Tag Archives: Divorce

Ashes

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Even after reading about all the possible side effects, Jean wore her mother around her neck daily. Others complimented her on her memorial diamond pendant, with many commenting about it afterwards, not all in a favorable light. Compressed into a stunning jewel, strung and embraced in an array of silver filigree,  the late Mrs. Deidre Ann Cabochon glared from her daughter’s chest.

Cremated only a month previously, the ashes were mixed with snippets of her hair, and all was distilled to the carbon left behind. These were sent into a press, to duplicate the forces of nature. Extreme heat, 1,000,000 p.s.i., and time…and from the passing of the deceased came a new jeweled existence.

Or so Jean thought, even though the price was high on many levels.

Her husband, Paul, disagreed to the cost, both financially and emotionally. He was never fond of Deidre, a woman he found narcissistic and shrewish, and if he had been honest with anyone he would have loudly pronounced how glad he was that his mother-in-law was dead. Paul saw how Jean suffered during her mother’s long lingering illness, how she put “that woman!” on a pedestal, even while being ordered about and verbally demeaned at every turn. Jean just turned the other cheek, said it was the woman who gave her birth and raised her, and that was that.

Paul moved out the day after the jewel was delivered.

When she got the package, Jean cried as she opened it, and cried as she held it out to examine it. Jean asked Paul to attach the clasp for her. He went behind her as she moved her hair aside and did as she asked. There was a soft “snkt” sound; Jean let her hair down and turned around to give Paul a hug. She held him, lowering her head onto his right shoulder, pressing her body against his, tears leaking down, which he felt through his shirt.

Paul also felt the diamond pendant digging into his chest. Uncomfortable as that was, he felt…more. There was something emanating, a negative grasping, and it hurt on a much deeper level then the prick of the necklace pressed against him. Pushing away was hard but Paul moved a few feet backwards, seeing the pain in Jean’s face but he found himself unable to answer her question of what was wrong.

She needed comforting the rest of the day, and each time Paul’s horrible feeling deepened. He felt lethargic, and depressive thoughts flayed him, making deeper cuts as the day progressed. By the time they went to bed-Jean still wearing “her mother”-Paul was ready to slash his wrists. In her sleep Jean rolled over to the edge of the bed, as Paul, awake, did rolled to the opposite side. There was a lessening in his chest, and things felt calmer as he went to the bathroom (down the hallway), and still when he went downstairs to the kitchen for a cold drink.

Sitting at the kitchen table until dawn, Paul went back upstairs. Each step was agony, and when he got to their bedroom door, he knew. Grabbing his clothes, he woke Jean up.

“Get rid of that necklace, Jean. Let her go, or I will…”

“You’ll what?” she said, belligerently, rubbing her eyes, up on one elbow.

“I’ll leave. That thing…something is wrong with it.”

An argument ensued, words were said, many that could not be taken back or apologized for, many that Paul had heard from Deidre’s mouth only months before. Jean came towards him in fury and tears; Paul bolted with his clothes, changing in the car before running away.

Jean grieved doubly now. She started to lose interest in eating, slept poorly, wandered aimlessly, and while all around her said she was in the grips of depression, none would say so to her face. She would talk about her mother in one breath and be scathing in ridicule in the next, tearing apart friends, family, and co-workers alike with a viciousness that was “not like her” (or so they said).

Hollow eyed, sallow skinned, Jean played with the jewel almost constantly. She shortened the chain the one time she removed it, making it a choker, in so many ways. Her belligerence became so brutal that she was told to leave her job, that she was creating an unhealthy work environment. She spat in her bosses coffee when she got up to leave, gave her the finger, and slammed the door on her way out.

Jean sat in the dark, in her living room, gripping the arm rests of the chair she had inherited from her mother. She contemplated many things, but they were about the others, what they had done to her, nothing was her fault, and why were they all crazy? She had bought a 1.4 litre of Irish Creme, Deidre’s favorite, and killed it in one sitting. Feeling queasy, Jean left the house to get some fresh air.

