Of Wandering Minds

#VSS very short story

Wednesdays are short story days. I’ll pick a tweet from  my twitter #VSS archive and expand on it…

The house was silent, in the way a vacant house was empty. My footsteps echoed long and loud as if someone else walked beside me in the empty corridors and I felt like a trespasser intruding on the silence. The movers had finished and all the furniture was on its way to my new home. I was simply doing a final check to see if anything had been left behind.

Looking at the floor you could tell where the furniture had been, spots that didn’t quite shine as the rest of the floor, pale spots where the floor polish never reached. Even on the walls, if you looked carefully, you could see where picture frames had hung and one was still there. Of course someone had forgot to take down the one in the living room.

beaton Family portrait

Our family portrait hung above the mantle. The five of us smiling, a Kodak moment frozen in time. Was that the last time we had all been together, maybe, maybe not but it was definitely the last we had all had posed for a family portrait. Too bad we had not done this more often.

Standing on the tips of my toes I could reach the portrait but could not quite get it to unhook from the wall, I wished I was a little bit taller. Looking around for something to give me a boost I found a broken stool with three legs instead of four, which was probably why it had been left behind too.

I balanced on it precariously, unbidden images flashed in my mind; me falling, breaking limbs, picture frame shattering, glass shards embedding deep and warm liquid pouring out and then, and then coldness; followed by unending darkness. I retrieved the picture with no mishaps except a slight shortness of breath and sweaty palms shakimg ever so little…….

Talk about an overactive imagination I thought to myself as I wiped beads of sweat from my brow. There was nowhere to sit so I rested on the wall and slid to the floor, knees tucked to my chest cradling the family portrait, I could see my faint reflection in it its glass. Earlier I had called for a taxi to pick me and I still had close to an hour to go; I had nothing but time on my hands. Time and a couple of sandwiches, crumbs fell to the floor as I unwrapped the foil, remembering I hadn’t had breakfast, moving is such a stressful business………

I felt movement along my leg and casually flicked away the annoying insect, then I felt another and another and another. That’s when I looked down and saw them. Looking at me with more than an insect awareness, ignoring the crumbs on the ground. Seemed as if they were gauging my weight, checking to see, if they could drag me underground, to their lair, as they would the discarded food crumbs. They were all around me, the ants, standing there, in a coordinated formation, almost military…….

troop of ants

The word troop came to mind.

 

#Flashfiction

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Of Bathtub Memoirs

Genre: contemporary

To look in the bathroom mirror of your old bathroom and not recognise the grownup stranger looking back at you…. That’s what it feels like going back to your childhood home and a stranger lives there now. The mirror used to be so high up I needed ninja skills to climb up the bathroom sink so I could see myself in it (I even fell from high up there once upon a time and my parents were sure I had broken something important, probably because I was crying up a storm and lay there all limb, as if I had broken all 206 bones in my body… Twice.. and that was also the first time I got my x-ray taken and surprisingly enough had not as much as a fracture, someone say miracle bone regeneration.) The sink is only knee-high to me now and the perspective gives me vertigo I feel like Alice through the looking glass.fuzzy.jpg

The bathtub seems so much smaller than I remember it. I remember being afraid of the bathtub after watching a late nite Friday the 13th horror show, I was convinced I could get sucked out by the drain plug then winding up drowning in some sewer but now it seems harmless enough and I cannot imagine how I even entertained such notions.

So allow me to soak myself in the tub and reminisce because going back to where you started is different from never having left, and the only way you can truly appreciate where you have been is to simply go back home and remember.

Everything seems out of place from the arrangement of the sofas in the lounge (the setup feels wrong, the orientation the colours) to the positioning of the beds in the bedrooms (I always had my head to where the sun rose,  because good feng shui to see saw the sun rise first thing when I opened my eyes when I woke up early enough that is) and the windows seem naked without the layers of frilly lace drapes (that I learnt my first lesson about fire and candles. Horrible experience taught me, one must never get too close to lace with a lit candle or look for objects under the bed with a candle for light.)

The rooms seem so much smaller now and there is a blank space where the once were shelves of books (A house without a library *shudders* )

I feel like a giant, I could spread my hands and touch all the walls in places I ran endless circles in, spaces I crawled into to hide from chores or punishment or afternoon meals (they were both a chore and a punishment and one could not watch cartoons on the telly until done with eating and homework)

Even the “great outdoors” that used to be our backyard, the trees are all gone,cut down maybe twas for firewood, maybe uprooted in a storm, maybe the roots threatened the foundation of the house I will never know. The trees are gone, except for the one I once caught my brother cutting up vigorously with his shiny red Swiss Army knife as if in target practise for the some zombie tree apocalypse, he said it was so that if thieves ever broke in and stole it he would recognize it as ours (I was so gullible I bought that story for years and he doesn’t even remember making up that silly story) My brother the cooler older sibling who “kept” a large pet spider and fed it insects he’d catch insects pull their wings or legs off then toss them onto the web and step back and watch….  (He always threatened to feed me to the spider when I snitched on him, as lil brothers are known to do) I wonder what happened to that spider, it really made a tangled mess in the backyard (which reminds me who cleans up all the webs Spiderman throws around??? )

The whole backyard is now a range less than the reach of my stone’s throw (I can throw further now ooops and might have heard a neighbor’s window breaking *tiptoes back into the house*)

Today I took a walk in my old neighborhood.

The dent on the gate is still there from when I went for my first joyride with a “borrowed” red Datsun 120Y (it was also the day I learnt to drive and got into my first high-speed police car chase which I managed to evade Grand Theft Auto style (you know how in learning to swim like pro: for dummies; you are thrown into a shark  infested pond, you either swim or sink and be eaten, well twas sorta like that, drive, drive like you stole it or be busted) with nothing more than a tiny dent  when I turned a little too fast into the driveway. ( I thank whoever invented red nail polish its a life hack for covering up scratches on a red paint job)

My favorite house by the corner at the end of the drive looking picture perfect, manicured green lawn and cosy as I remember it, and yes I still want to live in a house that looks just like that but with Wi-Fi signal and minus the chocolate fountain I am over that I might consider a champagne fountain or beer on tap 🙂

The old playground is still where it used to be (not that I expected it to move or anything) but it’s now broken,  how do you break a playground you ask?

park.jpg

I guess you let drunk teens (at least I hope it was teens and drunk ones too ) hangout there and now it’s filled with bottles, broken bottles, beer bottles, some look like prescription cough syrup bottles and so many used condoms you would think an end of world orgy has been going on here

And every surface and wall is covered with graffiti, badly spelt graffiti, swear words and “was here’ affirmations (I am pretty sure that’s not what they meant when they said leave a mark in the world ) obscene anatomically incorrect stick figures.

Look at me now King of the jungle gym standing on top of it.

jungle

Facing fears

A trip down memory lane and yes I am still afraid of crossing the same train bridge I was afraid of when I was only this high *makes height gestures* but in my defence it is really a scary narrow bridge even now ( there is a sign that warns Danger Narrow Bridge we thought that was the name of the bridge : Danger Narrow) The courage it took for me to run across and pretend to that my heart was not beating in my mouth from fear that I would fall to my death.

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Danger Narrow Bridge

Looking in the mirror and a stranger looks back at me, but in many ways familiar

Visiting my childhood house and a stranger lives here now but yes it still feels familiar and comfortable and yes it feels like home…

Home is where the memories live.

~B

 

#Blogbattle Entry Theme this week is memory lane trip, prompt Bathtub