Monthly Archives: May 2015

The Plane

Early morning flights were always hard for him. He wasn’t a morning person and the extra time he had to devote to getting through security made it infinitely harder than it needed to be.

It was a short business trip to a place he had once lived before so he was well acquainted with the airport and the flight. The familiarity made it more comfortable than it would be if he was heading somewhere he had never

The familiarity made it more comfortable than it would be if he was heading somewhere he had never been but it didn’t make it any easier to decide whether to fly in his suit or not.

Aside from it being harder to sleep on the plane while dressed up he also worried about whether he would exit a wrinkled mess. not to mention the concern about whether his clothing would emerge stain free.

Air travel in coach didn’t provide a ton of space between passengers so even though he was not a sloppy eater there was a certain amount of risk involved in wearing clothes he wanted kept clean.

All it would take was some turbulence, antsy children and or clumsy adults to make a mess he couldn’t avoid wearing.

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Where Is Logic

“I am not a fan of John Cusack movies, but this one was ok.”

I looked at her and smiled, “Is it because of this clip?”

I watched the Cheshire cat grin wash over her face and waited for her to ask for my list of things that I missed about her.

“Did you make a list of things you missed about me?”

“No, I didn’t.”

The grin disappeared just as quickly as it had shown up.

“I didn’t have to make a list because I knew it all. Knew the big and little things. Making a list wasn’t something I would do because all it did was remind me of what was missing.”

She told me that she thought it was sweet and kissed me.

****

Five years later he found himself back in town and wondered what she was doing.

They hadn’t spoken since he couldn’t remember when and hadn’t seen each other in forever.

It had been her choice and though he had tried to talk her out of it she had remained firm so they had gone their separate ways.

This wasn’t his first trip back to town, it was more like his 5th or 6th but unlike the old days he never checked in to see if she was around because it was too hard.

There was never a time where he didn’t feel an intense physical attraction to her. The last time they had seen each other she had told him she didn’t feel it anymore but her hug goodbye had lingered and when he kissed her she kissed him back

The last time they had seen each other she had told him she didn’t feel it anymore but her hug goodbye had lingered and when he kissed her she kissed him back. She pulled away but when he wrapped his arms around her waist she didn’t try to move.

He lifted her dress up and felt her hand find him. For a long while they held their respective positions and then he invited her back.

But somewhere between the moment and the ride to his place she changed her mind. A short text that said she was sorry and wished him well and the scent of her perfume was all he had.

He didn’t respond.

More texts, an email and three calls followed.

“I am sorry. I got nervous but I am not now. Can I come see you?”

He ignored them all.

They were followed by a few more attempts on her part, the last one filled with a mixture of hurt and anger.

“I can’t believe you are being so childish. I am not going to beg to come be with you. Just call me back.”

He never did.

Time passed and a female friend asked him about her.

“There is nothing to share. We are not anything.”

She pressed him for details and when he told her she yelled at him.

“You humiliated her. She did everything she could to make it up to you.”

“I didn’t do anything. She made the choice.”

“She tried to sleep with you and you rejected her.”

“She didn’t try. She didn’t say anything about that. She said she wanted to see me to talk.”

“Men are so dense. Of course she didn’t say she wanted to sleep with you. She shouldn’t have to. It is so obvious she wanted to. If you ever want another chance you better apologize.”

I told her that was stupid, illogical and said there was no way in hell I would do it.

“If you love her you’ll set aside your pride and apologize. A little wooing won’t hurt either.

He had ignored her advice and maintained the silence on his end. Since she hadn’t tried to reach out to him either it hadn’t been particularly hard.

But time passes and our memories about why we feel certain things sometimes fade.

And now five years later his thoughts were different than they had been on the previous trips. That is not to say he hadn’t thought about her because he had, but this was the first time he was open to contact.

During the previous trips he never even dialed her number or drove by her neighborhood. Maybe this time would be different.

And it was different.

****

“I can’t believe we found each other in Target.”

“Neither can I.”

It was an honest comment and it worked for both of them because neither of them had expected it. She didn’t even know he was in town and he had picked a store far from her home.

It was true coincidence or maybe it was the universe manipulating things.

Either way it didn’t matter because this time when the two of them found each other they stayed together.

Years later people would ask how they met and he would say he picked her up in the frozen food section or if he was feeling particularly mischievous he would say he found her in the contraceptive aisle.

Sometimes she would tell him to stop making up ridiculous stories but it never was said without a smile and more often than not she was holding his hand when she said it.

