Nov 3, 2006
I’m bored. So very bored.
I could go clean my room. It’s piled high with laundry that needs to be done. But I’m really not in the mood. I’m bored.
They invited me to the fun park. The one with all the rides and games. But that doesn’t seem to interest me today. I’m bored.
The latest book in my favorite series in sitting just beyond my reach. I really don’t care to extend my arm for it. That’s much to much effort for me. I’m bored.
The dishes are now a mile high, I guess I could sweep the floor. But I really don’t want to. I’m bored.
The new mall just opened, right down the street. I guess I could check it out. But I have no money to spend and really I’m bored.
Mary just called. I found an excuse. She’s a good friend but she talks so long and I really don’t have time. I’m bored.
I could go out for a bike ride. The sky is clear and the weather just right. But that would mean standing up and I just found the right spot. Jee wiz am I bored.
I have nothing to do. No where to go. No one to talk to. Nothing to see. I’m bored. So very bored. Wouldn’t you be, if you were me?
“It must be the time of the morning.” He told himself trying to get up the energy to stretch but deciding instead he didn’t want to wake the ticket man’s attention. He wasn’t sure he could remember what time it was. He couldn’t even remember what time he had gotten off his last bus or what time his next one left. It seemed like it was a short lay over though. He knew if he lay down like the other’s he would miss it. Sighing deeply he took out his ticket.
Suddenly two hands rested softly upon the back of his neck. A chill ran down his spine. The fingers, long and graceful, were equally cold and light. Though he didn’t know who it was, he felt his instincts tell him that moving would be futile if not disastrous.
“Hello Peter.” A soft strangely familiar voice spoke from behind him. Peter tried to clear his throat but only felt his heartbeat speed up. The fingers lifted with a parting squeeze as the woman moved around him into view. Her eyes caught him immediately, large a soft gray blue. They pierced through him but unlike the teller’s they saw everything inside him. See want the prettiest woman he had ever seen but she was familiar in a way an event seems familiar once you had dreamt of it before. She smiled revealing perfect teeth inside a tiny mouth surrounded by pouty lips. “Do you evaluate every woman’s looks immediately that way” she asked softly as though not to disturb anyone, though even the teller hadn’t stirred his gaze straight through her now. “or am I just that strange to you?”
“I … I” Peter stammered not sure he was even awake at this point. Suddenly a picture of the apartment he had just left ran through his mind, him laying on the bed covered with white sheets and his bag sitting next to the door waiting for the trip he thought he was on now. “I can’t seem to remember where we’ve meet before.” He finally managed.
“I’ve known you for a long time but I’m sure you wouldn’t remember me. My name is Adwedd.” A lock of straight black hair floated across her face as she reached out to take his hand.
“I’m sure I would remember someone like you, Adwedd?” she nodded as he took her hand in his firm business grip, his heart had calmed some but his instincts were still calling out warning to him.
“You’d be surprised how forgettable I am.” She smiled releasing his hand and taking a seat next to him. “Take that man behind the counter, he and I are old friends and yet he can’t even clear his thoughts of his next hit long enough to recognize how close I am.”
“I’ve never been here before.” Peter said as soon as she paused. “Are sure you’ve met me before?”
“Of course I’m sure, Peter. I know you very well.” Adwedd responded lazily. Turning her glance from the man back to Peter.
“When did we meet?” Peter asked finding it even more eerie that she knew his name and was so relaxed using it even though all his acquaintances knew him only by his business name of Benny.
“The day you let Danny go…”
A small puppy yapped excitedly as Peter reached from the stool toward the hook on the wall where his leash was. “Mommy, I can’t reach it.” Peter cried out in frustration.
“If you’ll wait just one more minute, I’ll come get it.” His mother’s voice come out of her bedroom.
“Like hell you’ll be right there.” The strange man’s voice came causing Peter’s mother to giggle and the door suddenly shut completely though Peter could still here the man chastise his mother for Peter being there.
Peter looked down at the small puppy with his small brown eyes squinched up in anger. “Come on Danny, just stick close to me ok?” his small six year old hands could barely force the sliding side door open but he finally managed just enough space for his body to slip through, then he turned to see where the puppy was who had slipped out before him. The puppy was headed across the back yard toward the larger of the two streets that bordered Peter’s house. “Wait, Danny come back…” Peter called but it was too late the puppy ran out into the street just as a small black sports car speed past. Suddenly there was a great deal of yelping and Peter ran toward Danny as fast as he could. His eyes filled with tears as he stumbled the last few yards toward the road.
A small hand grabbed his shoulders pulling him to a stumbling halt. “Wait.” A little girl’s voice told him as another car zoomed past right where Peter had been headed. “Ok,” she said letting Peter bend down into the road and scoop up the now still silent puppy and carry him back to the grass. He looked up at the strange calm blue eyes just as his mother had run out shouting and jerking him back into the house.
Peter blinked confusedly. “Who could you remember
Oct 12, 2006
Joe shivered as they stepped into the cold trailer. The heat from the day had slipped away too quickly. He knew it would be at least thirty minutes before they had a fire warm enough to take off his coat. Mily sat right down next to the fire and placing a log on top of the stove she began to build up the kindling. So Joe gave her a quick hug before heading back to warm the bathroom quickly with some hot water. Twenty minutes later he immerged having spent most of it trying to convince himself to take care of business in the cold. “Hey Joe, you ok?” Came Mily’s voice from the living room slightly concerned.
“Yep, just rather too chilly for comfort that’s all.” As Joe entered the living room his eyes began to burn. Mily’s face was shinny with sweat from being that close to the fire for that long. She smiled up at him briefly returning back to her computer home work. Joe walked into the kitchen feeling unable to focus on anything. “Mily, does it seem smoky in here to you?” He asked finally.
“No, not really.” she responded.
“Everything looks blurry, I wonder if there’s something up with my eyes.”
Mily got up and walked to the back rooms then back again. “You’re right.” She conceded. “I couldn’t tell I’ve been in here so long.” She began looking for smoke coming out of the stove, then noticed the log she had placed on top. Lifting it quickly they saw the black under side and laughed. Mily tossed it into the fire and it burst into flames. “Well, glad we didn’t leave it alone there.” Joe chuckled sliding his arms around Mily’s waist.
