Two Stories

J.M. Barrie, playwright and author of Peter Pan, passed away on this day in 1939. Peter Pan was always one of my favorite stories, and the novel adaptation in particular was brimming with enchantment and charming diction that I’m fond of echoing in my own work, but Barrie penned many other works that are often overshadowed by the immortality of Neverland.

Today’s prompt is crafted in memory of J.M. Barrie’s thoughtful and inspiring legacy.

The Prompt

J.M. Barrie once wrote, “The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it.”

Writing as yourself or as a fictional character, reflect upon how your life so far compares to what you intended to make of it.

Post your response in 500 words or fewer in the comments below.


Note: The quote above is from The Little Minister (1891). You can read the full text of the novel here.

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57 thoughts on “Two Stories

  1. Rastarich

    WISH ALL YOU WANT
    My wife stands at the foot of the stairs, one hand gripping the handle of a Dyson hoover and the other on her hip. It’s Saturday morning and she’s cleaning the house before the children get up. She’s waiting for me to pick up the bag in the corner.

    It’s a big blue bag, a scruffy old thing that no one pays any mind, except me. I’ve had it for a few years now. It sits in the corner from Monday to Friday, the zip fastened with a shiny padlock.

    I hoist the bag up and sling it over my shoulder. The black nylon strap bites into my skin and I’m sure it’s left a bruise just above the bone.

    I wince a little and swallow, hoping she hasn’t seen.

    It’s a heavy bag. It carries my lost hope, unfulfilled expectations and faded dreams along with several pieces of cricket equipment.

    ‘Where are you playing today?’ my wife shouts above the hum of the hoover.

    Her voice tells me she doesn’t really care. She asks because a wife should know the whereabouts of her husband before he leaves the house. Accountability.

    For a moment, I think about whether I should respond, before saying Epping Forest. I make no effort to compete with the noise.

    My wife is pushing and pulling and without disrupting her tempo, she leans in and kisses me. It’s the type of kiss which says ‘I’m only doing this because we’ve been married for fifteen years’. The passionate clinches from when we were in our twenties have long disappeared, eaten up by time and children and bills and other responsibilities.

    I’m not too perturbed by this. It’s our life now. It’s what I have come to know over these last few years. Instead I step through the front door, off to remind myself of what my life should have been like.

    Epping Forest is far away. I have to take the train to get there. As I step onto the platform, I recognise one of my teammates at the far end.

    A Boss headphone covers his ears and he bobs his head to what he’s listening. The bag on his back is bluer and newer than mine. He reminds me of what I was 20 years ago. Back when my friends called me Johnny Too Cool For School.

    I turn my back to him, praying that our train arrive so we can get on our respective coaches before he sees me.

    The train finally pulls into the station. I watch the door open and step on. As I’m about to relieve myself of my burden and sit in one of the many available seats, I feel a hand on my shoulder.

    I spin around to see my teammate, smiling and removing his bag from his back.

    I feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach.

    I smile back.

    ‘How are you?’ I say, offering him my hand.

  2. JCal82

    They had a strong relationship, you know, the kind where they couldn’t wait to get home and tell each other about their days. The kind where they truly were the best of friends. They were happy to see one another succeed. They were the partners that all the others strived to be. They were ready to build together, all of their dreams.

    He didn’t choose to manipulate her feelings to control her. He didn’t choose to hide truths from her. He didn’t squash her confidence when he was angry. He built her up and told her how she was lovely. They were happy.

    She felt free to fly, free to dream, free to give all of herself. There were endless possibilities. She could soar and be creative without worrying constantly about what the emotions would be that day. She didn’t have to build up a barrier to protect her heart. She was without worry of who the person would be that came home that day, Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde…. She didn’t have to cling to the dreams that once were and may never be.

    She didn’t have to hold on to her childhood fears as a possibility.

    But that she isn’t me.

    This isn’t the life I thought it would be. This isn’t the marriage or childhood I imagined for my kids to see and although you’ve never raised a hand, you do enough to slowly destroy me.

    The light that used to shine within has grown dim…

    I so badly want things to be different, but as long as your “first love” is in the picture, my dreams of us can never be because “she” has your heart, your mind, your thoughts. This “she” is not me; it’s not even a person. This “she” is your addiction.

    You know, the one you can’t live without, even though you have to see how much it is destroying your life.

    I suspect there will be a day, maybe coming sooner than we realize, where an ultimatum is laid down – “her” or me. Who will you pick? Unfortunately, I don’t think you will pick me and maybe that’s why I hold on as long as I do, but I can’t keep going on in this toxic world where I’m not valued.

    These are only the feelings that I know of myself, I know others see it too. The real question is, when will you?

  3. mayboy

    David had almost chocked when he swallowed a big piece of strawberry cake. He couldn’t resist tasting the other half of the delicious pastry and smell of the forest on the top of the cream. Violet blue color fruits called for the spoon to dive into and his hand seized it when a clumsy guest spilled the wine over the cake. David dropped the spoon which fell under the chair. Disappointed, he looked for desserts on the silver plate as far as eyes sought. Squeezed among the ladies whose fatness was the obstacle to stand up and go to the other side of the room. He could only dream of the creamy, soft chunk, melting in the mouth and the lust for the sweetness increased.

    The older lady aside grabbed his elbow, firmly, that he couldn’t get out the squeeze. She dragged him among the dancers and kept him by her side while she was turning him around on the dancing floor.

