THREE CHAIRS AT A TABLE.

 

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Stan, my friend with the sad eyes and scarred hands walked in the park. His daughter beside him. She twirled around holding out her tiny arm which hooked her wicker basket. She danced until the flowers inside bobbed. If I had been closer I know I would have heard her giggle, seen her cheeks flush and eyes shine. I watched them from my window. He put out a protective arm to slow her while he mouthed words that I was never to hear. My fingers stroked the pretty net curtains as I watched the scene below; they flapped softly in the breeze as if to wave hello.

In preparation, I set the table with my most attractive linen smoothed the fabric with my hands and placed the crockery precisely. I stacked nibbles, dainty cakes and treats in the centre on a three-tiered stand. I remember being pleased with the appearance of my peony-filled jug.

Going back to the window I noticed the traffic, it was particularly heavy as it buzzed to and fro beneath me. I glanced in the direction of the park in time to see them. Dad stretching his torso as he stood up, he ran his ragged fingers through his hair, tugged at his tie and put a hand towards the child. Still swinging the basket she held on to his fingers and craned her neck; high enough to catch his eye. He stooped to speak, she nodded and though I couldn’t quite see … I am certain she smiled. Together hand in hand they walked towards the gate; it was a touching scene; one I won’t forget.

I recall a smile played about my lips and a delicate fluttering sat in my stomach as I made the last-minute checks. I placed a beaker of milk and two china cups and saucers on the table. The kitchen like the rest of my second-floor apartment; was neat and pretty. Since a child, I have favoured keeping everything … spick and span.

The breakfast table that I’d dressed in a gingham cloth, now had three chairs tucked tidily underneath. The staging gave the room a welcoming feel as if it had always had room for two more. I gave the room an involuntary nod of approval.

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It was then, as I was satisfied that my best was done. Right at that moment, I remember hearing a dull thud from outside. I had a hesitant thought making me stop for a second, but I rushed on to the bathroom to re-apply my lipstick. I turned my hand, glanced at my watch and thought … they should be here by now.

Agitated by both the tardiness of my visitors and the noise from the road I returned to the living room. My hand reached out and stroked the baby doll with trembling fingers. I was pleased with my choice; such a perfect gift. Looking down on confusion below … through the freshly cleaned glass. There were people and vehicles everywhere, shouting and crying. The squeal of a siren, a distant whining of an ambulance assaulted my ears. I backed away slowly dropping the doll to the floor, then turned to look at the table. A jagged sound was coming from my windpipe. I flinched as it startled me. The sound made my heart race and my stomach clench. Through lashes clouded with unshed tears, I thought … how nice three chairs at a table can look.

 

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This should be a link to me reading it … fingers crossed that it works.

P.S. the written word is a revisited story, one which has been tweaked, so it slightly differs from the audio.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7WJ-42kvYrWQ2RzRHgxUVFnRjNoOUlCNEE0TUlBTUZyWUVn/view?usp=drivesdk

If you are reading it or listening; I am very interested in your views. Which version did you prefer? leave me a comment as I simply love to talk, and will answer quick smart.

Acknowledgements:

peony photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash,

window Photo by Milada Vigerova on Unsplash Roses photos by ORNELLA BINNI on Unsplash

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Overheard At A Festival.

They sat Cross-legged on a black bin bag outside a wigwam tent. One, who was blonde, twisted the others hair, the recipient, a redhead, with her neck arched back and eyes closed, swayed gently and softly moaned. A ray of sun caught them in its early morning glow, last nights downpour glistened like glass beads all around them. I watched from a seat under our Motor home’s awning. They talked about blokes and bands, but still kept the tone smooth, hushed and gentle; perfect for the time of day. I surmised, they had been childhood friends by the way they were together.

Musicians warmed up on the distant stage, ‘one two one two click, click, click.’ Across the airwaves. Waking late-night revellers from their stupor bought on by excess.

