, used Conn’s healing days for slow walks together.  My mother, too, seemed more cheerful than ever she had since we first set sail for Soto Valley.  She and I would sit out in the front yard watching Conn and my father walking the road down to Wide Creek.  I could see my father waving and pointing just beyond where they stood, and I could sense Conn’s deep respect for what had been planned and built and made into fields and homes and barns.

All of this I saw through moments of greens and browns and fields of wild blue-eyed grasses and purple Butterwort that ended, most always, with Conn’s now often smiling face and the gentle way he’d touch my father’s shoulder as they spoke.

Suppers were spent discussing the next planting season.  Listening to my  mother.  Up and down.  Looking in her storage bins of beans and grains.  Not listening to me wanting beets except to wonder why and me saying I needed red coloring for my card painting.  I was seldom taken seriously during planting discussions and was always promised, by my mother, that she would help me make the paints I needed right from our small house garden.  And the wild Hawthorne and blueberries.  It was important that I had my plant pastes for the picture cards I was learning from a recent islander to settle in the valley. The ways she described nature and life and outcomes…I so wanted to paint those sorts of cards.

One late afternoon you sat beside me outside…

I was drawing under a poplar tree.  It’s green leaves were made almost transparent by the setting sun and the world seemed bathed in the finest of reds and golds.  In your silence, I did not hear you approach.

“Quite lovely,” you said quietly.

My papers were spread all out on the table.  Drawings of unknown rhyme or reason.  Rough suns and butterflies and fire circles.  Silver moons and golden stars. Fields of grain.  Circles uniting.

I leaned back against my chair.  Adding to the blush I felt, some sort of sweet rosy glow was framing your face.

“Which one?” I asked?

You pointed to the egret I was working on just then.  “They are beautiful resting in the trees around here,” you said.

“Yes!”  I shook my  head in agreement.  “Sleeping on some bare tree.  Making snow branches against a red sky.”

“But they are so small.”  You held a drawing up to examine.

“Yes.  Cards.  Tarot cards.  Story book pages.”  I pointed out the card showing the rock being overtaken by the swift current of a creek.

“And what does one do with these?” you asked.  There was a slight tone of exasperation in your voice.  That same tone my father used with mother when discussing the stars and the sun and the ways the moon spoke.

“Why…”  I shook my head side to side.  “One thinks upon them and wonders and lays them down to create a story.”

And then…I’m not sure…We both looked up from the cards.  Our faces so close together and intense.  I moved my head side to side again  just to see you so close and to feel your breath so warm against my face.  I’m not sure.  I may have, during some moment I could not possibly ever have imagined, leaned over and kissed you.

“And then, she put again upon me a spell.  And I kissed her and was bound to her even more and forever.” Years later, that’s how you told it.

Ellespeth