    “Let’s twist again,” she hissed in the ear when the music changed.

    It was her day, her party. All she wanted, was to have a little fun. The odor of the breath blew him a step away. In the moment of her distraction, he took a chance and left the lady on the scene. Through the crowd, he paved the way to table where the cakes and biscuits challenged the hungry taste. But, before he stretched the hand, the lady bumped into him with all her size and weight and knocked him down. Nearby, in the corner, stood the half feet tall blossoming cactus, brought by the owner from the desert a long time ago. Its sharp, long spins cut deep into the Davids’ hip. When Rose, the young owner’s daughter saw him on the floor, she helped him to stand up. In her eyes, he saw all the blossom and blessing of the world and forgot the pain when they enjoyed the pasodoble steps.

  4. Jennifer Park

    48. The Commute

    [Follows “47. The Angel”, posted below. This doesn’t quite fit the prompt, but Barbara’s been insisting that I keep writing. You can see a listing of the Darth Barbara saga chapters—all of which are posted under WD prompts—by clicking on my name above. In chapter 50, under “The Shadow”, it says Barbara is living on Earth, but I’m retconning it here.]

    Fortunately, Kryzlak was not going to be Barbara’s primary residence. She wasn’t representing the Union on just one planet anymore. She was the first-among-equal-ambassadors for three whole octants, and, even within its own octant, Kryzlak was far from the most important.

    Goshen was.

    Goshen was an Earthling colony several transport jumps away from Kryzlak. The planet belonged to the Peämbe, who found the equatorial region stiflingly hot and unbearably humid. So, the Earthlings took the liberty of squatting there.

    “You have to agree, ambassador, that Goshen is more Earth-like than Earth.”

    This was true. Rather than use state-of-the-art residential technologies, Gosheniks modeled their towns after aging Earth suburbs—of course, without the deterioration from neglect and abject poverty. “These houses look nice.”

    “‘Just like home, only better,’ we like to say.”

    The driver stopped the car at an intersection. An intersection! Barbara had not seen a proper Earth intersection in decades. There were people crossing the roads and everything. And, the car was wheeled and being controlled manually—literally, by hand—by the driver.

    More home than home, indeed.

    “20 degrees, plus or minus, all year round. Nitrogen is a little high, but should not be a problem.”

    Oh, Barbara had lived on many planets with non-ideal atmosphere. “And where is my residence?”

    “Pardon?”

    “Residence. You know, for me.”

    Barbara could practically hear the driver’s befuddlement. “Ummm…”

    This was not unusual with Earthling colonists. Sometimes, they just did not learn proper English. “Where am I going to live?”

    “Oh! Yes, ummm… well, at your house, of course.”

    “And where is it?”

    “Uhhh…”

    “Is there not a house where ambassadors live?”

    “Uh, no, not until you buy one.”

    “Buy one?”

    “Yes. Obviously, you can’t have a house unless you buy a house.”

    Now Barbara was befuddled. “You mean, I have to buy my own house here?”

    “Of course! Just like on Earth!”

    Honestly, Barbara had never lived in a house that was her own. She was a runaway to start with, and she had since lived in various guardians’ houses, then in school dormitories, and then various diplomatic quarters provided by the Union. “So, all the other ambassadors, they each bought a house.”

    “Yes.”

    “Couldn’t I just live in one of those?”

    “Oh, no, they’ve been long sold… or, actually, Ambassador Pe’s house is still on the market, I think. It is a big house in a very posh part of town.”

    Ambassador Pe was a kleptocrat who owned a profitable network of junkyards and had seventeen children. Barbara would rather live in a non-ostentatious neighborhood like… “How far are we now from the embassy?”

    “Oh, not too bad. About a thirty-minute commute.”

    Barbara was used to living right by her office. It was a privilege of her office.

    And, now, with her prestige rising, she had to work harder, and pay for housing, and put up with a far longer commute?

    Was this what it meant to have more power?

    1. Kerry Charlton

      The last question might well be answered by Donald Trump. At least she’s not that far away from normalcy from earth. This is certainly fascinating to read. I’m heading back to read some more. Writing is top notch.

  5. ReathaThomasOakley

    One True Story

    Lacey the calico cat lies next to me, trying to kill the iPad cord. I explain that’s not the best idea. Don left a bit ago, on the search for fresh fish, another thing we miss about ten years snowbirding in Florida.

    Without planning for either, I have a husband and a cat, both dear to me. In fact, Lacey’s predecessor is one reason I have a husband. Nutty, called evil by some, accepted me the first time I met her. Who could resist a man who is tall, smart, writes poetry, and has a cat.

    The story of my life isn’t exactly the one I wrote at eighteen or twenty-eight or any year between birth and now, but it’s not too bad, not too bad at all.

        1. Kerry Charlton

          What a clever way to write about half a lifetime or more. You never stop surprising me with your considerable talent in laying down the written word, but when you write about the real, you’re
          smokin,’ everyone else on the web site. Congrats on the tall husband and also the cat
          Remember, ,Bell, Book and Candle.

    1. Bushkill

      I agree, the version of my future at 18 and the reality of my present … somewhat further along the timeline aren’t parallels. The reality is better.

      Nice, heartwarming piece, RTO.

