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Monthly Short Story Contest > August 2016 The Heart Remembers

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message 1: by Lynette (new)

Lynette White (lynettewhite) | 309 comments Writers 750 discussion

Stories to be posted Here.

Highlights: A lost love, a mysterious message, a treasured item

Theme: Those our heart will never truly forget.

Setting – any

Plot – your choice

August Variations and Options

• For years you thought she left you, but a long lost message reveals she didn't leave on her own accord.
• He left for the war and never came home. His last letter is delivered many years later.
• You had not seen her since high school. Fate brings you back to your home town and her.
• A long search for a lost family member comes to a close
• You come home to find the love of your life gone. A single pool of blood, and a note written in a panic is all you have to go on.


Length: 500 to 1,000 Words

Deadline: Sunday August 26 at 11:59 pm mst.

Voting will start 12:01 am August 26 and end 11:59 pm on August 31. Winners will be posted in this thread on September 1st.

Challenge Guidelines

Genre: Fantasy, Thriller, Sci-Fi, Mystery, Crime, Comedy, Romance, or a mixture (BASICALLY, anything but erotica)

Purpose -
Some fiction writers are looking to win a short story contest, keeping in touch with making deadlines, and/or simply sharpening the skill of writing fiction. The main purpose of this contest is to sharpen plot and character skills, collect your own short stories, receive good feedback, make a good connection with other writers, and take a short break from your current novel to get a fresh view when you return to it.

Rules and Directions -
* Type in English - a minimum of 500 words; a maximum of 1,000 words; no erotica, no profanity.

* Post your title, by line, and word count total in the first line of your story posting.

* Writers are responsible for their own copyright. Authors keep all rights. PRIVACY POLICY IS ENFORCED. COPYRIGHTS AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS BELONG TO INDIVIDUAL AUTHORS. THIS CONTEST DOES NOT GRANT ANY PERSON THE RIGHT OR LICENSE TO COPY OR USE OTHER STORIES. EACH STORY IS PROTECTED BY THE COPYRIGHT OF THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR.

* ONE entry per person, must be writer's original work, a final revision, and a new piece of writing. Please do not delete and repost since this becomes confusing to the readers. Try to post your final revision.

Judging: The story will be judged on creativity, proper grammar, good punctuation, and overall good quality for story.

Voting: Please vote for first, second, and third place. You are not allowed to vote for yourself. If posting this month, you MUST vote, in order for your story to remain eligible.


message 2: by David (new)

David (drussell52) Dropped During The Wonder Years

David Russell
630 Words

Note: Names changed for personal reasons.

It was October 1974, the first day of the new semester at Michigan State University. The fall colors were starting to appear on campus; within days or hours, the fall foliage would be quite a wonder for the beholder. Derek was a transfer student from a commutor college, and the campus world was a new experience for him. Derek found the noise level on the floor of his dorm to be too much. Students had to be in by midnight, but that only meant in their respective hall. Most nights, some students were up until 2:00 in the morning raising hell in the hallway.

Derek took the bus from his dorm to the building where Intro to Human Physiology was held. The campus Vet Clinic. The classroom had several rows of desks attached to chairs. The back of the room was at a high point, so one could view the board or instructor.

"Let me help you with your pack, looks like you're pretty laden down," a sweet sounding co-ed spoke as they sat in the center of the room. Student enrollment for this class was about 300.

"My name is Ann, what's yours?"

"I'm Derek. Ann where are you from?"

"Lansing, I'm a junior this year."

"You live off campus?"

"Yes, in Tower Apartments."

Derek found Ann to be attractive and she evidently felt the same. Class met two days a week, and for the next ten weeks, they sat next to each other for most sessions. Conversation was casual between them, usually about the latest challenge in living with others.

Winter Term
"Burr, it's cold out here for January. Would you like to go skating this evening with me and Julie?" Ann asked.

"I'm free after 7:30."

"We'll pick you up from your dorm."

"I'll be in the lobby."

Ann, Derek and Julie enjoyed their skate at the indoor arena and stopped off at Old World for a cold beer on the way home.

Derek was quite shy, but had entertained having Ann over for more than a study session countless times. Ann silently wondered what held Derek back from advancing their friendship?

"He just needs to ask me out and damn, I'll just about do whatever he suggests," she mused. They did have one more date. It was to a "TG" where one could order food to cook on the open grills. They each had a small steak. Then, they went to another place where the singer, Oliver was performing. Derek can still hear him performing his famous song titled, Jean. Derek's heart still feels the pang from remaining a too perfect gentleman while wanting to touch, hold, or make out with Ann.


Five years later, Derek came back to East Lansing after he finished his internship in Music Therapy. On a whim, he got Ann's phone number and invited her to meet him for a drink. Both were hopeful that this time things would advance. The conversation went well; the drinks were enjoyed; Ann would be staying in the Lansing area for a while. She gave Derek a ride back to the student housing he lived in. A kiss on the cheek was exchanged as he got out of her car.

Two decades later, Derek was on Facebook. He looked up Ann by name, but there were too many results with her same name to narrow the limited profile down. He did post on his status one day,

Ann ..... I have been thinking of you for over twenty years. If you see this, send me a PM. I'm now married, but wonder if we can at least email each other.

Whether or not Ann saw his status remains unknown. He lost a potential love to shyness and appearing as a respectable nice guy.


message 3: by Lynette (new)

Lynette White (lynettewhite) | 309 comments Good evening everyone.

Looks like we are off to a bit of a slow start. I sense I missed an event here. Thank you, Glenda, for stepping in.

I wanted to make announcement! I have been in contact with Heather Schuldt, the woman who created the 750 group and she reminded me of a special little thing you used to do. I have been given permission to bring this little special back. I am not to give details but I will say this. Starting this month there will be extra prizes handed out.

I would like to encourage everyone to help spreading the word about the contest so that we can bring in new writers. I would hate to see this group die off because we have lost interest.

If anyone has ideas on how to breathe life back into this group I would love to hear them. We had over 20 entries a month at one point. I would love to see at least 10 stories a month again.


message 4: by Shelly (new)

Shelly Heskett | 181 comments I would have liked to participate this month, but I am moving from Texas to Michigan and at my age it is taking all my energy. This is probably my last adventure and I'll be so ready to tell you all about it.

This group has meant more to me this last couple of years than any thing else. When I'm writing I just feel better. I need that deadline A nd I need to be read.This group fulfills all those things plus companionship and writing information.

Many, like me, take off for some reason, but need to know someone is still at home with the light on. Shelly


message 5: by Glenda (new)

Glenda Reynolds (glendareynolds) | 1061 comments Mod
We understand, Ms. Shelly. You do what you need to do & we'll be right here.