“Why don’t we go for a walk?” Mily said suddenly shutting her lap top and standing up.
“Sure.” Joe responded grabbing his coat.
The night was windy and chilly but the air was much fresher than in the small smoke filled trailer. They pushed each other into pretend snow banks practicing for when the real snow came. Mily played with the umbrella like a light saber with fascination. They had gone half way to campus when Mily looked down at Joe and asked. “Want to go visit Sabrina?”
Joe nodded and they turned toward the freshman dorms where Sabrina, Mily’s cousin lived. Joe hated the feel of the small cramped dorms so when Mily invited Sabrina over to roast marshmallows, Joe loved the idea.
They walked back as quickly as they could fighting the now high speed bone bighting winds. Joe and Sabrina took turns walking behind Mily who served as a great wind break.
By the time they got back most of the smoke had gone. It only took moments before they had hot cocoa going and marshmallow sticks in the making. They laughed and read web comics. Sabrina talked about the frustration of chemistry and Mily showed them the funnier web comics. Joe sat sipping cocoa enjoying them both.
The clock finally said Sabrina still had more homework to do in an evening than time was going to let her finish so Mily put on a coat and drove her home.
Joe sat waiting thinking of Mily and how she had started the fire, how she had reached out to her lonely cousin though she had homework that was unfinished as well, how she had laughed at her own silliness when the log was being burnt from the outside of the stove.
Mily walked back in a few moments later to find Joe waiting for her in front of the fire, very much in love.
Sep 15, 2006
Amy stood tall shiny cardboard box surrounding her. Through the foggy plastic she could see children as they ran up and down the isles shouting to their parents, “Can I have that Mommy?” or “Do you think Santa will bring me one of these?”
It was mostly girls down this aisle. Barbie dolls and realistic baby dolls that cried lined the lower shelves other dolls were dressed in the latest fashion while still other areas were filled with play make up and kitchen supplies. Amy could see very little of these. Mostly she could see the shelf across from her with stuffed animals and dress up clothes. She smiled to herself. She was high up because like the other dolls on her shelf, she was breakable.
“Not for children under 3”, her label read. Christmas time came once a year, and well she knew. Last year she had been in the back of the shelf and no one had looked at her much then, but even though she was now in the front, still no one gave her a glance. She knew she must be beautiful. Her skin was milky white and her lips were crimson red. Her brown curly hair was tied back and her brown eyes were hidden behind tiny spectacles. She was a school doll. She carried a bundle of books hung from her hand and her skirt was made of red and black plaid. Yes, she knew she was beautiful when a woman’s hands reached up for the box with a small gasp of delight.
“Isn’t she pretty?” she exclaimed, showing Amy to her daughter. “She’d go great with your collection, don’t you think?”
“I guess she’s alright, Mom,” the adolescent girl replied. “But she doesn’t really belong in my collection. Mine are one of a kind and beautiful. Not plain and simple.”
Amy’s heart dropped. “Plain and simple?” She didn’t here the rest of the conversation as she was placed back up on the shelf. “Plain? Simple?” It couldn’t be true. She was a pretty, elegant girl’s doll; at least that’s what the box said. Could the box be wrong?
Christmas came and went and all the left over toys were soon marked down. Amy was going for less than half her price since she had been there for two years now. In the midst of the rush, a pair of ruff hands suddenly grabbed her and took her home. Amy waited with anticipation. Someone had thought she was beautiful and now a little girl was going to wrap her arms around her and… The box grew dark as she was placed in a closet. Months passed and she wondered why they had bought her only to hide her away.
“Plain. And Simple.”
At last, one warm afternoon, the closet door was opened and a variety of toys were sifted though and Amy was a last chosen. The woman hastily wrapped her and headed out the door. An hour and a half later and Amy could hear the voices of lots of children. Then the woman was talking to another woman.
“Mary, I’m so glad you made it.”
“Can you believe I almost forgot?” The woman laughed. “It’s a good thing I had this laying around. I found it after Christmas dirt cheep. I thought maybe I’d fix up the shabby thing but I never had time and in the end it hardly seemed worth it.”
The other woman laughed. “And you know Kristy. It doesn’t matter what you get her as long as there is something on the table with your name on it.”
Amy heard the women’s voices fade away as she sat on the table with the dozens of other gifts.
“Shabby?” “Hardly seemed worth it?”
Yes, of course Amy knew she was plain and simple, but she hadn’t realized she was shabby and worthless. But her fears were confirmed as her box was opened, sneered at, then good naturedly laughed at, and then promptly tossed aside.
After a few months the little girl pulled her out of the box and held her out to her little sister as a bribe for the other toy she wanted. Missy, the little sister, grabbed at Amy greedily. Missy was just under three and soon Amy knew why under three year olds weren’t supposed to play with her. But Missy kept her and years went by. Missy used her to play tea with her flashy Barbies and fluffy teddy bears. When she wasn’t playing tea, Amy was tossed in the toy box with the rest of the toys. Her delicate porcelain skin had been so close to shattering so many times she had lost count. Missy grew older and lost interest in playing tea. She hardly ever touched her toys now and it had been ages since Amy had felt fresh air. At last one day the toy box open once again.
“I want to sell what I can,” came Missy’s now much older voice from the other side of the room. So all the toys were boxed up and taken outside where everything was for sell. People came and went, taking this and taking that. Every now and again a little girl would pick Amy up long enough for a glance before promptly plopping her back down.
“Simple, plain, shabby, not worth much.”
It didn’t surprise Amy when she wasn’t chosen. At least she knew that when is was all over, she could go back to the familiar box where no one would see her and know what a shabby, plain thing she was.
But when the day was done she wasn’t placed back in the box. Instead, she was taken with the rest of the “junk” to the charity store down town. Ruff hands unloaded her and placed her in a specific pile with a few other porcelain dolls who’s paint was chipped or who’s eyes were melted. They frightened Amy but worse, she knew she must be like them.
Weeks past. She lay there with the other dolls wondering what would happen to her now. Every now and again a little girl would come and choose one of the prettier dolls in the pile, but she was always left alone.
Then one day, she came. She picked Amy up with tender hands and gently looked her over. Then she looked through the rest of the dolls.
“Most of them are pretty enough,” she said to the kind looking man behind her, “but she’s Perfect.”
