Outside as Inside

“the rarest chords in the soul’s harmonics/ Are found in the minor strains of life.”

-E. Wheeler Wilcox,”Life’s Harmonies”

It started out as a happy song, but I loved the sound of the haunting minor chords too much. Keys tapped out A-minor, and soon there were tears in my eyes.  It’s difficult enough dealing with sexism as it is. It’s much more difficult dealing with it at home, coming from those you love. I traced the cracks on the wall, first gently, then savaging my fingers against the rough edges until they were numb. Outside, the sky was as gray as I was. The open door beckoned, a portal. The edges of my mouth turned up as I flew.

photo by sulaco229 at rgbstock.com

prompt provided by : http://lightandshadechallenge.blogspot.in/

Teacups and Time

As I whirled, colors flew. White, grey, black, so many shades I lost count. Laughing with exhilaration, I hooked falling teacups with my finger, caught them on my elbow, hooped them to a standstill with my tongue, and juggled them with my elbows before tossing them perfectly to the counter where they stacked up, seemingly of their own accord. It was beautiful. There was always time to do what you wanted here. You could be free, as I was. No one to tell you no, no one to steer you by the arm the wrong way. Always the wrong way.

The last time I’d seen him,we’d stood side by side, not touching; looking down on the rapids. It was dark, of course, to make sure we could lie with impunity; when I told him I loved him; probably when he told me he loved me. But we said it just the same. For the elusive security of security. And it worked – that is to say, it did what I wanted it to do. The clock struck the twelve of midnight terrors, but also of the new day. I didn’t know which one was more frightening. Just as we left, I took one last photograph of him, without him seeing. It captured him perfectly, the way I always saw him.

I saw him next the day I first caught teacups. He smiled at me. He smiled at me as I shined the teacups furiously, whispering, “Shining isn’t an art, it’s artifice.” After that day, I stopped cleaning them, I just caught them as they fell. I never catch all of them though. I leave some of them on purpose so he has to come again. I like this. I like this very much. I like him very much. Always did. And now he’ll always be here when I want him.

Picture by Ayla87 on rgbstock.com

I stood on the bridge at midnight as the clocks were striking the hour 

– Longfellow


Light and Shade Challenge 🙂

 

 

After the Tower Scene

Light and Shade Challenge again, yay! This time’s quote is:

She tells enough white lies to ice a wedding cake – Margot Asquith

I had a little fun with this one to make up for last time’s seriousness. Just a little peek into the Capulet balcony after the famous tower scene.


 

“Who’re you talking to, Juliet?”

“No one, Nurse, I was just…reciting poetry.”

“At this late hour?”

“Just practicing for recitation.”

“Recitation? For whom?”

“The, erm, my mother. She wanted to hear me recite.”

“When?”

“…Friday.”

“Mhm. Lovely night, isn’t it? I think I’ll join you for a bit of air.”

“No!”

“No?”

“Yes, I mean, I’d love to have you join me, but there’s a cobweb here. I know you hate spiders. Plus, I think I’m coming down with something….ugh ugh….see? No, wait, don’t – !”

“Hmm, I could’ve sworn…”

“See? Nothing.”

“Hmph. Get inside. And lock up behind you.”

Travel Plans

So this is my first Light and Shade challenge, brought to you by two very enterprising Trifectans, The basic idea is to take the picture and quote provided, and do an entry in under 500 words. The prompts are included below. Here goes!

 

A dream has power to poison sleep 

– Mutability, Percy Bysshe Shelley

 

I paused and turned my head surreptitiously over my shoulder to check whether anyone was following me. Satisfied, I let out my breath before rushing towards the edge of the woods, just behind the outhouse.

He was waiting for me, forehead wrinkled just between his eyebrows, sweat pooling in the little crevice just above his goatee – just as I remembered him. I rushed into his arms. Smiling, he led me over to the old wooden picnic bench.

“How’s Amsterdam?” Gary asked as soon as I’d sat down, his smile touching his eyes. “It’s been so long; I’ve missed you.”

“Amsterdam’s great,” I enthused. “Work’s picking up too. ‘Soon as I put enough by, I booked tickets for home. It feels like forever since I’ve seen my parents and my little sister. And you. How’ve you been?”

“Eh, same as always,” he replied nonchalantly. “How long are you home? No one told me you were coming.”

I grinned despite myself. “I kinda wanted it to be a surprise.”

“Well it worked,” he grinned back. “Hey, listen, I just…,” Gary began. I looked up at him and saw his anxious expression before he continued, “I just wanted to know if you and me….if we’re still…you know…” his voice trailed off, unsure.

“Of course!” I exclaimed. “Why would you -”

“You’re still hiding it from your dad and all – I mean, I can appreciate how hard this is for you, but, it’s been awhile. I need to know we’re on the same page.”

“We are,” I said resolutely. “Tomorrow. I’ll talk to him tomorrow. Him and my mom too.”

“Baby, that’s so great to hear. I was afraid…,” he stopped midsentence, his face solemn. Kneeling down, he took my hands in his and said, “Baby, I love you so much. More than anyone in the world. I want to love you all my life,” he paused, opening a little velvet box. My heart was a million butterflies. “Alexander Murphy, will you marry me?”

My heart leapt into my throat full-force. I’d face my family later. I loved him. “Yes,” I whispered. “Yes, I will.” My eyes welled up.

“No, baby, don’t cry, we’re together now,” he started, but before he could go any further, my lips were on his, and we were kissing passionately, endlessly. And then I heard the gunshot.