The smell of bacon wafted across the camp. A clanking of pans, loud yawning and noisy stretches broke the quiet. It wasn’t long until groups of pyjama clad girlie’s in Wellington boots linked arms giggling as they picked their way to the bank of smelly toilets; still full from yesterday. Towel draped couples made their way to showers and dogs cocked legs against tent poles and wheels.

I felt the mood alter slightly between the two, my people watching mode is sensitive to the slightest change. Now beaded and braided the red-head snatched and shook the plaits, that made the beads tap, she giggled and thanked her friend. The blonde girl plucked two cereal bars from the pocket of a coat and offered it up for breakfast. On taking the bar she swigged water and wiped the bottle with her palm. As she passed it across she said in a clear voice. “I sell my poo on the dark web.” Blondie paused, (one of those audible teeth sucking pauses) tilted her head to stare in the others face. Taken aback, I craned my neck, strained so as not to miss a thing. “Did you hear me?” she said flicking out with her hand. “I sell my poo on the dark web.” I wanted to tell you ages ago … “It pays for medicinal cannabis and henna … just once in a while.” Blondie nodded as she listened, then jerked, her hands froze mid-roll, tobacco fluttered across her Bedouin birthing pants, she swiped angrily with her palm at the debris. Standing up, jangled her ankle bracelets as she kicked her bare feet. “For fuck sake Mia, is that what’s in the cool-box? You’re sick.” Both walked in the direction of the music. I watched until flamboyant hand gestures were all that was left to see.

The Husband burped from the bedroom a morning greeting. Somehow my watching was more disturbed by that … than the notes I penned in my notebook. ‘Overheard at a festival.’ reading it back, I wonder if someone nearby could be writing about me; earwiging, and The Husband’s morning greeting …

The blue-haired lady is how I imagine myself being, all modern, slim, elegant and carefree (dreaming). All photos are by way of Pixabay and from WordPress’s free photo library.

Was it only me who knew or knows nothing of `The dark web?’ What is the most random thing you have overheard? Answers in the comments, please. I can’t wait to read. 😆😅

I popped this on Esme’s senior salon press HERE to share your post or read others

I’m Only Human After All

This is a revisited story one that deserves a second glance … or that is what I think. I hope you feel the same. 😇

I called out, but his name lodged below my voice box; like a bubble, it floated until it popped. Slowly I turned back the bed, cotton sheets held at arms length, the smell of stale lovemaking sweat and perfume. Bare feet kissed the wooden floors leaving a mist; an impression of where I walked. Across the room down to the utility with my arms full. Once the wash was loaded, I glanced down, my nose twitched at the stench, my mouth sticky, I dry retched and memories flooded back. I peeled my dishevelled stained nightshirt from my aching self and it joined the sheets. My mind was busy trying not to think as I scrubbed and soothed my flesh, steam covered the pointless tracks on my cheeks as Rag n Bone man’s lyrics pounded over the sound of the shower. ‘I’m only human after all.’ I dropped a pill, swigged stale coffee left on the drainer and sat wrapped up in a towel. The dusk alerted the back of my mind it Snook in to disturb my … nothing, my emptiness.

This was ridiculous I am a grown woman Out loud I said ‘pull yourself together’. For the next week or so I was working on auto, walking to work doing my admin answering when I had no choice, until Friday night. Backpack on ready for home I felt him watching. A damp trickle formed between my breasts as I scanned left to right, I knew he was there somewhere. Head down, my shoes slapped against the damp tarmac, three, four, slap, slap, counting, walking determined not to be startled. ‘Hi toots, I thought it was you, fancy a drink?’ His voice hit my eardrums, but I was ready. I let a smile touch my lips for a second. ‘No thanks, busy busy’ I strode on. He was almost jogging alongside me, breathlessly he stopped me with a ‘Hey hey what’s the hurry, he stooped in front of me. Come on, we can continue where we left off.’ He twisted a strand of hair by my cheek, he bent further to peer into my face. ‘I said, I am busy, now please just’ I snatched my shoulder from his grasp and carried on. I didn’t look back, slow down or think about him, I just allowed my feet to pound the pavement slap, slap, slap. Ashamed that’s what I was, ashamed and regretful and I couldn’t accept what it was I had done.

