A Sunday Challenge Post

Marc, Chief Troublemaker number 1, over at Sorryless, has once again issued to both Karen, KC Sunshine Troublemaker number 2, of Table for One, and me, Notorious Q Troublemaker number 3 (hey, my blog, my order), a writing challenge. I love that he calls us the Holy Trinity and Karen has her own ideas on who’s holds what position, and after quite the discussion last night, I have agreed to her order.

So, what’s the challenge, you ask? Sounded like it was simple enough. Go back in time to meet someone in 1985 (a nod to the Back to the Future original movie made that very year) and explain to them what 2018 looks like. As this is really close to the last day of said 2018, I realise it is high time I do my part. I have started and chucked and started and chucked again. Ideas coming in and then being dismissed. Marc’s brilliant post is here and Karen’s just as brilliant one, here. Their writing is so wonderful and heartfelt and true that I found myself even more stuck because I thought, shit, unlike them, no particular event in my own life happened in 1985 that affected me so deeply that I could dig it up and use it like they did.

Except.

Hopefully, without sounding schizophrenic, I’ll meet up with my own 21-year-old self and have a little chit-chat with her. To avoid confusion, me, aged 21, shall be known as Rog, a nickname used by four people for me.

“So, Rog, 1985 has been quite the year for you, hasn’t it?”

“Whoa, Dale, am I that old in 2018?”

“What? I’m not that bad, for Chrissakes! 54 may seem old to you now, but trust me, when you get here? You’re gonna change your mind on what one defines as old. It’s all relative.”

She eyed the signs life had left on my face and body so far. “You’re ten years older than Mom is now but I’ll tell you what, not too shabby.”

“Gee, thanks. How gracious you are…”

“To what do I have the honour of hanging out with my future self? Are you here to warn me of something so that I don’t fuck it up?”

“Nah, nothing like that. Besides, messing with time can have some dire consequences. You saw the movie—

“Movie’s not reality—”

“Maybe not. But I’m here now and best we keep this little conversation to ourselves, k? Anyway, I’m not here for changes, because I wouldn’t change a thing. OK, that part is not entirely true… Some shit I wish I didn’t do, but it’s all part and parcel of where I am now, so. Just know there are some really good things ahead for you. And, yes, there is some heavy shit coming your way, too. I don’t know if I really should tell you but I’m here now so I’m going to fill you in anyway.”

“How heavy?”

“More than you want. And, as you can see, it’s not going to kill you. That old adage of ‘What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger’? It exists because it’s true.”

“God I hate that one.”

“Yeah, I know… can we continue?’

“Yeah, yeah. What did you mean by ‘quite the year I had?'”

“Lemme see… you ditched D after you refused to move in with him – kudos to you for knowing what you want and what you don’t – but you kept him around as a friend with benefits, went with him on vacation—”

“Best vacation ever! Know why? I didn’t give a shit. He couldn’t tell me what to do and convince me to participate in stuff I didn’t want to because I wasn’t his girlfriend!”

“You do realise, don’t you, that even if you were, you still wouldn’t have been obliged to do anything you didn’t want to.”

“Well. I guess. Maybe…”

“If only you had kept that confidence in your own judgment. However, here you are, living with P, your former gym teacher. I know. Kind of has that fairy tale feel to it when you guys reconnected five years after high school, eh? But now you find yourself a weekend stepmom. How’s that working for you?”

“It’s cool. Really, it is. The rest of the week, it’s just the two of us. With the requisite phone call to the kid on Tuesdays.”

“Uh huh. Keep trying to convince me. Well, Rog, here’s what’s coming. You are gonna last five years with this guy because, why really? After two years, you’ll have come the conclusion that this union was all about him and not about you. You’ll go nowhere, do nothing, plan zip. Three years later, by the age of 26, you are going to finally break free because you’ll realise you are too mature for his 37-year-old ass. Friends and family will come in to help you and you will move out on your own. You and P will drift apart because you didn’t have the balls to just say it was over.”