In the mean time, fellow writers, I hope that you have stories to be told. Invite your writer friends to participate. Hope you're having a good Friday.


message 6: by Shae (new)

Shae Hamrick | 284 comments Hello Everyone.

sorry I haven't been around much. I had several cars breakdown and have been spending time and energy to get them fixed. and then my emails blew up. hopefully they will stay tamped down this time.

Shelly, congrats on the moving. Anywhere DFW?

Glenda and Lynette, nice job with the these challenges. And I see that there have been lots of great responses.

I hope everyone is doing well just now. I will try and be more present in the weeks to come.


message 7: by Lynette (new)

Lynette White (lynettewhite) | 309 comments Shelly: Good luck with the move. The lights will definitely be on when you come back.

Shea: Nice to see you pop in. Sounds like your life has been a little hectic. Hope to see you back soon.

We are just past the half way mark for the months. Hopefully we will see that sprint to the finish so that we can have a true contest this month. As I said in an earlier post: I will be bringing back a forgotten treasure this month.


message 8: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lovett | 343 comments Hi, I am ready to post my story for August. Should I just paste it here?


message 9: by Glenda (new)

Glenda Reynolds (glendareynolds) | 1061 comments Mod
Patricia wrote: "Hi, I am ready to post my story for August. Should I just paste it here?"

Yes, Ma'am please do post your short story here in this thread. Thank you for sharing with us.


message 10: by Lena (new)

Lena Pate (lena_m_pate) | 23 comments Leather and Gold

He sat on the Harley dressed in black leather with silver studs matching his bike as if he were an intricate part of the mass of metal. Wavy brown locks fell into his eyes which he raked back in place with his long tapered fingers. He was as coiled as the motor revving beneath him. My heart skipped then raced, as I ran across the busy street to meet him at the park behind the school. He wore his smile more in the twinkle of his eyes then on his face. He definitely could play poker with the best of them. Jumping on the back, wrapping my arms about his rock solid waist, I hugged him tightly as we sped away from the curb, leaving cars in our wake. He hugged the curves and I leaned in just as he had taught me. We came close to scraping our legs on asphalt but I had no worries. The wind whipped my hair about my face and I threw back my head and laughed aloud. I felt so free. The rumble of the vibration from the bike sent pulsations throbbing through my body. We were heading to our favorite private spot where no one would look for me. My parents and brother hated him. He was the leader of a motorcycle gang and wore his status with pride. I knew he was bad in ways that I really didn’t want to dwell too long on for fear that I would run like a rabbit flushed out of the only cover for miles. This particular day, after we sat on the cool grass under the shade of an oak, he pulled a locket from his pocket and handed it to me. It had a small rose etched in the front in an antique pink gold. Inside was a photo of him and I that his brother took of us out by the lake. It had been a special day of sun, surf and loving. I was in a bikini and he wore a pair of cut off black jeans, frayed around the legs. “I want you to remember me always,” he whispered in my ear then took me into a tight embraced sealed with a desperate kiss. “Why would I ever need to forget you? Don’t tell me you still believe the omen your grandmother told you about not living to see twenty-one?” He just quieted me with more kisses as he dropped the cool locket down my blouse. Even later, as we raced across town to get me home on time, the locket felt cold against my skin. I shivered and grasped it in my hand, trying to instill warmth that flowed from my heart out of love for this complicated man. Two months later, I was at school when I heard that he had been killed in a car accident the night before. He wasn’t driving and someone in a pick-up hit them head on, folding the small MG like an accordion. My heart turned as cold as the locket I wore around my neck. It is a treasure that will stay with me always.


message 11: by Glenda (new)

Glenda Reynolds (glendareynolds) | 1061 comments Mod
Interesting and different stories! I enjoyed reading them tonight.


message 12: by Sharadha (new)

Sharadha Jayaraman (jayaras) | 1 comments This looks interesting, will submit my entry by today or tomorrow :-).


message 13: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lovett | 343 comments To Market To Market. Author: Patricia Fuqua Lovett. Word Count: 814

Ellen heard her mother stirring in the other bedroom. While getting out of bed, she spotted a red and green robe hanging on the closet door. The long, thick, terry cloth bathrobe felt wonderful encasing her medium sized body on this cold winter’s morning. To her surprise, it had the faint familiar odor of fresh laundry. The floral smell brought an immediate smile to her face. Her dad had probably freshened up a few things before she arrived. She was thankful for the robe; it took the chill off of her as she walked the few feet to her parent’s oversized bedroom. It was located a couple of doors down from where Ellen slept.

Hearing her daughter walk towards her bedroom, Thelma Grand pushed herself upward from a flat-lying, resting position. The white pine, four-poster, queen-sized bed gave her the appearance of opulence and grandeur neither of which she ever claimed in her 59 years of living. She managed to hoist herself up on the three pillows that her husband made sure he placed up against the headboard. This was a routine they’d been practicing for nearly three weeks.

Ellen sat on the bed allowing her toned hips to gently press up against her mother’s frail and now bony frame. Reaching over to give her mother a smack on the cheeks and a long, tender hug. Ellen recalled that she’d always thought of her mother as tough as nails and as strong as the wind which sometimes heralded an incoming hurricane.

“When did you get here, dear?” Thelma asked in a low, sleep-laden voice.

“Oh, about 3 or 4 o’clock this morning. I didn’t want to wake you. Dad heard me drive up and met me at the front door and then got back in bed, I suppose.”

“I hope you didn’t drive straight through from New York to Tybee Island.”

“No. I stopped and stayed over in one of the new hotels in North Carolina and then continued driving. It’s been a few years since I’ve been home and they’ve built a lot of new hotels and restaurants along the route.

“That’s nice. I suppose that’s progress. Of course, it depends on which political party is in office that things like that get done.” Her mother said in a low sarcastic voice.

Ellen gave her mother a sneer but chose not to add anything to her political party comment. “Never thought I would be so happy to see you, dad and the Georgia coastline. I’ll be the first to say that staying away for seven years is much too long.” She said.

Looking at the rectangular wood grain digital clock sitting on the dresser, Ellen remembered that it was the gift she’d sent her parents for one of their wedding anniversaries.

“So Ma what time will Dad get back? Didn’t he leave about 3 hours ago?”

Thelma coughed a bit and attempted to say something but the choking sounds made Ellen uneasy. “Ma, you don’t have to try and talk. Can I bring you some water or juice?”

Waving her hand, Thelma managed to say, “I’m fine. I went downstairs for an early breakfast. Your Dad has learned to cook rather nicely. Besides, I have a fresh bottle of water right here on my nightstand. He’s just driven into town to get a few items for lunch and dinner. Says he can’t wait to eat some of your award-winning chef’s cooking. He’s really proud that you’ve appeared on a few popular cooking shows.”

