Hearing Nothing

Flash Fiction

“Grampy, the plumbers are here to take a look at the busted pipes!”

Elijah yells toward the back of his grandparents’ shotgun house — screams loud enough for the neighbors to hear.

“You wanna give me my pipe? Yes, boy, that’ll be all right. It’s in the den on the coffee table.”

Elijah shakes his head and cautions the plumbers with his right hand and then directs them to the bathroom on the first floor which is where they will begin their work.

“No, Grampy! The pipes! The busted pipes from the storm. The plumbers are here to fix them!”

“Mice!!! When did we get mice?! Lemme get up and find some traps, boy. We can’t have no mice cohabitating with us. No, siree.”

Elijah presses two fingers to the temples of his head and massages slowly. He then walks toward his grandfather’s bedroom and enters the room with a defeated look on his face. He stands near the window, breathes out, and begins again . . .

“Grampy, the plumbers are here to fix the pipes. There are no mice and you stopped smoking that godawful pipe three years ago.”

He looks at his grandfather, places a hand on his shoulder, and smiles gently.

“Well, if you wanted company boy, why didn’t you just say so? Sure, they can spend the night.”

A look of bewilderment shot across Elijah’s face as he tried to understand exactly what his grandfather was going on about now.

“Grampy, for who to spend the night? This is about the pipes, Grampy. The busted pipes!”

His voice was at a measured shrill with just enough volume to alert his grandmother in the kitchen. She came running to her grandson’s aid.

“Gerald! Pay attention to me, please. Elijah said the plumbers are here to start work on the busted pipes from that winter storm! They’re in the bathroom downstairs, that’s where they’ll begin!”

Although she was shouting, Sue’s voice was just as serene and peaceful as if she were speaking calmly to an infant. Elijah thought to himself, surely his grandfather would not hear her.

“Now, Elijah is going to keep watch over them while they work on the pipes and I’ll finish dinner.”

A brief moment of silence waltzed in on them and Elijah and Sue awaited Gerald’s response.

“Sue, of all the things in this world you could call me, I never thought a sinner would be one of them. And if those plumbers don’t hurry up and get here, we’re going to spend another night in this house with no water!”

Sue looked at Elijah, smiled, and gave his hand a pat.

“Today’s almost done, Elijah. Tomorrow is a new day. Maybe it’ll be a good day for him.”

Elijah gave his grandmother’s hand a gentle pat and smiled back at her.

“Maybe.”


Originally published in The Weekly Knob via Medium.

perdure

Frozen Limbs|Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt


free verse

I have my past with me
when I capture images
of the world’s intense
measurements of weather
and all its inconsistencies.

we gather in the small belly
of brooks and creeks, carrying
misdeeds and moments of
judgment with us.
to unveil the depths of
our weakest acts, I snap
the places I’ve been
and the things I see.

everything is a solid reminder
of what has been and of
what’s to come.
I know you remember who I was
but do you know who I am?

the broken twigs of
a lonely tree send spry memories
to my brain and I weep
in the winter wind.

you have found your place
in my heart; etched into my mind,
permanently placed on the
folds of time and I cannot
offer you a pass or release
you from your current
imprisonment.

you once had all of me
but now you own a few months
out of the year and I am
battling two different versions
of myself
to get those
months back.

winter came for her
just due and all I have
is a trite recollection of
your lips on mine and
fingers hidden in places
called private
and alcohol
singed split ends that
never found their home
on your pretty little head.

I walk with the wild breeze
and talk to the sleeping sun.
you were my once-upon-a-time
and while I do miss you,
I still have these photographs
to keep me company.

they’re a much better
replacement than that
sly and witty smirk
that never seemed to
leave your unforgettable face.

yes . . . I said it — I miss you,
but let that be our
little secret.
everything else was.


This poem is in response to Wild Flower’s first prompt of the year in Where Wild Things Grow on Medium.

Home Is Where Everything Is


Pandemic Reflections

I have become glutinous; sticking to my home — fearful of going too far away from it. I question every errand that needs attention. How important is it? How much longer can I go without it? Is the purchase cost-effective enough to simply have Instacart drop it off after I fill up my cart via my favorite stores instead? Do I really need to go to the store myself?! Do I?!

I am growing indecisive during this pandemic season and I know it has a lot to do with how scary this virus is and how massive it has become.

I went from a woman working in an imaging facility, screening patients for COVID-19 symptoms to yearning for a workspace from home and actually attaining that and now . . . Now, home is more than just where I work — home is everything. Everything is here at home.

I still get anxious but not nearly as bad as I did on days I knew I had to be in the public eye — around other people. It’s easier to curb my anxiety . . . I have a bit more control over it. I can subdue it and move forward and do what needs to be done on a daily basis.

At home, I am not running away nor do I have the urge to run away from my fears. But I do recognize the magnitude of what has taken place. I am cognizant of the fact that it could be me, my family, or a close loved one (again) pushed toward their demise from this virus.

Home is where I sit with the neverending debate going on in my head; “do I get vaccinated or not?” Currently, there is no winner. I think there will be one soon.


Two of my succulents; re-potted and were temporarily placed directly in front of my balcony door. I’ve since moved them to be alongside two more of my plants. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

After one year of dealing with the pandemic, I am learning how to be easier on myself. I have new ways to bring joy into my life. I find peace in the simplest things and I hold on to it. I have taken a liking to plants, succulents in particular, as they were a gift to me from my team at my previous job.

I talk to my plants. I name them. I open the blinds in the living room and kitchen and let the love from the sun’s rays wash over them. I water them. I check their soil and preen and primp them. I am ensuring the health and wellness of living things other than myself and my dog, Jernee.

It feels good.

It feels like an accomplishment I did not know I needed to accomplish. It feels essential.

I have what I need . . . Food. Water. Shelter. Books. Laptops. Music. A bossy Chorkie who cuddles with me on cold nights and gives me wet-nosed kisses that turn into paw pats on my face — everything is here at home.

After one rigorous year of quarantine, various mandatory restrictions, and only visiting my closest loved ones every few months, I have a hard time envisioning what the next year and the year after that will have up their sleeves.

And will I be able to remove myself from home? Will I lose the adhesive I’ve grown fond of relying on when I can stray far away once again?

Will I even want to?


This story was written in response to Medium’s Writing Prompt: Pandemic Reflections:What Comes to Mind When You Think About the Pandemic Anniversary?


Originally published on Medium.

The Funeral

Microfiction

Photo by Wojtek Mich via Unsplash

She laid his suit out on the bed. A freshly pressed blue shirt. His favorite speckled necktie. Blue and black cufflinks.

He would look great at his final foray into the crowd. She’ll remember him fondly. His crooked smile. His hopeful laugh. The nasty nights of arguing. So many nights of arguing.

He never saw the machete she wielded in her hand. His last words were, “I never meant to . . .”

She doesn’t miss him as much as she thought she would.


Originally published in The Weekly Knob via Medium.