The Blame Game 2-13-2021

Dan strode back and forth in his tiny one-room apartment, teeth clenched, fists opening and closing.

What had he done? Nothing!

Nothing! He’d done nothing to make her treat him like this.

He stopped at the far wall, staring at once blue wallpaper.

What had he done?

Nothing. He’d done nothing to justify this, but he’d also done nothing to avoid this. To make things better between them.

He dropped his head, forehead touching the cold wall.

This was his fault. What had happened to the flowers he’d once given her daily? The odd card now and then? The dinners… the nights out dancing.

The truth was, he’d forgotten as the years passed by. What with work and kids and a house to pay for and maintain and upgrade whenever she felt the need for something new.

So why was this his fault? It wasn’t really. She’d forgotten, too. What happened to the nights of passion? Coming home to find her wrapped in a bow and nothing else? The nice dinners on the table at 6:00.

Kids were what happened. This was their fault. They would have been just fine if they’d never had kids. Plenty of nights for passion without the endless loop of ‘I’m tired,’ or “I have a headache.” Dinner out every night maybe. Candles on the table. He would have been able to afford the flowers every day. Could have afforded nice vacations, trips to Mexico or England.

No kids to slow them down, to take their focus away from each other.

All that money down the drain.

But he loved his kids. Sarah and Tommy. God, the day they were born. Delirious with joy and fear. Where he’d expected one baby they now had two. Could he afford two? How was he gonna pay for the house and the bills and food and diapers and…

So he’d worked longer hours. Had to, really. He couldn’t let his family live on the street. He was the man. It was his responsibility to take care of his family. To feed and clothe and support them.

Long hours worked. A second job for many years. Too tired when he came home to play ball with his son. Tea parties with his daughter. Damn too tired to talk to his wife. Eat dinner and collapse in front of the TV for the night while she bathed the kids and put them to bed. And then went to bed herself.

So it was her fault. She’d never come down, never tried to engage him…

But she had. Night and night after night and he’d been too damn tired to try. Snapped at her enough to give up.

Somewhere between one kid and the other, they’d gotten lost.

Tears burned his eyes, pain stabbing through his belly all the way to his toes, flowing out around him to envelope him in a greater loss than he’d ever known before.

Who would have thought the one thing they’d wanted more than anything would destroy them?

Maybe he could blame it on the dog. Just one more mouth to feed, one more responsibility on his plate. Not like he’d done much with the dog. It was her dog. She walked it and fed it and took it to the vet and spend money they didn’t have on teeth cleaning and removals, medicines for kidneys and stiff joints, and things for which he’d never received medicine. Couldn’t afford it so he went without.

Now his kidneys didn’t work very well and his joints were stiff. Hurt like a dickens when it rained but the damned dog didn’t suffer. Not even dying.

There was a knock at the door and he turned, terribly afraid. She stepped inside in the blue dress she’d been wearing the first time he’d seen her. So beautiful. Long thick brown hair. Brown eyes sparkling like sunshine. Full lips.

“It’s okay,” she said with the smile which had won his heart. “It isn’t anybody’s fault. It’s life. We did okay.”

All he wanted to do at that moment was hug her. Hold her tight and close and never let her go. Take back all the years they had lost, all the moments which could never be replaced. But, as he held her, she slipped silently away, to sunbeams then to smoke, and then gone.

He had buried her that morning.

From the Armchair….

As many of you know, the last year, year and a half, have been quiet ones on this blog. I won’t say that stretch of time was the hardest of my life, but it was up there. I had surgery for cancer in October 2018 which started the randomness of my posting. This year my Aunt died and my basement flooded (again).

I have spent most of this year dogging plumbers and cleaners and contractors in order to redo the basement (and it going to be beautiful).

On the other hand, I have completed three manuscripts that are now in a pile to be edited and then published (self-publish probably, but that works).

But back to the Blog. I have missed writing for my blog and several times I tried to get back on track. Unfortunately, something else would happen and my efforts would fade away to more silence.