Weeks had passed since he met me from work but I still felt uneasy, he hadn’t called or text or poked me on Facebook, but still, I was wary. Maybe he didn’t know my name either, I couldn’t remember him using it.

Ange and Jack had been arranged for months, dinner with friends, that would get some normality back. I tousled my hair and dressed casual but nice, I pouted in the mirror checking my lippy, I was the most relaxed I had been for a month or more. After fajitas, we had tequila and chilli chocolate buns with mallow topping; her food amazing as always. Ange and I laughed and reminisced about school, Jack cleared up and Ange and I began to talk freely. ‘What’s doing girly? You have been somewhere else for a while, I thought we trusted each other. I tell you every grizzly detail; like we always have.’ She nudged me, her head shook in disbelief, her eyes clouded over and she bit her lip. Just then Jack called through, he was walking to the pub, leaving us to our stuff, as he called it, while he indulged in a lary game of pool. Ange followed for a kiss. I saw them in the mirror’s reflection. As she grinned and mouthed thanks, she closed the door. ‘Well … I’m listening’. She did that thing, that glaring eye staring, folding arm thing that she does when she’s mad. ‘Nothing to say really, I just, well I was stupid, a slut and I, I’m ashamed. After Todd and I finished I felt lost, God that is so cliché, but I didn’t feel attractive or wanted.’ I dropped my head in my hands, roughly rubbed my cropped hair and grunted. Ange plopped on the edge of the chair with me, rubbed my shoulders as I released a howl so guttural I startled myself. ‘C’mon you’ll feel better, I won’t judge you-you know me better than that’.

I scrubbed my face with my palms and wiped them down my thighs. ‘I went to that club, the one on the corner, the one with the tattooed bouncer, the cute gay guy. I had some Jeager bombs and I began to dance, winding myself round guys legs, rubbing up behind them. They didn’t know me; nor me them.’ I leapt up and paced the floor. ‘It was sort of freedom, a liberating, sexy … I know, a slutty thing to do. The bouncer Jason, pulled some guy off me for stuffing his hand up my skirt. He tried to call a cab but I wasn’t having any of that. In my head, I was showing Todd, even though he wasn’t there, couldn’t see. My heart was racing as I dropped into the seat again. ‘Next thing I knew is I kissed this guy. He mouthed a wafer under my tongue … don’t get me wrong I wanted, I was reckless. I’ve been having flashes come back to me of the stuff we did, the table, the kitchen, outside the front door for god’s sake.’ That’s not all. He met me from work one night, a week or so later, it freaked me out. How could I be so stupid?’ Ange’s eyes grew as she listened with her lips clenched tight. ‘Don’t worry,’ I patted her hand. ‘it was fine, he just wanted more. He hasn’t been back.’ After a minute I looked at her holding her hands. ‘I’ve been petrified Ange, I took him to my home! The things we did.’ I shook my head and looked at Ange’s horrified face. ‘ Don’t say anything, I can’t cope with your disgust too.’ We sat for a while with a box of tissues between us, Ange crying for and with me. Me crying out of self-pity and shame. ‘I went to the clinic on Duke Street and had tests, well you just don’t know, do you. I find out in a fortnight … so far, several are back and I’m clean, just waiting on Hepatitis and HIV. I wouldn’t hold it against you if you never spoke to me again.’

We cleared the dinner debris and emptied the dishwasher, although together, it was completed in silence. We made coffee and Jack came in the front door, pink-cheeked, smiling and relaxed. He looked from one to another, pulled a face, pouted his bottom lip and said ‘I am going up, night then’ and he gently closed the door.

