Friday Fictioneers – Valerie

For some reason, I am not sure why, this is the second week I have done a Fictioneers story with a girl’s name as the title. I guess that’s what happens when you’re in the middle of making a move. Next week’s Fictioneers story will be done from Melbourne, Australia!

copyright Kent Bonham

Valerie

by Miles H. Rost

Lollipops.

She walked up to the DJ booth that I was sitting at, and plunked a sack of lollipops next to the control board. She looked at me with those blue eyes, framed by aureolin-tinged hair, and a sly smile.

“I figured you could use these.”

I looked up at her, one eyebrow arched, giving her a querious look that could only be reserved for certain people. I looked at the flat candies on a stick and popped one in my mouth.

“Thanks, Val! You’re the best cousin around!” I beamed back with a cheesy smile

She furrowed her eyebrows at me, and stomped away, her attempt at flustering me failing miserably.

————-

^ Original Version

^ 1987 Remixed Version

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Must I Always Remember

Must I Always Remember
by Miles Rost

Even with success, the specter of loss hung around his head like a bad cold.

Patrick Dumont was not an unhappy man, by any means. He was charming with all the folks, a man of character and integrity, and even fairly successful with his new business ventures. In all, he should be celebrating his life in great ways.

Yet, alone in his apartment, his head between his knees, he wasn’t even celebrating.

It started earlier in the day. Looking through his finance books, he knew that everything was going alright and that there were not going to be problems for the next couple months. But that nagging feeling was there, telling him “Hey, you’re finances are not as stable as they should be.”

As the day wore on, he got more and more worried. As the worries built, the memories of old days came flooding forth like a raging flood breaching an earthen dam. The more the worries piled on top, the more depressed he became. He took off from work early, and just went straight home.

As he sat in that apartment, head between knees and tears falling down his face, he remembered the many times of worry he had in the past. He heard the words of people telling him that if he didn’t plan for his future, he’d have nothing. That if he wasn’t paying attention, everything would fall around him.

He remembered his family as it came apart in pieces, like a car losing it’s parts as it drove along. His family splitting apart from divorce, his father becoming despondent after losing his job, his younger brother jumping off a high bridge to end his life after getting a failing score on his final test. He even remembered his own loss of the first business he started, a hedge clipping business.

Then there was Hannah. The girl that gave him so much passion, and so much life. He wanted to keep her in his heart always, always having that chance of being able to see her again. That is, until he heard the phone call.

“Patrick, I’m pregnant.”
“Who’s the father?”
“I’m….not sure.”

He screamed out, cried, and put himself into fits while dealing with all of these things that came forth from his head. For 4 straight hours, he was in agony. Four hours of crying, sobbing, screaming into his sweatshirt. It seemed as though he would be crying for many more hours.

Suddenly, he sat up. He dried his eyes, and looked around. He blinked a few times, looking at the fluorescent lights reflecting from the outside window into his apartment, casting glow over shadows. His eyes, even in the dark, cleared up.

“I have no need to remember this.”

His words had steel behind them. It was the sound of determination. Whatever he had just went through was done, and he finally stood up. He smiled, as he put his jacket on.

He was free to enjoy life again. He was free from his pain, his grief, and that feeling of holding onto something.

It was time…for a beer.

 

Stepping On Shadows

(For those who are interested in Part 1 and Part 2, click the links.)

Stepping on Shadows
(aka Mayumi’s Story, Part III)
by Miles Rost

A business card with a number written on the back.

Mayumi found it on her counter, and she never noticed it before. She looked at it and twirled the card and the number around in her mind, thinking of where it may have come from.

In the intervening week between her emotional breakdown and the current time, she was able to get her mind back in order and was focused on moving on. She was pleased, but she knew that there was a lot of work to be repaired within her soul, her psyche. She refocused her efforts on developing her life away from the addiction to her ex. She felt as though things were finally starting to get level.

Saturday morning came quickly for her. More than a week after dealing with all those feelings, she felt like she was on solid ground. Which meant only one thing: Time to clean the house. She washed the dishes, cleaned the living room, and started cleaning off the stand-alone counter where she would have her mail and her dinner.

The card dropped from a stack of mail. Hidden among the junk mail was a business card for a garage that she used to take her vehicle when she was dating the idiot. She looked at the back of it and saw a number.

I wonder where this came from? I don’t remember asking for a card from the garage the last time, she thought to herself.

For a long time, she just sat at the bar and twirled the piece of paper over and over in her hand, debating about whether she should call the number and see what was at the other end, or whether she shouldn’t push it. The battle raged inside her head for a while, but eventually, her curiosity got the best of her logic, and she grabbed the house phone. She dialed the number on the card, and just waited nervously. After about three rings, the phone picked up.

“Hello? Who’s this?”

The voice was unmistakable. The annoyance found in the voice was immediately recognizeable.

She had mistakenly called the idiot in Western Australia.

She immediately hung up the phone and started to panic.

“I can’t believe it…WHAT the hell just happened?!?!” she shouted into the air.

She stood up and started to pace, figuring out how she was able to contact the idiot. She had been trying to get rid of him, and now all of a sudden, he was back…even for a moment.

Mayumi unplugged the phone from the wall socket, then walked over to the couch in the living room. She sat down, feeling incredibly nauseated by what just happened. She felt disturbed by it in a way she never felt before, and it was turning her in knots.

She laid down on the couch, the right sleeve of her sweatshirt covering her forehead, absorbing the sweat and the feelings of nausea rising off her head. In the few minutes that it took for her to blank her mind and do some cleaning in her head, she turned her head and looked next to her.

“Lord, ah don’t know what to do. I wanted to keep it away, but ah didn’t throw the card away. I kept it, and explored it.”

She looked back up at her ceiling, and shook her head. She asked for forgiveness in her mind, trying to ease the feeling of self-betrayal in her. As the minutes turned into hours, she felt her gut slowly become calm and her spirit start to rest. She felt a wave of peace come over her, as one thought crossed her mind.

It’s not the end, and not a start over. It’s a mere stumbling block, and you’ve gone past it. Keep running.

As her eyes slowly closed, taking Mayumi into dreamland, she realized that even with this problem, she would be able to still continue and survive. She could bank on that.