She thought getting in the car for a drive upstate was a good idea, at the time.

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Author’s Note:
There is more to write about Jean. 845 words is not enough, but it’s enough for me, today.
There actually is a business of putting the ashes of the deceased into jewelry. Some of it is done as described in the above story; the rest are hollow receptacles for the cremated ash. I was told about this by my SO, who loves medical and scientific things, and it has been filtering around my noggin…
until a short Associated Press piece caught my attention: “South Korea has seized thousands of smuggled drug capsules filled with powdered flesh from…”
….well, the rest would be telling where I want to take this whole thing. Suffice to say, reality is just as bad as fiction, n’est pas?

Click here to read The Complete AtoZ: Swan Rise Apartment Series

Only available for free until May 31st, 2012

Retraction of Gravity (#AtoZChallenge)

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Welcome to the A to Z Challenge : 26 Stories during the month of April

Welcome to… The Apartment Building: Swan Rise

(For Links to the previous stories, CLICK HERE)

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The inhabitants of Swan Rise Apartments carried the weight of their lives with them. Some  soared in moments of true elation, ecstasy, flights of fancy, but otherwise they were grounded through the daily realities. Others rarely ever rose above a situation. They’d trod through the days, milling around and about and passing by all the other tenants. The building was a center of gravity, keeping them in place from 1960 to 2005.

No…not all of them.

As the children grew, their universe expanded. As it expanded, they moved faster and faster away, seeking to fly off on their own and leave the parental orbit they’ve circled around. Eventually they acquired their own gravity force and rarely returned; too many seemed to have anti-gravity packs on them, with a time limit attached that says “Stay and hold back on  your life,  or move on.”

Then there are the divorces, those that stay after the dissolution of vows, those that leave. How many hearts can be broken in forty-five years? Until an explosion sent all the residents adrift in space, many homes lost their centers, the things that brought them together, holding them in place. Their collective dissolved, and the energy used to keep them in place was exhausted.

A growing number seemed to just be passing by. They settled for a short stay and left little to no trace of their moving on. This happened more and more as the years passed; the attraction and hold of the building fading, flinging out the new, holding onto the old.

Many did grow old in Swan Rise. Many left in the way most don’t like to talk about.

The dead…

So many, as the years passed by; tiny notices by the mail boxes, relating in only a few words the release of another from the grounds. With the eventual removal of that paper on the wall, the last tie was severed for many. When the Whistler died, and then soon after his wife, there was a hollow wind passing through the ground floor that many felt. Others were more fleeting. The one murder in the building held for a long time through the whispers, fears, and for one, relief.

Gone, the husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, grandparent, a number who lived a life alone, pets…so many pets. All those no longer earth bound.

Miraculously, no child died in the living history of Swan Rise. That grief was spared, until the explosion.

The foundation kept the building secure in place; the bricks, wood, plaster, glass, metals, ceramics gave it heft to hug the world it became for the many. Carpets and flooring were laid, furnishings and decor placed, and residents made their apartment a home. It had a mass that attracted them, mutually intense.

The building kept its own gravity, until parts of it were hurled away in a horrible blast and brought down to Earth by a greater force.

Basement Boogie (AtoZ Challenge)

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The beat reverberated throughout the duct system of Swan River Apartments. You’d hear the deep chords being struck through the bathroom air vents. Sometimes the vibrations were hard enough to spin the burnt out blower blades. Dust that had coagulated on the grating absorbed some of the pulsations; the rest shook loose,  gliding in the stagnant air,  falling to the rhythm that wound it’s way to the unwilling eardrums throughout the building.

Amy and her newest boyfriend, Trev, were giving a “final performance” in the basement. She wanted to be the next White Stripes or Cults. He wanted Amy. They both had talent; she more than he, but they were good together. Trev tried to take more breaks for fooling around then Amy liked, but she liked Trev, too, and after a good practice what was a little more physical exertion.

