Posts Tagged With: Story

Unrequited


There are days I hope you have your back to me, so you don’t notice when I forget not to stare.

There are days I hope you notice.

If he didn’t know by now, he would never know, she told herself firmly. He just… didn’t think of her that way. And she was okay with that, she had to be. She would rather live in a world where he was oblivious than a world where they never talked.

She forced herself to ignore the pang that sent through her.

Romance novels made it seem so easy… there was an instant connection, and an equal attraction; love just… happened.

What do you do when it only happens on one side, though?

She was far too sensible to be a tragic heroine; suicide held little appeal, and was a bit too melodramatic, anyway. On the other hand… she wasn’t quite sensible enough to let him go. No matter how much she tried to squelch the desire for something more than friendship, it just… lingered, popping up at horribly inopportune moments.

Some days I’m doing life, and I am just fine, and then you smile, and I turn to mush inside. I didn’t realize what it meant to have your stomach turn inside out before.

Some days you say the most horrible things, and even when they burn through me, I still love you.

He often turned up at her job, which was horribly unkind of him. Hair flying, wild-eyed, he made it difficult to get work done both as an obstruction and a distraction.

She loved him for it.

Some days I haven’t heard from you in ages, and you just turn up and continue a conversation like I should remember what we were talking about all that time ago.

She would be whatever he needed, even when nothing came of it, when she was alone with her cats in her flat and old and grey.

She could bear it, for him.

There are days that I pretend not to know what you’re talking about, you know. So that you can explain it to me. I’m more intelligent than you think.

I just know how much you love explaining.

She could bear anything, for him.

