(Author’s note: The month of November was not very kind, creativewise. A good portion of my brains had to be put to use at work. The rewards will be seen eventually, but it meant my online writing ended up sacrificed. Hopefully this will be a return to more weekly and sooner endeavours. Otherwise, enjoy today’s offering!)
First, I’d like to welcome a new person to the link-world of Music And Fiction. My good friend Sarah Kim does a special music blog, called My Music Canvas, where she features lots of different music from all over. She’s an incredible musical soul, and someone who is very passionate about it. And being as this blog IS called “Music and Fiction”, there had to be a good connection. So everyone should go over to My Music Canvas, and drop a little note to Sarah about the music she looks at and discusses.
Next, this last year has been a bit of a difficult one in trying to write more than just fictioneers. However, I did write a very short story. It was something I just needed to get out, and even though the wording may seem unbelievable, it really doesn’t matter. It’s something that needed to be written and posted on here. So if you have the notion, go over to my longer-fiction work called “No Promises“, and enjoy.
Now, onto a very heart-laden Friday Fictioneers (which like most of my stories are not based on true events, unless I say so. ^_-)
(Author’s notes: Sorry for not being as productive lately. It’s been a really tough time here in the land down under, and because of all that’s going on, my attention has been on getting myself stable, then getting myself out of here. I want to thank each and every one of you for reading my stories the last two weeks and giving me great feedback. You all make me so proud. Here is today’s fictioneers story.)
“We’ve been coming to Dad’s grave for 14 years. I’m about to graduate. You never told me what happened to him.”
“I guess it is that time,” her mother sighed, sitting down next to the flat gravestone, “Your dad came back from the Gulf, and he wasn’t right. But he always told me he was, so I didn’t say much about it.”
Heidi slowly knelt down by her Mom.
“He never told anyone. He never told me!”
She started to sob. Heidi hugged her, tears flowing down her face.
“He was too stubborn to ask for help, and he took his life. He never truly made it home.”
Her Last Performance
a story by Miles H. Rost
The sway of her foot was the start of everything.
Sandy closed her eyes off from the rest of the audience, as she moved her body to the sound of the music. She wanted this time, this period, to be focused on her and all the good she could do.
Sandy remembered her pain from nine months ago, as she swung her leg around and jumped onto the ball of her right foot. She remembered the stage, and the warning from the front of the house, two seconds too late. She remembered the air below her, the crash onto the metal chairs below in the orchestra pit.
She recalled the pain of the ambulance ride as she twirled once and lept across the stage. The heat and electricity burning up and down her entire right side as she was driven to the hospital she understood well. The words of her doctor, telling her that she would never dance again, and her response of “That never stopped me in the past,” were ringing through her head.
A tear fell down her porcelain face as she remembered the nights of tears into her pillow, and the calls of Psalm 6 from her lips. The cries of being weary, as she worked on walking again; the continued tears as she slept on her bed; the afternoons of crying into the arm of her couch. As she pirouetted in the center of the stage, she saw her friend’s face. She remembered his hands, as they dried her tears and put medicine on her eyes when she had an eye infection as she recovered.
Tonight, though, tonight was it. She was able to make it through, and as she finished with a gentle falling splits, she helped put a cap on the year’s dancing. The crowd cheered loudly at Sandy’s return, the last performance of the year.
She would be back the next year. She would be better than ever.
Changing Tides (aka Mayumi’s Story, Part II) by Miles Rost
The old pangs were just like torture.
The old desires, the old needs, all of them were trying to drop Mayumi in her tracks. And damn if she was going to let it.
It had been nearly three weeks since her ex-boyfriend was sent packing across the Outback on his motorcycle, with her hoping he’d never return. She examined herself fully to see how she was, and for the first couple of weeks, it seemed to be alright. She was getting by on her work at the radio station, spending lots of time working radio traffic during the week and hitting up the 7-10 shift at Shine FM on the weekends. With one day off on Mondays, it was a nice job to have, especially dealing with all the stuff she had to deal with.
What she didn’t expect was those old pangs coming back. The feelings that she had still stuck around, the residual mess that was left to be cleaned up.
The pangs were slow to creep up on her. Just a little reminder of the way her boyfriend used to hold her, at a time when she was vulnerable; or a little reminder of the gentle kiss that he’d give her while they watched wrestling on TV. Small things like these kept popping into her mind as the days progressed.
It was a Friday afternoon, and as she got home, that she felt the old feeling of loneliness and desire pop back into her life. The indicators were there before, however.
The papers were all stacked up on her desk. Inputs for commercials and liners were ready to be processed. She picked up one of the requests and started to write on the page. As the pen ran across the sheet of wood pulp, her knuckle started to ache. It was a small ache at first. As she processed each request, the ache got worse and her emotions started to run a bit higher. After a half an hour, she sat back and rubbed her hands across her face, ending with one going through her sandy-gray hair.
“Hey, Mayumi. You okay?”
Mayumi looked at her deskmate, Kelsey. A fresh-faced Sydney graduate, buxom and smart, Kelsey seemed to have a second sense to when problems were about to start.
“Yeah, Kel. Ah just have a lot on m’plate. That’s all.”
Kelsey looked at her through strands of her dark chocolate brown hair, and squinted.
“I don’t believe that for a second. In a half an hour, you can get through a stack like that on your desk. You’ve only gotten through half. What’s going on?”
