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.

 

Fear

Trifextra: Week Ninety

Katherine Paterson, author of Bridge to Terabithia, wrote, “It’s like the smarter you are, the more things can scare you.”  We are looking for a 33-word explanation of what scares you (or your character).

We sit together, my best friend and I, in comfortable silence.

Then she walks in, my other best friend; suddenly his jokes are only for her.

Et tu?

I know what comes next.

Solace

Monday, September 9, 2013

1
a (1) : a cover or partial cover for the face used for disguise(2) : a person wearing a mask : masker

b (1) : a figure of a head worn on the stage in antiquity to identify the character and project the voice (2) : a grotesque false face worn at carnivals or in rituals

: an often grotesque carved head or face used as an ornament (as on a keystone)

: a sculptured face or a copy of a face made by means of a mold

2
: something that serves to conceal or disguise : pretense,cloak <aware of the masks, facades and defenses people erect to protect themselves — Kenneth Keniston>

: something that conceals from view

: a translucent or opaque screen to cover part of the sensitive surface in taking or printing a photograph

: a pattern of opaque material used to shield selected areas of a surface (as of a semiconductor) in deposition or etching (as in producing an integrated circuit)

He cannot sit still

In his mind

He cannot sit;

Iron spikes of restlessness

Shoot spasms

From their bed, frustration.

Several ropes dangle

At the edge of his

Peripheral vision –

Escape a reach away.

But it’s night now.

Tomorrow.

His soul is an old couch;

His strained smile is the water

Drawn from his well.

 

The answer

To beaten circles

Of paralyzing frustration,

My dear,

Is catharsis.

Now, here is the secret:

This is your gift:

From the world

And to it.

 

He wants self-worth,

But in the arenas he lays down

As important.

His nearest instigate,

But place a load

He can’t bear –

Not with those shoes.

 

Run in those shoes,

Darling,

Until your feet fit them;

Until the sheer joy of running

Outweighs all else.

 

He wears a mask

As a virtual, facial, hardhat,

Used to shield from sticks and stones and words.

He thinks we like him

For the eyes his mask

Reveal.

He doesn’t realize that a mask only covers

The front of his face.

 

You are loved.

And empathized with.

And supported,

If you will just blink

In recognition.

Not everyone becomes something.

But those who give back

The gift they are given

Many times over

Are always gifted.

Without: Neruda’s Take and Mine

Daily Prompt: Life After Blogs

July 28, 2013

Your life without a computer: what does it look like?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us WITHOUT.

This might be cheating, but I want to share a piece by Pablo Neruda that encapsulates the soul of what i want to say almost perfectly:

“Don’t go far off, not even for a day,
because I don’t know how to say it – a day is long
and I will be waiting for you, as in
an empty station when the trains are
parked off somewhere else, asleep.

Don’t leave me, even for an hour, because then
the little drops of anguish will all run together,
the smoke that roams looking for a home will drift
into me, choking my lost heart.

Oh, may your silhouette never dissolve
on the beach, may your eyelids never flutter
into the empty distance. Don’t LEAVE me for
a second, my dearest, because in that moment you’ll
have gone so far I’ll wander mazily
over all the earth, asking, will you
come back? Will you leave me here, dying?”

― Pablo Neruda

Without rain,                                                                                                    For gifts.

Drought burns.                                                                                             But a value

Without food, a                                                                                      Leftovers, trials,

Gnawing in the pit                                                                             But self-awareness.

Of stomachs; hunger.                                                                      Agonizing alone time

Without sleep, headaches                                                         But better friends. Peace.

And, without love, depression.                                          Going without means old clothes

Rainy days go from meaning  coffee and classics, to empty bottles and scraps of old letters.

The Effects of Friendship

Daily Prompt: A Friend in Need

July 25, 2013

Finish this sentence: “My closest friend is…”

Photographers, artists, poets: show us FRIENDSHIP.

Pinky promises,

Unbroken

Constitute friendship.

Cliched phrases, like:

It’s not what you say

But what you no longer need to say

Define friendship.

An assured listener;

Someone to come home to,

Figuratively and literally,

If you’re lucky,

Is the promise of friendship.

Someone who judges you

And tells you why

And loves you anyway

Is the hallmark of great friendship.

A sudden connection –

A sudden realization

That this is what you’ve been waiting for:

That’s friendship.

A stream of insults

That only indicate

That you have the right to mock

Asserts friendship.

Knowing, hearing rumours,

Which ones are false

(And which ones are true)

Comes with friendship.

Listening to the same thing

Ten billion times

(Well, okay, not really)

And not cutting them short

– Well, not always at least –

Shows the strength of friendship.