  6. mcannon

    How did I get here? I gazed out the window of my high corner office, saw the delivery trucks below and knew that I was above all of that. I had somehow worked my way up to this point, becoming a marketing executive, my every word respected by my employees. I am here, there is no doubting that, but why do I still feel as though something is missing? My money somehow gets deposited into my bank account, my bills are easily paid, I live a comfortable life, financially speaking. But in all my success I am alone.

    I have alienated others, beaten others down on my path to the top, and yet I am classified by the the other as wildly successful. Living the dream, some might say, but my dream goes unfulfilled and ever deferred. I thought that a steady income would allow all other pieces of my life to fall in place. A family, travel, and overall fulfillment.

    I am empty, and yet I keep chugging along, waiting for the pinnacle. I think about it sometimes, bowing out of all of it, resorting to a life of obscurity. I truly believe I would be happier; I could measure my impact on others, work directly with people in need and feel as though I am making a difference in this confusing world.

    My life is everything I ever wanted; more, even. My life is nothing like what I want it to be.

  7. Bushkill

    Just doin’ my thing.

    I’d like to claim my life as some masterful stroke of divine genius.

    I still may.

    When you draw a battle plan it’s not supposed to survive an encounter with the enemy. Everyone knows that axiom. Mine has flourished in the crucible of time.

    I’ve had struggles, sure. Some of them have been soul-crushing, life stealing, character building events. Occasionally, they are all three. Such pressure causes dependencies in some.

    My wife is a goddess. Really. In addition to dealing with me, she has managed to raise three bewilderingly well-behaved and morally balanced children. She has done so largely on her own since shortly after we had kids and moved into our house two decades ago and our families each moved half a country away.

    And I was always at work, often six days a week and sometimes seven, picking up every odd job my school offered so I could make an extra dime or two. I worked summer jobs as well and weekends and holidays for local contractors. No Johns or Janes in my life, but I turned every trick I could to make a buck.

    And it worked!

    I raised a family on, essentially, a teacher’s income with my wife a stay at home mom because we couldn’t afford the childcare costs if she had tried to find a job.

    Or another car.

    I’m missing the military angle. My ROTC program was canceled at my college in January of my Freshman year. POOF! Gone, taking my scholarship with it. That’s my career negative.

    Positives? I’ve had a few.

    On our way to tell our parents of the first grandchild in either family, we hit a moose, wrecking the car. In a 300 plus mile journey, we saved that moose thing for the last 10 or so miles.

    Clutch inconvenience.

    And it was twins! Born two months early and spent nearly forty days in the NICU. They graduated from college (both private schools and one my Alma Mater) this spring. Cum Laude in Communication for one, Honors in English for the other. Their little brother is now a Mech E. student at yet a third school. Travel this year was a special kind of crazy.

    Another vehicle incident, on the outskirts of St. Louis and a very long way from the PA/NJ border, witnessed the death of my transmission, young pippers in the back just waking up from a long night’s ride—14 hours long, actually. My in-laws, same folks from the moose incident, were only a few miles away then, too.

    And that teaching gig? Still got it. I now manage the humanities instead of teaching mathematics. It’s all good, though. I got skills.

    And an Angel at home, waiting for me to get back and cook dinner for her. Or pancakes. Especially pancakes.

    Like I said.

    Skills.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      You know what Bushkill, I am old enough to be your father and then some but there is no doubt in my mind we could be great friends. You recognize what a woman really is, They are more intelligent, much better looking, more practical but when the chips are really down and out,, far stronger than we. I loved Maurice Chevaliers, especially this,

      “Thank heaven for little girls, for they get bigger every day!”.

      1. Bushkill

        Janos, Kerry. That means a lot. I definitely married up. And early on in our marriage that I always complimented her in publicAlways and never never never show discourtesy or disapproval. It means a good deal to her. .
        My brother in law always says marriage is like survivor. To wit, you have to do enough good things each day to avoid getting voted off. Smart plan.

  8. Kerry Charlton

    I AM MYSELF AND WHO I AM IS A TOTAL MYSTERY

    If you’re waiting for some brilliant dissertation on my life, well forget it. It isn’t in

    me and never will be at my age. Being a true child of the fifties, we didn’t worry

    about such triviality. What we did care about was cars, girl friends and how cool

    we looked in white buck shoes, gaberdine slacks, narrow suede belt. Shirt opened at

    the top and a DA hair cut and oh yes, enough green stuff to please our squeeze.

    Girls were not a commodity but rather precious jewels, who needed looking after,

    kissed, cuddled and by all means protected and honored. If you’re falling down on

    the floor and laughing about this, then go find your grandmother and ask her

    yourself. Don’t be surprised if you see wonderment cross her face and a radiant

    smile. You will have made her day and damn well proud you did.

    If your waiting for a breath-taking story, you’re out of luck. When I look back I see

    train wrecks, wrong way streets, but a sweet smile of passion from my wife a long

    time ago. We climbed a mountain together arm in arm into the very clouds you see

    appear in the blue sky. They said it wouldn’t work, it would never last’ Aha, it has

    for 51 years and most of our critics, now lay by the way side. It does not pay to pick

    on people for life has a way of back firing criticism and evil thoughts.

    We have created a dynasty so to speak that would rival any you might be familiar

    with. Our children that number seven, have given us fourteen grandchildren and six

    great grandchildren who are a power house in their own right. It appears strange now

    that no one dare pick on us but do ask advice occasionally, especially the young.