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Working Backwards

Been working on a couple of the stories I have spooling around inside my melon and came up with the endings. Now all I have to do is write the beginning and the middle.

Ok, I might adjust the endings or I might not. Here is the roughest of the rough drafts of one of them.

She took his hand and thanked him for not paying attention to what she said.

“This might be some kind of record or need to be memorialized in some fashion. You just thanked me for ignoring you.”

She rolled her eyes.

“Don’t tarnish the moment by gloating.”

He laughed.

“I don’t gloat.”

“Oh yes, you do. I’ll never understand why you thought ignoring me was a smart thing to do, but it worked so maybe you do know something I don’t.”

“I know a lot of things you don’t and I always paid attention to whether your actions matched what you were saying. Sometimes they were diametrically opposed and that made me think I had nothing to lose and everything to gain.”

“But what if you had been wrong. You could have made me hate you.”

“I never worried about that. I figured if I was wrong, well I was wrong and I hadn’t lost anything. But if I was right, well then this house would be a lot more fun to live in than it had been and here we are.”

Or

“He packed up his truck and started driving. And for once he never looked backwards and he felt great. That part of life was behind him now the future was wide open.”

Or

“They watched him walk into the forest. He turned, smiled and waved goodbye. They never saw him again.”

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Materials

Starting to collect materials for stories to revisit and or expand.

Plenty of Time

She Saved My Heart

I Have Your IP & I’ll

Homecoming

I Am Not Playing.

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Working My Way Back…To You?

The plan wasn’t to find you but then again it didn’t ever include losing you so maybe those things balance each other out.

Unsought and unlooked for you were like a comet blazing across the evening sky. It was impossible not to notice you and even harder not to follow the trail you left behind.

And then the unexpected turned into the impossible and the improbable.

That is how you provide an incomplete summary of a profound life changing experience in a way that very few people can understand.

But I never needed anyone outside of you to understand the how and why of who we were apart and together. It wasn’t theirs to experience and it wasn’t theirs to understand so why would I care what they had to say.

They could point fingers and call it awful or praise it and I wouldn’t give it a second thought because when it snapped into place I simply knew and that was enough.

But I forgot that how brief a life a comet has in the evening sky and then you were gone. It was like the air was sucked out of the room and I had to fight to breathe.

I staggered around under cloudy skies and starry nights searching for a glimpse of that bright tail, certain that if I could find it I could follow it back to you.

The search went on for years and then my legs gave out from exhaustion and I lay down where I was and closed my eyes.

Can’t way how long I slept, might have been a day or it could have been decades.

When I woke I saw your tail and it was like my soul said, “she is back.”

“I’m workin’ my way back to you babe
With a burnin’ love inside
Ooh, I’m workin’ my way back to you babe
And the happiness that died”

Working My Way Back To You Babe– The Spinners

I ran for a day and a night to catch up to you but you were always just out of reach.

Once I saw you turn your head and I swore you saw me and wondered why you kept walking away.

I almost stopped because I figured we had had our moment and that I could live with that. I thought about letting go and saying memory was all I needed.

But my heart said no, she merely needs to remember. One kiss and her heart will be unlocked again.

And then when hope turned into reality heart turned to head and said, “I told you so.”

Head nodded at heart and asked what would happen when the comet leaves our orbit again, because she will.

Heart told head not to worry and said that one kiss would always be all it would take to bring it all back.

Head said that maybe it wasn’t worth the heartache that came with it and heart said softly that it always was and always would be.

Head said he remained unconvinced.

“Oh, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain
I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I’d see you, baby, one more time again, now”
Fire and Rain– James Taylor

Head wept and asked heart how it could handle so many losses.

Heart asked head how he would handle the truly big losses and pointed out that which he wept over was sad but not nearly as hard as certain other losses could be.

Head asked again for help and heart said these moments are a reminder to pay attention to the people that make you feel alive and those that bring you joy.

Some make the world feel small and others make it feel endless.

Find those who make it feel endless and spend time with them.

Head said what happens if they don’t.

Heart asked what happens if they do.

Hold no expectations and learn to find the joy in the small things in life and you’ll be ok.

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There Are Places I Remember

“There are places I’ll remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain” 
In My Life- The Beatles

I think that I was around six or seven when I met June. I don’t quite remember any more. She was the girl down the street with long dark hair. The middle child, sandwiched between a younger and an older sister, she was a full year ahead of me in school.

