Holding On

Standard

a night window

HOLDING ON

by Stuart Nager©

 

 

“Wendy. Close the window. It is freezing in here.”

John was flat on his back, under his sheets and quilt. He had his right arm draped over his eyes. Truth be told, it was his nightshirt that did the draping. John’s arm was across his brow. He had to remind himself to relax, for he was leaving an indent in the lower forehead.

Wendy sat on the padded window bench; knees tucked up tight against her chest. Her arms encircled her legs. The window was ajar, allowing the night winds free entry into the bedroom. Wendy searched the clouds, looking. Praying. Hoping.

The wind whipped up, bursting past the lead paned glass. It sends Wendy’s nightshirt fluttering. Her shoulders lifted, her immaculate posture in place. Wendy tilted her head just so. She knew what he liked.

As did she.

“Arrrrrr, matey!” John used his pirate voice, doing his best to make her laugh. Wendy did not laugh nor smile. Jumping out of bed, John had to untangle himself from the bedsheets. All of the bed coverings wound up on the floor.

“Wendy, it is freezing in here. Shut the window, please.” He looked over at Michael, deep in slumber. His consistent snoring was the proof he was asleep. He could never duplicate that sound when he was faking to stay in bed. Mother saw right through him.

Wendy shushed him.

“You know he won’t wake up. He’s dead to the world right now.”

She shushed him again. John grabbed his quilt from the floor, whipping it over his head and onto his shoulders. So encased, John approached his sister. Wendy was still eyeing the night sky.

John plopped down on the other side of the bench, pulling the blanket even tighter around him. Just as his teeth started to chatter, he realized Wendy was only in her night clothing. Reversing the quilt, he laid one end over his sister.

“Thank you, John,” she whispered, far away from the room. John followed where she was looking. She’d change an angle; he would mirror it. “Darling bookends,” Liza would say if the housemaid was in the room. He smiled at that thought. Wendy noticed him as his smile slowly crept back inside him.

“Wendy. He’s not coming back. He isn’t. Shh. Please hear me out. We’ve had this…this…talk far too often. Fourteen months have passed. No pirates. No Indians. No Tink. No Pe…”

Reaching over, Wendy placed the four fingers of her left hand gently over his mouth.

“Enough, John. Please. I know. I still hope. I still have hope. Every blessed night I have hope. It just,” Wendy stopped, turning her head back to gazing the now unclouded sparkling heavens. “It just hurts, John.”

He nodded his head. What was left to say? They had had this conversation far too many times. It always ended in tears. There were many nights where John tried his best to distract her. The successful evenings were spent making up stories of what battle or mischief he would be embroiled in, smack in the center of it all. She’d laugh at many of his tales. The more outlandish he made them, the more Wendy relaxed. And she’d stop looking out the window.

The less beneficial nights would come, ones where John felt powerless. Wendy, questioning, always the same. “Why doesn’t he return?” John knew there were two unspoken words to that query: “For her.”

Wendy did turn her head back to John. “No stories tonight, please. My insides are so knotted, so heavy. Not tonight, dear John. Not tonight.”

He nodded his head, and the two sat quietly by the window. No one spoke. Michael snored. They both yawned, Wendy insisting John started it. John, naturally, accused Wendy.

“We better get to bed. I don’t wish Mother to be cross with us in the morning.” She stood up, patting her nightwear down into a proper shape. John noticed Wendy’s hesitation before she reached over and closed the window. The sound of the latch fitting in place brought a feathery gasp from her lips. Her arms, as always, crossed over her heart.

John returned to bed. He tossed all the linen quilt back on the bed, diving under it all for warmth. John’s face was warm. He felt an unpleasant tightening in his chest. He should have hugged her, said he’ll always be there for her, that she was the best sister anyone ever had. John only said: “Good night, Wendy,” as she closed the door, tiptoeing down the hallway to her room.

As Wendy made it to her bed, her thoughts swallowed her whole. She thought of the unfairness of growing up. How much Wendy wanted to share the same bedroom with her brothers again. How much she wished she had stayed and not returned home. All swept away by the burning question she held tight: “Why hasn’t Peter returned for me?”