    So if you happen to be looking for us, don’t look on the shelf for you won’t find us

    there. We don’t sit in the dark and collect cobwebs for it’s not in our nature. You

    might find us in our garden among the flowers that grow, there. Each day brings

    something new into our lives So we live like the sparrow, who plays in our garden

    along with house wrens, chickadee, tufted titmouse and baby cardinals. It’s not a bad

    plan, think it over, you might enjoy it.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you John, if you knew the circumstances, you might want to take the second sentence back. Glad you liked this. I had no idea of what we were supposed to write, totally in the dark. [As usual].

  9. HilarityFollows

    I had it all figured out. I am leaving this town by any means necessary, I thought to myself. High school was a blur of academic success intermingled with being told to pray for forgiveness. I know can do anything, I just don’t feel like it. At home, the stench of day old boxed wine and cigarettes was slowly suffocating me. I am still haunted by the footsteps of my mother, stumbling drunk down the hall to tell me how ungrateful and worthless I am. One day I’d had enough. I told my parents before my senior year was over that I was getting married to my boyfriend. The boy next door, now a man, a few years older than me with an equally dysfunctional home life. As a child, I could hear his mom screaming at night through the brick walls. “We are so much better than them”, my mom would say. Three weeks after graduation I said goodbye.

    Fast forward a few years. I made a mistake. My parents weren’t right, but they weren’t wrong either. Now pregnant, accidentally of course, I realize that I can’t take care of two children – one of them being a grown man. Physically a man, he was irreversibly emotionally damaged in childhood and it had taken its toll on me for years. All my friends and family are so happy but I only feel the most intense fear. It consumes me almost completely. I lay awake at night and can feel the blood searing through my body, my heart pounding, my face hot with shame as I rest my hand on my swollen stomach. What have I done? How could this happen? My marriage had already been falling apart for some time. Now I’m connected to this man forever. I had to escape. But how?

    Thumbing through the baby name book, nothing sounds right for this child. Well, not yet a child, a fetus. On the black and white ultrasound, the grainy images of this tiny being remind me of a Doppler radar showing an intense unwavering storm. I feel cursed with the burden of growing another human life inside of me. “Do other mothers feel like this?”, I wonder, “Am I even fit?” My thoughts wander back to my own mother and the nightmares of my childhood. I can feel the hot tears on my face and smell the sickly sweet stale breath of too many glasses of wine. Momentarily frozen, I can feel my blood pressure start to rise stuck back in those moments and unable to escape. I curl up in bed for comfort but I can’t quite shake the images out of my head before drifting off to sleep. This fetus will never know those feelings, of that one thing I am certain.

  10. sudhir

    ’36 inches.’ The measuring tape read.

    ‘And yours?’ asked Alter.

    ‘Mine is 32.’ I replied. We measured our waists. I was slimmer than Alter.

    Alter and I had the same face. Same physical makeup except he had a wider waist and some puppy fat on the face. His receding hairline showed more of his forehead. I had a well-defined jawline, and my hair had not started falling yet. We walked and stood with same gait. We wore similar clothes, shared similar likings in food, music, movies, books and people.

    There was one difference. His face showed a smile. Mine didn’t.

    Alter and I grew up on the same day in two parallel worlds to perhaps the same mother. We both didn’t know of each other for a long time until one day I opened a black leather-bound book and started writing on it. As I wrote, a face became visible on the pages. In the same way as one would see himself on an old, dusty mirror as one would wipe it with a clean cloth. With each stroke of cloth, a little more of the self was revealed. The face on the pages was Alter’s. But it was my face as well. I could see myself with every stroke of the pen. He was larger than me. Larger not in size but in character, he always seemed to be ahead of me and doing things I wanted to.
    I saw him as the handsome boy of fifteen walking in the corridors of my school as girls would look at him in awe. His slim-fit school shirt revealed the perfect V-shape of his upper body; his trousers ended just above his shoes; and his shoes always shone black, and socks pulled up and tight. I wished I looked like him.

    I saw him as the studious, but still handsome, bespectacled boy of twenty in college. He had a girlfriend. They would go out on lunch dates and walk by the sea wall edging the city sky scrapers. I wished I was him.

    I saw that he was amongst the academically meritorious students of our University. He wrote papers that found place in acclaimed research magazines. I barely managed to get a first class in my exams.
    I saw him last when we graduated from university. He left for further studies to a foreign country, and I thought he would never return from that country of dreams. That day I turned to the last of the few pages of the leather-bound book. I put the pen aside, and I didn’t see more of Alter.

    I felt relegated because Alter and I were meant to be one – he was never to leave me and take me with him in whatever he does. We were meant to be equals. But he excelled, always. He left me. I took a job straight out of college and knowing that my parents won’t be able to afford me higher education like Alter’s, I decided to concentrate in my duties on the job and excel in that and achieve things for myself through that job.

    Years passed. I was married. I was still doing my company job. I never opened the leather-bound book, not one time. Dust had settled on it. An ambient desire to outperform Alter and succeed more than him always burnt within me. I wanted to get ahead of him in earning more money and live a higher quality life. I didn’t enquire on Alter for years. I assumed he would be living somewhere in the country of everyone’s dreams. I too chose to relocate to another country with my job. It paid me better in a foreign country. I left my mother and father back home. They were turning old.
    One day, my father passed away. I flew home. I saw the leather-bound book hiding in a corner. Dogeared. But I didn’t touch it. In spite of knowing that my mother was alone after father’s demise, I flew back to my host country to resume my job.

