Showing posts with label Friday Reflections. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Friday Reflections. Show all posts

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Kiss And Tell: The Decision


Hello again, gorgeous people! I'm back with a quick and dirty* bit of flash fiction for Friday Reflections using the prompt: Kiss And Tell. 

Drum roll please...

Here it is:

 KISS AND TELL: THE DECISION 






Rochelle's fingers hovered over the keyboard. Her shoulders were rigid with tension and repressed fury. Should she tell her? She wouldn't usually kiss and tell. But this wasn't a usual situation. Not for her anyway. The woman's serene features gazed at her from her Facebook profile. With the tap of her fingers Rochelle could change everything. All she had to do was tell her the truth about her husband. Rochelle was still reeling from the revelation that Nathan was married. Why should he get away with it? Her decision was made. Her fingers flew across the keyboard. It was done. She had the feeling she couldn't tell Nathan's wife anything she didn't know already. But she was done with online dating. She'd deleted her Tinder profile. 


THE END

 *Okay, not so much dirty, but very quick.   


What do you think?

What you kiss and tell in this situation?                                        
    
Image credit: https://www.pexels.com/

Monday, 4 December 2017

Eccentric


Hello again! It's me, the one and only Ness behind this here Nessville thingymajig. 

Well, what can I tell you?  

I'm chiming in at the last minute for Friday Reflections. The prompt was: Eccentric.

And I'm pretty sure I am. Eccentric, that is. 

Also; boring. Boringly eccentric. Or eccentrically boring. Or something. 

Here's why: 


I write a pointless blog about myself that no one reads. Meh,  I prefer to think of it as inventing my own little world. Whatever. 

I decided to shave my hair off and keep it in a 'silver pixie' style right after having it grow back after chemo all curly and Leo Sayer like, and then it finally looked normal and I did that. The silver pixie thing. 



Me with my pixie hair and a toblerone cocktail. 


I can't seem to form sentences (see above), but that doesn't stop me from pretending I'm a writer/blogger.

I went on a road trip and one of the most exciting things I did while away was hit the op shops because I'm wild and crazy like that. WHOOOOOOO! 

I have eccentric offspring. May as well pass on the weirdness. Related: When we were away Mr 9 desperately wanted a skull ring and a pink flamingo money box. That's my boy.

I don't really talk.

I wear granny clothes, to go with my silver pixie.

My current fixations are true crime and Jane Austen novels.

I like to leave my tea bags IN. Might as well live dangerously. 

Most things that delight others bore the bejesus out of me. I'm thinking sport here. And vice versa. The things that delight me bore everyone else. I'm thinking Carpenters music here. 

I keep a 'bullet journal' that is, in fact, more like a bullshit journal. 

I have tonnes of paper and notebooks about the place, but they don't even have to be all pretty and special. I can't even throw the boys old school books out if they have spare/blank pages left in them. But at the same time, I'm bewildered about the endless plethora of 'printables' available on blogs and what the point of them is. I dunno. I'm weird. 

I get about feeling decidedly strange and yet never speak of it. Strange, as in this weird dizzy, spacey, shifting feeling in my head thing that's hard to explain, hence my never doing so. Sigh. 

I get jealous when I see people on social media out and about enjoying life. But it's not typical jealousy in the same way someone else might be jealous. It's jealously of other people's apparent lack of anxiety (and dizziness and anxiety about dizziness...). This is something that permeates every single thing that I do almost every day, so I crack the sads now and again and do that poor little me sooky la la thing. 

But at the same time, I can take pleasure in simple things. I don't necessarily need to be out and about and on the go all the time. Just last Saturday night I was sitting in my living room with all my mismatched, secondhand furniture, feeling quite contented with my Christmas trees twinkling at me, my cuppa tea, and my hard cover Jane Austen three-in-one I bought for two bucks fifty at the Sal's (op shop). Pride & Prejudice/Mansfield Park/Persuasion for any Austenphiles playing along. 





Yeah, so that's me. Eccentric. 

And just to continue the eccentricity I am also linking this up for Life This Week and Open Slather because I won't get around to writing something else because I have to have a blood test in the morning and go shopping and it's nearly Christmas and I'm rambling and I seem to have forgotten what punctuation is and.... 

That's enough from me. 

What about you?

What makes you eccentric? 


Friday, 10 November 2017

Spaghetti And Meatballs: The Sequel



Greetings Earthlings,

Another Friday has rolled around. They tend to do this. Predictably, right after Thursday and just before Saturday. Funny about that.


 Anyway, this means it's time to join in, yet again, with the fun that is called,  Friday Reflections. 

You may recall that I wrote a sweet little story last week, and ended with a teaser for a part two. Well, here is that promised finale. If you don't recall, you can read Part One here. 

I've also cleverly managed to weave in this week's prompt, which is: Heart's Content. Yep, I'm a genius. Or something.

Here is Part Two: 




SPAGHETTI AND MEATBALLS: THE SEQUEL







Have you ever had one of those weekends? You know the kind. You're really looking forward to it. You have it all planned. And what you're planning is, a whole lotta NOTHING. Yes, you can plan to do nothing. In fact, I take great pride in doing so.

Then, absolutely everything goes pear shaped. It's ridiculous. Until you realise, you actually quite like pears. Pears can be delicious. Look, I'm going somewhere with the pear analogy, stay with me.

First, my car was ruined. Then I was locked out of the house. In a robe. In the rain.

Which led to me eating spaghetti and meatballs with a handsome stranger. 

Mr Strong and Silent Enigmatic turned out to be surprisingly easy to chat with. I found myself loosening up. I was witty, charming and self-deprecating. He laughed in the right places, was courteous, kind and interesting. Oh, and he was also single, I discovered.

And then I ruined it. Evidently, I was much more exhausted from my hectic week than I'd realised. Next thing you know, after only one glass of wine, I was snoring on the couch. Classy. I was having a dream about an Italian dude with smouldering eyes. He was leaning in towards me and...

"Carolyn!" That accent.

 I was jolted awake to see those very eyes.

"Your sister is here with your spare key."

Oh, SHIT!

I stumbled outside, still half-asleep. There was Diana waving the key. Dressed head to toe as a dominatrix.

