{Writing Wednesday} – There Was Too Much Dust

Writing Prompts. Every writer has used them at some point in their career, (whether willingly or not.) They’re like an adrenaline shot to your muse. You know, usually.
Looking for a way to keep our writing fresh and versatile, my friend Anna and I are going to be starting a prompt inspired post that we call Writing Wednesdays.

Breakdown: Every first and third Wednesday of the month, on both Anna‘s blog and mine, we’ll post a prompt that we’ve either found or come up with ourselves, as well as our own flash fiction or short story for that prompt. Please feel free to join us! Just make sure that when you post, you link your work back – and comment with a link – to one of ours so everyone can read yours too!

PROMPT: There was too much dust.

(From @writingprompt)

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The Long Lost Letter | Daily Prompt: Your Days are Numbered

It’s January 26. Write a post in which the number 26 plays a role.

——————-

Today was Friday, and Jason hated Fridays. They meant there was two days ahead of him with no work and nothing better to entertain himself with. Another weekend of sheer boredom and a complete lack of social life.

On the way up to his flat  he stopped at the mailboxes and, after fighting with the stubborn lock on his box, grabbed out the handful of envelopes. He then stormed up to the cramped flat and began flipping through the glossy mail, tossing them into little piles on the kitchen table. Bill, bill, advert, garbage, advert, bill, letter…

Wait, he never got letters, not since Aunt Maggie died two years ago.

Frowning, Jason squinted at the envelope. It was aged and worn, the paper yellowed and one corner torn. The address was written in a cramped script and smudged ink, addressed to Eleanor Matthews. It took him a minute to realise that the number on the address had been smeared; what looked like a three was actually a two.

“Incompetent,” Jason grumbled irritably. For a minute he considered just tossing it in the trash and leaving it, but his hand hesitated above the bin. The letter was clearly very old. It must’ve been lost at the post office a while and just discovered. He felt the envelope – there was a distinct rustle of paper but there was also something else inside the envelope, something small and much thicker.

With an annoyed huff, he threw the rest of the adverts and grocery coupons on the table and let himself out of the flat. It was easier not to wait for the lift so he jogged down the stairs to the second floor and then checked the numbers beside the doors. Twenty-eight, twenty-seven… Ah, twenty-six. Jason tried to wedge the letter beneath the door but it wouldn’t fit through the narrow gap. Resigned, Jason knocked.

It took a minute before the lock on the door clicked and it opened. The woman beyond the door had to have been at least in her seventies, with closely cropped white curls and clusters of wrinkles around her mouth and eyes. She blinked up at him pleasantly with pale blue eyes and adjusted the collar of her floral dress. “Hello, young man, can I help you?”

“Yes, sorry, it’s just the postman gave me a letter and I think it was meant for you,” Jason explained. “You’re Eleanor Matthews?”

She giggled, a sound almost too girly for a woman of her age. “Oh I haven’t been Matthews for a long time,” she said. “That was my maiden name.”

“Well this is for you then,” I said, handing the envelope to her.

Eleanor accepted the envelope, glanced at the return address, and a startled sob escaped her. With a thumb she slit the top open and glanced inside. She immediately put a hand over her heart and Jason was surprised to see that her eyes had welled with tears. “Ma’am, you okay?” Jason asked uncertainly.

“I just – I never expected to get a letter from him again,” she said.

The hand clutching the envelope was shaking and Jason watched her pale face hesitantly. “Ma’am, do you need to sit down?” Jason asked. Eleanor had her free hand pressed against her mouth and she nodded. Jason took her arm and led her into the living room of her flat, easing her down into an armchair. He hovered awkwardly for a moment before sitting down on the sofa opposite her. “Is there anything I can do for you?”

“No, it’s fine. You’re such a dear,” Eleanor said, finally looking up from the envelope to meet his gaze. Her eyes had reddened and there was a tear sneaking down her cheek. “It’s just – this letter came fifty years too late. And still, I’m am so, so glad it arrived.” She reached into the envelope and pulled out the bulkier object; a slim, silver ring with a little square diamond.

“Is that-?” Jason stopped, wondering if he was going too far in asking, but Eleanor smiled at him.

