Reserved for the Rich (Theme Thursday)

I looked upon the elegant display of food on china that you could see through.

Flowers had been brought in for the occasion from other parts of the world – after all it was the dead of winter.

I wanted just a taste of the finest food; to inhale roses and gardenias.

As the daughter of the lowest servant on the estate, I would be lucky to get a dry left -over bone.

The standard poodle, Rasputin, would get some of the best that was left – he might share with me.

We were friends-Rasputin was the only friend I had in the world.

He had saved me from falling off the third story banister when I was two or three.

He was my protector. He loved me almost as much as I loved him.

He hated all the pretense of the family he lived with.

He told me that one day as we were having tea.

He always shared the best with me.

At times, he would invite me to share his satin bed cushion for a nap.

He was old now;  I was no longer small enough to curl up with him on his cushion.

I know he wished I might attend the event rather than serve.

I didn’t mind.

“She will have to do” one of the servants said as she dragged me toward the living quarters.

I wondered what they were planning.

There, laid out on a  huge bed, was a pewter satin dress. My eyes got big as the women yanked off my black servant’s attire.

Someone tugged on black ,sheer, silk nylons. I had never felt anything so luxurious next to my skin.

They wrapped diamonds around my neck and put my dark hair up in a quick coiffure. Fortunately my hair was naturally curly so it pinned up easily and ringlets naturally fell around my neck.

Black gloves and black shoes were the last accoutrement.

“Voila,” one of my friends said as she brushed away unseen lint.

“She is a beautiful.”

“Wonder what the master will say?”

I wondered why the master would say anything.

As one of the women squirted perfume, she explained that the party was one woman short.

Some important friends with a younger son were attending and they had promised a partner for him for dinner.

Someone quickly explained table etiquette.

What they didn’t know is Rasputin had taught me at tea.

I had always pretended to be as grand as he was.

The night was long, hot, and tiring.

The young man a fat, prideful, bore.

But … the food was magnificent

and I got to inhale the flowers

to my heart’s content.

Photo: Burning Photo

*http://www.flickr.com/photos/photographyburns/4276733586/

The meaning of brown…

“Je déteste le marron.” She screamed at her nanny. Her anger nearing taking over her usual calm demeanor.

“S’il vous plait – cheri…” The nanny begged her to calm down

The English nanny had no idea why this sweet little girl, who she was responsible for, had such an aversion to brown. When she had been called to this job, she had only been told that the parents had met with unexpected disaster.  She discovered that the girl’s guardian the uncle was gone all of the time and wanted little or no contact with his niece.

“Why is he so cruel?” she would shout at the walls of his estate. His niece was like a flower wanting some love so that she could blossom. She was beautiful and smart to be sure.  Like a tender shoot she was afraid of life. Often as she was nearing sleep, the nanny would scoop her up and hold her until she fell into a deep sleep. It was the only time they were allowed to be that close for propriety required that they keep the distance required between a servant and an heiress. This little flower was indeed an heiress.  “Even heiresses need love.” she thought.

Her father had been the CEO of an international company having something to do with computers,  something about clouds, she had been told. All she knew about computers was how to send an e-mail to her daughter in Yorkshire.

“Why is brown such a frightful color to my dear?” She would wonder day after day. She dared not ask her charge. If the uncle were around, she would ask him. One day a post came to the niece. It was short but at least it was addressed to her. “Ma petite niece est vous bien? Votre Oncle.” The nanny was glad for the note; now she had an address. His niece started writing little notes of regard back. She didn’t get anything more in writing but her uncle started sending gifts. The favorite gift was a black and white puppy – fortunately not brown.