Ellen chuckled.

“Oh! Ma seriously. Don’t try to talk.”

Footsteps startled her. “How’s your Ma?” A familiar voice asked.

“Dad. Glad you’re back. She’s been coughing a bit. Says she not hungry or thirsty.”

“You two act as if I’m not even here.” Said Thelma.

Ellen looked at her Mother. “Don’t you worry. We know you are here Ma. You are very much here.”

Here was not meant to demean her mother. Ellen’s reassurance of Here was not meant to just quiet her either. Here drove home much-needed comfort much like the use of food that her Dad had used to ease out of the house so early in the morning to buy. Ellen knew they didn’t need any food. He used that as a way of comforting himself as his wife lay ailing. Ellen wanted so badly to comfort both of them. Perhaps she could allay her mother’s impending heart disease with her award-winning culinary cooking skills. She would cook comfort foods from “Ray’s Fresh Market” or from some of the other fresh brand markets that had sprung up along the coast.

Maybe others visited the markets to get away from something, or just to find comfort in the mix of people, fresh fruits, and vegetables or to imbibe in soothing anti-oxidant drinks. Here is the underlying clarion call. Here.

To market to market to buy a fat pig.


message 14: by Ariel (last edited Aug 19, 2016 02:56AM) (new)

Ariel Alynn | 3 comments Title: A Bluish-Red
Author: Ariel Alynn
Word count: 932

Typically his eyes were icy blue but today they are warm pools, warmer than the red of his shirt. Still, I'm drowning in his arms instead. He never understood his own strength. It was always a hit or miss between a butterfly touch or crushing me under all his weight. 

"Marry me" he demands.

My stomach freefalls. The past 5 years are running on a merry-go-round in my head. A part of me yearns to scream "yes" like a crippled animal screaming for help. He knows I can't do this. His family and friends have shunned me. They even marked me with a number of horrendous slurs. Even if they hadn't, I'm not what he needs from a partner.

I tried that life. I tried cleaning up after his every adventurous endeavor. Granted, I also benefited from that off-the-wall lifestyle. The good just never outweighed the use and abuse. Furthermore, that's all this is. It's a game to him and he always wins - no matter what - because the ball is always in his court. He knows I'd lie, steal, cheat, and kill for us to be compatible, but... 
"I can't." I stammer, "You know I can't."

"Why not?"

"Because I know you won't do it. That's why."

"We can elope."

I shake my head at his persistence, "it would only be another regret. You know that."

Though his body isn't touching mine, I feel his weight. He makes the air heavy around me. It's nothing short of exhausting, more so than his inability to compromise. I dare myself to look up at his wounded expression. The distress painted across his broad figure always seems so out of place. It lacerates my being. A voice in my head echoes of cravings to hold him, touch him, kiss him - anything to bring that mile-wide smile back.

"What if I said yes?" I begin, unravelling a whole years-worth of refusals. 

"Yea," he replies.

"You would do exactly what you always do. You would go back on your word."

He begins stuttering comebacks. Something along the lines of "No, I won't. I'll buy a ring and everything.", "I'll be loyal to you" and "I'll commit my life to you." My vexation kicks in to overdrive. 

"Really? So, you'll give up Renee, Sam, even Tiff?"
 
He stops. "How do you know about Tiff?"

"I saw you texting her the other day, when I was in bed with you."

He's quiet. I can see the steam coming out of his ears while the cogs turn in his brain. How are you going to get out of this one? I wonder.

"We're not compatible" he states coldly.

"How so?"

"She wants kids."

"Like that'll stop you."

He looks away. I'm sure he's had enough of the half-damaged barrier that I've built, broken, and rebuilt thousands of times. I've given him too many chances and now he takes my forgiveness as weakness. I've become nothing more than a cat toy to be batted around when his heart needs mending. I'm far from unscathed, yet I don't regret a thing.

"Fine. I'll marry you." I say, disassembling his dissemble.

"You will?"

His eyes widen. I stand firm in my assertion and he buries me in his suffocating arms. I hold him for what I'm certain is the last time.

"I'm gonna get going. It's late and I have work in the morning"

"Ok."

I go to open my car door but he steps in front of me.

"When am I going to see you again?"

"I don't know. Let's play it by ear."

He gives me a kiss as he lifts me off the ground and spins me around. At any other time this would've been romantic, but not now, not when I know he's going to disappear again.

When I get back to solid ground I touch my forehead to his and breath deepily. We part with the same words we've always parted with.

"See ya on the flip side"

"Goodbye, Ladybug."

I drive.

I don't remember the drive home. I block it out and chock it up to a blur of emotional distress. He doesn't call. He doesn't text. At least, not until he fails at love again and by then his name becomes a dance that my tongue fumbles on at best. After all, our connection was immaterial. There was no way to embody the memory, nothing of importance exchanged between us other than our time. I see no use in regretting this part of my humanity in which I discovered my purpose and my limits. The only aspect I regret is the lie. 

A year passes by. One that is filled with newfound self restraint and betterment of my social sphere. The dysania caused by my once fawned over daliance has long since ceased. One morning, I even wake up, thinking "Maybe I could give this whole love thing another shot". Coffee tastes sweeter. The sun feels warmer. Of all things, the newspaper is less boring.

That's when I notice a pair of icy blue eyes and a mile-wide grin captioned "In loving memory". A chain with a wedding ring hangs around his neck.

My stomach freefalls. No one told me. Of course, no one told me.

I set the Gazette and my coffee down, giving myself a moment of nothingness. I can't breath. My heart is thrashing around in my chest. "Am I having a panic attack?"

Then there's red, but not just any red. A red he would call crimson. No blood, yet I still went crimson.


message 15: by Gene (new)

Gene Hilgreen | 38 comments Hey all, I've been goofing off all summer. I've edited the first 15 chapters of my sequel to 'First of Jules' at least 20 times. But the waves are calling--that's why I live on Long Island.

Ariel, welcome to the group--great story.

I may spin a tale for this month, or is it fact. Gonna be tough to match the criteria, but I have five day. Love to all.


message 16: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lovett | 343 comments Hey. Thanks Gene. Enjoy your summer.


message 17: by Randall (new)

Randall | 96 comments The Promise of Love
By: Randall Lemon
(997 words)

After my wife Josie, died, I found it increasingly impossible to wake up every day and look around me. Everything there reminded me of her. She was taken from me far too early, barely forty-one-years old!

