Tag Archives: waiting

FF – Waiting

No rerun for me this week; if you went back to Rochelle’s original post, you’ll know why. Five days into motherhood, apparently I didn’t put writing first ;). Three and a half years on, it’s still a challenge to fit in a weekly burst of writing, but sometimes we need to rise to challenges…

Kent Bonham recommended the rerun; the picture is Rochelle‘s own.

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Waiting

Mrs Mwanna says he won’t bring Mummy home in this. She says it loads, like each time she looks out, the sun will be shining, the ice will have gone and the car will have pulled in.

She looks more often than I do, but they don’t come.

It’s too cold to take Mummy outside. She’s too frail to walk and it’s too slippery for the wheelchair. Too far for me to visit. Too early for us to phone.

We hold hands and watch through the frost for the car that won’t come. He won’t bring her home in this.

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In Mon – Talk to Strangers

What a fantastic crop of InMon prompts this week. I want to use them all … but not in the same story. However, Melanie’s been playing in my head again, so she’s taken the front slot and here’s another snippet from her. And I’ve ended up nodding to two of the prompts.

If you’d like to see more, search “Melanie” to see other parts of her story, although this scene is intended to stand alone.

* * *

Daddy’s instructions had been very clear: “Take Mummy’s prescription to the counter, get the pills from the Pharmacist, pay, leave. Don’t get waylaid.” But Melanie liked getting waylaid; there was always so much to see and do when you got waylaid. And sometimes you got waylaid without meaning to. Like today, in the pharmacy, there was an old lady waiting in the next seat. And Melanie wasn’t really getting waylaid, because she was waiting for the Pharmacist to get Mummy’s pills ready.

“You’re a bit little to be here alone,” said the old woman. “Where’s your Mum?”

“At home,” Mel said, wondering if it was OK to talk to strangers if they were at the pharmacy.

The old woman looked kind, like Mrs Mwanna, only not black. She put her handkerchief in front of her eyes to blow her nose. “You came by yourself?” said the voice behind the handkerchief.

“No. Daddy’s waiting outside, only he couldn’t come in because he’s on the phone.”

“Ah.” The lady came out from behind her mask again. “That’s the problem with these mobile phones. Everyone is always on them. No time for anything.”

Melanie nodded and looked up at the pharmacists’ heads, bobbing behind their high screen. She wondered how long the medicine was going to be, because she was nearly late for school and she didn’t want to have to go and see the Head again to explain.

“They take their own time,” the old lady said, reading her mind like Mrs Mwanna could do. “I’ve been waiting for twenty minutes.”

Melanie wondered how long she’d been waiting. Not twenty minutes, because the old lady had got here first, but it felt like forever.

“Do you go to St Bartholomew’s?” the lady said.

“Yes,” Melanie replied. And then she thought about it and wondered if the lady meant the church, which she did go to, or the school, which she didn’t because she was a big girl now and went to the big school, but it was too late to ask, because she had already answered.

The lady tutted. “I thought they had a uniform. I don’t go in for this modern idea of no uniform days. Supposed to be for charity, but it looks very scruffy and you can’t tell one child from another. In my day you knew exactly what to expect just by looking at the child.”

Melanie tried to count the bottles of Calcium tablets on the shelf beside her, but the numbers kept getting themselves confused whenever she listened to the old lady. She wondered whether to explain about the church and the school, but it wouldn’t really help, because her school did have a uniform and it wasn’t non-uniform day, her uniform was just in the wash because she’d forgotten to put the load through and Mummy had said she’d do it yesterday but then hadn’t been able to get out of bed, and so Daddy had said never mind he would write the Head a note. Only, thinking about it, Melanie remembered that he hadn’t given her a note and she would have to ask him when she got back to the car.

“I suppose you go to the church there as well?” the old lady said.

Melanie nodded.

The old lady tutted again. “Not my cup of tea,” she muttered. “I prefer a more shall we say enlightened communicant, if you know what I mean?”

Melanie nodded, although she didn’t.

“A little bit more forgive us our trespasses and a little bit less mine be the kingdom.”

“Ms Santori?” The lady pharmacist’s head appeared from behind the screen and the old lady stood up.

“Well, that’s me. At last,” she sighed. “You watch out for that priest of yours,” she added. “He’ll fill your head with fire and brimstone and leave no room for God’s love.”

Melanie nodded again and went back to counting the Vitamin bottles. It was easier now that nobody was talking to her, and she’d got all the way to two hundred and forty-seven when she heard Mummy’s name being called.

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Friday Fiction – Ted

Another guest, so another quick post for FF. This week’s picture comes from Cabin Fever and you can see more responses to it at Rochelle’s homepage for the group.

Under my 100 word story is the longer version I wrote first. I sort of prefer it, but a word limit is a word limit! As ever, feedback is welcome and feel free to just read the short version if you prefer.

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Ted

He came to the Palace every day, to marvel at the guards in their resplendent uniforms and to watch the ships coming in. He didn’t know what resplendent meant, but his Grandfather had used it, back in the days when the old man hobbled beside him, and the word was his only legacy.