The nanny finally got up the nerve to write a short card. ” I have been so grateful for the dear little gifts you have sent to your niece. She loves each one more dearly than the last. I know this might be prying but each time your niece sees the color brown she loses herself in emotion. Do you know why so I might help her?”  The uncle sent a note to the nanny. It was addressed to her in bold print. She could tell he was a man who was self- assured. The inside of the envelope revealed something different. In a hand that appeared, less than bold, she read “My sister had the most beautiful long, chestnut-brown hair; her eyes were brown with golden flecks. She looked like a goddess in silks made of reddish brown. She was marron.” The nanny could see a water mark like a drop had fallen over the word marron. “I loved my sister more than life. Her laughter caused the sun to rise. When she was sad, rain fell. Her husband and all who knew her adored her.  Her little one will be her double when she grows into womanhood. Will I ever be able to look upon her without dying from the pain of this great loss?  If only it had been me.”

At his last words, the nanny’s head fell into her hands.  She cried remembering the death of her own mama. “Oh life is so cruel!”, she stomped her feet. She had new resolve to destroy anything that was brown. To dress her darling in blues and pinks; never in her mother’s favorite marron. The little niece would grow up knowing as much love as the nanny could find in her heart to give.

There are always many wonderful short stories over at Theme Thursday. The prompt this week was brown. Enjoy!!!

Thank you to popsicle for the brown eyes:

*http://www.flickr.com/photos/p0psicle/2463416317/sizes/m/in/photostream

It all makes sense (short story)

I woke up from a deep sleep to the same thing “nothing.” I guess I should be thankful; I have a job and a room of my own. But most  many days it is difficult to wake up to being blind. Have you ever wondered what the color yellow looks like? I can feel yellow, I can taste yellow, but I can never see yellow. When you hear the triumphant screech of a hawk that has seized its prey do you appreciate the swooping motion he makes as he dances in the sky? I can hear the dance – I will never see it.

I hate hearing. My ears taunt me with a knowing that my eyes will never experience. My teachers applauded the senses.

“your ears will hear better, you fingers will feel more intently as if to compensate for the loss of one of your senses.

“Easy for you to say teach you have all of your senses intact.”

“Tap,tap, tap.” my finely tuned ears can hear the white and red stick that acts as a replacement for my eyes. Not that I know what red or white looks like.

“Good Morning,” my ears hear an unfamiliar, melodic, perfectly tuned voice. “Good Morning Miss, ” hoping she can’t sense the insincerity in my greeting. She does something unexpected; she grabs my arm but she’s not steering me like most feel inclined to do out of pity. “I am new here; please show me to my desk.” I rarely am asked to help people. Obviously because everyone believes I am helpless. The smile on my face is now genuine as I deliver her to her spot. “Have a nice morning miss.” “It would be so nice to have lunch with a familiar face.” “Gladly. I’ll see you at the lunch hour.” I had never used those words before “I’ll see you.” For some reason I felt as though I might “see her.”

We could have talked way past the allocated lunch hour. She was so energetic, interesting, full of life. I imagined the way she looked. Tall, long hair, beautiful eyes, radiant smile, gorgeous. We established a routine. We met each morning outside, had lunch, parted for the day outside of the office. I didnt’ want to be too forward so I waited until Friday to see if she wanted to get drinks after work. She acted as though she had no other plans, no other friends, and made me a priority. It was nice to feel important to one person. We danced by the moonlight. I was grateful for my acute sense of touch; her body felt so good in my arms. Friday became a weekend of lunch, dinner and brunch.

Monday through Friday she found a fresh flower on her desk each morning from me.

One morning I heard a few of the ladies gabbing, “Oh how sweet for both of them.”

“Yes the perfect couple. Fortunately he will never know.”

“What “won’t I ever know? ” I wondered.

I was now grateful for my finely tuned ears. I knew her voice. Though she was cubicles away I  could hear her sigh or murmur.

I never thought it would happen but I was falling in love. I believe she was too. After a night of wine, good food, and dancing; she asked me in to her place. I held her, we kissed, my hands wandered, our bodies became intertwined under white gauze and moonlight.

Heaven must have been singing that night for I truly was. I woke the next morning with her head on my shoulder. My fingers had been so alert to her shape that it seemed as though I could make out her shape  and see black tresses cascade about my shoulder.

“Is this what love is like when you are tricked and you see images with your mind?” I smiled.