All of Amy’s neighbors threw a fuss when she first got her Tdrum kit (“your idiot father” was the nicest thing Amy’s mom said about her dad, long since moved out). The then Super, George (who had a thing for her mom and most of the other females in the building), gave her some space in the basement when she was starting out in her early teens. It was clean, no rats or mice, so having that  hot musty smell all around didn’t bother Amy. She played after homework was done, weekends, and holidays, when she wasn’t at her Dad’s.

The new super, Andres, wasn’t like George at all. He walked around the building like he owned a kingdom, grousing and commanding, unlit cigar (most times) almost always being chomped on while he cleaned the lobby area. He gave you a dirty look if you were bringing things to the recycling room. He gave you a dirty look if you had too much laundry to do, unless you were one of the Laundry Room Mafia: those ladies he gave wide berth. Andres was the first to latch onto all the building gossip, and pass it along, not caring who heard his pontificating. Dirty looks, sneers, gossip monger…thief?

He also gave Amy the creeps. He also told her she could not use the basement anymore. It “bothered” his wife. You don’t bother the super’s wife.

She knew he would throw a big hissy fit and complain to her mother, threatening her with a whole level of empty threats. The only real ones would be in his not fixing anything that needed to be fixed in the apartment, or doing it more half-assed than normal. Amy’s mom had had enough, both with Andres and with Amy. Amy’s dad was coming the next day to pick up her drum set.

Amy wailed on her kit, losing herself in the tribal intensity of what she was laying down. Trev kept up with her, for the most part, though never equaling her intensity. A few times he’d stop, just surrounded by the blast beat pouring out of her. Then he’d join back in, his fervor rising in an attempt to make this the best, for her.

They jammed for close to twenty-eight minutes. Andres broke through the door that Amy had locked from the inside. His wife was behind him, furious faced, arms crossed over her ample chest, bathrobe tied in a knot across her waist.  Amy’s mother followed behind, her eyes locked on Amy. The super and his wife were screaming at Amy to stop. Trev had, when they busted in.

The super’s wife pulled the drum sticks out of Amy’s hands but that did not stop Amy. She tom-tommed the skins and cymbals as if nothing had happened. Trev was pushed out of the room by Amy’s mother, who couldn’t get her to stop either by voice.

She walked behind Amy,  placing her hands on Amy’s shoulders. For the first time, she actually felt the beat that Amy lived. She closed her eyes, experiencing. Her arms moved down to lightly encircle Amy, which then became a hug, then a mama bear hug, and she hung her head low so it touched Amy’s head. Their long hair mixed together and feather brushed the snare drum. Amy slowed to a stop.

The concert was over.

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Author’s Note:

Welcome to the A to Z Challenge.

During the month of April, over 1,400 bloggers are joining in on this blogfest. Writing 26 posts using the letters of the alphabet to prompt the posts, you’ll find a mixture of fiction and non-fiction. While impossible to read all 1,400+, the idea is to open yourself to new readers, hopefully attain new followers, and to discover others to follow yourself.

For me, it’s to just get my writing chops back in gear. I’ve allowed a lot of distractions to do just that: distract me.

Last year, starting with the letter C, I wrote an ongoing story that was a combo of Speculative Fiction/Humor/Thriller. I still plan to revisit Winston, Elora and Daniel (and cast) one day.

This year, I have an overall theme of creative fiction: The Apartment Building.

The letter A (“All, Tumbling Down“) sees the destruction of said building. From B to Z, I’ll be exploring stories of the characters that lived in the building, and aspects of the building itself. As of this writing, I only have the titles planned out. That is my only outline. On Sundays after April 1st, I plan to just post the links to all the stories posted that past week.

I’ve previously written about The Apartment Building, which is what gave me the idea to flesh the whole thing out on this blogfest: The Whistler Is Dead (February 2, 2012) and in a slightly different vein, Velocity (February 25, 2012).

I’m excited about the upcoming stories and I hope you enjoy them. I also hope you discover other blogs through this. You can click on the link above, the logo in this post or on my sidebar to take you to the main page of the AtoZ Challenge.

Comments are always appreciated.