We had discovered the cancer by accident and it had already spread too far to stop it. For awhile, she tried to carry on as normal. She shopped at the market, went to the bank, and spent time on the computer. I saw my love wither before my very eyes. Each day she lost weight...color...life. We tried radiation, chemotherapy, anything that held out the slightest hope. Each time, those hopes were dashed, thrown back in our faces. I tried to stay strong for Josie but my heart was cracking inside my chest. We had relied on each other exclusively since we had married fourteen years earlier and now I felt that I had let her down. I could do nothing except try to make her as comfortable as possible near the end

Yet, it was she who sought to comfort me. That last week as I sat beside her bed, she pleaded with me and made me promise to go on with my life and find someone else I could love and with whom I could be happy. I didn’t want to make that promise! I told her not to be silly and how I could never love anyone but her. In my heart, I knew I wanted neither of the things she wanted for me. I didn’t want a new love and I didn’t want to go on living without her. But Josie had always been the most stubborn of women. Frankly, it was one of the things I loved most about her although I teased her mercilessly about it.

Finally I relented and said the words I knew she wanted to hear.

“Don’t worry, Josie, I promise that after you’re gone, I’ll try to find another woman I can love.”

For just a moment, the tension in her face eased, but then she frowned. She summoned her remaining strength and scolded me.

“Don’t you lie to me, Hank! I can see it in your eyes. You have no intention of doing as I ask. You’re a man who needs a woman, a wife, and I can’t be that any longer. I’m not going to let you off with some hollow promise! I have loved you most of my adult life and you claim to love me, as well. Now I want you to swear by our love that after I’ve gone on to my reward, you’ll do as I ask. If you lie to me now, you will do more than kill me, you’ll break my heart and I’ll die feeling you never really loved me at all.”

What could I say? What could any man who loved his wife as much as I loved Josie say? I made the promise and I tried to mean it. She passed away that very night.

One week went by, then two.

I knew I had to begin to put the house in order. Since the funeral, I just let everything go. Although I hadn’t felt like eating much, there were still some dishes in the sink and some garbage to be taken out. Josie had been fastidious about the house. She took pride in how it looked; the very least I could do is not turn it into a pigsty.

I washed, I vacuumed, I straightened and I dusted. When I reached Josie’s dresser, I found a piece of paper stuck beneath her ring box. Curious, I unfolded and read it.

“Don’t forget your promise.” was all it read.

It was written in Josie’s beautiful script. Dazed by events of the past few weeks, its meaning was at first unclear. I thought about the enigmatic words as I continued to clean. Suddenly the meaning struck me. The promise I had made froze me in my tracks and I doubled over in pain due to the anguish over what faced me.

No woman could ever replace her in my heart. It occurred to me that maybe I didn’t have to replace her at all. Perhaps all I needed to do was make room in my heart for Josie and one other. I would love Josie forever but maybe there was enough love in my heart to share with someone else. But where would I meet such a woman, a woman who could coexist in the space of my heart with Josie? I was at a loss. I couldn’t see myself cruising bars or joining an online dating site. All that seemed to cheapen her memory.

Stymied, I carried the piece of paper back into the bedroom and decided to put it into the box that I had found it under. When I opened the box I was quite surprised by its contents.

All jewelry had been removed except for the engagement ring I had given to Josie when I proposed. Attached to the ring by a rubber band was a folded slip of paper. I removed the message from the ring and unfolded the paper until I could finally read it.

“When you gave me this ring, the happiest time of my life began. I have never regretted our time together. I return this ring to you now in hopes that you will give it to some other woman. I know you will make some girl extremely happy and I realize finding a woman that will make you as happy as you were with me may seem a daunting task. You may not know where to begin. So, along with this ring, I leave you my eternal love and one last gift.”

At the bottom of the page were three names and phone numbers. I recognized them all as being close friends of my Josie.

I washed, shaved and dressed. Then I picked up the phone. I had a promise to keep.


message 18: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lovett | 343 comments Randall, Its been a long time since I've used this word... but this was a "darling" story. All of this month's stories are keepers, I think. Just saying...

I'm glad to get back with this group. Such talented writers (ALL)!


message 19: by Randall (new)

Randall | 96 comments Thank you, Patricia. It was very sweet of you to say so. I hadn't written anything for about 2 months and was afraid I had forgotten how (writer's block?) I actually started out with a much different story concept but this is what came out. I'm glad you liked it.


message 20: by Gene (new)

Gene Hilgreen | 38 comments The Woman in White

Chateau La Mer on the Great South Bay has always held a special place in my heart. Spectacular waterfront dining—with sunsets to die for—the moon rising up from the bay is not bad either. For twenty-five years, the most memorable times of our lives occurred there. My wife and I spent our first and twenty-fifth anniversaries there and unbeknownst to anyone—our twenty-fifth—would be our last.

I had attended several events at Chateau after my wife’s passing, but it was never the same. When I receive an invitation to the annual clambake fundraiser, I thought another ho-hum night at my favorite place. After three years as a widower, I had accepted the fact that I would never find love again.

That fact may have changed—

The fundraiser at Chateau La Mar drew an impressive a-list of local politicians and deep-pocketed supporters. I was there early—why not—it’s still my favorite place.

No suits tonight—this was a casual dress clambake, and the only way to tell a politician from a supporter was when their lips moved.

I mingled with my favorites and promised support to their causes. By nine-o’clock I was bored and was ready to call it a night.

But—

I had one more task to complete before I left and got a glass of red wine from the bartender to help me through it.

Wine glass in one hand and my wife’s ashes in the other, I leaned over the railing to sprinkle the ashes. The wind kicked up for the briefest of moments and a wave crashed the deck. I braced for an icy impact, only to relax, as a warm spray basked my face and wine glass with a coat of delicate salty spume.

A smile spread across my face as I looked to the heavens. “Good bye my love,” I said, and walked toward the back entrance. One more glass of wine was in order.

Like I said earlier—I had decided a year ago that I would never fall in love again. I could deal with that and beamed when the bartender pointed at me with a bottle of Malbec in his hand.

I never saw him pour the glass—

Attached to an angelic face—a vision in white with long flowing platinum hair—had my full attention. She was holding a pack of cigarettes and walking right toward me.

Beautiful and Republican, I thought I said to myself, as I looked into her face,

I handed her my business card and introduced myself. Where was she all night as I glad-handed politicians?

“She’s married,” the Mayor said to my dismay, as he cracked a grin worthy of a Cheshire cat.

I know I said something to her, but my mind was spinning. She said her name at the same time the Mayor said she was married.

I never heard her—nor did I hear her say, “Wait for me,” as I walked outside for a smoke.

Just my luck, married, I thought as I continued to my car, and drove home thinking of my dream woman.

Two days later—

I’m walking across the beach to the water—shades down and a cigarette in my hand.

“Hey, aren’t you the smoking republican,” said a woman as I walked past.

I stopped and turned toward the voice. “You mean smoking hot,” I said—thinking it was some liberal I’d pissed off.

She stood lifting her sunglasses, “No it’s me . . . “

I never heard her name because her daughter yelled Mom!

