I’m Only Human After All

I called, but your name lodged below my voice box and like a bubble, it floated until it popped.  Slowly I turned back the bed, cotton sheets now held 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 loaded I glanced down, my nose curled, my mouth sticky and memories flooded back. I peeled my dishevelled stained night shirt 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 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 I was ready for I let a smile touch my lips. ‘No thanks, busy busy’ I strode on. Almost jogging now alongside me breathlessly he stopped me with  ‘Hey hey what’s the hurry, come on we can continue where we left off,’ he twisted a strand of hair by my cheek as he bent at the knees 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.

Angie 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, that 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 Angie and I began to talk freely. ‘What’s doing girly? You have been somewhere else for a while, I thought we trusted each other, told every grizzly detail like we always have’. Jack called through, he was walking to the pub leaving us to our stuff while he indulged in a lairy game of pool. Ange followed for a kiss she grinned and mouthed thanks as 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 am 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  yowl 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 on the corner the one with the tattooed bouncer the cut gay guy… I had some jagger bombs and I … began to dance winding myself round guys legs rubbing up behind them. They didn’t know me nor me them, it was sort of a 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. Next thing I know is I take this guy Marks mouth in mine and 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. He met me from work one night a week or so later it freaked me out, how could I be so stupid, it was fine he just wanted … more he hasn’t been back. I’ve been petrified, I took him home, the things we did, 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 but so far several are back and I’m clean just waiting on Hepatitis and HIV. I would not hold it against you if you never spoke to me again.’

Clearing the dinner debris and emptying the dishwasher although together, it was completed in silence. We made coffee and Jack came in the front door pink-faced, smiling and relaxed, he pulled a face pouted his bottom lip and said ‘I am going up bye 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 because  you felt you couldn’t come to me, I  let you down and you put yourself at risk’. 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, but 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*.

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 😇👋👋👋;) . 

‘My Scared

The picture prompt is on loan from Michelle Terry. Many thanks and good luck to the scribblers.

A thousand nightmares and endless councillors later…  I faced the elephant in the room, or maybe it was the room in the elephant.

Mum’s eyes were huge and I remember thinking that it would be awful if they popped right out. I am not sure how old I was back then when she tied a tea towel around my face. But I can recall it clearly, It had white lettering across a blue band on a pure white unstained cloth, I remember it hanging in the kitchen but never used, it was special, a for looking at cloth. So I couldn’t see and with my legs straddling her hip, she clutched me tight as the cold air made me shiver. There was a frantic juggling of my bones as she ran for what felt like hours; maybe in circles. Eventually, she stopped and whispered, ‘I have to hide you to make you safe’, I couldn’t stop my teeth from tapping but I thought if she took the cloth off she wouldn’t have left me. I know, she would have seen ‘my scared’ and taken me back home.’My scared’ as I remember calling it, was the way I felt and it was huge that day when she said, ‘best not to make a noise’ she didn’t sound like Mum, her voice was cracked and growling.  As she lowered me to the floor I felt my legs get warm and wet which made her dig her nails in the tops of my arms her breath was damp on my cheek as she snarled “Filthy bitch’. I heard the door close, rattle and a click. Some memories are precise almost intricate, while others are feelings, like wisps of smoke I can’t hold on to.

As clear as day I remember how my belly ached, my throat burned and my tongue had stuck to my own mouth before she returned. Many dark visits with no words followed,  I had noticed her hair became matted and often covered her face,  she would push a cup across the floor and quickly she left. I learned to do my toilet in the farthest corner of my room but after five or so cups of lukewarm soup or oats my waste travelled across the mud floor; eventually covering me. My hair got stiff, I scratched my head until it bled and scabbed…I had sores on my sores.

I can’t, doctors say, (or I refuse) to remember much more; until the end. I told them how It was never day or night just dark and dank. It sometimes would just come, a memory that is,  swooping from nowhere. One such memory was how I once I grabbed her, I tried to kiss her, how she screamed and punched me, my chest hurt as my back made contact with the wall. A long time passed maybe weeks, I couldn’t tell, but when she returned, my stomach hurt so much that I couldn’t crawl to my dirt corner or lift my head. Mother, I stopped thinking of her as that a long time before, but on that visit, I thought she had come back to me. I had awoken to a damp warm cloth scrubbing my face, then she spoiled it. She pulled my lids apart stared at me, her face crumpled as she swore, and phlegm hit my full in the face before she left. I thought at the time she didn’t want me to look back. Later, a tin mug of thin soup and a huge crust of bread was put through the door. I opened one of my eyes; the other was stuck and didn’t want to, I saw her dirty bony hand bring them in,  just her hand as she pushed them across the soiled floor, but couldn’t move, so never ate them.

