Turning Tales Week 3: Write What You See

Welcome to the third week of Turning Tales

This week’s writing topic: Write what you see.


Let’s draw from life. When a piece of prose feels lifeless, its characters like cardboard cutouts and the language as if copied from somewhere else, it may be because the author is writing not what they perceive but what they expect. Most people would agree that the sky is blue. And tilt their head back and realize that it really is the color of grapefruit juice or fresh cement. It’s the same with characters. Sit down in a pub or a park this week, go to a PTA meeting, a protest, the DMV, your grandma’s birthday or wherever else your week takes you, and look at the people you encounter. What they wear, what they do, the way they talk and move. Pick one person and describe them in such a way that your readers can sense a whole life behind a few sentences.

:speech_balloon: If you can’t or don’t want to leave the house right now, invite someone over or talk to someone on the phone. If that’s not an option either, describe a person you remember well.


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I can’t stand babies

It’s not that I hate babies themselves; I just hate everything that comes with them. They cost a lot of money, keep you up at night, and scream all the time – I heard it’s because they think that they’re about to die whenever they feel uncomfortable – which is arguably a fair reason to scream, but I still can’t stand it.
And here I am, on a four-hour bus ride with one of those little gremlins right in front of me. For now, it just stares at me with big brown eyes that look oh so innocent, but I know this right there in front of me is really just a ticking timebomb just waiting to blow.
The baby smiles at me and drags its fist across its face with motor skills that are clearly still in serious need of development. A batch of fluffy brown hair covers its little head, not enough to form an actual hairstyle yet, but it doesn’t seem to mind.

I often wonder why human babies depend on someone to care for them so much. A baby seal already knows how to be a seal at birth. Do fish learn to swim? I’m not sure. Pretty sure they can already swim the moment they hatch. But human babies? They don’t even know to breathe unless a doctor whacks their butt. I could like babies more if they were more self-dependent, maybe.

Some might call it a self-fulfilling prophecy, but I’d just call it a fulfilling prophecy. Even though I wear headphones, loud crying wakes me from my more than well-deserved slumber. I open my eyes and stare into two tear-distorted eyes that seem so full of grief that they are unable to focus on anything in particular.
I look down and find the probable root of the problem. A little plush toy lies on the floor of the bus, which for the baby must be the same as if its toy just dropped to the depths of hell.

With a deep sigh, I lean out of my seat, reach for the toy and hand it back to two little clenched fists that grab it as if it was made of pure gold. Even though silent sobs are still audible, the crying has stopped, thank god.

“You’re welcome,” I say sarcastically.
Upon hearing me speak, the baby stared at me again with big eyes that had yet to see so much of this world.
It smiled, and I smiled back.


Someone (or something, shall I say) that I remember is my sleep paralysis demon.

He was huddled in the corner of the room by my wardrobe. Two oversized red eyes glowed in the darkness of my bedroom. His face was like a porcelain mask, white, expressionless, with no mouth or nose, only those two haunting red eyes.

When he stood up, his body unfolded like origami, his leathery skin twisting and contorting, until his head reached the ceiling. His neck bent, tilting forward as his true height was greater than the height of my room. His long black torso was covered in shimmering symbols that reflected red in the light of his glowing eyes. He stood on two spindly thin legs that disappeared into the creeping shadows of the room.

He made no noise as he moved, seeming to glide as he hovered closer to my bed. His long thin arms reached down to me as I moaned through paralysed lips. I couldn’t scream, even though I very much wanted to.

His fingers reached through the darkness, down to my face. Two pointed nails touched against my eyelids, pushing them closed. I remember his fingertips feeling cool, but not cold. Even though the ends of his fingers were sharp, his touch was gentle.


The One I’ll Never See Again

His eyes hold the universe inside them, framed with dark furrowed brows and laugh lines. They are heavy, and no matter how candlelight dances off his irises, they are dimmed by an emptiness I could wade through. I am lost within them, barely aware that my fingers are already running through his wild hair, grasping at the black strands like threads of a thousand lives we would throw away just for this moment.

