Monday, June 18, 2012

Blowing Steam

Today's muse:

As I mentioned, I attended a Sanctuary Retreat this past Saturday.

One of the prompts was to write down three household items, then write a short piece using one of the items. One of my words was kettle.

* * *

Blowing Steam

The kitchen is dim; not because it’s late—or early—but because the curtains are drawn in defence against the summer day.

My throbbing head rests in trembling hands, hair drapes down in a protective curtain. The kettle can’t boil fast enough, though I’m not sure I can even stomach tea.

I concentrate on warding off the resurgence of food and booze. Oh, right. Booze. I mentally tap my fingers against my skull (actually doing so would have the effect of a seven-point earthquake), tick off last night’s liquid buffet. The counting marathon is interrupted by the scream of boiling water.

Jesus! I really need to get a new kettle. One that isn’t so loud.

A deep breath gives me false hope of holding down the bile and I contemplate getting up to quiet the screeching monster on the stove.

Then there is silence, and I am at once tearful with gratitude. I turn to look across the kitchen, careful not to rattle my fragile brain.

Wearing nothing but snug, white briefs, blue eyes smile at me and lips curve in promise.

“Milk and sugar?” he asks.

I smile. Nod with care. And refrain from asking the obvious question.

“Who are you?”

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Out of Here

Today's muse:

As I mentioned, I attended a Sanctuary Retreat yesterday.

One of the most challenging prompts was poetry. Poetry is not my strong point, though I love it. We were given a poem and told to write a response to each line individually. Once our responses were written, we were to remove the given lines and make a poem with the rest.

* * *

Out of Here

Lights flash by in strobe effect;
a futile race with road signs and wooden median posts.

She rockets through the night,
follows the vee of highway,
swerving further and further from centre.

A simple twist will bring her back on track,
but a jerk to the left will get her out of here.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Dust to Dust

Today's muse:

I attended a Sanctuary Retreat today. It was inspiring and validating. The morning was devoted to writing short pieces using prompts. We broke for a delicious homemade lunch, then the afternoon was spent in blissful silence (except for the click of keyboards and the scratch of pens).

One of the prompts was to write down three smells you love and three smells you find less pleasant. Choose one of the words and write a short piece.

One of my ‘love’ words was sawdust.

* * *

Dust to Dust

Dust lingers on my tongue, catches in my throat. It’s like breathing under water; my lungs unable to fully expand. Yet the scent begs me to inhale, close my eyes and tip back my head.

The sharp hiss of the bench saw adds more flakes to my pile of heaven. I want to wade through the fine shavings, toss them in the air like down, laugh as my father twirls me around. I want to brush the sawdust from his thinning hair, press my cheek against his.

Solace is found at the lumber yard, where his memory lives among piles of cut timber.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Snow Day

Today's muse: Three Word Wednesday

Today's words: bulky, mist, resign

* * *

Snow Day

Perched on the edge of his chair, Justin sits at the kitchen table, his spoon poised above a bowl of cereal. He doesn’t dare eat the crisp honeycombs, as the crunching would drown out the radio announcer’s voice.

Resigned to this mundane torture, he waits with infinite patience as the man on the radio drones on about the recent municipal election, the looming transit strike, a movie review and rush hour traffic. The weather report is next.

Justin squirms while the forecast is mapped out for the next four days. But it’s today’s weather report he waits to hear.

“Say it. Say it.” His lips move in silent prayer, repeating the words over and over.

Then, the announcement he had waited for all morning. With a deafening woop, Justin leaps off his chair, thrusts his fist up in an air punch.


He races to the mud room, yanks down his snowsuit from the wall hook.

“Mom!” he shouts, balancing on one leg as he wiggles into the bulky gear. “I’m going over to Nathan’s.”

“Be home for lunch,” she calls back. “Tell Nathan to come with you. I’ll make grilled cheese sandwiches.”

Justin pauses, his fingers on the coat zipper. Grilled cheese. With milk. And pickles. Mom always serves grilled cheese with pickles. Awesome. He grins as he pulls his wool cap over his ears, slips on his mittens.

“See ya later!” The door slams behind him as he rushes out into the crisp cold.

“Whoa!” A foot and half of snow had fallen overnight and it was still coming down. The weather man had predicted more than two feet.

“Isn’t it great?” Nathan trudges up the driveway, pulling a toboggan behind him. “My mom thinks that school will be cancelled tomorrow, too.”


They wade through the snow, leaving parallel ditches behind them.

“Let’s go check out the new house they’re building over on Wilmont.” Justin scoops up a handful of snow, shapes it into a ball. “We can throw snowballs through the window openings.”

“Cool. Race ya.”

They’re breathless when they arrive at the construction site. Disappointment washes over them when they see that the windows have been installed.

“So much for practicing our pitching.” Nathan kicks at the snow.

“Let’s see if we can still get in.” Justin jogs up to the front window, presses his nose against the glass; his breath paints the window in a thin mist. With his mitt, he clears a large circle.

Nathan presses against him and peers through the glass. “Is that…?”

Justin’s breakfast threatens to resurface. His breathing is ragged and fogs up the window. He isn’t sorry that it blocks his view. He doesn’t want to look inside anymore.

“We…” Justin swallows. “We better call the police.”