"You know what your problem is, sis? You need to get out more. Get a life. Make friends. Go on dates. HAVE SEX!"

Marco seemed to have adopted a permanently bemused expression. He hovered behind us, watching the exchange. I snatched the key.

"Couldn't you have changed?" I hissed.

"No." She smiled, completely unfazed. "But YOU definitely should. What in the living hell are you wearing?"

"It's a long story... I..."

But Diana was bored already. Vanilla and dull were so not her style. That was clear. To the entire neighbourhood.

"OK, gotta go!" She interrupted me." Can't stay and chat. I have someone waiting to whipped." She clattered to the driver's side of her car, adding in a stage whisper "By the way, he's HAWT. Go for it!"

I stood there flushed and flummoxed as she drove away.

"Your sister is... very interesting." Marco observed.

I laughed a little uneasily, not sure what to say. Then I shrugged. To hell with it.

"Her job is certainly unconventional, but she has a good heart." I figured if my sister had no shame about her lifestyle, then neither should I. Though we had one pact. Our mother must NEVER KNOW.

Not for the first time, I was thankful she had moved to Queensland after our dad passed away. The endless phone calls, texts and emails about our single states were draining, but at least we had a buffer zone.

"Well, thanks for everything." Now that I had a key and an escape route I was curiously reluctant to leave. Especially having no idea when I'd see him again.

"No problem," he replied. There was a pause while I waited, for what I don't know. Did I really think he was going to ask me out? That he would be so taken with me he'd want to see me again.

Maybe Mum and Di were right after all, I did need to get out more.

"Okay, well seeya." I sighed.

He nodded politely and headed back inside as the rain began to patter again.

The next day, my car was towed away. I washed and dried Wendy's clothes and waited until a respectable hour. I had to return them. It wouldn't hurt to fix my hair for once. And what about some lipstick? I mean, I hardly ever wore it, but why not? And what should I wear?

Wait a minute, you're just returning some clothes. Get over yourself. In the end I settled on jeans and a nice top. But I fixed my hair. A girl has to have some standards. Okay, a middle aged woman. So sue me.

"Carolyn!" Wendy greeted me like a long lost friend. "Come in. Excuse the mess! Vince has taken the girls to the park for a bit now that it's stopped raining. Thank God! They were like caged animals. Sorry about your car! Coffee?"

All of this while she kept moving and bustling to the kitchen. I glanced around. The mess didn't seem to much more than a lot of toys on the living room floor. I remembered those days with my three quite vividly. I'd been a young mum. Consequently, I had a 20 year old daughter, and the boys were 16 and 15, being only 18 months apart.  I was glad those toddler years were over.

"I just came to return your clothes and say thank you." I was glancing around for other reasons.

"You're so welcome!" Wendy handed me a coffee. "I'm glad my brother-in-law was here. We thought about leaving the girls with my mother but she was unwell and Marco wanted to baby-sit, so it all worked out beautifully. Sit down!" she motioned to the couch that was littered with toys. "If you can find somewhere to sit!"

I shoved some things over and sat. I sipped my coffee. Clearly Marco wasn't here. I should have taken more notice of his car.  Wendy chatted while I imagined  an alternative world, where, instead of the pile of ironing awaiting me, Marco and I were alone, eating spaghetti and meatballs and drinking wine to our heart's content.

Just like a scene out of The Bachelor or Bacherlorette. I blame my daughter. She forced me to watch such vapid programmes. Oh okay, she didn't have to try too hard. We both watched and made droll remarks, as if we were regulars on Gogglebox. It was fun. Note to self: do something about that getting out more thing.

Meanwhile, back to my imaginings. Beach side setting. I would be wearing a gown. This was a fantasy, so I'd be at least five kilos lighter. No, make that ten. My legs would be shaved. My hair and make-up perfect. And as for Marco. He was already perfect. A sexy cross between George Clooney and Mark Ruffalo. He'd be looking suave in a suit. He would...

"Carolyn?"

"Huh?" I was jolted out of my daydream. 

"I was just asking what you do," Wendy said. "Marco was asking so many questions about you, it made me realise how little we know about each other even though we're right next door!"

He did? YESSS. 

"I'm an office manager for a small legal firm," I replied. My job was so boring compared to my sister. And I preferred it that way. I wondered if Marco had mentioned her. I sipped my coffee. I was bursting to ask about him, but I didn't want to appear too obvious. He'd asked about me! That had to be a good sign, right?

By the time I left, we were firm friends in real life as well as Facebook . Only a matter of time until I crossed paths with Marco again.  Maybe I should speed up the process by inviting them all over for a dinner party?

I decided this was a brilliant plan. Except for one small thing. I don't cook. Unless you call shoving things in the oven cooking.

So I called my amazing caterer friend Gavin, who agreed to do it for mates rates. He's a great friend, and the only reason we aren't anything more is because he is very gay. Also, according to Gavin I have embarrassing taste in clothes and music. And I'm too messy... And the list goes on. Fair enough. We could never live together, but I adored Gavin. 
.
I scheduled the dinner party for a weekend the kids weren't there. Wendy had her mum babysitting the twins. It was all systems GO. 

Gavin arrived.

"Hello. I've been dumped. I don't want to talk about it. Don't worry. I'll get cooking." he swooped through to the kitchen. Oh dear. This wasn't good. Gavin was usually the dumper, not the dumpee. 


 I left him bustling away and went upstairs to get ready. This was fun! Why didn't I do this more often? Probably something to do with the days of maniacal cleaning that were necessary beforehand. Note to self: price a cleaner. 

The wine was chilled, music on - 80s vintage, much to Gavin's disgust - and I was in a fabulous mood when the doorbell rang.

"I brought some wine," Wendy handed me a bottle. More wine. Yay!

The were loud curses from the kitchen. Everyone politely pretended we hadn't heard them. 


Wendy began gushing about my place as I led them through to the open plan kitchen slash dining slash family room. 

Gavin's chopping now appeared to be frenetic. Hesitantly I introduced him to everyone.

"How are you? I was dumped today. I'm fine." he deadpanned. "Dinner will be served in half an hour." His eyes flitted to Marco. He raised an eyebrow at me. 


