A mismatched couple

To all the mismatched couples out there.

Those shoes she bought me
They squeezed my feet
That hat she gave me
Didn’t look so neat
Those pants she brought me
They’re way too tight
The shirt she sewed me
It’s much too bright

We’re a mismatched couple
She and I
Yet our romance
We can’t deny

That car I bought her
Broke down in a week
That candy I sent her
Was much too sweet
The rose I brought her
It made her sneeze
The book I read her
A “No thank you please”

We’re a mismatched couple
She and I
Yet our romance
We can’t deny

The house we bought
Fell down on our heads
The garden we planted
Weeds pronounced it dead
The fights we’ve had
Win, draw or loose
But here we are
We’re the one we choose

We’re a mismatched couple
She and I
Yet our romance
We can’t deny

Near 500 words:Elgar

The farm was dying. Elgar knew it. His wife, Beatrice, knew it. His son, Jock, knew it. The question was what to do with it. After all, it had been his great grandfather’s, his grandfather’s, his father’s. For three generations before him, the farm had prospered. Fed the family. Kept them happy. Now he had failed. But not one of his forebears had had to deal with the droughts of the last several years.

Elgar’s feet were rooted in the soil like a tree. Elgar wrestled with the what-to-dos like Jacob wrestling with the angel long ago. To pull up and seek a new life, Beatrice and Jock knew would kill Elgar.

The farm was dying. God had abandoned this land Elgar loved so much. As the other farmers sold out and moved away, Elgar became lonelier and lonelier. When you’re the last of your kind, it’s hard to avoid the isolation, the alienation.

The tall, thin farmer walked his land one last time. As he did, he came upon his father’s old tractor seat, that “seat of power” where Dad ruled his domain. If his father had taught him anything, it was not to dominate the land. But to be its steward. It was still not too late to return to his father’s ethic.

He reached down and took the seat from the tractor, raised it above his head and began to dance. It wasn’t a rain dance. It wasn’t a folk dance. It was the dance of a man who loved his land.

Near 500 words: Bridges

Another bridge. That’s what P C thought. How many bridges was he going to have to cross to get to Ellen’s house? It seemed that the bridges were placed in his way to prevent him from getting to her. But the more bridges there were the more desirous she became. Someone that hard to reach had to be desirable. Very desirable.

He found her on the internet. She posted a profile on a dating site. Her profile wasn’t any thing special. Nothing about her stood out. The face that stared back at him wasn’t beautiful. He liked it because it wasn’t doctored. It was quite ordinary. It said, “Accept me as I am.”

Her resume didn’t show her to be smarter or healthier or more talented. Quite the opposite. She bragged about being a C student. Gabe liked that too. He was a C student as well. He knew that C students had to work harder than the ones for whom everything came easy.

Ellen had an average kind of job. She was a bookkeeper for an auto dealership. Nothing special there, he thought. But it said she knew something about taking care of money. The debits and credits kind of thing mattered to a marriage.

The resume offered up something else. She hadn’t been popular in high school. She wasn’t into athletics or good books or great art or even music. Occasionally she went out dancing. But she admitted she had two left feet and no sense of rhythm. She made the comment, “I am pretty good at faking the steps.” Just an average kind of girl.

Then there was the smile. She had one heck of a smile. So Gabe sent her a post. She answered and mentioned her favorite movie. It was “Gone With the Wind”. That almost ended the relationship. Then he saw her photo again with her smile and her eyes. Though the eyes were gray, they smiled as well.

After a month of back-and-forths, he asked her out. At first, she hesitated, saying she was getting a lot of requests for dates. He persisted. Finally, she gave him a yes, but he was going to have to come by and meet her family.

And now there were these bridges. Well, he was not about to give up just because there were a few obstacles. After all, he had not let an obstacle course prevent him from getting the job. There had been other suitors. But he had beat out all the competition for the job of Prince Charming.

Near 500 words: Personalized Poems

Some will do anything for love. Jay was thinking. What could he do to get Dab’s attention? He had been in love with her since he saw her six months before, coming out of Apartment 12B. He would say, “Hello.” She was always courteous. She said hello back to him, and that was it.

Once he went across the street and stood on his head as she walked out of the building. It started to rain and he was left wet. She laughed, plopped open her umbrella, then went on her way.

Then it hit him. He was pretty darn good at writing poems. At least, that was what his literature teacher said.

He put on his khaki shorts, sneakers and blue t-shirt. He made a large sign out of the cardboard box he had in the corner. On it, he wrote “Personalized Poems” in black marker. He took some cord and tied it to each end of the sign, threw it over his head, adjusted it against his chest, put on his straw hat, grabbed his clip board, placed some nice stationery on it and stepped out into the hallway of his apartment.

Mrs. Claymor saw him. Looked at the sign. “Write me a poem,” she demanded.

“Five bucks,” he said.

“What if I don’t like it?”

“Then you don’t like it.”

“Do it get my money back?”

“Of course,” he said, wanting to get on with things and find Dab.

“Does it rhyme?”

“It might just rhyme. Then again you might not be the kind of person who gets a rhyme. Some of the best poems never rhyme.”