It was just over a month that Wendy overheard “The” conversation. Wendy, supposedly in bed, was walking by Mother’s bedroom. The door was partially open. Peeking in, Mother was sitting at her vanity, Liza behind her, counting out the number of times she ran the brush through Mother’s hair.

Wendy was not pleased that Mother was now calling her “a proper young lady.” She had experienced her first flow, a most embarrassing event. Her bones were achy almost all the time. She started maturing. Wendy’s new clothing, the changes in her body, all of it left her feeling embarrassed and humiliated. Wendy’s deep sadness permeated throughout her.

She knew why Peter did not come for her.

Why he would not come for her, ever again.

Wendy wished she had never eavesdropped.

“100,” Lisa stated, putting the hairbrush down on the table. “Miss Wendy is starting to fill out, mum. She’ll be as beautiful as you. Not that she isn’t a pretty young thing now.”

Mother was silent, staring into the mirror. Wendy was sure Mother would not answer Liza. Just as she began to walk away, Wendy heard Mother say, “I know it is the right thing to do, Liza. It is time that Wendy a room to herself. She is blossoming. It is time for her to grow into being a proper young lady. But.” Mother left that word dangling on its own.

“Yes, but,” Liza agreed. “It will be for the best.”

Mother nodded. “I do pray that this will ease the burden she carries. Wendy needs to let this fantastical story of flying, pirates, faeries…” Mother sighed. “She needs to let it go.”

Wendy moved away from the door.

The next day Wendy was given her room. She sulked alone for the next two days, only leaving her confines for meals that she picked at. The third night, though, she had had enough.

Wendy immediately ran to the bedroom she had shared with her brothers. She threw the door wide open. Her feet glided across the nursery floor until she got up on the window. Kneeling, Wendy opened the windows. She crept to the window frame, her eyes fixated on the dark, laden clouds above. No stars were visible.  Rain, though: rain fell ferociously. Wendy became a soaking wet sponge instantly. She kneeled on the pane for a long while.

A noise coming from the doorway startled Wendy out of her fugue. Wendy slightly turned and saw Liza standing in the hallway.

“Wendy Darling,” Liza trumpeted. She stamped her feet as she approached the window seat, not thinking of the boys at all. Upon arrival, Liza shooed Wendy to move away.  “Young lady, what has gotten into you? You were not in your room. I knew you would be here. You, young lady, are heading straight to your room: a hot bath and fresh nightshirt. Go on. I’ll be right behind you.”

Wendy, shivering, glanced at her brothers, warmly tucked in. She smiled although her heart was shattering.

When she heard the latch fall into place, she sat on the floor and cried.

 

 

64

Standard

 

 

 

When I’m Sixty Four (Remastered 2009) · The Beatles

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

℗ 2009 Calderstone Productions Limited (a division of Universal Music Group)

Released on: 1967-06-01

Producer: George Martin
Composer Lyricist: John Lennon
Composer Lyricist: Paul McCartney

City Song, My

Standard
pexels-photo-1470405


Fuck the city

Overblown, hyperactive concrete and stone

Greasy street food; greasier people

Racing around, step on or over

Searching for the bright lights

Eclipsed by the shadows




To hell with the city

Nearly everyone’s oppressed

In some misguided way

Bend your neck, never knees,

As the fight to make it

Truth ends in buckets of the kill.




Screw the city

As it screws with you

Power, status, held in slimy claws

There’s heartache in the streets

Trod upon with running shoes.

You deserve what you get




Obliterate the city

Turn off the lights

You can’t see the stars shine

Blinded eyes obfuscate

Nothing to see here; move along

Dwindle yourself; something is wrong.




Fuck the city

Obsessiveness and greed

Hatred and fear

Isolated in ignorance

Shriek your outrage

Bellow your unscripted song.

 

Promises of People

Standard

Darksit

Do I think living is a waste of time?

Depending on the day, I usually do

What stays with me in a world of No’s

Doesn’t make the future really glow. 