The first course was finally served when the front door opened and slammed. McKenzie stomped in. 

"He dumped me!"

"You too!" Gavin said. "Men are bastards." 


"Darling!" What happened?" I jumped up. "Everyone, this is my daughter, McKenzie." 

 "Some bullshit about needing space." 

"Maybe it's for the best." It wasn't the time for me to admit I hadn't particularly liked her boyfriend. They'd probably make up, and then where would I be? 

"HA!" Gavin scoffed.

McKenzie burst into tears. "He's broken my heart! I'll never get over it." 


"Maybe we can talk about this later..." 

"FUCK!" Gavin bolted to the oven just in time. Our main course had narrowly escaped ruin. 

"I couldn't eat anything right now," blubbered McKenzie. "But I'll take some wine." She poured a generous glass. 

Marco and Vincent exchanged glances while I  stood there awkwardly. I had pictured a civilised and sophisticated dinner party. Trust my overly dramatic daughter to disrupt things.

Gavin served the main courses amid more lamenting over the general hopelessness of all men, straight or gay.

"Present company excepted, of course!"

The doorbell trilled. What next?

"Excuse me." I hurried down the hall.

"Surprise!"

"MUM!" I was stunned. What was she DOING here?

"You're always saying you'll visit and don't, so I thought I'd surprise you. Well, aren't you going to invite me in?"

I had a choice? I seriously considered slamming the door, but she bustled in and immediately began telling me how to live my life. 


"You've put on weight! What are you eating? Do you have guests? I heard what happened from your sister and I agree with her. Sweetheart, you just need to HAVE SEX!" The last two words reverberated around the room as an unexpected silence descended. 

"Nan!" McKenzie jumped up to hug her grandmother. "You really DO, Mum." she said. 

"Haha," I managed a weak laugh "enough about that."

I introduced my mother. Marco had that same bemused expression he seemed to adopt around me. When I caught his eye, I thought I saw his lips twitch. I needed more wine. Oh well, what could go wrong now? 


It was supposed to be a rhetorical question. But the doorbell rang. This was ridiculous!

"Diana!" Or should I say, Mistress Delphine. 


"I need your shower. Mine's bung. You owe me one!" 

"Okay, but before you go in there you should know..."

It was too late. She'd barged in, without waiting for a reply. OH. MY. GOD. 

"MUM!"

"What...? Who...?" There was a gasp of recognition. "DIANA?!"


With that, my mother fainted. 

That was how my dignified, elegant dinner party ended. My guests made a hasty exit.

"You obviously have a lot on your plate." Wendy said. 


The next few weeks were a blur. I was busy with work and the boys. My mother had imploded. She was all  set to move back to Sydney, convinced that her daughters were degenerates.

It took every ounce of my energy to get her back on a plane. Diana was predictably unrepentant. McKenzie had gotten back together with the unsuitable boyfriend. Even Gavin had moved on, judging from his Facebook posts. 

And I was still very single.

Marco was in Italy. He'd gone back to visit family. Wendy wasn't sure when he'd be back. My beach side visions had vanished. What was a girl to do? Well, for one thing, I was finally going to have that quiet weekend. A bubble bath. A bottle of wine. You know the drill. 

I relaxed into the tub and the doorbell rang. I threw on my trusty old robe. It was probably McKenzie. She often forgot her key. I flung open the door. 

There were those eyes. The ones that could go straight from smouldering to bemused. Either way, they were hypnotic. 

"Marco!"

"Hello Carolyn. I'm looking after the girls again and I have A LOT of spaghetti and meatballs. Would you like to help me eat them?"

"Love to!" 


I stepped outside to go with him, under the spell of those eyes. Then we both began laughing. I'd locked myself out wearing my robe. 



THE END.




 So there you have it. A tad corny, but whatever. It was fun to write. And I will continue to write to my heart's content. (See what I did there?) Even if it's corny. 


What do you like to do to your heart's content? 

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Serendipity Is Spaghetti And Meatballs: A Story.


Hello, dear reader! I hope you are enjoying another wonderful weekend. Once again it's time to make an appearance here and join in with the gang over at Friday Reflections. Here's some more stuff I made up, using the prompt: Serendipity. Use the word in your post. 

I went with fiction again, because it turns out that my life isn't really interesting enough to sustain a blog. NO?! Really??? I know! Hard to believe, right?! Anyway, here it is: 




SERENDIPITY IS SPAGHETTI AND MEATBALLS: A STORY



Image credit: https://www.foodiesfeed.com/



I was going to do the unthinkable. I had a very important date. With myself! I had the chocolate,the trashy novel, the wine, the bubbles. A long soak in the tub was beckoning. Afterwards, I was going binge watch whatever the hell I liked, without interruption. Screw, Netflix and 'chill'. I preferred Netflix and solitude. 

"Not like you have a partner, anyway," said that mocking voice in my head. It often sounded like my mother, for some inexplicable reason. "Shut up," I murmured, frowning. I had no time for such negativity.

Everything had fallen into place. My ex had the boys this weekend. My daughter had gone away with her boyfriend. There would be no bevy of teenagers inhabiting my home. Just me. Bliss. 

Serendipity. Sweet, sweet serendipity. 

What's that saying? Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans. Thank you very much, John Lennon. At least, I think it was John Lennon who said that. Note to self: Google that later when you attempt to read the entire the Internet before bed. Bath first, though! As  soon as I sunk into to the tub, sighing in sheer delight, I heard the thud. Except it was more like an earth-shattering crash.

I jumped out of the bath wearing nothing but bubbles. Well, it would be kind of weird if I bathed clothed. Grabbing a towel, I scurried to the window. A small truck barrelled down the street. It had hit my car and driven and off! 

One of the myriad problems that came from living with three teenagers in a modest sized home, was we had A LOT of stuff. Consequently my garage was always full. I had parked on the street. Okay, so there's also a long boring story about narrow driveways. I sincerely dislike reversing out of them. Suffice to say, my ex-husband always blessed himself whenever I reversed. But that's because he's a jerk. I'm a good driver. I am! I've never had any accidents. Alright, there have been one or two scrapes, but I always leave a note! Besides, this certainly wasn't my fault.

