#Fallen – #writephoto

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As she sat and looked out her window, at 50 years of age, she thought of that 19-year old girl she used to be. She didn’t have many regrets about the things she had done. Perhaps this was one of them. She imagined a conversation between herself now and then and how the years had given her wisdom.

”You were only nineteen. You’d had one relationship in your life. How did you get involved with a married man?”

”Don’t judge me, old woman. I had fallen into such a deep depression after the way my previous relationship ended that I just needed some attention. He wasn’t that much older than me. I thought he was serious about our relationship.”

”A married man is never serious, young lady. That mistake on your part affected you for the rest of your life. Can’t you see that?”

”Yes, I see that. It made it easy to step over that line, but what am I supposed to do about it now, old woman? You don’t understand.”

”Nothing. There is nothing you can do but vow to do better. You can also try to learn to live with the regret. It’s difficult.”

The older woman thought about her mental conversation and smiled. There were things in her life that she certainly regretted but not many. Young people didn’t realize that older people were still young on the inside. Mostly, what she regretted were the things she had not yet done. If her body would hold out for her, she intended to remedy that.

Thank you, Sue Vincent, #writephoto

Guy’s Day Out

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”Guy’s, isn’t is great to be out on our own today?”

”Jack, thanks for setting up this half-day in the balloon for us,” replied one of the guys.

Jack, Phil, and Carter were all good friends. They often worked twelve or fourteen hours a day. They barely had time to see their wives and kids. They had little time to see their friends. They talked frequently and recently, they had talked about how tired and stressed they all were. Jack decided to plan something fun for them. He needed time with his friends. He knew they all did.

Their half-day in the balloon was great. When they went for drinks afterward, the talk turned to their wives. They were also friends and they worked hard. Each one had a good job and they had the extra job of child care. The men were sensitive to that. They decided that they would plan a spa day for their wives and they would handle child care and the household for the day.

When the guys got home, they were more relaxed. They told their wives they were planning a spa day for them. That night, the three households were happy.

198 words

Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding

Thanks to Susan for taking over Sunday Photo Fiction!

Dark #writephoto

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The stress that permeated his family was unbearable. There were no jobs. No way to make a living. He was thinking of leaving the small town in the Appalachian Mountains to find work elsewhere. He would try to come home on the weekends. So many in generations before him had done the same. Others had moved their families to cities, to other towns, where they could find work. Their families weren’t usually happy. The people of Appalachia were clannish. They loved their mountain life existence, their extended families, their neighbors. They didn’t want to go to a strange place. He was thinking of going it alone, sending money home, coming home when he could.

He walked before dawn at the foot of the mountains. Thinking. Pondering. It was so beautiful here. The sun was about to rise and he stopped to watch. He had seen this sunrise many times and each time it was more beautiful as it rose over the mountains. No wonder the family didn’t want to leave. People from the outside didn’t understand. They thought them lazy. That they were people who wanted to be on the government dole. That wasn’t it at all. Their culture was different from that on the outside. They knew they wouldn’t fit in out there. Their families and their lifestyle was important to them.

The coal mining jobs had gone away due to the movement toward clean energy. Farming had gone away because tobacco was no longer a cash crop and the corn and other crops had been usurped by the big corporate farms. Because they were geographically isolated, industry did not want to locate there. What were they supposed to do? Abandon the life that they had known for generations?

He had been a specialized machinist in the mines. He could get a job on the outside and had even interviewed with other companies. As the sun rose over the mountains, he knew he had to leave to support his family. He had to send his children to college. There was no place for his wife to work and both their parents depended on him. As the sun rose higher in the sky, he made his decision and started walking home to tell his family. He would not lose them or his connection to this beautiful place. He would drive home on weekends. He would give them the gift of keeping their lives intact.

Family Heirlooms

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She had been summoned to her family home in the forest. Only her mother lived there now. She hadn’t seen her in over twenty years. There had been a falling out between she, her mother, and her sisters.

She stumbled up the plank path to the door of the house. She was frightened, not knowing what she might find. She opened the door and walked in.

Her mother was sitting in the living room. Beside her was a suitcase and surrounding her was all the family valuables and heirlooms. Furniture, silver, gold bars, stacks of money and more. When she saw her, she stood up and cackled, sweeping her arm around as if showing her the bounty. Her eyes looked wild. Then she picked up the suitcase and walked out without a word of explanation.

She walked over to all the heirlooms her mother had gathered and she noticed a note tied to one of them. The note said that it was all her’s and her sister’s. It further said, “Ruth, I would rather have had you for these twenty some years than all the money in the world. How I wish you had known that.”

196 words

PHOTO CREDIT TO MIKE VOR

 

Target Practice

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The boys loved it when the city park was closed. The fence was easy to climb. They hid the car they had “borrowed,” waited until no one was around and scrambled over the fence, pitching their dads’ rifles down to each other.

They were each 14 and knew where their dads’ kept the keys to the gun cases. There were deer that grazed in the trees in the park. They used them for target practice. Their parents were busy. They never knew the boys, or the guns, were gone.

They ran for the cover of the trees and decided to spread out. One of the boys ran to another tree about 100 yards away. The rifles had scopes. They were both poised to shoot a deer. One of the boys saw movement in the brush and fired. He heard a noise and knew he had hit something.

He had hit his friend who was motionless on the ground. The boy kneeled beside him. All he could think of was how mad his parents were going to be. They would take away his phone and his privileges. He wouldn’t get to play soccer. He might as well go home and face the music.