“Would you like to hear a story, young man?” she asked, and when Jason nodded, she began to spin a tale. It was a story of a passionate romance; a young girl, just turned eighteen,  met a brave soldier. They shared a wild summer of love then he got the papers, he’d been called to return to service. He flew to Vietnam at the beginning of the autumn with a promise that he would return home and marry her and give her the perfect life.

“For three months I received letters, and then one day the letters just stopped,” she said. “I waited for months and months but nothing new ever arrived. I thought that he had grown tired of me, the silly little girl that was completely enamoured with him. I thought he must’ve gotten bored with me or found himself someone better.

“I was heartbroken, of course, but with time I got over it. The war ended, I married a carpenter from my hometown, and we had a wonderful life. It wasn’t until I was a grandmother that I finally found out the truth. My Freddie had died after four months in Vietnam, in a firefight in the jungle. That was why he’d never written, why he’d never come home to me.”

She admired the modest ring in her hand, her eyes watering. She slipped it carefully onto her finger above the gold band that already sat there. Then she pulled out the letter and unfolded it, her eyes narrowed as she squinted down at the faded ink. “I can’t read this,” she said, “I need my reading glasses. Or, could you, love?”

“Oh, sure,” Jason said, taking the paper as she offered it out to him. He smoothed out the paper and cleared his throat. “My dearest Ellie. I miss you more than ever and I count down the days until my tour is over and I can come home to you. Until then, I want you to wear this for me. I found it in a shop here in Hanoi. I promised you that one day I would return and marry you and give you the life you deserve. This is my first step in that. Love always, your Freddie.”

Eleanor sniffled, dabbing at her eyes with a tissue she’d pulled from her pocket. “Oh Freddie,” she said. She twisted the ring around her finger and then sat up. Her eyes were still red but she was smiling. “He was such a lovely man.” She tucked her tissue back into the pocket of her dress and then leaned over to pat Jason’s knee. “Would you like some dinner? I have a casserole in the freezer that I was going to warm up.”

“I’d love to,” Jason said with a smile.

And that was how he earned himself a weekly invitation to Eleanor’s flat for dinner, and how Fridays became his favourite day of the week.

——————-

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I Will Never Forget | An Original Poem

I will never forget
Your strong, intense eyes;
Clearer than diamonds,
And bluer than skies.

I will never forget
Your passionate smile,
Wild and exotic,
Yet timid and mild.

I will never forget
The touch of your hand.
So warm and gentle,
Like walking on sand.

I will never forget
Your true, warm embrace,
Together so close
Our two hearts do race.

I will never forget
The brush of your kiss
Soft, exhilarating,
So passionate this.

I will never forget
The depth of your love,
Much truer than life,
A gift from above.

I will never forget
How I feel for you.
I know nothing else
Could be so true.

Yet time rusts all things
And we’ve grown apart.
We went different ways,
Both with broken hearts.

As the years fly away
I look back on our time.
In remembrance of passion
I reflect with this rhyme.

Alone we both are
Yet even though love fled
The memories of our romance
Are still not quite dead.

Until the day I retire
To that eternal repose
My feelings for you
Are ones that I chose.

And you, I will never forget…

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Two Birds, One Stone | An Original Poem

I sit in my window and look to outside,
Where a pair of red robins flutter and glide.

I’ve always wondered, two birds with one stone.
How to take out birds two with one rock alone.

My big brother bets that it can’t be done,
And the ten dollar bribe got me out in the sun.

They chatter and bounce and jitter and pop.
It does seem unreal their heads I could bop.

I finger the pebble I’ve scooped from the ground,
A coarse chunk of earth that’s not even round.

I know my task is fruitless and even quite folly,
For this chip could not kill those birds near the holly.

With a half hearted move, I toss it away.
A better weapon is needed to battle this prey.

The targets have lighted where I’ve spread out the seed,
In a spot of warm grass and dandelion weed.

As I start t’ward the place where the little birds jump,
I find my great power beside a tree stump.

I pick up my tool, a wide and flat rock,
And its scarred visage resembles a clock.

How fitting an end to the birds’ happy rhyme,
A ruthless demise ‘neath the forces of time.

In a movement so quick you could call it a fling,
I hurl the villainous, treacherous thing.

The birds just keep eating the seeds from the treads
Despite the disc sailing t’ward their downy heads.