Red-eyed and nervous I said ‘I can not cope without your friendship, please don’t hate me’. I held both her hands and stared into her face. ‘For the last time I will not ever, hate you, but I am hurt, hurt because I was too busy to see the effect Todd’s affair had on you and because you felt you couldn’t come to me. I let you down and you put yourself at risk’. I hugged her hard and stroking her hair said. ‘Sometimes, we do stupid things, sometimes, it is no one’s fault but our own and sometimes we are lucky enough to walk away unscathed. I Jane Masters, head of finance, single thirtysomething female, should have known better! but I won’t get it wrong twice. As the song says … ‘I’m only human after all.’

Flower photo borrowed /thieved temporarily from Geoff LePard I thank you, Geoff. Press here to visit the master🔜 here🔚

A new venture into a different genre yet again inspired by the magnificent Rag n Bone man song I hope you enjoyed both the song and the story I look forward to your comments *waves*.

A Right of passage #FGM.

She wears the scars of the divine

They think she’ll forget given time.

that she’ll bow to the pain

And pray in his name.

But she won’t, instead,

she will cry in her bed

For God, on a mission,

Or ancient tradition.

The girls In her tribe

Just frown.

At the stain they see

On the six year old’s gown.

The heat in her face as

Infection slots In place.

Death is often the way.

Not saved from the cut,

Like a kick in the gut,

Her Mother held

Her hand that day.

It happens In a home

Just like yours,

carried-out behind

Closed house doors.

When blood seeps

through the cracks,

it’s covered with a mat

Never to be mentioned

Again.

I didn’t think it could be,

Because I was too blind to see.

Not in a house that’s

Next door to me.

The article below was taken directly from Feb 2017 ITV news.

A case of female genital mutilation (FGM) is either discovered or treated in England every hour, according to the analysis of NHS statistics by a charity.

Between April 2015 and March 2016 there were 8,656 times when women or girls attended doctors’ surgeries or hospitals and the problem was assessed – the equivalent of one every 61 minutes.

Did you know this barbarity was so prevalent in the UK?

Can ordinary people like me, or spoken word Artists like Casey Lee Brock with art, stories and poems be heard … make a difference?

Any acknowledgement or comment on this will be responded to with honesty and speed.

The Bird Was Witness.

ALERT! This flash does contain two swear words, I do not wish to offend therefore am letting you know before you read. This is a refreshed #flash from Nov 2016.

Photograph by permission of Derrick J knight. Thank you once more.

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A bird sat high on top of a telegraph pole, its black shape stark against the sky, I watched it through the steam on the window. With my palm flat against the glass, I cleared a better view; while my novel was clenched snug under my armpit. Sitting in the window seat reading I could zone out the sounds of the room and breathe easy.

Then it started… “Ange, Ange, come here now! come to me bitch”. I looked at the bird looking back at me and placed my book on the windowsill. The card game was getting rowdy, ”Angie” he shouted, warily I approached, “What Tom, what do you want? “ He grabbed my waist and tugged me into his lap, laughing, that sneery false laugh I grew to hate. Fear ran up my neck as he made a show of me in front of his mates.

He looked at them and pinched my chin as he forced my head to face them. Tom wrenched my hand between my shoulder blades. “Here boys, have you ever seen such a miserable cow… eh eh?” his grasp was cruel, his breath thick with stale booze and cigarettes. I felt the spray from his mouth warm as he spoke against my ear. Tom released my arm and pretended to tickle, but he dug and prodded with force, my cheeks flushed and prickles ran up my spine. My legs jerked as he stabbed his fingers deep between my ribs. The table caught by my ankle shifted, cards scattered as it righted itself with a thump. I struggled, kicking my denim clad legs in retaliation his fingers jab jabbing painfully; as his temper deteriorated.