Amy was stunned. “Perfect?” Amy felt like telling her that she wasn’t perfect, that she wasn’t even pretty, and with all that laying around for months she had felt her left arm slowly loosening.
“Let’s get her then,” the man replied with a smile and before Amy knew it, they were headed home. The woman took off her tattered school dress and wiped the dust from her eyes. Amy’s glasses were long since gone, missing in the bottom of the toy box. How she wished she had them now, though, so she could show the woman how pretty she had once been. But now she stood here, bare before her, and she felt more plain, shabby, simple and worthless than ever. Then she felt the damp clothe cleaning her cheeks and her hands. She watched in awe as a lovely red riding gown was placed upon her skin. Her neck seam where Missy had torn her years ago, was mended so that her head stood up straight once again. Her hair was loosed and a pink and red riding hat was placed on her shiny locks. Amy was beginning to feel strange, almost pretty when suddenly her arm fell off.
‘That’s it.’ She thought as the woman picked it up in dismay. ‘She’ll take back the dress and toss me out now for sure.’ Instead, she soon found herself wrapped in a paper bag traveling in the basket of a bike down a road, still wearing the dress. The kind man’s hands pulled her out and looked critically at her arm. Then carefully he did what he could and soon she had her arm again.
A week later, Amy was taken to be sold at the lady’s tiny shop. There she sat on a shelf again. She dreaded the rejection, the abuse she had once felt. Other items in the shop seemed so much nicer than she. She would never be sold. But at last a woman brought her to the counter.
“Oh, you found our little riding girl.” the familiar voice of the lady who’s voice was a gentel as her hands, exclaimed.
“Amy?” the woman responded. “What a pretty name for such a gorgeous doll!I collect dolls. I have an eye for them. I only bother with the most unique and beautiful. She’s hand made isn’t she? Look at those features and that hair.”
The lady took Amy in her hands and looked at her. “I really don’t know where she’s been. The dress is hand made just for her though. I found her and I knew she was special.”
“That she is.” The woman smiled. “I keep my dolls well. My display case is extensive, but I think she’s prefect for it.”
The lady placed another doll on the table, placing Amy carefully behind it. “I think this one will do much better for your collection Ma’am.”
Amy was dismayed. Apparently she wasn’t pretty enough. The other woman was somewhat taken aback as well, but quickly left the store once she knew she could not have Amy. Once the woman left, the lady lifted Amy up and spoke straight to her. “You need a place where they will see your beauty and know your worth. Not just some display case where flashy beauty is only as good as the clothes the dolls wear.”
Just then, door opened and a young woman and her mother walked in. After browsing around a bit, the girl noticed the lady smoothing out Amy’s hair. She watched in delight and then whispered something to her mother. The mother shrugged and the girl approached the Lady. “Excuse me Ma’am, but how much is the doll for sell?”
The lady quoted her a price that made Amy blush, but the girl took out her money and bought her. All the way home, the girl held Amy gently in her arms, caressing her curly locks. When they reached their home, she was placed on the girls dresser drawer where she stayed for many years. When other girls would come to visit they would stop and admire. Amy heard the words “Beautiful.”, “Stunning”, and “She must be worth a fortune!” Years later she was packed into a box and she waited till sun light hit her face when she was given to the girl’s daughter as a gift that her grandmother had given to her mother. And Amy knew then that she was not only beautiful, but she was priceless.
Once upon a time there was a little girl. She wanted more than anything to be great. She would think sometimes of ways to be great. Like mowing the most lawns or being a world famous babysitter. She tried many things and learned lot of little bits about everything trying to figure out where she was great. But nothing ever seemed to work for very long. Like most of the dreams of youth these faded away and she got older. She married a kind good man who was very smart and they lived happily together. But every now and again she would feel the longing to be great. She would try this idea and that, but nothing ever seemed to work out. And she got older and had children they liked to learn so she taught them a little of this and a little of that. Some liked when she taught them about singing and some liked to build like their father. She loved helping and teaching them along side her husband. But every now and again she felt the need to be great. She tried to organize this event or tried to publish that story, but nothing ever seemed to work. She got older and her children moved away. Some went to schools and wrote great papers on how to solve world problems, some sang and brought joy to other’s hearts, some were mothers and fathers and showed a great example to their peers. She enjoyed going with her husband as he traveled and helped around the world. He taught many and helped solve problems with those who needed help so badly. But every now and again she felt the need to be great. She would try to expound this or explain how great another was, but nothing ever seemed to work. And so she grew older and lay in bed one night whispering words of love to her husband as she slipped from this life. She waited for him and thought of her life and how, though she had been surrounded by greatness she had never done anything great and she longed to try again but now it was too late. Soon her love joined her and together they went home to Heavenly Father. Tears filled her eyes as she entered His great presence and she felt that she had failed Him despite His great love and confidence in her. Then He embraced them and said “Well done thou good and faithful servants, because thou hast labored to bring to pass much goodness I shall give thee power to create greater things than have entered thine hearts.” And the little girl cried “There is no greatness within me.” And the Father took her in His arms and kissed her eyes that she could see. And she knew that this last and greatest was the greatness to which she had been born and everything she had learned upon the earth had only prepared her and others.
Aug 31, 2006
Joe drew closer to the mirror as she scraped the sleep out of her eyes. His body had not yet adjusted to this new early morning schedule, but he had to get up with her or she’d never make it to class. Mily sulked into the small bathroom blinking profusely against the light. Joe smiled at her as she tenderly rapped her arms around him. He loved the morning even if it was hard. “Do you want to read to me?” he asked in a hopeful voice. Mily smiled and nodded sitting on the lid of the toilet. “What do you want me to read?”
Joe looked at the bookshelf as a mischievous smirk spread across his lips. “This.” he said pulling out a little blue book with “El Libro de Mormon” written in gold on the front. She looked at him incredulously for a moment. Though Joe read and spoke Spanish she only spoke a little German. But the desire to learn was there so she opened the book with a shrug. “La historia de Lehi y su familia.” She read halteringly. “Is that right? Historia?”
Joe nodded putting on his mascara. “Only the “h” is silent.” Mily went back to reading running her hands through her short messy hair and asking pronunciation questions every now and again. Joe enjoyed every moment finally finishing the touches to his long blond hair and turning around. He sat in her lap and kissed her forehead gently.
