AND SO I DROWN

The prompt for today is Writing in One Sentence, challenge created by RXC:PROMPT #247, hosted by Reena

Just when I think there are no more tears left in me,
a thousand more worm their way out of the corners of my eyes
and trickle down my cheeks, falling on my breasts
as my fingers quiver over the keyboard,
its magnetic pull as strong as the waves of a tsunami
dragging me to you,
to reach out to you and lose myself in your eyes,
to dream of your hands on the small of my back
drawing me to you,
bringing out every passion every woman
throughout all of time has ever known
yet realizing if I do so I will lose myself forever
and so I drown in tears of sorrow and love and painful resolution;
O God, I despise my anguished body
which has turned against me so cruelly,
I hate these feelings I have for you,
and yet I delight in them
as I am devoured by the passion you have for me
and I die a million times over for I know the pain I suffer
will never allow me to be with you again,
the only one I truly long for.

NAR © 2022

 

BLINDSIDED

This story was recently published on The Writers Club. I would like to thank them for showcasing my work which was originally published on WordPress on September 17, 2017. Thank you!

Hard to imagine life without her. When the hell did everything start to unravel?

Now he sat alone in the shell of their apartment, baseball game on the tv playing for no one, nursing his second Dewars. Once upon a time this place was alive with people enjoying one of their famous dinner parties. When he closed his eyes he could hear their friends discussing politics, movies, the crazy tenants on the 2nd  floor … and the sound of her spirited laugh when someone told a dirty joke. 

They were the perfect couple, the envy of all their friends. Theirs was an easy, comfortable marriage – viewing a gallery in SoHo, cycling through Central Park, steamy showers after Saturday morning love-making. They were in sync in their choices of restaurants, paint colors and the biggest decision of all … neither one wanted kids. 

He sat there, head in hands while a thousand thoughts went through his mind. When did he begin having second thoughts? Was it the weekend in Maine spent visiting his sister after the birth of her first baby? Was it watching the kids in the playground across the street? All he could remember was the night he whispered in her ear that he wanted to have a baby. 

She was blindsided. What? No! He was just named partner at Goldman Sachs. She was food editor for Connoisseur magazine. Life is perfect. They had an agreement, dammit! Would she just consider thinking about it? No! How could he spring this on her now? 

Weeks, months went by. She remained adamant, distant. Then one day he came home after work and she was gone. 

Here he sat, alone with his Dewars, ballgame long over, fingering his wedding band, staring at divorce papers. 

It couldn’t have happened to a more perfect couple.

NAR © 2022

FISH AND CHIPS

As I was leaving my favorite fish and chips place, I bumped into an old friend. I waited for him to get his food and we sat outside eating and catching up. He was doing well but had recently stopped seeing a woman he enjoyed spending time with – one of those ‘friends with benefits’ things. I’m not one to judge; I’ve had many of those myself. Easy come, easy go. 

Tom, the worst mistake we make in these relationships is getting too attached. There’s no point beating ourselves up over the breaks” I told my friend, popping a chip into my mouth.

Funny thing is, Brian, I didn’t break it off; she did.”

“How’d ya feel about that?” I asked him.

“You know, mate, I didn’t believe she’d do it” Tom replied somewhat wistfully. “She’d broken things off before but we always got back together. We were drawn to each other like magnets. She was special – different, older, sexy as hell. She was a one off, Bri, not someone you easily forget.”

“What then?” I questioned.

She had some ‘issues’ that were pressing on her greatly. She needed to deal with them, straighten out her life, so she made the break. And this time she meant it. You know, mate, it’s silly but I miss her and I keep expecting to hear from her.”

“She misses you too, Tom.”

“Yeah, and how would you know that, Brian?” Tom asked suspiciously, surprise and curiosity peeking through his hooded eyes.

Because I know who she is. It’s Sophie. She works with my sister Nan and she’s been over the house a few times. I heard them talking” I answered my friend.

“Did ya now? Brian, tell me what you heard.”

“You sure, Tom?” I asked and he nodded in assent.

Sophie told Nan she thought she’d be able to have an ongoing casual relationship with you but it got intense, it got real. She said she couldn’t handle the pressure of your relationship any longer.”

Tom sat there toying with his food, lost in thought.

“Listen, mate.” I interrupted Tom’s reverie. “Sophie told Nan something else.”

Tom glanced up at me as if he just realized I was there. “And what might that be, Brian?”

“Sophie said hooking up with you was easy. Letting you go was torture. But they were two of the best decisions she ever made. She said she’d never forget you.”

Tom managed a half smile and we ate our food in silence.

“Good fish and chips, eh mate?” I said after a few minutes.

“Yeah. That they are, Bri”  Tom replied.

We finished our meal talking about our plans for the weekend, gave each other a bro hug and went our separate ways. When I looked back, Tom was having a good laugh with our friend Ian. 

Easy come, easy go.