So….

One of my goals this year is to get back to posting every day. I won’t promise I’ll never miss a day, especially here in the beginning, but I do promise to do my best.

On another hand, I have also missed reading your blogs and hope to get back to that sooner than soon.

Glad to be back,

CS Knotts

Sunday Photo Fiction 5-15-2019

SPF 10-28-8 Fandango 4
Photo Credit:Fandango

Sunday Photo Fiction


Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree…

J RR Tolkien

“And down the street and past the drug store and across the mall to the Ice Cream Parlor….” There were trees, yes, but no rocks.

He settled under the red flowing tree.  Why weren’t there any rocks? The song said over rock and under tree. Okay, he was under a tree but… no rocks.

How was he going to get home without rocks?

“John? It is time to go home now.”

“No rocks.”

“No, look,” the nurse called, holding up a bag of rocks. “Here they are.”

His eyes widened as he scrambled to his feet.

Rocks!

He could finally go home!

Sunday Photo Fiction 4-28-2019

Reena Saxena
Photo Credit:Reena Saxena

Sunday Photo Fiction


Thirty Seconds

Really, the having a tea behind a curtain thing was way overdone and, frankly, stupid, but when in Rome. He stared at his tea for a moment before taking another sip, feeling confined in the tiny space of his table and the curtain dividing him from the world.

If he wanted to be divided from the world, he wouldn’t be sitting there. He’d be out doing something totally useless and unproductive. Then again, that might be thought to be connecting, so he didn’t know what he would be doing, but he would be doing something, of that he was certain. Not sitting behind a stupid curtain sipping ice tea – which, by the way, he didn’t want any more……

“Right this way, Prime Minister,” a voice said from beyond the curtain.

He set his tea down and pulled out a tape recorder.

Sunday Photo Fiction 4-24-2019

SPF Export (1 of 1)Photo Credit:Susan Spaulding

Sunday Photo Fiction


The bicycle lady sat under her umbrella. Nobody came to buy her flowers, but she didn’t come to the corner every day to sell flowers. She came to sit and watch the world go by.

Men stood on the Pharmacy steps, chewing and telling tales. Women and children waited for buses. Every day, the owner of the pharmacy brought her a cold drink in the morning and afternoon, lunch at noon.

She drew pictures of their lives in her head, sparked by a word or a walk, a gesture.

She belonged.

Until, one day, she didn’t.

Sunday Photo Fiction 4-17-2019

Steampunk
Photo Credit:Susan Spaulding

Sunday Photo Fiction


 

“It don’t think this is right,” Nathan said, leaning so far back, eyes searching the balloon above them, Bridgett thought he might fall out of the basket. “Are you sure this is where they told you to come?”

“Yes,” she replied, the same answer she had been giving for the last two hours. “At 1410 the lattice-work will open and we’ll float up into the atmosphere.”

He straightened. “Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

“This isn’t some sneaky trick by the enemy to take us out?”

“Really? Are you that paranoid?”

“No.” But he was. “So what happens then?”

“The space ship collects us, mission complete.”

Nathan frowned. “I don’t like it.”

“What could go wrong? Stop being a worry-wart.”

He didn’t say anything, but there were a lot of things which could go wrong and he thought he knew them all.

A moment later, she slipped over the side of the basket. “I’ve got to go to the bathroom. I’ll be right back.”

He looked at his watch. “But… it’s 1400.”

“I’ll be back.”

At the bottom of the rope ladder, she stood, watching the lattice-work open and the balloon float upwards.

Space ship; really? She laughed.

 

 

Sunday Photo Fiction 4-8-2019

CE AYR 3
Photo Credit: C.E. Ayr

Sunday Photo Fiction


He sat on the ledge of the support column, watching the water rushing beneath his dangling feet. He wasn’t sure, now he was here, if he could actually do it, but it had been hard enough climbing down. He would be dead, not because he wanted to die, but because he couldn’t climb back up.

