Dear Daddy

Dear Daddy,

Do you remember the day I left home? You held me in your arms and whispered – “Go where your heart leads you, but always remember that this is your home. Your safe harbour in a storm. We will always be here for you.”

Daddy, I had many adventures, and just like you said, some were good, some were hard. But why didn’t you warn me about the pirates? Cause they do exist.
He came without warning. I was foolishly unprepared. He looted and plunder and left me for dead without even a backward glance.

You thought your baby was a big strong ship sailing out to explore the world. But daddy, in truth I was a feeble little sail boat, pushed by the winds, dragged by the currents. I set out to find new worlds, but ended up just bobbing out at sea.

I’m lost now.

All that I have is the memory of your promise, of my lighthouse, my safe harbour.

I’m tired and weather-beaten daddy. Please take me home.

Your daughter.

P.S. My address follows…


In response to the Sunday Photo Fiction challenge of November 26th 2017

Psst-Psst: That awesome sound

Psst – Psst
The sound that transports me back to simpler times. When it was easy to open the gate and walk into the neighbour’s house, but it was way more fun to just jump the common wall. A wall that partitioned only on paper. To the children who lived on either side, it was a nice place to plonk snacks on, while we stood or sat around chatting for hours together. A wall that served more as a net across which we threw ball, or a hurdle to jump. A wall that eventually tired of six kids climbing two and fro, decided one fine day to start crumbling to lower the hurdle height.

Psst-Psst. That’s how we called each other. The signal that meant ‘meet at the wall, below the coconut tree’. Even the coconut that once fell on my sister’s head, requiring her to be rushed to the emergency room for stitches, was no reason to shift the rendezvous point. Too naïve to realise that sound carries at night, we would loudly hiss psst-psst, and one parent or the other would snap back, ‘GO TO BED’, triggering an endless senseless peal of giggling.

Psst-Psst, the sound that preceded many important conversations, much idle chatter, strategy discussions, or confessions, as children transitioned into young adults.

Until one by one, the birds left the nest, and now all that stands is a lonely ageing wall and an almost barren coconut tree.

In response to the prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday – “psst”

Arms

Arms
Arms that rocked an infant to sleep
Arms that picked a crying babe
Arms that made a tub feel safe
Arms that walked a child to school
Arms that could ride better than any hero
Arms that could fix anything at home
Arms that made the warmest pillow
Arms that made the world feel safe
Arms that taught and gave good guidance
Arms that meticulously filed every accomplishment 
Arms that never wavered in their grip
Arms that could stoke softer than a feather
Arms that were strong enough to give a bride away

Arms that rocked an infant to sleep
Arms that told stories not in books
Arms that calmed when parents raged
Arms that could hammer harder than Thor
Arms that signed and taught secret codes
Arms that clapped louder than any crowd
Arms that were never too busy to play
Arms that sagged with each passing day
Arms that moved far too slow
Arms that petrified after a stroke
Arms crossed over a body laid to rest
Arms 

Your grandson and I miss you daddy. You will always be the world’s best pillow and our secret superhero. 

Triggered by the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt – Arm.

A promise

It wasn’t a great camera, but to him it could just as well have been the world’s best.

To him, it was more than a camera. It was a promise. A promise of good times to come, of a world waiting to be explored, of adventures to be had and mysteries to be unraveled.

Plans had been made.
He had a comfortable retirement fund. Upon his pin-up board was a world map with places selected and colour coded based on priority, along with a smaller state map. It would be mighty unpatriotic to go globe trotting without first appreciating the magnificence of his own land. Pages were marked out in his scrapbook for his special places. A time would come when he would be too frail to travel. After all, old age was inevitable. Then he could go through it and reminiscence.

But life had its own plans.
The cells in his body decided to have adventures of their own. The retirement fund went trying to get them under control, but the little bastards just wouldn’t stop. Frailty came before old age could.

He now lay in bed, along with an empty scrap book on the table, and an unused camera in the cupboard.


In response to the Sunday Photo Fiction challenge of November 5th 2017, based on a photo by A Mixed bag 2013

The tree of love

“This is where you met daddy? That’s so romantic,” she gushed, and then softly added, “I miss him.”

“I do too, munchkin, but he’s always in our hearts, remember.”
Bending, I whispered, “That’s the tree under which he proposed to me. It’s my favourite tree.”

“But your tree has a big scary hollow, mama.”

“No baby, that’s it’s soft mushy heart where people in love leave letters for one another.”

“Really?” she squealed, “Did daddy leave letters for you?”

“Ofcourse. And someday some very handsome young man will be leaving letters for our princess too.”