This was what their mornings consisted of. Neither functioning perfectly but endearing themselves to each other in the process.
This story was based on a true story. The names of the individuals has been changed to protect their identities.
Mar 28, 2006
Mar 6, 2006
tell me of the home from whence I have strayed
Dearest whisper of love true, dear and deep
whisper of heaven and where our family sleeps
Dearest shout of the joy that fills your soul
shout out the tune of sorrows grown old
Dearest shout out the story of whispers, of love
of our beginning in realms up above
Dearest hold my hand as we seek to see
all that we were, we are, and will be
Feb 6, 2006
Intensely aware of every second
My head throbs with possibilities
Pacing back and forth
Asking again and again
There never seems to be an answer
Intended to satisfy
Even though the pleading grows
Nothing can calm the restless soul
Choking out life this anxiety
Eliminates all sanity
This one isn't right... I need help with it...
Away to tie it all together or help it make more sense...
I sit beneath the silken flow of water
Curled into a tiny ball
Feeling the heat carry the pain
Out of me and down the drain
Somehow the sting dulls my senses
Somehow the rhythm calms my soul
Till at last like a boat returning home
I alight upon sanities shores
Jan 17, 2006
Finally I leave the thick line of trees and at last the house is in view. But Abby isn’t there. Suddenly, the world grows even stiller. I hadn’t thought it possible. The stiller it grows the sicker I feel. Where’s Abby? She called today while I was at work. When was that? At last my car reaches its destination. Leaping out, I charge for the open front door.
“Mr. Sanders… Mr. Sanders, I only have a few questions for you tonight.”
Questions? I have one too. “Where’s Abby?”
The man across from me looks up with a strange look of surprise. “What did you ask Mr. Sanders?”
I glance around for a moment. Then I see her through the dark glass. Oh what a relief! She’s just waiting for me to finish with this police report. I motion that I’ll only be a moment longer. She smiles encouragement. Her hair is down just the way I like it. She never wears her hair down in public. It’s been a hard night for her, though.
Looking back at the man, I apologize. “Forgive me, I’m just a little out of sorts. What did you ask?”
The man glanced behind himself at the glass, then turned back to me. “What happened when you got home tonight, Mr. Sanders? Go through it slowly, please. Remember one thing at a time from the moment you got out of the car.”
“I ran into the house.”
“Why were you running?”
“Abby wasn’t on the front porch but the door was open. I was worried.”
“I got into the house. Everything was a mess. The furniture was turned over and papers were everywhere. The safe was in the middle of the floor. I called for Abby. Nobody answered but I heard footsteps in the kitchen. So, I ran in. There was a man running out the back door.”
“Did you see his face?”
“No just the back of his head.”
“What color was his hair?”
“He was wearing a hat or something.”
“Did you try to follow him?”
“No, something else caught my attention…” I can’t remember what it was, though. I feel so hollow when I try.
“What was it that caught your attention sr.?”
“I…I…I can’t…” I start to cry, but I’m not sure why. What was it? What did I see? The man nods as though he understands. “I only have one more question for you tonight. Do you know where your wife is now?”
I look over at Abby, just seeing her there calms me. Her eyes are sad, as though she understands why I want to go. “She’s here.”
“Here?” the large man’s eyebrow lifts questioningly.
“Not right here, of course. But in the other room.”
He frowns a little before replying. “I see.” He stands up to leave. “Someone will be in in a moment to help you fill out some of the paper work. Then you’ll be free to go. We’ll be keeping in touch with you.” He turns to leave then stops and turns back. “I’d seek counsel if I were you, Mr. Sanders. It’s very important at this time.”
I nod as he leaves but all the counsel I want right now is the comfort of Abby’s arms. I wait for what seems an eternity, at last Abby glances at her watch and motions she has to go. Blowing me a kiss, she mouths that she’ll meet me at home. I nod and she’s gone.
After waiting another small eternity a smaller man comes in and asks question after question. I answer what I can and finally I am free to go.
It’s rained a little and the road is slick but I won’t slow down. I want to get home and into Abby’s warm safe embrace. I only have trouble with one sharp curve. Then everything goes still.
The sky is almost green. It’s eerie…
Once upon a time seems like a silly way to start a story but I really have no idea when this took place. So, in this case it will just have to do.
Once upon a time, in this very city, lived Maria. Maria wasn’t any ordinary girl. She was of the rarest kind. Her mother would smile at her and say “You’re my perfect little angel from on high. Oh how the good Lord blessed us the day you came.” Her father would cough a little and say, “You are everything we ever wanted. You’re the perfect child.” The cook would hand her a sweet meat and say, “Now there’s a dear. You always do do what’s wanted now don’t you? I’ve never seen a more perfect child.”
Maria believed them and always did whatever she was asked and never sassed and everyone always loved her.
Soon it was time for Maria to start school. The day before she sat next to cook the kitchen and listened to great stories of the fun she’d have. Then cook gasped, “Well now! If I haven’t forgot the eggs! Maria, do be a dear and run down to Mrs. Hanson’s and get me three eggs.” Maria nodded quickly and slid off her stool. As she slipped out the door she heard the cook say, “If she isn’t the most perfect child!”
As Maria walked she thought to herself. “What if she wasn’t the most perfect child? What would happen if one day she woke up and she wasn’t perfect anymore? Would cook still give her sweet meats and tell her pretty stories? Would the people still smile at her when they passed? Would her parents still love her? Poor Maria’s eye brown furrowed with these sad thoughts. Oh she was lucky to be so perfect. She thought of how much everyone loved her. She had heard a woman yelled at a little boy for being clumsy once before. She did feel grateful that no one ever yelled at her that way. And all because she was a perfect little angel.
When she got to Mrs. Hanson’s house she knocked and stepped in. Mrs. Hanson seemed a little cross but she quickly put three large brown eggs in a small basket for Maria to take home. “Good day Mrs. Hanson.” Called Maria as she walked out and turned to see if Mrs. Hanson would smile at her. Suddenly before she knew it, Maria had tripped over the door seal and was laying flat on top of the basket. Scrabbling up, Maria opened the lid of the basket. There she saw all three eggs splattered all over the inside of the basket.
