Thursday, March 17, 2011

DWP: ending prompt

"...from dust thou cometh, to dust thou returneth..." the priest sprinkled the casket with the holy water, muttered a prayer in Latin, then made the sign of the cross.

It signaled the end of the rite and as the few people shook each other's hands and parted, Deanna remained standing at the foot of the casket.

"Deanna, come, please." Harvey Brownstein tenderly nudged his niece by the elbow. When Deanna didn't move, he placed his arm around her shoulders and pulled her towards him. She started to cry.

"I feel so alone," she said. "I lost the woman who wasn't really my mother, I have never known my real mother, I found my real father but I lost my husband." She balled her hands into fists and wedged them between herself and Harvey and continued to cry.

"Deanna, I am here. We are family." His palm rubbed the top of her shoulders but his grief was also undeniable.

It seemed that when Ruth died three years ago, the proverbial can of worms opened and revealed all the nasty secrets of a family that was a lie from the very beginning.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

DWP: silence prompt

not a word nor sound
my most powerful weapon
i'm gonna break you.


sit by the fountain
and hear the sound of quiet:
the trickling water.

Friday, March 11, 2011

DWP: disaster prompt

Chelsea sits on the bed beside her sleeping daughter, listening for the sound of disaster that she was told will be coming anytime now. In the eerie silence of the suddenly cold evening, she waits to hear that sound and she is determined to protect her child at any cost, even if she has to fight the will of God to keep her alive.

Two thousand miles away, the sound of disaster still rings in Kasuko's ears, the eerie humming sound that accompanied the earthquake which shattered everything in her home, including the crystal frame of her son's photograph she now holds in her hand. They have found his ravaged body, swept by the mighty waters and pinned down between large debris still clutching the body of a little child he had attempted to save.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

DWP: random book prompt

Time Traveler by Dr. Ronald Mallett with Bruce Henderson

Time stopped for me in the middle of the night on May 22, 1955. Mama had given birth to Jackson and even as the umbilical cord was being severed, Papa celebrated with my uncles with Cuban cigars and Cianti wine that he had been hoarding during the last few months. Auntie Elizabeth and Auntie Rebecca, Mama’s older sisters, were ecstatic, running back and forth invariably holding a basin of hot water or a large stack of thick towels.

"It's a boy! It's a boy!"

I heard the faint sound of a baby’s cry, which sounded like a hungry kitten’s, and I briefly saw Jackson’s head, his face all red and gooey. Mrs. Hammill, our neighbour the midwife, saw me and promptly shoved me outside of Mama’s room before closing the door shut. I stood just outside the door and waited for one of my aunts to take me to Mama. I can hear Papa and my uncles talking and laughing loudly, the smell of tobacco smoke permeating the air inside the house.

After a long time, the door to Mama’s room opened and Auntie Rebecca poked her head out and called my Papa.

"Daniel! You can come in now."

I tugged at Auntie Rebecca’s skirt but without even looking at me, she unclasped my fingers from the fabric of her skirt and went back inside Mama’s room. In haste, Papa bumped and stepped on my foot but barely looked at me despite the loud shriek I made. When the door closed, I was left again outside, alone, cold and confused.

"Jackson was the most beautiful baby. Mama had the easiest birth," Mrs. Hammill said so. Jackson was a quiet baby. Jackson has a big head which means he will be a smart boy when he grows up. Jackson this and Jackson that. It seemed that I had died and my spirit was left floating. Nobody seemed to notice me, nobody seemed to care about me anymore. Suddenly I became invisible. Suddenly nobody seemed to love me.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

DWP: fear prompt

the four-letter word
that no one dares admit to
but the face shows it.


a stray snake slithers
bunks inside my living room
this is my great fear.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

DWP: the restaurant

the restaurant

After a frustrating afternoon looking for a decent restaurant that's open, we arrive at the "Lick-a-chick". Despite its name, the place looks clean and they have a patio that overlooks the Bay of Fundy. We had to go down quite a few steps to get to the restaurant. There is a sign just outside its doors that says "Home-made Blueberry Pie - to die for!"

Waiter: Sorry, we're not open.

Us: But the doors are open.

Waiter: We don't close. But we're not open right now. Chef is still baking. We open in a little while.

Us: Can we stick around?

Waiter: (shrugs shoulders and waves hand as if to say, "suit yourself"

Us: Is the blueberry pie really good?

Waiter: Oh, yeah! freshly baked. It's the chef's specialty.

Presently, we are startled by a loud scream, a loud thud and the sound of heavy things falling down on the concrete steps. We stand up to look. And there it is: a woman, wearing chef's hat and uniform, down on the ground, screaming and swearing profanities, and scattered all over the steps, are about twenty boxes of frozen President's Choice Blueberry Pie.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

DWP: the originals

He pulled her towards him, grabbing her waist with both hands, and gently sat her down on his lap. Her eyes darted about the large living room, the stereo in one corner and a large mural, his own handiwork, on a wall. He felt her unease and whispered in her ear, "It's okay, you're not hurting me this way. It's okay." and that made her relax. She rested her cheek on his forehead and closed her eyes. She imagined them dancing and unconsciously she made a humming sound.