At the slight tug, he buries his face into my hand, his hot breath greeting my wrist before his lips press into my palm. The short, coarse hair on his face has begun to gray, but is still strong, bristled with a silent fury from an early shave. The contrast of this to what I touched before awakens sensations in my fingers I did not know I desired. It is rough, but the refined contours of his jawline beneath are warm, soothing. Why do I tremble now as I did when I first laid eyes on him?


Marilyn Smith never wanted to be a waitress. She wanted to be a movie star. Each night she rolled her bleached blond hair in pink rollers – 1 inch; they had to be one inch. Marlene Dietrich only used one-inch rollers. She slathered white cream on her face, and I stood by the door with a warm facecloth – waiting for her to need me.

The name she was born with was too plain, and no one would ever remember her by it, she said, so she took one from a starlet; you know the one. But more than anything else, she never wanted to be my mother.


I’ve always felt out of place, sitting in the church pew, killing time by reading a book until the service starts. Everyone around me is chittering in their various circles and I pick up bits of conversation. It’s amazing what people will talk about when they think no one is listening. Or really, how they ignore the silent person in the corner.

Of course, I would never talk about their conversations because I’m not a gossip monger; however, it’s the way they all sway together in conversation that’s intriguing. One places a hand on a shoulder and throws their head back in a laugh. Another stands with hands shoved deeply in their pockets, rising on tiptoes and then falling with the end of their sentence. Hands come into play, flowing around the body as they speak. They lean forward and backwards in successive movements, not one out of place. It’s almost as if they’re dancing, always in-tune with the other. Beautiful.


Kindness of the Genuine Kind

Last May I celebrated my 63rd birthday. Surprised that I made it this far, I didn’t let it go to my head. That’s okay because no one else seemed too either. Just another day in the life of a retired but somewhat happy person. Well, up until last month.
Having diabetes for almost ten years, I became one of the ‘lucky’ ones that also suffers now from a few of the wonderful things that diabetes can do to your body. Granted, a body not still in its 20’s, but not in the grave yet either.
I still have things I want to do like dancing under the stars with my husband, places I want to see like Mount Rushmore and that giant ball of string. But seeing things clearly is not what my diabetes had in mind. So, I have been to doctors several times over the past two months.
“You have cataracts Mrs. Lionel”
“You need to have a shot injected into your right eye”
“You need to have surgery on the other eye now.”
Receptionists with that too kind smile that lets you know it is part of their job and not much more. Smiles that conveyed how much they would rather do anything but be here at this moment waiting on you to finish filling out your form.
Doctors with smiles that they learned in medical school. Ones that say, ‘I care about you’, but no more than I am required to. As their cold instruments, instructions and smiles make you wish you were doing anything but being there at that moment.
Then came Dr. Reel. The doctor doing my cataract surgery. Nothing striking physically. Tall, certainly much taller than my short five feet. Not heavy and not too thin. (Hard to tell under those doctor whites they all wear). Short dark hair with a touch of gray going through, but only on one side. He was older than me, but like my husband, not by much. Dark blue eyes that would draw you in and a genuine smile that made you feel comfortable, like you were just sitting at the park reading your favorite book. Gentle laugh lines forming every time he smiled or laughed.
Because you had to notice his smile, you also had to see that he had a strong jawline. Not so strong though that he might jump into a phone booth to change so he could save the day, just strong enough to save you. He was kind in the way he moved the vision instruments around, in the way he asked you to sit and if you were comfortable. He was kind even when he asked you to read the last line of the chart and laughed sweetly when you could not, and he told you he had trouble with that one too before getting his contacts.
When he left to give your chart back to the nurse, you almost hated to see him go because he made you feel like you were special, not just one of the fifteen patients still in the waiting room. Because now you were not, you were done. Until the surgery. As long as he is doing it, I can deal with it. However, the injection into my right eye? Not so sure. It is after all going to be done by a different doctor. One more classically handsome, but with the medically learned smile. Cold like his instruments and manner. Why couldn’t Dr. Reel just do all of it? That would be genuinely kind.