The ships carried every sort of cargo, but the trawlers were Ted’s favourite. Piles of fish cast, stinking, onto the jetty.

It was beside a pile of fish that Ted waited every morning for his Father’s ship: last seen heading East in search of the golden albatross.

***

Swan Song

He came to the Palace every day, to marvel at the guards in their resplendent uniforms and to watch the ships coming in. He didn’t know what resplendent meant, but his Grandfather had used it, back in the days when the old man hobbled beside him, and the word was his only legacy.

The ships carried every sort of cargo, but the trawlers were Ted’s favourite. Piles of fish cast, stinking, onto the jetty. Sometimes one or two were still alive, flicking bright scales across the concrete in a swan song of beauty.

It was beside a pile of fish that Ted waited every morning for his Father’s ship: last seen heading East in search of the golden albatross.

And it was beside a pile of fish that the guards found the man they recognised as their daily visitor. Some had said he was a ghost even before that – even the oldest couldn’t remember a time before his visits began – but the old man’s body was real enough. None had seen him arrive that day, but many people had heard him singing, the same ancient sea shanty he sang every day, something to do with a golden bird.

 

 

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Friday Fiction – She Waits

Better late than never. It’s taken me an unusually long time to edit this week’s FF attempt. I had the idea straight away, but wording it has proved a real challenge. Once again, the edits show how I got to where it ends up. I’d love to read your thoughts on the various decisions I took, and/or how well the piece works as a whole.

Other stories can be found on Rochelle’s site. The picture is from Renee Homan Heath.

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She waits

She waits for me at the end of the path. Her toes curl into the sand and the sea whispers at her back like a thousand angels. She waits, neither impatient for me to hurry nor lacking eagerness to be with me.

I journey alone now. Eager too, and perhaps more impatient than she. The path is beautiful and cannot be hurried. But sunlight drenches the beach and the sea is more refreshing than shade. Many feet have trod this path before me, and yet today it is all my own.

And at the end of the path, she waits.

V3 [Almost the same as the final version, barring some edits thanks to Sandra and Ted]

[This was a difficult edit. I like the story as it stands at the end of v2. I’m in two minds about swapping the genders, but somehow this seems to work better in my head as a woman waiting for a man. This edit was about “kill the puppies” – in other words, cutting out lines which I like, but know don’t belong.]

She waits for me at the end of the path [I never liked wooden anyway, so I’m happy to let it go]. Her toes curl into the sand [shame to lose her smile, but the toes are more unusual than a smile, which I think is important to aid the implication that this is his wife, not just an angel] and the sea whispers at her back like a thousand angels. She waits, neither impatient for me to hurry nor lacking eagerness to be with me.

I walk alone now [Slightly uncomfortable with this change as it approaches cliché. It cuts words though, so ultimately I’ve kept it. The addition of “now” hopefully another hint that they used to walk together]. Eager too, and perhaps more impatient than she. The path is beautiful and cannot be hurried. But sunlight drenches the beach and the sea is more refreshing than shade. [Bringing this line up allowed me to ditch the attempts to describe the path again] A thousand feet have trod these steps before me, and yet they are all my own. [They instead of It for noun agreement. I thought about losing this line, but even when I’m killing puppies, there is the occasional one I can’t drown!]

And at the end of the path, she waits. [I liked the echo in this version. I also wasn’t happy with “soon” in the previous version]

V2

[The first batch of edits was relatively easy. I took out anything that seemed superfluous or repetitive]

She waits for me at the end of the wooden path. Her toes curl into the sand as she smiles and the sea whispers at her back like a thousand angels. [The palm trees and coconut juice felt like over-doing it even as I wrote it, so that was an easy cut] She waits, neither impatient for me to hurry nor lacking in eagerness to be with me.

I tread the path alone [his weariness didn’t seem to fit with the path. The narrator still has some way to go, and I didn’t want it to be an unhappy path for him] . I too am eager, perhaps a little more impatient than she is. The path is beautiful and cannot be hurried. A thousand feet have trod these steps before me, and yet it is all my own.

The path is a varied mix of light and dark. But sunlight drenches the beach and the sea will refresh me in ways  the shade cannot. [This paragraph felt like the weakest as it was originally written. The shade / sun thing felt over-done, and repeated by the description of the beach, hence I cut it and punched up the beach bit]

She waits, and soon I will join her.

V1

She waits for me at the end of the wooden path. Her toes curl into the sand as she smiles and the sea whispers at her back like a thousand angels. Palm trees sway above her, a cool glass of fresh coconut juice in her hand tells me that all is alive and fertile in the brightness.

She waits, neither impatient for me to hurry nor lacking in eagerness to be with me.

And I tread the path slowly, step by weary step. I too am eager, perhaps, a little more impatient than she is. The path is beautiful and cannot be hurried. A thousand feet have trod these steps before me, and yet it is all my own.

The path is fascinating – a varied mix of light and dark: the warmth of the sun and the cool of the shade. But the beach of drenched in sunlight and the sea is refreshing in a way that the shade cannot be. She waits, and soon I will join her.

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