Through Her Eyes 2

 

Late in the afternoon a door opens and a small woman steps out.  She tucks a lock of auburn hair behind an ear, pauses to inhale the salt air that blows off the ocean. Waning sunlight announces the end of day. Her blue eyes rove the landscape in search of beauty. Today she’ll walk a familiar route home, a route she knows by heart. There is time and light.

The fence comes into view. A solid structure of  connected mid century modern blocks. She stops and recalls a moment from her past. A craftsman sets the blocks into place, trowels a row and begins again. This memory elicits a smile. The open squares fenced a perfect hideaway, a spot to peek and play between the tangled ivy. For a moment she pictures two children; their laughter rings through air. Her fingers graze over the blocks, trace the roughness.

The woman covets beauty. Not perfection. Rather, she prefers the imperfect, the missing and broken. She finds beauty in the everyday objects left among fauna and man. Slowly, she lifts the camera from her bag and aims it at her subject. One last shot. A story  in the making.

 

It’s time for some good byes. Winter’s sighed one last cool breath and left a namesake, Winter rose, a gift for tender Spring. As the visual softens and blurs, she notes the rows of Helleborus beneath her feet. These evergreen perennials are neatly placed within shaded borders. Petals open bluish purple to blotched, maroon pinks. Pale green, bell-shaped flowers reach from underneath variegated leaves.The shutter clicks. She imagines the ire  of roused, rosy-cheeked woodland sprites, iridescent wings whir beneath sunbeams.

Suddenly, the woman senses a presence behind her. The spirits of her ancestors stand united. Souls whose calloused hands dug soil and transported the woodland plants by wheelbarrow to this very bed. Their whispered voices sound as peaceful notes; their words carried back and forth on the back of a cool breeze. She imagines them kneeling as they arrange the plants before her. The woman sighs, it was so long ago and she is weary.

It is time for Spring, she thinks, a time of new beginnings.

Along the walk back home, her beautiful mind deconstructs the objects. Drawn in by their elements of shape, form and colour, she pauses to scroll the photographs before her. The lens of a camera is the conduit through which she takes simple to majestic. A finger points to push the button, a frame clicks and a moment is captured in time. She imagines these images altered by subtle shifts of light and placement.

It’s a shame, she thinks. Blindly, we rush past the everyday. One day we realize. That which we forget, is forever lost.

 

Alice Reflects

This is a “flashback” written in “Alice’s” POV. She is in the kitchen, recalls her son. Hope you enjoy reading this passage.

Alice stood in the kitchen and gazed through the window. It was oddly quiet for five o’clock, suppertime. The children from the neighbouring yard were silent. Thank God, she mused. Most afternoons, the neighbour’s offspring tussled and tumbled about the fence line. Their play stretched on for hours. Out of control crossed her mind. This thought from a woman who believed children should be seen and not heard. Alice lit the stove’s burner, felt the heat leap forth to warm her cold hand. She dropped the matchstick. All day she’d felt chilled, out of sorts.

She thought about when she’d gazed into the mirror earlier that morning, when she’d seen the face of an unrecognizable woman reflected back. Lines formed around the corners of her once bright eyes. Were the lines deeper? Silver threads edged along her hairline. Who was this time-worn woman who reflected back?

Focus on the task at hand, she reminded herself as she reached beneath the oven door and pulled out the warming drawer. Fingers searched through metal baking sheets until they felt the familiar handle of the blackened frying pan. This action caused her to smile. She recalled a memory from two years ago. Had it been two years? It was the day Roy unexpectedly returned home, catching the two sisters by surprise. The now faded mental image of her sister, Molly, as she held the heavy cast iron pan like a shield for protection, was comical.

Always, Roy haunted her thoughts. That was the reason Alice so often felt out of sorts and irritable. When he snuck into her head, she got busy. Placing the frying pan onto the stove element, she carefully poured out the correct amount of oil, just enough to brown the waiting onions. Soon the heady scent of caramelized onions filled the tiny room. Alice trimmed a small cut of beef and added it to the pan. As she stirred the mixture, the meat sizzled and browned. Cooking comforted her, gave purpose and routine to each day. It was just the two of them now. Did she mean anything, anymore to her husband?

She recalled Roy’s last visit home, checked the tallies on the new calendar that hung beside the telephone. When last year’s addition ran out, she added the number 365 to the present copy. It was exactly two years and fifteen days ago. The calendar protected the evidence, an ink mark scrawled through each day that passed, signs of her son’s absence. Proof that he was remembered.

Alice didn’t know how to fix her broken family, didn’t realize that it was simple. Shame and pride beat her down. Was she a good enough mother? Pride demanded she hold her head high and whispered back, you were.