Mayumi sighed, as she continued to process the paperwork.
“Ah’m just still dealing with my ex.”
“I see. Still haven’t been able to let him go, have ya?”
“Ah let him go. It’s just hard to let the memories fade, y’know.”
Kelsey pursed her lips, as she thought carefully. The brunette scratched her hair with a pencil, while she thought.
“It was two weeks ago, right? And how long were you together.”
“Yeah. And we were “together” for over 8 years. High school sweethearts and all that junk.”
“Ow,” Kelsey grimaced, a slight twinge of pain going through her face.
Mayumi sighed and looked at her friend.
“What’s bad is that ah know when my emotions are overwhelming me. The aching in my knuckle tells me.”
“Yeah, ever since ah had this depressive episode back in ’06. Whenever ah have too much emotion, and ah’m about ready to cry or needing to release, it screams at me.”
“Maybe you should take the rest of the day off. I mean, you haven’t taken a day in the year I’ve been here, and you are probably going through some major league withdrawal if it was that bad.”
Mayumi thought about it for a few moments, and looked at her paperwork. She did get part of it done already, but she didn’t want to leave until she finished her work.
Kelsey looked at her again, and sighing audibly, she put her hands out. She told her, without words, ‘Give them to me. You need rest’.
After a few moments of writing the last page on her desk, she gave the stack of papers to her sympathetic comrade and registered her sick leave request with the manager. Getting it approved. she popped into her vehicle and raced home.
She was already into the apartment when she dropped her keys on the floor. She didn’t even notice them, as she stumbled into her ornately decorated bedroom. Falling upon the bed, she grabbed a full length pillow and hugged it tightly. Tears started to flow down her face, dropping it’s salty emotion onto the sleeve of her light silk blouse. She held onto the pillow for dear life, as her mind raced through the emotions that were bombarding her from all direction.
She cried as she recounted the feeling of his touch on her skin, the longing of wanting that touch on her body. The warmth of his hands on each of her shoulders was still firm in her mind.
Mayumi’s mind was in agony as she went through all sorts of memories. She didn’t know what to do with all of them, with all the extra energy that she had without directing so much of it toward her idiot ex. The “good memories” were the ones that caused her the grief she was experiencing, though at times the bad memories came surging upward, forcing a scream into her pillow as she recounted the numerous numbers of abusive barbs.
You’re not worth the time, Yumi.
That was the one that hurt the most for her. It was one of the last things that the idiot said to her the night before he left for parts unknown. 8 long years, and she had her time wasted.
She screamed out curses at his name, at the memories as the tears poured down her face like a mini-waterfall. Her blouse was becoming soaked with her tears, just like the pillow she held onto.
All of the desire that she had, the lust of her heart, the pain and memories, flowed out of her. The pain in her finger throbbed at all the emotion coming from her.
The culmination of the three weeks of stress and all the old feelings had burst forth from it’s prison. As she sank into what would be called a deep sleep, in the last vestige of her consciousness, she saw a vision of an old tree chopped into firewood, and a hole filled with dirt.
Finally, she was facing all those emotions head on. And the healing would begin in earnest.
(For my Dad, Harlan. A wonderful man who knows good music, and does good things! I love you, Dad.)
Sandy couldn’t remember a time when she wasn’t without something important from her childhood.
30 years old, living on her own in an apartment in a fancier area of Portland, and she still held the teddy bear that she received from her dad when she was 3. She loved that teddy bear with everything she had. It was her best friend when she was young, a protector from the monsters in the closet and under the bed. It was her companion when she was rejected by boys in junior high school, and embarrassingly enough, her practice doll in anticipation of her first kiss.
The teddy bear was squeezed in front of her. Sandy’s chin rested on top of it’s head, as she looked around her room. She carefully studied all of the items on the shelves of her room, neatly places all over the room. She looked at a small box on the top shelf, and mused a little bit. She took in down and put it on the desk.
She opened the box, and a small ballerina popped up. The music that played started up, and she just smiled at the sounds of the little charm piano that played in the bottom of the box. She remembered back to a time when she received the box, when her dad returned from a trip to Zurich. He had gone for two weeks, spending his time negotiating business deals involving metals and parts. He returned home after two weeks, and smiled.
“Daddy!” little Sandy cried, as she ran up to him and put her arms around his leg.
“Hey there, Sunny,” he said, using his pet name for her, “Let me get sat down and I’ll show you something very neat!”
She smiled, as she ran into the living room at the speed of a normal 9 year old. She got his pipe and his slippers ready for him, so he could relax.
He walked into the living room, and carried along a big paper bag with handles, something new at the time. She asked him what was in the bag.
“This is a present for you. It’s something special that I think you will love.”
He gave her the okay, and she pulled the wrapped gift out of the bag. It was large, and somewhat heavy for a 5 year old. But, like a trooper, she handled the gold wrapped package and put it on the couch, where she promptly tore the paper open. She opened the latch on the front, and pulled up on the lid.
The familiar sounds of the music box dancer jumped Sandy back to the present day, and a small tear rolled down her face.
“Dad, we’re gonna listen to this again,” she said, as she put the music box into a paper bag. And as she got in her car, to go to the nursing home where her dad was staying due to his Alzheimer’s, she thought about the music. It lifted her spirits as she drove, and kept the box open while she drove.