OLWG · writing

OLWG# 276- Regrets? We’ve All Got ‘Em

Written for OLWG# 276

“You missed her by a couple of days, Dad,” Carmen said. She smiled sadly, leaned forward to put her arm around my waist and gave me a quick peck on the cheek.

I handed her the rosebud I was holding, “I’ll give this to you then.”

I saw Luke come into the room behind her. He raised his hand in greeting but said nothing as he retreated, leaving Carmen and me standing awkwardly together at the front door.

“Afternoon, Lucas,” I spoke to his back, but he didn’t respond, just faded into the gloom of the darkened hallway.

“I tried to get here sooner, Carmen, but…”

“I know Dad, it’s always something, huh? Mother was expecting you. She’s been saying for the last two weeks that you were coming.”

I turned on the stoop and pushed my worn tweed cap back on my head. I studied the road and tried to tamp my need to move on.

Carmen, “You know, she never quit loving you.”

“You’re not gonna let this be easy, are you, girl?”

“Stay, Dad. Why don’t you stay a while? Stay for dinner. Stay for the night?”

I turned and looked at my little girl, so grown up now. So much the same as I always remembered.

“It was peaceful for her, Dad. She passed in her sleep.”

I reached out my arms, and she fell into them, just like she used to do. “I’ll see you around sometime, girl.” I sniffed and pushed her back so I got a good look at her. Her eyes were beginning to brim with tears,

“I’m no good, you know,” I said as I backed down the steps and across the lawn. I waved, pulled the brim of my cap down low, turned, and walked toward the sun. At the corner, of Elm Street, I glanced over my shoulder. Carmen had moved down to the pavement, and she was watching me leave.

That’s all I ever gave to her. That’s all I’d ever given to her. Goodbyes and lots of words, always left unsaid.

This week’s prompts were:

  1. a single flower
  2. Carmen
  3. Mother was expecting you

OLWG · writing

OLWG# 275- Life Beneath The Universe

Written for OLWG# 275

Cheryl looked at me with her eyes wide from across the table. She had her lower lip clenched between her teeth. Her salad fork was tight in her left hand as she sawed the New York Strip Steak with a serrated knife secured equally tightly in her right. In front of her plate, random piles of julienned carrots lay scattered where they had been pushed onto the table by her aggressive meat slicing.

Cheryl had swiped right on my photo, and tonight was our first date. She had suggested dinner at Barrow Island Steakhouse. When we met at the restaurant, I recognized her immediately. She looked just like her photo; tall, with long straight red hair, and thin, almost painfully thin. I thought she was beautiful.

At the table, we got to know one another. Cheryl was a local girl, born and raised in White Oak. She was currently a paralegal in one of those law offices downtown. Billboards lined the motorway with photos of her boss, looking stern and pointing at the camera.

She struck me as too meek to work in that type of atmosphere. I told her that I slept most days; and spent my nights volunteering at a mobile soup kitchen that usually set up beneath the 14th street overpass. I might have mentioned that I had been an actor when I was seven years old and had snagged the part of Roger in the network television show – Roger’s Life.

Cheryl set down her knife and fork. She twirled her red hair around and around the index finger on her right hand.

“Really?” she asked, “I used to love that show. My brother would pretend to be Roger,” she paused, “and I was Selma.”

“You’re much prettier than Selma ever was.” I blurted out.

Cheryl’s face reddened slightly, she smiled and looked down at her plate. “Was that really you?” she asked.

“That was me,” I tried my best bashful smile.

Cheryl held up her arms, “OMG,” she said, “I’ve got goosebumps. Look at them.”

In the morning when I left Cheryl’s apartment early, I felt a little guilty about lying to her, but it didn’t last. I’ve been lying to girls like Cheryl for a long time. There is probably a name for people like me, some medical diagnosis. I don’t know what it would be called, though.

This week’s prompts were:

  1. falls right off the page
  2. It’s not about what you lost
  3. that was me