As we walked to work that morning, I experienced the colors of the rainbow raining down on my heart. Blues, greens, reds, pinks, purples, and yes yellows bombarded my senses. I walked her to her desk and beheld something not from my mind, or my ears, or my fingers. I saw the biggest chocolaty eyes peer up at me accompanied by a radiant smile. For the first time I saw!

The doctor examined my eyes and said, “It’s a miracle. Be careful as you adjust to this new sense and enjoy.”

My ears were still acute as they heard the women “I wonder how long it will last now that he can see. Once he sees how ugly the scars, from the fire, have made her, I wonder how long he will be able to bear it?”

That night  I touched the scars that my fingers knew so well.

I pulled her face toward mine, “the light has shown me how beautiful you are. I never want to let you go.”

Join me and read the other wonderful short stories on Theme Thursday. Our prompt was Light.

Thanks Velo Steve for the great Rainbow (perfect)

The Park Bench (adapted from Scarlet Letter Revisited)

She looked over her shoulder one last time. It was a long lingering glance on a park bench; their bench. She wiped the tear from her eye as she saw a tall man sit down. He appeared bent, burdened.

****

She clapped her hands in glee. “Mommy i can’t wait to get to the pony ride can’t we go – pleezzzzz.”

“‘Yes my dear let me finish packing our lunch.”

They were attending a lunch sponsored by the church in the city park. There would be games and prizes, clowns, ponies, balloons and cotton candy.

“Your type isn’t welcome here ma’am.” The gentleman smiled as he looked at the mother and daughter. “This here’s a church social.”

“Please can’t I ride the ponies and have some cotton candy?” the little girl asked trying not to cry.

“I’m sorry wouldn’t be right. They wouldn’t approve.” The man said glancing over his shoulders at a group of women in their Sunday best.

The mother and the daughter went to the far edge of the park, sat on a bench, and ate their lunch while many eyes peered scornfully.

***

The  girl,now a beautiful young woman, had learned how to navigate around the influential  people in their very small town. She wasn’t bitter. She just didn’t understand what the bias was; why people couldn’t like her.

“Please come to the movies. The tall young man asked her.” This was the twentieth time he had tried to ask her on a date.

She was tired of finding excuses to say “no.”

“It’s not that I don’t want to go out with him. It’s what the townspeople will say if they see us together.”  She sighed after setting the phone into its cradle.

“Yes I will go with you,” she said after the twenty-sixth call.

And so it began – lunches, trips to the beach, nights kissing under the stars on a park bench.

“Marry me and spend the rest of your life as my wife. Let me love you always.” he said as he held her close on their bench.

“Yes, my love.” She whispered into the misty night.

They were in heaven as they glided over the preparations and the anticipation of life together.

She had longed to be accepted by one person in society. It was enough to be loved by this man even if the rest continued to place the burden of unacceptance and reproach on her shoulders.

“You can’t marry her. Don’t you know who her mother is?”

“I’m not marrying her mother. She is sweet and innocent; the people have marked her without knowing her.”

“You will ruin our family’s good name!”

He would have easily endured the scorn had it been aimed at him once or twice. Everyday, at least once, his mother aimed her artillery at his heart. Everyday she spewed forth insults.

She saw that he was worn, unhappy. She clasped his hands as they sat on their bench. She gently took a tear from her eye and placed it on his cheek where it mingled with his own.

“My heart is broken and I see no way out.” He cried into the air.

She wrapped his fingers around a tiny box. “This is the only way out for us, my dear. I love you. Go find someone who will make you happy and accepted by society.”

She stood up. Not wanting him to see her heart breaking she ran to her car.

***

That day, years later, she saw him on their bench. Because he loved her so much he had taken on the pain and suffering that society had directed toward her. He was bent over looking like an old man with a heavy burden.

Theme Thursday is a great place to read and write short stories. Our prompt this week: Park

Join Us!