“Shit. You mean to tell me I am gonna waste five years of my prime?”

I smiled at her. “Nothing is a waste. Every choice you make, brings you to the next phase of your life.

“You won’t be alone long. You’ll meet R at work. A guy so totally not your type that you are immediately attracted to him. Before your one-year lease on your apartment is up, you guys will decide to move in together and the timing is perfect because Lisa and Chris, who are now married, will move out of their apartment into their first house and you and R will move into it. You’ll stay there a grand total of four months because Mom and Dad finally get divorced and you’ll buy the house. Within three years, R is going to go against everything he believes in to make you happy and ask you to be his wife. At 29 you feel it is ‘time’ to be married. The morning of the wedding your thoughts are going to be ‘what the fuck am I doing? Is it too late to cancel? This is so not what we should be doing!’ But you’ll convince yourself that yes, you can make it work.”

“Ah come on, Dale, am I that desperate?”

“No, you’re not desperate, you just think that’s where you should be in your life and you still don’t believe in yourself enough to say no. It’s a farce of a marriage over within 17 months. At the same time you also lose your job but the six months you live in that house solo, sans job? Turns out to be a priceless gift. Lisa was home with three babies. The twins were six months old, and Jennifer was only 20 months so you spent your days together. It helped each of you not lose your minds.

“Come March 1995, your life will change drastically.”

“Please give me good news!”

“You start a fabulous job with a great group and your friend Kathy convinces you to join Tele-Personals.”

“What? A dating service? I don’t need those!”

“No, well, what’s the harm? You meet some nut-jobs, but you also meet Mick. You guys go on your first date, and he never leaves. Mick buys R’s share in the house a few months later. Even quicker than you can bat an eyelash, you are pregnant. An oops, to be sure, but you both decide to embrace it. It is not a perfect pregnancy. You think you lose it twice and then the baby decides to come early. One month before your first anniversary of meeting each other.”

“Whoa. Um. Not too responsible of us.”

“Ya think? Anyway. I won’t give you all the deets because I can’t stay all day. Suffice it to say that you will have the challenge of your life ahead of you. Austin is what you guys name your little 4 lb 8 oz preemie. Born with a heart defect”

“Oh. We’re going to lose him, aren’t we?”

“After seven months and twenty-three days. This precious time you have with him will teach you just how strong and capable of anything you are. No one will ever be able to convince you otherwise because, for the first time in your life, you will be so confident in your abilities.”

“I don’t know if I wanted to know this.”

“Too late now. Do I stop here?”

“No!”

“Losing Austin puts a strain on you and Mick but it also cemented you. You decide to stay together and, after mourning, decide to build a family together. You have two more boys. Iain and Aidan, born 19 months apart.”

“We didn’t waste any time, did we?”

“You were already in your mid-thirties! But life is good. You guys have a great relationship on the whole. Sure you breathe each other’s air occasionally and there are gonna be fights because let’s face it, life cannot always be a bowl of cherries. And you need the pits to help remind you of the sweet. You’ll go on vacations and camping with Tracy and Sébastien and other friends occasionally and have many an adventure. And after seven years, you finally get married.”

“Jeez, what’s the rush?”

“Hah! Life got in the way and it wasn’t that important until it became something Mick and you really wanted. The whole big shebang with the dress, the open bar, the band, the party and your two precious boys, aged 2 and 3 as little groomsmen in their tuxedos just like Daddy’s.

“Mick started his own business and the family house became something he just didn’t want to have to keep renovating. So we got our big-ass house where Mick could have his office on the ground floor and watch people running to the bus stop. More trips, more camping, entertaining, activities. A really nice life.”

“Why do I have a horrible feeling, suddenly?”

“Dad died in May, 2013. Mick died in December the following year – God, he was only 51. It’s been four years already.”

“Aww come on! This can’t be real? I’m going to be a widow? Why are you doing this to me?”

