Fading #writephoto

The storm was fading and the sky looked peaceful once more. Casey had her doubts though. This suddenly burst of autumn weather wasn’t to be trusted. She pressed her head against the wall and looked through the collection of rain drops on the window. She could see a hazy outline of the sea and the docks. Working boats rocked on the still violent waves.

Casey’s fingers curled the corners of the book resting against her drawn up knees. It had been a day like this, five years ago, that she had lost her family on. They had taken their boats out to drag in their nets before a storm had hit. Casey had been ill and had to stay home which had saved her life. Though some days, she wished things had been different.

Turning away from the window, she looked up above the fireplace in which a fire was burning brightly and wrapping warmth around her. A painted portrait of her family hung there, dating back eight years or so ago. There was her mother and father, dressed in their Sunday best clothes and not their working clothes which Casey always remembered them in.

Mother was smiling, happy to be doing something exciting. Her curling blonde hair was down and she looked years younger. She was also holding a blanket wrapped baby in her arms which if Casey recalled was her sister Rose who had died at a few months old. Father looked the opposite of mother, he looked stern, proud and a lot older then he actually was because of the hard life he led.

Four children stood in front of them; three boys and a girl, all dressed in their Sunday clothes too. Casey avoided looking at her eight year old self and focused on her brothers. She whispered their names under their breath, ‘Will, Luke and Tom.’ They looked excited and trying to stay still, though it was hard. They had pretty much grown up into young men the last day she had seen them.

Casey turned back to the window as she heard a low rumble of thunder. A new storm was starting up and the sky was becoming dark once more. Rain splattered the window then began falling down in sweeping pattern. The lighting flashed and Casey’s fingers tightened on the book so that the corners and edge left an imprint in her palms.

There was a knock at her door. She let the book fall from her hands then closed it and slide it under a cushion of the window box. The door opened before she had time to invite the person in. Her uncle’s large framed filled the doorway, his stomach almost bursting out of his white shirt and green waist coat. He smiled at her but then began frowning as he walked across the room.

Casey stood, smoothing out any folds or wrinkles in her long blue and white dress. She clasped her hands and tried to look calm but nervous were over welling her. She give her uncle a bob of respected then avoided looking at him. Not because she feared him or was embarrassed, it was because over the last year her attitude towards him had changed.

‘I hope this dreadful weather clears for your wedding tomorrow,’ he spoke in a gruff voice.

‘I hope so to, uncle,’ Casey uttered.

‘The final preparations will be done this afternoon.’

Casey stole a few glances at him, he seemed to want to say more but was holding back.

He would still rather have wed me off to someone else instead of his son, Casey realised.

‘You will join us for dinner,’ her uncle spoke, ‘some of the guests have already started arriving. Your lack of presence will be noticed if you don’t.’

He shot her a disappointed look then with a sweep of his long black jacket, he turned and left the room. The door clicking shut behind him.

Casey folded into the window box. Holding herself and trying not to cry. Outside the wind howled and threw rain at the window whilst sea waves bashed into boats and the shore. She looked out trying to distract herself but her eyes were drawn somewhere else.

‘This is all your fault,’ Casey whispered looking up at her family portrait, ‘if you had not all died then I would not have to marry my cousin.’

Casey pressed her head into her knees and took some deep breaths. Even though her life was about to change dramatically from fisherman’s daughter to middle class man’s wife, she refused to let her true self fade away.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2017/09/07/thursday-photo-prompt-fading-writephoto/ with thanks.)

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Job Hunter

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She set out to find a new job knowing that there was a whole ocean to cross before she got anywhere. However, she had braved this ocean before so, it wasn’t as scary but still she prepared her CV boat with a heavy heart. Later, she cast away and hoped that this time she could weather the storm again.

The Searcher

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He haunted libraries like a vengeful ghost feverish on his mission. He sat for hours reading so many different books that the librarians lost track of what he had loaned. What he truly sought no one knew and perhaps the answer wasn’t clear to him either.

When he had exhausted all the public libraries in the country which surprisingly hadn’t taken him very long because all he did was read, he started to join collages, universities and other such places. Even if he couldn’t get in, he found a way for the books to get to him.

People began to take notice and soon he was interesting a lot more minds then just the librarians. Students and tutors would seek him out and ask him what he was doing, but he wouldn’t answer. No one ever knew what his secrets were but other people have now made it their life goal to find out.

Dear Diary #37

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Dear Diary,

Autumn is finally back! Though the last few weeks of August have felt boarder line. There’s been lots of rain, less sun and a dip in the temperature. So, the change in season isn’t much of a shock. I should’ve known it was getting close to September because of all the back to school and autumn themed stuff in the shops.

I brought some notebooks, pens, colouring felt tips and two colouring books. They were in the sale and were really cheap. It’s a good time of year to top up on stationary! They’ll be selling the rest of it off soon. Though how many notebooks and pens does an old woman actually needs?

The roads are going to be so bad again this week which makes me grateful I don’t drive anymore. Though, it’ll give me something to watch out of the windows in the morning! The buses will also be packed, good job I can only travel after nine on my bus pass but I’ll have to be careful getting back in-between two and four. Must remember to all my shopping before lunchtime now.