    More years passed. My mother also turned sick. She wished I returned home. My wife and I continued to live away from her. Over time, my wife and I developed differences. She left me and went back to live with my mother. Left alone and with no one to share my dinner, bed or coffee with, I too left everything in the foreign land and returned.

    Mother had become too sick. Too sick to talk or look after me. My wife didn’t love me anymore.

    One of those days, in one of the many quiet moments at my home that I grew up in, I reached out to my leather-bound book. I dusted it. I turned to the end of the book and started writing, again. The
    pages were rough and didn’t feel like they did before.

    Alter walked in to the room. Again.

    That’s when we measured our waist as I felt he had gained weight. Time had aged him more than it had aged me. I said to Alter condescendingly, ‘I think I have lived better than you did.’ Alter replied, ‘Maybe.’

    But deep within, I knew he was happier. Only my lips smiled. But with Alter I could see that his eyes smiled.

    ‘I must get going,’ Alter said. ‘I am going to the cinemas with mother, wife and my daughter.’
    He left. I saw myself and Alter parted for life at that moment. I knew he was never returning to me. He had triumphed. I learned that after his studies abroad, Alter had returned home and continued staying with parents. He married and had a baby. Together with his mother, wife and daughter he was living happily. He returned each night from work to a home where hot dinner cooked by his wife and mother awaited him, where his daughter awaited his lips to kiss her forehead before she slept.

    Alter and I were one. The face I saw in the pages of that book was Alter’s. But it was my imaginary me. I wanted to be Alter for years as I grew up from a boy to becoming a man. And then when I couldn’t become him, I did things that today make me regret. I see Alter has been better off. Alter has always been better off. I can never be Alter.

  11. RafTriesToWrite

    I tried not getting too serious about the prompt but I just can’t help it, so I’ll just share what I got.

    I am one of those people who’s got no plans in their life. I’m the “happy go lucky” or “go with the flow” kind of guy. But the luck or the flow wasn’t too forgiving, even though I know a lot of people have it way worse than me.

    I always felt grounded at the four corners of my home when I was a kid and having no actual neighbors didn’t help with my upbringing as a kid who just wanted to have fun. I only meet people my age during school, but school was more of learning than the actual “peer to peer” engagement that I was hoping for.

    Though, I admit, I did HAD friends throughout my grade school and high school, but, we just drifted too much apart that we don’t even bother to actually make effort to see each other after graduation. Plans were made, stories were shared, words have been said, but at the end of the day, we just forget about it. It was both a hit and a miss. They moved on. I didn’t. I was left behind.

    Growing up without knowing the actual definition of friends led me to a dark spiral abyss of depression growing up, thinking I wasn’t good enough of a friend, or that they don’t deserve me, yatta yatta. That’s why I always considered them as acquaintances rather than friends.

    It didn’t helped.

    But you know what did? Writing.

    I fully explored writing when I was in college. It was my output of emotions, my safe haven, my secret keeper of my deepest wishes and desires. Writing stories was my escape, my happiness and also my sadness.

    College was the same, in terms of friendship. I didn’t made any that didn’t lasted more than two years. It was like grade school and high school all over again. Five people graduating college in the same course doesn’t seem much does it? But to me, it was all I had, then it all went away after graduation. The four of them have their own lives to worry about and we started to drift apart. That’s when I thought that, I should do the same.

    I still look at their updates on facebook every once in a while. One is building an empire by being an entrepreneur, one is also doing the same but also has a job, one just had a baby last year and now lives a few miles away from the group with her not yet husband, and the other one is now concentrating on leaving her current job and find a new one.

    My outlook on my course that I took in college wasn’t the one I imagined it to be, because again, I don’t have my life all planned out, even in just a general sense. It was what my dad wanted, and now that I did what he told me to do, graduated and all. After that I was like “now what?”.

    Get a job was step one I assumed, but what next?

    I live with my parents, with my mom that started undergoing dialysis during 2014 and my dad that’s practicing his profession and my little sister who’s just starting college this August. I mean, something like that happening to my mom could happen to anyone, but, I just thought, why her?

    I hate my job, every bit of it, but I’m too afraid of resigning because I got this job “interview free”. Kinda. They were really looking for someone, and when they saw me they were practically like, “yeah sure”.

    I’m shy, I don’t know how to communicate with other people “normally”, I’m a gay person who’s not out yet to his parents, I don’t know if someone will ever love me as a person and I’m overweight.

    So…

    Yeah. That’s me, or at least, just a gist of it.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Raf, this is one of the bravest things I ever read in my life. And you say you don’t have confidence. I will say this, if I were in a fox hole, being shelled by the enemy and I had my choice who would be with me, you’d be at the top of the list. No one can explain why a Mother falls ill and has to suffer or why a father, me, has to watch a daughter fight Melanoma for seven years and then have it come back and take her life away.

        God knows why but we don’t. Tell your Mom, that I will pray for her but I know not if it will help. Only God knows. I started to write when my daughter passed away to keep my sanity, it has been a big help.

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      Raf, I hope you realize you have a community here of folks who share common goals, who also use writing to communicate, to vent, to offer solutions, to support others in their efforts. I’ll bet others also have jobs they hate, things they can’t share, and are overweight. But, here we are writers, as are you.

  12. SonicCal2

    Continued from the All the Feels Prompt, We Never Felt Love.