“I’m sorry, Rog. This is your life. The good, the bad, the ugly.”

“How have you not completely fallen apart? How are you now, Dale? Is life good?”

“You know that much about us, Rog. We don’t fall apart. I’m doing pretty well, all things considered. Life is good.

“I’ve just come to the realisation that I’m not here for you at all. I’m here for myself. My telling you what lies ahead for you is really a reminder to me to look back at my journey so far, take stock of all my learnings and remind myself that I am who I am. That I am enough.  And I am still learning.”

 

Another Olde Lang Syne to say good-bye with a toast to the past and look forward to the future.

The Little Moments – Friday Fictioneers

I’m not one to do the “woe is me” thing and this is definitely not one of them.  It is, however, the fourth anniversary of my “two weeks of WTF” that started on the 11th and ended on the 27th.  I can laugh and talk about Mick all the time with nary a tear but at this time of the year, there is more of a tightness in the chest, so to speak.

So, now that I got that out of the way, thank you to Rochelle for hosting this weekly challenge and this week, thanks (again) to Doug MacIlroy for allowing us to use (re-use for some) this lovely photograph.

Join in on the fun by clicking on the blue frog below!

 

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The Little Moments

“Good God!  How you can work with that stuff you call music blaring?” I yelled.

“I like it, helps me to draw.  Keeps me in the groove.”

Shaking my head, I went back to writing my Friday Fictioneers story, while chatting on Facebook with my buddy Rochelle.  A new message pops up:

“Yo, Rog, what’s for lunch?”

“Dunno, Mick, hadn’t thought of it.”

“Let’s go out!”

“Lemme guess, The Cage?”

“Ya baby!  Meet me downstairs!”

“Lemme finish my story, first!”

“Gonna let me read it?”

“Of course.  You’re my muse again.”

These little moments are what I miss the most.

 

Not So High Fidelity

I love how Gusto TV – a channel reserved for cooking and lifestyle shows reserves Sunday nights for movie night.  It used to be reserved for a “foodie” movie – anything that had major scenes with food (like Big Night or No Reservations) which I love, by the way.   However, last night it was “High Fidelity”, starring John Cusack, Jack Black, Joan Cusack, etc. – no meal preps or grand dining scenes to be found here.  At all.  No matter, I set the PVR because for some strange reason, despite my love for both John and Joan Cusack, I had never seen this 2000 film.  I watched it tonight.

And it got me to thinking.  Why is it I have no particular memories per se (save for a very few) that I can go back to in great detail, bringing forth the feelings and emotions and music and weather and atmosphere of that particular moment and put them to paper, so to speak, as so many fabulous writers do?  I follow quite a few bloggers who have this talent.

Is it because I lack depth?  Do I flit and fly over everything, barely paying attention to the moments, not registering the happenings because I am above it all? Am I going to end up in therapy one day to find out that I have locked it all away until one day I burst?

Why is it my sister Lisa can remember when our sister Tracy started walking?  Lisa would have been close to 4 years old (I assume Tracy started walking around age one) and I would have been seven-and-a-half.  Was I too busy to pay attention?  Did I not care about such things?  This really bugs me.  I know I was probably too busy hanging upside down on the monkey bars at the park with my friends to bother with little sisters and their milestones.  Still.

Am I Charlie?

 

 

Paths – Friday Fictioneers

Wednesday is here!  And golly gee whitkicker… ’tis my photo this week!  Thanks for choosing mine, Rochelle!  Woot! (It’s the small things that bring us joy…)  Thanks always for hosting, Rochelle Wisoff (no ‘e’)-Fields!

Should you want to join in on the fun, click on Rochelle’s name to get the how-to.  Should you wish to simply read other stories, click on Monsieur Frog Bleu !

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dale-rogerson

©Dale Rogerson

Paths

Some paths seem longer than others.  Some last for 92 years and others only seven months, 23 days.

