Resolution

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It was all ready a week into the new year and I still hadn’t decided on any resolutions. Though as my best friend had delighted in telling me, ‘goals of the new year,’ was now the fashion. Instead of being negative and ‘giving up things,’ make what you want to do more positive. So like saying ‘this year I’m going to go on a strict diet and really going to lose this weight,’ turn it around and say ‘I’m going to buy that dress one size down to inspire me eat less everyday.’  It didn’t seem to matter to me though, they both meant the same thing.

Tapping a pen from my new stationary set on the blank piece of paper before me, I wondered why I needed to write down some yearly goals anyway. What was behind this tradition of setting these goals in a new year? Why couldn’t you write them down some other time? What if you had no goals?

I slide the piece of paper away and placed the pen on top. I folded my arms over my chest and stared at them. This year, I wasn’t going to set any goals. I was just going to live how I wanted to.

 

(Inspired by; https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2018/01/04/tale-weaver-153-the-new-year-4th-january-2018/ with thanks).

Flow #writephoto

Life is like the flow of a river, I realised looking up at the waterfall from the canvas I had been painting on. You start off like a spring then become a stream, turning this way and that as you take different paths. Then you join a river and carry on going through things; some good and some bad, changing and growing older. Finally, you join the sea ending your life.

I looked down at the canvas balanced on the small easel, the painting I had done was a likeness of the waterfall and mossy rocks below, but I didn’t like it. Some of the strokes looked childlike and I really hadn’t captured the true beautiful force of the waterfall. I signed and began to pack up. It was always the same when I paused and valuated my art; I couldn’t go on when I became negative about it.

When I was done, I stood and watched the river carrying on tumbling down. The sound was so calming and mixed in with the soft singing of the birds and the rustle of the trees this place was a peaceful spot. The river then bubbled past me and away into a cluster of trees towards the next waterfall. It began raining.

I looked up at the sky frowning then ducked into the cover of some trees. A thought popped into my head; this is the full circle of water. I watched the raindrops falling in the ground and realised that we too became a part of the earth, only we didn’t raise up again. It was a morbid thought but at the same time reassuring.

The river couldn’t stop it’s flow and nor could we stop the flow of life.

 

(Inspired by https://scvincent.com/2017/09/21/thursday-photo-prompt-flow-writephoto/ with thanks).

Snow Dust

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The bench sat facing out to the water which would have froze over had it not been for the waves constant movements back and forth. A light dusting of snow covered all, making the bench useless, for who would want to sit upon it and stare out at the waters on a day like today? There was nothing to see anyway, but the cold grey sky and even duller landscape. It was enough to make anyone depressed and wishing to be beside a fire where it was bound to be warmer and happier.

Latte

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Sato felt warmed inside and out despite the rain hammering against the window. Sitting back in the over sized royal purple colored armchair, she carried on watching the wild wintry weather. Around her, the coffee shop was humming with soft voices, machines, people eating and drinking. The air was heavy with the smell of coffee beans, tea and cakes.

Wrapping her hands around the large red mug, Sato let her thoughts drift. She tried not to think too much about anything though; not her job, part-time studies, recent conversations with grandma, the breakup with her boyfriend. She thought about returning to Japan for Christmas. At least that would stop grandma complaining, but she still wouldn’t have anyone special to share Christmas Eve with.

Sighing, Sato looked into her mug at the light brown frothy top. The leaf pattern that had been drawn on top was almost gone now.

Just like autumn almost is, she thought.

Rising her head, she glanced around the coffee shop, which seemed as the weather raged outside to be too empty. There was only a few other armchairs and sofas occupied by single people or by couples. They all seemed quiet and reflective, just like her. Behind the counter, the two baristas were doing a quick clean up before someone else came in. Somehow, they were keeping their tasks quiet as if they didn’t want to disturb the peace that had settled in the air.

Sato turned back to the rain and condensation covered window. People were hurrying by tucked into coats and umbrellas. The wind was shaking the bus signpost and upturning everything it could. A car splashed through a puddle, sending spray everywhere and causing a man with a large briefcase to dodge out of the way.

In a better mood, she would have laughed at that. Instead, Sato felt slightly sorry for the man and sympathized with a near miss to her the other day. As she watched, he crossed the road and opened the door to the coffee shop. A blast of cold air and rain followed him. He went to the counter and began ordering.

A shiver ran through Sato then was gone. She un-crumbled her face and tried to go back to her thoughts again, but then she couldn’t remember what she had been thinking about. Shrugging, she brought the mug to her lips and taking a sip of sweet ginger spiced latte and let the world slide away.

Little Brother

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We always knew when my brother was coming. Everyone knew. My mother would hurry around the house, removing everything that wasn’t nailed down and locking it in her bedroom. She would put the baby gate at the bottom of the stairs and make sure the back door and windows were all locked.

