Looking out through the window, I felt a desire to go out into the sun and admire the life that teemed in our garden. Time, however, was of the essence. I had chopped, boiled, stirred, sieved and blended the ingredients to form the perfect paste. The aroma had seeped into every space in the room, causing a heady sensation on the edge of my brain. The batch was almost ready and my contact would collect the jars within three hours. Soon my sought after product would be found on the streets of the city. Everyone wished to extend their life.
We had made it! I gazed around, breathless at the beauty that surrounded me. The architecture was magnificent and unlike anything I had seen before. The crowd’s murmurings echoed off the high ceilings; the light pulsed brightly from the white marbled walls. I thought back to the grey concrete walls of the place I grew up; and the musty, stifling scent that had invaded my pores. Here the scent was fresh with open spaces that promised freedom. But soon it would no longer exist. We began the work we had signed up for: rendering these extravagant spaces into a memory.
What do you feel when entering an impressive building?
Molly needed a life-saving operation and, after forty years, it was the moment to cash in the insurance he had buried a life-time ago. The sun warmed his back as he heard the thud of the shovel against the crate hidden in the depths of his garden. Lifting the box, he carried it quickly into the modest house. Curtains drawn against the harsh sunlight, he lifted the contents with reverence. Sasha was still alive and would pay handsomely to have his family secrets returned. And himself? He would risk his life to ensure that Molly lived more than seven years.
The sun gently warmed the garden furniture as I readied the garden for our influx of guests. I enjoy this time of year: the beginning of spring always brings with it hope and a sense of joy. Today my joy was overflowing – I would see all my siblings and their entourage. Already I could hear the women’s murmurings, the men’s political debates, and the children’s noise at play. Food will be abundant and chatter will flow. Memories will be revisited and hopes whispered. Laughter will thread through the day. And, for a moment, we will pause and remember our matriarch.
Do you have positive memories of family gatherings? I do, and it is one of the things I miss living so far away from my siblings.
The tripod stood abandoned on the side of the road; the darkness surrounding it fleeing as the car headlights swept over the gritty road. The panic inside of the car was palpable. It had been hours since Vicky had last been seen. She wasn’t answering her cell phone, and her car had been found abandoned at the last crossroads.
“Don’t touch her camera! It may tell the police something.”
A mother’s keening cry touches the very soul of a person. Her helplessness and despair haunts memories over the years. A mother should never outlive her child.
Maybe I am reading and watching too many murder stories, but this photo this week for Friday Fictioneers steered my mind towards the dark echoed in the photo.
She arrived before the snowfall. Entering the cinnamon-scented hallway, it felt good to be home. Her brothers’ cries as they poleaxed her brought a huge grin to her face; mom’s bear hug and dad’s slight nod a sense of peace. She breathed in the sense of belonging, secure in the knowledge that she would heal here. Her manipulative ex had keep her away from her anchors, from those who loved her unconditionally. Now she would begin once again. Step by step. Day by day. The journey would be difficult but, with her family’s support, she would survive.
The excitement of the small group on the ferry was palpable. Finally they had arrived! Not only would they experience island life, but would also explore their family’s roots. The hotel manager did not share their excitement. He knew why their grandparents had left – and the islanders did not welcome the family’s return. Their arrival would open old wounds and stir up the embers of hatred. Standing on the dock, he had a choice to make: treat them as any other group of tourists; or begin to pay them back for the crimes committed against his family.
The Homestead was eerily silent. It looked like the workers had gone for a coffee break, and yet not a sound could be heard. The mugs in the kitchen were still warm. “I do not like this Caleb,” I whispered. In response, Caleb growled low in his throat. Breathing quickly, I moved quietly through the living room. I saw no-one. Heard no-one. I had the sudden urge to leave. Quickly! Grabbing the the keys off the mantle, I ran for the truck. I had a bad feeling about this and needed to warn the townspeople. The Reaper had returned.
As I drove past the aging building, memories swirled in my head. My childhood memories of maman were bittersweet. Poverty is a hard master and one that overwhelmed my mother. She should have been born in a genteel environment, and loved unconditionally by her man. Instead she toiled night and day within crumbling walls for a drunkard who barely made ends meet. Even I, who did love her unconditionally, left her to die in squalor when I took flight. My regret is that I came back too late. Too late to give her comfort and the joy that she deserved. Too late to give her life.
Needles clicked and hooks moved rhythmically for months. Sons and daughters shopped at local yarn retail stores to provide fodder for the seemingly endless use of aluminium tools. The women’s industry occurred during daytime television and informal chats. Needles and hooks, however, were set aside on Thursday night – bingo was sacrosanct and no-one wanted to miss out on winning a prize. By the time the cold breezes whistled through the trees, the handmade offerings lined the windowsill. A group had been nominated to take the hats and toques to a nearby homeless shelter. A perfect gift for the festive season.
This festive season I am grateful for the warm clothing and home that I have unlike many of those who are homeless.