“What have you done child!” screeched Mrs. Hanson from behind her. “If you’re not the clumsiest thing I’ve ever seen!” Scooping Maria up she continued to yell as she dusted her off. “Anna ought to know better than to send such a careless child to get the eggs. I guess I’ll have to give you three more. You weren’t out the door when you broke them. She’ll say it was my fault, but really, what a vain clumsy girl you are.” Maria felt tears welling up into her eyes. Mrs. Hanson roughly handed her another basket and pushed her out the door, not bothering to notice how close to tears the small girl was.
‘Clumsy?’ thought Maria ass she walked home. ‘Vain…’ no one had ever called her that before. She could feel tears welling up into her eyes. What would her parents say if they knew? IF they found out she wasn’t perfect. Mrs. Hanson was the only one who knew and look at how angry she had gotten. One little tear rolled down her chubby cheek. She daintily wiped it away and decided then and there she would never let anyone know.
“OH you’re back dear!” exclaimed cook as Maria walked in. “What a big helped you are. Thank you so much. Here’s a chocolate sweet to hold you over till dinner.” Maria took the chocolate, smiling her thanks, and went to her room. She was afraid to talk for fear she’d say something that wasn’t perfect.
The next day, mother took Maria to school. “You’re so quiet today.” She said looking at her daughter worriedly. “Are you afraid of school?”
Maria thought ‘Being afraid isn’t something that perfect children do.’ So she shook her head and smiled. “I’m excited to go to school!” she said, but inside she was very scarred. What if her teacher or one of the other children figured out she wasn’t perfect? Then they wouldn’t like her and worst of all they’d tell her parents. Maria knew she couldn’t bare that.
So, after mother left her inside the classroom, Maria found a quiet desk and sat down with her hands folded in her lap. Soon a little boy came up and asked what she was doing. “I’m waiting for what the teacher wants me to do.” She said nodding politely.
The little boy looked at her and then began to laugh. “You’re a funny girl!” he said bending over with laughter.
Maria felt quite distrot. Why was he laughing? Wasn’t that what she was supposed to do? The teacher was still greeting children as they arrived and Maria knew you should never interrupt adults when they are busy. So, Maria looked at the little boy and asked, “What am I supposed to be doing?”
He gave her a big smile, winking with his right eye, “You gotta have fun. It’s playtime! Here try this toy. It’s a doll, I don’t like it much but my sister loves them.” Maria had no idea how this little boy wanted her to play with the doll. She was afraid that if she didn’t do it right he would laugh again and the teacher would come over and see that she was not perfect. So, Maria turned her back so the little boy couldn’t see her playing with it. Soon the teacher came up and started the class.
That’s how the whole day went. Maria never raised her hand or said anything if she could help it. And the little boy would lean over every now and again to tell her what to do.
Maria was glad when her mother picked her up from school. She nodded happily when her mother asked if she had had fun, but when they got home Maria went up to her room and cried.
A knock came at the door. Maria rubbed all the wetness from her face. The doorknob turned in walked her father. Sitting up straight on the end of her bed Maria smiled as big as she could. “Hi sweetie.” He said sitting down beside her on the bed. “How was your first day at school?”
“Oh it was wonderful!” said Maria.
Reaching over father picked up Maria and put her in his lap. “Do you know why I love you so much Maria?” he asked hugging her tightly.
Maria felt a little lump in her throat and felt like she was going to cry. “Because I’m so perfect.” She responded finally.
“Oh yes!,” her father said. “You’re perfect for our family. You know that’s why it’s ok not to be perfect everywhere, or even to do everything perfectly, because you are who you are and that’s perfectly what we want you to be.”
“But what if I’m not perfect at all Daddy?”
“But you are perfectly you sweet heart. And don’t let anyone else tell you other wise.” Maria nodded and thought of Mrs. Hanson and the little boy. “Because you see honey,” her father continued stroking her hair just the way Maria loved it. “Nobody else knows what perfect is. So they really can’t judge now can they?” Maria shook her head. “You my sweet Maria are perfect for our family because you make our family complete. And we love you very much. No matter what happens.”
“Even if I’m clumsy and funny?” Maria asked her eyes growing big.
“Especially when you’re clumsy and funny!” Her father laughed. “Because that means you’re growing and learning and that makes us very happy.”
Maria laughed to and twisting around in her father’s lap she gave him the biggest hug a child her size could.
Please give honest opionons of story line content...believability and characters
There was, so they say, one day of the week when you could see her, a solitary figure walking along the cliffs in a long flowing dress typical of the era. Aloof from all the world she walked the ridges with a grace that captured the imagination of every young man in the region. From adults to the grade school boys she was often the topic of praise, ridicule and always speculation. For, no matter how they wanted, no one had been able to make her acquaintance. Three years had passed since she had first made her appearance along the cliffs. First spotted by a young man named Nathan and his friends as they walked to his house after school. It didn’t take long for word to spread and now every week, on her special day, the road would suddenly become very busy and a group of young men would gather at the fence of the bordering farm. Every young man in the village swore if ever she deigned to come down she would be his. But though they searched none had discovered the path to those summits and so the girl would walk alone and some even said she sang. The older folk said it was a ghost of Mary Marlin who had died trying to reach it's summits twenty years before. But the young men of the village held the hope that she was real and everything their adventurous souls desired.
Nathan, the lad who had first seen her three years ago, stood at the base of the cliff where his small farm ended abruptly at the wall of rock. He was young to run a whole farm himself, nineteen, but his father had grown ill and leaving school was his only option. He leaned against his shovel and watched her slow graceful movements. "That's no ghost" he murmured.
"But she might as well be one," a gruff voice said behind him, as a worn hand rested on his shoulder. "Yes, sir, she's got all you boys drooling like a pack of ravenous wolves while there are plenty of sweet young things right at your sides."
"But Pa... the valley girls ain't nothing like her... she's got class, breading, beauty..."
"You can see all that from this far huh?..." the old man squinted his eyes and mockingly peered closer. "My eyes must be getting worse."
"Ah! get on pa... I've got work to be doing." Nathan shrugged his father's hand off his shoulder and pitched the shovel into the soft earth.
"That indeed you do... but not here. I need you to go on down to the village and get me some tabaco."
"But, Pa!... I want to see her get down... If I could just watch her once I know I'd find the secret and then she'd be mine."