 

There’s sadness on a constant basis

There is no day that I don’t hurt

Even isolated from the isolated

The noises outside breaks into the room

 

Look at all you’ve got to live for

Imagine all the people who’d hurt

It is easy to get so distracted

By promises of people who say

 

Each day there’s awakening

Going through routines

Then you fall into that circle

Of repeating the same old things

 

What makes joy bleed away?

Why does nothing stick

Push away the best you can

But the pain is always there

The pain is always here

 

Look at all you’ve got to live for

Imagine all the people who’d hurt

It is easy to get so distracted

By promises of people who say

 

By the emotions they express

Or hide away in their own ways

When reaching out is near impossible

When no one wants to cope with you

 

So, scream your essence to pieces

Locked in your muddy head

Stop playing that you want to go on

I’m fine, I’m fine, fine.

 

Look at all you’ve got to live for

Imagine all the people who’d hurt

It is easy to get so distracted

By promises of people who say

 

I’m tired

I’m so tired

I wish I wasn’t here

Why am I wasting time?

 

Sonnet: For

Standard

Arm Around Shoulder Clipart

It suits you, the radiance that you glow

More comfortable in being alive

Overcoming hurdles released in rows

Each day will move surpassed helping you to grow.

 

Each year, every passing one you may dread

Detach those thoughts! Appreciate your self

For who you are; soul has been lifted, fed

Love blooms all around; take into thyself.

 

Yet, the mind does a terrible misdeed

Challenges of past can still rule your head

Doubt comes charging, inside the heart does bleed

Fighting inner wars, fears you may concede.

 

Gladly forward, face every single day

Strength you have always had will lead the way.

Screeching Fury

Standard

campfire

(Credit: Pavelk/Shutterstock)

Screeching Fury

 

Everything is darkness.

Raging fires, flaring high above our heads

Distant light snuffed out by the night.

Wounds never heal; we ooze out of ourselves

Stuffing gauze pads, cover with bandages

Not closing, not lessening, never clotting

Infectious nature saturate places uncrossed

There is beauty in moments

When the glare inside is strong

But it fades, it fades

As more darkness surrounds.

 

For some, existence changes

Opening senses, letting them coexist

Abstract perceiving demands explanations

Or relief.

What should and what should not be

Or, hide from it all

Behind flickering words

On flickering screens

On flickering pen on paper

Being part, while apart

Everything is darkness.

Still, for some

Brightness endures.

 

 

 

Sonnet: With You

Standard

SONNET: WITH YOU

Sleeping woman

Sir Frederic Leighton Flaming, June 1895
My hope for you is restful sleep tonight
Your curls I moved; gazing upon beauty
My wish is for your dreams, wild with delight
Watching o’er your rest, my loving duty.

Curtains blow in; a cool summer night’s air
Eyes closed, lips pursed, a notion of a purr
Lying beside you, this comfort we share
I kiss at your neck’s nape; you barely stir

But, how would you sleep if I blew away?
No longer in your life, would nightmares sing?
Could emptiness consume; so love decay?
Tears would worry angels.  A bitter sting.

My heart is yours always; our love aligned
In sleep you take my hand, fingers entwined.

*************************************************************************************

What makes this a Sonnet?

I am using the traditional English pattern/Shakespeare’s sonnet sequencing. 14 lines. Three quatrains followed by a couplet. Ten syllables on each line. The rhyme scheme is abab cdcd efef gg. There are other variations: the first and second quatrain, joining the two into an eight-line stanza(the octave), in eight-syllable lines. The third quatrain and the couplet together are a sestet, with only six syllables used per line. I prefer the Shakespearean or Elizabethan style.  The first two stanzas are the setup. The third stanza presents a possible conflict or hurdle to overcome. The couplet resolves the tone of the first two quatrains. Or they may not. A poet purist will see it only set up that way. Other “dabblers” have the artistic choice.

Just write.

What It Is

Standard

the-vanishing-time-sandy-wijaya

Crumbled mass of memories

Beating to remain

Drift away in pieces

Day by week

Week by month

Our chorus has refrained.

 

Let the days go by

Time is translucent

Affixed by artificial means

Seconds are meaningless

Hours, years, what do they share?

Try to keep track of this dark despair.

 

Say: “It’ll be over soon. We’ll return to normal.”