Some are filled with a lifetime of memories, both wonderful and sad.  Some are filled with so few, yet mean so much.

Some are so barely remembered, you wonder if they were ever even taken. Some leave an unforgettable mark on all who set foot on it.

Some lead off into many directions, filled with adventures.  Some are straight and narrow, leading to what seems only a dead end.

When I’ve reached the end of my path, I want to look back and smile.

 

******

 

I was sort of hoping this week’s picture (whomsoever it came from) would allow me to somehow bring up the twentieth anniversary of my first-born’s death (January 17).  Not because I want to focus on the loss but because I wanted to honour him.  Austin was with us for seven months and 23 days so, there is the reference above and led me down that “path”.  Like his parents, he was a “Smiley-Joe” when he was home with us.

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Organised – Friday Fictioneers

Yay!  It’s raining so I got cut from working today.  This means I have time to write and read!  Welcome to Friday Fictioneers, folks, a place where we we get a picture and have to write a 100-word story with beginning, middle and end, based on said picture.  Some days are harder than others, and some days you wonder where in the heck your idea came from.  The important thing is to go with it and see what happens!  This week’s photo comes from wonderful author, Claire Fuller

Rochelle is our hostess, who somehow, between writing, editing, fretting and living life, manages to take care of all of us.  Thank you Rochelle!  Should you want to join in the fun, please click on this link for the how-to!  Should you not yet be ready to write your own, click on the blue frog below and read other stories.  You never know, it might inspire you!

Word Count:  100

Genre:  Fiction

Organised

claire-fuller

Me:  Babe, where’s the blue box with that doohickey I need?

Him:  Second unit, third shelf, behind the white box marked ‘Halloween’.

Me:  Honey, do you know if we have any more thingamajigs to tie the whatsits together?

Him:  Unit beside the freezer, second shelf, between the red and green boxes.  Can’t miss it – orange, your favourite colour.

Me:  Sweetie?  Where, oh where, did you hide the whatchamacallits?

Him: …

Me:  Babe?

Him:  …

Me:  If you could see the state of your garage today, you’d be rolling in your grave bottle.  Needless to say, I cannot find a thing since you left.

***

By the way… the reason I say bottle and not grave, is, well, that is where he resides for the moment! 😉

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18 Again – Friday Fictioneers

Yes siree, it’s time for Friday Fictioneers.  A time where writers of all sorts get together and tell a story inspired by a photo.  This week our hostess, with the mostest, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, author and illustrator extraordinaire, has chosen one from Al Forbes.  Where does this image take you?  Care to let us know?  Do please click on the blue frog and give us your version!  No? Well, you can still read other fabulous stories anyway!

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©Al Forbes

Genre:  Fiction

Word count:  100

18 Again

Ethel’s rheumy eyes watched the old Model-T tied up on a trailer and was 18 again.

When George pulled up with his “newfangled” car, Daddy near as had a fit.

“Who does he think he is, showing off in that god-awful machine?  Too high and mighty to go ’round in a horse and buggy like regular folk?”

But George had such a charm, he won Daddy over near as quick as he had me!  Next thing you knew, George was teaching Daddy how to drive!

Too bad Daddy wasn’t near as good a driver as George.  Tree came out of nowhere…

 

 

Friday Fictioneers – Loss

Genre:  Fiction

Word count:  99

Loss

© Roger Bultot

It has always been my biggest fear.  Rob me, flood me, I care not; but fire?

Sitting on the curb, arms wrapped around each son, ever thankful our smoke detectors were properly serviced, we watched in horror as our home burned, along with everything we owned. We watched in gratitude as the firemen did their job to stop it and prevent it from spreading to the neighbours.

I watched as everything I had to remind me of my first-born and husband disappeared. I held on to my living boys but only my memories would remain of Austin and Mick.

Friday Fictioneers:  100-word Stories 

Photo Prompt:  Copyright © Roger Bultot