Even giving him up.

~~~~~~~

Inspired by the relationship between Molly Hooper and Sherlock Holmes, on the BBC show Sherlock.

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A Ghost Story, Part 3


~

I couldn’t wait a minute longer than I had to. As soon as my parents were asleep, I crept downstairs catlike, grabbed a few things out of the kitchen, and snuck out the door, quiet as you please.

The old lady was back in her chair, still rocking, still watching. I picked the rocker up one last time, and carried it off the porch, quiet as you please. The wind was whistling gently through the leaves. It sounded like the old lady’s breathing. Once I got her far enough away from the house, I pulled out my bounty: a box of matches and a jar of kerosene.

I doused the rocker in the kerosene—I never saw any of it go through the old lady, but she stayed as dry as a raisin through the whole thing. It just sorta slid around her. Then I lit a match.

It blew out instantly.

I lit another—the same thing happened. Now, I was bound and determined that I would burn this rocking chair before the night was out. I lit five at once, and threw them at the old lady. They were out, just like that.

Then I got an idea. I had seen something like this when I went to a movie with my cousin in Chicago—the bad guy had used some dynamite to blow up a bridge. I carefully lay the rest of the kerosene in a line leading back towards the house. It was still there, under the eaves.  After I got the last drop out, I struck another match, then dropped it there. I watched the fire lick its way towards the chair, wavering in the wind a couple of times; then the chair went up in flames. I had won.

Then she started screaming. I couldn’t look away—she was in agony. I had never thought that she could be hurt—only that I had to get rid of her. I was transfixed, hypnotized, watching her shrivel and blacken.

My parents must have smelled the smoke, or seen the fire, or something, because all on a sudden I heard them yelling. It was enough of a disturbance that I could wrench my eyes away from the sight to see what they were yelling about.

The house was on fire.

We all watched in our nightclothes as the house burned to the ground. The old lady was screaming all the while. She didn’t stop until the last ember went out. I remember my parents asking me why I had done it, why I had burned the house down, but I couldn’t speak. She had screamed until she had stolen my voice.

We tried to find someone’s house to stay in for the night. Apparently, no-one wanted the crazy little firebug anywhere near them. I don’t really remember that much. The next thing I remember clearly, I was lying in a makeshift tent pitched next to the ruins of our house. Peeking under the edge, I could see the spot where I had started the fire—where the old lady burned to death. Except she was already dead. Wasn’t she?

As if dreaming, I found myself standing over the charred spot. I reached down to touch it—to make sure she was gone— And all of a sudden she was there, still all on fire, still screaming She grabbed my wrist, and I thought she was going to take me with her. I could feel my skin burning, burning, burning—

And my dad grabbed me, pulled me back from the spot. My mother was standing there, face white. They never did tell me what they saw, but they never blamed me for the house burning down, either.

We never went back to Tennessee. My parents somehow scraped enough together that we could afford to go back to Chicago. The marks from where she had grabbed me never faded away. I went back eventually, found the records for that house. The first owner of that house had had a son named Luke, who had gone off to fight in the War Between the States. I found a picture of him in his uniform. We did look an awful lot alike. He never came back, and I guess the old woman was just waiting for him still, until she met me.

So you can believe what you want, son, but I know that ghosts are real.

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Out of the Ashes


He wondered what burning roses smelled like.

The rhythmic thumping of the washing machine precluded silence in his small apartment. Perversely, he felt satisfaction in that.

He was being melodramatic enough already.

Besides, he couldn’t afford to buy roses just to burn them. It would be completely maudlin, and he had better things to spend his money on than an idiotic act of symbolism.

Not to mention the consequences if his landlord found out.

The letter still sat silently on the table, unread. It was undeniably hers, from the neat, elegant script to the faint smell of roses that wafted off of it.

He wanted to tear it up, crumple the pages, make it not be so that she would come back. Instead, he found himself folding it neatly and slipping it into the box where he had kept all her other letters, from the early ones in crayon childish scrawl to the elegant ones on sophisticated stationery. They had grown up together, and they were going to spend the rest of their lives together.

Until today.

Did you waste a lifetime?

They had such plans… he was going to be a doctor; they were going to Ecuador. They were going to be married. All gone.

He felt rage war with grief inside of him, and squelched them both by retrieving the vacuum and beginning to clean.

….

The box of letters still sat open. Without the distraction of her, he quietly and quickly finished his medical degree and graduated. He was moderately successful, working in a suburb of a large city. The apartment was bigger now, but not by much. Too much space reminded him of how alone he was.

He still wondered about burning roses, but convinced himself that he was past that.

The box still sat open, though. He never looked at it, never acknowledged it was there, but every time he moved it somehow ended up sitting on a shelf or table.

How long will you wait for someone who will never come?

…..

It was fall when he met the woman. Quiet, reserved, nothing like her. Where she was flame, this woman was water. All unbidden, she flowed through his life, soothing the pain of his first love, quieting the aches. She never demanded he tell her about the box of letters, never looked through them, she was simply there to hold and comfort him.