Furious, I flung on a robe and dashed out the front without thinking. I was right. The car was completely totalled on the front drivers side.

I screamed a litany of curse words at no one in particular. Then I cursed myself for quitting my running regime. At my pace, the truck would be suburbs away before I'd even reached the end of my street.

"God dammit!" I huffed and marched back to the house to call my insurance company. Then I realised my mistake. I'd locked myself out of the house. With no phone. Wearing a bathrobe. What is the opposite of serendipity?

Neighbours were peering through blinds, but apparently no one wanted to help the crazy lady in the bathrobe. Was it possible to break in to my own house? Wait a minute! I wondered whether my back door was open. I couldn't remember if I'd unlocked it. I raced around to find it shut tight. Predictably, there was my phone mocking me on the kitchen counter. I banged my head on the sliding glass door in exasperation. Now what?

"Let me tell you," answered the Universe, and the heavens opened. It started raining. No, make that pouring. I huddled under my meagre back awning shivering. The warmth from the bubble bath and my fury had vanished. I felt, cold, hungry, and utterly foolish. The way I saw it, I had two choices. Stand here and freeze to death, or swallow my pride and go and knock on my neighbour's door.

The couple next door,Wendy and Vince, and I, had a distant but friendly kind of relationship. We waved cheery hellos and goodbyes as we dashed off to work and various other things and often chatted over the fence, but we weren't exactly neighbours who exchanged keys. 

I'd only been living there for a few years, since the divorce, and had teenage children. Wendy and Vince had four year old twins, so our kids didn't hang out either. Note to self: be more friendly towards your neighbours in the future. Would it kill you to get to know them? Invite them in for coffee? Suss out that they're not serial killers? Then give them a spare key.

There was only one problem. I was going to be drenched just getting to their front door. Oh, screw it! I squared my shoulders and marched over there. Saturated, I hugged my sopping bathrobe around my frozen frame and rang the doorbell. No answer. I rung again. I was pretty sure I could hear muffled noises inside. Then someone stomped to the door.

"Who IS it?!" a voice barked. Male. Didn't seem like the laid back tones of Vince who had always seemed like a fairly chilled sort of person. The door swung open. A face was scowling at me.

And what a face. I was momentarily struck dumb. Serendipity.

The scowl turned to bewilderment as he noted my attire. "S...s...s..sorry to bother you," I stammered "but someone hit my car and I locked myself out of the house."

He was staring. He had enigmatic eyes. Smouldering eyes. You've been reading too many of those trashy novels, Carolyn! I berated myself. Cool it.

"Oh, I live next door," I added.

Before Mr Enigmatic could reply, the twins thundered down the stairs.

"Uncle Marco! You need to read us a story!" Two pyjama clad figures appeared at his legs. Their eyes were like saucers as they took in my bedraggled appearance.

"Aren't you the lady next door?" Amelia asked.

"It's okay, Uncle Marco. You can let her in!" Alana chirruped.

Mr Enigmatic unlocked the screen door and motioned for me to enter. I was mortified. I hastily explained my attire.

"You can wear Mummy's clothes," stated Amelia. Her chocolate brown eyes were dancing. They were both simply adorable.

"She's not here. She's on a date with Dad!" Alana giggled. She seemed to find the idea of her parents dating hilarious. I was glad someone did. I hadn't had a date since... Never mind.

It seemed Mr Enigmatic, aka Uncle Marco, was the strong silent type. He pulled out his phone and tapped in a number. He was talking briefly to Wendy with the most exquisite Italian accent. I tried not to melt.

"She says it's okay," he told me "you can borrow her clothes."

He bustled the girls upstairs back to bed, pointing me to Wendy's room. It felt intrusive to go through her things, but I quickly realised a couple of things. One: Wendy (and presumably Vince too) were very meticulous. And two: Wendy was also considerably smaller than me.

It didn't take long to find some track pants and a sweater that fit rather snugly over all of my, shall we say, love handles? "Don't you mean ROLLS?" It was my mother's voice again. Christ, I could never get away from the woman. Even when she'd moved thousands of miles away to far north Queensland.

Another note to self: have a clear out at home. And for goodness sake, lay off the carbs! My stomach grumbled in protest.

 "Right on cue," I mumbled to the mirror. I realised I hadn't had dinner. I'd been planning to order whatever takeout took my fancy right after my soak. For some reason, I really fancied Italian right now. Ahem. Get a grip, I admonished myself, and trudged back downstairs. There was nothing I could do about my tangled hair. 

Marco was in the kitchen grimacing at the mess. There was a mountain of used pots and pans. Abandoned Peppa Pig bowls with half eaten spaghetti and meatballs littered the table This didn't seem like Vince and Wendy's handiwork. 

"I make them food, they don't eat," Marco explained. "Sit. You eat!" 

"Oh! I don't want you to go to any trouble."

"It's no trouble. I have too much. You can keep me company." He gave me a sheepish smile. I almost swooned.

Maybe this was serendipity after all. 



What happens next....? 

Stay tuned for Part Two. Coming next week. 
Yep, I've decided I'll pick up this story again next week. So let's leave the characters feasting on spaghetti and meatballs and you're all invited back next weekend! 


Do you have a story about serendipity? 

And while we're at it, what actually IS the opposite of serendipity?


Sunday, 29 October 2017

The Way You Make Me Feel

Hello! Here I am with a rather late last minute link-up offering for Friday Reflections. The prompt was this: put your Ipod on shuffle/turn the radio on. Write a post using the song as your prompt. 

The song I heard was Michael Jackson's The Way You Make Me Feel. So I made up this story and called it... The Way You Make Me Feel. Just for the good old obligatory Captain Obvious. Done.

Here it is: 


THE WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL





I was standing at the sink when Ben came in and turned the radio on. The infectious beat of Michael Jackson's The Way You Make Me Feel filled the room.

"Turn it off!" I snapped. 

"What's wrong with you?" Ben frowned. 

 I still couldn't hear that song so many years later. It had been one of her favourites. Ben poured himself coffee and made toast. I took slow breaths and tried to stop shaking. The flashbacks were happening again. I'd never told Ben what had happened. 