Visiting Francis

Here I am, again, visiting Francis. He is sitting on his favorite armchair, listening to the music on the television, but not really paying too much attention. He has frontal lobe dementia. Pandemic time has not brought anything good to him. Now, he is only interested in food, and taking one of the armchairs in the dining room, which are now in demand by a lot of sick people staying on the same floor with him.
He is a very tall man, a little heavy, around sixty years old, with a handsome face and a pair of innocent blue eyes. As soon as he sees me, his eyes follow all my movements. I remember the first time I visited him; I was a little afraid of him, and with reason, I am a little woman, in my seventies, with not too much force left after a heart attack. Soon, I discovered he is a sweet man. He probably has been a sweet man all his life.
He is dressed in a set of shirt and pants combination, sandals on his feet, a pair of glasses on his face. His head is shaved. I took him by his hands to his room, where I can put to work a fan. It is so hot inside the building. I go to is closet and take some illustrated books, children’s books. I read the books and show him the illustrations. Some years ago, before the pandemic, he could play with me, a special card game made by his wife, with letters and numbers he had to match. He used to assemble some puzzles, very simple ones, like for kids of three or four years old.
Soon it will be lunch time. In the past, he ate in the dining room, but after finishing his own food, he wanted to grab the other people’s food too. Now, I prefer to continue feeding him in his room, to have a seat beside him, and play some music on my cell phone, the one he used to like before.
It is amazing how docile he is now. Before, I used to ask for help to bring him to his room.
I notice he chew his soup, and this makes him cough. To avoid the coughing, I give him very little liquid. All his food is prepared as a puree.
He adores to eat. It takes me around forty minutes to feed him properly.
I come to visit him once in a week. He is the only patient who seems to be comfortable with his situation, but nobody knows exactly what is going on his head.

Ivonne Coronado Larde


A Short Story by Danny Ninal


“Strauss, are they cutting me now? Are they felling me now? Please, I don’t want to die,” Trish the Tree called her best friend for help.


“Trish, don’t you worry. It’s not you. It’s not you that they are cutting,” Strauss the Bench assured his best friend.

“Are you sure, Strauss?” Trish was frantic; she was in total panic. She listened to the chainsaw noise which became louder and louder every minute.


“Look all around you, Trish. All trees around you have dead branches. The branches are likely to snap off and fly through the air if you fall on those trees. These flying limbs are called widow-makers. Cutters avoid these, Strauss explained. “So if they cut you, the only logical direction of the fall is towards me. And they wouldn’t allow you to drop right on top of the most intelligent bench on this park. You feel me, Trish?”

Trish was quiet, unsure of what to say.

“If they want to cut you, the first thing they do is to clear a working space around your butt and prepare an escape path. Then they do a brushing out, or clip off small brushes close to the ground,” Strauss explained as clearly as he could. He continued, “But, they are not doing any of that to you. Understand? So don’t worry, they are not felling you. You feel me, Trish?”


For a moment her simple mind was trying to comprehend the complicated things on her head. She looked down. Then she saw what they were doing to her friend, Twigee, a few meters away. It was when she stopped trembling that she started shouting,

”Ttwig g-g-g-g-gee-e-e-e-e-e-e!”

Three years later.

The park was at its best in twilight when the crepuscular rays were radiating from behind the trees in the park. It looked heavenly, peaceful, and absolutely breath-taking. At times, the orange light of the sky provided the magnificent backdrop of nature’s magic. In contrast to the green leaves, the rays are turning imperceptibly from yellow to orange to red.

“Look how blissful it is to see God’s creation!” Strauss said.

“Wow, Sir, it’s the most extraordinary thing I’ve ever seen,” Bob said excitedly like an 8-year old boy looking at his favorite toy train.

“Wait until the sun is right behind the top branches of my friend, Trish,” Strauss said.

“Trish? Who’s Trish, sir?” asked Bob.

“That tall and magnificent tree right in front of me. She’s Trish,” said Strauss as if he’s introducing his girlfriend to his younger brother.

“I heard that. You’re talking about me again, Strauss,” Trish the Tree shouted as she swayed gracefully her branches and leaves, allowing the wind to go wherever it carried them through.

