My Mother…

My mother has passed. She was 89 years old. I believe that the most important thing she ever did for me was to introduce me, before my teen years, to the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay. I spent a few years imitating Millay – writing poems of death and betrayal and self-judgement. My mother is also the character Sissy in my Sissy and Buck/Buck and Sissy flash fiction.

Since I’m unable to travel, I’ve asked my youngest sister to read this for me at my mother’s funeral.

The Courage That My Mother Had (by Edna St Vincent Millay)

The courage that my mother had
Went with her, and is with her still:
Rock from New England quarried;
Now granite in a granite hill.

The golden brooch my mother wore
She left behind for me to wear;
I have no thing I treasure more:
Yet, it is something I could spare.

Oh, if instead she’d left to me
The thing she took into the grave!-
That courage like a rock, which she
Has no more need of, and I have.

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Ellespeth

That Night In October – Fiction

Time again for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers So grateful to PJ for hosting this weekly challenge.  Please follow little froggy for more stories.

Here is this week’s photograph  and my story:

ffaw-bridgeThat Night In October

After a lifetime of problematic decisions, I sat here at his bedside.  My one perfect choice.

We held hands and gazed at each other.  Sometimes he smiled at me.

“What are you smiling about?”  I asked.

“You always say you like the way my face brightens up when I smile,” he replied.

“I didn’t mean you have to smile when you’re dying.”

“It doesn’t hurt,” he assured me later.  So him.  Wondering how to soothe me.

And we spoke back and forth this way until he passed to the other side.   I wanted to run after him.  I watched him cross over.

Ellespeth

This week’s photo prompt is provided by Joy Pixley. Thank you Joy!

Duty’s Price – Fiction

Time again for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers.  Thanks to PJ for hosting this weekly challenge.  please follow little froggy for more stories.

Here is the photo and my story – really…I haven’t a clue how it became this way.

ffaw challengeDuty’s Price

“Of course, darling, I shall meet you there,” I replied to a sudden desperate text from my sister that went something like

pardon this break while I determine just how much I may want to reveal about this text but;

“Yes.  Just before the holes in the sea walls,”  came her affirmation.  “Come quickly.  He’s asking for you, dear sister.”

When we met, it seemed she carried so much within her heart.

“I could not save our brother!” she shouted into the sea.  “God forgive me,  I could not!”

And I gathered my sister into my arms.  We held onto each other and rocked each other and wailed against the night.

Ellespeth

This week’s photo prompt is provided by momtheobscure.

Snails & Funerals – Fiction

Here is my story for Friday Fictioneers on Veteran’s Day. Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle, and this week’s photo was given  by  J. Hardy Carroll.

Oh good lord!  I’m so sorry.  I’m getting the challenge rules confused 😦  I can’t get my story off the challenge page so…it’s a few words over the limit.  Don’t read it if that upsets you.  Again, I’m sorry. 

It’s 100 words now 😛

Click on the blue frog at the end of this story for this week’s other stories.

Snails & Funerals

We were burying Cousin Irene. She’d wanted to be buried right next to her husband, Saul. They’d had one of those mixed marriages. Irene was a Catholic. Saul wasn’t. Saul was a war hero.

Sissy and I were 6 years old. We were dressed in our best white sundresses. Sissy was fiddling with the newly turned soil covering Cousin Irene’s grave.

“Ewww. What’s that?” Sissy asked. She was pointing to the gravestone.

“Ewww,” I replied. “That’s a slimy old snail.”

“What to do?” Sissy asked.

“Well, like Papa says, it’s not worth cleaning and eating,”  I whispered.

We skipped away.

Ellespeth

Batman Has Died

Batman died today. Our parakeet. The last of our parakeets who knew our first parakeet, Milo. He left behind his lover, Robyn, and his friends, Sweet Pea and Fifty… and us.   Batman had some sort of anal tumor – best we could tell. We set him down into the same garden where you’d buried Milo.

“You have my total permission to do that with me when my time comes. Just throw me into some garden. Or off some bridge,” I said.

You shook your head and frowned.

I walked towards you and touched your face. You said something about a parakeet’s pea sized brain and humans being sentimental.

Later, you took me down to the garden. I whistled Batman’s favorite tune. We came back upstairs and ate ham sandwiches for supper.

Ellespeth

More Than Anything We Can See – Fiction

So!  Here it is!  My submission for a piece of writing no more than 400 words.  This was great!  I went all the way to  252 words.  Incredible!  So this challenge should have something to do with ‘morning’.  More pieces can be found here at Literary Lion.  Thanks for offering this challenge!

More Than Anything We Can See

Granville always promised stuff to Marlene. This and that and almost anything. So, when they rushed Gran to the hospital, Marlene was in shock.

The emergency room was bright and cold and so very public. This didn’t stop Marlene from flinging herself over Gran’s body and sobbing, “He promised me he wouldn’t die before me.”

The doctors thought Marlene was nuts. Or cold. Or detached. Marlene was none of these. Marlene was simply holding on to one last thread of hope for a promise to be kept.