    He caught us sneaking another can of brown beans when he entered the kitchen. As per usual, he was drunk out of his mind. Careless and reckless and stumbling in the dark, he grabbed my brother by the collar and almost choked him of his oxygen. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” He yelled indefinitely, my brother struggling without a pause.
    “Nothing, sir, nothing,” stammered the boy, in retaliation for breath.
    “Nothing?! What the fuck is this nothing, then?” He held the crusty can in his other hand. “Ye scubbardly sewer rats, you!” Throwing my brother down like a toy, he added, “Don’t you steal from me kitchen again! Or I’ll beat 7 times your arses!”
    “…Yes sir.”

    My brother silently sat on the wooden planks, thinking of a way to combat the drunkard fiend. “Aye, you should have kept me of my food earlier!” He shouted with rage. “At least give me mercy of death by poisoning my next meal with cyanide!”
    “I’m getting closer to that point, Arrond! Don’t make me walk my arse to the jailer!”
    “I’m alright with death if it means I get my redemption, Walker! You were never fair with us and you deserve all the bad luck the world has ever given us!”

    Walker started to drunkenly start toward Arrond. Knowing his punches are bone-breaking, Arrond, with his quick willed, hungering body, dodged every blow he could. Unfortunately, such determination could not last long enough. Walker finally managed to hit Arrond in the gut, knocking him completely unconscious. “You’d better not make any more trouble like your stubborn brother did, Truth.”
    I pretended to shake profusely, getting myself to cry enough tears to douse his anger. “Nuh-uh, d-dear sir, I won’t, n-not at all…”
    “Good. It’s 2 o’clock in the fucking morning. I’m going back to sleep.” He turned around. “Thanks for ruining it, those bastards.” He mumbled to himself as he tiredly stomped up the steps to his room. From the kitchen I could hear the banging of his bedroom door. I quietly whispered in my brother’s ear for an hour or two before he finally woke up from the blow.

    “What are we gonna do? We can’t stay with this guy any more. He claims to be a preacher? Bollocks!” Complained Arrond. “Old Rumpus don’t even care for us any more than he used to.”
    I smiled hopefully. “Maybe we can run away and find a new life, a new place, some better people and good luck, mate.”
    “But where are we gonna go?”
    “Wherever the Thames takes us. Follow me.”
    We grabbed some money and supplies and stuffed it in a safe-bag. Without turning back, we happily opened the door and ran to our freedom, walking for miles and miles until we found a better place.

    That was seven years ago.

  13. Jennifer Park

    47. The Angel

    [Follows “46. The Blowback” under “Thou Mayest”. You can see a listing of the Darth Barbara saga chapters—all of which are posted under WD prompts—by clicking on my name above.]

    To say that Ambassafor Barbarella was apprehensive about returning to Kryzlak was an oversimplification. To say that her feelings were mixed would be a total authorial cop-out.

    Reviewing and revising her diplomatic uniforms reminded her that, on her first visit to Kryzlak, she had been revered as a goddess. Her compact and somewhat chubby body, far from human ideal, happened to conform to Kryzlam ideal of physical beauty, exemplified by their moon. The gloriously wonderous diplomatic uniform that was revered as divine elsewhere in the galaxy had not carried much weight with the Kryzlamei. Her naked body had.

    Reading her own old reports from Kryzlak reminded her that, by the time she had left a few years later, she had been simply known as the angel, the humane messenger, who had brought the good words of liberation and prosperity of the Galactic Union. They had been grateful. They had been proud to have been her project.

    The view of the rolling hills as the shuttle approached the ground reminded her that, after all, the Galactic Union was a sham, an exploitative and avaricious empire that thought nothing of annihilating entire star systems. That was in it for the money. That was in it for the power and control.

    The formalized greetings of the Royal Ministers welcoming her with practiced reverence reminded her that she had been dispatched to Kryzlam to develop and implement a plan to bring it to the brink of economic ruin, just enough to dry up the dissidents’ funding sources, but not enough to destroy the goose that laid many golden eggs. Not enough to create widespread discontent.

    Returning to her old embassy—a mere hut in the forest—reminded her that what she really wanted was to return home. So that she could consolidate her power, orchestrate something big, and finally… Or, so that she could fade away into obscurity, taking up minor desk jobs, maybe teaching future diplomats, perhaps a memoir or two. She was not sure.

    Her first slice of locally-sourced pizza in many years reminded her that she did not really want to hurt the Kryzlamei. She loved them. She loved their culture, their history, their way of life, their folklore, their idiotic probosces, their complicated reproductive anatomy, their disgusting foods, their counterproductive politics, their outlandish idealism. Every last bit of them.

    Thanks to her, the Kryzlamei were rich. Their art was beloved, their poetry revered, their technological prowess much sought after.

    And yet they hated her.

    She could feel it.

    And the three bombing attempts made it obvious.

    They HATED her.

    They called her the Angel of Death.

    For her part, Barbara aspired to be an Angel of Recession.

    One that was not dead, and did not quite kill.

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      Looking at the uniforms was a good way to review her past. The paragraph listing what she loved about the Kryz was well done. Barbara has come a long way in your saga.