“Hi Trish, meet our new FB (friend-bench), Bob,” Strauss introduced the young bench. “He has just been installed this morning. No ribbon-cutting though, like they did to me.”

“And I haven’t been peed by a dog yet. Hahahahaha. Hello Ma’am, nice meeting you,” Bob’s laughter echoed throughout the park.

Trish thought for a while, and carefully chose her words to the newbie, “Nice to meet you too, Bob,” she said, wondering what it was that looked very familiar about the young bench.

“Sir Strauss, why do trees grow so tall and still stand?” Bob asked while looking high up on Trisha’s top which was emblazoned by the orange clouds behind her.

“The answer is not up there, young one. It’s down below. You’re like looking at the right page but on the wrong book,” Straus said.

“What do you mean, sir?” Bob did not expect that reply.

“Form follows function,” said Strauss.

“You’re too intelligent for me, sir,” and Bob did not expect that one either, he was bewildered.

“Roots, my man, roots. The answer is in the roots,” Bob explained. “They gather nutrients from the soil, and they support the weight of the top growth of the tree.

“Some primary roots extend almost as deep as the height of the tree,” Strauss continued his lecture, “And they have what are called secondary “feeder” roots, which often extend far beyond a tree’s drip line.”

“What is a drip line?” Bob asked.

“A drip line is the imaginary line around the tree where water drips off the perimeter of its canopy.

“What you can’t see, Bob” Trisha interrupted, “is that roots of trees are almost always, um, intertwined with each other.”

Bob thought about how strong a bond must there be between trees whose roots are intertwined. He can feel a deep sense of familiarity in that feeling. Something he can’t seem to figure out, yet.

“Are your actions, Bob, predicated upon your roots,” Strauss asked.

“If you’re asking whether I know my roots, sir, yes I believe I do,” Bob replied to what he thought was a diversionary tactic by Strauss.

“Do you, therefore, prefer to be where your roots are? Would you be happy if you’re reconnected, um, to your roots?” added Trisha.

“Yes, to both questions, Ma’am. I would really be happy,” Bob replied.

“For reasons, I cannot say as of yet, can I ask your opinion about cutting trees?” Strauss asked the young bench.

“Sir, I think it is not the cutting itself that is wrong, but it is the way they are cutting the trees, that is not right.”

“You’re not as dumb as I thought you are,” Strauss complimented.

“Inexperienced perhaps, but not dumb, Sir,“ Bob rationalized.

“I agree,” Strauss said.

“That I am not dumb, Sir?” Bob asked.

“That, too. But I also strongly believe that if trees are made for something, a bench maybe, then the only way to make a wooden bench is to cut a tree.”

“I die, therefore I am,” Bob philosophized.

“Are you guys talking about my butt again?”

Both men winked at each other and smiled.

“Good old oaks that we are, know a good butt when we see one, hahaha,” Strauss said.

“Strauss, you dirty old oak. I come from a well-bred family of cedars. Careful, there are young cedars all around.

“Sir, can I ask you a question?” Bob whispered.

“We would be sitting here for the rest of our lives, so we might as well get to know each other well. I feel you, man. Go ahead,” Strauss said.

“I see a trunk cut and some dead branches which were snapped off not so long ago. What happened to the tree?” Bob asked. He was curious, whether there was a tree planting project to replace the tree that was cut.

“Some story, that was. A long story that you don’t want Trisha to be reminded of,” Strauss said.

“We have a lifetime ahead of us, Sir. You can start from the beginning,” Bob insisted.

“Three years ago, one summer morning, when the joggers were gone, and people started passing by, with coffee in one hand, and newspaper on the other, they came,” Bob started to tell the story.

“Who are they, Sir?” Bob asked.

“It started with two people, with yellow hardhats. They stopped right in front of Trisha, then they sat down and spread a huge sheet of paper, and started pointing all over the park.”

Bob, sat there quietly as Strauss continued his narrative, almost whispering to avoid Trisha from hearing it.

“Then one stood up and went to Trish, looked around her, pointed at the dead branches all around the other trees, then pointed at me, and then sat back with the other one,” Strauss, raised his hand to stop Bob from interrupting.