That’s the Way the Ball Bounces

She grabbed the basketball from her center and flung it hard at the guard. Jenna was a senior and had her whole life ahead of her. Captain of the Varsity Basketball team, 4.0 student, Junior miss, and she had the hottest boyfriend who also was a basketball player.

So why was she so pissed today? Her best friend had heard a rumour that her boyfriend was cheating on her. “No way. it’s not possible,” she said as she stormed out of the dressing room before practice. But more than one person had witnessed him kissing Mel. Obviously practice was a waste. She tried to keep her thoughts about Mel to herself; they needed each other to finish off their 14-1 season.

Mel and Jenna had never been close but they balanced each other as team mates. Sadly that was about to change. When Jenna called Mike that night, she could sense the tension in his voice.

“I’d rather hear it from you,” she said kindly.

They had been best friends much longer than they had dated.

” I kissed Mel this weekend. There is no excuse and I would understand if you wanted to break up with me.”

“How did it happen” Jenna was trying to help Mike get past it. If there was a way to patch things up, she would because she cared.

“Jenna I don’t know exactly. It was dark. She playfully came up behind me and grabbed me. All of a sudden it wasnt playful as her hair brushed against my cheek ; then it was her lips. It was one kiss I regret. Mel means nothing. You and I have been best friends.  If we  go back to a friendship, I would be happy -Jen.

“Maybe it would be good if we got together and talked. I want our friendship to survive this Mike.”

“I do too – thanks.”

A tear fell from her eye. Mel had set Mike up. But why? The next few days she tried to find out why. Who was this girl Mel. she didn’t seem mean. Then she caught it. Well at least she thought she had. Mel had also applied to Stanford University and gotten a rejection the same weekend that Jenna got her acceptance. Jenna of course was thrilled and shared her news around campus. Mel was gonna be stuck going to a State University. “Oh joy – what prestige. Jenna had heard Mel one day.” But what Jenna heard as she rounded a corner was even more of an eye opener.

“I’m gonna meet some poor loser at San Francisco State instead of meeting a rich stud at Stanford. My parents have always pushed me to marry someone rich and Stanford was my ticket to rich.”

Jenna wasn’t rich but her family was financially set. Her dad  could afford to send her to a good school, and buy her  a reliable car, and give Jenna a clothing allowance. Not the BMer her best friend had but still. Jenna was content. She realized that Mel was a bitter person.

The next day they were practicing for the regional finals. Some girls had scholarships riding on the game. Mel was not helping the team get in the groove. The practice ended and coach grabbed Jenna for a bottled water.

“What is up with the dynamics? It’s been off.”

“Well personally I think it is one team member – I have been working with her and tipping her, but she seems to be souring the team. She has nothing riding on the game.”

“Well without some edge we may go down Jenna.”

“I would like permission to mix the team up a bit – I’m concerned that one of our team mates is creating some problems.”

“I support your decision; the team has been off. I hate to bench a senior at this level but I agree.”

As the team was being given the last-minute assignments, Coach called number 59 for the bench. Stacy was furious as she plopped her butt down on the bleacher. Jenna slapped Mel on the back and said,” this is for a win girlfriend” as she gave her a high five.

Jenna had fortunately discovered that Stacey, who could have been Mel’s double especially in the dark, was trying to ruin Mel’s life for something that had happened when they were freshmen. Jenna was so glad that she had found Stacy ‘s  plan to ruin Mel in the locker room. It kinda fell into her lap.

As  Jenna came out of the game for water, she smiled at Stacy “Sorry -that’s the way the ball bounces.”

My Lovely Shadow

I was taking a late lunch so that I could enjoy the park alone. Today I left my ipad at work and grabbed the suspense novel Vigilante by Claude Bouchard. It was a page turner unfortunately my work didn’t allow me to turn many pages. As intent as I was in Vigilante,   I looked up sensing a shift in the light. I was Thinking it may be a storm looming ahead. Then I saw you; I didn’t see you but rather an image of you. You were no storm cloud. I could have been dreaming but I wasn’t. How could a shadow be so beautiful? Flowing skirt, long tresses of hair caught in the breeze. You could have been young or old. It didn’t matter if you had wrinkles or freckles; for I was entranced by something about you. An inner glow, soft and elusive. Like a specter that might lure it’s victim, I felt magnetically pulled to follow – I did.