  14. ShamelessHack

    It all turned out vastly different…
    From the start, I thought I would be someone who had a positive effect upon the world.
    “Perhaps,” I would muse as a youngster, “perhaps I should become a statesman or lawyer.” Yes! I would become a diplomat, someone who would bring together states at war, or parties in dispute. What greater calling than that?
    But then, in my teen years, I developed a lisp which advanced into a stutter. At first it didn’t stop me from my quest to become a calming influence on belligerent parties. It was difficult, but I held my own.
    All was proceeding as well as could be expected until one night my house was broken into, and I was threatened at gunpoint. The robber made off with my wife, whom I never saw again.
    I tried explaining the situation to the police as best I could, but in my agitated state, my lisp and stutter made me sound like a madman.
    As time went on the police all but abandoned the case, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. At a local gun show, I purchased a shotgun and several boxes of shells, and never looked back.
    Though at first I hadn’t discovered the exact identity of my wife’s abductor, I never forgot the cad’s face.
    As years went by, I realized my dream of statesmanship would never come to fruition, and though I never gave up the search for my wife, I did finally positively identify the criminal.
    He is still at large.
    And he’s not as smart as he thinks he is, though he taunts me from afar.
    He considers me a stupid pig.
    Well.
    I pwomise that I will continue to hunt him d-d-down and f-f-finawy bwing that waskawy wabbit to juthtithe.
    Th-th-that’s all, folks.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Hack, if I read many more of these stories I may have to check into Happy Acres Rest Home and Mortuary On The Go. Humor is so good here, it hurts to read it. Have you ever considered ” Stand Up?”

  15. rlk67

    [I gave up. You really need some list of words or phrases which keep a post from not posting. I took out every paragraph and nothing helped. Maybe next week.]

      1. rlk67

        No, I don’t have a blog because if I did, I’d be writing all day and ignoring my regular job.

        Hey, wait a minute! I think I just answered this prompt!

  16. Madhuri Karra

    ‘Joe Hill was a man of many things who lived his life to the fullest. He was a loving husband, a role model for his children…’ The priest went on, but the words faded before they reached my ears. My throat tightened at the thought that Grandpa wasn’t around anymore. It felt like yesterday – both of us sitting at the bank fishing, him and Grandma making cookies for me. I could still feel his hands on mine when he wished me luck before I left for Paris for my culinary course. The recipes he created with my Grandma were the reason I fell hard for cooking. To think my reason for existence was no longer with me was enough to squeeze my heart inside out. The familiar lump settled in my throat. Hours later, I walked into the kitchen and downed a bottle of water, trying to swallow the lump along with it. Didn’t work though. I crossed the lounge and entered my grandparents’ room. I wanted to make sure Grandma was doing okay. I knocked on the door twice before opening it.

    Grandma was sitting on Grandpa’s armchair with a diary open in her hand. She looked up when the door opened.

    ‘Hey, Gram’, I said softly and walked to kneel in front of her. I put my hand over hers’ and smiled. ‘You’ll be okay.’

    Her lips quivered as she tried to lift them in a smile. I felt my heart crack as tears welled up in her eyes.

    ‘I miss him too. But we have to think of all the good times we had with him. He will want us to be happy’, I told her, giving her hand a gentle squeeze. She shook her head, making the tears roll down her cheeks.

    ‘He never loved me. He never wanted to take up our restaurant. He went with regrets, El. He went unhappily’, Grandma said, her voice shaking with age and grief. My knee slipped on the floor and I hit the marble on my bottom.

    ‘Gram, he loved you! Don’t you say that!’ I said, wondering why she wanted to make things more miserable for herself. Grandma shook her head and held out the diary.

    ‘He wrote it, Ella. Two days ago. Read it’, Grandma said, holding the paper in front of my eyes. I cringed my eyes trying to understand my Grandpa’s writing. As the words started to make sense, I felt the air in my lungs leave. My hands flew to my mouth and somewhere during the reading, I felt my heart drop and shatter.

    ‘Oh Gram…’ was all I could say. And my first thought was, I need to write a new eulogy.

    Joe Hill lived a hundred and two years of which eighty-seven years were spent in regret. To the world outside, Mr. Hill was the perfect chef who partnered with his wife and took over the family restaurant business. But deep inside the corners of his chest cavity, he was constantly haunted by his heart. Something that he left with Ella Santos when he left her and his career in writing as a token of gratitude towards his father. Days before his death, Joe was troubled by his memories of Ella – after whom he named his favorite granddaughter. He received a letter that Ella had passed away. That she never pursued her career in writing too, because Joe wasn’t with her. That she remained single all her life waiting for him. So, he rushed to join her in Heaven. Two days later, he did.

  17. Moirai-TQ

    My real life versus what I saw in my past. This is quite the topic, as I compare what is against what isn’t quite regularly. Was I not smart enough? Did I lack self-confidence? Was I not good enough? Why can’t I kiss ass and get what I want, like other people?

    Yes, I am smart enough. I have a degree in Business Management Information Systems with a 3.77 GPA. Before I received my degree I read an article about the woman who helped develop Java way back in the 90s. Isn’t this enough? Can’t the HR people and hiring managers look at my resume and cover letter and proclaim, “Heaven on earth, she is the one we want. Hire her!” Alas, that never happened. Part of my problem is that I have a hard time tooting my own horn. Hence, the self-esteem issue.

    I was raised to never invite myself over to anyone’s house or party. I was supposed to wait to be invited. I was never one of the cool kids, so I spent a lot of time reading books. Delving into the unknown, the mysterious, the future, the past. I wrote poetry. My first poem appeared on paper when I was 13. I liked it a lot. I wrote more poems. I submitted them to those Do-You-Want-to-be-a-Writer companies I found in the back of comic books and romance magazines. All were rejected.