Me? Well, I was one of five kids and a committed bachelor. At least I thought I was, but what did I know at seven. Back then girls were at best tolerated, an unpleasant experience that had to be dealt with. As you can imagine my attitude wasn’t appreciated by any of my sisters and especially not by my mother. She would look at my father and ask him to speak with me.

I remember those conversations. Dad would sit down and split a can of Ginger Ale with me and tell me that one day I would appreciate girls. I loved my father dearly and tried not to tell him that I thought he was nuts. They didn’t play the games that I liked to play and had an uncanny knack for getting me in trouble. As far as I was concerned girls were the enemy.

Being a very stubborn boy I vowed that if my feelings about girls ever changed I would not tell my father. I loved him, but not enough to let him know that he was right about such a serious issue. In my eyes this misguided belief that I would like girls was his biggest shortcoming and the only thing that made me question his status as the all powerful superman.

Still he maintained that at some point in the future I would find girls to be so interesting that I would have to be careful not to get into trouble. I still remember the look my mother gave my father for saying this. At the time I had no clue as to what he was hinting at.

The days came and went and the school years passed by. Elementary school came and went and on we went to junior high. I can’t say that I have many memories of June from then. I know that sometimes I’d see her walking to or from school but I never said anything. Most of the time she was with one of her sisters and their friends and though I was older, girls were still not on my radar.

One day that changed. I can’t tell you how, when or why. All that I know is that one day I started to notice things about girls that were different. Things that made me tingle a bit and wonder. I suppose that you can blame June for some of this. I had to walk by her house to get to school and so I had plenty of occasions to see her. Plenty of occasions to notice that her butt swayed when she walked and that I liked her long hair.

I think that we were around 12 or 13 when things really changed, or should I say when we started talking. To this day I can’t tell you who initiated the conversation or how. All I can tell you is that the boy who hated girls got the surprise of his life, a best friend who was a girl.

I suppose that I blame June for this. She has always been smarter and more clever than I am. It wouldn’t surprise me if she manipulated the whole thing. I know that sounds bad, but I don’t mean it in a bad sense. It is easier to believe than blaming fate. And in truth given some of the things that would happen later on it makes sense in a different way.

June always figured things out before I did.  I suspect that she knew that she would have to overcome the stubborn, bull headed part of me and so did things to help me think that I had figured it out.

All these places had their moments

If you want examples I could tell you about other boys she dated. She’d tell you that they came before I did and I suppose that there is some truth to that. The same truth can be said about the anger I developed over the influence and influx of interlopers. My best friend’s attention was being taken from me and I didn’t like it. Perhaps it is better called jealousy, because I was jealous. I just didn’t recognize it for what it was at the time.

To me it was anger and that anger led to more than a few fights with June. It was one of those fights that caused us to stop talking. By this point we were in high school and June being a year ahead of me was getting ready to go to college. The thought of her going away bothered me tremendously, but I didn’t tell her. Still acting as the stubborn lout I refused to let her know how upset I was by it.

And with the convenient excuse of being angry I just stopped talking to her. Didn’t return her telephone calls, attend her graduation or the party her parents threw for her. And let’s not forget her senior prom. Since she lived down the street from me I watched as some stupid jerk pulled walked her from the house into a limousine. I saw his hand trail down her side and brush her below the belt. This made me so angry that I ran out of the house and down the street.

My plan was to try to kill him for his transgression. Instead I got a mouthful of exhaust and watched them drive down the street while I screamed. It was quite the show for the neighbors.

Anyway, time passed but my anger and frustration didn’t. If I had a better head on my shoulders I would have realized that I was in love with my best friend and that was why I was so angry. But I didn’t or at least couldn’t acknowledge it and so she went off to college without a goodbye from me.

I didn’t see June again until sometime around mid December. She was home on break with her new boyfriend. I can’t tell you how excited I was to see her or how much my heart sank when I saw him. It is fair to say that I contemplated breaking his arms and legs for no other reason than he was with June.

More time passed and my own graduation came and went. By the time I left for school it had been more than a year since I had spoken with June. The more time that passed without speaking the harder it became to even think about picking up the phone.

