Friday, February 26, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
By Mary-Louise Ruth
The empty bed seemed to float, her body hardly substantial enough to weight it down. She’d lain untouched for so long she’d forgotten the contours of her own body. Even though she slept with him every night they didn’t touch anymore, only his body seemed to fill up the space, crowding out her sleep. Wakeful, she’d cling to her side, fearful of rolling into him, fearful of falling. Longing replaced dreaming. Was it easier to float than to fall? It must be, she thought, stretching her fingers to touch, then grasp, the cool, soft sheet and felt the bed settle to the floor.
She’d almost forgotten how it used to be, his smell still lingering in the rumpled sheets after their morning screw. Night time lovemaking had always been extended, looping up and over and around again, swooping to shared orgasms; in the morning they’d screw, a quick summary of last night’s languid fuck. He’d usually leave early for work while she’d drift back to sleep, but on Sundays they’d have leisurely mornings in bed. Sunday was the worst morning to wake-up alone.
The sun slipped through the shutters warming up the room, amber stripes slanting across the bed, across her naked body. “I have to get up,” she thought, then wondered why. Why wake up to a long daytime of loneliness even with him in the same room? In fact, lonelier when he was there.
His habit now was to awaken early on Sunday and jog down to CC’s on Magazine St. for café au lait with the paper instead of both of them sipping dripped chicory coffee from mugs amidst the Times-Picayune strewn all over their bed. No habits could replace for her the pleasure of his being there, touching him, smelling him, loving him. Talking with him. She’d replaced her loss by drawing down within herself. Into tight corners. Places she knew he couldn’t fit into. She rolled over in bed and slammed one foot on the floor. She wondered if she could fit into those narrow places in herself anymore.
Upright on the side of the bed she thought about her day. Her day. A new thought. Could she make a day her own? Fill up time alone? Would just she, herself alone, fill up a day? The sizzling shower aroused an image of herself beside the lagoon in Audubon Park. Fluorescent pink flamingoes startled by her presence lifting, lifting from the mossy branches to the brilliant blue-white sky. She could get there. Pulling on a tank top and shorts she figured out a route from her house to the lagoon, by the time she’d laced up her Nikes she was almost there.
On the banquette outside their house she decided to avoid CC’s and doubled back a half block to walk down Laurel Street instead. The uneven bricks slowed her down a bit, but now she realized she didn’t have to hurry. She wouldn’t bump into him and have to explain. She’d just be gone.
I WANT TO SUBMIT TO FLASH FICTION CONTEST. COMMENTS? ANY CUTS? IT'S 500 WORDS.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
A refuge, indecisive, balanced between the skies above,
the worms and stones below.
A fluctuant pile of sticks I arrange anywise,
to house my solace and my memories.
A fort where, from time to time, I can linger like a mute.
A ragged blanket to cover my sins.
A filthy hovel I drag my wounds into.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
From an early age Charlene had shared her nights with an endless parade of oddballs and twisted situations. While her friends dreamed about Strawberry Shortcake dolls and ponies, Charlene was caught in the backdraft of a tornado of surreal images. She double dated with gorillas and wandered through unfamiliar mansions clothed as a crone or Howdy Doody. She had spent countless hours pondering the meaning of a lengthy dream in which she, possibly as someone else, rode in an antique convertible down streets lined with animated jellybeans in a town populated by her ancestors; Grand Marshall of a parade traveling those vague side streets of the brain.
In her teen years Charlene tried desperately to grasp the meaning of her somnolent visitations. Like other girls of her age she dreamed dreams of teen heartthrobs. But why then, when she dreamed of Shaun Cassidy, was he a harpsichord virtuoso with green hair and six fingers on each hand? Was polydactylism an unexplored turn-on for her?
Charlene was at a loss. Short of actual couch time (she had enough people in her head already, thank you…) she probed and pondered every avenue of explanation. She read Freud which ruined a perfectly good relationship with her mother. She thumbed through countless dreambooks in the checkout lines and voraciously read every horoscope that crossed her path. She even sought out Madame ZaVirre and had the dark cards tossed before her. Stymied by the lay of the deck, Madame Z. muttered incomprehensibly, traced numerous ritual patterns with her finger on the cloth covered table and, after examining Charlene’s palms for unusual birthmarks, sent her on her way without charge.
Finally, in her 29th year, Charlene threw in the towel. Let the night do it’s worst. She would let the Daliesque waves wash over her like warm
That, of course, was all that it took. Like a classic fairytale (well, okay, in Charlene’s case it was more like a fable with a talking inchworm…) she was asleep in moments and, almost immediately, Morpheus appeared to her and explained all in a few short sentences.
You see, throughout history the gods picked one person into whose sleep was imported all the interrupted dreams of others. In
Charlene never shared this with others and, even when she married later in life, she would occasionally share her dreams with her husband but never give a clue as to the deus ex machina running the show from behind the curtain.
Through all the years of her life Charlene wore the mantle of responsibility with a certain pride and an understanding that she was part of something much greater than herself.