"There's all kinds of holes in that logic boy... now get on down to the town. Maybe she'll show up down there and you can demand her hand there with little or no trouble." the bent figure chuckled rudely as he hobbled back toward the house. Nathan looked at the slight figure that now stood precariously close to the edge of a large drop. The wind tugged at her lose locks and a soft melody seemed to flow on the air. He sighed and savagely stabbed the shovel deep into the earth and turned toward the village.
No sooner had he bought the tabaco than Sam and Greg sauntered into the store. "'Did ya see her Nathan?!" Shouted Sam. "Wow, she's a look'n mighty fine today."
Nathan nodded. "I saw her."
"Well, seeing isn't much now is it? Anyone see can the girl.” Brandon, the Mayor's son, butted into the conversation as he entered the small store. "It's the gett'n that counts. And I'll be the one to get her in the end. Mark my words. It’s only a matter of time. I've all but got the mystery figured out."
Sam mockingly widened his eyes at the familiar boast. "You have Brandon?... Well let's hear what you got!"
"ring" the door opened and a small shabbily clad young lady came into the store.
Brandon ignored her entrance and pushed his large finger into the chest of the much smaller Sam. "Like I'd share my secrets with the likes of you."
Nathan stepped so his shoulder shoved into Brandon's. "Back off Brandon."
Brandon turned his head and glared at Nathan. Working the land had given Nathan the advantage of size as well as maturity his opponent lacked. "Fine by me Nathan... I'll take them happily to my grave... or maybe I'll take her to the alter first." he sneered “While you take your little rag-a-muffin.”
Nathan said nothing he just glared at his oponent puffing out his chest a little more as he folded his arms across it.
“Well, I guess look’n at her’s enough to make any man want to climb the cliffs.” Brandon made a quick duck as Nathan swung a warning shot and ran out of the store allowing the door to slam with a bang.
"So I guess she's gone?" Nathan said tersely glaring at the door
Greg shrugged "Yep. For today, I suppose"
Sam slapped his friend on the back. "Greg here's lost all his interest since Sally May agreed to be his. Our mystery girl has one less admirer. But she still has her most ardent admirer and shall never lose him!" striking his hand to his heart Sam made as if to swoon.
A soft laugh came from behind a near by shelf.
"Sarah," Nathan said and the small figure came out with a timid smile on her face. "What are you doing here?"
"Your father sent me." Sarah was the housekeeper for Nathan and his father since the death of Nathan's mother some five years ago. She was pretty enough but everyone knew she was too shy to talk to and nothing like the other valley girls. Her name would never come up among the boys unless it was to used as a cruel joke.
"For what?... he sent me only a half an hour ago for tabaco... he could have saved a trip." Sarah just shrugged and took her basket toward the counter full of odds and ends. "Well..." Nathan went on turning back to his friends. "Don't die of longing Sam, she may never come down."
"Oh," Sam responded with a teasing smile. "I wasn't referring to me. I've got a girl, Malinda. I was referring to you." he laughed out loud and the Greg joined him as they both sauntered out the door.
"Hurry up Sarah." Nathan said as he opened the door. "I'll be waiting out here for you."
The road home was a good half a mile and the two walked slowly in relative silence until they had left the town.
"Nathan?" Sarah finally began keeping her eyes on the ground in front of her.
"humm?" Nathan responded absentmindedly.
"Do you really like that girl on the cliffs that much?"
Nathan looked down at her and she looked back up at him. They were good friends. But, at odd moments he got the awkward feeling that she liked him and he didn't like the idea of hurting her feelings if she ever got up the courage to say something about it. "Oh just about like all the other guys I suppose. At times she seems so close... Like I've always known her. But, whatever the case she's probably from the other side of the cliffs where the rich folk live and there's not much hope there, huh?"
Sarah shrugged again. Then asked "So you don't think she's a ghost?"
He shook his head. "I'd stake my life on it that's she as much flesh and bones as you are Sarah." he saw a slight flush come to her checks. "Anyway,” he finally continued. "I suppose I shall never have the chance to find out. Who knows how she gets up there. More people have died trying to get to those cliffs than anywhere else."
"What if there's a cave?"
Nathan stopped in mid stride and stared at Sarah as she stopped and stared back.
"Well, of course" he said. "There are caves all around here... But they’ve all been explored long ago.”
“Not all of them can have been explored.” Sarah said tentatively. “And that’s the only way she could be getting up there if she’s not a ghost.”
Nathan stopped a looked at Sarah as though considering. “You’re right. That’s the only way. Sarah you’re a genius! All I have to do is find the right one!” He scooped Sarah up and twirled her around. “Remind me to invite you to the wedding." He said setting her back down and winking at her.
The fire burned brightly in the hearth as the three sat around it later that night. Mr. McCormack sat in a great rocker and smoked his wooden pipe as he contemplated the two younger people. Nathan read out loud a novel the schoolteacher had loaned him to help him continue his studies. And Sarah bent over a small sock of Nathan's, her hands deftly patching a large hole. Mr. McCormack smiled at the scene. Suddenly the book in Nathan's hand snapped shut bringing Sarah's eyes flying up. "Why'd you stop?" she asked. The evening readings were her favorite time of the day. Nathan stood up abruptly and leaned against the mantle.
"The woman asked you a question Nat-ma-boy."
Nathan looked at Sarah then at his father and back at Sarah. "I'm sorry Sarah, I'm done for the night..." he stood up swiftly and left the house allowing the door to shut noisily behind him. Sarah looked at the old man, who promptly nodded at her. She dropped the sock and flowed shutting the door with no noise at all.
She could see him by the slight light of the moon sanding not very far away staring at the cliffs. She walked up behind him and laid her hand tentatively to his shoulder. He gave a little jump. Then said with a smile in his voice "You know, sneaking up on people like that might just get you hurt one of these days."
She just smiled gravely in the dark then ventured to say, "She never comes out by night."
"I know," Nathan replied allowing his gaze to fall to the ground. "I was just thinking..."
"About a lot of things.” He paused, then asked quietly. “Sarah, do you think I'm a fool?"
"Of course not!"
"All the other fellows get over her and get on with their lives. They've all got girls and I... I've got a farm and a dream."
"Since when have you cared about what the other guys think?"
