Tetrafied

Tetra Fish

 

Tetrafied

 

Alice knew as soon as he entered the bar she would be leaving with him that night. His beautiful olive skin and inky-black hair called out—like a siren—to her womanly desires. His indigo eyes locked on Alice’s, and he took the seat next to her. “Hi, I’m Jack. Let me buy you a drink,” he said, immediately summoning the bartender’s attention. 

After just two Martinis, Alice found herself linking arms with Jack and leaving the bar. As they climbed into a taxi, her stomach somersaulted. She hesitated, contemplating what she was about to do. She had never picked up a guy in a bar before. That was an occupation of the beautiful and confident; not Alice. With mousy-brown hair and pale blue eyes, she was too plain to ever attract someone at first sight. At least, that was what her mother told her.

Taking a deep, cleansing breath, she followed Jack along the rocky stone path to his front door. The house loomed high over them, casting a long shadow in the moonlight. A small flower garden alongside the path looked well-kept. Surprisingly so, for a single man in his twenties.

The old, wooden front door creaked as it welcomed them inside. In contrast to the aged exterior, the heart of the house was light and contemporary. Before Alice had even noticed Jack was missing, he returned; hands carrying more Martinis.

As they settled on the cream leather sofa, they began to explore each other. Their mouths locked and their bodies entwined. The electricity was sharp and Alice could feel herself start to let go. Then she saw it. Oh no. A wave of nausea flooded her bloodstream. 

“Fish!” she yelled, “I hate fish. Oh my God, they’re staring at me!”

Surprised, but wanting to reassure her, Jack said, “It’s okay. They’re not looking at you. They’re Mexican Tetra fish; they have no eyes.” 

But Alice didn’t hear. Throwing open the front door, she ran as fast as her feet would carry her. I’m never picking up a one night stand again, she thought, as she rounded the corner onto her own street.

Moving On

Moving On

 

Moving On

 

She sweeps an eye

over her room, and

butterflies 

dance inside.

 

Leaving is never

easy, but somehow

it always ends this way,

she has to move on.

 

Feeling suffocated, 

strangled by 

love,

its confines restricting her

flighty soul;

she knows life is flowing, and

while she plays at

happy marriage,

her heart thuds

to the rhythm of the

dull melody.

They say a restless body

can hide a peaceful soul,

but her spirit is at war,

and it will not rest

until she is 

far away

from this life, in which she’s

dying.

 

She steps outside, and

life is dawning,

morning sun warms her skin,

and doubts disappear

as she walks toward … 

who knows what …  

 

Finally, she is part of it,

life is hers;

not for the first time in her 

life,

she is 

moving on.

 

Meringue Dress

 

I Wish I Could Take It Back

I wish I could take it back: first time

I gushed and said, “I do.” 

But he was oh-so cute, you see,

we danced to the Cutting Crew, 

the decade was the eighties, so 

my dress was a meringue,

with puffy sleeves and hula hoop,

we drove off in a Mustang.

It wasn’t long before I knew

it wasn’t going to work, 

we were both too young to settle down,

and, besides, he was a jerk.

My second husband came at me

with oodles of sex appeal,

his olive skin and sea-green eyes, 

made me want to squeal,

the day he got onto one knee

and took my hand in his,

without a second thought, I swooned

and said, “Let’s order fizz!”

The wedding—paid for by his folks!—

was a dazzling, winter affair,

now in the nineties, at least there was no

Flock of Seagulls hair.

Instead, the gel he wore was thick,

his aftershave divine,

I could hardly wait for the honeymoon,

when he would be all mine.

This marriage soon fulfilled its course,

on account of how he strayed,

since quarter past committing to me,

he had played with my bridesmaid. 

Number three, I guess I should have known was wrong,

his eyes were close together,

he looked like he’d been caught in the wind,

his face frozen by the weather.

But he called me sugar, stroked my cheek,

his touch, it was electric

within six months, I walked the aisle, 

who cared about aesthetics? 

Our love affair was hot and fun,

it makes me blush to think,

but all too soon we fizzled out,

and our marriage started to sink. 

It’s been said I fall in love too quick,

I need to wait and see

if I really want to go the distance,

if our love is meant to be.

And so I waited for my current beau;

numbers four is the one, I know!

 

  • This is something I wrote a couple of years ago. I came across it yesterday, and thought I’d share it with you. I have to stress, this is not written from personal experience!

