We lay there shivering in the ditch watching the headlights pass. Paranoia has a way of gripping people by the throat when they’re on the run. In our wrong-headedness every car became a threat. If not a police cruiser, then surely a nosey older couple who knew this neighborhood and everyone in it as well as the blue veins and sun-spots on the backs of their pale hands. How youthfully naïve to only fear those who would send us home to our worried parents, for the night is much more sinister than that to two young girls running from home.
She has a couple of scars on her left hand. Unrelated, but both from burns. These tiny little flaws bother her.
It bothers me that they bother her. The way even the most beautiful creature ruminates on a few and barely noticeable blemishes. As if she loses points for this. As if everyone notices and thinks less of her for this. I’ve shown her how the world is airbrushed and prettified mechanically and artificially. I’ve gotten frothy in the mouth over studies that illustrate the damage we do with our not-of-this-world beauty ideals.
And yet, haven’t I stood before the bedroom mirror fretting over the deep crease in my brow? Haven’t I spent money on pots of magic in hopes of putting my hand against the chest of time to hold it back? Haven’t I dusted my bosom and clavicle and shoulders with shimmer for an evening out?
Precisely where is that line between pride in one’s health and appearance, and neurosis?
I’d like to find it, mark it in glow-in-the-dark paint, and stand with her just this side of it, laughing.
After just coming back from watching the new Wall Street movie, seeing on the big screen greed run rampant and (small spoiler alert) a suicide over the loss of money, I was primed to be moved by Dad at the Chalkboard’s piece on Greater.
He stands at the edge of the cliff, the exposed toes of his bare feet hinging out over the edge.
He visualizes the jump, feels the rush of the wind, hears its roar as he gives himself fully to the thrill of gravity’s pull, to the embrace of the jagged rocks below.
He sees the darkness.
Oblivion’s beautiful nothingness.
He starts to lean forward, to set the end in motion.
He sees her face, a mask of sorrow, a single tear, and he draws back.
Love’s pull is greater, it seems, than despair’s fire.
Next up is a word from The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain.
I hope wherever you are the weather is as stunningly beautiful as it has been here these last couple of days. Nearly perfect early Autumn with warm sunny days and cool nights. We actually went to the beach yesterday! I’ve never been to the ocean in New England in September. Oh what a lark! Oh what a joy! The waves came up like huge, tumbling mountain ranges and made a terrific thundering noise.
This week’s pick is from Patti. Maybe it’s because I just turned 40, but I kept thinking about this little piece throughout the day and chuckling at the image.
It’s been a while, but tonight Gloria’s feeling pretty good. She plans to head over to McNamara’s for a tipple of sherry.
Sitting on the stool in front of her dressing table, she turns her head this way and that, admiring her image in the mirror. After tucking a few errant hairs into the clasp at the nape of her neck, she reaches for the jar of color in front of her. She carefully smoothes a dollop of Silver Pink Minx over her lips.
Gloria flashes a sexy little pout at her image.
Looking good, baby. You’ve still got it!
From the archives of obscure books, I bring you a word from The Book of the Courtier written in 1516 by Baldesar Castiglione.
Late, AGAIN. This is why I’m not President. I bet Obama is never late. What a jerk, making me look bad like that.
I don’t have that much of an excuse except that one of my best friends came in from out of town and threw me a surprise birthday party, and then my sister showed up the next day, and by the time I recovered from all of that there were chores to be done and next thing I know my pillow came up and hit me in the face and was all, “I WANT SOME ATTENTION!”. I had to oblige.
Anyway, can we just call it “fashionably late” and move on?
After reading through all the 100 Word entries it is clear that “rotten” is universally associated with dead people, souls, and food gone bad. My pick of the week is Tinfoil Magnolia’s piece. I could see it so clearly.
The coffee maker struggles. Sputtering and wheezing it slowly spits out the steaming black elixir. She waits, cup in hand, shoulders slumped. Regrets are strong, like the coffee.
She looks around the kitchen. Sunlight floods through the back windows, the tomatoes in the basket are rotten, the garbage already stinks. She feels humiliated and defeated, like the tomatoes. Past the shiny, pretty part of life. The young, ripe flesh decaying a little each day until nothing desirable remains. So much to give, yet left to waste away. Then, an unceremonious landing in the garbage.
“Is there coffee?”
That reminds me. Though I’m loose on the rules (who the heck do I think I am?), technically all pieces are supposed to be exactly 100 words (not including title). I don’t count, I leave that up to you, but I could just tell that a few pieces coming in were well under 100. I mean, I’m not going to call the word police or show up at your door with a warrant looking for the two dozen or so missing words, but I don’t feel it’s fair to pick a piece that’s far off the mark.
The new word is again from The Children’s Book by A.S. Byatt.