I hide in my bedroom, playing Xbox 360 games and listening to music till it was over. Then she would call me downstairs and we would stand in the living room, waiting. Looking out of the window at the neighboring houses, I noticed their drawn curtains and how quiet the street had become. So usual for a Saturday afternoon, but it was like this every other weekend.

The sound of a mini bus engine broke the stillness and I saw flashes of white from the other side of the hedge. My mother walked out of the room and to the front door, long skirts swishing around her. I stayed put tightening and un-tightening my fists, wondering what was going to happen during this visit.

The door opened and voices came from the hallway. I turned, sighing deeply as footsteps approached then my brother appeared in the doorway. He looked the same as always, a tall, thin mid-twenties man, with too short blond hair and bright blue eyes. He looked too pale, like he was ill, but really he just needed more sunlight. He was wearing black jog pants and a plain blue t-shirt and black jacket.  He smile at me, made a gurgling noise then inspected the living room.

My mother and a male carer from the disability home appeared. They sat on the sofa and fell into the normal conversation about how my brother had been. I watched them for a few moments then decided I should go and put the kettle on. I went into the kitchen, aware that my brother was trailing behind me.

I ignored him and went about making everyone a cup of tea. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my brother opening cupboards and searching through them.

‘No. Peter. Stop,’ I said firmly.

I closed the cupboard he was in and took his hand. He made some moaning sounds as I dragged him back to the living room. Pushing him through the door, I went back into the kitchen again. He shouted something and followed me again. I crossed my arms and watched him opening and closing another cupboard door.

Putting the drinks on a tray, I took them into the living room and placed them on a table. With thanks, my mother and the carer took mugs and carried on talking. I sat down in the armchair next to the window and faked interested outside. I just wanted this to be over already, but there was still two hours to go.

‘He took part in art yesterday and he’ progressing well,’ the carer’s voice drifted over.

‘And has he been eating okay?’ my mother asked.

‘Not really, but he’s been better then other week. He’s been fussing less, but we are still finding it challenging.’

From the kitchen my brother let out a scream and the sound of water rushing out of the tap could be heard. My mother shot me a look, which I pretend not to see. She got up and brought my brother back into the room.

‘Drink your tea, Peter. Adam, made it just for you. It’s nice,’ my mother said.

She sat my brother down in the other chair and give him his tea. Even though it was far too hot to drink, he sipped it anyway. He made some happy giggling sound then in three or so gulps drink the whole thing.

‘Fastest ever tea drinker,’ the carer said.

My brother got up, handed the mug to him and wondered out of the room again.

‘Adam. Go and keep an eye on him,’ my mother demanded.

Groaning, I got up and started trailing my brother throughout the house. He went into the kitchen again and messed around in there before going to the dinning room. He scared the cat and chased her around, till she scratched him and I had to stop him from kicking her. Picking the cat up, I took her to my mother, then followed my brother upstairs.

He went into the bathroom and was using the toilet before I could give him some privacy. I pulled the door too and stood there rubbing my forehead. A headache was building already. I heard the toilet flush and the sink tap running. My brother made his happy noises then squealed.

I rushed in and turned the taps off. He’d burnt his hands again. I give him a towel which he just dropped on the floor. Ignoring me, he walked out and down the hallway. He went into his old bedroom and I followed him. I turned the light on and watched him looking at a few childhood things on the shelves.

My mind pinged with an idea and I opened the wardrobe. I pulled out a box and opened it. Inside was a train set. Sitting on the floor, I begin to take it out and set it up. My brother watched me for a few moments, then joined me. In silence, we made a track and played with the trains. Then my brother broke into loud laughter.

He smashed two of the trains together and laughed even more.

‘No. Don’t do that! Stop!’ I shouted.

A train whizzed past me. The sound echoing in my ear. I turned my head and saw the toy land in the doorway. I started turning back and the second train hit me in the face.

‘Peter! Bad!’ I yelled.

My brother just laughed.

Growling, I snatched up the train set and packed it away. Collecting the two train engines, I shoved them in last and put the box away. Then I walked out and into my own bedroom. I locked the door behind me and sat on my bed. I rubbed my face, which was stinging, but not cut.

Hands banged on my door and my brother began wailing. Trying to ignore him, I grabbed a pillow and wrapped it around my head. He started kicking my door and screaming.

My mother’s voice rang out then I heard her and the carer wrestling my brother away. They took him downstairs where I heard him throw a tantrum. It took them a long time to calm him, then I heard the front door open and the mini bus engine.

Soon my mother was knocking on my door. I just wanted her to go away, but I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I let her in and we sat on my bed. I told her what had happened and she put an arm around me. Offering me a little comfort.

‘You must try harder,’ she said.