I had a great time in college. Really, in many ways it was the time of my life. I made great friends and finally admitted to my father that he was right. I never did tell him just how right he was and how happy I was that girls liked me too. Side note. I only brought home two girlfriends. My parents liked them both and made a point of telling me that they looked a lot like June,

“With lovers and friends, I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life, I’ve loved them all” 

I remember the apartment I had when I first got out of school. It wasn’t much, but I loved it. Just a simple one bedroom that was all mine. My first true bachelor pad and one that I immensely enjoyed breaking in. I remember the first time I had a woman over. There was something very cool about not having to worry about a roommate showing up. No secret signs were needed. No sock on the door or special request to go out for an evening.

It was just the two of us…all night long. She was followed by several others, but none of them lasted particularly long. One of us always had a reason for why it wouldn’t work and that was ok with me. I was a twenty something guy who was enjoying life.

It had been around five years since June and I had last spoken. We had passed by each other once or twice in the neighborhood, but we didn’t say anything. It was a little bit like elementary school, except this time I liked girls, especially June.

“But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you”

My sweet incomparable June whom I had lost touch with. What I didn’t know then was that I had found the love of my life when I was just a boy and had been too young to recognize it. What I didn’t realize then was that June had been giving me everything short of a direct order to be her boyfriend. What I didn’t realize then was how badly it would hurt when I found out that she was wearing the ring of some other guy.

What I didn’t know then was that in spite of all that I desperately wanted her to be my girl. It was a very bitter lesson about missed opportunities. A heart wrenching experience that rocked my world. All that time my other half had been right in front of me and I never recognized it. How stupid and blind could I be.

There have been other relationships in my life. Women who have loved me deeply. Women that I loved too, but none of them have felt quite right. And I can’t help but wonder if my lot in life is to forever wonder about what could have been. For every time I have tried to let go something has dragged me back. So though I have tried to take the advice of Crosby, Stills and Nash to love the one you are with it has never really taken root.

Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life, I’ll love you more

Originally posted here.

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The Worst Year Of My Life

It was The Worst Year Of My Life and the one I never anticipated, expected or hoped for.

But really, who hopes to experience the worst year of their life. Who wants to be able to say they went through hell and came out the other side for any other reason than because they had no other choice.

Certainly not me, I would never be the guy who chose to try to do so but somehow I found myself staring at a reflection of a man I didn’t recognize.

He was weathered and worn with sad eyes that sometimes showed flecks of the sparkles that once were displayed for all to see.

Sometimes he looked in the mirror and wondered how he could see a giant gaping hole where his heart used to be and not feel anything.

But every time he thought he felt nothing he was surprised by a jolt of electricity that made him recognize he and the pain of heartache were still intimate.

He never could decide if it was better to be numb or if it was a blessing to feel that shock.

Because being numb made it easy to forget while being alive made him remember all he had lost but also brought him waves of hope that maybe one day he’d find a way back to those sunny shores he saw in the rearview mirror.

That was how I made it through the days, by pulling myself out of reality and pretending it was happening to someone else.

It made it easier not to be so very angry and to not give into the belief that things would get better.

Sometimes he wondered when he had become so damn negative and so cynical but it never took long to figure it out,

Life was filled with the lies we tell others but the worst were always the ones we tell ourselves.

The worst year of my life made that ever so clear to me. I couldn’t tell you how many times I wanted to just lie down and let go, let someone else fight the battles.

It didn’t have to be me. It didn’t have to be like this.

But every time I tried to let go something inside me snapped and I got back up.

Sometimes I staggered to my feet, but I always heard the bell and I answered never knowing if I was too stupid or too stubborn to know when I was beat.

But ever hopeful that maybe this would be the time when I would figure out the answer.

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Serendipity

This is a work of fiction based upon a prompt from the Studio Thirty Crew. I am posting it here and there. The prompt is based upon the word Serendipity

Serendipity – Luck that takes the form of finding valuable or pleasant things that are not looked for.

There is a very large bruise on my left arm. It is not camouflaged with makeup or masked by my shirt but open and available for viewing by all who stumble upon it. I mention this because it is kind of psychedelic looking and when I think of serendipity I think of the sixties.

I am almost a child of the sixties but not quite. Born just prior to the moon landing and Woodstock I am able to say that I saw the very last part of that decade but truth is that I don’t remember it from life experience but from pictures.

The seventies are a different story. I remember them quite well. The movies, the music, sights and sounds all are encased in that cavernous hall between my ears. Echoes of the past and hints of the future swirl back and forth in a timeless dance.

But even though I remember those days well the memories are those of a child. I remember wanting to be The Fonz and wondering if being in high school meant having to be a Sweathog. It was cool to tell my friends “up your nose with a rubber hose” or to say that they looked like Horshack.