We were getting married soon. It was time. I couldn't keep this from him. Stephanie should have been here, helping me prepare for our upcoming wedding. She would have been my bridesmaid and closest confidante.

She would have helped me plan a hen's night and choose the dress. Just like I would have helped her. Although Steph had always scoffed at the idea of settling down. She'd wanted to travel. Now she would never get to do any of it. Because of me. 

I don't know how long I stood there before I realised I was crying. My knees gave way and I sunk to the ground. 

"What's wrong?" Ben was alarmed.

"I have to tell you something," I mumbled. 


Ben's eyes clouded, his expression wary. "Okay."

"I killed some one." 


"I'm sorry," Ben laughed. He clearly  thought I was joking. 


"I killed someone." This time was louder.

"I don't understand." Ben had crouched beside me. He sunk onto the floor. I told him everything. 

I told him about that rainy day so many years ago. I was only seventeen and a cocky P-plate driver. We'd gotten into the car to go on a road trip to the coast. We were so full of joy. Carefree, young. Having our first taste of freedom. We'd been laughing and listening to music. It started to rain but that certainly didn't dampen our spirits. 

Then the song came on. 

"Turn it up!" Stephanie urged. I obliged. We both joined in to the chorus like over eager drunken karaoke participants at a pub. To this day I still don't know what happened. I wasn't speeding. I hadn't been drinking. I just lost control of the car. One minute were singing along in jubilation, and the next we weren't. I woke up in hospital. Stephanie didn't. It was a miracle I was alive. That miracle hadn't extended to my friend. I'd killed her. 


I would never forget the pinched haunted faces of her parents at her funeral. I knew what they were thinking. I thought it too. Why her and not our daughter? In the months and years that followed, my life unravelled. I quit driving. It was impossible. I couldn't imagine ever driving again. It was only because of my parents unwavering support that I eventually finished university and began working. I'd met Ben through mutual friends, and life suddenly seemed sweet again. Until I heard I heard a damn Michael Jackson song and it all came rushing back. 

"Babe, it wasn't your fault," Ben regarded me with those magnificent blue eyes that had made me fall in love with him. "It was an accident." I sobbed in his arms. 

Some weeks later I knew what I had to do. I was shaking as I rang the doorbell. Ben squeezed my hand.


"Claire!" Stephanie's eyes gaped at me. 

"Hello, Mrs Carlson." 


She ushered us in and I introduced Ben. Mr Carlson shuffled in from the backyard and shook Ben's hand warmly. The picture in the living room momentarily halted me. Stephanie and I were smiling from inside the frame wearing our formal gowns.  Mrs Carlson caught me looking at it and we exchanged glances before she excused herself to make coffee. 


We finally sat down with steaming mugs for sustenance. "I suppose you're wondering why I'm here," I began. 

"I'm just glad you came," Mrs Carlson replied. "We never see any of Steph's friends. It's...like she didn't exist..." she trailed off.

"The thing is," Mr Carlson continued "we didn't handle things very well at the time."

"Neither did I," I admitted "I'm so sorry..."


Before I could go on Mrs Carlson shook our head. "We realise now that it wasn't your fault."

We all had tears in our eyes and the atmosphere was charged.

"I've always wanted to ask you something." Mrs Carlson broke the silence. "Do you remember her last words?"


I nodded through my tears. "We were singing The Way You Make Me Feel. It was on the radio."

Mrs Carlson managed a winsome smile. "She always loved that song." 


"Yes, she did."

Once we started talking about Steph, we couldn't stop. I felt her presence. My funny, amazing, beautiful friend with her red gold hair and crooked nose. We remembered her love of 80s music, animals, the beach. Her offbeat sense of humour, her kindness. It felt so good to talk about my friend again. Before we left, I handed Mrs Carlson an invitation to mine and Ben's wedding. "I'll understand if you don't want to come," I said.


"We wouldn't miss it," she insisted. "Thank you." 

We walked to the car and Ben looked at me. "Proud of you," he said and handed me the car keys. "You can do it." 

I got in and turned the key in the ignition with shaking hands. Slowly, we drove away. 

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Bated Breath


Greetings and salutations, lovely readers! How are you all? I keep pretending that there are so many of you. Why not? It's a lovely little game called Being Delusional that I like to play. No harm done. 

So just for shits and giggles I wrote a little made up story for Friday Reflections inspired by the prompt: Bated breath.  Of course I didn't get around to posting, linking and sharing it until Saturday evening, but, as I like to say, details! Besides, that's just how I rock a Saturday night! So anyway, here it is...



BATED BREATH


Adrenaline pulsated through me as I approached the counter. Every nerve ending was tingling. It happened every time. It was equal parts thrilling and gut wrenching. Yet, I couldn't stop. 

"How are you today?" the teller flashed a flight attendant smile. Her eyes were warm behind her designer frames. I glanced at her name tag. 

Louise. 


"Good thanks," I replied, matching her smile. I couldn't be sure if it reached my eyes. Mentally I summed her up. Her ash blonde bob and manicured nails spoke of regular trips to a salon. Her trim physique suggested an expensive gym membership.  Louise was thoroughly middle class. She probably had an immaculate brick home in a leafy suburb. A husband. Kids. Just like me. 

Except I was different. I had to be.

"How can I help you?" Louise asked.


I slid the cheque across the counter.  "I need to deposit this," I handed her my key card. My hands were steady. I had become skilled at pretending that depositing generous cheques was common place for me. 


"No problem," she swiped my card and efficiently tapped away. 

I waited with bated breath. My exterior remained placid, inscrutable as my heart beat a crescendo in my chest. Any moment she might say something. Louise's pleasant features would suddenly look puzzled. An eternity seemed to pass as I willed my heart to slow. 


How many similar cheques had I deposited in the past few months? I'd lost count. Each time was the same. The trepidation. Exhilaration. Bated breath. 

"Done!" Louise beamed. It was too easy. "Have a great weekend," she added, handing me back my card. 

"You too," I exhaled, then strode out past the security guard. Maybe I wasn't safe yet. He might tap me on the shoulder. I would be cornered. Found out for the absolute fraud that I was. I lived in perpetual fear of being discovered. When I wasn't, elation replaced fear. 