“How long will the poem be?”

He wasn’t sure but five lines came to him. Mrs. Claymor liked that, smiled and handed Jay her five bucks. By the time Jay left the apartment building he had made fifty bucks.

Out on the street, several people stopped him and wanted poems. A woman with her daughter wanted one for the child.

Each poem took about five minutes of writing in his beautiful script. One was about how the woman made the sun smile. Another was the story of coming out of a dark tunnel and the woman provided the light. He wrote a poem for a man who had lost his job. And one for a woman who had just been hired. But still no Dab.

As he was about to head back into his apartment building, Dab approached him. Goosebumps appeared on the back of his neck.

She smiled and said, “Write me a poem.”

Jay had saved his best work for this one moment. He quickly wrote her poem and handed it over to her. She gave him the five bucks.

“No, no,” he lied. “This is my hundredth poem. It’s a free one.” He placed the money back into her hand.

She read the poem and said, “What dribble.” Then she dropped the paper on the sidewalk. She walked away.

At that moment, Jay’s world came crashing down. He stood in the middle of the sidewalk with tears in his eyes, thinking what a fool he was. Why did he think this would impress Dab? He felt like a man suddenly caught with no clothes on. He looked up at the side of the apartment building and saw his apartment window on the twelfth floor. He would be dead by the time he hit the ground.

“Hello,” a voice came from behind him. It was soft and light just like one of his poems.

He turned and a woman was holding his Dab poem in her hand.

“How did you know?” she said.

“Know?”

“Yes, this is—” she stumbled over the words. “This is my poem.”

“It is?”

“And it just made my day.”

“It did?”

She looked at the poem again, then back up at Jay. “I’m Carol. Can I buy you dinner?”

Near 500 words: Happiness, and then some

Clara had such a smile it could wake up the world with its beauty. Especially when she told him, “I love you, Dan.”

Dan had dated a lot of girls. Clara was the first he thought he might want to spend the rest of his life with. Clara and Dan started dating on a blind date. Dan had told his friend, Jill, “Blind dates are the worst.”

Jill insisted.

To show Jill how wrong she was, he gave in. He saw Clara, then his heart went wow. Jill had been right.

Jill had dated a lot of guys. Most of them were duds. She too resisted Jill’s offer of a blind date. Then she saw Dan. The smile appeared on her face.

Dan wasn’t the handsome sort. Kinda skinny with a small nose and the curly hair. He wasn’t what Clara would have thought as Mr. Wonderful.

Clara’s face wasn’t that of a raving beauty. It was kind of plain. But then there were those dimples that came with the smile. And, oh, she warmed Dan’s heart.

That first night they gave each other their life stories and threw in some ancestral heritage to stir the pot. First they did dinner, then walked and walked and walked the city streets, then it started to rain. There under a bridge, Dan kissed Clara and Clara kissed Dan.

Clara was the first to speak. “I never.”

“I never either,” Dan said, just as surprised as Clara. “Could this be?”

“I believe so.”

Of all the nights in his life, this was to be the one Dan remembered the most. The same for Clara.

“What will we tell Jill?” Clara asked, smiling that smile, cradled in Dan’s arms.

Dan’s hand stroked Clara’s hair. “She’ll never let us forget how right she was.”

They laughed. Then they kissed one of those long slow kisses that make time stop. When the kiss was over, Dan asked, “What do you want to do with the rest of your life?”

“Spend it with you,” Clara said.

It wasn’t a big wedding. Quite small with a few friends. Jill got to be the Best Man. That was only right.

Dan and Clara went off on their honeymoon. They went to Spain. As they listened to the gypsies play the flamenco, Dan asked his beloved, “Let’s not go back home?”

“Let’s not.”

Dan wrote an article for National Geographic. Clara drew the pictures. They dropped them into the post and off the package went to the magazine’s offices. A week later, as they left their room in the hotel, a hotel employee hurried up to them. “You have a phone call,” he said.

It was the editor of National Geographic with an offer they could not refuse. She wanted to buy their story, and she wanted more. The magazine would pay them to roam the world, tell their stories, and draw them. It was perfect for Clara and Dan.

Their dream life. They hadn’t talked about it but they thought about it.

Dan called his brother. “Sell the house. Sell everything,” he said.

Then they hit the road. To Toledo, then to Barcelona, then on to Nice. It was in Nice that Clara found out she was pregnant.

“We’ll take a break,” Dan said. “We’ll be Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda.”

“Oh, no. Not those two. We’re not going to drown our joy in booze.”

Then all the happiness came tumbling down on them. Clara had a miscarriage. Clara cried for a week, and so did Dan. Suddenly their smiles disappeared. Finally, Dan asked, “What are we going to do?”

“We’re going to go on,” Clara said, not sure what she meant but knowing that was the only answer there was.

Holding hands, they looked out from the balcony at the sea. They both knew that the paradise was over. It was time to pay the piper. They also knew that, no matter what, they would pay the big fellow together. It did not bring back the smiles but, at least, it gave them hope as they watched the sunrise over the sea.