200 words

Photo Credit Sasha Darlington

 

 

 

 

The Book of Spells of Misfortune

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In a city in the North, she was the housekeeper for the handsome detective. She didn’t like him much. She was snowbound at his house overnight. He was gone on an assignment. She was bored that night and looked for something to read. She found a book with crumpled pages called The Book of Spells of Misfortune. Curious, she opened it.

She found a spell she would like to cast on him but she didn’t believe in that stuff. She started chanting it for fun. She heard something and there he stood. He had turned into a pillar of ice.

100 words

Photo Credit Dale Rogerson

 

 

Catch Me if You Can

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The nursing home was like new and the two ladies were old. They had come to see their sister. They were triplets and the nursing home had only been remodeled in places. When they looked down at the old brick floor, they twittered to each other that it was not only old but dirty. They thought their sister was in a nicer place. The bright young lady behind the desk directed them down a hall to the left when they gave her their sister’s name. Halls ran off the dank lobby in every direction.

Huddling together, they turned and walked down the hall. The young lady had said Pearl was near the end of the hall. They noticed the doors had no names on them and wondered how they would know which door she was behind. They paused where there were only four doors left although one door seemed to go to the outside.

One of the sisters didn’t know what to do but call out, “Pearl?”

No answer.

She called out louder, “Pearl, answer me!”

The door at the end of the hall was flung open and there was Pearl.

”Catch me if you can,” she answered the call.

 

200 words

Photo Prompt by J Hardy Carroll

 

 

#SoCS – 02/03/2018

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Dogs are not dollar signs. This is both a personal stream of consciousness post and a sort of public service announcement/op-ed piece. In other words, you have found me up on my soap box today.

Yesterday, I had to have my beautiful little dog, Hanna, put down. Hanna was not yet a year old. A little more than a year ago, I had to have my sweet Cavalier King Charles Spaniel put down. Betsy was only four and a half years old. Why did Betsy and Hanna have to die so young? Because of poor breeding practices by the purebred breeders from which they came. Neither did any sort of genetic testing. Both were irresponsible.

Hanna’s breeder decided to develop a “designer” dog and mixed two purebred breeds. To my knowledge, they did no genetic testing. In doing that, they created puppies with extreme fear aggression who couldn’t learn and who were fear biters and worse. They didn’t know what they were doing. It wasn’t Hanna’s fault. She should never have been born.

In Betsy’s case, she developed a fatal genetic disease called syringomyelia that was incredibly painful. It could have been avoided by genetic testing and Betsy would never have been born and would never had to endure the pain she endured.

Both breeders saw dollar signs instead of sweet puppies.

I don’t pretend to know the answer to this problem since breeders of purebred dogs are not subject to any sort of controls by any governing body except the American Kennel Club and various regional clubs that set the breed standard and govern showing purebred dogs. Unless the various breed-specific clubs impose some sort of rules and sanctions, there are purebred dogs that are going to become extinct. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, for example, is thought to have about fifty percent of dogs carrying the gene for syringomyelia, the condition that killed Betsy. Many breeds are known to be fear aggressive, like Hanna, and the condition is almost impossible to treat. The dogs have to be put down. I could cite many more examples.

Be very careful if you buy a purebred dog. Question the breeder about their breeding practices. Ask about genetic testing. Ask if they offer a health guarantee. Don’t just fall in love with a puppy, pay a huge price, and walk away. Ask questions. Get guarantees. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a lot of vet bills and a broken heart.

Recover – #SoCS – 01/06/2017 and #JusJoJan 2018

She sits and wonders if she can ever financially recover from the devastation he has caused due to this fraud of a second marriage. That’s what it had been. A fraud. A marriage for financial gain under false pretenses. She was so stupid. She had fallen for all the old, “I’ve changed,” clichés. She’s not even thinking about the emotional damage he’s inflicted. That’s a given. The financial impact is huge and will be worse.

He was a gambler but he had quit before they reunited. He had also quit drinking. She knew both had been hard for him. She had watched him struggle. Now she knew why he had done it. He was looking for a bigger payoff. Except he couldn’t wait. He’d thought that her illness was so severe when he had learned about it before they remarried that she surely would not survive very long. It only goes to show you that he didn’t know her very well. After all the years he had known her, he knew so little about her.

He didn’t know that she was already in the process, before they got together again, of grabbing that illness and wrestling it to the ground, getting it under control. It had been the hardest thing she’d ever done, but it was still under control and she would keep it under control. He knew it. He grew tired of waiting for her to slip up, for her to let it get the best of her, for her to die.

He decided to give that illness a little nudge. He was still nudging it, even from afar. Still hoping for that ultimate financial payoff. But, this time, she would win.

 

This post is part of Linda Hill’s JusJoJan and Stream of Consciousness challenges.

Room with a View – #writephoto

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The vines were growing up around her window. They were beautiful in their own, wild way. They were threatening to obstruct her view. She would send word to the gardener to trim them back, but only just a little. Not only were they pretty, but they gave her a modicum of protection.

The house was set back from the country lane, but her window looked out onto the lane. She had a good view. She could see her neighbors driving their cars, walking their dogs, walking with their children. They couldn’t see her because of the appearance of frosted glass. She liked it that way.

Her reclusiveness had started a long time ago and had worsened as she aged. Her house was wired so she could communicate with the outside world and do her work. She could order most of what she needed. She only had to get out occasionally. She enjoyed three friends she allowed to visit and she didn’t allow any family.

She became a recluse after she retired from her career. Back then, she still came and went, but only some. Then she stepped out of her comfort zone and allowed her husband back into her life. The worse things got between them, the more she cloistered herself. When he finally left her, her solitude was complete. Her embarrassment total. Her room with a view became her home forever.

Thanks to Sue Vincent for the #writephoto challenge.