Promising to be there forever

Because you can’t conceive of anything less,

Or maybe because you refuse to,

The “lie”ability of friendship.

Smiling on nearing them

When you’ve had the worst day

Is why we love friendship.

This is it

WRITE NOW PROMPT FOR JUNE 21, 2013

He took a step and heard a dull, crunching sound beneath his foot.

[http://todaysauthor.wordpress.com/2013/06/21/write-now-prompt-for-june-21-2013/]

Looking down, he nudged the offending dead mouse out of the way with his hiking boots. He couldn’t afford to be squeamish right now. He squeezed the tip of his boot further into the crevice in the rock, and continued sliding sideways, step by step by careful step. He needed to find the next handhold, and fast. The water rose beneath him, eddies swirling, waves of water dashing against the rock. All it would take was another couple of minutes before it swallowed him up whole.

Gulping, he kept shuffling along the ledge until he found a shelf he could latch onto. It was halfway between where he was now and the top of the cliff. He strained his arm to reach it. The tips of his first and second fingers just barely brushed it before slipping due to sweat. Now he was nervous. He looked down. Barely a minute left. The soles of his boots were wet now.

He stretched in earnest now, almost jumping in desperation. Latching on to the ledge, he pulled himself up, but only barely. From here on it was easier; grabbing ledge after ledge of rock, he hoisted himself upwards until he was almost out of danger. Alan’s head peeked out over the edge.

“Help me!” he called out frantically. “The water’s rising too fast; I won’t make it!” The waves were licking his knees now.

Alan looked down at him, motionless for a moment. Then something behind his eyes shifted, and he leaned over, extending a hand. “Grab my hand, Jared.”

Visibly relieved, Jared reached out and put his hands in Alan’s. “Okay, pull me up.”

No response.

“I said okay, pull me up!” Jared repeated, louder this time. The water had reached his waist, and was steadily rising, inch by inch.

“You should’ve listened to me when I told you to stay out of my business, Jared,” said Alan finally. “I’m sorry.” He loosened his grip, as Jared looked up in horror. “Alan, NO!”

But it was too late. Falling backwards, his feet lost their hold on the slippery rock. Scrambling to find his footing again, he came up to the surface, trying to keep afloat. Scrabbling at the wall of rock, trying to hold on, his mind blanked out in sheer panic. This is it.

Then he saw the rocks cascading down from the top of the cliff. He was too far gone to even hurl profanities anymore, or even to resist. This is it. He felt himself surrender to the water.

__________________________

He sucked in his breath, choking on the water.

“Thank God, you’re awake,” Alan heaved a sigh of relief placing the empty glass of water on the ground. “Hurry up, we’re leaving in fifteen minutes – the mountains await!” He grinned.

Jared heaved an enormous sigh of relief. “No, I think I’ll pass. You guys carry on.”

“Sure?” Alan asked, eyebrows furrowed. “Well, suit yourself. We’re going from around the lake, in case you decide you want to come.” He turned and headed for the door of the tent.

“Alright,” Jared said quietly. “Oh, and Alan?” Alan turned back questioningly.

“I’m sorry for getting you in trouble with the guys last night. I should’ve known where to draw a line.”

Alan smiled. “Hey, happens to the best of us. Now I gotta hurry up or I’ll be late. See you later!”

Jared waved at Alan as he ran out to join the others. He walked up to his mirror and looked at his face, ashen from his nightmare. This is it. He ran over to the entrance to pull on his hiking boots.

Red and Gold

Your Daily Theme 

for June 20
 
Opening Line
I snatched the mask from his face. “You?! It was you all along?!”
 
Use this line as inspiration for a short story or poem.
He smiled and took my hands in his. “Of course. I wondered how long it would take you to recognize me.”

“But…,” I spluttered. “This doesn’t make sense – we’re from different universes.”

“So?” Still that serene smile, constant as ever.

“How are you here?” I asked softly, looking up at his worn face.

“You needed me.”

I swallowed. “Will you…can you stay?”

“As long as you need me,” he said. “I’ll stay as long as you remember me.”

“That, I will.” I gingerly touched his scar. “Always.”

I woke up to the brilliant red and gold sunrise. Thank you.

Link to my piece on Figment:

http://figment.com/books/659901-Red-and-Gold

 

The Pebble

Daily Prompt: Weaving the Threads

Draft a post with three parts, each unrelated to the other, but create a common thread between them by including the same item — an object, a symbol, a place — in each part.