I’ll be able to lit my fire again too. I wonder if Mr. Haydock from next door will help me collect the wood and coal like he did last year? Between you and me, I’m sure his affections have grown but he’s been too busy with his gardening and veggies these last few months. Perhaps, if I put a bit more effort into things?

Maybe, I’m too old for all of that, but it would be nice! To have a companion again, someone to share meals, TV shows and a bed with….I’m getting too ahead of myself! I have Misty, but I swear she has her own life and only meows when she wants something. It’d be nice to a have real conventions with someone. Not that the chats I have with the girls at the day centre are not real but they tend to be full of gossip!

It’s getting darker outside now and it’s only about eight-ish. A sure sign that things are about to change. I need to get up and turn the lights on, plus it’s almost time for some TV shows and a cup of tea. In a few weeks, I’ll be able to feel the cold in these old bones but I won’t mind. I do so love autumn!

Summer Cold

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You had been feeling run down all of yesterday but you had thought you were just tried after running from meeting to meeting. Now though, as you wake up, you realise you have a cold. Struggling to get up, you hope a shower and a cup of tea will help. Doing that seems to help but even before you get dressed you know you’re not going to make it.

You phone in sick and crawl back to bed, feeling guilty. You should go in but your head is pounding, your nose dripping and your eyes feel so tried, you don’t feel like you’ve just been asleep. You pull the duvet over our head, nestle into the pillow and let sleep cart you away again.

Vacation

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It was that time of year again and as she looked out of her office window, she long to be away. Some place quiet and warm. Where it was always sunny and not raining. Where blue ocean meet white sands and the sky went on forever. Turning back to her computer, she did a quick search on a travel site and a few clicks later, she had booked a week’s holiday on a beach.

Village Bakery

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Every morning, Jenny got up and went to her family’s bakery. Always the first to arrive, she tied on a clean pale blue apron over her black pants and white blouse then set about the morning tasks. Firstly,  she took the now clean aprons out of the washing machine and hung them up on the line in the little yard. The sun was just coming up and there was only the sounds of birds to be heard.

Secondly, she checked the stock rooms and made a list of everything that needed re-ordering then Jenny placed that notepad on her grandpa’s desk for him to see. There was no need for her to clean anything as her grandma and mother tided when they closed then again before they opened.

Tying back her short chestnut brown hair and washing her hands, Jenny went to the back kitchen and the bookcase of recipe books. Even thought she knew how to make everything the bakery sold with her eyes shut, she still liked the comfort of the big, overused books. Selecting one which was all in her great-grandmother’s handwriting, Jenny placed it on the book stand and flipped through the pages.

Grabbing the ingredients, she began to make a few different loafs of bread. It didn’t really matter what kinds they were because the second they were on the shop’s shelves they would start to be bought. Having mixed, divided and put the additional ingredients in to the batches, she let all the dough proof.

At that time, other family members began arriving; Jenny’s parents and grandparents. Greeting each other, they all began their morning tasks. Her mother and grandma cleaning everything, her grandpa going in his office to do paperwork, her dad coming to help with the baking.

As the sun fully rose on another picture perfect summer day, the villagers and tourist started awaking. The lovely aroma of freshly baked bread filled the warm air. The bell above the bakery door tinkled and the first customer arrived. Jenny smiled as she heard an old man’s voice asking what bread there was this morning.

Her grandmother began answering as her father pulled a tray stacked with white and brown loafs out and carried it into the shop. Jenny breathed in deeply, shutting her eyes. There was no better job in the world she decided.

Spare Change

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Normally, I wouldn’t have stopped but today I was feeling too happy, so when I spotted the homeless man sitting against the car park wall, my hand was already going to my pocket.

‘Got any change?’ he asked in crackling, horse voice.

‘Maybe. Sure,’ I added.

I removed my hand and opened my palm. The coins were digging against my fingers, so I moved them and looked closely what I had. Counting out a one pound in the sliver coins, I give them to his out stretched hand. His hand was filthy, his fingernails black with dirt and his skin dark with too sun and not enough washing.

‘Thank you,’ he replied.

I nodded and made to move off as he dropped the coins to the ground in front of him.

‘How old do you think you are?’ he asked suddenly.

I paused. His voice was calm and curious, not mocking or angry.

‘Well…I know how old I am….twenty-nine,’ I answered.

‘No, no, no! A woman should never tell a man her age!’ the homeless man gasped.

‘I don’t mind….’

He shook his head, ‘let me tell you how old you look….twenty-four!’

‘Well, thanks. I’m use to people telling me I’m younger,’ I explained and smiled.

‘Do you remember the sixties?’ he asked.

‘Erm…no….Sorry, but I…’

I started to shuffle away, regretting I’d stopped in the first place.

‘Let me tell you want happened!’ he shouted.

‘I have to be somewhere,’ I spoke.

‘My wife got pregnant,’ he cut in, ignoring me, ‘only I was shooting blanks, so I knew it couldn’t be mine.’