Now fourteen years on my fully grown up self, on my twenty-first birthday, I am a stronger woman, a woman who mostly dreams of the arms of the paramedic who came to my Mothers aid, who found more than expected, who undoubtedly was my knight in shining armour.

I return to my prison to face what went before.  Bile fills my throat, my eyes begin to involuntarily leak and I vomit behind the swing frame over and over. In the garden, I scan the scene and wonder who if anyone played there while I was away with ‘My scared’ in that place. What shocks me most is the proximity to the house, she would have seen my room from the back door, could have stopped ‘my scared’ in a second… had she been well enough.

I enjoyed the prompt and felt a snapshot was enough but I may return to this for a bigger project at a later date.Did you feel her fear? Did I help you visualise her surroundings? Leave me a comment I will reply as soon as I can.

The Salty Sailor.

Click here to join in with the fictioneers HERE.

Photo for friday fictioneers  exclusive use only, by © Fatima Fakier Deria.

Across the harbour he gazed, floating money pits, gin palaces, toys for the wealthy. Phlegm hit his boot, he screwed his eyes against the sun. Stuffing a cheroot between his discoloured teeth he thrust chapped hands deep in his pockets. With hunched shoulders he watched his feet as he scuffed on the dry earth and lurched away. He may earn his living on them but he’d never own one.

Below the harbour was buzzing, tanned yachtsmen flirted with ladies. Coiffed girls with plummy accents giggled and money was no object;  but there was no room for salty sailors in this bar. 
This is a snapshot of a bigger story, curtailing it to 100 words was tough and I hope I captured the irony of the sailors lot. Please leave a comment I love to connect.

Breaking the Rules

photograph courtesy of Paul Miltiaru press HERE to see his beautiful photography.

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 He could walk a coastal hike

Take the road atop a bike.

Sail o’er the seas of old

On a ship that’s made of gold.

He could fight a hundred men

Chase a lion from his den.

He’d be a champion of men

The countries Olympian.

But let him walk along a street

Without shoes upon his feet

He’d  bring shame and despair

On the townsfolk living there.

You can win a Quadrathlon

but never flout a road sign.

Photo of British quadrathlon team courtesy of Wikipedia.

Which rule did you break?  (Other than a parking or speed signs )

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I flouted the rules of propriety with the above, as I thought one way, was my way…

A Song or five.

A super blogger asked me to take part in a song for a day for five days, as we are moving house this will be difficutl but I will take a twist on the rules and post 5 songs on one day so I can take part. Please visit Here  at the lovely ladiesthatlunchreviews

The rules are to post the lyrics of a favorite song five days in a row, explain what they mean to you and add the video if available. You then nominate two other bloggers who can participate if they wish and my choices are:  Steph Richmond and my lovely friend from unfolding the fog.

My choices are ecclectic and maybe my favorite colour is yellow, I love blues and jazz, Who wouldn’t love listening to Janice or coldplay…The world is a better place with music and tomorrow my favorites will be different because a memory was nudged or a note bought a tear for what ever reason enjoy my choices today.


The Empty

Sue Vincent’s  picture prompt once again challenges us… press here to join in or to read some fabulous responses..

Remnants of yesterdays bonfire smolder on the bank, barbed wire posts too damp to burn are propped at angles like skeletons legs. The wind whips my hair across pinkend cheeks, wipes drops from moist eyes as I trudge aimlessly across the empty landscape. A gnawing in my abdomen makes me tremble; my hands shake as I recognise my own emptiness.

An hour passes me by, legs heavy and joints begin to ache as I work my way home. Lifting my foot to plant it firmly in the kissing gate where we stopped and kissed last night; the irony of it makes my lips twitch and my chest tight. In the emptiness I succumb to tears; self indulging, long overdue by my reckoning.

Last night around the fire we had talked, loved and hoped. We hoped that three weeks late was a sign, we had held each other tight, talked until wishes were invisible to the moon.

This morning I woke to his whistles as he cycled to work. A fleeting smile at my lips soon vanished as the dull drag in my gut became apparent. Tonight I will have to tell him we were wrong. Smoothing my palm over my cheeks I take a deep breath, kick off my boots and straighten my back. Today will go so quickly here in the empty.

