Isn’t teenagehood supposed to be about possibilities? I see only one road. Grades. College. Marriage. Babies, drudging on forever. One road. And it’s not the one less traveled by.
Of course, Robert Frost was a man. Maybe my brothers don’t feel this way. Grades. College. Husband. Babies.
Two roads. Where’s the second? Is it a guy on a motorbike coming to take me away? Maybe it’s a knife or pills. No. Maybe it’s grades, college, not marriage. Maybe there’s a big turn here arrow just around the corner.
Maybe I missed it already.
Last week’s little girl was just starting to get treated like an adult. This week she’s half a dozen years older and starting to realise it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.
The Road Not Taken is one of my favourite poems and I recite it often, especially when wandering through woods. I hope this character finds a way to love it, or at least not view s reading it as another part of her drudgery. I also hope she doesn’t need a white knight on a motorbike to save her.
So much to say about the photo this week, not least because it’s one of mine! Also because I was so inspired by it, I smashed not one but two measuring jugs onto my kitchen floor this morning and now desperately need to go shopping! To make up for it, the crockery in my story isn’t broken today. At least, not yet.
I remember it so clearly. The grown up feeling that mattered so much. Full sized cutlery. A china plate. No more mac n cheese in a plastic bowl for me; that was for babies. I was the real deal now, and I ate roast dinner with the adults.
To be trusted with something as important as breakable crockery. To carry it, steaming to the table.
I can still taste the supercilious sneer I threw my little brothers eating delicious KD with mouth-sized spoons, that hint of … it couldn’t be jealousy, could it?
“What’s black and white and red all over?” Luke’s started riffing on the joke book, so I prepare my laughter.
“Don’t know. What is black, white and red all over?”
“A newspaper” shouts Matty. He’s read the book too.
“Ha. No!” Getting a point against your brother is always a joy. “I’ll give you a clue: cowboy movies.” He waits a beat, then announces in triumph, “A cowboy after he’s been shot!”
I can see Matty preparing to argue, but it’s actually funny… and for once I’m ready to deflect. “Good one! Let’s have Oreo ice cream with strawberry sauce.”
I occasionally take a photo with FF in mind but I always forget to send them; Rochelle’s call for pictures makes me think I must hunt some of them down.
My story this week took a lot of editing to fit the 100 word limit and has lost a bit of Mom’s internal monologue as a consequence, but I enjoy writing stories about this family, who are often a little like mine. I hope you enjoy them too – there are lots of other Luke and Matty stories on my blog, so if you are interested click on the tag or drop their names into the search box for more snippets about them.
Last week’s Wednesday – Friday got lost in the excitements and dramas of the season, so I’m pleased to be back today … and earlier than normal because I’ve escaped to the UK so I have a time zone advantage!
On The Stairs
The carpet on the stairs was old and worn, it felt more like concrete than plush underfoot and Maggie clutched the rail for balance.
The first time she’d met Omar, she’d gone down another staircase, into that dingy bar on Main Street, wondering if this date would be another one as grim as the venue.
Yet here she was descending sweeping, carpeted stairs in a white dress. She glanced across at her Dad. His face was set hard, but his eyes glistened.
“Hold on tight,” he said. And she knew he wasn’t talking about the handrail or even his arm.
Extroduction – just a short one this week!
This isn’t the story I thought it was going to be, so it feels a bit out of keeping with itself. I wonder if it will feel right to the reader, though, as you come to it without the same preconceptions.
The boys love spending time at Grandpa’s farm in the summer: they splash in the river, climb trees and barely even glance at a screen. But we’ve never been in the winter. The farmhouse is huge but won’t contain the boys’ pre-Christmas energy.
Grandpa cut a tree and dressed it with candles. It looks amazing and probably won’t burn the place down or ignite anyone’s polyester pajamas. I’m told they did it when Dave was young, so it’s like when the kids play in the river in summer, I just have to believe.
I am a sloth. I do everything slooowly. Talk slowly. Move slowly. I even eat so slowly that I never fart.
Fart is an F word. Other frightening F words are fast, far and falling. I do not like F words.
I do like S words. Like slow. And steady. And sleeeeep.
Sleeping is one of the things that I do best. Some of my human friends find it hard to go to sleep, so I help them with my special meditations. Friends is a special word because it is a GOOD word even though it is an F word.
Yeah, this one needs a bit of explaining! Sebastian loves sloths and collects them in stuffed form, but the original and best is Molasses. Like all my kids’ stuffies, Molasses has his own voice and personality (OK, that’s entirely my fault), in this case revolving largely around his irrational hatred of F words and his love of anything involving S’s (He also likes Ms). One of the best things he does is guided meditations to help Sebastian sleep. I’ve started writing a book of his meditations, because it feels like something that other families would love too – or at least that I’d like to record for Sebastian to look back on. This is a condensed extract from the Introduction to that collection.
Oh, and the title? Well, Molasses wouldn’t want to be part of Friday Fiction, so I thought this could be a Saturday Story. Just for him.
A little later, and in haste this week. I’ve been racing around doing Christmas preparations and other Good Things this week, but I didn’t want to miss FF so here I am, still on the same theme as the last couple of weeks, where the muse seems to be stuck for the moment. Thank you to our host, Rochelle, for lending us her own picture today.
Two women stand at a window.
Outside, wearing a coat from Goodwill so she could afford good ones for the children who pull on her arms. She wonders if more bedrooms would make for better family relations or simply more to clean.
Inside, the realtor slides a photo from a frame. This latest sale means she and her husband can fly First Class to Hawaii for Christmas. Maybe even upgrade the Tesla.
Their eyes meet, and each woman’s heart sinks a little. If she could step through that glass, how different her life would be. How much happier, more meaningful.
Last week I told Sylvie’s life story – it was interesting to see two perspectives on her experiences – some of you saw the hope and others the misery. She’s popped back this week with a single moment in time, inspired by this photo from Roger Bultot.
The Coming Dawn
In the distance, Sylvie watched the day arrive. Layers of crimson, magenta and gold brightened into white and then blue. Over there, people could already see the way ahead.
For her, it was still night. The baby was just asleep, but not enough to put down. Her eyelids drooped, but she daren’t let them – and him – fall. Instead, she watched the sun rise and hope creeping across the sleeping city.
When Glenn’s alarm chimed, she felt him take the baby. He kissed her forehead as she finally let sleep take over, knowing it would be light when she woke up.
Melanie’s back! This photo immediately brought to mind the phrase ‘through a glass darkly’. I’ve used that before for a prompt, so I took a different part of the same verse for Melanie to muse on this week. If you enjoy her thoughts, you can find others here.
Aunt Selina’s Church
Before Mummy got sick, she wore a pretty dress and spoke at Aunt Selina and Puncle Eter’s wedding. They go to a weird church. Their priest smiles a lot and when they sing, they clap their hands and dance around.
Mummy said 1 Corinthians 13, but she changed it. She said “When I became a woman, I put childish things behind me.” Father Andrew wouldn’t like that, but their priest nodded and smiled.
And then, at the end, when he said “I now pronounce you husband and wife,” everybody cheered. Loudly.