"Hmmmm..." Alessandro said. "Yes, I think I would like us to dance."

He pressed a button on the right hand pad of his wheelchair and the living room lights became the soft glow of a hundred candlelights. He placed her arm around his shoulders while his one hand held the small of her back.

"We want music, right?" he asked and she nodded.

Alessandro pressed another button and the stereo made a small hissing sound before it clicked to the soft sound of bells, the intro to "Baby I"m for Real" by The Originals .

Portia sat still not wanting for the moment to end, but she knew, he would be gone soon.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

DWP: beauty

you see the surface
not the intrinsic value
at times we're shallow


i see beauty in
the aftermath of snowstorm
to you it's nuisance

Veronica's story: Jealous

Exam week, especially on its last day, was one of the best days in high school. Some students had hurriedly finished their exams because they planned to go to the park with their friends, or see a movie, or just stay out of school grounds with their friends.

Veronica mostly stayed around the school after helping out her teachers mark the other classes' papers. She had seen Jason earlier practicing with his team mates. She had watched him from the library window and hoped he didn't see her. She felt regret that nothing has come out of his invitation to see his game. He was painfully shy and she was awkward at taking the first step.

This afternoon, Veronica was in front of the canteen, in her school uniform, together with her friend Cynthia, the one who always spoke to Jason, the one who would talk to him like they knew each other forever. Veronica would just stay a few feet back, and even when he spoke to her, she would smile and Cynthia would reply. Today, the two girls were talking to a young boy, a well-dressed mestizo whose body language made it known that he was interested in Veronica. Veronica looked around as she spoke to him, and from the corner of her eyes, saw Jason looking down at them from the third floor hallway. She turned away so that all he could see of her was her back.

He watched them talking animatedly, sometimes bursting out laughing. It was obvious the boy adored Veronica. And Veronica seemed to enjoy the attention. He wondered who this boy was; he wanted to know. Cynthia's gaze found Jason and waved at him, which made the boy look up, too, and for a long while he thought they were looking at each other’s eyes. The boy seemed to tell him: I'm talking to her, you're not. Jason didn't like that smug smile on his face. Veronica turned her head halfway but immediately turned her head back.

“Veronica!” someone called from the end of the second floor hallway. Veronica looked up and waved, briefly looking at the caller. Then she made a move that made Jason angry inside and he didn’t know why. Veronica cocked her head nearer the boy’s face, nodded her head softly then laughed out loud, throwing her head back, her long pony tail swaying as she laughed. The boy laughed, too, and they both turned around to look up at him and they continued laughing.

“Veronica!” Jason suddenly yelled, his voice echoing as he did so. “Veronica!” he yelled again when she didn’t look right away. He turned on his feet and ran down the stairs as fast as he could. He didn’t see that she had turned around to look up at him, her eyes searching for him as she heard his voice calling her name, but he had disappeared.

She looked surprised when she found Jason standing right next to her.

“Hi, Jason,” she said smiling, a happy smile he had not seen before. “This is Jesse Jurado..." she paused, unable to control her laughter. "It’s so funny,” she laughed again, one hand cupping her mouth, her eyes disappearing as she did. “He wants to play basketball, too, like you.”

She tapped Jesse’s shoulders and Jason must've felt a tinge of envy for he had a serious look in his face.

“I told him he can be a guard!” and Veronica burst out laughing louder, stomping her feet on the ground, clutching her stomach.

Jesse Jurado, although obviously embarrassed, joined in her laughter and Jason understood what she tried to say and what they were laughing about. The boy Jesse was only a few inches taller than Veronica and would not have even qualified to join the school's basketball team.

A teacher called Veronica and asked her to go see her at the faculty room. Jesse walked with Veronica and Jason and Cynthia were left talking in front of the canteen. His eyes followed them as they walked towards the faculty, their shoulders almost touching. He saw Jesse touch Veronica's elbow as he let her go inside the faculty door first. Veronica looked back at Jason and Cynthia before she entered the door.

The next day, Veronica was watching the goings-on in the quadrangle from the second-floor hallway. Jason pretended he was passing by. Veronica pretended she didn't see him right away even though she was very much aware of his presence. Jason stopped and leaned on the ledge about three feet away from her where she could no longer pretend and ignore him. She turned her head and shyly said "Hi".

"Where's your friend?" he asked, his voice barely audible.

"Cynthia? She's gone home," she replied.

"No, your boyfriend from yesterday."

"Oh, Jesse? I don't know." Then she turned her head to look at him, "he's not my boyfriend. I have no boyfriend." Looking at Jason's face, her voice quivered and she felt her face flushing so she quickly returned her gaze at the quadrangle below. She didn't want him to know how she felt for him. "I have no time for boyfriends."

Jason stood near her while Veronica's heart fluttered. She wished she had something to say to him so that he would talk and he would stay longer. Jason didn't know what to say either.

The painful awkwardness and shyness that both were trying to endure ended when a friend of Jason's appeared from nowhere. Jason followed the friend without saying anything more to Veronica.

That night, Veronica found herself writing his name on her notebook. Jason Alexander. Jason Alexander.