With a crunch and a thud, a grind and a splat,
Two birds with one stone; well, I guess that is that.

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A Brand New Me

I am terrible at keeping New Year’s Resolutions. It probably doesn’t help that I always seem to make the same, cookie-cutter resolutions: eat better, lose weight, get fit, save more money. They’re the same typical resolutions that everyone makes and at the end of the day I only feel committed to them because they are what I should want. I’m pretty sure that I’ve never actually kept a resolution before in my life and I think it’s because I just don’t care enough.

Do I want to lose weight and get fit? Of course I do. Do I want to save up more money? Absolutely.

But do I care enough to actually put a year’s worth of effort toward it? HA! More like I make it about two months and then I get knocked off track and give up for a couple months before trying again some time in June-ish.

Which is why this year I am going to make entirely different resolutions. Instead of the same, generalised, broad resolutions that I make every year, I’m going to make some different, specific resolutions. Things that pertain exactly to me. Things that I really care about seeing accomplished.

1. Have an adventure!: This is something I’ve always wanted to do and this year I’m going to make it finally happen. I’ve done new things and taken trips before but I want to have an actual, genuine adventure. I want to see new places and do new things and meet new people. This is a task that will hopefully be checked off during my spring break trip to the UK.

2. Lose 30 pounds: Yes, this is still the same old resolution, but this time I’m being more specific. I am setting an exact number. This isn’t just a vague plan, it’s a concrete goal. (An FYI, I’m already 2 pounds in. Booyah!)

3. De-clutter: I own a lot of s***. Like, a lot. For someone who doesn’t have much space, I have sure accumulated a lot of things. And a lot of unnecessary things, at that. So this year, I’m going to thin down the stuff and get rid of a lot of things I don’t need. The bonus is it’ll clear out more space for books, which is always a good thing.

4. Learn something new: I’ve been thinking about crocheting. Or cross-stitching. Something crafty like that.

5. Stop making excuses to cancel plans: This is one of those things I’m really bad about doing. I make plans to go do something, and then at the last minute I come up with some excuse to stay home. “I’m sick.” “I got called in to work.” “I had a family emergency.” The truth is I’m a little bit anti-social. I want to make new friends and do things and live, I’m just always too socially anxious to go through with things. This year, that changes.

6. Go to a bar/club: As a 24 year old, I am ashamed to admit that I’ve never actually been inside of a bar or club before.This is partly to do with the fact that I’m social awkward and don’t do well with big crowds. Also doesn’t help that the majority of my friends are LDS housewives. But it’s one of those things I feel like every person should do at some point in their life, and I want to give it a shot.

7. Go out on a date: Another shameful moment here. I’ve not been on a date in well over a year.

8. Give up soda: I’ve been trying to do this for years, with moderate success. This is not just for health reasons but money as well. I spend way, way too much money on Dr. Pepper. Not to mention calories.

9. Take one day a month to tech-detox: We live in such a technologically dependent world, and I especially spend the majority of my time on the computer. And when I’m not on the computer, I’m on my phone. So I’ve resolved that at least one day a month, I will turn off all of the tech – the phone, the computer, the tv, the radio – and I will just exist.

10. Finish (and publish?) my novel: By and far, this is the most important resolution I’m making this year. I actually made this one last year and failed it epically. This year though, I will finish my novel and I’m going to start sending it out to publishers. If things don’t pan out with the contacts I’ve already made, then I’m going to self-publish by the end of the year. Either way, come 2015 I will be a published author.

Resolutions are made for a reason. They are made to give you goals to work toward; to give your year a direction and purpose. 2013 might’ve been a year of stalling and stagnancy for me, but everything is about to change. I’m going to do things differently. I’m going to be a different person.

And 2014 is going to be a whole new year.

Addicted | An Original Poem

It’s been days since I last saw you.

Last heard you.

Last held you.

Without you by my side I am lost.

In a daze.

Disoriented.

Like a drug you slipped into my system and I can’t cleanse myself of you.

I want you.

I need you.

I breathe you.

I feel you.

I am addicted.

The moment you leave I crave your return.

I crave your voice.

Your touch.

Your kiss.

Your embrace.

I long to feel the brush of your breath on my skin.

The sweet taste of your lips.

