She fell into his arms, soft, crumbling, like grains of rice tumbling from a split sack. She fell to pieces and assumed that only he could gather her up, put her together. He could not. He gaped and stared at the trembling wreck she had become and though his heart meant well, he saw not how he could gather every last fragment of her pitiful, weeping being; so far spread and wrecked was she.
So he held her for as long as he felt he could, then he got up to go and left her to ponder the shattered pieces of herself and to wonder how to fit them back together like a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle with no picture on the box to guide her.
She struggled for hours, days, lifting up each tiny shard, watching how it glinted in the light, what message it held and then absorbed it into herself, flinching with the sweet, sultry pain as it reconnected with the other hidden parts of herself.Read More »
The back door. Blue paint peeling reveals dull grey wood beneath. Concrete steps, two of them, where I sit and peel the spuds on the warmer evenings. I don’t want to go back inside. When I close the door behind me, I feel like a rat trapped in a cage.
If I stand here for long enough, they’ll all come home. The kids will run in, breathless from the school day. They’ll sling their bags onto the kitchen table and charge out onto the lawn. If I stand still enough they may not even see me, they’ll just kick the football around me like a stray goalpost.
Then he’ll arrive, the sharp smell of sweat around him, carrying the mood of his day into the house.
When I was ten years old, I wanted to be a movie star like those smooth haired beauties in the sepia photographs my Uncle Marv had pinned on his garage wall. He used to go in there to secretly smoke his roll-ups while Aunt Sadie was out doing the shopping.
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“I’m going to go for the smoked salmon bagel, I think,” Maurice said smiling as he drummed his fingers lightly on the laminate table top. Betty smiled softly too, for that was what he always said when they came for Sunday brunch at Roni’s. And he’d have a filter coffee, an orange juice and end with a jam-filled doughnut.
When Donny, the owner’s grandson, came to take their order, Maurice reeled off his request, which Donny dutifully noted down on his pad, just as he did every Sunday.
“And you Ma’am, what will you be having?” Betty looked up at the young man, his sparky eyes, nose dotted with freckles. She bit her lip, hesitated. Donny raised his eyebrows.Read More »