100 Words is a website where you sign up to write 100 words a day - exactly 100 words, no more and no less.
I failed miserably.
I wrote 100 words a day for 12 days and then I got backed up, bogged down – work, kids, other writing, laundry, dishes, feeding the animals (I currently have 3 piggies, 2 boys, and a dog) – Arrgghhhhh!
It was challenging writing in such a restricted form; seeing what you can come up with, see if you can keep the thoughts in some kind of sensible form. The problem is I seem to always start and never finish. (See my previous blog post Friday, April 18th – Continuation of a Short Story); an idea that has not reached maturation either.
So I need your opinion. Please make a comment; good, bad or ugly I would really like your opinion on both pieces. Is this something I should continue, or should I give up the ghost and move along?
The note said, “If you can’t love me enough to let me be me without cursing my ways, just let me go. This is who I am. You can’t change me.”
The paper it was written on had been opened and closed so often that it was soft as buttery lambskin, the edges indistinct, the writing beginning to blur.
He folded it once again and placed it carefully under the torn lining of his wallet. The wallet he slipped back into the pocket of his jeans.
“Mitch?” his wife’s voice drifted across the yard. He rose slowly from the picnic table.
All under control, dear,” lifting the lid of the grill he turned the control knobs to high and hit the starter.
Two clicks and propane flames licked the edge of the burner. It burned blue close to the element that released the gas, yellow as the flame licked at the air. Just like always, two clicks of the button and the flame burst forth.
Staring at the flames, her laughter, lilting, musical, floated on the air. Just the thought of her ignited a burning in his stomach and spread toward his balls. Just thinking about her did that to him.
He knew her smile, her laugh, could start a fire in most men. It made them do stupid things. It made them crazy. It made him crazy, he’d really loved her. She’d said she loved him, then wanted to leave; was that love, was it?
Mitch grabbed the thick, red sirloin and slapped it down on the hot rack. It sizzled, spit, protesting as the flames reached hungrily higher and hotter searing the flesh; just like she had sizzled, her flesh burning, her smile melting away.
Nausea boiled in his belly. He closed his eyes against the world swirling by.
He hurried around the corner thinking of the morning’s first hot cup of Joe, of glancing through the New Milford Times as he sipped that coffee at the counter, of picking up Molly’s watch from the jewelers when he finished with all that.
As he rushed along headfirst, looking down at his feet instead of where he was going, he almost knocked her down.
“Well, hello handsome,” she said as she giggled that luscious giggle of hers. “Why are you in such a rush?”
He stared drop jawed like a smitten schoolboy.
“Well, I, umm, getting coffee, yeah, umm, coffee.”
“I drink tea and I could really use a cup. Mind if I join you?”
She locked arms with him, looking up expectantly. Mitch stood frozen; his brain wasn’t working in any kind of cognizant way. He stuttered, he fumbled, all senses grasping at her freshness, her smile, flashing white; her laugh, girlish and magnetic.
“I, you aren’t from around here are you?”
Mitch moved forward desperate to recover his senses, a feeble-minded school boy he was not; reaching up to touch her hand resting so lightly on his arm, a warning flash, the morning sun on his wedding band.
As the light caught his eye Molly’s brunette bob and freckled face flashed in his mind.
“I’m on the run, as you noticed,” he laughed lamely. He moved forward disconnecting his elbow from her hand with little to no finesse at all.
Laughing in return as she kept step alongside him, “I‘ll just walk with you then.”
“Weren’t you headed in the other direction?”
“Like you said, I’m new around here, so I have an excuse for going in the wrong direction. I could really use a cup of tea. My name’s Grace by the way.”
“Well, Grace, I’m Mitch.”
Molly stared out the kitchen window at Mitch lighting the grill. She washed and slowly dried her hands, a light breeze gently stirring the curtains. Her mouth pursed, wrinkles formed between her eyes as she lost herself in thought. Mitch had been acting so different lately. Not like himself at all.
They had known each other since grammar school. What Molly had always loved about Mitch was his steadiness, his dependability. Lately he had been scattered, unreliable, unavailable; just recently she and Mrs. Johnson had to wait outside the Public Library for 45 minutes. He said he’d forgotten; how odd.
The hours he’d been keeping lately were very sporadic. She used to be able to set her watch by his comings and goings, but now? True, he had gotten much busier at work since he’d taken on a new client, the Aspinwalls. Mitch had complained several times that whenever he completed an architectural draft as requested they came back with numerous changes.
Molly sighed. Blowing a wisp of brown hair from her face she turned from the sink to the butcher block. Picking up the knife she absentmindedly began chopping cabbage. The Rhineharts would arrive soon for their afternoon picnic.
She was glad Sally and Charlie would be joining them. The Rhineharts and the Wildes had been close for years now. Charlie, Mitch and Grace had all grown up together. There had been an uncomfortable time for a bit in high school; a love triangle thing, kinda. It had been complicated and confusing, until Grace remembered what she’d always known; she would marry Mitch. He had kissed her in kindergarten under the big oak tree and told her it would be so. Looking into his blue eyes, calm as the sky on a hot August day, she never doubted him.
Charlie had gone on to attend agricultural college in the Midwest. Mitch had headed to the city to obtain his design degree. He had always loved to imagine, to draw, to build. A career as an architect had seemed as inevitable for him, as farming was for Charlie.
For as long as they all could remember Charlie had dug in the earth, driven tractors, milked the cows, baled hay. His family had been farming for generations; it was a lifestyle Charlie embraced.
While they were growing up, Westchester County folk were slowly and steadily creeping toward their quiet country town.
As if overnight old dairy barns were torn down. Large swaths of pasture were cordoned off into postage stamp sized lots; the same little house in different colors grew up as if replacing the cows.
Charlie had always wanted to save the working farms, and each time another family folded under the pressure and cashed in their land, their inheritance, well it was so sad.
At least when that did happen Mitch spun them into what they all jokingly referred to as “new fangled old homes”; he tried to cultivate clients who at least loved the idea of a farm.
Molly worked steadily in the kitchen moving from sink to refrigerator to the counter, chopping vegetables, molding hamburger patties, folding mayonnaise into the potato salad. Stopping at the sink she gazed out at her husband sullenly drinking a beer at the picnic table staring into the flames from the grill.
“Patience, patience; I need to just wait. He’ll tell me what’s going on when he ready. Just wait, just wait, just wait.”
She’d been repeating this over and over in her head for weeks, a silent prayer, a daily mantra, reminding herself of the faith she had in her husband.