The mood instantly changed, Stan leapt up threw his hand on the table, he kicked a spent chubby and took the Iou’s in his calloused hands and tore them; throwing the pieces like confetti in the air. “Fuck this you knob”, he booted the table over…”I’m off” he shouted. Pictures rattled as he banged the door. Mark and Des were worse for wear, swaying, they glanced from one to the other and back, both stumbled to the door in pursuit.

One swift movement had me flat on the floor with a swaying Tom above me. “You fuckin bitch, you just had to, didn’t you? Each word was punctuated with a kick and a gob from his mouth. The first one caught the bone of my hip the second connected with my thigh as I struggled lobster like across the carpet. A flurry of pokes, punches and kicks came thick and fast, he crushed my lips into my teeth with a direct punch. Stubbies bounced and rolled about like Otters at play, I spat two teeth onto the carpet which got his attention, it gave me a chance to swallow some air.

From the corner of my eye, I caught sight of the bird, me looking at it, it looking at me. Ashamed at this spectacle being seen. Me, a weak victim, small and helpless. Somehow the thought made me gather myself. I grabbed a bottle and scrambled to my feet. Holding the neck with cramped fingers I drew my arm out to the side. I remember screaming “No” He lunged forward teeth barred. I screwed my eyes tight and swinging right to left the bottle connected. Phlegm hit full in my face and mingled with the tears and blood that dripped from my jaw. As if I was a character in a novel, in slow motion the bottle cracked him below his left ear and flipped from my grasp. His eyes bulged, snot flew from his nose as he fell back. Stretching myself forward fingers splayed I tried to grab him before he fell, but only caught air. His head thudded against the leg of the upturned table and he dropped. Blood puddled behind his head and a lone trickle dribbled from the side of his gaping mouth.

Unable to look, I turned my head to face the window. I could see him, the bird, looking at me. He seemed to bob his head like a gentleman does when he catches your eye in acknowledgement. He ruffled his feathers and continued his pose.

I felt the vibration of feet through the floor when I dialled 999. “Police and ambulance, I can’t hear you… I think he is dead, we are at 42 Granby street, come quick *hiccough* please”. Still holding the phone the door flew from its hinges the room filled with uniforms and bodies. A policeman shook me, grabbed the phone and spoke into it. My ears and head were ringing but I could only see angry faces as lips moved silently and Tom lay still, and only the bird was witness.

What do you think, was she in the wrong ? please leave any comments as they are my wages for writing and each one is valued and replied to swiftly. Have a great week.

As My Tea Gently Steeps.

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I saw his reflection as he slid a hand along the wall craning his neck to look at my back. I stood at the kitchen sink pretending oblivion. He bobbed his head twice to check, he thought me stupid, blind to his presence, then he continued upstairs.

We at the guild of women had been warned, don’t answer the door to strangers, keep them locked, chains on. They failed to tell us what to do if in broad daylight the bastard jimmied your door, knife in hand, bag up his shirt. I hummed gently, cloth in hand I wiped the sill.

The sun hit my Rhododendron as he dragged his feet down the landing. A squirrel chased a chaffinch from the feeder when he knocked Fred’s picture from my bedside table and said “ fuck” his filthy mouth next to our bed.

The kettle whistled as he rushed from room to room. I put on the radio, clenched my fist to steady my hand. When I relaxed my jaw a taste of metal filled my mouth but I carried on… The pot warmed the tea leaves steeped. I flinched as he slammed my door stealing my memories, leaving his stench in my home, my Fred broken beside my bed.

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This is a post a story from last year I believe deserves a second chance I hope you agree.

A serious piece seen from inside the mind of an eighty something widow. How cruel of me to place my vulnerable character in such a wicked position, but they are there, hiding, and scared, often alone. If this micro story makes you think of someone in your neighbourhood differently; then my job is done. Do you keep an eye on a person in your street, or do you know of a person like her. I’d like to know your thoughts please let me know in the comments bye for now 😇👋👋👋;) .