The Sea

We live by the sea. It is just beyond us, really – a few kilometers away, over hill and heath – but it’s always there. Always breathing, always glaring or shimmering, depending on its mood.

That’s what she would say. That it had moods.

You can just see it from the kitchen window. It is a small thing, that window: square, flanked by bleached muslin and crowded with delicacies she would unearth from the water. Yet, often I would find her, standing there, elbow-deep in suds, just staring out at the sea.

And then one day, she wasn’t.

Madeline was like no other woman I had ever known. Eyes the color of sea glass and rich dark hair down to her waist, she was not so much exotic as simply the essence of everything beautiful in my heart. We courted and married in a scandalously short amount of time, but it didn’t matter. We were alone in the world, and had only ourselves to make happy. Yet, even then, I wondered.

In the darkest part of the night, I would feel her moving silently against her pillow, twisting the sheets. Tiny breaths would betray the angst that chased her through the night. Dreams haunted her, she said. Snatches of the day, of the life she’d led before followed her in sleep – sweet or painful, they were ghosts.

Now, I think I’m the ghost. I came home after a long two days in the city to find our little cottage empty. I called to her. Nothing. Something did not feel right – nothing was askew, and yet I knew: she’d gone.

I wandered down to the sea. I had help. Along the path she always took were trinkets I’d given her – nothing priceless, just things she kept stashed amid the beautiful flotsam she picked up along the beach. There was the string of beads made of driftwood from some distant shore. I found the silk scarf I gave her for Valentine’s next. Dyed in muted hues of blue, green and grey, she wept when she saw it – and never wore it. It reminded her too much of home, she said. It was draped over a bit of bramble marking the turn to the dunes.

I would dream of this. Of her gone. That she’d found it. Those were the dreams that haunted my sleep, that made me wake up in a sweat. That she found her skin and returned home.

And she had.

My Selkie. My sweet Madeline. Gone. Back to the sea, back to the life she had once traded for me. The sun dipped below the dunes and the sky was streaked in red when I saw it – saw her: a sleek head bobbing in the water. She stayed there, just out of reach, until the last of the light died. And as she dipped beneath the waves, I heard her voice, echoing within my heart, telling me one last time, goodbye.

For Papi Z’s Lucky 13 Prompt: “I found the silk scarf I gave her for Valentine’s next” 500 word flash fiction.

D: Well, aren’t you cheerful.

A: What? I thought you would appreciate a bit of the old tales.

D: Oh, I do – it’s just not something I would expect from you, that’s all.

A: Not everything is Mel Brooks send-ups or snark, D.

D: . . . It isn’t?

A: (Eye roll) In other Valentine’s News . . .

D: Oh, wait! I got this! Marie and John have put together a Top-Ten List for what not to do on Valentine’s Day.

A: You sound really excited about that, D.

D: Well, Mairead and I didn’t have to maneuver around this type of thing when we were courting. We were, you know, pagan. Saints of any name didn’t have much sway with us, unless they were gods before the church made them saints (Bridget, here’s lookin’ at you, kid).

A: Nice, D. And now?

D: Well, it’s a whole new world, and from what I understand from reading ahead in the story you’ve crafted about my future – totally from whole cloth too, might I add – Mairead is nearly ready to forgive me. I need all the help I can get.

A: Indeed, you do – if I recall correctly, Mairead was rather adept with a knife . . . and knows her way around a variety of herbal remedies.

D: Don’t be giving her ideas, woman!

A: Oh, no, of course not. For the non-Valentine’s among you, this post, 5 Horrible Valentine’s Day Cards, at The Queen Creative is perfect!

D: You loved those, didn’t you?

A: I did. I really really did. I actually want to send a few of those.

D: I fear for you.

A: Gee, thanks D. And that, my friends, is it. Have a great evening and thank you so much for reading!

Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?

adventureswithD-final (1)We’ve gone to play, everything’s A-Okay,

Friendly neighbors there,

That’s where we meet…

D: Seriously, A?

A: Oh so seriously, D.

D: Only you, woman. Only you.

A: Indeed! Join us over at Green Embers Recommends for our two-cents (or 5) on our very own celebrity crushes . . . on Sesame Street!