“Then the other one stood up and went to the friend of Trish, a matured tree called Twiggee,” Bob said. “Then he walked around her, then pointed right at the spot where you are now. As he was walking back toward the other man, the guy took his radio and said something on it.

“I didn’t have to know what they were talking about because a few minutes later more people came, with ropes, chainsaws, and more yellow hardhats,” Strauss was short of breath, as if he was sobbing, to which he would never admit.

“Is that it?” Bob asked.

“No. In the afternoon, more equipment came, and more hardhats arrived. The park was closed to the people, so I couldn’t hear anyone talking, and the chainsaw was starting to sound really scary,” Straus continued. And I agree with you that there is nothing wrong with the cutting of the trees, but it is the way they are cutting it which is wrong.”

“Yes, Sir, indeed,” there is no stopping Bob from interrupting. “They have to plant new trees before they cut some. Inasmuch as I believed the only way a bench, like us, will only exist by a death of a tree like Trish. Like one has to die for another one to live.”

“You sound like a minister, but yes, I agree,” Strauss said. “I have been here for years, and I never saw a new tree planted. Not one.” Strauss mumbled, “Although I see flowers and gardens made in strategic places.”

“They are beautiful Sir, I must admit,” Bob concurred.

“Yes, but we are talking about cutting trees now, and the beauty of the flowers will never compensate for the cutting of the tree,” Strauss argued.

Bob was quiet; he was in deep thought. He started looking around, and then he shivered.

“Was it a cedar, Sir, that they fell that day?” Bob asked.

“Yes, in fact, it was a cedar. Why?” Strauss became curious because of the change of mood of his new found friend, Bob.

“Well, sir, I think I saw the trunk. That must be Twiggee,” Bob added.

“Yes,” Strauss sobbed softly, unabashedly. And his thoughts were back to that fateful day when they came to cut Twiggee.

“In the mid-afternoon that summer day, the people with yellow hardhats stopped and sat down and ate their sandwiches,” Strauss continued his narration.

“Trish shouted at me like it was the end of the world. Not that she was used to shouting, but so I could hear her amidst the noise of the chainsaw.”

“Strauss, are they cutting me now? Are they felling me now? Please, I don’t want to die,” Trish the Tree called her best friend for help.


“Trish, don’t you worry. It’s not you. It’s not you that they are cutting,” Strauss the Bench assured his best friend.

“Are you sure, Strauss?” Trish was frantic; she was in total panic. She listened to the chainsaw noise which became louder and louder every minute.


“Look all around you, Trish. All trees around you have dead branches. The branches are likely to snap off and fly through the air if you fall on those trees. These flying limbs are called widow-makers. Cutters avoid these, Strauss explained. “So if they cut you, the only logical direction of the fall is towards me. And they wouldn’t allow you to drop right on top of the most intelligent bench on this park. You feel me, Trish?”

Trish was quiet, unsure of what to say.

“If they want to cut you, the first thing they do is to clear a working space around your butt and prepare an escape path. Then they do a brushing out, or clip off small brushes close to the ground,” Strauss explained as clearly as he could. He continued, “But, they are not doing any of that to you. Understand? So don’t worry, they are not felling you. You feel me, Trish?”


For a moment her simple mind was trying to comprehend the complicated things on her head. She looked down. Then she saw what they were doing to her friend, a few meters away. It was when she stopped trembling that she started shouting,

”T-t-t-t-t-t-twig g-g-g-g-gee-e-e-e-e-e-e!”

“Strauss, they’re cutting Twiggee. I’m feeling her roots shaking now.”

That day there were no crepuscular rays radiating from the sun, but blood-coloured trunk and timber lying all around what used to be Twiggee.”

Strauss saw tears and knew Bob was crying. He didn’t stop him. He waited, just like what he’d do when people sit on him and cried ever so softly.

Then after a while, Trish noticed, and said, “Bob, are you crying?”

“I know that was a sad story, Bob,” Strauss said. “But I didn’t realize it was so tragic that it made you shed tears. Oaks don’t cry man, they just sob.”