“It’s not what the other guys think. It’s just some times I just want a girl of my own, Sarah, a real girl, of flesh and bones. What if I spend my whole life waiting and wind up with no one?”
Stepping a little closer Sarah said softly. “If anyone in this valley deserves the best it’s you Nathan. You’ll get the prize in the end.”
Nathan suddenly turned toward her causing her hand to fall from his shoulder. "And what if...?" his hand reached out and took hers.
"What if what?" Sarah's voice whispered trying to hide how badly it shook for he stood very close. She felt his arm wrap around her waist and pull her toward him. "What if I got over her too?... What if I...?"
She could feel his face come closer and she turned her own quickly as his lips brushed her cheek and then drew back quickly. "Stop it Nathan." she said suddenly with surprising force. "It's not funny."
"Who said I was joking?" he laughed. "I'm giving her up. I'm sure I could love you if I tried." he leaned down again to try to kiss her.
"Stop it." she repeated and pulled away from him. "Would you?! Please don't... I would throw myself from a cliff before giving myself to someone who had settled for me!" she choked hoarsely. "I hope you find the girl you are looking for!” she cried. “But I pray you never find her!"
With the last statement she turned and ran into the darkness. Nathan stood horrified. More at what he had just done and said than at how she had responded. What had come over him to say such things? He thought about running after her but he waited to long. There would be no finding her if she really wanted to be hidden. He glanced at the cliffs then turned and went back into the house filled with shame and anger at himself and the world.
The sun shone down brightly and the sweat seemed to poor off his brow as he worked the ground. A hand lightly touched his shoulder. "I brought some water." said Sarah. He turned and took the ladle from the bucket gratefully. They hadn't spoken much since that night a week ago. He had watched her for signs of anger or hurt but she had managed to stay out of sight mostly and he had coward in his shame.
"Thank you" he mumbled turning back to his shovel. He heard her stand for a moment before turning to go. He turned quickly and grabbed her arm. "Sarah." she turned and looked at him. "I never apologized” he muttered quickly dropping her arm and his gaze. “for what I did the other night..." She didn't respond. "I'm sorry."
"Don't worry about. " she said stiffly. "You were worked up over stuff."
He looked off to the distance and said. "Sometimes I think I'm going crazy up here.” He wiped his forehead with his for arm. “Why can't I just be content with what I've got?"
"What do you have?" she asked.
"I've got land, and a father and ... you. I mean... you're a great help. I really don't need anything else, right?"
Sarah just looked at him for a minute and the pleading in his eyes. "You don't have anything until you want it Nathan. Right now all you want is your dreams... so all you have is a dream."
"How do I want what I have?"
Sarah shook her head. "If I knew... I'd be happy with what I have too."
"Yes... and no." she sighed and looked at the cliffs behind Nathan. "I have everything I want but I can't enjoy it... I guess you could say..." she laughed ironically and turned to go.
"Thanks Sarah" Nathan called out to her. She turned and smiled sadly and then continued.
The girl on the cliffs didn't make her appearance until later in the afternoon after Nathan had taken his lunch with his father. She stood and looked down toward the valley. For awhile it seemed as though she looked at Nathan himself. He felt his heart leap and then fall. Had she really looked at him? Was there any reality to her at all? Whatever the truth was, he didn’t have her. He couldn’t hold her like…
He threw down his shovel and stalked into the house. His father sat in his rocking chair. "What you doing in here boy?"
"She's gone out on chores... Isn't your little will-o-the-wisp out there?"
"Yes." he said impatiently. "Where'd Sarah go on chores?"
"I don't know boy. Don't you have things of your own to be doing."
"I'm taking a break."
"Well, while you're at it. Go down to town and pick me up some..."
The door slammed shut announcing Nathan's departure.
The young men had already gathered near the store to discuss the girl's appearance when Nathan reached the town. Brandon had a sly smirk on his face that irritated Nathan even more than usual. Sam and Greg stood talking in whispers until they saw Nathan approaching. "Hey! Nathan!" Sam called out. "Wasn't it the strangest thing today?"
Nathan gave Sam a look that told him he didn't know to what he was referring. "Weren't you watching?"
"For a little while." came the terse reply.
"She ran! Not that slow walk she always does... she stopped short of her usual..." Sam's voice faded out of Nathan's hearing as he saw Sarah hurrying up the road from the direction of the farm. "It's a strange tradition we have here." he remarked suddenly cutting Sam off mid sentence.
"Tr… Tradition...?" the confused young man stuttered.
"Yeah, I never noticed it before. She comes out... my father sends me to the town... she goes back in… we all meet up here and talk about her for awhile... and most of the time Sarah shows up for something and walks home with me."
Sam just stared at Nathan trying to see what was so strange about it. "Seems like a perfectly natural sequence of events to me." he finally mumbled and turned to talk to Greg again.
"Yeah, perfectly natural..." Nathan repeated to himself looking crossly in the direction of Sarah as she entered the store. "All very natural but for that girl."
He waited patiently for Sarah to come out turning things over in his mind. He loved the girl... the more he thought about it the more he thought it must be true... and yet...
Sarah was down the road a little way before Nathan realized she had left the store. She didn't wait for him though he called and he had to run to catch up with her. They walked home in silence but Nathan never took his eyes off of her. He thought over all the time she had spent in their house and all their talks. Everything turning over and over in his mind. When they reached the house Sarah stopped with her hand on the doorknob. Her head hung down shielding it from his view. "Nathan..."
"humm?" He replied still caught up in his thoughts.
"I have something to show you." she said with a sigh. Placing the basket she carried in the house she shut the door again and walked past him toward the back of the land. He watched her with curiosity but she didn't raise her eyes to look at him.
As they walked Nathan's mind began to settle and he knew what he wanted. She walked toward the cliffs and he followed. What could she possibly want to show him? Suddenly it occurred to him that he didn't care where they were going. The moment they were hidden from view... he'd say it.
Glancing back he saw that the house was all but gone from sight. Turning around again he saw she had stopped and was looking at him with her hand on the cliff wall behind her. A knot formed in his throat. She seemed very beautiful sanding there with a sad sort of look in her eyes. He cleared his throat and took a step forward.
"I found it." she said abruptly.
Nathan stopped a little dazed, then remembered she had brought him to show him something. He looked around for some sort of wounded animal. "Found what?"