But still the box sat open.

…..

The day they brought their first child home, he knew it was time. While the houseful of fluttering women was occupied with the child, he took the box and escaped.

He only stopped once.

When he got to the park, he took out the box and extracted the last letter. With trembling hands, he read what she had written to him for the last time. It no longer hurt as much as he had thought it would. With shaky breath, he folded it back up and replaced it in the box. He set it on the grill and carefully set it on fire. At last, he place a dozen roses on top, and watched till the pyre was nothing but a heap of ashes. He returned home to his wife and child, and at last he knew the smell of burning roses.

It was the smell of a new beginning.

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From Tower to Garden


From the Tower–1

There is a man who works in the garden. I can see him from my window. He is obviously good at gardening; the roses have been flourishing this year.

I wonder if he’s happy.

From the Garden–1

There is a girl who sits in the window of the tower. She’s pretty; she looks peaceful. Sometimes she reads a book.

I wonder what her life is like, up there. I wonder what she does. Whatever it is, she looks happy.

I’m glad.

From the Tower–2

He sings to the flowers sometimes. I don’t think he knows I can hear him. I catch bits of the songs–about the rain, about coming home, about life. About women.

I wonder, is he in love? I should like to be in love. He seems very happy.

I wonder if he even knows I exist. It seems wrong, at times, for me to just watch him without his permission, to listen to his songs.

I can’t help but wonder, though: what is life like for him, outside the tower? Is he free? Does he have a family? Does he have his own garden at home?

So many questions. I wish I could ask him.

From the Garden–2

She was watching me. She was definitely watching me.

It’s odd–for some reason, I had thought I was invisible. Maybe I have been singing too loud. I should quiet down.

From the Tower–3

He stopped singing.

The world seems a little bit greyer.

From the Garden–3

She’s stopped sitting in the window. Is she okay? Did something happen?

The roses seem to have lost some of their color. Maybe I should sing to them again.

I hope she’s okay.

From the Tower–4

He started singing again!!!!!!

From the Garden–4

She came back! I am glad. The roses are doing better, too.

This was a good day.

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Without Words


The blank page stares back at me.

For the first time, I am wordless.

Before, when I could not write, it was not from lack of words; whether because of my own stubborn rebellion or because of my fear of the words I had, I refused to write. I was not incapable.

But without words, you cannot write.

So I sit and I stare, and the blank page stares back.

I put down my pen.

Maybe words aren’t always necessary. Maybe there is a place for quiet. Maybe there is a time for action. Maybe we should be still more often, and simply be.

Maybe we can find joy in existing, and not need to speak of it.

The simple joy of nearness. The joy of beholding beauty. Of glances and motions, unspoken thoughts and dreams. Maybe it would be better for there to be fewer words altogether. Or better words.

Maybe my words are no longer necessary.

Maybe I should not write.

But no, there is also a time for words, words given and words received, for listening and writing and reading and talking

And suddenly the right words burst into my mind, fully-formed–

And I pick up my pen, and set it to the paper, and write–

Once upon a time, there lived a girl whose name was Sorrow.

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Kindled – 1


They said of him, “His light went out.”

No-one was supposed to ask where–like all things related to death, it was taboo.

Of course, taboos were made to be broken.

“Where did his light go, mommy?” The child’s voice pierced through all the low murmuring, bringing red to the cheeks of his mother as every eye turned inexorably in their direction.

“Well, Thomas,” she stuttered, trying to avoid making eye contact with the judgmental mourners, “we don’t talk about that, okay? We’re supposed to be being respectful and quiet. Can you be quiet?”

“But I want to know!” The childish pout and the sincere curiosity did nothing to soften the faux pas; the undertone of voices turned sharp, bitter.

“We don’t know!” she hissed finally, trying to deflect the glares. “It just did. Now be quiet!”

Though his voice was silenced, his mind continued working away at the problem. He never asked his mother the question again; the embarrassing incident at the wake fell to the back of her mind. Thomas went elsewhere to find the answers. Continue reading

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Intro


So I’ve been writing a story. I’m sure you are all very shocked. The introduction, I thought, was worth sharing. So here it is:

 

Adventuring is a messy business.

Adventurers are liable to meet all sorts of nasty ends, from being beheaded, to thrown into pits of fire, to being devoured by snakes, to losing their loved ones.

No-one with any sort of sense goes on adventures, and if they find themselves in one, they remove themselves post-haste, going back to their normal, nondescript, boring lives.

Of course, not everyone has that sort of sense. Every once in a while, there is the sort of person who seems to fall into adventures, and never has the sense to get out. Sometimes, you can spot those types. They have an extra sort of twinkle in their eye, or they notice things most people don’t see, or they carry a stack of books with dragons on the covers, or they wear clothes that just don’t quite seem, well… normal.

If you are smart, you will avoid these people. They, and those who associate with them, are liable to end up all sorts of places, and to meet all sorts of people, that normal, sensible people don’t want to meet.

You should also avoid books like this. They usually lead to becoming one of those people.

In fact, if you have any sense, you will put down this book and go find a nice, nondescript, boring newspaper.