“Sir, I was treated three years ago. Just a few meters away from here,” Bob said haltingly.

“So?” Strauss asked.

“I am a cedar, Sir,” Bob said. “I am not an oak.”

Both Trish and Strauss looked at each other, and almost simultaneously looked at the trunk when Twiggee used to be.

All Strauss could say was a banality, “Welcome home, man.”


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Emma reached out towards the shadowy figure that was floating just above her bed. He didn’t move, he didn’t speak.

Was he actually real?

She knew that the Shadow Man wasn’t real, but at times it felt as if he could dip into her very soul and steal it if he were to ever reach her while she was asleep.

Dreamland was beginning to blend in with reality, creating a chaotically braided world filled with dark alleys, floating red orbs, and sometimes the Shadow Man. With his top hat always perfectly placed and a presence that filled Emma with terror.



If you have ever knelt by a rock pool and looked into it’s still depths then you will know the feeling I had looking into his eyes. Still but shimmering, ever changing shades of blue, a slight twinkle reflecting from the sun above, shadows moving below the surface; reflecting the disturbances in his constantly alternating personality. Hair as white as the sand on a perfect beach, fine and frothing around his head with every subtle shift. He would have had a classically perfect face if it were not for the beautiful imperfections. The slope of the Greek nose inherited from his mother. The sleepy gaze from drooping eyelids a gift from his father along with the ears that he never quite grew into. His smile however was as wide and straight as any God could have wished for and it lit his face and eyes with a joy that I wished came from being totally at peace with the world. It did come from from a place of complete love, from his heart which was always overflowing. This is a face I have not seen for 35 years but can conjure vividly the second I close my eyes. My love.


I love the very simplicity of your sentences and yet they convey a depth of feeling. Perhaps I feel them more deeply because I could have written them myself. Well done.


Lunch with Filton

Filton poured himself another glass of mineral water. Taking a mouthful, he gazed around, listening to the noisy chatter of his students as they tucked into lunch. It always pleased him to have a houseful around him during the summer. Jaxon, however, was staring at him.
“I was thinking, Prof, about how different you are out here than back in England.”
“And how’s that exactly?”
The conversation around him stopped, all eyes in his direction, including Stefan, his fellow professor on this dig, seated at the other end of the long table.
“You look different. More relaxed.”
Emily reached for the bread basket. “You’re right, Jax. I’ve noticed it too. We all have.”
“It’s because I enjoy being here again,” Filton quipped.
Smirking, Stefan nodded. “It’s because you’ve got rid of that stuffy old tweed jacket you insist on wearing back home. It makes you look more like a sixty-year-old than forty-five. Keep telling you only old men wear those things. Not to mention that old banger you drive.”
“It goes with the image. And in case you’ve forgotten, I no longer have that car.”
Stefan laughed. “Oh, yes. I forgot. Clapped out for good on Stonecott Hill, if I remember rightly.”
“You have to admit, Prof, an old Morris Minor is hardly a bird-puller!” Zac said.
“Nor those antiquated wire-rimmed glasses you usually wear,” added Chris.
More laughter.
“At least here he wears those cool shade. They suit you far better, Prof.”
“Yes, but they hide those gorgeous hazel eyes of his.”
Filton ran a hand through the natural wave of his short black hair. “Gee, thanks for that observation, Emily. Anyone else like to comment on my appearance?” Why did he feel everyone was getting at him today?
“It’s the tan,” said Paula.
Fork halfway to his mouth, Duncan turned to her. “Eh?”
“Why he looks different over here. His tan shows up more in that white shirt he’s wearing. Particularly with the sleeves rolled up exposing those muscles of his. Never realised how sexy it makes you look, Prof. Or how fit you are.”
“And that designer stubble,” Lucy added.
“Now, now, girls,” interrupted Stefan. “Stop teasing him.”
“No, they’re right,” said Zac. “The Prof is fit. He keeps himself in shape. A darn sight more than most of us around this table do.”
Filton nodded to Zac. “It’s all the digging I do. Being out in this sun and heat we enjoy here every day. The warmth makes me feel alive.”
“And all that walking you do first thing,” observed Chris.
Stefan put an elbow on the table, cupped his chin in his hand. “Yes, Fil, where do you go to at the crack of dawn?”
“You know full well I like walking out in the early morning when it’s cool. And quiet, away from you lot. Gives me space to think.” He stared around the table at his students. “Something some of you should take up.”
“Not me,” Jaxon piped up.
“Nor me. I’d rather go swimming in the sea.” Paula helped herself to more Greek salad.
Filton smiled. “Excellent choice. The sea is far healthier, and the salt good for the skin.”
“Not for me,” Emily said. “I prefer swimming pools, like this fabulous one here. I feel safer. No tides to worry about and no crabs or little fishes to nibble your toes.”
Zac laughed. “Yeah! And no sand or seaweed to get into your bits.”
“Too many chemicals in pools for my liking, but enjoy it while you can,” Filton told them. “Because you won’t get such luxuries anywhere else. On most digs you have to rough it. Sleeping bags and tents, or B&Bs if you’re lucky.”
“Yes, and do all the shopping, cooking and cleaning,” Stefan reminded them.