Hope that’s true, but, it’s written in the wind

Carved deep by our wants

Fashioned by others invested greed

It’ll all be over soon.

Hah! Don’t hold your breath.

 

Don’t cross my boundaries

While I obliterate yours

My space is limitless

Go back to other shores

I am eternally right

You know you’re always wrong.

 

Don’t come closer

Don’t you fucking dare.

Hide behind a wall of hate

Imagine I don’t give a shit

This world is for the taking

One breath will never come.

 

History becomes what we think

Nothing learned; ours to repeat

Our earth creeks and shakes

As it senses and retaliates

In the beginning, one

So at the end. None.

 

Crumbled mass of what we were

Bleeding to remain

Feeling wasted, dried to dust

Yet we wait behind closed doors

Time isn’t after us

Nothing is holding us.

 

**Apologies and credit to The Talking Heads.

 

The Party Took A Turn

Standard

dc766097-6818-4f51-ac8f-d4f1bfcdc07a

The party took a turn when I was in the shower. Steam clouded the entire bathroom. I was waiting. It was taking its time tonight. A heavy thumping on the door makes me jump every time. Three times: THUMP pause THUMP pause THUMP! Silence. I thought it wouldn’t happen tonight. I was wrong. My eyes jerked to the curtain with the first THUMP. The second THUMP and my stomach falls to my ankles. My heart skips a beat while my testicles disappear with the third THUMP. The sound of the water beating down drowned out. Rain without sound. That rain was now scalding my skin. That damn noise!

Again.

It always takes a few moments for my breathing to get close to normal. I took hold of the shower curtain, hoping to catch a glimpse of the noisemaker. On the other hand, I wished I never caught that glimpse. No matter what, this had to stop, especially tonight. I peeked.

Like every time before, nothing was out of place. The Medicine cabinet was in one piece, its mirror fogged over but whole. Same with the pictures on the walls. Nothing had exploded out of the toilet, to my relief. I pulled on the towel rack. The best epoxy mortar firmly held it tight. Nothing was out of place. Again.

I’d had enough. Too many nights to count. Way too much fear.

On the balls of my feet, I inched over to the door, only to fling it open with an “AHA!” like I’ve done every night it’s happened.  This night there was something beyond the door, in the hallway. My yell turned into a combo “AhaaaaAhhhhhOoooo,” ending with a yelp. Jan and Patty were just outside in the tight corridor. Jan had one hand over her mouth with the other pointing at my, ahem, sacred space. Of course, she was laughing. Patty’s hand flew to her heart, at first. Then the grin slowly built up her wattage. They were both laughing tears together by this point. Patty tried to bring Jan’s pointer finger hand down, but that brought the two of them to extreme giggling.

“We need the bathroom, Davey.” Jan knew I hated that. David. I’m David.

“Um..uh…,” Patty started. “Everyone is waiting for you. You know. Downstairs. It’s your…” and then she cut off with fire rising in her cheeks that spread to the rest of her face. She was still looking. I hadn’t done anything to cover myself or hide. Hiding was always a good option.

“It’s your frigging Birthday, you nimnut.” She pointed at David’s descending pair. “Make that nimnuts.” Jan’s smile combined a shit-eating grin with that of the cat that got the canary. I started to yell at her. Mid rant, she clutched my arm, pulling me out of the bathroom. The click bounced in the hallway as Jan locked the door behind her.

Patty stood there, admiring the newly waxed parquet floors. Water was dripping off of me. I sighed. Patty giggled. I had to sidle past her. I was sucking my gut in, squeezing past Patty. As I made it to my bedroom, I heard Patty’s giggle morph into a heavy sigh as I closed the bedroom door. I think she wanted me to hear that.

Drying myself was pretty much-taken care of by then. I threw on my clothes, gelled my hair, and opened my door. I left the room, expecting to see Patty still in place outside of the bathroom.

Nope. Jan. Of course, she noticed my instant let down hound dog look. I thought I was quick to control it, but again, nope. Jan knew me too well, growing up together, one year apart. My sister was a royal pain most of the time; tonight, she wanted to be one.

“Aw, Davey, little Patty’s gone for a tinkle. Or she’s hiding. Probably both.” Jan leaned in close. “Psst…Patty knows you like her.”