    “Damn, I’m not good enough there, either,” as I cried myself to sleep. Tough words to swallow when you’re only 15. I kept writing. I wrote stories about the boys I had crushes on. I didn’t dare ask my mom for help or encouragement. After all, she is the one who said to never invite myself anywhere.

    I didn’t write for years. I joined the military, got married, got divorced twice, had two children, got out of the service, and then survived. I went to college and learned that I really could write. My term papers were top-notch. I took honors courses. I stretched my wings. I didn’t take the right courses to have a writing career; I’d found computers, instead. Then, I found my husband. He and the kids encouraged me. They said my writing was good and visual. I started on my novel. I wrote two chapters.

    I reformatted my computer. Where were my chapters? They were gone! I hadn’t saved them when I saved everything else. It’s ok; I can rewrite them. Not only did I rewrite them, I wrote more of them. I wrote other things, short stories, flash, tech manuals.

    Now all these years later, I’m looking back at my life and wished I could have a do-over at certain times to gain my confidence, to be a stronger person, to know and understand that I am good enough.

    Maybe when I retire.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      Sounds pretty good to me, after all only two divorced. My fist wife married five times, I was first. The next three died and left her nothing . The fifth one gave himself Alheimers so he could forget all about her.

      I tried to console the poor man but he’s too far gone to help. Don’t be hard on.yoursrlf, A 3.77 is a hell
      Of a strong hint of intelligence. Now what are both of us doing on here in the first place?

  18. mamadecasa

    When I set out as a young girl on the journey into the future unknown, I was free in spirit. I was not raised in a driven environment, filled with expectations of achieving a high-profile career, but rather in one where I was encouraged to pursue my talents, and what I love. Refining my skills through my education and consistent practice.
    My dreams were to write, and to be a mother. The latter took precedence, and as my children became my joy, my talents were devoted to them. The strong and stable family in which I had dreamt of raising my children in, was not the environment I found myself in.
    An abusive relationship whittled me down over many years. I was a shell of the girl I once knew, de-valued and disrespected. I continued to pursue my writing, mostly in the form of journaling, to release the turmoil of emotions within and be able to close the book and move forward in strength for my children.
    Eventually, I fought my way back from the ledge I had come upon. Slowly, over the years, I have stoked the fire in my soul, to return to the girl who is was an ember deep within. To embrace her. To awaken her.
    And though I find that my life story is not the one I would have written, where I have arrived is a place of clarity. A place of appreciation. A place of vibrance. The story as it has unfolded is absolutely as it was intended to be written.

  19. jhowe

    Every now and then, I would get out my list and try to check an item or two off. There’s one item I’ve written off as impossible. Having sex with Melissa Jones from high school drama class is long departed since she died a few years back. I tried to tell myself the mild petting in the back of my father’s car after homecoming counted, but I had to be honest with myself. There was no under the clothing action going on. Any attempt to check this item off at later times was severely rebuffed. Who knew she would decide men were no longer her thing.

    One might think Melissa’s death would allow me to remove that item from my list, but you see, I’m a purist. I’m like a hopped up Republican talking the second amendment with an active anti-gun moralist. Of course the forefathers anticipated the advent of automatic assault rifles. Or maybe not – that was just an example of the importance of keeping every item on the list as written.

    In hindsight, I should have waited to complete the list. I wish fervently I hadn’t written item six; to never marry. My fiancé, back in 1985, waited twelve years before moving on. But it was the only way. And then there’s item seventeen. To always tell the truth. I can’t say how many times that’s gotten me in trouble. Sure my mother was overweight. Lots of mothers are, but they don’t need to be told so by their son. Mothers also don’t want to hear that their son allowed friends to spy on her through a discrete hole in the bathroom wall and charged a dollar per peek. I really regret that, but I told her on her death bed that I earned upwards of thirty dollars during my high school days. That didn’t go over well, but she asked about it and I couldn’t lie. I high tailed it out of the room when she started to convulse from the cancer in her lungs. I try to tell myself it wasn’t my fault. She was on her death bed for crying out loud. But that honesty thing is a powerful thing.

    A few weeks ago, I contemplated item thirty. The last thing on my list. Aside from the impossible item, that was it. Completing it would set me free. I recall reading it aloud and wondering if there was a way around it. To kill a man with my bare hands. No, there was no way to interpret this other than the literal. I did though, tell myself a killing implement would be allowed. I opted for a filet knife. I paid cash for it at a Walmart in a city fifty miles away. I wore latex gloves. The man was homeless, living under a footbridge on the outskirts of town. I planned every last detail.

    Forgive my shift to present tense, but here I sit in the interrogation room. They say I’m a person of interest, not a suspect. They say a car like mine was seen in the area. I just need to provide some information and I can be on my way. The detective clears her throat.

    “Tell me, Mr. Philips, your car is quite unique, is there any way the purple Volvo seen near the murder scene could be yours?”

    Sweat beads on my forehead as I try to remain silent. I squeeze my lips shut and I start to shake. “Yes,” I say and her eyebrows arch sharply. Fricking item seventeen.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      You just strained my heart with the dollar a peep to look at your Mom in the bathroom
      This is one of the funniest stories I ever came across. Especially driving Columbo’s Volvo.
      You need some rest.John or a strange piece of
      A##.

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