I fought down my words. It was pointless arguing. She left and I stayed on my bed thinking about how easily I could have been born my brother and he could have been born me. Both of us are unlucky, but he has come off worse. I know I should be grateful for the life I’ve got, but I’d rather we’d not been born because for us living with autism is just too hard.

Dear Diary #17

Dear Diary,

It’s the start of a new year and I’m still drunk. It must have been about five am when I got home and god the taxi must have been expensive. Though, I might have brought some wine and other stuff before going to Alex’s, but I really don’t remember.

What I do remember is that we all had a great time and no one ended up in hospital like last year. I think Sophie threw up on the stairs just before eleven then fell down them. At least I think it was her. It could have been Sammy, she’s never been a good drinker. Whoever it was seemed fine though. The last thing I remember was counting down to midnight and standing in the drizzle watching fireworks.

My new job starts this Monday now, meaning I’ll have broken two years of unemployment and the dole. Hopefully, I’ll break my third year single status too. I wanted that to be my New Year resolution. The only reason I remember what everyone’s was, is because Alex wrote them down and give everyone the list.

Mine caused arguments because most of the girls said finding a boyfriend wasn’t a resolution and it had to be something you wanted to give up. Penny and Lucy were in my corner and agreed that the resolution didn’t have to be like that anymore and could be a goal you want to achieve. In the end, I changed it to stop buying large amounts of clothes that I don’t wear and stop wasting money, which I now need to save up to buy a car with.

Alex and Sophie had as theirs; to go on a diet and loose like a quarter or half of their current weights. I never understand that one because they both look skinny anyway and no one ever really sticks with it. Sammy said she was giving up drinking for the year. Penny was giving up chocolate, which is one I could never do and really I don’t see her being able to do it. Lucy’s resolution was to plan her wedding as Dan had asked her on Christmas Eve.

Some of us said she couldn’t have that, but she and the bridesmaids to be –who just happened to be Alex, Sophie, Sammy and Becky-voted it was allowed. I did try to use that to argue the case for my boyfriend one, but it didn’t work. The last two on the list,Becky and Krystal both decided to quit smoking.

Anyway, I’m still keeping finding a boyfriend on my personal list. Maybe, I can find an okay dating website to join?

 

Boxing Day

Casey went downstairs, tying her new dress grown closed, before she looked over her living room and saw the after Christmas mess. She stopped and sighed deeply as her migraine throbbed in her temple. She shut her eyes then opened them again, but the scene before her hadn’t changed.

Casey could hardly see the dark patterned carpet under all the brightly coloured wrapping paper. The jolly eyes of printed penguins, reindeers and snowmen bobbed before her. She looked away and to the Christmas tree in the far corner. The pine needles were already starting to drop as if the tree realised its use was over. Not even the pretty decorations could make it look happy again.

She went down and staying close to the panelled staircase, went to the kitchen door. She kicked wrapping paper out of the way with her slippered feet and smelt a mixture of bad things. She paused and looked sadly around the room, trying to figure out where the smell of old farts, leftover food and pee was coming from.

A soft crying got her attention and she walked into the kitchen and found her daughter’s Christmas present from Uncle Ron. Casey opened the crate and let the tiny puppy out. The fluffy white ball jumped at her hand and smeared it’s tongue over her hands. She picked the puppy up and went over to the back door.

Letting the new pet out, Casey searched the kitchen for some pain killers. Finding and taking them, she made herself a cup of tea whilst looking around the kitchen. Dirty pots were stacked in the sink and the tap was dripping water over them. All the surfaces, including the old buckling table were covered in the remains of Christmas food and random party items.

Casey let the puppy back in then breaking her rule from yesterday, took it upstairs with the mug of tea. She went back into her bedroom, placed the puppy and mug down, then got back into her bed next to her husband. He was snoring heavily, dead to the world. She snuggled the puppy and drink her tea.

The migraine cleared a little and she could not help but smile as she reflected on a good Christmas day. The clean-up still wasn’t going to be fun though.

Life’s Given (part 1)

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The waves splashed up around the car as Colin cut the engine, having decided he’d driven far enough. He took his hands off the steering wheel and dropped them into his lap. Staying seriously still, he looked out of the windscreen and watched the white topped sea engulfing the car. He let the rocking motion, more powerful now then when he had first headed in, sooth him.

Tears started in his brown eyes, but he no longer had the energy to rub them away. They leaked down his cheek and chin before falling on to the dirty white shirt. His bloodless, bitten lips trembled and soft sobbing escaped his mouth. He lent back and shut his eyes, allowing the sea to carry him away like a lost boat.

When Colin opened his eyes again, due by the cruel cries of seagulls, he saw that the sky had darkened and it was now raining. He looked out of the side window and saw that the sea was lapping halfway up the door. Moving back, he noticed his feet were wet and a quick glance down confirmed that the salty water had found ways into the car.