Sterile

Sterilisation

Sterile

Soft, dark hair
falls across her face
as she sleeps.
I watch her chest rise
and fall,
committing every moment of
my daughter’s babyhood to
memory …
this second-born is the last child I shall
bear—
my Sitara;
beautiful, innocent,
but in whose birth
I lost that which makes me a
woman.
Stolen,
without choice,
they took my femininity,
and with it, the love of my
husband …
plans of a large family
abandoned,
half-a-woman
no longer attractive,
dreams shattered in
the work of a doctor
whose job should be to protect—
not mutilate—
at the bidding of a
government
who care not for the rights of
women.

Percolation

This is another of my zodiac pieces. This time, I’m writing about a few of the stereotypical Taurus traits.

 

taurus200

TAURUS
21st April ~ 21st May

Taurus traits ~ Practical, dependable, frugal, materialistic, reliable, stubborn

 

Marcia clutched the box containing the shiny new coffee machine as she opened her front door. She could hear the sound of Nirvana on the stereo, telling her Phil had got home before her. Swallowing hard, she marched straight through to the kitchen.

She stopped dead when she saw the space where their old coffee machine used to sit. A chill spiralled through her core. Placing the shiny, new gadget on the pine table, she braced herself for more arguments with her husband.

When Phil said hello, she jumped and spun round to face him.

“Hey, honey. You’re home early.” The words stuck to the sides of her mouth.

“Yeah. I said I’d work from home this afternoon. I thought it would give me chance to fix the coffee machine that you love so much.”

With her heart in her mouth, Marcia prayed he had failed in his quest. “Oh. So, how did that go?”

“Piece of cake. Once I took it apart and figured out what was wrong with it, I—what’s that?”

Crap. Here we go. “Well. I thought the old machine was beyond help. So I stopped at Curry’s on the way home and picked up a new one.” She watched him fold his arms across his chest and take a step back.

“I told you I’d fix it.”

“I know, but—“

“But, what? Since when have I let you down in the past?”

Pulling out one of the pine kitchen chairs that her husband lovingly crafted in his garden workshop, she slumped into it and pinched the bridge of her nose.

“I’m not saying you ever let me down. It’s just that old coffee machine keeps breaking down. You’ve fixed it, like, three times already. It was a wedding present, Phil. We’ve had it for five years.”

“And? What’s to say it won’t last another five? It’s fine now, Marce. You need to take the new one back. It’s not necessary, and we can’t afford to spend money like it’s going out of fashion.” He shook his head and turned to walk away.

The sound of him tutting flipped a switch in Marcia. She always acquiesced to whatever argument they were having. Not so much because she wanted to keep the peace, but because she just didn’t have the energy to fight Phil’s stubbornness. He would argue the grass was purple with blue spots if he felt like it . . . and probably win!

“No.” One word. Her voice faltered only slightly. She breathed quickly as she waited for her husband to turn to face her. When he did, she couldn’t read his face. Why does he have to be so bloody steady?

“We went through all of this this morning. We don’t need a new coffee machine. Especially, when it’s . . . “ He stopped speaking as his eyes fell on the machine for the first time. “When it’s, ugh. Is it one of those Italian jobs; the ones that grind the beans?”

A smile crept over her face. “Yes. It’s an espresso machine, as well as latte, cappuccino, Americano; everything you could want in one.”

As he moved closer to the kitchen table, he reached out a hand, and the tremor in it told Marcia she was onto a winner. “It looks very . . . professional.” He touched the box and breathed deeply. “But, professional means expensive. How much did this set us back?” His eyes narrowed and he withdrew his hand.

“I’m glad you asked, honey. It was on sale; the last one in the shop. They’re getting all the new stock in for Christmas next week, so this one had to go.” She paused, watching her husband’s eyes widen.

“On sale? I love a good sale. But I bet it was still too expensive for us to be wasting our money on.” He licked his lips, and the air between the two of them thrummed with tension.

“£125. Down from an original price of £400.” She sat, crossing her legs and tucking her chin into her chest. “What do you think of that, then?”

In an instant, his hand returned to the box. “Oh, that’s good. Did you take it from our first savings account? We had £25,000 in there, so £125 would have only made a small dent in that.”

“Yes. I used that account. Now, can we please get this thing unpacked and try it out?”

A grin took over his face, animating his features. “Yes! I’m gonna have an espresso. I want to hear the beans percolating.” He ripped open the box and set up the new machine. While the beans were doing their thing, he draped his arms around Marcia and nuzzled her neck. “You’re the best. You know that?” As he moved to stand in front of her, he cupped her face in his hands and kissed her mouth. “I love you.”