In response to the Friday Fictioneers challenge of 20 October based on a photo by Sandra Crook

The Scrivener’s Daughter


Photo by Kira auf der Heide via Unsplash

For the last year I had been procrastinating coming home despite knowing that he was unwell, and now I have finally come to receive his urn.

As I clean house, I sit down at the desk recalling all his hours hunched over, writing, inspiring, birthing the writer in me.

Picking up his dip pen, I fill page after page with memories, tears, apologies, the ink flowing like ablution.


In response to Week 88 of the Three Line Tales challenge

The dude

He was The Man.

He was the fun dude, every body’s ‘bro.

The guy who could charm a client into increasing the project budget and the boss into increasing the entertainment budget, the guy who could diffuse a tense atmosphere with his witty jokes and dry one-liners, the first guy to shout ‘party’ every Friday, well almost any day. Everybody was the target of his remarks, yet being the subject of his chiding made you feel like one of the gang. At the last annual office party he got all of us to dress like The Avengers and gift the boss an eyepatch! Took the boss all of three minutes to break down laughing.

This right here, the bespectacled mug, was a perfect example of his mirth. Mr. Life-of-the-party.

Yet we who revelled in his light, were totally oblivious of the darkness that plagued him. We met the man; we never knew the person.
Yesterday he turned the lights out.
As I clear out his desk I realise that the show may go on, but a star is lost.


In response to the 134th Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge.
Photo prompt credited to Shivamt25

My unique stones

When, for his week 75 Tuesday Photo Challenge, Frank asked us for pictures of stones, my mind immediately went to the collection in my yard.

They may not be extraordinarily pretty, but they hold extraordinary memories, and much like The Little Prince and his Rose, my stones are beautiful to me.

When my son was little, he used to bring these stones home. Every day when I would empty out his school uniform pockets, sure enough there would be a stone. “Why?” I would ask him, and with utmost seriousness he would reply, “I need them to build my big strong house.”
When a man is collecting one stone at a time to build his home, you don’t just throw it away. Nope, you pile it up in the backyard.

There was this one time he got really angry and threatened to “go far away from this house.” I asked him where he proposed to go. After a brief moment of thought he replied, “I can build my house with all my stones and stay there.”

He’s away at college now, and as I went behind to click a picture I thought to myself – Your stones are still waiting for you my little man. Come home soon.

IMG_9105

“There might be millions of roses in the world, but you’re my only one, unique rose.”

“It’s the time that you spend on your rose that makes your rose so important.”

– The Little Prince
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Invisible cracks

 

Staring out the window, she wished it were her hearing that had failed, not her limbs. Then she would not have to hear the cavalier bargaining nor the callous comments.

His teasing laugh still rang in her head, “Darling, who buys crockery on their honeymoon!” Yet he had happily carried it back for her. For years it had held a place of pride in their showcase, until Linda’s christening. No one knew, but one of the cup handles had to be glued back.

Memories, was all she could carry to the retirement home. Everything else went with the estate sale.

 


In response to Bikurgurl’s 100 Word Wednesday photo challenge of Week 28

Scattered

Something was wrong.

He knew it before he even opened his eyes. His head was in a dense fog, his arms and legs were lead, and alarm bells buzzed in his every synapse. With a gasp of dread he shot up and the entire world tilted on its axis. Clenching his fists he waited till the walls stopped swaying.

What the hell? His room was thrashed. Fractured furniture, torn clothes, and smashed glass lay scattered all around like the aftermath of a hurricane, while he sat there adrift, confused. The fire on his skin made him look towards himself. Was that blood?

The maelstrom in his head got louder the moment he tried to move. Fear, like a pinball, bounced against his heart, his head, his throat, and finally settled in his gut like dead weight. Did he get into a brawl in his own bedroom? That’s ridiculous, but then again, what other explanation could there be for this devastation.

Blurred images seeped through the safety valves of his mind assaulting him with memories of plump breasts and creamy white thighs, the synchronised undulation of bodies, the satin heat of skin on skin, the unbearable need, the pain…No.
The buzzing in his head got even more unbearable. He squeezed his eyes closed, willing the memories away. No, he cannot remember, would not remember.

Dragging himself to the shower he stood under a cold spray. He dared not be late for practice. Coach would go ballistic. Shit, his parents were coming in tomorrow to watch him play. The room better be cleaned before that.

A banging on the door interrupted his thoughts. Wrapping himself in a towel he answered. His parents stood there, agitated, confused, concerned. “Weren’t you supposed to pick us up?”

Fuck! It was already tomorrow.

Written in response to Michelle’s Photo-Fiction #95 prompt.

The scene is written in the style required by Neil’s Scrivener’s Forge Exercise No 7 where we are required to go into the plot late but come out early.