She introduced her son and her daughter—I only remembered or heard Kelly. I still don’t know my dream woman’s name, but she was wearing a white and red stripped bikini that was made for her perfect body.


We chatted briefly and I walked quickly to the water to cool off. On the way back to my spot by the deck and bar—we chatted some more. I remember saying that the Fabulous Murphy’s were playing there later that night, and continued to my favorite spot by the deck.

She walked past me as she was leaving the beach. “Maybe I’ll see you later.”

“I’ll be right here . . . just turned around a little more toward the band.”

“My name is LeeAnne,” she said, and left me standing there dumbfounded.

Four hours later—

I was not where I said I would be, but she was standing right there when I left the Beach Hut deck to have a smoke.

We talked and listened to the band. My dream woman grabbed my hand as a slow song started and I followed her to the dance floor.

I melted into her arms.

After the song, she looked me straight in the face. “I’m not married,” she said, and proceeded to kiss me full on. “My friends are protective . . . that’s all.”

I looked up to heaven and said. “Thank you, Honey.”

Hand in hand, we left the dance floor to start a new life.

To be continued—


message 21: by Ariel (new)

Ariel Alynn | 3 comments Gene wrote: "Hey all, I've been goofing off all summer. I've edited the first 15 chapters of my sequel to 'First of Jules' at least 20 times. But the waves are calling--that's why I live on Long Island.

Ariel,..."


Thanks :)


message 22: by Todd (new)

Todd Folstad | 22 comments I'm still planning on trying to get a story together for this month, but with the end of one choir, the start of our annual 9/11 Tribute Choir and Orchestra here in the Twin Cities, just finishing 3 days of cheerleading for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk and trying to get done with my condominium pool for the season - time is at a max premium. I go on vacation just after Labor Day, so I'll definitely be in for September, but also hopeful for this month yet. Some really GR8 stories in the queue so far - very stiff competition. Good Job by all so far.


message 23: by Shelly (new)

Shelly Heskett | 181 comments Another Time
By Shelly Heskett Harris
Word count, 1048

I had a crush on him from the first, when they wheeled him into the dining room at Green Pines Nursing Home. His long body was folded in the wheelchair and his wide shoulders stuck over the chair back on both sides. Obviously a cowboy, he wore a western shirt, jeans, but no boots. His swollen feet were encased in some kind of soft slipper. He sat tall in this medical saddle with a natural dignity.

The nurse said he was 88 years old, his name was John Bender, and she added that he was a widower. I was 78 ,and didn’t mind dating an older man, however, I hadn’t counted on the strict moral code of a West Texas rancher, His wife had passed three years before but after sixty years of marriage, he still wore his wedding ring.

As a prominent and successful member of the community, he was fair game for the eager widows one finds in a small town.The nursing home was a refuge, but there were visitors and some were ardent ladies who discovered him trapped in a wheelchair and were able to pat and hug him. He bore this attention with good humor and kept his poise.

He was my idea of the perfect man; strong, fearless, faithful, quiet and humble. Yet warm and loving. In another time I would have gone after him with every beat of my heart. Was it too late now?

I began my campaign by playing dominoes with him as part of a group of four. He was beyond good. All the players, except me, were country folk and had played since grade school . They were all good, but John had an affinity for numbers that set him apart. The others in the group weren’t aware of it. His humility masked his talent, so they just considered him lucky..

We began to converse, when he understood that I was a writer who was interested in the history of the area and not a threat. One day he confessed that he expected to die as soon as he came to the nursing home and he was disappointed he hadn't. I realized there was nothing in the cowboy way of life that prepared a man for old age. Roping calves and horses, working hay bales, putting down fence, and a hundred other chores wear out their hands; sun and wind are hard on their eyes and aside from dominos and an occasional guitar player they seldom had a hobby. John’s plan to avoid the indignities of old age by dying shortly after arriving at the Pines hadn’t counted on his mighty heart which refused to cooperate with his death wish and chugged along year after year.

By the time he turned ninety his hands were little more than blocks of wood and he knocked over more dominoes than he played. Embarrassed, he quit dominoes entirely. He rode his wheelchair up and down the halls and participated in most of the activities. I could get him talking about times past. His face would light up and he became animated for a while, but then he’d settle back with a dull expression and slump down in his chair. . . waiting.
His parents were German and came to the United States to escape the Natizs before he was born. The family was fiercely patriotic and proud to serve their adopted country. Also deeply religious, he sang in the church choir for forty years and never missed a Sunday. However, I never heard him sing; he thought his voice was too crusty.

Joe Knapp was another rancher who shared the room at the end of the hall with him. The room resembled a bunk house minus the girly pictures. Each of their daughters tried to put up family photos, but the cowboys declined and preferred the walls bare. The two old fellows spent their evenings telling each other stories mostly of the early days.

Joe, who also liked to tell me stories about the early years, was talking about how fearless John was.

“They bought a piece of land and found out it had a nest of rattlesnakes on it,” Joe said. “Well, they couldn’t put any livestock on it like that and no one wanted to go hunt snakes so they sent John out after ‘em.” Joe was warming up to his story

“ John goes out on horseback with a bedroll, a baseball bat and a gun and comes back three days later with 94 dead rattlers tied to his saddlebags.” Joe was laughing out loud by this time,

“. . .and sold them skins to the fur buyer for more’n $3000 dollars.” Joe actually slapped his knee, “his brothers like ’ta died.”

Joe also told me about the time John saved a kid from being killed in a stampede. It was the boy’s first cattle drive and something spooked the herd. The tenderfoot got caught when the cows changed direction. John rode into the herd after him, Hollywood style, used his horse as a buffer, picked the kid up, threw him over the saddle and rode away.

When I asked John about the hero stuff, he down played both adventures and changed the subject. We were sitting in the music room. The late afternoon sun shone through a side window and outlined his chiseled face. A lifetime of looking across far ranges had left deep wrinkles on his forehead, and squint lines fanning out from the corner of his eyes.. He had a stubble of grey hair along his jawline, more whips of grey on the top of his head and a truly magnificent pair of eyebrows, still the light-brown color of his youth. His skin was like beautifully tanned leather, soft. His high cheekbones and sharp nose revealed his German ancestry.

I looked at him and longed to touch his beautiful face. My hand was on the table and he reached over and covered it with his rough one. A bolt of emotion shot through me and I was almost afraid to look up at him, but when I did the tenderness in his eyes left me breathless. We sat like that, eyes locked, downloading all the things we could not say out loud. Four hands clasp in a sculpture of love.

Not long after that he passed. Peacefully, with his family around him. Ah yes, another time.
By Shelly


message 24: by David (new)

David (drussell52) Hello Writers!