The guilt always evaporated when I walked out into the busy shopping mall. I felt alive. Energised. Euphoric. I was living a double life and I loved it. Time to go shopping. 

Travis would have picked Ella and Max up by now. He'd be at home, patiently helping with homework and preparing the evening meal. He'd taken on the reluctant role of house husband since he'd been made redundant a year ago. 

Meanwhile, their bills were piling up. Travis couldn't find another job despite applying for many. He sank into depression. I'd had no choice. I was the breadwinner now. 

I lingered near one of my favourite boutiques, lost in my thoughts There was only one way to stop these intrusive worries. Shopping. My card was never declined these days. That hadn't been the case some months ago. 

"We'll have to sell the house," Travis had told me. He was flat and defeated. 

"NO!" I couldn't bear it. It was our dream home, minutes from the beach. We'd been living the good life and I wasn't ready to give it up. 

"We just can't afford the mortgage repayments," Travis argued.

"I'll be getting a promotion soon," I said "we can make it work."

In the end he gave in, too bogged down in his depression. He already felt like a failure for losing his job. Now his wife was taking care of him. He'd always been so driven. We both were. There was no way we could just give up on our lavish existence. It would be humiliating. I was too proud.


Sure, we could sell the house, but then what? We'd had have to live somewhere. Imagine having to leave their prestigious suburb to move to bum fuck boganville. I'd worked too hard to get out of there. I couldn't go back. I'd have to take Max and Ella out of their expensive schools and send them to the school I'd gone to. There was no way I'd ever do that. So I made my decision.

Though in some ways it seemed like it was made for me. My role at the major insurance company where I worked involved drawing and cancelling cheques. On that fateful day I was there early. 




There was a tap on my office door. "Coffee!" my assistant Veronica trilled.

"Thanks," I took it, smiling. Veronica was a decade younger than me and I'd taken her under my wing. She seemed to have something of 'girl crush' on me. I knew she aspired to be where I was eventually. 


"I'll leave you to it," she said, closing the door. Then I saw it. A returned cheque. The customer was no longer at the address.

Ms Sarah James.


I couldn't believe it. I knew I was meant to cancel it. Instead, I put it in my top drawer and locked it. I tried to forget, but it was burned into my brain. When I left the office, darkness was descending. In more ways than one.

"See you tomorrow, Sarah," Veronica said. She eyed my Prada suit with open envy as I sashayed to the lifts. 


At home there were more bills. Final demands. The next day I banked the cheque. It was fate that my name was the same. Didn't everything happen for a reason? 

As the weeks went on, it became an addiction. I would draw another. Just one more, I told myself. To get myself out of this predicament, give me more time. One more became two more, and eventually I lost count. 

"It's exquisite, isn't it?" The sales assistant startled me out of my ruminating. "Would you like to try it on?" 

Before I knew it, she'd ushered me to the change rooms. The dress hung perfectly over my lean frame. Stress and long hours had made me too edgy to eat much these days, though I managed several coffees and wines each day.  The liquid and embezzlement diet certainly paid off, I mused.

"I'll take it," I told the sales assistant. I could always leave the tags on and return it, I told myself. Besides, it was an exclusive label, so it was practically an investment. I could already picture the likes and envy on Insta.

 And anyway, I deserved this. I had to carry the entire financial load while Travis was at home with the kids. I would need more wine. I made a quick detour to the bottle shop. 

I walked into work the next day with a sense of foreboding. I shook it off. I saw my reflection in the elevator mirror. I looked sensational. I was winning at this thing called life.

"Good morning!" I greeted colleagues who refused to meet my eyes. Outside my office, Veronica was absent. She was always there early. My stomach dropped. I glanced at the gold lettering on my office door.

SARAH JAMES 

Financial Manager

Then I saw them. My boss was approaching me with a subdued Veronica at his side.

I froze. Bated breath. It was all over. 


"You will do jail time," I was told. When I rang Travis he was livid. He was taking the kids and going to stay with  his parents. My whole world was crumbling around me. 


The last thing I remembered as I cleared my desk was Veronica's cold stare. 


THE END.

What do you think about silly old Sarah?

Do bills give you bated breath?


Sunday, 8 October 2017

Waiting For Rain

There it was. That sound. I knew what it meant. That ominous wail slicing through the stillness. It always filled me with dread. It meant that bad things had happened and the villains responsible were out there lurking.

I would edge my way through the shadows and end up at the side of my mum's bed. She always let me snuggle in next to her. The siren in the distance was still a sinister reminder. It signified that the world wasn't safe outside my cocoon. My home. My dog. My parents. Books and Barbie dolls. 

Sirens were not the only thing I was scared of. There was a list, including elevators, escalators, talking in public, cockroaches and blood. I never liked watching horror movies. 

I sit by the window tapping and remembering. It's a grey, dreary day and I feel nostalgic. I wish it would rain. 

 





I remember scrunching my toes up in tan sandals. The teacher called me cutie pie Vanessa. She had gigantic glasses and her hair in a bun. I had a red suitcase. 

I remember being forced to play volley ball. I hated volley ball. And all sport. 

I remember being thrown in the pool when I was five. My screams were long and loud. I still can't swim.

In kindergarten another girl also named Vanessa was mean to me. A boy had his dangly bits out under the desk. I went and told the teacher. 

I remember skipping around the edges of the playground. I think I had an imaginary friend, but I don't remember her name. 

In year five I went away for a school camp. All the other girls hated me on sight, mistaking my shyness for being stuck-up. 

I remember going overseas in 1981. I was ten. I had long red hair. Weirdly I don't remember being scared when the plane took off. I was terrified of everything else. I remember the vivid colours of the tulips. Playing records and eating gigantic bowls of custard. It was awesome. I remember my brother and I staring at the punks with their jagged Mohawks on the train. We rode bikes everywhere. 

I remember our next door neighbour teaching me to ride a bike in our cul-de-sac. 

I remember games of 'redlight' and sausage dogs. 

I remember barbecues and cracker night. The elated feeling of leaving school on the last day of term when the long summer holidays stretched before you. Before long the elation evaporated into boredom.