Unconvinced, Alice thought about the last time she sat with Roy, remembered the bottled up anger that simmered in silence as they sipped tea. When Roy had left, he slammed the back door. She had noticed, even winced as the door hit the frame. After such a loud exit, Molly startled, hurried to the front door to wave goodbye to her nephew. As he roared off on his flashy motorcycle, Molly had quietly shut the door and marched back into the kitchen. She saw her sister, the cup poised mid-air.

“Alice.”

Stone faced, Alice set her cup onto the saucer and turned toward her older sister.

“Did you have to be so aloof?”

Alice tightened. Molly noticed her sister’s purposeful silence. At last, Alice commented,

“I don’t know what you mean.”

“Of course you do, Alice. You didn’t say a meaningful word to the lad.”

Molly moved closer to the table, positioned herself directly in front of her younger sister.

“Roy comes home, after two years gone and all you can do is sit silent, sipping tea?”

Alice set her jaw, looked away.

“It was Roy’s choice to leave in the first place, “Alice said.

Enraged, Molly grabbed her sister’s wrist, a bit too hard. It hurt. Her words bit Alice.

“For the love of Mike, Alice. Everyone makes mistakes. Including you.”

Alice felt her cheeks warm at Molly’s comment, a reminder of a past she would rather forget. A secret they shared. She shook free of Molly’s grip.

Molly continued, “No one sent you away.”

Alice bristled, “I didn’t send Roy away.”

Molly’s words flew back, “You never gave him a reason to stay.”

Word Press Challenge- I Remember… The Sister

Word Press~ DP Challenge

My Earliest Memory~ The SisterThe Sisters

My earliest memory is of myself as a three-year-old child awaiting the arrival of another, the sister.  Throughout the lead up to the sister’s arrival, there were comings and goings, blurred images.  There were the preparations, piles of snow-white diapers, the rosebud flannelette bedding, soft as bunny ear sleepers, and the wooden crib.  There was, the kindly German speaking housekeeper hired to manage the home, when my mother went to the hospital, the one who served the bright pink borscht soup and encouraged me to “eat up, eat up.” There was my father flitting in and out to attend to work and visit with my mother, my uncle’s cheerful, teasing presence and Grandfather Boomba’s, quiet, watchful eyes from afar.  Colouring pictures for my mother, waiting patiently for her return, watching the cherry tree from the kitchen window, its limbs bare, stalwart, anticipating winter’s coming storms.  Finally, my father arriving home, flushed and excited to share the news, Marge had a baby girl!  You have a sister, Grace. Let’s have a cigar, James! A sister.  I cannot remember much emotion surrounding the news on my part, rather I believe that I hoped that the sister would play school with me, and allow me to cart her around in a baby doll buggy. A sister.  This sister, a fragile, teensy little bit wrapped in a white knit blanket, arrived home on a cold, late fall afternoon, a winter fairy.  A sister tucked so snug, her little pink face barely visible from beneath the blanket tightly swaddled around the wee body.  The sister with such dark eyes, almost black, centered in a teensy pink face, grub like, she was so fresh to the world, a fascinating fairy child for entertainment. Immediately, I would discover that the sister, fairy child could be quite stormy, heartily screeching out, and dependent of the safety found in my mother’s arms.  The sister was establishing and asserting her unfairy like ways into our lives with amazing speed and tenacity.  In my young mind, there wasn’t anything magical about this one.

I recall a memory, a moment.  Hearing some sounds from the hatchling, I tiptoed into my parent’s bedroom to view the little sprite wriggling in the crib, her little pink fists tightly clenched into balls, limbs jerking, poking up and out from under the blanket that loosely swaddled her limbs.  The sister sounded like a restless kitten, mewing and peeping as she struggled to unwind.  My mind wondering, what if I just picked her up and carried her to the kitchen, to my mother?  I carry Betsy, the plastic wetting doll, I can carry this one.  The sister was wiggly so I quickly grasped the writhing body by the legs plucking it from the crib.  Upside down, quickly becoming agitated, hysterically frantic by the time I walked the short distance to the kitchen, the sister’s face the colour of beets. Here’s your baby, stated in a rather disgusted tone of voice.  My mother leaping from her chair, grabbing the sister and righting her body; the eyes back up toward the ceiling.

This story would resurface in conversations over the years, my mother adding in the part, she held you by the legs upside down almost damn near dropping you on your head! Luckily she didn’t! 

The sister would be fine and forgiving with this fact as she quickly learned that had she been dropped on her head, it would pale in comparison to the bumps and crashes she would later experience. The sister is a brave one, far stronger than me. I am grateful for her presence and love. My earliest memory is of a three year old awaiting the arrival of another, the sister.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/05/writing-challenge-remember/