Crushing on Celebrities Part 4 – The Sesame Street Files (Lazy Sunday Thinking – Really Really Extended)

Living Musically

hd_music_background_by_xylld-d5oaofe

Image courtesy Google Images, labeled for commercial reuse.

2014 is going to be my year, not of living dangerously, but musically.

I have a fair amount of music. Granted, much of it comes from soundtracks. I can’t seem to help myself. Perhaps it’s my way of reliving the movie, or as I used to do as a child, scripting my life and having my very own soundrack. Whatever the reason, I’m staring down 2336 songs, and that’s just what I allow on the iPod. There are perhaps another 1000 that don’t see the light of day except between October and December because they’re holiday songs . . . or Il Divo.

Of that 2336, I listen to about 100 regularly. A glance at my “recently played” and “most played” reads like a funeral gone majestic. With some calls for revolution thrown in for kicks.

So, here’s my challenge to myself (something similar to a New Years Resolution, but fun): queue the iPod to “all songs,” shuffled, on the way into work. That averages about 9 songs, which is great, given how many work days are left in the year. Admittedly, that is an imperfect calculation because I suck at math, but you get the idea. Each Friday, I’m going to feature the song of the week, one song of the many that I’ve rediscovered or has given something resembling meaning to my day.

I’m only doing this on the way in to work, mind. The day always starts out so hopeful, but on the way home there are going to be days I just want to listen to Florence + The Machine or Misty Mountains on repeat, challenge be damned.

This week’s favorites:

Oh, What a World, Rufus Wainwright – I forgot how much I enjoyed this song, and Rufus, and this song. 

Craic was 90 on the Isle of Man, Christy Moore – I didn’t even know I had this song until it came on this morning.

The Pitch, Moulin Rouge – Because Jim Broadbent makes me smile.

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, Monty Python – Because at 6:15 in the morning, scraping the car in -4 temperatures, hearing crazy Brits sing is probably the best thing to get you through the day.

Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar), The Doors – I loved it long before I heard it in At World’s End, but now that association make it even more fun.

And the winner:

Oh, What a World, Rufus Wainwright

In other News

D: So, I get no say in this year of living musically?

A: No.

D: Not even—

A: No.

D: Sheesh, tough crowd this morning.

A: Crowd? It’s just you and me, D.

D: And the guys in your head bantering about the non-sparkly vampires, per Papi’s Prompt.

A: (Coming to a Dialogue blog near you on Saturday) . . . that still doesn’t count. Anyway . . .

D: Don’t look at me like that, woman. I’m not going to interrupt again. Now who’s slowing down the show?

A: Right. So, the wonderful  Helena Hann-Basquiat, and her wicked alter-ego, Jessica B. Bell have some fantastic news:  The Best Medicine and Three Cigarettes are now available on Amazon for .99 each. Check them out, buy them, devour them, review them.

D: Not only that but, Pamela at Poetry by Pamela has published a collection of her love poems, Dreams of Love. Congratulations, Pamela!

A: Indeed, Congratulations, Pamela – the book looks beautiful, and I know your poetry is lovely. Elsewhere, Green has an incredibly funny post on the joys (or is that dangers?) of being a singleton on the internet. How he deals with them is hilarious.

D: How do you deal with that kind of thing?

A: I don’t – I have yet to be accosted by fake people on the interwebs.

D: That’s just sad.

A: Right? Instead I’m accosted by fake people in my head.

D: Wow, that’s rough. . . hey, wait–

A: And on that note, I hope everyone has a fantastic day! Happy Friday!

Docile

Zeke and Friends  Picture Courtesy Google Images, labeled for commercial reuse.

Zeke and Friends
Picture Courtesy Google Images, labeled for commercial reuse.

The Zombie looked to the left and immediately regretted it. There was Jenny, from Human Resources.

She was after him, he just knew it.

Not after him, like he’d broken the rules . . .  again . . .  but after him, like she dug the skin-peeling, gangrene-smelling, reanimated corpse look.

Bill-Z in Accounting said she had a dominance thing. She liked the fact that Zombies – or Zs – were docile.

Then what was she doing, going after him? He was docile, sure. It was tough to avoid the medical cocktail that made Zs productive members of the workforce, but there was never a company rule he met that he didn’t want to break.