NAR © 2022

ON BROKEN WINGS

There’s a feeling you get when a relationship is about to end. It sort of sneaks up on you like ivy climbing up a tree trunk. You see it starting but it’s nothing terribly worrisome; then it slowly starts working its way up the trunk until it overtakes the tree. It’s got a strangle-hold on that poor tree, suffocating it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a mighty oak or a frail mimosa; the ivy will win out every time.

That’s the feeling I now had for Jeremy and I don’t know why. I just knew it was time to break things off. That was clear; what wasn’t clear was how I was going to tell him.

It’s not as though we started off like a couple of teenagers on a hormone rush. Ours was a gradual connection much like our disconnection. We had chemistry. We could make each other laugh. We liked the same music, the same food, the same movies. We could talk at length or enjoy a quiet, lazy Sunday afternoon. We had incredible sex and a lot of it.

Jeremy gave me a braided love knot bracelet; I accepted it because it was pretty and didn’t feel as permanent as a ring.

We talked about moving in together but it never happened. Now I’m glad we didn’t; that would have made things so much harder. It was good to come and go as we pleased; now I found we were doing that less and less. I don’t believe it was deliberate; we just started drifting apart. Everything gradually slowed down and cooled off. I realized at some point I had finally exhaled and I was no longer suffocating.

We spent a cool Spring afternoon sitting on a bench at the beach. Watching the waves rolling in and falling back, I knew the time had come. Quietly I told Jeremy what I was feeling and he slowly nodded in agreement. I think he was glad the pressure was off him. I started to remove my bracelet but Jeremy refused to take it back. 

I slowly walked away and took the long route home through the park. It had begun to drizzle. I stared down at the pavement as I walked. Just then I came upon a dead bird at my feet. I stood there staring at the poor little finch; he must have fallen out of his nest. I took a few tissues from my pocket, wrapped them around the bird and carefully picked him up; he was still warm, his tiny body limp.

I carried the lifeless bird home and retrieved a small spade from my gardening tools on the back porch. It began raining a little heavier as I dug a deep hole beneath the tidy row of boxwoods; there I buried the bird. Before filling his grave with dirt, I took off Jeremy’s bracelet and placed it across the broken wings.

My face was wet; I couldn’t tell if it was the rain or my tears.

NAR © 2022

A BRUSH WITH FATE

It was nothing, really; just an unsettling feeling.

The apartment was deathly silent – no water running, no sounds coming from the kitchen, no television – nothing, not even the comforting, barely perceptible reverberation of Matt’s snoring.

The quiet was oddly disquieting. Lying on the bed on my right side, I eyed the digital clock on the nightstand: 7:15 AM – a little early for our usual Sunday morning sleep-ins.

Gradually I shifted onto my back, staring up at the ceiling for a minute or two waiting to hear something, anything. I slowly turned my head and glanced over at the left side of the bed – Matt’s side. He wasn’t there. “Hmm, wonder where he is?” I thought. I listened again; still silence. I called out “Matt? Babe?” No response.

“Okay, maybe he went to get bagels and The Times.” It’s very unusual for us not to make love on a lazy Sunday morning. Sex in the morning is always delicious but last night was incredible; we really got carried away. I don’t know what came over me; my desire was insatiable and Matt certainly was ready, willing and able to oblige. I couldn’t help smiling as I thought about the night before; the images were so intense, I started getting aroused. I called out again: “Matt, honey! Are you here?” Still nothing.

Matt and I met about seven months ago, shortly after my breakup with Danny. I thought Danny was ‘the one’; we even talked about marriage. We really were a perfect match in all aspects of our lives. The fact that sex with Danny was the best I’d ever had was a bonus. But somewhere down the road things began to unravel and we just sort of drifted apart. That was a very low point in my life; I loved Danny and I still think about him often. It’s only natural that I would.

Then Matt entered the picture and there was an instant attraction between us. We were both on the rebound and took things slow. We decided not to move in together, not just yet, opting for weekends here or at Matt’s. We were committed to each other but not ready for anything as permanent as living together. We agreed the only thing we would leave at each other’s place was a toothbrush.

The more I thought about last night, the more I wanted Matt in my bed right now. Looking at the clock I was amazed to see that 45 minutes had gone by. Where the hell was Matt?

I got out of bed and padded barefoot into the kitchen, checking the living room on the way. I was clearly alone, not even the usual welcoming presence of a fragrant pot of coffee. I looked around in confusion.

Feeling the strong urge to pee, I raced back to the bathroom and there I found all the answers I needed. A sticky note with angry red letters on the mirror read YOU TALKED ABOUT SEX WITH DANNY IN YOUR SLEEP … AGAIN!! I’M OUTTA HERE!

 And there was just one lonely toothbrush in the holder – mine.  

NAR © 2021

MAXIMUS OVERDRIVE

Maximus Gluteus caught a glimpse of his reflection on a sheet of polished tin which his wife Labia used as a mirror. He had really let himself go! He was a disgrace, not just to himself but the entire world of gladiators.

