Wednesday, August 20, 2014


she lived on that patch of isle far enough removed from the annoying filled streets but close enough to be able to walk the unspoiled part of the beach to the brick library. her house was always complimented upon by the tourists but especially by the locals during the summer when the red poppies would bloom in the patch of land between her rusty car and the cobblestone driveway. oh how they marveled at the rich, sobering beauty of those poppies, the red which spoke of past trials, their fingers shook as they tried to capture the perfect angle with their clumsy ipad minis. blue forget-me-nots spoke of blue times during the winter. the gardeners did all the work, not her, she never talked to the gardeners when they did their secret work, she was always asleep. she never talked to her neighbors or to anyone in the community unless it was an absolute necessity to continue moving, that was why she was so liked in the community. part of it was curiosity as to her thoughts and stances on things, the other half appreciated the quiet in a world of everlasting noise. the locals named her house Still Waters, for they were sure still waters ran deep in her case. she didn't give her house a name, it wasn't home to her.

the alarm rang at 7 and


she tossed and turned trying to remember a dream to analyze, but before she could blink, her pen fell from her hand and onto the green notebook on the floor and she dozed off again. she regained awareness again at 7:30. she hated that. it happened every time, her body could never quite get up at 7, it always needed an extra 30 to fully recover. her body was teasing her.

no time for a shower and only time for a quick banana. at the kitchen, the howls began, the plaintive howls of a poor soul left alone while their owners played. it sounded again, the howl, the howls which entered her mind and festered there as a constant reminder, erasing any silly dream analysis, this was real life, a real-life problem that wailed for a solution, real life is what matters, not dreams.

"oh how i love that dog, that poor dog, always left alone, he's so lonely, he doesn't know i'm here right next door to him," she said to herself as she peeled an orange, "i wish that dog was mine, i'd take care of him better than those people."

there was a reason why she never spoke to her neighbors.

with the orange in her gob, she left the trap of her enclosure and went outside into the searing heat. she opened the first gate and then the second and made her way to the fence separating the two properties. the fence had a gaping opening where the slit used to be, and the dog was handsomely sticking his nose through it. it was cute not just cos of that but because the dog wasn't really stuck or anything, the opening of the empty slit was big enough that he could fit himself through and enter her backyard. it was as if the dog was testing her, seeing what she was all about first, she had to earn his trust, but he was willing and curious like a cat, and anyone was better than his owners.

she approached the pooch lovingly and petted his wet nose. so desperate was the dog for attention he nibbled her fingers up and down, slobbering his heavy tongue all over her newly-cut fingernails and fingers, whimpering and half-barking and almost eating her fingers like they were candy dog bones.

"there, there, my precious pet," she comforted, "you can visit me anytime you like, go on, run free in my backyard, it's big enough to get some exercise but not too big that you'll get lost and lonely again. know that i am always here, right here next door, to help you through your dry spells and howling fits, i am here to relax you and guide you, aid you through this troubling life, i love you more than anyone else, more than myself, more than life itself!"

she pressed her face against the animal's, which he found rather curious but continued licking and caking with his spit. she reverted to animal form, laying there on her back, rolling over, not caring whether she dirtied her skirt, aware in the moment, not thinking about today or tomorrow in the world outside her house. but that glass moment passed as all moments do, and with a heavy sigh, she returned to the schedule that was placed on her, the burden she never asked for.

there was only 5 minutes left.

"damn. if only i could capture those 30 minutes in the morning. i hate feeling rushed, i need time to think and plan my responses."

but she decided there was just enough time to soothe the dog with a short passage on the piano. the piano room was conveniently located just off the location of the fence opening, so opening the window would allow the pooch to hear anything played fairly well. dogs had great hearing anyway. she tickled those ivories with love and compassion, it was short but sweet, and the lovely melody swallowed up the surrounding air, connecting man and machine and man's best friend for another glorious glass moment. the flowers in the front even swayed at the sound. this time, the dog howled out of pleasure, he was adding his dulcet tones to the overall melody.

she was so happy at this vignette playing out, at the concept of it, her big beaming radiant smile forced her to go back outside and pet the pooch again.

"oh my beautiful bae, my furry friend, my bestest, my Firstie, you look like Lassie but you are the first and the best, i'll be right back after work, Firstie, i promise."

she scratched under Firstie's chin and patted his patches. his fur was a palette of brown and black and beige and white patches. Patchy would have been too ordinary a name, though, too much of a mutt's name, he was too good for that, too regal, he needed a name at least on par with someone noble like Lassie.

she couldn't move as the moment ended, she tried to break through the glass but couldn't, she was stuck in invisible mud, in a sand trap of her body's doing. she couldn't muster up enough strength to take the next steps to the second gate then the first gate then the inside entrance then across the hall past the piano room and the brand-new laptop computer still with the packing wrapping on it to the front entrance, to the cobblestone driveway and along the beach walkway to her job. she couldn't move. her body was willing but her spirit was not having it. she froze there stuck in time. depression was one thing, but this was immovability.

a few dog barks snapped her out of the coma, but she was still in a trance. she hazily forced one foot in front of the other until she found herself by the hat rack near the front door. she touched her white hat and the dream state lifted. she chose the only hat on the rack, a white hat the kind you see on Kentucky Derby Saturday. not as fancy as a fascinator, but enough of a hat to be fashionable and fascinating, fashionating. she plopped it on her head and turned it the wrong angle. instead of having it be mysterious by turning the hat to the left and down so only her lips and not her eyes would be visible, she turned it the opposite direction down so it literally covered her entire face. it was a miracle she could see where she was going right in front of her. dangerous, too, the walkway on the beach does make a detour into the traffic of the streets at some point, you have to traverse those sidewalks carefully.

"damn. i'm already late. i hate being late. it means i have to talk to explain myself."




Jules said...

I love Wednesdays because of you. I love this story.

I love her, the character, she resonates. I feel her morning like it was this morning. Like every morning.

The dog is her saviour. She and Firstie should be together always. Then neither of them would be stuck anymore.

I like how she peels the tough orange skin as she thinks how much she loves the dog. Core.

I find all the time references....interesting.

Glass moments. They are the most beautiful and painful moments; they pass by too quickly.

Immovability. I like that terminology.

I don't think she needs to see where she is going; much more fashionating! Besides, she already knows.

And having to explain herself for her lateness....I feel her on that one.

Beautiful and meaningful as always, sweet Phoenix. I'm looking forward to part two. *)

the late phoenix said...

Juli: thank you, mah dahlin, i always appreciate your input.

the red poppies and blue forget-me-nots were spur-of-the-moment after reading your post. i love when that happens, nothing is planned rigidly in my stories, outlined but not set in stone, i love to blend outside influences and old works of mine together when i write something new, adds to the continuity of everything.

i mysteriously left her mysterious without a name because i'm still tangling with a list of 3 names for her...*)