The entire point of it all was that Granville promised so much of himself away to people. So many of his golden morning sunrises. The other entire point of it all was that Gran’s promises weren’t meant to be kept. They were meant to appease and soothe the moment. Marlene didn’t know this. No matter how many promises Gran broke, Marlene believed in him. And this death part promise seemed unbreakable.

And so, when Gran died first, most everyone felt badly for Marlene. Not that anyone else blamed Gran for dying first.

Years later, I went with my cousins and aunts to clean out the family crypt. We brushed away ashes and bones.

“It’s not just dusty promises,” our old Aunt Lulu whispered. She filled a small tie bag with some ashes and bones.

“Oh Lulu,” Aunt Cleo said. She put her arm over her sister’s shoulder. “Let’s not go there now.”

“She should have forgiven him,” Aunt Lulu said.

Ellespeth

Just For Now Somewhere Else – Fiction

Time for this week’s Flash Fiction For Aspiring Writers.   It begins anew each Wednesday.   100-150 words more or less to do with   the photo below  (photo changes each week).  I’ll put the link to this week’s stories at the end of this piece.  Drop by to read or write or both 🙂

Thanks to  PJ for hosting this each week.  It’s so much appreciated.

pj'sJust For Now Somewhere Else

Have you ever had a longing just to hop a boat and sail away into another reality?  I know, right?  But listen up all you non-believers and head-shakers.  Once in a lifetime, though maybe not your lifetime,  these sorts of moments do actually happen.

“It’s only a few bags,  honey.   Just put ’em in your car and drive me to the pier,”  I implored.  “I wish you’d come with me.  I have an extra ticket.”

“Dad just died and you’re going cruising the world for a year?”   my son asked.  He eyed me as though I had some suspicious intent.

“That’s right.  Your dad bought these tickets the day before he retired.”  I met my son’s gaze. “He’d expect me to use mine.”

“But Mom…I mean…honestly.”

“Don’t be so much like I’ve always been, Bud.”  I reached out and embraced my son.

“I don’t know, Mom.”

“It doesn’t seem proper, does it?”  I asked.

“I don’t know, Mom.”

“It’s probably not proper  But I’m going cruising today.”

“I know,  Mom.”

“Coming with me?”

Ellespeth

photo thanks to pixabay.com

When Everyone Already Knows Everything – Fiction

I’ve been under the weather for our last two Friday Fictioneers .  I did write a poem – inspired by last week’s photo.  It’s here: Maybe I Like Picasso

Here’s my entry for this week.

When Everyone Already Knows Everything

After Miss Esther died, Vernal was to himself.  He seemed surrounded by a protective aura.  Most of us knew they’d been lovers, but most of us knew better than to say anything about that.  We mostly just waited and let Vernal grieve his own way.

“What should I say at the memorial?” Vernal asked me.

“What do you want to say?”  I replied.  Vernal huffed.

The memorial took place at the town’s woodsy hearth where Miss Esther had held her seasonal celebrations of one sort or other.

“Prescott County was damned lucky to have a witch, like Miss Esther, watching out for us all this time,” Vernal said in conclusion to his eulogy.

Ellespeth

photo prompt – © – Rachel Bjerke

When Mom Died – Fiction

This is a piece  I’ve written for Flash Fiction For Aspiring Writers – a weekly photo prompt for writers.  Write 100-150 words (give or take 25 words).  The purpose is to have fun while improving our writing skills.  Yay to that and thanks to Priceless Joy for hosting this weekly prompt.  Please drop by to read and/or participate…it’s a great help to many of us to have these sorts of prompts and a great deal of work for the host.  Thank you so much, PJ.

When Mom Died

The day we buried Mom was something love is made of.  I was twelve years old.  Uncle Jim spoke so magically about her. He proclaimed her to be the only woman he’d ever truly loved.

Uncle Jim’s partner was seated beside me. Uncle Karl. He looked down at me uncomfortably. I sensed his gaze and took his hand. I squeezed it tightly and looked up into his face.

Later, at Uncle Jim’s and Uncle Karl’s condo, I approached Uncle Jim.  He looked at me. It must have been the saddest look I’d ever seen cross his face. There were tears on his cheeks. He motioned to Uncle Karl.

“Why don’t I just start calling you Dad?” I asked.

Uncle Jim and Uncle Karl exchanged questioning glances.

“Mom told me right before she died,” I said.

Oh!, What an after party there was then! We were all so carried away by a joyful peace.

Ellespeth

other stories for this prompt

Image Credit: Dawn M. Miller

Moments We Don’t Forget

On 9/11 you and I had only been married 3 months.  It was my first day working, as a secretary, at a nearby  Law School.  I was driving to work.  I was nervous.  I turned on the radio.  Some strange repeating nightmare kept coming from my car’s speaker system.  Our country had been attacked.  Not ‘over there’ but here.  Lives were violently lost.  Life, for so many of us in the entire world, forever changed.

Bless the dead.
Bless the living.
Bless our homes.
Bless our cities.
Bless our country.
Bless our world.
Show us the way to peace.
Amen.
Amen we say.
Amen.

Ellespeth