Line up your simple joys all in a row. Stand stone still beneath the swollen moon. Watch as snowflakes tumble to trigger our senses like a peppermint kiss.
~ more than enough
simple is not a step backwards
~ bird song
Birdie unsnapped the clasp of her sequined clutch, reached within the satin folds and pulled out an ebony compact and a tube of lipstick. She appeared oblivious to his insults and her surroundings. Her mister had forgotten her, therefore, she’d remind him.
Snapping open the compact case, she gazed at her reflection in the mirror. With stealth precision she traced the outline of her lips, plump with colour. Slowly her steady grasp creamed the center of her lips. As a final touch, she removed a tissue from her clutch and softly kissed it.
Taking one last glance into the mirror, she paused. Satisfied, she clicked the compact shut and returned the items to her clutch. The clasp snapped. She turned and pecked a faint scarlet kiss on Annie’s tender cheek. Birdie might as well have fired a bullet through the floor. The silence at the table was deafening.
The boss growled, “Shouldn’t you go for a walk or something?”
Birdie shook her head and motioned toward the bottle. “Pour me another, Roy,” she murmured.
Roy met her gaze; she winked back. He didn’t understand the boss. Birdie was a class act, easy on the eyes, even owned her own business: a sausage factory. No one knew how she’d ended up in that line of work. It seemed profitable. She was clear title on a home nestled within the west side of the city and a good looker. The boss is a fool, he thought and took a drink. As the bourbon went down and warmed his soul, he knew this: Miss Birdie lit up his dark.
“You want to fly to the moon, Annie?”
“Yes,” she said.
“One day. Maybe one day, honey.”
He offered her hope, something big to imagine, the chance to dream. This was the country where dreams came true. One had to hold to dreams. From an early age, he had clung to hope. It felt as if yesterday. Shivering, he had cowered beneath the scratchy covers, tossed as an after thought to blanket the rusted army cot. His small hands clutched a wooden ship.
During those lonely nights he had gazed through a curtain less window and mapped the stars. Questions popped into his mind: Who am I? How did I get here? He dreamt of sailing away from the little house on Second Street. Each morning, he woke, convinced that there was a chance. One day, he thought One more day and then another. Buoyed on dreams and possibilities that melted like fairy floss from the carnival stall, he had carried on. Hope rooted him to the universe; he convinced himself that his destiny was to rule an empire.
If only someone had warned him that the odds weren’t in his favour and that boardrooms were full of men of privilege. It didn’t matter; he knew this as truth.
December is the most beautiful time of year. The first flakes of snow. Twinkling lights. For a moment the world tilts, becomes another, quite different, softer. We’re touched by wonder, kissed by hope. If this isn’t magic, what is?
Whisper of angels that rouse breathless
In the alchemy of everyday
Tell me: it exists.
The men nodded as Roy and Rummy approached, extended their hands, one by one, shook. Rummy leaned in to peck a kiss upon Birdie’s rouged cheek. Roy did likewise. He felt Birdie’s body still, sensed her linger.
“Who’s the little lady?” The boss met Rummy’s glance and demanded an answer.
Before Rummy could speak, Birdie hopped up and took Annie’s hand. “Slide over, Jimmy. Let this dear doll sit next to me.” Her eyes flashed a warning to the boss.
Roy watched as Annie slid onto the seat beside Birdie, fixated on her newfound friend. Birdie waved a manicured hand to signal a waiter. The young man snapped to attention at her side. “Shirley Temple for the little lady, pink umbrella, cherry on top.” She winked at Annie. “That okay, hon?”
Annie nodded and looked down at the tablecloth.
“Thought so. Auntie Birdie knows what the little ladies like.” She smoothed the top of Annie’s head. Turning to face the boss she murmured, “Now you boys get down to business, let us ladies be.”
~ a draft scene from the book I’ll always write
When a man walks into a room, he brings his whole life with him. He has a million reasons for being anywhere, just ask him. If you listen, he’ll tell you how he got there. How he forgot where he was going, and that he woke up. If you listen, he’ll tell you about the time he thought he was an angel or dreamt of being perfect. And then he’ll smile with wisdom, content that he realized the world isn’t perfect. We’re flawed, because we want so much more. We’re ruined, because we get these things, and wish for what we had. ~ Don Draper
I had a dream.
We are in your car, a fixed up TR-6, taken from your brother. The radio retro blasts a Jim Morrison high. You steer south toward the I-5. A ribbon of trees line the hillside. Blood red mingles with atomic tangerine.
I glance left, note how the sun casts light across your face. My finger traces the map of your jaw. You are delicious; I am enchanted.
Camped out beneath starry skies we share stories of who we will become. You are moving up; I am moving on. Wrapped within your arms I feel an unfamiliar touch of forever.
Hoar frost blanketed our tangled bones. Winter winds ripped us open. Upon spring’s return, we awoke- as if from a tale, frozen to a past.
I never told you: I loved our fleeting moments.
Wide eyes drew me in. Eyes the colour of sea glass and molten gold set down by a painter’s touch. I coveted her story, listened within silence.
I studied her eyes, eyes that appeared to see beyond the realm of ordinary, sensed her bewilderment. A glance as if asking: why is it that others can’t see how light casts shadow, how waves kiss the shore, how a smile deceives?
Lips, slightly pursed, held tangled secrets, if only she dared speak. Her side swept hair, a mix of caramel and honey, suggested an elegant yet strong ancestral line. Scandinavian vigour lingered like a shield to cover fine bones.
Eleanor. Salvaged from a Vancouver vintage shop. This is her given name, penciled to the back of a plywood board. Painted in oil, she remains bespoke for all time.
I brought her home.
“I am intrigued by the smile upon your face, and the sadness within your eyes”
― Jeremy Aldana