Love After Love

 

The time will come

when, with elation,

you will greet yourself arriving

at your own door, in your own mirror,

and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was your self.

Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart

to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored

for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,

peel your own image from the mirror.

Sit. Feast on your life.

By Derek Walcot. R.I.P. 17th March 2017 #WorldPoetryDay  couldn’t pass by without a bow or a curtsie to the painter, playwright, poet, English professor and nobel prize winner amongst his many accolades. He missed this day by four days so I would like to honour him in some small way. 

A Short Stream Of Consciousness.

Linda Hills stream of conciousness prompt please press 🔜 here 🔚  to read and join,  it Is fun #SOCS  No editing just pouring onto the page.


My Dad used to say “Nice things come in small parcels” he said it mostly to cheer me up…  Mum said “so does poison”  If as she often pointed out every family has their cross to bear, then it is possible I was it.

I am one of four girls who were all… a slighter build than me, they had dainty feet and were bor… fortunate with prettier eyes and full lashes and without double chins. All three had wavy or curling hair, they were popular, and taller than me, all three were in the top choice when teams were picked, and all three had tone, rythm and speed.

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Where,  I never grew into my large clumsy feet or had the ability to beautifully sing and dance. My bum was always big in this … whatever this happened to be. My singing voice… well least said and all that.  I swear someone put my eyes on upside down and stole my midriff… seriously, how is it that I have a standard leg length, a six foot arm span *holds head* “really” and am four foot eleven and a half. I was the girl that the netball captain dreaded having to take, the sister that the vicar told “god had better things than the choir on his mind when he made me” ! Promptly giving the collection plate over ( my then new job). And just in case you think like a butterfly I morphed into my wonderful self… No!

Singing is my passion and I could still win X factor the voice and be a singing sensation, but no one other than me hears the way my ears do… I still have straight as a poker hair, bigger feet,  shorter body, upside down eyes,  two chins, weigh more than them, I hide from the ball, miss with a bat and in comparison my bum is still big in that.

In case you think I feel sorry for myself NO! You see I am unique, I am an anomaly. I can laugh at myself, make others happy, I am kind and generous.  If I don’t compare myself to my sisters, I am average weight and fitness with a standard sized foot. My siblings are smaller (not shorter) and lighter than the norm. They are…  they, and I am me, a friendly, happy, quirky woman who writes. My husband, who by the way insists my differences drew him to me, loves this bonkers loon and wouldn’t alter a bit of me.. except maybe my  penchant for singing and being bouncy as I wake.

 

There I kept it short and shared pieces of me.

Do you fit neatly into your family have you grown into your space? I am dying to hear.

Auschwitz 1.

Arbeit macht frei” (work set’s you free)

 

Beneath a winters sun a biting wind blew,

Where nobody saw and nobody knew.

With tears in the eyes of our guide

Shock on our faces no-where to hide.

I couldn’t remove her words from my ear

The ones no decent human wants to  hear.

Watching through a fog knowing the reality

It slid beneath flesh and warped earth’s polarity.

Ramming evil home, planting it deep

like marrow into the bone.

Escape was not made for here,

corrections happened and slaughter… its clear.

They walked towards death one by one,

Without the fear of what was to come.

When water became gas, to help them cope,

they sang the  Hatikvah, their song of hope.

I see piles of  hair when I try to sleep,

the discarded shoes torn from innocents feet.

I see their faces before me as I softly weep,

Brush crematoria soot from a tear stained cheek.

This place bore witness to pure evil that time,

it can not be erased from the depths of my mind.

At the shooting wall I picture them standing that day,

Singing hopeful  prayers they refused to face away.

The Nazi machine, its power so strong,

kept the furnaces burning all night long.

Hundreds were cremated day after day,

Not fast enough to clear the piles of decay.

First their status then their pride

Ripped them apart nowhere to hide.

For all the souls that gather there,

Their fortitude, their pain and despair.

I beseech you all, to stand and see

the shooting wall… just like me.

The rose was placed on one of the beds that held six bodies in the barracks of Auschwitz one. Poignantly positioned, by someone paying respects on March the second 2017.

A  piece of me shifted that day, my eyes clouded and my heart cried. I thought long and hard before posting this and though I hope you leave me a comment I will umderstand if you don’t.