‘Oh…’

‘Shooting blanks, I was!’ he shouted and burst into laughter.

I felt the urge to get away growing. Something wasn’t right about this man and I was feeling uncomfy. My good karma was fading and I reminded myself this was why I didn’t give money to the homeless.

‘I knew it wasn’t mine,’ he ranted, ‘so, I looked and looked and found she was having an affair with her best friend’s husband! The baby was his. So, I left.’

He waved his hands around then leered at me. For the first time I fully took him in. He had black hair, streaked mostly grey that was long and shaggy. He had a short beard that was also grey and his face was wrinkled like a dried fruit, making him twenty years older then he seemed. His dark blue eyes looked worn and heavy, he’d seen too much bad stuff. He was wearing an ancient track suit that might have once been blue but was now holey and dark with age and dirt.

‘Okay. I’m sorry about that, but I really have to go now,’ I said gently.

He moved as if to reach my hand and I stepped back but he was merely shifting around.

‘You know what they named him?’ the homeless man asked.

I shook my head.

‘Hal. Do you know what it means? First seed,’ he snapped.

I pressed my lips together and eyed the exit door, it was only a few steps away and I could make that in a few seconds, especially, if I ran.

‘Hal! They did it to spite me! Are you religious? You don’t look it. But it’s in the Bible that.’

‘I am actually,’ I uttered.

The homeless man didn’t seem to care any more. From under his jacket, he pulled out a white rosary and danged it between his fingers.

I nodded to him.

He began to play with the beads, muttering to himself. Perhaps it was a prayer.

‘Well, bye,’ I said and walked away, what else could I have done?

One Moment

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It had been a last minute decision that changed our lives forever. Getting into my car, I watched from the rear view mirror as my wife checked our ten year old twins were strapped into the back of her car. Then she walked around and got behind the wheel.

Starting my car’s engine, I glanced at my fourteen year old son, sat now in the passenger seat on his phone. He had been the trouble of all this and the reason why we now had to take two cars on holiday instead of one.

Sighing and partly blaming myself, I drove off. For years, my wife had been trying to get us to buy a bigger car but we couldn’t offered it, unless we got rid of both smaller cars and that would have meant one of us taking the train to work. Getting those thoughts out of my head as I reached the motorway, I tried to think of everything we had to look forward to.

The six hour journey to Cornwall always felt like forever. I found my driving quieter though as the twins weren’t bugging me and my son was too busy on his phone or playing games. I put the radio on and let the rhythm of the music mix with the steady engine.

After stopping at a services and having a quick meet up, we carried on the last leg of the drive. It was a few miles before the turn off,  that I checked my mirrors and saw a lorry swerve lanes and plough side on into the car behind me. My heart stopped and I couldn’t breath but then I had to focus. I slowed and pulled over, praying that car hadn’t been my wife’s.

Yelling at my son to stay, I dashed out and ran to the scene of the wreckage. The car had spun off the hard shoulder and was laying in a tangle remains of trees and undergrowth. I didn’t even look at the lorry as I pulled open the driver’s door. And even though I knew, I was still fighting for it not to be true.

Dear Diary #36

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Dear Diary,

I’ve lost the inspiration and motivation again. It’s like there’s a light bulb above my head that burns bright for a few days then dims and dims till it goes out. Turning it back on is so hard. And I swear each time it takes longer and gets more difficult.

I know what people say; ‘you shouldn’t wait for inspiration,’ ‘find your own motivation,’ ‘just keep going and working through no matter what you feel that day.’

But they are not me.

Someone of them are more successful and they use that to conquer the bad days. Others, have to do it because otherwise they won’t survive so they can’t give up. The rest are chasing their dream, the knowledge of one day getting there seeing them through.

I’m in between all of that; successful but not, surviving just, wanting the dream but also boarder line living it.

Everyday I see people moving on with their lives; getting married, having kids, getting a house, getting a better job, a new car, holidays and celebrations. Getting divorced, losing everything, maybe living on the streets for awhile but then rising back up like a phoenix and going through it all again.

Whilst, I feel trapped. I’m living through the characters I write about, seeing the world and problems through them, feeling their emotions. Some say that’s living better then anyone else, for why would you actually want to go through that?

You know what I call it? Fake living.

I can go to the park and watch the children playing and the parents talking and instead of thinking about my own life, I’m thinking about theirs’. What would happen if a child went suddenly missing? Or if that mum told that mum that she had slept with her husband? Why is that dad alone this afternoon? Is the man with the cap covering his face and trying to look normal really up to something bad?

Those thoughts can’t be helped. I try to stop the flow, to think of things I believe normal people think about; have a left the stove on? When are my library books due back? What happened to that girl I swapped numbers with at the bar last weekend? My life would be easier if that was the only stuff in my head.

I don’t know what to do about this lack of motivation again. I should maybe take a holiday, go some place new. Meet some new people too. Have a life again. It’s all well and good to live in your own fantasy world all the time, but sooner or later, you realise that it’s just not the real world no matter how hard you try.