Both Sides Now
We were at the “moons and Junes” phase where we danced, stared into each other’s eyes, and our heat coalesced. Passionate kisses lasted hours.
PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson
For Friday Fictioneers. Thank you to the wonderful Rochelle for hosting this group. To read the instructions and join in, please visit here.
I met a Swedish boy on Christmas Day and kissed him on Boxing Day and felt the earth move at Kamala Bay.
I touched my fingers to my lips and smiled at this boy, my first kiss.
We were still holding hands, not comprehending when an accented man herded us and other tourists toward a packed bus.
“Tsunami,” someone said.
The joy of the kiss evaporated as my emotions unspooled like myriads of delicate thread concentrating on my parents and little sister at the pool. Praying.
The bus bumped up a steep road and the shore behind became ocean.
This was my first A to Z Challenge so it was quite an experience. Fortunately I have done nanowrimo and octpowrimo so I do have some experience with the task of writing everyday. It was very, very nice to have Sundays off though, which you don’t get with the other two challenges.
What made this a tremendous experience for me was finding fellow bloggers who were also doing the challenge. Some bloggers I’ve been reading for months and some were new to me, but I enjoyed reading their works progress through the month.
© John Brand
“The ivy, John,” Ramona says.
“Yes, dear,” says John while continuing his Sudoku.
“I hate to nag . . .”
“…but the ivy will kill the tree. It taps into the moisture around the roots and sucks the life out of it.”
“I know exactly how it feels.”
We each have our own truth.
I thought I knew you well enough so our truths overlapped often to become one truth.
And, yet, here I am, amidst the wreckage of your vendetta: ripped memories, broken souvenirs, walls stained with graffiti, realizing I did not understand that it wasn’t truth you were seeking nor justice in the way I understand it. Rather, you sought vengeance because I was born at all.
“Here we go,” he said.
“Oh, don’t start,” she said.
“It happens every bloody time we go someplace nice. You have to start sniping.”
“Not sniping. They’re observations.”
“Based on your insecurity.”
“It’s not my insecurity if you’re checking out the waitresses and smiling at them.”
“That’s not true.”
“Any of it. What I want to know is why it happens when we’re out at a fancy restaurant.”
“Because while I’m at home, blondes in miniskirts aren’t parading around for you to stare at their asses. Who knows what happens when I’m not there.”
“The check, sir?” the waiter asked.
“Why the hell not? I’m sure there’s not going to be dessert here or at home,” he said.
“There you are!” the petite blonde with huge blue eyes says as she approaches with an equally huge smile on her lips. “Welcome to Burbank and Hughes! I’m Ellie with HR and I’m going to give you a tour of the offices and show you where everything is. Do you have any questions?”
She waits the briefest of moments, her lips pressed in a tight line as though it’s an extreme effort not to speak. “Great. Well, let’s go to the lunchroom first. It’s my favorite room in the building. You know why? Because it has windows to the courtyard! At my last job, the lunchroom had no natural light at all. It was so depressing. But, see. The windows are huge. The snack machines have a great selection and the coffee machine does caramel lattes. Isn’t that the best? It saves money from running out to Starbucks. Which is a great help when you’re saving for vacation or a nursery, not that I would know about that. Not since Jeff left,” she says, her voice suddenly strained. Quickly she replaces her 100 watt smile. “But, you know, some people are. Every little bit helps.”
“Now through here, we have a little waiting room. It’s for clients and staff. Look at the view from here. You can even see the river. Spectacular, isn’t it?” Her eyes grow momentarily vague as if reliving a memory.
I nod when she glances at me.
“Down this hallway, which you probably shouldn’t go along unless you’ve been called for, are the partners’ offices. Burbank and Hughes.” She pauses. There’s laughter at the end of the hallway and a very tall brunette in a very small skirt laughs broadly at something a man, I recognize as Jeff Hughes, says. I glance at my blonde tour guide who suddenly scampers down a different hallway, amazing me by her agility in those three inch heels.
“Down here we have the community room, nice name, right, where you’ll be working. Have you seen your cubicle? What I really like,” she says as she opens the door and lowers her voice as not to disturb the people working. “Is the natural light. Again! And your cubicle is over here. You have a skylight right above your cubicle. Fantastic! I’m so psyched for you.”
“Ellie, a moment,” the tall brunette who had been with Jeff Hughes calls away my tour guide.
Ellie smiles an apology to me and then stands in front of the brunette, looking up despite her very high heels. Every emotion plays across Ellie’s face as she listens, mottled red, creamy pallor, narrowed eyes, and finally pressed white lips. She nods without ever saying a word. When she returns, she looks suddenly as if she had run a marathon.
I’m about to speak, when her smile, maybe only at 60 watt this time, returns. “Back here is the supply room. We work on the honesty practice. Basically just sign out whatever supplies you take. If it’s the last, you just take . . .dammit. Honesty, what a laugh! You know I caught him back here with her? They thought everyone had left for the disaster planning seminar. Me included. And he was there just jackhammering into her. Where does she get off telling me not to waste time when she was doing my husband on the clock?”
Ellie has been speaking these words to the grey speckled carpet. A blush settles over her features.
“I’m so sorry,” she says. No tears. She shakes her head. “I thought he was the love of my life. Stupid, right? Well, I guess I was just as stupid as he thought I was. Right. Well, my extension is x642. I’m sure I forgot something. I’m just going to the waiting room and pour caramel latte in the potted plant.”
Tempers flared. Indignation rumbled.
Kerry listened to her fellow citizens rail against the Mayor and longed for her iPod. Perhaps she’d be more sensitive if these weren’t the same people who’d voted for the “change” he claimed to represent.
To his credit, he’d achieved the one change these partisan, one issue voters wanted. As if life were that simple.
But now the outrage as he pushed through other campaign promises that hadn’t concerned them until they understood the ramifications.
She needed her iPod. One woman’s music was another’s drug, just a little Hozier to take away the pain.
With each job interview, Janie’s sense of panic grew. A year ago, she had counted herself extraordinarily lucky when she’d obtained a job within weeks of earning her Master’s degree, but then the company suffered layoffs and she was the first to go.
She had just enough in her savings for another month’s rent and another case of ramen noodles. She glanced again at the name on the door plate wondering why it seemed so familiar, ominously familiar.
“Miss Dexter, Mr. Montgomery will see you now,” the administrative assistant said.
Janie straightened her black pencil skirt. Her smile trembled slightly.
Mr. Tate Montgomery stood looking out the window as she entered. He didn’t immediately turn around so she cleared her throat.
“Mr. Montgomery?” she said.
As he turned, her stomach sank. Nerves collided with resignation when she saw the familiar green eyes and the jagged scar on his cheek.
“I wondered if it was you,” he said.
And there stood the boy, the one who owned the only heart she’d ever broken.