Near 500 words: TW and the Existential Threat

Episode 19 of The Writer.

TW (aka The Writer) wasn’t sure why he had said, “Soon.” The word just tossed itself out of his mouth as TW stood beside Cat’s graveside. As he carried his shovel, his lantern and his Bible back to the house, he wondered about what Cat would think of the word. Surely she would have something to say about it. She always had something to say. And it would have been brief. Though the words came out in meows, TW always had the drift of her comments. It was almost as if they could read each other’s mind.

He sat the shovel and the lantern inside the shed and headed inside the house. The clock on the stove said one a.m. Sitting the Bible on the kitchen table, he grabbed a bottle of water from the refrigerator. His eyes hit upon Cat’s food and water bowls. He should have placed them beside her in the grave.

Then he dropped into a chair in the living room, facing the TV. He let the TV be and closed his eyes to listen to the quiet and clear his head from the discombobulation of the day’s events.

He had gone to work early, then seen the director. The director had given him a year’s sabbatical beginning that afternoon. He went over to H.R., filled out the paperwork, then came home. The door was unlocked. He heard a meowing at the door. It was Cat. She was bleeding. He rushed her to the veterinarian hospital. Helen had been the vet on duty. She had gently let him know that Cat was…dead.

It was ten p.m.when he made it home. He buried Cat. And now here he sat in the living room in the dark.

The curtains to the front window were parted. As if in a dream, he saw Cat lying on the back of the couch, looking out at the half lit street. Her tail was moving like a windshield wiper. Her focus was amazing. She’d lay there for two, three hours at a time, looking. He’d lay his head next to her, trying to see what she was staring at.

His eyes moved around the thinly lit room. Everything reminded him of Cat. Her toys. The scratch board. The wadded up paper he threw at her and she kicked back at him, like the two playing soccer.

Then the loneliness hit him. His only friends, other than Cat, were his colleagues at work and a few of the faculty. And he wouldn’t have them now that he was on a sabbatical. He had never been someone who needed or wanted a lot of friends. He’d fallen in love with the idea of the writer as a solitary creature.

An idea came to him. He would write Cat’s biography. He had dozens of pictures. He was good enough of a writer to make it a book people would want to read. People would discover the person he’d spent his last eight years with.

The next thing he knew the doorbell was ringing.

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Near 500 words: TW’s Search For His Novel

Episode 5 of The Writer.

Sunday morning, post-Cat-feeding and post-breakfast, TW (aka The Writer) was back at his computer. With Cat snuggled on his feet, he looked at the last thing he had written the night before.

“This is the first chapter. And there will be a lot more from where that came from. Monkey looked at Shark and fired his gun. The bullet hit its target, Shark’s heart.”

“Who is this Monkey? Who is this Shark?” he asked himself out loud. He didn’t have a clue. Then he decided that this would not do. There was no inspiration, no Muse in it. It was just a bunch of dead words on the page the way that Shark was dead.

And Sylvia would know it.

Where did that come from? It had been a month of Sundays since he had thought about Sylvia. She had been gone for twenty-three years and now he caught himself thinking about her. Was she his Muse? Was she the one who would show him the way to write a novel? The last he had heard from her was a letter some five years ago. She was living some place in the Himalayas. Some place called an ashram. And the people there had proclaimed her a guru.

Imagine that. Sylvia once upon time was an atheist. Now the folks were saying she was some kind of saint or some such. Her letter had said that the locals thought of her as the incarnation of a goddess.

If she was a goddess, why couldn’t she help him with his novel? That wasn’t much to ask.

He erased the words from the previous day. Then he leaned back in his chair and ran his hand over his bald head. He looked down at Cat. She stared up at him with those eyes of hers. Eyes that told him how smart she was and how caring. “Yep, still no hair,” he said to the big green eyes.

Maybe I’d better get a cup of coffee.

Nope, not going to do it. I have to earn it. I have to write that first paragraph. Otherwise I will sit here all day and bore myself to death. Didn’t that sound like fun?

He looked out his window into the back yard. It was a nice day. Maybe he should go for a walk.

Nope, not going to do it.

He looked over at his bookshelf. He reached over and pulled a volume off the shelf. Without searching, he opened the book to a page. He perused the page and it hit him. He knew just what he should write. He slid the book back into place and turned to his computer and began to type.

It was the week after Mrs. Dish ran away with Mr. Spoon. All because of the Cat and the Fiddle. They had introduced the two at a company picnic. On top of that, Cat had jumped over the moon.

TW stopped there and looked down at Cat. “You think you could jump over the moon?”

Cat didn’t move. She purred away in her sleep. TW thought she was far away in some sort of cat dream world.

Through his window came a chirping sound. He turned to see a robin just outside of his window. “Sylvia?”

Near 500 words: Ancestors

The woman in the door of the wooden hut stood before Rufus. Her dark hair and her brown eyes were full of life though her life was hard.

Her focus reminded Rufus of the last time he saw his father. It was late at night and the old man sat at his desk, studying a photograph of his father who had been gone some thirty years. There was a light in the old man’s eyes. It wasn’t the light from the table lamp. It was another kind of light. It was the light of memory.

Or was it more? Was it the light of someone who has experienced some piece of the divine in his life? Rufus’ father never spoke of his father.

“Can I have some water?” Rufus asked the woman in the doorway.

The woman smiled. Instead of water, she invited him inside her one-room house. A house that was spotlessly clean. In the corner was an altar to some god or other. He didn’t ask since he knew it would be as rude as asking his father about his grandfather. She brought him a cup of tea and offered him a seat on one of the three wooden chairs.

Rufus took out his camera and pointed to it. “Can I take your photograph?”

The woman blushed, then shook her head yes.

Rufus pointed and snapped several pictures. Then he finished his tea. He thanked her for her hospitality.

It was a brief encounter but not as brief as the night he saw his father studying the photograph of his father.

As he walked up the path away from the woman’s house, he missed his father and his grandfather. Perhaps in another life. Perhaps.

This Old House

A ceiling above my head
The floor beneath my feet
Four walls around me
This old house moans and squeaks

Shadows paint the walls
Summers and ice cream days
Autumn leaves and Christmas trees
And all love says and doesn’t say

Thanksgivings come and go
Like suns into the sunset
And Christmas Eves too
Pass me much too quick

Standing in this room of mine
A witness of a former self
A ghost who has memories
Of love that is love and so much else

These my memories run
Through my heart like a river
Laughing, dancing and singing
Carrying me into forever

micropoem for the day: joy

I was thinking last night about what heaven must be like. Perhaps it is the accumulation of all the moments I have felt joy. The moment I stuck my head out of my momma and announced to the world, in no uncertain terms, “I’m here.” The moment my mother put me in a swing and pushed and went, “Whee.” The moment I went bike riding with a best friend. The moment we sat on the floor, ate popcorn, and watched “Godzilla”. The moment I read my poem to my class and they applauded. These are just a few, and there are so many.

jump into the air
touch the sky
float back to earth