Sunday, 10 March 2013

on the beach - The Mag 159

In the gap between her eyelashes the sun glinted off the fine dusting of sand that stuck to the hairs of her arm, each grain making a tiny shadow like a freckle on her skin. Nothing existed beyond that except the glistening water and the gentle ripple as the waves rolled in and back out in a ceaseless rhythm. The back of her calves prickled in the heat and a single drip of salt water reached the end of a lock of hair then dripped and trickled with cool exquisite slowness across her shoulder. Beneath her fingers tiny sand avalanches fell from tiny dunes. The art of it was not to move, to barely breathe, that way you could hold it in suspended animation. The sky a perfect blue; the sea a perfect green; the utter stillness of the warm air; as if the whole of life had been leading up to this place and time there was not a single thing to do but lie here in this moment of utter bliss.
Tomorrow, she promised herself. Tomorrow she'd tell the kids that the jelly fish had all gone.

(Linking back Magpie Tales)

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Tell me - Mag 157

Venus de Milo with Drawers, 1936, Salvador Dali

Tell my what you're thinking
she asked,
(not for the first time)
Allow me just a glimpse
of what goes on
inside your head;
no need to lay bare
your very heart and soul,
nor to spill your guts
nor vent your spleen.
Your obfuscation
and avoidance
of this simple question
is driving me
to distraction.
Please tell me what you
are thinking?
He sighed and smiled
Nothing much,
he replied.

(Linking back to Magpie Tales 157)

Monday, 18 February 2013

Not at any price - Mag 156

The best view of maple trees was from the drawing room window, bleak and naked but still beautiful; her husband had planted them as a young man to flank the formal garden, though now the ornamental ponds were dry and crumbling, and the rosebushes long since gone wild. That morning she made her way laboriously up to Frederick's room that faced north, out towards the town. Her fingers rested momentarily on the moth-eaten rocking horse and it creaked back and forth a time or two, raising dust motes into the stream of weak sunlight. She did not have to wait long. Last night's rain had sunk the remains of the paving under deep puddles and the car skidded and slithered up the rutted driveway, the tracks of its previous fruitless visits still evident. The two men got out and picked their way carefully towards the steps. Celestine admitted them to the hall so they would have the most impressive view of her descent. The faded grandeur of the vast gently sweeping staircase allowed her to look down haughtily at the same time as disguising her increasing frailty. She greeted them graciously enough but offered no refreshment. 
"Lets get down to business shall we Mrs Everett," said the taller man, removing a sheaf of papers from the briefcase. "I have been authorised to make you a much improved offer for the property. We appreciate the deep emotional attachment of your family to this house and feel this represents a very generous recompense for your loss."
She perused the papers, her eyes alighting on the figure at the bottom. She sighed. It had been worth the extra six months in the draughty, damp wreck of a building; Annette had been a fool to settle at the first offer, now she was rid of this place and her retirement in the sun was guaranteed.

(Linking back to Magpie Tales 156 for other contributions. Image: Wind of History by Jacek Yerka)

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Knees - Magpie Tale 155

It was raining as he came out of the supermarket, a broken downpipe spouted water onto the pavement and washed the cigarette butts into the gutter. The bag wasn't heavy but as he shifted it to his other hand one of the handles broke and its contents lurched awkwardly forcing him to bundle the whole lot into his arms as he set off for the bus stop. As he sat waiting his eyes travelled aimlessly into the window of the cafe behind. He saw a pair of knees under the table by the door and they seemed familiar, not that he was familiar with many pairs of knees, but the sturdy curve of the calf muscle was unmistakeable. She had been on the hockey team, so they were regularly on display at Thursday afternoon practices. He would never have dared to speak to her, she was just one of those unapproachable girls, but he would often watch from the staffroom window while he marked essays. Then he had been the only one around the afternoon of her accident. Mrs Williams had practically carried her up from the field with blood pouring from a nasty gash, a piece of broken glass in the mud by the goal she said. She had sat in the office looking ghostly and Mrs Williams had just grabbed him and told him to 'keep the pressure on' while she called an ambulance. He had crouched, for what seemed like an eternity, the sodden wad of paper towels warm in his hand as he pressed it against her thigh. As he watched now the couple shifted in their embrace. He didn't know the boy. She had cut her hair. And then she opened her eyes and caught sight of him. He looked away, pretending not to have really noticed. Mercifully the bus approached but as he got up the door opened and they emerged. She smiled at him, seemed genuinely pleased. 
"I thought it was you. I never got the chance to say thanks before you left. Look, it healed really well, hardly a scar." She lifted her skirt slightly to expose a faint white line on the tanned skin.
He didn't look down, but smiled and nodded vaguely. 
"My bus," he gestured as it pulled up. "Nice to see you Cassie."
"Bye then. Thanks again Mr Wilcox."
He did not look back as the bus pulled away. 

(Linking back to Magpie Tales 155 where you can read other contributions)