Your mere presence I crave like oxygen.

Without you I am drowning.

Losing my breath.

Sinking out of control.

I want you.

I need you.

I breathe you.

I feel you.

I am addicted.

Growing Up Disney

I am a Disney whore.

For those of you who don’t know what that means:

Really though, I belong to that generation that grew up with at least one new Disney film every year and an endless supply of happily ever afters floating in the air. Even when I was living with my then-single mother and single grandmother, we made a trip every year to Disneyland Anaheim. As a kid I watched The Little Mermaid so many times I’ve no idea how that tape didn’t just implode (because this was back in that so-far-ago time of VHS cassettes and the constant fear that the tape may just one day break.) Even as a straight-up tomboy, I always kind of wanted to be a Disney princess – Belle, because she gets that kick-ass library – and I was an avid follower of the ritual of wishing on stars. Although I never did master that whole “paint with the wind” thing; I could never figure how to get the wind to stick on my paintbrush.

To make a long story short – too late – Disney has always been a crucial part of my life.

disney1moveforward

For the most part this has been a good thing for me. Disney films, and fairy tales in general, give us all that one commodity that is so precious in life: hope. They teach us to believe in good, that bad will always be beaten, that there’s nothing wrong with being different, and that in the end, no matter how difficult the journey, we will all find a happily ever after. That optimism and faith got me through more than one dark time and even now, when things get tough I always fall back on my favorite Disney flicks for comfort and reassurance.

disney2zest

The Disney franchise as a whole also teaches the importance and power of imagination, which is obviously a lesson that resonated with me since I grew up – I use the term “grew up” loosely, mind – with the aim of being a fiction writer. Imagination is my favorite trait about myself, and it would not be a stretch to say that my imagination, and by extension my writing, has saved my life. I genuinely would not be here today otherwise. Imagination gave me a safe place to retreat when things became difficult, and there I was able to cope with the things that I could not make sense of in reality. Life problems became dragons and wicked witches, and in my mind I found the sword that helped me to slay them even if it didn’t exist in the real world, which helped me to put those troubles to rest at the back of my mind. It helped me find peace and work through the harshness of life.

disney3shadows

Disney as a whole has been such an influential part of my growth that I can’t differentiate between what I believed before and what has been touched by the world of Disney’s magic. I grew up in a world of mystery and adventure and magic, and that mentality has never really left me. Deep down, beneath the cynicism and weariness that adulthood has brought upon me, I still unequivocally want to believe in happy endings.

And there, in and of itself, is the one crucial defect that Disney has left implanted in my mind. I believe too much. I see the good in everyone, whether they deserve it or not. I want to believe that there is a prince hidden beneath the coarse exterior of every man, and that he only needs my love to break the curse. I want to believe that just fearlessly jumping into a new world in search of my dreams will somehow always work itself out. And every time that I am proven wrong, it hurts. Not just on a basic, “I failed and that’s upsetting” level, but on a deep, spiritual level. It puts a scar on my soul. It’s like having someone give me definitive proof that my God isn’t real.

Because in the end, I think that’s what fairy tales have become for me. They aren’t just charming tales for children, or musical films to cheer me up. They are my mythology, my faith, my religion. I am a Disney-ian. Disney-ist? Something like that.

disney4implicitly

When the chips are down though, I wouldn’t trade my mentality for anything. I have something that so few people get to have anymore. I have innocence and naivety. I can still look around at the world through the eyes of a child and find the magic and beauty hidden behind everything. I can look into the darkness and see hope and a future. I believe.

Disney has taught me so many valuable lessons. That a person is who they are inside, not what they look like or the circumstances they were born into. That love can be found in the most unexpected places. That nothing is more important than chasing your dreams and finding a way to enjoy the life you live. That growing up doesn’t mean having to get old. That you can do anything, if you’ve got faith, trust, and a little pixie dust.

disney5dreams

So when the rest of the world is caving into depression and hopelessness, I will still be there, wishing on my stars and chasing my dreams and having faith that, at the end of the road, there will always be a happy ending waiting for me. Because I can do it. Because I can keep moving forward. Because every good, great thing that’s ever happened in this world has been started by one, singular person. And I can be that person.

disney6mouse

I make my own happy ever after.