I could feel Gary’s hands loosening their hold on mine, yet I couldn’t understand, wouldn’t understand. I spun, stumbling, as if in slow motion and saw my father holding his rifle, eyes filled with something I couldn’t fathom. Minutes later, I felt my father’s fingers prising apart my own and leading me back inside. Half-walking, half-stumbling behind him, I slid a little gold band onto my ring finger.


 

Gasping for breath, I woke up to find myself tangled in sheets, tears streaming from my eyes, the silhouette of a kiss imprinted behind my eyelids.

“Hello, this is Alexander Murphy.  Yes. I would like to cancel my flight tickets. Flight number…”

Shadow of love: Sadow of a couple kissing

Passing the Torch

It’s unbelievable. I hadn’t written for Trifecta for a while, so it came as a huge shock to me that this is our last post together. I found this site almost a year back when I first started blogging, and, honestly, this is the only thing that has kept me writing. So thank you, Trifecta Community; and to the wonderful bunch of people who ran this site for so long and so well, and with such wonderful morale-boosting, friendly comments, thank you so, so, SO much. It means more to me than you will ever know, and I’m sure I echo a lot of people’s sentiments in saying that. Goodbye, Trifecta. It was beautiful while it lasted. You will be sorely missed.

For the final challenge here at Trifecta, we considered some flash and dazzle, a wild prompt to send us off with a bang.  What we realized was the most achingly beautiful, haunting and dazzling words we’ve read from our brilliant community have been the ones you chose when you were given the freedom to write with abandon.  So we’re lovingly, and eagerly, placing the choice in your hands.  There’s no topic, no word, just a free write. Go anywhere your mind wants to travel.  Take us there too.  Just make it count, leave your blood all over this page.  Thirty-three words exactly.  Of course.  We couldn’t end it any other way.

Blood? I’ll give you blood.

Rain soothes your spirit; I rage.

More so that rainbows shine only for you.

But, carried away, you believe –

You search for the pot of gold.

And I laugh.

Cruelly.

Your turn now.

Reflections and Revolutions

Trifecta‘s latest:

WORM (transitive verb)

1a :  to proceed or make (one’s way) insidiously or deviously<worm their way into positions of power     — Bill Franzen>

:  to insinuate or introduce (oneself) by devious or subtle means
:  to cause to move or proceed in or as if in the manner of a worm

:  to wind rope or yarn spirally round and between the strands of (a cable or rope) before serving

“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s – “

“Not all of us are showoffs, you know. Nor you queens. Sheesh.”

“I bought you to reflect, not deflect; I’ll worm it outta you soon enough.”

Misunderstood

“You feel like home,” I smiled, head on his chest. “Like my bed after a party or a long vacation.”

“So basically, you have fun elsewhere, and come to me when you’re done?”

That wasn’t what I meant.

Trifecta’s prompt for the week:

Plenty of times over the past two and a half years, we’ve given you the beginning of a story and asked for you to complete it.  This time, we are giving you the end, and we are asking you to start it for us.  We want 33 words in addition to and preceding the following:

That wasn’t what I meant.

 

Held by Cement

Trifextra: Week 102

This week we’re asking for exactly 33 of your own words about love gone wrong.  But we’re asking that you not use any of the following words:

love
sad
tears
wept
heart
pain

 

I made you known; you helped me grow

We gave new hope; gave off a glow

Of shy beauty, resilience;

We attracted life and lens

Until, dear Wall, you crumbled

And I tumbled.

-Sunflower

The Conversation We May Never Have

Trifecta’s challenge for the week:

MANIPULATE (transitive verb)

1: to treat or operate with or as if with the hands or by mechanical means especially in a skillful manner
2a : to manage or utilize skillfully
b : to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one’s own advantage
3: to change by artful or unfair means so as to serve one’s purpose : to doctor
 
 

You lied when you signed it.

You had no intention of keeping your promises.

I went back, though.

Checked for a loophole.

There was none.

It wasn’t the words of the document you tried to manipulate –

It was the truth.

(And it worked.)

I loved you, you know. In my own way.

Sure you weren’t the wittiest kid on the block

And sure you weren’t the fullest of life.

But you were my friend.

Smiling,

Loyal,

Good.

Until you screwed everything up.

I lost more than what you took from me that day, you know.

I lost you too.

And you meant more to me than I will ever admit to myself.

Ever.

Because it’s easier to pretend that we never really hit it off

Than to admit that I liked having you around so much that it never seemed to matter.

But what’s done is done.

And all this…

Well, it’s my fault too

Because I have a hard time letting things go

And an ever harder time letting people go.

Sometimes when you smile at me in the street,

I am enraged by your audacity

But, more recently,

I just want to give in and hold you tight

And have you hold me tight.

But something tells me

(Or maybe someone did)

That that’s not healthy.

But I will say here,

In the privacy of a worldwide audience

Where you may never find me,

Where I don’t have to look into your eyes as I rage

And storm

And blame you

And then break down midsentence

Because of a rising sob threatening to choke me,

Here,

I will say this:

I loved you.

I would’ve protected you for the rest of my life

If you had only kept the one promise I needed from you,

The only promise you ever made me:

To keep us all together.

 

One More Chapter

Trifextra: Week 101

OR

 

~

Just one more chapter,

Just one last look;

I’ll concentrate harder,

Forget what this took:

A childhood of isolation,

Adolescence in pain,

Young adulthood in abstinence,

Can’t let it have been in vain.

~

*N.B: My inspiration: Studying for entrance exams as a student.

Photo credit: Thomas Leuthard / Foter.com / CC BY