Lynette and Glenda you do a wonderful job keeping this group organized, the lights on, and going! Thanks!

-Lena, your story somewhat reminded me of the old song, Leader Of the Pack. Cool song from the mid 1960s.

Patricia, Randall, Gene and Shelly, good stories! I pictured a living care facility in Shelly's story, found the character in Gene's story to be a charming widower, reminded from Randall, the woman (SO) usually does have the last word, enjoyed Ariel's tale even though the ending was realistic, and Patricia, you created a good story also.

Shelly, welcome to Michigan, hope our winters aren't too cold, frigid, or turn you into a "snow-bird" but if they do, know that yours truly will regard you in high esteem wherever you call home.. It's good to see all these stories here and you too!
David


message 25: by Lynette (new)

Lynette White (lynettewhite) | 309 comments I am so excited to see some familiar faces back this month and some new ones. Welcome everyone! We are down to the last few days and hopefully we will have a couple more late entries. Thank you for the great stories posted so far.

I just realized I posted the wrong closing date. It will be next Sunday August 28 and voting will close at Midnight on the 31st. I will be posting the winners on the first (or when all votes are tallied) The special awards will also be posted at that time.


message 26: by Steve (new)

Steve Bridger (dooch) | 131 comments TIMELINE LOVE – Steve Bridger
He looked down at his dirty knees. Both were caked in dried mud with thin scratches and spirals of drying blood. They didn't hurt. They were twin badges of honour for an eight year old boy. He sat godlike, surveying his endless domain of patchwork fields, winding streams and rolling hills catching the dying rays of the afternoon sun. He swayed with the rhythm of swaddling branches atop of the highest tree in his limitless world. A warm breeze whispered a welcome and ruffled his hair. Puffy cotton wool Cumulus clouds drifted in the endless summer sky. Joy engulfed him. The ecstasy of childhood consumed him.

He double blinked to reset his memory machine. A tiny chip embedded in his brain scanned the files of his life and played them in real time with perfect clarity blending genuine images with surround sound and injections of ambient smells of leaf mould and loamy earth completed the sensory experience. He was waiting for a triple by-pass. His body was nearing the end of its fifth decade and need a regulation upgrade. He was not vexed, not anxious, not stressed in the least, it was a boringly standard procedure and would be over in minutes.

He returned to his childhood. He cradled his Teddy. He hugged the wobbly head and poked a finger through its missing eye socket. He was in love. He was safe and secure. Nothing bad would ever happen to him as long as they were together. His comforter was wearing thin. The once chestnut brown fur was fading into patches of stretched, weakened and defeated fabric. Red knitting wool had been woven in chunky ugly stitches with a darning needle to mend the many blows struck and lovingly repaired. He looked at the embroidered name tag, on one side the name 'Moo' as in 'Where's my Moo-Moo mommy?' On the back it was blank. But it wasn't. He told his mind's eye to magnify a swirl of blue cotton of small winding letters. A message from his past to his future.

'Nurse he's crashing! Adrenalin now! WE'RE LOSING HIM!'

His body convulsed. Spasms rippled from head to legs in angry jerking waves. His memory machine short-circuited converting trauma from torso to brain triggering only nightmare playbacks echoing the crisis on the operating table. All the years of searing pain crashed into his consciousness as one intense explosion of hurt. He saw the thin side of a ruler snap down on his knuckles slicing skin and hitting bone as punishment by his teacher at the age of nine. Ten Hail Mary's were given as the only prescribed medicine. His spirit left his body as a spectator on the manic scene below. This was not meant to happen. Triple by-passes had a 100% success rate. Usually nursing staff listened to their music on headphones completing the predicable process like automatons. Red lights flashed, machines bleeped a flat-line warning. 'Stand clear!' The electric shock pads jumped.

Silence. The pain stopped. His memory machine went blank. Slowly video buffeting began. Signs of life returned. The annoying clockwise arrows spun round and round on his memory screen. Warm blood slipped lovingly through his veins circulating oxygen that sparked his brain and brought his soul back to earth. The ever increasing zigzags of relief on the ECG machine were duplicated in blue cotton on his mind machine monitor. He realised they were tracing a continuous line of words. 'I knew this day would come. Be strong. Live your third age as you lived your first with me. Never forget our time together. Love Moo x.' A crinkled honey coloured nose appeared, floppy ears, a single line of stitched smiling lips and a one-eyed wink.

Word count: 626


message 27: by Christene (new)

Christene Britton-Jones | 201 comments “THE HEART HOLDS DEARLY ITS LOVE”…
Christene Britton-Jones (927 words)

Discovering the pouch...
At the very bottom corner of that drawer Melinda’s finger tips touched upon a soft thing, there where it had lain dormant for many years, nestled quietly in total darkness.

Carefully her hand closed over it, her fingers wrapping gently around this soft thing as she drew it out. In the open palm of her hand nestled a small soft deerskin pouch of deep golden suede, the opening drawn tightly closed then knotted, threaded so with a darker thin thong of stronger leather.

This gift; containing a long lock of Jack’s dark hair, tied up with red ribbon; had been given many years ago from her beloved before they were married.

Memories flood back...
Sweet memories came hastening back as Melinda lovingly looked down upon this gift her husband, Jack, had made with much charming love many years past for his special lady, Mel.

Memories came of when she felt so happy that her face had ached from smiling all the time, and of that heartfelt glow that surrounded her whole soul. Melinda had been so wrapped up within that soft subtle warmth, for was all around her inside and without.

Melinda would see a flower bloom for the first time and it took her breath away, it was as if she had never seen such a flower before. The air she breathed was sweeter, purer, and it filled her so very completely as she had never been filled before. The colors around her were so bright that their vividness startled her eyes, the light was almost painful, but that pain was diminished totally with the overwhelming strength of her happiness. All of her senses were heightened taking her to new dimensions never experienced before. Melinda’s step was light upon the earth as she floated at least a few inches above it all, she was not of this world instead up on cloud nine. Dreams were so delightful.

Losing her husband…
At first it was enough that Melinda’s dreams and love carried them through day to day living, for it was then they had lived far out in the wilderness surrounded only by woodlands and animals big and small. Keeping busy was a joy, a delightful task that saw her so tired at night that sleep would come easily upon her.

There was no time to see or even dwell on what was happening to them as they drifted apart and into their own worlds.

Both had their writing as succor and that helped to merge then bend time as it passed. And time passed not slowly but fast, and with that time came the darkness of Jack’s mind, for he was losing himself in his darker writings and his growing anger, whilst she withdrew into deepest mourning for the loss of her love and their dreams.

The anger and rage grew inside him grew till it couldn’t be contained physically any longer and was unleashed wildly upon her, and she had fled in fear away from this stranger. Melinda had kept her dreams alive in those early years for as long as possible, till that day, the day when her heart broke and she along with it. Her life had then become a lonely one.