It was a bit weird to see Vinnie Barbarino dancing in Saturday Night Fever but then again we still ran around yelling “Dy-No-Mite” like J.J. Walker so what did we know.

VANS were cool to wear but I never did own a pair. They didn’t make them in sizes that I could fit into. The pizza joints we used to hit all had sawdust on the floor and many had Pong. Pong was great as was Space Invaders.

In between and intermixed with this are memories of the Bicentennial, America turned 200 years old. We talked about it a lot during school and boy did we get excited when we got one of those Bicentennial quarters- they were cool.

It was a different world, a different time and a different place. I loved it when daylight savings time began. Never worried about a lost hour of sleep because I was too busy celebrating the extra hours of daylight that my friends and I had for playing after school. It just meant more time to ride our bikes or play baseball.

I never thought for one moment somewhere in the middle of the country there was a little girl with long dark hair, sparkling eyes and an electric smile. You can blame it on my being too young to be interested in girls or my being lost in my own world. You can blame it on either of those things or none of them. The reason why doesn’t really matter. What matters is what happened later on. What matters is what came later.

I suppose that it would be nice to pepper this post with pictures and music. It would add color and depth to it. But sometimes the silence and the intent to include imagination do more for a story. Sometimes the words that tell you about the smiling girl who loved numbers and the boy who loved words set a scene on their own.

Sometimes the silence sends its own smile and that is enough. What I know for certain is that I never expected to meet my best friend on a message board. I never expected to find her reading about GI problems.

It is not as romantic as stumbling into each other in a snowstorm or on a beach. It doesn’t hold the same excitement as my stopping a mugger from stealing a big black purse. To be fair she might be more excited by my solving the Goldbach Conjecture or by providing Proof that 10 is a solitary number.

And that is ok with me because the connection that was created that day way back when started with our minds. All we had were words. There were no pictures to look at. We didn’t spot each other across a crowded room; meet in a bar or anything like that.

We didn’t have to worry about bad hair or bad outfits. Our words created a world and built a foundation that was far deeper and much stronger.

Sounds like Serendipity to me.

(originally published here.)

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The Poster

“Baby, what will our home look like? You know I don’t like ranch. I want something classic, with personality and taste.”

“Woman, haven’t you figured out that I am not kidding when I say I don’t care about much. You can decorate the house virtually any way you want it to be. I just want a couple of things to roll a certain way.”

“That is not an answer. I want details and I want a plan. I need more than generalities.”

He smiled, you know what I want and what I need. Do I really need to repeat it.”

Her eyes narrowed and she told him it was exhausting to have the same conversations over and over again.

He shook his head at her and rolled his eyes.

“Baby, you know better than to bring up this nonsense, but let’s get it out of the way. Do I want a lot of sex? Yes. Yes I do. I am not the man who pretends that because we are not in high school any more we don’t need to do it.

I find this to be funny because I know you want it as much or more as I do. But let’s get something straight, I don’t want it just to have it or with just anyone. I want it because it is you. Because you are just as sexy and beautiful now was you ever were, maybe even more so.”

He paused to let it sink in and watched her stare at him.

“Stop trying to evaluate what I said and figure out whether I mean it or not. You know I do and you know I love you. I don’t care that you don’t look like you are still in college. I don’t either and that is cool. We are so far beyond that now.

We have never been closer or more comfortable and that critical.”

She nodded her head and told him to keep talking.

“You know what, if I had to pick a theme for us, off the top of my head I would say it is John, Paul, George and Ringo.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means we could put a poster up that describes much about us.

“And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

We haven’t ever had a problem in this area. We make more naturally than almost any couple I can think of.”

“Why would you qualify it? Why not say more?”

“I am just trying to be humble. But I do know for certain that if we were trapped for a month inside a closet or for years on an island we would be fine. We don’t get sick of each other. We like each other. It is not about lust, it is like. Ok, there might be some lust involved but there is a lot of like too.”

“If you live with me there better be a lot of lust too. You are not getting off that easily mister.”

He looked at the Cheshire cat grin across her face and smiled back.

“Decorate however you want, just give me an office and a small space for my gear and I am happy. The rest is all yours.”

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Romance Is Where You Find/Make It

She asks him about romance and he responds it is wherever you choose to find and make it.

He walks her up against a wall and kisses her hard on the mouth.

She tells him she is a mess and he says she is beautiful anyway.

And then…

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