He couldn’t take it anymore; he had gotten through depression because of her and had stopped cutting because of her. He was a new man because of her. And she’d said no. How could she? She’d told him he was an amazing person, and that anyone would die to be with him, and he’d believed her; believed her thinking she was indirectly saying something to him. Well, it turned out all women were the same. Actually, all people were the same. They kept the good ones around, the funny ones around, and the ones that made them smile, but always as a friend. Nothing more. The perfect ones, on the other hand….they didn’t even have to bat an eyelid or say a kind word to be thought perfect romance material. What did she see in him anyway? Neal reached his favorite pond-side spot beneath the willow and kicked a smooth, round pebble into the pond, and stared at the ripples until they faded out.

x

The pebble hit his head with a thonk. Sammy, annoyed, flicked the tail of the tadpole closest him. “Ow, that hurt!”

Doubled over with laughter, Rick yelled back over his shoulder, “Wasn’t me, mate!” He shook his head, grinning, and swam ahead, joining the others in their race to Algae Cave.

Sammy scowled, falling to the back of the race. He jetted down to the bottom of the pond to get a closer look at the culprit.

The pebble was smooth, round, and whiter than any rock he’d ever seen – even whiter than the one Marty had shown them in show-and-tell last week, calling it the whitest rock around. Well, he’d show Marty.

Just them, he thought he heard a faint whisper. He looked around, but didn’t see anyone there. He frowned and checked once more; still no one. Just as Sammy gave up and turned to leave, he heard the same whisper, only louder – it was coming from the direction of the rock. He swam back to the rock and circled it. On the other side, half buried under the rock, was Katy, the cute goldfish from school.

“Katy!” he exclaimed, and ran to tug her out.

“It’s no use Sammy,” she sighed, tears in her eyes. “It won’t budge.”

“Well, I’ll make it,” retorted Sammy, setting his jaw in determination. After a few fruitless tugs, he looked around for something, anything to use.

“Don’t leave me here!” Katy pleaded.

“I’ll be right back,” Sammy promised, and swam back, true to his word, with a bit of bark he’d found buried in the mud. Using it as a lever, he put all his weight on it and, inch by inch, lifted the rock up enough for Katy to struggle her way free. Sammy shrugged. I guess Pond Physics 101 really wasn’t a waste of time.

x

“Oops, sorry Ver,” Mark muttered, as Veronica’s favorite bracelet went flying through the air into the pond they’d been picnicking by.

Veronica’s eyes widened in shock as her favorite bracelet sank to the bottom of the pond. “Mark! How could you?” she cried, running to the edge of the pond and kneeling, desperately trying to peer inside and find the bracelet. “Go get it!”

“C’mon, you know I don’t like water,” Mark said coolly. “It was just a bracelet anyway. Didn’t whatsisname, your friend, give it to you? I’ll buy you another one; now come on.” He turned to leave. “I’m gonna go start the car.”

Veronica’s eyes blurred with tears, remembering the day she’d recieved the bracelet. “…not for anything, really. It’s just….it’s been a year since I met you, and I’m who I am now thanks to you, so….I wanted you to have this,” he’d said, smiling at her with that smile only he had that lighted up his eyes. She turned her eyes to the pool, but held back. She couldn’t swim, never had been able to. She looked back to the pool, it seemed leagues deep and really scary; who knew what lived inside? But her mind conjured up an image of him giving her the bracelet again, and she knew she couldn’t turn away.

Taking a deep breath, she plunged in. Fighting for breath, she searched the muck for her bracelet. Her lungs were constricting now and she prayed for help. Just then, her fingers bumped against something hard. Out of breath, Veronica grabbed the fistful of muck around it and came up, struggling for breath. Breaking the surface, she bobbed with the water and opened her fist. She saw a pebble in her hand and almost cried in frustration. Then she saw the bracelet, somehow twined around the pebble; the pebble had kept the bracelet anchored. Just like Neal always kept me anchored. She climbed out of the water and headed for the car. She had an announcement to make.

In response to:

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/daily-prompt-weaving/

Perfect Weather

Your Daily Theme for May 24, 2013

 
Photo prompt: Write a poem or story inspired by the scenario in this image.
 

Ice-cold, crisp weather,

Perfect  weather

For the mood I am in.

Looking at the four lines etched out behind me

And the past few feet, just one;

The white expanse ahead of me

suddenly longer.

The milestones suddenly seem insignificant;

A jumble of numbers and words

In a different tongue,

In a different time.

The safety of the fence just behind me –

I can turn back still,

Except I can’t.

I wonder if they will

Keep a light burning for me

As long as they will for each other.

Ice-cold, crisp weather,

Perfect  weather

For the mood I am in.

 

Link to my poem on Figment:

http://figment.com/books/644705-Perfect-Weather