Written with my Thursday night writing group with the prompts: the gray cat stared at him, enjoy the ultimate, cockroaches and ghosts shared the space, we are awed by our nine-hour innocence, began five years ago, after the equinox, pete/peat, imagine, landed on my blanket, the day after yesterday, I am from America, I never thought, trinkets in a vase, verbal onslaught, how we can fix it all
He arrived the day after yesterday. “I am from America,” he said as if it were some kind of mantra. My gray cat stared at him, but my black cat couldn’t be bothered. She knew there was no point casting her spells of good luck or misfortune. It was already too late for him.
We had all started out there, but now it was a space left to cockroaches and ghosts. I never thought someone like him would land on my blanket, but it seemed I had no choice but to let him in.
The road led through the green forest of his eyes, a coastal path of green marble and black granite. “My grandparents came from the old country,” I told him. “They taught me how to cut and dry the sod for fuel. After the equinox it will get cold and we’ll want a peat fire for warmth. The winter only lasts a few weeks but it can be intense if the river rises.”
I didn’t know if he was naïve or trying to impress me with his eagerness, his insistence on telling me how we could fix everything. The verbal onslaught was a wave I could ride, a nine-hour innocence, a fantasy that might awe me if I let it. This skirmish began five years ago but I’d been watching the water lap against the rocks, wearing it down decade after decade. Could anyone imagine what I had seen?
“When I was young,” I told him, “barely out of my teens, I went to Paris on holiday. My friends and I went to an ice cream parlor called Le Drug Store, and I ordered a decadent dessert. Three scoops of chocolate ice cream atop two cake donuts that had been soaked in rum. That to me was the ultimate, and I enjoyed it. Nothing will ever be that opulent again. I couldn’t eat that much now even if I wanted to. But I am content here.”
He smiled. “I notice,” he said, “there are trinkets in every vase.”
“Those were my mother’s earrings. There are no more flowers, but I fill every empty space as an affirmation of fulfillment, a promise of plenty.”
“So you have not given up.”
I heard the call of the migrating cranes, the voice of the flock like a wooden whistle to my ears. They are so high above us, they look like a penciled V against a smoky blue. “There,” I said, “is my hope.”
Photo by Chris Briggs on Unsplash.
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