She giggled and kissed him back. When he pulled away, she knew where he was going. He returned to the kitchen with the old coffee machine in hand. “I’ll put this in the new box, and we can keep it for emergencies. You never know when these new-fangled gadgets might break down.”

She watched him walk out to his workshop, where all other useless, no-longer-working items were stored. “I love you too,” she whispered.

The Fallout

Frayed rope breaking

 

I wrote this haiku sonnet, based on this quotation: “Mental illness leaves a huge legacy, not just for the person suffering it but for those around them.” -Lysette Anthony

 

the fallout

another day starts,
bones heavy with night’s trauma,
her blank face breaks hearts

not always easy
to love someone so distant
strength; the cross to bare

hate-filled words hurtle
through air thick with silence and
insults which batter

always fearful of
losing her forever, this
half-lived life kills

shroud of loneliness numbs mind
relationship frays

A Sense of Entitlement

My prompt for this was to write about greed. This story is fictional, although it is based on people I have known.

Greed2

 

A Sense of Entitlement

Wilma pulled her car onto Edna’s driveway and sighed. There was nothing worse than the obligatory days spent with Edna.

Jumping from the car, she straightened up, and lifted her chin high. Her nostrils flared, detecting an imaginary, unsavoury smell. She knocked on the frail old lady’s door and let herself in.

“Oh, Wilma. Lovely to see you. Come in.” The old lady’s pale blue eyes sparkled as she pulled her ex daughter-in-law close.

“Hiya.” Her eyes scanned the room, resting on the money pot on the mantelpiece. “I see you’re still keeping that in here.” She forced her eyes back to Edna, who was heading into the kitchen to make tea.

How easy it would have been to plunge her hand into the jar and take everything, but no; she was holding out for the big one. Her heart quickened as she thought about the prospect of inheriting the house. She licked her lips, feeling she was ready to run a race.

With tea and biscuits in her chubby fingers, Wilma sat in the living room, sweeping her eyes from side to side. The photograph of her with Edna’s son, taken a couple of months before he died, sickened her. She had given him the choice: “Buy me the house and move in, or I’ll move in with the guy I’ve been seeing behind your back.” It wasn’t her fault he was weak.

“Oh, I have news. Molly took me to see the solicitor. I needed to sort out my will.” Edna placed her cup on the coffee table.

Wilma’s skin tingled. Her moment had finally arrived. Edging forward in her seat, she slowed her breathing as she waited to hear the news.

“I’m leaving everything to Rose. I want it to go to family.”

Leaping from her chair, Wilma erupted; eyes bulging, face scarlet. Heavy-booted feet stomped the ground as a chain of expletives flew through the air. “I’ve come here once every month to sit with you. How dare you leave me nothing. I’m family!”

With a voice that sounded steadier than it felt, Edna asked her to leave. This response wasn’t entirely surprising. Everyone told her Wilma was only after her money. That’s why she made up the lie about her will.

As she leaned in close, their heads almost collided. Spittle landed on Edna’s cheek as Wilma
hissed, “This is it. You will never see me again.”

The bulky figure of her ex daughter-in-law slammed the front door behind her. A veil of sadness settled over Edna. She had just lost the last link to her only son. A single tear fell over her cheek. Logically, she had done the right thing. Wilma didn’t deserve anything. But loneliness seemed such a heavy price to pay.

Magic Carpet Ride

This is something I wrote about someone who is the star sign Pisces, incorporating the following Piscean traits: big heart, kind, compassionate, extremely positive, intuitive, follow instincts, dreamers, escapists, enigmatic, get lost in own imagination, emotional, spiritual, romantic, artistic, creative.

 

Flyingcarpetmagmount

 

Magic Carpet Ride

Matthew sat cross legged under the old oak tree. His hands, placed palms up on his thighs, he breathed slowly. A hush came over him, and the whole world disappeared.

As his lungs became cleansed with the clean, fresh air he was breathing, a warmth spread through his body. He cleared his mind of all the stresses of teaching his Year 10 Art class that afternoon. Sarah Baker’s catfight with Polly James faded into insignificance, and his heart became filled with love.

“Hey, Matt, I thought I’d find you out here.”

Rosie. The girl who made his skin tingle in anticipation of being touched by her. Opening his eyes, he brought himself back to the present. “Hey, you.” A smile spread across his face. “You’re looking beautiful.”