Living alone many years…
Lately only the best and noble memories came for time had eased the painful ones out of existence, sadness, and disappointment, and anger had all gone leaving her with forgiveness of self and of Jack.

All that remained was the great love they had initially shared even if her dreams never did come into fruition.

The aloneness enclosing Melisa within four walls wasn’t all bad, for she managed to alleviate that through much reading, and losing herself into those stories; for her books were her family, her friends, and she never parted from them once she had brought them into her life and home.

Then there always were peaceful deep meditations and devotionals that soothed the soul as well as the aching physical pain in her body, for short times.

Lastly there was the writing of a hand written journal each morning during her devotionals, followed later by that daily diary after having breakfasted upon strong black coffee and fresh fruit, plus, finally putting more words onto paper in short story form, into books.

However the profound loneliness was always there, tucked away in her heart that only she was aware of, a loneliness that had frozen her heart into crazed cracked crystal over the years.

This heartache of hers was a constant reminder however well it may have been hidden behind her pleasant and lovely smile each and every day. For such a pain is never seen outwardly only felt inwardly.

Melinda missed Jack every day, thoughts turning to him often as she mourned unfulfilled dreams, and especially during those long dark nights when she found it difficult to sleep, for it was in sleep that the dreams came to her. Until she had dreamed that last dream.

Message in dream…..
“It is time to come home my sweet Mel,” finally had come his whispered words.

Tears, silent tears, slowly trickled out through closed fluttering lids to course down her cheeks.

“Coming, my love,” Mel murmured back into the darkness.
Just before a breath, Mel’s last breath, sighed out and before that blazing light of much love enveloped, totally surrounding, then caught up her spiraling spirit pulling it down that long tube and into his arms. She had come home to her love.


message 28: by David (new)

David (drussell52) Hi Writers,

-First, Lynette, thanks for clarifying the end date for stories and voting period.

-Steve, good flash fiction piece about the eight year old and his experience of love.

-Christeen, I like your subtitles and imagery within this story. I like your use of older English, which adds a sense of quaintness to the tale. As said before, there are several, fresh, good, new stories this time around!
David


message 29: by Steve (new)

Steve Bridger (dooch) | 131 comments Thanks David - it'sgood to be back!


message 30: by Steve (new)

Steve Bridger (dooch) | 131 comments In fact it's about a 50 year old....


message 31: by Shelly (new)

Shelly Heskett | 181 comments Yes, Steve, I figured out it was a 50 year old, but even after two readings I'm still not sure about the teddy bear. I liked the "defeated fabric" but "blood behaving lovingly", I don't know." t will take another read, out loud, I love good imagery.


message 32: by Shelly (last edited Aug 24, 2016 01:17AM) (new)

Shelly Heskett | 181 comments A great variety of stories; David- I think this is your best dialog. Lena much said in few words.

Patricia: your use of "here" is very effective, Ariel: clever way to handle the girl's talking herself out of love.

Randall: and Gene Your characters have very understanding wives. I might have sent the blue bird of happiness .

Christeen you are a real story teller.. I already told Steve how much I enjoyed his imagery.


message 33: by Steve (new)

Steve Bridger (dooch) | 131 comments Shelly - so good to read your feedback first thing in the morning here in the UK - it's set me up for the day - Will read and comment of these other engaging stories.


message 34: by David (new)

David (drussell52) Hi Writers,
Shelly, thanks for the heads-up concerning dialogue in my story. It has been brought to my attention elsewhere that this is one area where writing growth is needed. After seeing the movie, Florence Foster Jenkins, I am well aware as a writer that input from others is probably essential to develop my writing chops. Florence was a solo singer who gave public performances and donations to charity, but her artistic ability was questionable and understandably so. Sorry to belabor the point, but felt it necessery; thanks!


message 35: by Randall (new)

Randall | 96 comments Thanks, Shelly


message 36: by Steve (new)

Steve Bridger (dooch) | 131 comments Lynette,

Do we post our top 3 within the post to be public to everyone or to another link to vote in private?

Thanks Steve B.


message 37: by Lynette (new)

Lynette White (lynettewhite) | 309 comments Steve. When the contest closes you will be submitting your votes privately to me by IM or you can email them to me.

It warms my heart to see an active thread this month. I was becoming very concerned that the 750 writers club may be closing its doors. Thank you, for proving me wrong!


message 38: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lovett | 343 comments Writers for August 2016, The Heart Remembers are - Patricia, David, Lena, Ariel, Randell, Gene, Shelly, Steve, and Christine. Did I miss anyone? Thanks.


message 39: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lovett | 343 comments I'll go read Todd's. Thanks David.


message 40: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lovett | 343 comments I see a August 21 post for Todd but not a story. Please confirm if Todd posts. Thanks.


message 41: by David (new)

David (drussell52) Patricia wrote: "Writers for August 2016, The Heart Remembers are - Patricia, David, Lena, Ariel, Randell, Gene, Shelly, Steve, and Christine. Did I miss anyone? Thanks."
-Hi Patricia and others,

From my glance through the list and stories, it seems like you caught everyone's name who offered a submission.

I have a question for how best to inform Lynette.

Can members send one another messages on GR, or do you have an email you might be comfortable taking votes at?

Thanks, and best to everyone!
David


message 42: by Shelly (new)

Shelly Heskett | 181 comments David, I'll be in the Grand Rapids area. My family all lives in a different town, but we will be within 20 miles of each other. They tell me it is beautiful with tall trees and beaches along the lake. Also since I won't have to be out in it, I can enjoy the snow. Just so long as I CAN SEE THE SUN, I like any kind of weather.


message 43: by Steve (new)

Steve Bridger (dooch) | 131 comments If this helps I've submitted my votes by clicking on Lynettes GR profile and sent her a message via the drop down menu on the left hand side of the page under Lynettes photo.
I hope this is private and does the job.

Steve B.


message 44: by Randall (new)

Randall | 96 comments I thought the contest was still open to entries until midnight tonight and voting began tomorrow and runs until midnight on the 31st. Did I get that wrong?


message 45: by Glenda (new)

Glenda Reynolds (glendareynolds) | 1061 comments Mod
Sorry I haven't commented much lately. I've been working on book covers for the "31 Days of October" anthology. Speaking of anthologies, I just posted a new subject in the anthology section with the subject matter of "Forgiveness". Check it out.

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


message 46: by David (new)

David (drussell52) Patricia wrote: "I'll go read Todd's. Thanks David."

-Patricia, I did not see a story posted by Todd when checking on Saturday evening around 11 p.m. eastern time. He did post a comment to the thread though.

-Steve B, I will try and send Lynette my votes via your suggestion. I am done reading this month's stories and have made up my mind.