He wiped his damp face, moving back loose strands of dark brown hair then got back to waiting. He could hear the waves roaring outside and the strangled cries of the gulls still. Spray and rain mixed on the window, clouding his view and Colin felt himself on the edge of breaking down again. He let it come and sat there crying loudly as the sea broke through the glass.

***

Summer ended and Colin convinced himself so had his life. Bitter and hungover, he packed up the last of his boxes into the car. Refusing to look back at the house he had spent his whole adult life living in and fighting for. He got in, flicked the engine on and drove off. The swinging For Sale sign filling his review mirror. He drove straight into town and once there pawned the rest of his valuables.

He stopped at a cash machine and tried his card, but it wasn’t accepted. Out of habit, he put it back into was wallet with the two hundred pounds he’d just got and went back to the car. Sinking behind the wheel, he watched people roaming around the car park and going about their daily lives. His throat felt chocked, he thought about getting out again and going to buy a coffee.

‘Waste of money,’ he muttered to himself.

He pulled a jumper over his knees and grabbed a tatty science fiction novel from the passenger seat. He sat there reading and pretending he was waiting for someone. He read for an hour before deciding to take a nap. Wrapping himself in more winter clothes, he shut his eyes and pictured his bed back home. Soon, he was sleeping as peacefully as a kitten.

A loud tapping brought him awake. Colin opened his eyes and started out at the car park attendant. He went to open the window then remembered the engine was off, so opened the door instead.

‘You okay, sir?’ the large African man asked him.

Colin nodded, ‘I was waiting for someone,’ he mumbled.

He saw the attendant’s eyes flicking through the packed up car before zoning back to him.

‘The car park is shutting; I’m going to need you to leave.’

‘Of course, of course, I’m so sorry,’ Colin rushed.

He closed his door and started the car. He strapped his seat belt on then put the car into reverse and drove off. For a few minutes, he didn’t think about what he was doing, just that he had to get away. Then, he realised he was heading home and almost slammed on the brakes. Approaching around about, he followed the signs for the motorway and decided to head to the coast.

At least there I might be less disturbed, he thought.

Two hours later, he pulled up in an empty beach carpark. The tide was in and night was coming on fast. He glanced around and thought about finding a hotel. Another waste of money and what’s in my wallet is what I have, he signed. Getting out of the car, he went to the public toilets which stink of stale waste and salt.

Coming out again was a great relief and he hurried into his car once more. Locking himself in, he wrapped the same clothes around his tried, hungry body and pulled out his book again. He disappeared between the pages.

***

Colin was sick of hearing condolences. He had removed the phone cable and found a new best friend in cheap alcohol. He sat before the TV on the sofa or else sprawled on his bed and let the hours trickle passed. He tried not to look around the house or even think about anything, but it was too hard to do.

Sympathy cards lined the window sill, causing him to painfully remember the other two times that they had appeared. He got up, collected them all and threw them into the bin. Feeling slightly better, he looked around and decided to do the same to her things. He grabbed some bin bags and starting in the wardrobe, removed all of her clothes. He tried not to look and dwell as he did so, but still his thoughts couldn’t help it.

Here’s that red dress she wore for our last date. The sexy underwear I got her for Christmas. A witch’s Halloween costume for that big party last October. The purple high heels she looked wonderful in. Work clothes that would make the teenage office boys blush. Night clothes and underwear for the hospital stays. Slippers.

He was crying before he knew it. Stuffing as much as possible in, he then took the bags outside and dumped them in the garden. Coming back, he went through the rest of her stuff and added that to the pile outside. He wrestled with the memories and drank more heavily to forget. Collapsing onto the bed, he fell asleep in an emptier house then before.

Strangely, he dreamed of her funeral, though it wasn’t the actual one. The small church was humming with people singing hymns and he was walking up to the open casket. He looked in and saw his wife laying there. She was wearing a plain black frilled dress, oddly cut too low so that her breast stuck invitingly up. Her thin, needle scared arms lay beside her wilted torsos and he was confused for a few moments. This isn’t her!

Then he recalled the cancer. She had been eaten away and now this husk was all that was left. He looked closely at her face and saw that it really was her. He would always know the bow of her lips and button of her nose. Someone had put makeup on her, but it was too soft and made her look too natural. Where were the vibrate colours she was famous for?

He backed away as the priest rose and began tolling words from a little black book.

‘It’s wrong!’ he screamed, ‘So wrong! Stop! No!’

He rushed at the people in the pews, but he went right through them and the wooden seats. He spun and charged the priest, but the same effected happened. He went to her coffin and slipping his hands underneath her pulled her body out. He clutched his dead wife to his chest and cried hard, ‘Don’t leave me!’

To Be Continued…