"I'm borrrred," I would wail.

"Hello, bored. I'm Mum," my mother would reply. 

But I always had books and music. And sleepovers with friends and cousins.
 
I remember when my Dad used to wear bright orange flairs and it seemed completely acceptable. 

I remember when my brother had a birthday party and no one turned up. Mum had gone to so much effort making cakes and chocolate crackles and various treats. There were no more parties after that. I didn't care. My birthday was in January. Everybody went away to the beach in January.

"They can have that," my parents declared and put the air-conditioning on. Summer was something to be endured in our family. 

I remember sitting in the sun all day at a school sport carnival. I went home bright red with severe sunburn. My mother was furious. I had asked to be allowed to sit in the shade and the teachers said no. 

I remember my auntie Evelyne taking me and my cousin to Luna Park. It was 1983 or 84. Again I suffered atrocious sunburn. Back at my aunt's flat she rubbed tomatoes all over my singed and painful skin.

I remember being called a red-headed match, and - my personal favourite - a red headed rat rooter. Nice.

I remember other kids saying things to me like: "Gee, your hair's nice. Pity it's not blonde." 

I remember old dears stopping my brother and I on the street or at the shops to ooh and ah over our red tresses and slip us each a twenty cent coin. A veritable fortune back then. You could get a whole bag of mixed lollies from the milk bar! Yes, I am showing my age. Sigh. 

I remember catching the old red rattlers to Central station and attending Ultimo TAFE.

I remember  walking through the dusty dungeons in the bowels of the State Library when I worked there. I remember feeling like a fraud. I was supposed to be a grown-up now. But I still couldn't look anyone in the eye or speak above a whisper.

I remember humiliating job interviews when I burst into tears.

I remember beautiful dresses my mother made. I loved dressing up.

I remember getting married on a warm November day in 1995. I was completely calm and contented in my lovely lace gown with a long train. I carried roses and raised my voice for the vows. 

I remember being told I would never have babies without IVF. 

I remember having an ultra-sound and being told I was already 26 weeks pregnant! It felt like being told I could fly. I had magical powers. Maybe I could twitch my nose like Samantha and magic up anything. 

I remember giving birth to my sons. 

Son number one:  "Here's your baby!" Mick held him and he streeeetched his little arms.  

Son number two:  "He has such expressive eyes," the  midwife commented. Mick passed out! 

Son number three:  The 19 week scan. "There is no heartbeat." Goodbye, little man. 

Son number four:  I was sliced open. He was so TINY. Perfect and tiny. Our family was complete. 

I remember the day Mick had surgery for bowel cancer. I sat with him while he had chemo-therapy. 

I remember going to Sea World with my family. I accidentally dropped my mobile phone in the shark tank. 

I remember giggling about all the silly things with my boys. 

I remember watching diggers and excavators with my then obsessed toddler son.

I remember my second son's collection of soft toys. His favourite was a dog, imaginatively named "Doggy". If we went anywhere without Doggy, we were in serious trouble! 

Being told I that I'm autistic at age 40 is something I'll never forget. I finally understood a few things about myself. 

There was the glorious cake my mother made me for my 40th birthday. Who could forget that?! 




Memories of all the amazing meals around the kitchen table in my parents house. My mother's cooking is THE BEST. 

I remember Mick shaving my head when I had chemo for breast cancer. I remember the beautiful hats my aunt made for me. 

I remember that I need to stop remembering and live in the present. Mostly I do. Except when it rains. 

I remember the wistful, wonderful, comforting feel of a rainy day. I've always been a pluviophile. That's what I've discovered. 






Rainy days still evoke a sense of nostalgia. When a siren sounds in the rain I am reminded of all the feelings. Feeling unsettled, then safe. Uncertain, then comforted. 

Sirens signify danger. Rain is healing. Soothing. 

When the rains falls, the sirens fade. 

I remember it will rain again. Soon.  


Do you feel nostalgic when it rains?

What do you remember? 

Saturday, 30 September 2017

An Enemy Named Agnes

Today I was determined to move my body. Thirty minutes into my workout, my arch nemesis arrives. Agnes taps on my shoulder, snarling. I call her that only because it's a name that starts with an A and ends with an S (although Y would work here too). And it's not one of my favourite names, to be honest. Apologies to any Agnes's out there. I'm sure you're lovely.

My Agnes isn't. I don't really like her at all, but I've more or less accepted her presence in my life. I knew she'd turn up.

For the past week I've marvelled at my equilibrium. It felt so good not to have Agnes around. But she's a sneaky one. It's like she just has to remind you of her evil existence.





"Don't get too contented!" she will snap. I never try to reason with Agnes these days. I just wait her out. Eventually she lopes away, tail between her legs.

I was able to get on with my day. Later, I turned on the television (apparently I'm a masochist - daytime TV SUCKS), to be greeted with the news that actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus has been diagnosed with breast cancer. My heart sank.

Recently I received the all clear for the second year, which is a huge relief. But whenever these things happen - Olivia Newton John's recent recurrence after 25 years, for example - I am reminded of all the uncertainty I am left with.

No matter how many years go by with the all clear I can never truly be at ease and think I am untouchable and immune. Of course Agnes simply loves to crow about this.

I remind myself that my cancer was found 'early'. But then I wonder... Is the whole 'early detection' thing somewhat flawed? I say this because it was completely random that mine was found when it was. I went to the doctor for another reason (my smear), and luckily my GP is very thorough so she always does a breast exam as well. But what if my smear hadn't been due then, or I put it off the way so many women do? 

How long would it have taken for me to notice there were any changes, that I had a lump? By the time I did notice I'm sure it wouldn't have been 'early'. I am just not sure that 'early detection' is as easy and straight forward as we think. 

Having said that, I urge every one of you to have a good look and feel of your girls. At the moment it seems that early detection is all we've got until a cure is found. 

Meanwhile, I am doing my best to stay in the present moment and tell myself I am OK. I am a survivor. That I was lucky in an odd sort of way. 

No matter what Agnes thinks. 

Do you have a visitor like Agnes? 

Do you have your regular check-ups? Do it! 

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Problems Or Opportunities?