“What are we? Twelve?” I shouldn’t have answered her. I should know better by now.

I don’t.

“Davey wants to kiss Patty. Davey wants to…”

I lightly stamped on her foot. I moved back out of reach.

“YOU SHIT!” was loud enough to quell some of the noise from downstairs. Jan took the stairs with an “ouch ouch” here and an “ouch ouch” there. I could tell she made it in one piece. Everyone yelled, “Jan’s back!” The noise from the party ratcheted up.

The bathroom door unlocked. Patty joined me in the hall, closing the door behind her. I noticed the shower was off. One of them had to have done that because I forgot to.

Patty looked at me, her cheeks still pink.

“David, I’m sorry. We shouldn’t have…”

“It’s over, Pat. Let it die. Jan is Jan. You know that as well as me.”

Suddenly, three heavy thumps pounded on the other side of the bathroom door.

THUMP pause THUMP pause THUMP!!

The doorknob began to turn.

 

 

The Essence Of

Standard

Texting Block

Prompt: Write an Essential Character Trait: Put your thoughts in the comments: what are their essential character traits?

The Essence Of

 

Steve wanted to text Beth immediately after their first date. He sat in his car, going over every detail. Her long red hair. Beth’s yellow summer dress. The way her green eyes drew him in, peeking just above the mandatory face mask. Beth’s figure under that dress. The almost kiss. Sue’s coyness in blocking that.

“The virus,” she mentioned. Beth had gently pushed his hands down after he “accidentally” brushed her breasts. God, those breasts were on repeat in his mind at this point. He had been idling for a long time.

At full pitch arousal, Steve started his Volvo to head home. He had hummed for the entire seventy-two minutes on his drive home. Steve caught a glimpse of his face in the rearview mirror: the gleam from his pre-date dental routine made him grin that much more extensively. Killer smile he thought to his reflection.

Arriving home, Steve glided over the street to his front door. He slid the house key into the lock cylinder in a slow-motion movie style. Engaged, the turn of the key felt good. Very good.

Closing the door, Steve kicked off his Clark’s Oxfords. Unwinding the Paul Smith tie from his neck, Steve felt released. Off came the North & Mark Union blazer. He tossed both on the seat of the hallway chair. His delighted smile followed him as he slid Tom Cruise like across the polished floor.

Plopping on the couch, Steve pulled out his cell, checking the time. His mind was somersaulting. No text or voice mail from Beth. He waffled between texting now or later. Taking a deep breath in, Steve released the air as he thought: Just under two hours. Now’s good.  Yeah, that’s enough space.

Steve texted Beth. What a great time he had. How wonderful she is. Praised her eyes, hair, style. How much he couldn’t wait for their second date. Steve made sure they had concrete plans for a second date before Beth left. Date, time, and place: all secured. He finished the text with a repeat:

“I had a great time with you today. Getting to know you, to see you. I can’t wait for our first kiss.”

That got sent. Immediately followed by:

“See you next Sunday. 4:00 pm. I’m glad you liked the restaurant I chose. Food is great.”

Sent.

Followed by:

“You’re great. Wonderfully great. I’m over the moon that we hooked up.”

Steve sat on the couch, staring at his phone. His breathing went shallow while his left hand quivered. The day moved on; Steve did not. He had no idea why she hadn’t texted back. Beth always texted back within fifteen minutes or less as they did the dating dance. Tinder, of all places. Steve shook his head, the first external movement he controlled in the four hours, thirty-two minutes, and 29 seconds since he sent the last text.

A ding from the phone awakened his body. Beth texted! Steve began davening on the couch. His prayers; heard and answered. He opened the text.

“Hi, Steve. Yes, it was nice meeting you. Have a good night.”

Steve levitated off the couch and into the kitchen. He filled a glass of orange juice, topping it off with Vodka. Then another. He was giddy. Beth said that it was nice to meet him. She wished him a good night. Two more vodkas and OJ turned giddy into sloppy.

In the morning, Steve found himself on the kitchen floor. The cell phone still in his hand.

Before he got up from the floor, he texted Beth.