Watching her face colour as she dipped her head towards the floor made him need to kiss her. Grabbing her hand, he pulled her down and pressed his lips to hers. A corkscrew of electricity wound its way through his core. Pulling back, he caressed her face. “I mean it, you know. You are beautiful.”

This time, she kissed him, and a forcefield of static buzzed around them. It signalled the course of true love between soulmates, and, in that moment, Matthew knew they would be together forever.

When Rosie pulled away, she leant back against the rough bark of the oak. She sighed and picked a blade of grass,

“What’s up?” Matthew always knew when people had things on their minds. His mum told him he possessed a sixth sense. It was what led him to his spiritual path. Knowing that he could intuit things that others wouldn’t begin to see, he had to share his gift with the world. As for the non believers, they were the ones missing out. And so today, he knew Rosie was unhappy. Although, admittedly, anyone could have picked up on this one.

Rosie swallowed and opened her mouth to speak. But her breathing was shallow, and her words wouldn’t come.

Taking her hand and kissing the back of it, Matthew turned his whole body to face her. “Hey, this is me you’re with here. You can tell me anything.” He continued holding her hand.

“I hate my job. No, I hate my boss, and I can’t do my job.” As she sobbed, she stared back toward the house.

Edging close enough for their hips to touch, he draped his arm around her shoulders and squeezed, then kissed the top of her head. “Damian. I should have guessed he was responsible. What’s he done now?”

“Nothing new. Only undermined every sale I made, then told me I have to see an Occupational Therapist to assess my abilities, since I had six weeks off sick with glandular fever. He hates me, Matt. He thinks I’m rubbish at my job.” She let out a wail of unhappiness and Matthew hugged her tight.

“The guy is an ass. You should quit. You don’t have to put up with that kind of crap.”

Shaking off his arm, she rounded on him. “And what would I do, exactly? I’m trained for nothing. And, can you imagine the kind of reference he would give me?”

“Hey, it’s okay. I was thinking about the book you never have time to write. You could do that. I’m making enough money teaching to take care of us. We have some saved away. We’d be fine. And you could become a world-famous writer and we could travel the world, promoting it.” His blue eyes sparkled as he spoke, but Rosie just shook her head.

“I can’t quit my job to write a book I don’t even know if I can write. It’s too risky.”

“Okay. Well, oh yes, even better. We’ll both quit, and we could travel to remote areas of Africa or, like, the Himalayas, or somewhere, and we could teach them. We wouldn’t need money. We could volunteer with charities. Oh, that would be so good. Wouldn’t it?”

He looked at her as a lone tear drifted down her cheek. Using his thumb, he wiped it away. It hurt his heart to see the love of his life this unhappy. He kissed the spot where the tear had been. “Sorry, I got a little carried away, didn’t I?”

With a laugh, she smiled at him. “Yes, just a little. But you’re right about one thing: I do need to find a new job.”

“And I’ll help you. We’ll get you away from that nasty piece of work that calls himself a boss. I won’t let him hurt you again. I promise.”

“I know,” she said as she started to stand.

Holding onto her hand, he pulled her back down. “Don’t go inside just yet. Sit here with me on my magic carpet, and I’ll take us on a ride of your choice.”

After tapping his arm playfully, she said, “Okay. The Maldives, please. Expensive and showy, but I need some white sands and sun.”

As he began to describe the scenery in the countries they floated over, he could sense Rosie’s shoulders relaxing and her hurt melting away.

the ledge

The Ledge

the ledge

at night, he crawls through the
crack in the curtains;
false teeth snarling,
rotten gravestones covered in scum,
. . . which one is for me?
i cocoon myself in the
puppy-dog covers
(all that’s left of my youth)
a tremor in my little finger
the only tell of my
f e a r
eyes scrunched up,
years of training bid me,
don’t look . . .
cognac and old spice,
which have no right to
linger on a young girl’s skin,
flip my stomach and
heat rushes my cheeks
as i swallow the bitter
in my throat.

when i wake,
frigid night air dimples my skin,
strong hands grip my arms
and the voice that speaks my name
has that
sexy American twang
i peek at my husband
whose animated eyebrows
dance on his
crimson face,
and like a far-off view
through someone else’s binoculars
the room comes into focus;
i’m an adult
i’m safe
except for the window ledge and
open window
over which i hover.

i step down,
into his arms
and weep.