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 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

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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.”

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/)

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

My Friend Whit (Theme Thursday pets)

Every day she wakes me up with a smile. The obligatory bath accompanies the wakeup call. If she were a person, we would text  for hours.

Our favorite past-time is swimming. While I swim laps, she practices her dog paddle and dives. When she was a teen, I decided to teach her lifesaving. She is strong enough to pull me to the water’s edge. She knows there is always a reward. She does sometimes get distracted; so every year we do a lifesaving refresher course. So far we have never needed her lifesaving skills but I know she would sacrifice her life for mine.

We almost lost her a year ago. They think it was her liver or spleen. Poor baby she had so much fluid (internally) she looked like  she was about to explode. We came back from a weekend and she looked less likely to explode. The vet thinks it will happen again with less favorable results. How can I protect my sweet friend who would sacrifice everything for me? I wrap my arms around her everyday with the hope for another season doing what we both love doing together.

Go to Theme Thursday for more pet stories

Who is this man? (Theme Thursday)

“Come on Jessica you have to tell a story. We all have to.” A redheaded girl with freckles said in a bossy tone.

The girls were telling stories. The typical slumber party fare: scary, something personal, or what they caught their siblings doing.

Jessica was introspective and shy; sometimes people forgot she was around and that is how she managed to get pieces of the story she was about to tell now.

“There is this man who is in love with my mother; tall, dark, handsome, smooth British accent – you know the type. But there has always been something about him that I wondered about. Like who is he really? What is the secret he holds back? You have to promise not to tell anyone what I am going to tell you. I am trying to put together information about him and I don’t want him to get wind of what I am doing.” A hush filled the room as the girls sat up in their sleeping bags. One light, from a flashlight,  shone on the story teller’s face.

“He’s got a story to tell, but I think he must hide it for fear of being discovered. You see he was in the war. He was a pilot who carried secret information. He may have been part of the CIA or whatever they call it in England. He has a scar on his face probably from a knife ; his hands shake at times when he sees my mom handle the large carving knife. Once he told me he was about to be captured when the resistance saved him – he was that close to taking a cyanide pill. You know those are the kind that kill you instantly.” A gasp, from one of the girls, was heard in the dark.

“He has a locked glass cabinet of medals,  knives, and hand guns. He must have been a hero to have all those medals. But he says he doesn’t like to talk about it much. I overheard his boss at a cocktail party tell one of the guests that he had built something top-secret to spy on other countries via satellite. His boss says they have to keep his whereabouts in the plant a secret so people don’t find him. My brother told me this cool story about when they went driving in the mountains at night. He has a black Jaguar; it’s fast. He turned off the headlights while he was driving the mountain roads. Who knows how to drive like that?”

“And get this he has a daughter in London but he never talks to her. He says, “it wouldn’t be safe.”

One night, when he was asleep, I heard him talking in his sleep. He said, “gotta get away, make my escape soon before they drug me again.”

The girls started talking all at once:

“Maybe he was in an enemy camp and they were trying to make him talk.”

” He sounds like a James Bond guy who knows all this cool stuff and has to kill people.”

“Maybe he’s like a Jason Bourne and he has all these identities.”

Well my mom is worried because he hasn’t contacted her for days and he hasn’t shown up to work. That isn’t like him. They talk ever day and he is usually at my house.

The girls had plenty of ideas about what had happened:

“They found out who he really was.”

” He had a secret cover and someone turned him in.”

“He has lots of enemies if he is a spy.”

” Someone broke in his house and kidnapped him.”

“He’s dead.”

A hush filled the room.

Late that night young girls were discussing  who this man really was. They pondered  different scenarios to his disappearance around one, low on batteries, flashlight.

Several days later, Jessica’s mystery was solved. Her mother got a phone call from her employer. The man known as “Brandon” had been in hiding for several years in the United States. He was returned by officials to a British mental institution.

Go to Theme Thursday for more

Thanks to Taberandrew for the 007 photo

Theme Thursday – The Duck Pond

Funny(haha) I just wrote a story about cycling (for Theme Thursday) last week. Soooo this week’s theme is “Bicycles.” Grasping at tires should be the title for this story.

This is child’s play she laughed as she jumped on the bike.

Then it started to shake and fall.

“Jureen when was the last time you rode a bike?”

“Well – I didn’t exactly say if I had”, she said with a sideways smile.

I started to giggle.

“How are we going to go on a three-mile bike ride

with the boys if you don’t know how to ride a bike?”

The girls had jumped for joy when they had gotten the invitation

by the two best looking seniors in school. The plan was to go for

a ride to the park, feed the ducks, and come back.

“Maybe if  girls didn’t have to wear skirts and were able to wear pants like

boys it would be easier to ride these contraptions.”

I chuckled. My friend Jureen always had very modern ideas about women.

“They will be here in a half hour. No more talking you have to at least look convincing.”

So for thirty minutes the best friends  laughed while one taught and the other learned.

It was a memorable day but not memorable in the way the girls had planned. They pulled each other up the back stairs tired, dirty, and sweaty.

“Ummm I think this iced tea may be the best part of the entire day.”

“Certainly not!’,  Jureen giggled.

I was hoping Jureen wasn’t going to say anything positive about the boys

trying to “sneak a kiss” at the park.

“The best part of the day was when you taught me how to ride a bike.”

Both the girls grinned as they knew it was Jureen’s unskilled bike riding that had saved the day.

“I have an idea. Let’s ride bikes to the park next Saturday!”

‘We should definitely stay away from the duck pond the next time.”

Jureen with a knowing smile grabbed my arm, as we walked to the sitting room to tell mama our funny story.

*****************************

Another wonderful Theme Thursday – Thank You!!!

Thanks for the perfect photo: anthonychammond

The Perfect Draft (cycling)

It was the perfect day for a long ride. The cyclists clicked in and took off at a reasonable pace. The lead was a strong cyclist so he never minded pulling the group. Today was like most days. Not much flat, lots of hills, and something a little different. Today they were on the  logging road- not only hilly but shady for a mid-day ride.  The perfect situation presented itself – a logging truck pulled out from a diner. The group sprinted to catch what looked like a great ride.

“Sweet” you could hear all the way down the line. The other thought, in their minds, ” hope this guy stays off the brakes maybe one of us should tell him we are right on his rear.” One of the group had a near mishap recently when she was drafting off a truck. “One of the risks of drafting” – she shook her head and smiled.

The truck driver looked in his rear view mirror and smiled this wasn’t the first group of cyclists but perhaps the largest that had drafted off  him. The car behind the cyclists shook his head; “they look like a bunch of ducks following behind their mama.” The driver was impressed these guys are clipping along at a good pace – not bad. The group managed to stick with the truck all the way up the winding mountain road. When they got to the top, they stopped for a water break and were surprised when the trucker pulled over.

“Hey you kids did a good job keeping up with me. I was thinking of slowing down but I didn’t need to.”

“Thanks – that was an awesome draft one of the cyclists chimed in.”

” It made for an enjoyable ride,” said another.   The team smiled  as the trucker  got into the cab. “Anytime” he waved. That Saturday was the beginning of many drafts when a trucker named Sam and a cycling group met up at the top of a hill. Sometimes when Sam would try to pay for his meal at the diner, the waitress would show him a note and smile. “Thanks for the perfect draft .”

Thanks Theme Thursday for a perfect topic

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