Of course, if you are one of those hare-brained fools who go looking for adventure, that is quite another story.

……………….

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This passing shadow


“Do you dislike your role in the story, your place in the shadow? What complaints do you have that the hobbits could not have heaved at Tolkien? You have been born into a narrative, you have been given freedom. Act, and act well until you reach your final scene.” –N.D. Wilson, Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl

Eternity is beyond fathoming. We, frail creatures that we are, live in the now. In Time. In the ebb and flow of life where there is pain that seems insurmountable and endless.

I and my friends have been speaking about the classical difference between tragedy and comedy. Allow me to explain:

Classically, the main difference between a tragedy and comedy was where they started and where they ended up. A tragedy would begin with order, with contentment. It was good. But inevitably, the good would deteriorate–the king would die; the lover would betray; evil won. And the tragedy ended in chaos and confusion and pain and sorrow. A tragedy was like a sunset: beautiful, but ending in darkness.

A comedy, on the other hand, started in chaos–lovers parted; dying fathers; pain and confusion. And frequently, they just kept getting worse. Not only were the lovers parted, they would betray one another. The good king would be banished. A sentence of death would be pronounced on the plucky young hero. Darkness would win.

Or so it seemed.

But then, beyond all hope, would come forgiveness from the beloved; repentance from the usurper; pardon from the king. Against all expectations, light would burst across the horizon and the characters could see that it was a passing thing, that the truth was not in the pain, but in the love born out of it.

Often, life seems like a tragedy. Our hearts are broken; friends betray us; we fail to be the men and women we were created to be. Darkness wins. Light fails. Hope dies. We look up at the stars and hope for a resolution to our story, even as they fade from view. And we despair.

But in that dark, in that despair, we must not believe that this is the end. That darkness is all there is. Because it is the moment when the stars are gone–when hope is dead–when there is no way out–that the light will shine forth. Because this shadow? It’s just the dark before sunrise. This despair? It will not last. In the end, the Christian’s story is a comedy, not a tragedy.

And we must not forget that, even if our lives are forfeit, there is beauty and glory and joy eternal beyond this passing shadow.

“But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why.” –Samwise Gamgee, The Two Towers

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What makes a hero?


“Just because a man in a red coat gave you a sword doesn’t make you a hero!”

Susan, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe (movie)

What does make a hero? I think we can all agree that ownership of a sword does not make a hero–otherwise, we would have to label the Witch-king of Angmar and Darth Sideous heroes. And they were very evidently not.

Is a hero defined by what he opposes? I don’t think so; if we follow that definition, the ends will justify the means. We will be like those we oppose.

Is a hero defined by what he doesn’t do, then? Most definitely not. Just because a man refrains from murdering does not mean that he is a saint. It simply means that he is not a monster.

A hero is a man who chooses to do the right thing, no matter what the cost to him personally. He does not require others to sacrifice; he does not ignore problems; he does not take the coward’s way out. A hero is a man called to higher things, but a man who is humble at the same time.

A hero is a man dedicated to service. He esteems others, and in turn is esteemed by them. A hero is a man like Christ.

Our heroes will not always be perfect. They will fall sometimes. Every time, though, they will get back up and repent, and continue in their mission.

What, or better, Who makes a hero?

Only God can make a hero. And He will only do it if you let him.

How many heroes do you know?

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I’d rather be a fool


Simply more than I can see
How He keeps on forgiving me
How He keeps His sanity
Hosea, you’re a fool

A fool to love someone like me
A fool to suffer silently
But sometimes through your eyes I see
I’d rather be a fool

–Michael Card, Song of Gomer (excerpt)

Sometimes, I find myself in quandaries of my own making. For instance, right now I am sitting in my dorm where I was planning on being depressed this weekend. It’s not like I have a huge problem; actually, compared to the real problems that we (my roommates and I) have, it’s laughable to even call it a problem. But it seemed big to me. Big enough to spend an entire Saturday moping about it.

And then I got up. The first thing I did after checking the weather was to get on Facebook (it’s the weekend, Pharisees) and see if there was more fodder for moping. The first thing I saw was that my aunt had just had her baby. Not conducive to moping. The second thing was a classmate posting “Rejoice without ceasing.”

It’s going to be one of those days, isn’t it?

Then I went to breakfast, where I played with a precious little future man and was encouraged by my poor longsuffering roommate. And also had cinnamon hot chocolate.

I have problems. I don’t want to be happy today. And I would have rejected God’s gifts and continued in my determined depression. But I got back to the dorm, put on my headphones, and Song of Gomer started playing. It is going to be one of those days.

God loves me. To the point where most people would call Him a fool and tell Him to write me off. Yet He doesn’t. It’s more than I can understand. I would write me off. But He still loves me. And I would rather be His fool and happy than hold on to my dignity and tattered shroud of pride. So today, I will give up my grudge and my mopeyness and I will praise Him through the joys He gives me.

Peace be upon you.

UPDATE: At lunch I got to kill zombies with said future man. It was epic. That is all.

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