The light played with your form but could never  displace it’s perfection. If only I could paint the colors that were intertwined with your image – greens, one moment, blues, pinks, yellows the next.

I wanted to shout “don’t leave me behind- I must hold you just one time!”

At that moment, you darted beneath the trees; your shadow – my shadow was gone. I was startled as I stopped and looked up – there in front of me was the form, the illusion. No longer a shadow. Warmth and sunshine emanated from your being. Men would have gladly paid homage to behold one of your smiles. Though I have a post doctoral degree,  I could not summon the words that I needed to say to revere your essence. I smiled and then uttered a simple “hello.” You generously offered a “hello” in return. You were dressed in a blue that made your eyes look like gems set in a perfect face. The breeze was palying with your long, wavy. My eyes wanted to linger on your lips but were drawn to the shape under a filmy blue. Ahhhh -Intoxicating warmth flowed in the air. My head was spinning and I was trying to regain composure and focus on your face. Why? Tell me what is so bad about loving a shadow? I reached out my hand and you clasped it. Soft and confident was that grasp.

And so began a different type of page turner; the journey with my lovely shadow.

Claude Bouchard is a fantastic writer and has a series of page turners on the market.The first in a series is entitled Vigilante. For more information  go to Claude’s  Website bigceebee.webs.comor  Amazon.com…. http://bit.ly/6ptvht

and so ladies and gentlemen this is another in a series of prompts by Theme Thursday. Please read more in blue.

Run Aground (Theme Thursday)

Sails unfurled

wind in my face

ecstasy of knowing

no time – no place

passion in the deep

static in my heart

course is unknown

nor written in the charts

Triangle of the sea

fury on the deck

howling around us

spare us -the wreck

pushing us forth

rudder is spent

sheets are flailing

sails are rent

Disaster happens

swiftly like a dart

ship’s run aground

with it my heart

Go  Here for more Theme Thursday enjoyment

Thanks Webb Zahn for the photo:

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/webb-zahn/2100292781/)

She Tasted like Candy

This girl made my mouth water.

When I heard her name, my head would spin.

You don’t understand-my life was so mundane.

One day a week she would make all the difference in my world.

She really wasn’t that special, but to me she was all I would live for from Saturday to Saturday.

My lips would start feeling her against mine by Wednesday.

I would tell myself  “you need to get over this obsession – move on.”

When Saturday came, I was her faithful follower.

She knew I was coming.

I always wondered if she cared.

I was past caring though- for me I had to have her

to experience the ecstasy

of an entire hour with my luscious five-cent peppermint stick.

For more Theme Thursday stories

Tainted by Passion (Theme Thursday)

Her lips quivered with a desire for him.

He was gone but the memories were not.

She re-lived the moment over and over.

“Why did he go?”  She would cry in her dreams.

‘We were suited for each other from the start.”

The passion they shared was life-giving.

Everything they did had a spark.

It was true – they loved the same things.

It had started as a friendship.

Hand and hand they explored the world together –

looking at life with the eyes of a child.

Each day a new adventure- exciting and fresh.

***

A door swung open one day.

He saw the light in her eyes;

she felt the strength in his arms.

She loved hearing him call her name;

he loved her endeared caress.

They loved living each moment passionately together.

Each experience more treasured than the last.

***

Then it happened on a cold wet night –

playing the odds on a dark mountain road.

White lights blinded him;

they hit the curve and lost control.

“Baby you’re wearing this tonight,” he had said as he buckled her in.

That night while she was snugly bound in his car;

he was flung into a void.

He breathed his last;

she breathed her last of real life too.

She saw his fiery eyes that spring morning

when their son took their first breath.

****

Our theme is White. For other excellent White short stories go to Theme Thursday

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