Hello again, lovely people. Here I am on another rocking weekend. It's been a good week. On Monday I did some shopping. Tuesday involved a visit to my shrink (I can never spell the  correct word). Psychologist? Um. I think that's right... (And yes, unfortunately I am still demented, but we are working on it). Look, I 'll probably always be a little bit demented, but in a good way. I hope. But back to my week.

On Wednesday, I enjoyed some blissful alone time while Mickey Blue Eyes took the car to be serviced. And on Thursday I tagged along with my mum and her sewing buddies for a delightful lunch, because FOOD.

Meanwhile, Friday was spent cleaning, cleaning cleaning. Truly. Shut up, I do clean sometimes. Much to my disgust, as I sit here today there doesn't appear to be any evidence of this. Rude. It all just seems impossible... 

Which brings me to this lovely little prompt: 


"We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” - Charles Swindoll


First of all, I had no idea who this Charles Swindoll chap is so I googled, as you do, and it turns out he's an evangelical christian pastor/preacher type dude. Which explains why I had not heard of him, being a total heathen and all. 

My initial reaction to the above quote was that it seemed like another trite take on the old nugget: when life gives you lemons turn them into lemonade. Not to mention the old 'everything happens for a reason' cliche that irritates the bejesus out of me. 

My first instinct is to roll my eyes and dismiss it as claptrap. Also, I just wanted to say claptrap. Because, CLAPTRAP.

The thing is, I truly am trying to be more positive. It occurs to me that I'm some sort of weird dichotomy of sweet but sarcastic. I make no sense. Hence, the demented shrink thing... But I digress. 

Since I am prone to over thinking, I mulled it over some more. Upon reflection I recalled a similar saying from the illustrious Dowager of Downton Abbey. Yes, she's a fictional character. Who cares. She still had some classic lines. Such as this:





Life is a series of problems which we must try and solve, first one and the the next, and then the next, until at last we die  - The Dowager Countess from Downton Abbey.

Yikes. 

Very comforting words indeed. Using 'comforting' in the sense of confronting and disconcerting. 

 It's quite true when you think about it. For me, things seem truly insurmountable when I  think I have to solve lots of things at once

Oddly enough, it seems to be a thing I do. I think I have to have everything in my life sorted by half past eight in the morning yesterday and have morphed into some sort of superwoman. As a result, this thing I have heard of called autistic inertia kicks in and I end up doing nothing at all. Sigh.

Even my shrink advised me to tackle things slowly, one at a time, instead of doing too much at once. Or nothing at all, as the case often is. See above. 

So I just have to remember that problems can be opportunities. And tackle them slowly, one at a time. 

As I face all these problems opportunities I will imagine the Dowager's piercing stare and direct words. And just get on with it. 

What about you?

 Do you see problems as opportunities? 

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Alone Together


Hello! How are you? All well and bursting with vitality and joie de vivre? I certainly hope so. I am not. Presently I appear to be suffering from Mum Flu. You know the one. It's like Man Flu except no one gives a shit. Yep. That's the one.

Despite this, I figured it was about time I made a guest appearance on my own blog. As is my usual fashion, I have started posts numerous times only to trail off unable to articulate what I wanted to say. It's always unpleasant when this happens. I usually express myself better through writing. But anyway, here I am. Even clunky words are better than none. At least that's what I'm telling myself. Draw your own conclusions.




Apart from the ghastly old Mum flu phenomenon I also have blue screen of death issues. Yes, it is with great sorrow that I announce the tragic passing of my trusty laptop. I thought I  may be able to revive it. In vain, I tried for hours to find a solution. Sadly, it now won't even switch on. With that goes the laptop and my promising career in IT. Snorts.

So here I am using an ancient dodgy laptop that only works while plugged in. Nice. Problem solving, people. That's what creativity is. I'm nothing if creative. Or something...

Anyway, I wanted to chime in on last weeks Friday Reflections prompt before it's too late: Alone,Together.

An odd coincidence occurred. When I sat down to write my thoughts about this I flipped open one of my many paper journals/notebooks to find an old entry from July. This is what I had written:

It's a really mellow time of the afternoon. A sort of peaceful vibe has descended over the day. It's lovely. There are sounds of distant birds and cars, but they're a pleasing murmur. Everyone is in their own world. It's good to slow down. I wonder when exactly is it considered to be dusk? Or twilight? I need to turn the light on, but I don't want to get up and break the mood. I quite like sitting here while the gentle darkness tiptoes in around me. I am savouring the relative calmness I feel in the moment. Whenever I am in another horrible moment I can remind myself that moments like this exist as well. There are not enough places here in this house for all of us to be alone. Alone, together. I like that. 

Okay, so that wasn't particularly riveting upon reading it again. But my point is, I quite like the alone, together thing. I suspect many folk would view this as a negative thing. I don't. We are a very introverted family. In fact, I reckon, 'alone, together' could be our motto. In my opinion, alone time is essential to re-charge. Solitude is soothing and necessary for equilibrium. It doesn't mean we're not a family, a team, a united front. We are.





Alone doesn't necessarily mean lonely, to my way of thinking. I've experienced loneliness as a teenager and that is a very different thing. I certainly wouldn't want to be lonely again. I do want to be alone quite frequently.


Luckily, I am enjoying this very thing as I type this. I'm loving the peace and quiet. Later, I will welcome the noise and togetherness of my family but for now I enjoy the tranquillity... Of course I also have lots of stuff to do. But it's nice to it without interruptions. 


In other exciting developments, I have begun bullet journaling. I had heard of it before, but didn't expect it to work for a scatter-brain like me. However, I really like it. Plus, I have so many  notebooks to use up, so why not? Speaking of excitement, I also managed to make it to the library last week after my shrink appointment. Yes, I am still as cutting edge as ever. Some things never change.

Before I go, it's also the one year birthday of  Denyse Whelan's Life This Week link-up.  I am a little late to the party, but better late than never! So congratulations and thanks to Denyse. I like to link up whenever I can and the prompts are helpful as well. In future I will endeavour to be less erratic and join in more often. And now we all get CAKE! Am I right? 


Okay, just a short and sweet one. Gotta go. Things to do. Lists to tick. Serenity to saviour. 

Seeya!