Originally known as Maximus Biceptis, he was no longer the god-like hero of the stadium. Where was that former champion of the amphitheater? Gone were the defined, well-built curves visible through his tunic, the muscles straining against the fabric at the forearms, biceps and chest. His sculpted calves, broad back and wide neck were flaccid, as were other parts of his anatomy which Labia was quick to point out.

Maximus was not only popular with the general public; he was greatly admired by the Roman emperor Sartorius. He won many battles against highly skilled adversaries. Sartorius was particularly impressed by his heroics and rewarded him with more palaces and riches than he could have asked for. Sartorius went so far as to give Maximus his prized solid gold chariot and team of Berber horses.  

If anyone knew how to have a good time it was the worshipers of Bacchus, the god of wine. Maximus and Labia threw lavish Bacchanalia where debaucheries of every kind were practiced freely and enjoyed by all. Members of the cult would spend uninhibited all-nighters dancing, watching circus performers, feasting on fattening foods and decadent desserts, engaging in wild sex and, of course, drinking themselves into a stupor. Surfeited with too much wine, they could be awoken only by the cacophony of the servants crashing cymbals.

Labia, a once-famous gladiatrix, was considered an exotic rarity by her audience. Attempting to maintain her impressively athletic yet feminine physique, she exercised frequently in the gymnasium and swam in the warm baths. Maximus, however, had become lazy and spiritless. He encamped himself in the large atria overlooking the Mediterranean, reclining for hours on end in the lavish gardens which had been planted with olive and fig trees, grape orchards, almonds, walnuts and chestnuts, oranges and tomatoes, etc.

Maximus reveled in the good life, lying on his chaise lounge listening to poetry while the palace harpist played softly. Naked dancing nymphs performed for him, slaves fanned him with exquisite peacock feathers and beautiful servant girls fed him cheese, pheasant, figs dipped in honey, meaty chestnuts and wine. A life of gluttony and pleasure suited Maximus; he was a well sated man.

Maximus became so fat, Labia refused to have sex with him. Even his concubines were repulsed by him but knew they had to do the deed or risk being executed. It got so bad, the poor girls resorted to pulling straws to see who would share their master’s bed. The ladies, however, had little to fear; most nights Maximus was so drunk he was in no condition to get it on.

It didn’t take long before Labia began spending more and more time away from the palace. She would go for long walks along the seashore with her beloved greyhounds, Laconia and Molossia. It was during one of those walks that Labia first laid eyes on the newest and most popular gladiator who recently transferred to Rome – Maximus Erectus.

He was quite a sight to behold, especially when exercising naked on the beach. To say that he was well-built was an understatement. Erectus was perfection from head to toe. Tall, blond and powerfully built, sinewy muscles rippled down his arms and legs and across his Herculean back and chest. He was broad-shouldered with a flat, rock-hard abdomen. His body was bronzed from the sun and glistened with sweat. He was one ripped Roman.

Labia stared transfixed at the spectacle before her; even the dogs sat in quiet attention. Finishing up his routine, Erectus ran toward the sea, jumped into the waves and swam for a while. When he came out, he spotted Labia standing on the beach watching him. Without any hesitation or embarrassment, he walked directly to her. Smiling broadly, he reached down and patted Laconia and Molossia, laughing as they responded by happily wagging their tails. Labia’s tail had already begun to wag.

The two struck up a conversation. All the while they were speaking Labia’s eyes kept drifting down toward Erectus’ magnificent member which seemed to take on a life of its own. When Labia mentioned she, too, enjoyed exercising and swimming, Erectus commented that she looked like she was in terrific shape and invited her to join him on the beach whenever she desired a partner.

Now, there’s no denying Labia had a few years on Erectus, but she was still firm and supple. She decided to join him on the beach the following week; it wasn’t long before the duo became partners in every way.

Labia packed her bags and left Maximus Gluteus for her new lover. Tossing everything into the golden chariot, she clicked her tongue and the team of Berbers trotted off. Labia laughed gaily as she shouted, “So long, you big fat ass!”

But Maximus Gluteus was too drunk to hear her.

Footnote: Emperor Sartorius had a dream that he would be overthrown. He consulted the wisest philosophers and dream interpreters who all agreed this would indeed be his fate. Fearing torture and a slow death at the hands of his enemies, Sartorius made it known that should such an uprising occur, Maximus Gluteus was to be summoned to execute him; he trusted Maximus would end his life as quickly and painlessly as possible. Sartorius was eventually overthrown and Maximus was called. However, since Labia had absconded with the golden chariot, Maximus had no choice but to travel to Sartorius’ palace on foot. Alas, his massive weight slowed him down so much, Maximus did not arrive in time to save Sartorius from an excrutiating death. Due to that unfortunate event, the expression “Lardum Asina” came about. Today we know it as “Lard Ass”.

NAR © 2021

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