Irony, something his family would never understand. Mike might, but then he understood more things in his world than the real world. And this was definitely not the real world.

He laughed, a strange and hollow sound.  This felt like one of those dreams where you fall forever and never hit ground. Or where something is chasing you, but you can’t run.

What was he trying to escape? Life in this boring town? A drunk mother and an absent father, thing his friends though were cool because he could do whatever he pleased.

He looked up, but the supports seemed to be growing taller and taller and taller, dark against the blue and white dappled sky.

In the dream, he rose, staring down at the swirling water, mesmerized, one foot inching towards the edge.

Sunday Photo Fiction 3-26-2019 on 4-9-2019

SPF 11-11-18 Pensitivity
Photo Courtesy of pensitivity101

Sunday Photo Fiction


 

“Look good,” he said though he hated tomatoes. “Are they supposed to be green or red when you eat them?”

“These? Red though there are green tomatoes.”

“How do you tell the difference?”

“How… they are different varieties.”

“But don’t they all look like tomatoes?”

“Yes, but…”

“So how do you tell?”

Clenching his jaw, John replied, “They are either red or green.”

“Ah, makes sense, but I still wouldn’t eat them.”

“why not?”

“Poison.”

“You think somebody has poisoned my tomato patch?”

“No, no, tomatoes are poisonous.”

“Bullshit.”

“It’s true.”

“Says who?”

“Wikipedia.”

“Oh, then it’s the God’s truth all right.”

Pause.

“Are you making fun of me simply because I told you something you don’t want to believe.”

“Believe me, no. ”

“It is in the nightshade family, you know.”

“No, I didn’t.”

They stood for a few moments, before Danny walked off, mumbling ‘stupid tomatoes,’ as he left.

John watched him for a moment and shook his head.  Stupid tomato.

Sunday Photo Fiction 3-18-2019

BicyclesPhoto Courtesy of Susan Spaulding

Yellow

Bicycles? And yellow bicycles at that?

First fact, he hated the color yellow as much as he hated sunflowers, rubber duckies, butter, lemons and chickens, the babies at least. Adult chickens were okay, but mean as hell.

Frankly, he just hated the color yellow and everything it entailed.

“I’m not riding a yellow bike.”

“Really?” asked with a groan.

” Nope.”

“Okay, have a nice walk.”

“You are going to walk with me, right?”

“Hell no. I’m riding the damn yellow bike.”

“You can’t.”

“Why not?”

“Well… I don’t like yellow bikes.”

“So. I do.”

“But….”

“Nothing,” Darcy finished for him, grabbing one of the bikes and swinging his leg over the saddle.

“Will you get the tickets for me?”

“No.” He looked back at Mike. “You have to get them yourself.”

“But I won’t get there in time.”

Darcy shrugged, pushing off and heading down the street. “Get on the bike!” he shouted over his shoulder.

With an angry shout, Mike started to run after his brother.

 

 

 

Sunday Photo Fiction 3-12-2019

Lakshmi Bhat

Photo Courtesy of Lakshmi Bhat

He watched the little girl – assuming girl due to the pink – waddle down the shaded path, idly wondering where she belonged. It was something to do as he sat on the tiny patio drinking iced tea. Kids weren’t his thing. He assumed he had nieces and nephews, but he’d never seen them and they probably didn’t even know he existed.

Glancing at his watch, he looked back at the little girl, following her tottering steps with his eyes. If that little girl disappeared, she would be missed, unlike himself. Maybe that was what was wrong with him.  Maybe if he’d been missed by somebody, he wouldn’t be at this exact place at this exact time.

A woman came down the path, calling for the little girl. Finishing his tea, he rose, falling into step behind the woman.

She reached the little girl and lifted her up onto her hip, laughing.

He shot her in the back of the head.

Would it go the other way, he wondered, walking away. Would the little girl even remember to miss her mother?