Thank you for your comment. So sorry you relate so much to it. I feel you!

A Good Day

As William sat down, he braced himself on the arms of his well worn armchair as he positioned himself. Today was a good day, he had a few visitors and didn’t have to lift a finger for any of his meals. Saturday was always a good day, except when the weather didn’t cooperate. He could always feel the cold and the wet in every joint on those days and no one came to visit.
He fiddled with his thick glasses and strained his light gray eyes to try and focus on his surroundings. He found his newspaper and attempted to sort the mess as he flicked the pages back and forth. He lightly brushed his hand across the thin mat of white on his head.He found the article he was reading and tried to focus. His frail boney hands attempted to steady the paper but his slight tremor made it difficult. All was quiet, the house was empty again and the sun began sinking on the horizon. The pale light from the floor lamp in the corner cast shadows across the walls and highlighted his aged features. His faced was wrinkled and his eyes were sunken, yet his smile was as bright and bold as ever.
He pushed his feet into his black plush slippers as he leaned back into his chair. He brushed his hand across his olive sweater and found a few tiny crumbs from the grill cheese sandwich he had for dinner . He loved grill cheese sandwiches, especially when his daughter made them for him. He reflected on the day and smiled. A small tear rolled down his cheek, his heart was full. His life was filled with more than he had ever hoped for. He could still hear the echos of his children and grandchildren laughing and talking. He could still feel the warmth of their embrace and feel every "I love you dad’, “I love you grampa.” Today was a good day.


An odd sign

He sits in the same spot every morning with arms closed and wandering eyes. His facial expression goes from a somber mood to eccentric as the joggers and the dog sitters roll by. The pigeons twirl around, and he watches the squirrels dance as the hum of moving cars from the nearby highway forms a symphony.

The stranger inhaled sharply, trying to get the most out of the unpolluted fresh air before the black fumes from the exhaust pipes settled. He grunts as he reaches for his small wire frame wheel cart and pulls out pieces of cardboard. It was a sign with oversized lettering that read, No cash, no food needed, just a hug will do, thanks!


A Silent Storm

If nothing else, the conversation the young men at the counter are having is certainly animated. Their voices don’t carry this far so I don’t know the context, but I do know the best looking one isn’t being heard. He’s sexy as hell and knows it – work boots with tongues hanging out and loosely laced, scruffy jeans to match his scruffy face, defined crotch suggesting commando rather than boxers, open denim shirt with arms torn off exposing a lean hairy chest and torso, and a ball cap with sunglasses resting on the brim. It’s painfully obvious he’s using his rugged good looks to mask the one thing he’s missing. I should know because I’ve been there and I’ve done that. I watch as his frustration grows – shoulders hunching, brows furrowing, eyes piercing and dark. His hands raise to face level, gesticulate for the brief moment he has their attention, but they only guess at what he’s trying to say and quickly speak over him. He’s about to blow with pent up frustration – a voice unheard and ignored - but he’ll bolt instead because he simply can’t express what he’s feeling and they’re not reading his body language. His hands stop trying to converse and he plunges them deep into his pockets, his shoulders slouch in pissed resignation. The cashier calls out a number and he turns his head – he’s not deaf, I now know – and one hand flies out of his pocket snatching the bag as he simultaneously turns in evident fury from his cohorts. He’s about to storm out in an explosive rage of exasperation yet the guys can’t see it, or simply don’t care. But I do. I see and I care. With my little gay heart pumping, I stand and move toward the door. If I time it right, he should bowl right into me like a bull, and I’ll sign a polite “Sorry, I didn’t see you” with a humble shrug – and he’ll know we speak the same language.