It wasn’t his fault. The man he’d been before the Change had nearly taken down the firm dodging the SEC, the NSA, and the FBI, to name a few. But man, it had been fun, and the money he’d made. . . .

Nah, those days were gone. Joining the ranks of the Z was meant to “forgive” the faults of one’s humanity.

And forgiveness meant he was now fodder for Jenny in Human Resources. Because he was docile. Right?

No. Bill-Z in Accounting was docile.

“She liked to tell me I’d been a bad boy,” Bill-Z told him once while they lingered over the manufactured meat product cooler. “And I just never could. I’m not a bad boy, Zeke.”

So, that was Jenny’s game. The punishment factor. Yeah, he’d been a bad boy, once upon a time. He had been a fast-talking corporate shark with a yen for pretty young things – man or woman, it didn’t matter, just so long as everyone was having a good time.

And everyone had a good time with Zeke. Even now, he could still throw down. Sometimes. Usually it was his left arm, but it always got a laugh out of someone.

Every once in a while, he thought the stiffs up north had a point: to be a Z was to be enslaved. We didn’t start out docile, they said. The docs had to cure the overwhelming hunger for living flesh and the need to feast on brains.

Of course, a new Z rarely got a chance to say no to the cure – it was done within the first three minutes of the Change. Those that weren’t seen to . . . well, they were up north, talkin’ hot but keepin’ chill.

How’s that for a resistance movement slogan?

Huh. Up north.

Maybe.

But maybe he could have one last fling before he ditched this land of endless cubicles.

He looked back at Jenny and winked.

Yeah baby. I’ve been a real bad boy.

***

D: There is a modern phrase your people use, which I think describes your response to Papi Z’s prompt, “The Zombie looked to his left and. . . “ beautifully.

A: Pray tell.

D: You are sick in the head, woman.

A: Since I talk to you on a regular basis, I’m pretty sure everyone already knows.

D: I understand. But sometimes saying it keeps the night-terrors at bay.

A: (Eye-roll) Whatever helps you sleep at night, D. Personally, I kind of like Zeke.

D: I can’t believe you gave him that name. I can’t believe you invited a zombie into your head as a character. He’s stinking up the place, A.

A: Oh, cut him some slack – he hasn’t made it up north yet, and Jenny did give him a run for his money.

D: Words cannot describe how vile that is.

A: Well, while you’re speechless, I’m going to share some tidbits with the good people. You okay with that.

D: (retching noises).

A: Oh, that’s just gross, D. Anyone would think you haven’t seen someone’s arm come off before. Geeze.

Anyway, Charles is organizing a February Giveaway and has a donation request for the published authors out there.

D: And SK Nicholls is giving an autographed paperback copy of her book, Red Clay and Roses away at Goodreads.

A: The Community Storyboard has some amazing news: IT’S BACK!! Ready and raring to go with new guidelines, the Community Storyboard is once again accepting submissions. Check it out!

D: Speaking of wonderful places, with wonderful people, Ionia, at Readful Things, featured A and I as bloggers of the week last week. It was so unexpected, and so delightful, both of us are still smiling about it.

A: He’s not wrong (for once). Thank you Ionia! We love you! We also love The Year Long Story project at Line by Line, which she has put together with Julian.

D: Not to mention her ponderings at Ionia’s Thought Catalogue. which is a window into, as she says, the crap that doesn’t fit into her main blog. Gotta love a woman who’s so honest!

A: Speaking of honest, and delightful – the woman who may or may not be the most reliable narrator (but no one cares because her narration among the most amazing I have ever read) is out with a new Jessica B. Bell story, Eat My Pussy.

D: . . .

A: Stop snickering, D. Seriously, how old are you?

D: Chronologically or bodily?

A: . . .

D: That was rhetorical, wasn’t it?

A: Yeah. Anyway, go read Helena’s story, AND the continuation of the Bayou Bonhomme serial, and when you are done with those (believe me, you’ll gobble them up) check out the fact that Volume 1 of her memoirs are about to debut. Last I checked, she was looking for cover reveal volunteers! I’m so excited for her, D!

D: Me to. And not just because she titles some of her stories—

A: That’s enough, D.

D: Killjoy.

A: Takes one to know one.

D: Point taken.

A: And, case rested. That’s all for tonight, folks! Thank you for reading and have a wonderful evening!