”Faith from Ruin” last time ~ Hope Disappeared

Ida and Frank “kidnapped” Lucy for a trip to the grocery store. Frank, with a wink and sly grin imparted the advice, “stick close kid. Ol’ Frank’ll take care of yuh.”

Clara settled in the kitchen at the worn farm table still burdened by her overnight brooding. She clenched her eyes tight and shook her head vigorously, determined to brush off her trip down a slippery, jagged memory lane. With hands wrapped around a steamy mug of coffee sweetened with Ida’s homemade pumpkin spice creamer, she sipped and breathed in the sweet aroma and decided it was time to move on.

Her mind began to clear, and hunger edged in. She got up and  cut thick  slices of Ida’s homemade bread to toast and slather  with butter and honey. She crunched through the sweet buttery treat, giggling as the honey dripped down her hands and on her chin.

Lucy burst through the door chattering away as Frank and Ida bustled in, arms laden with bags of food. They visited comfortably as the pantry and fridge were reloaded. When they were done, Lucy was sent to the Lerner’s living room with a new pack of crayons, pencils and coloring books she and Frank had “snuck” into the shopping cart. A fresh pot of coffee brewed and mugs filled, the adults sat around the table.

Clara looked into her mug and began, “I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. I want to be completely honest with you. You guys deserve that, especially since you’ve treated Lucy and I like family.”

Swallowing hard, she took a deep breath and continued. “Lucy and I are running, well not really running, um, we’re finding a new place. Lucy needs happiness and stability. So do I. The black eye was from my husband. I warned him but, um. God! He drinks too much and he’s an abusive ass!”

Clara quickly continued, cutting Ida off as she tried to say something. “Shane, my husband, is not Lucy’s dad, so we don’t have that and I haven’t done anything illegal. I just loaded us up, and, left. I didn’t have a place, just a distance; far enough he wouldn’t want to come after me. I’m so hurt and I have scars on my heart and I’m not sure I can learn to love again.”

Ida reached over gently grasped Clara’s hand, and smiled. “Honey, we could see clear as day you needed refuge. I told you the first night, stay as long as you need and don’t worry ’bout the money. There’s no guaranty in life and Lord knows we can’t always count on those we love.”

Clara looked at Frank who had grabbed hold of her other hand and pulled it toward him. He thought carefully while he slowly spoke. “Clara, love’s like a rock. Sometimes smooth. Sometimes rough. We surrender to it. We learn when it knocks us around so we decide to throw that rock away, and these hazards of love never more will trouble us.”


This week at Write at the Merge, Write on Edge’s writing prompt, two quotes were give as inspiration. I chose  the quote in the image below and which is featured in the piece in bold itallics. I was able to work it into the much needed conversation between Clara and the Lerner’s. The P!nk/Nate Reuss song also had lyrics and a theme that fit where Clara is emotionally.

A Story in A Day

Morning stumble straight for coffee. Thankful, someone else’s job.

A skillet. A sip. An egg. A sip. Breakfast served to the hungry child.

Trekking to dress and prepare. A swipe conceals exhaustion, a brush brightens the facade.

Happy squeals and patter of tiny feet, greetings from the grands showing off dresses, snacks toys.

More eggs. Sippies filled with milk.

More coffee. A drive. A farewell. Back home for play.

A day begins. A humdrum repeats, yet full of delight.

The routine. The normal. The expected.

Motivating, occasionally frustrating.

It’s the same story on a different day.


Linking up with Lance over at My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog has his “buddy” LeeRoy handing out prompts with the 100 Word Song. This weeks inspiration came from Tracy Chapman’s “Telling Stories”. My creative juices ran slow this week, but it finally flowed and here it is. A day in the life of ME!

Love and Velcro

Sitting quietly in her reading corner surrounded by books and embraced comfortably in her soft familiar chair, a pensive Emma closed her eyes and remembered sixteen.

For the last two years, mornings before school was the time of day when it was quiet. In the cramped kitchen she carefully slid past the tattered kitchen chair, with the torn vinyl that scratched and dug the back of your leg. She hated that chair. Etched in her brain, is the memory, like a photo that never fades, of her dead mother sitting in it, head slumped, and a needle wobbling in the crook of her elbow like one of those creepy bobble head toys. “Don’t touch it….” she told herself.

Dad was sleeping off the vodka from the night before. Waking him was like unleashing a nuclear weapon; it opened a floodgate of fury and violence she wanted to avoid so she crept out through the kitchen whose door didn’t screech. She carefully chose the spot for each step on each stair to preserve the hushed silence necessary for a quiet escape. She released the breath held to stifle fear and noise as the sidewalk is reached which leads square by square to Brewster’s Coffeehouse.

The new barrista was short on service and long on gab and the line was fittingly strung out, long and lackadaisical. Emma approached it dismayed at the necessity of waiting with others. The lean, respectable looking boy in front of her wore a navy blazer and pants, crisply pressed white shirt and red/yellow plaid tie; the uniform of Aquinas Academy.

Edgily he muttered “If I would have known this was going to take so long I would have brought a book.”

Perturbed because she was careful to keep her head down and stand sideways in line to avoid this sort of exchange, yet intrigued and skeptical by his statement. The suit boys are mostly empty, spider webby shells.

Smirking she asked “What are you reading?”

“Hemingway. For Who the Bell Tolls”

“For school?”

Pulling the book out of the stack he carried under his arm, he held it up and said, “Naw; If I didn’t read I’d lose my mind.”

“Wow. Pretty intense for casual reading.”

Lowering his head he chuckled “I’m reading my way through the school library. Lots of free time. Mom and dad work so I’m home alone a lot.” His brow furrowed when he said “Friends come and go, but my books, well they are always there when I need them.”

She was looking in his eyes. Dammit! People are suppose to think she’s a walking porcupine. Looking away

“Me too.

“Books that is.

“Best friend.

“My parents…

“Never mind.

“Hemingway is good. Finished him last summer. I’ve been working on Tolstoy. “

She glanced at him and the up turn on the corner of his mouth meant he knew her because she was like him. She felt the quills falling away as she felt a deep connection with this strange, stranger boy. She could feel her rough hooks zipping up in the soft loop side of his velcro. Different but they went together.

“Oh hey AA! Are you old enough to drink coffee? What do you think Sue? Is he old enough? What can I getcha kid?”

“Um, dry cappucino. No sugar.” Turning to ask Emma “What do you….?” but she was gone.

With the barista’s interruption, came a realization: Love and Emma are like sweet cream and spoiled milk; opposites. Ripping the velcro loose she quietly left.

Heart broken, it was time to find a new coffee shop.

Another “chapter” in the life of Emma, this post was written from a prompt from RedWriting Hood:

“We all remember our first love – and our first heartbreak.

Your assignment this week was to write a piece where you explore the first broken heart for your character – or for you.”

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