This presents such a vivid picture of loneliness yet a man who is happy within himself. I love it. Thanks for sharing

The Face of Wisdom

Being a bit of a handy person myself, unable to resist the urge to activate a ‘stud finder’ and have it point at me … I entered the local, huge retailer catering to addicted builder and repair people like myself … in search of a DYI ‘fix’ … maybe a laser tape measure that can also trim low bushes … and there stood an old guy next in line to pay for a six-foot prime piece of pine shelving.

The beautiful pine shelving first drew me to notice him, but soon my gaze travelled to his hand … the skin was slightly wrinkled with sun spots and veins that stood out as if to advertise his advanced years … there were some obvious scars and ones that I suspected were diminished by age … but there were no band aids … a sign that age had offered him the safe use of tools that was lost on the bravado of youth … steady hands that held the pine board standing next to him with a caring, respectful reverence with the seductive smell and gentle softness that only pine wood can offer.

His arm was hidden in the cotton manly long-sleeved shirt, but it was obviously still strong and steady as it held the pine board unyielding.

His goatee, a short trimmed beard, bushy sideburns and silvery grey hair, framed a face that revealed a lifetime of learning and wonderous experiences … there was a slight wrinkle on the outer corner of both eyes … formed with wept tears from skinned knees and a skinned heart, or two … but the ears, although slightly drooping from countless disparaging remarks from others especially in his youth, still held that optimistic but lesser perkiness in anticipation of a positive word or the learning of a new fact or skill … somewhere along the path of life he had understood that having two ears and one mouth meant that he should listen far more than he should speak … to that end he understood what Abraham Lincoln had said, “It is better to remain silent and thought a fool than to speak up and remove all doubt.”

Just maybe it was the aging and random hairs growing out of each ear that allowed him to sperate the wheat from the chaff … but those ears had learned to discern the value and power of words … you could see in the radiating muscles of his mouth when he clamped it shut, that he refused to exercise those mouth muscles for negative or derogatory observations of others.

But his nose … ah … his nose was the center piece of his very being … it was majestic in its compassionate and respectful mediocrity … it was a very nondescript nose untraceable to any ethnic biases … it neither was turned up in haughtiness nor looking down on others … in fact it was a nose that he had sculpted for many years … it had been shaped from his mind and cognitive thinking … the hidden part of his personal inner growth … the wrinkled face that might have been created by hours in water … was instead indictive of the many years of learning … as he sought the meaning of life in some far off philosophy … it was his mirror and the daily commute that granted him the wisdom which now allowed him to be content, standing as an old man holding a pine board waiting to buy it … knowing full well that he could never truly own it as one day it would belong to another.

So, I approached him and admired his purchase in words and ask him if he was going to paint it or stain it.

He smiled at me and in that fatherly wisdom he said, “I’m not married”

Somewhat taken aback my face made the shape of deep nonunderstanding … youthful without wrinkles but wide eyes only afforded to the youth.

He, sensing my quandary filled in the part that my brain could not process, “I answer to no one … so this pine board is finished and will be a shelf just as it is … unique, natural and aromatic as a piece of the shelving unit … just as you and I are a part of the human factor … every one of us man woman, child, regardless of ethnicity has the same needs, wants and desires …but each of us approach those goals with our own unique set of talents abilities and resolution.”

Glenn Granger

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First, I want to thank you for taking the time to read my post; I’m glad you enjoyed it. It’s my first time posting, and I look forward to reading the post of all of you excellent writers.