-Yay Glenda, send some energy north to us here in the midwest!

-Shelly, Yes, Grand Rapids and area is nice on the western side of our state. Lake Michigan has a lot of sand, very few rocks, and I spent time indulging in "Summer Lovin, had me a blast" some years ago. Gosh, that former girlfriend is probably retired now and drawing Social Security..

We do have gray days during winter, but when the sun shines during December through much of March, it can be good for one's being. We live about four hours south-east of Grand Rapids by motor vehicle.

Cheers to All,
David


message 47: by Bijsmom (new)

Bijsmom | 18 comments Shoebox Memories

A rush of fresh air from the long unopened door sent dormant dust swirling in its updraft resurrecting orders of stale storage with a hint of cedar and mothballs.

Its been a long time since I've been in here.

This was it, the last bastion of memories of Mom. Stepping into the attic Kate was pleasantly surprise to find little here to process.

This should go pretty quick.

The few odd pieces of furniture would go with the other estate sale items. The contents of the small stack of boxes would be surveyed, and probably most of it sent to the dump.

Just as she suspected, a lot of what she'd found so far was junk: old greeting cards, newspaper clippings for recipes, paperback romance novels.

God, who saves this stuff.

Rifling though her mothers mementoes sent Kate's sinuses into rebellion. "Hachoo!"

Just what I need to aggravate my allergies. Thanks Mom.

Finally the last box. To Kate's surprise this one was filled with items from her childhood. Elementary school report cards tucked in their manila folders, one with a checkmark indicating behavioral improvement needed. "Kate sits on her feet," the teacher's remark read. Her Palmer Certificate for good penmanship. "That didn't stick." Best of all, her favorite although now threadbare stuffed dog Pookie lay carefully stretched out atop a shoebox. Kate hugged her old friend tightly to her chest. "You're a keeper," she declared.

The box, however, was unfamiliar. "I don't ever remember having that brand of shoes." Untying the twine that held the lid firmly in place Kate carefully opened the box. Inside was an envelope containing old photos and a stack of unopened mail address...to her.

What the????

Plopping down on the attic window dormer seat Kate slowly investigated the box's contents. A faded sealed pink envelope address to her in her mother's unmistakable handwriting made her chest tighten and her heart race. The relationship between them had thawed to a tolerable level of cordial that both found workable.

What's this Mom, your last hurrah guilt trip? A deathbed apology for being the drama queen of those whose lives were sacrificed on the altar of single motherhood?

Initially tempted to toss the letter into the trash unopened, Kate decided to give her Mom her final say.

"Dear Kate,

I assume that as you read this I am already gone. Call me the coward that I am, I just couldn't bear to share this with you face to face."

Kate's hands trembled. What is she getting at here?

"Your father left because I was having an affair. His name is unimportant. He dumped me shortly after your father's departure because of you. He wasn't the "fathering type," he said. Foolishly, I held this against you even though it wasn't your fault.

"You witch!" Kate screamed as she tossed the letter across the room. "I knew you hated me, I just never knew why." Hot tears fell uncontrollably and for the first time Kate made no effort to restrain them. "You selfish wretch. You blamed me for your stupid mistake, and to think I was starting to feel bad about not having a better relationship with you."

Even in death Kate couldn't escape the tentacles of her mother's grip. Finally she walked over, picked up the letter, sat back down and continued to read.

"Over the years your father send you cards and letters. You'll find them here. You never knew because I hid them from you. I told him that you wanted nothing to do with him. I don't think he believed me because he continued to write.

I was being purely selfish Kate. I was afraid you'd learn why your father really left and that you would want to go and live with him. He would have liked that. I didn't want to lose the only one good thing my life had produced...you.

Kate looked out the window her mind reeling as she tried to process what she'd just discovered. Her dad loved her. "I spent so many hours sitting watching for you and hoping you'd come back. I was so hurt, angry and disappointed in you. What kind of a father leaves his child? Now I learn that you did come back, so to speak." Sobs of grief wracked Kate's frame. Mom, what did you do?

Composing herself once more, Kate noticed her tears had spilled onto the letter and smeared some of the old fountain pen ink leaving parts illegible.

"You father died several years ago never knowing that you had not rejected him. I didn't tell him what I'd done. I guess it was my way of punishing him. I wish now that I'd told you both and given you two the opportunity to sort this matter out for yourselves. Like I said, I am a coward. As you read his correspondence you'll see how much he loved you, which is more than I can say for myself. I won't ask for forgiveness. I don't deserve it.

Mom

For the next few hours Kate poured over the shoebox's treasures. A growing stack of crisp bills of different denominations sat off to the side. Carefully examining the old photos Kate found one of a young girl on a playground swing. Behind her stood a man with a big smile.

I had a dress just like that one and I remember going to a park to swing on the swings. I could go so high...

Then it hit her, she was the girl in the photo. The man behind her must have been her father. She studied his face carefully but she had no real memory of him. This would have to do, and although it wasn't much it was more than she'd ever had before.
Shoebox Memories Mary Agrusa
Her mother's house sold quickly. Thankfully the last chapter of life with Mom was finished and put to rest. Maybe at some point she'd be able to forgive, but not right now. Going forward she'd focus on the one person who really had loved her. It was time to get to know him better. Who knows, maybe in the future she'd even find another special someone who would love her.


message 48: by Shelly (new)

Shelly Heskett | 181 comments Bijsmom wrote: "Shoebox Memories

A rush of fresh air from the long unopened door sent dormant dust swirling in its updraft resurrecting orders of stale storage with a hint of cedar and mothballs.didn't get it Selly

Its been a long..."


Lynette, I sent my votes in to you more or less like Steve described. Let me know if you


message 49: by F.F. (new)

F.F. Burwick | 172 comments I was gone from here with not having access that I expected. I had the start of the story I would work on to submit, but found last week I couldn't come on to my Goodreads account. Previously my access was apparently hacked, it came to me shutting down the Firefox browser I used, and I started using this web explorer as my browser, it was when I came to Goodreads I found this trouble. I come in with being logged in with Facebook, so there is no password I have separately, it is only with Facebook, and it would close me out saying I had to be logged in with Facebook, even though I was logged in. I tried with it many times. Tonight I gave up, and I wouldn't come back to this unless I tried with the original browser again. So I missed this opportunity, but I can sure hope to take part next time.


message 50: by Lynette (new)

Lynette White (lynettewhite) | 309 comments I am so sorry I didn't get a chance to get on last night and officially close the contest. I was having some lovely internet access issues. I have received a few votes and have responded to those I have tallied.

The voting closes on Wednesday, or when all the votes are cast .

You can send your votes to me via an I'm here on Goodreads or email them to me at whitefantasybooks@gmail.com


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