"The cave...you know the cave that leads to the cliffs." Nathan stared at her silently not looking at the small whole in the rocks that she was motioning toward. "I...I found it the other night..." she stammered looking toward the ground to escape his eyes. "when I ran away... I just found it... I didn't want to tell you but... I thought you might like to know." she allowed her last words to fade away. Nathan didn't say a word. His mind had picked back up full speed. Looking at the small whole he demanded harshly. "You're sure it leads to the cliffs?" she nodded. He looked back at her for a long moment and then turned on his heal and walked away quickly leaving Sarah standing there with tears rolling softly down her cheeks.
The sun was long set and Mr. McCormack had long retired to his bed when Nathan finally stocked in. Sarah stood up swiftly and went to the kitchen without saying a word. Sitting down with a plot, Nathan dropped his head into his hands. Small footsteps announced Sarah’s return. He looked up and saw she had brought a tray of food, which she had kept warm for him. "Thank you." he said accepting it. She smiled and moved about restocking the fire. He watched her carefully. "Sarah..."he began. She squatted in front of the fireplace but didn't turn around. "are you happy here? Do you have what you want?"
Sarah looked silently into the fire, then stood up. "I think I'll turn in now. I hope you'll sleep well." She turned to walk out of the room.
"Sarah! Are you happy?" he demanded.
"No." she whispered then disappeared into the dark hallway.
‘No’... it ricocheted inside of him like a stray bullet... that's why she had shown him the tunnel... if he had a wife… she'd be free to go...
The silence that reigned in the house over the next week was too much for Mr. McCormack. He would prattle on about nothing till Nathan would abruptly stand up and leave, only now Sarah didn't follow no matter how Mr. McCormack nodded and winked at her.
Then the day came. After lunch Mr. McCormack had kept Nathan busy in the front yard working on the tinny flower garden. At last he returned to his work in the field. And there she stood in all her beauty and glory. The wind whipped at her dress and her hair. She seemed to look straight down at him. He looked back up but another face filled his mind. His heart longed for her. He saw her standing next to the fireplace in his mind. He looked carefully at the figure again and made a bow before spinning on his heel and heading down to the village where he was sure Sarah would soon make her appearance.
He had been standing there for a while when he saw Sam running up the road with a panicked look on his face. “Sam! What's wrong?" Nathan called as the young man sped past him.
"She fell..." he gasped. “She looked like she was crying… or…or something near the edge and she just tipped over!” taking a large gulp of air he continued running to who knows where.
She fell... Nathan froze. She fell...
His feet were running toward the cliffs but he didn't know it. All he could see was the dress as it wiped around her legs... her hair as it brushed around her face... He could see her more clearly and perfectly than ever before.
A large group of people stood outside the fence that surrounded his property. They stared at the cliffs where a small figure clung to a ledge her feet precariously supporting her on a tinny ledge beneath her.
Springing over the fence he ran even faster toward the base of the cliffs. Where had the cave been? He found it without much trouble. He heard a scream. The past five years flew through his mind as he scrambled up the passage praying the she could hold on long enough. The light of day blinded him harshly as he scrambled out onto the cliff and across to the ledge. Reaching down and his hand wrapped itself around the tiny wrist and quickly pulled her up.
Sarah fell sobbing against Nathan's chest. He clung to her fiercely. "You are never coming up here again!" he wheezed rocking her back and forth. "Oh Sarah..." In the distance they could hear cheering.
Sarah lifted her head and cried shakily... "I'm so sorry..."
"You should be" he murmured running his hand over her hair. "Let's get down from here."
They slipped into the hole but decided to stay inside till the spectators were likely to have gone. Silence reigned but Nathan held Sarah tightly.
"I thought I had lost you..." he whispered finally. "When Sam came running through and said you had fallen..."
"You mean you thought you had lost her..." Sarah said sadly pulling away slightly. She had stopped crying and had regained most of her composure.
"No...” he responded firmly pulling her back into his arm. “I thought I had lost you..."
There was another long silence then Sarah whispered. "How did you know it was me?”
“You are one and the same. If she fell, you fell. And you were what I cared about.”
“Since when did you know?"
"Since Sam said you had fallen." his arms tightened around her. "Why have you been coming up here all these years?"
"At first just because it was pretty, then… I heard what everyone was saying... and then I heard what you said and... Oh Nathan..." she buried her face in his shoulder.
"Do you mean you did care for me once?" his voice trembled slightly.
"I've always cared for you... I always will..."
His arms tightened and…That dark cave holds the secrets shared by the two lovers.
No one ever understood what happened to the mystery girl and why two weeks later Nathan McCormack, who had been her most ardent admirer and even held her in his arms, married the plain little girl who had been his housekeeper for so many years. But when Mr. McCormack lay dieing a month later he waved his new daughter-in-law closer. "My dear," he whispered in her ear. "I'm afraid I can't cover for you anymore... if you want to go cliff wondering you'll have to find a way to distract him yourself." he winked and kissed her cheek. "I always thought you looked prettier by the fire place than up on that perch of yours anyway."
Nathan slipped his free arm around his wife's waist. "I agree Pa. I agree."
Jan 11, 2006
Not at all done... please give sujestions... if this is your area
Thus we stand on the brink of time
You and I holding hands
There is no sky, no floor
To hedge up our way
If we fall we’ll never stop
But if we jump…we’ll soar
No man may stand alone in this world
No two people may stand together
Only time and the winds that blow
Can hold us too forever
Now I do not believe this thing
And neither should you my friend
For here we stand together
A force greater than the winds
And more enduring than time
So here's the thought... is it worth writing if it's not of eternal value?... and what has fiction got that can compare with the true beauty of the hundreds of true stories of people over coming and soaring to the heights of divine nature?
There’s so much to write. So many stories. Everyone has them running around in their heads. ‘Today’s list of things to do’, or ‘The Secret Fantasy of John Smith’ or ‘The Night the Aliens Attacked, by little Bobby’ etc. etc. No mind is without thoughts of a fictional character… because even that list of things to do may never happen. But which ones are worth plucking out of the heart and mind and writing down? And which ones will inspire the greater living of reality and not just fantasy?
They say write what you know…. So this next story in an effort to do so… but… is it worth writing? That what I want to know.