Posts Tagged With: fiction

Floors and Ceilings

The following is a small excerpt from my Big Work In Progress. I thought I’d share a taste today here on the blog. Enjoy.

“Over a month after returning home from the hospital she still felt tenuous and fragile. And yet there was something in the air, or in her dreams, or in the light coming through the windows that felt different.

Sometimes life surprised her. Waking early, feeling unusually rested, she would climb out of bed feeling oddly energetic. The morning would run smoothly, the day unfolding simply with few glitches. Afternoons flowed like water into an evening. Busy or relaxed didn’t matter. On those rare days life was manageable, easier and, dare she think it, happier.

Occasionally two such days would occur back to back. She tread lightly on that second day, aware of the fragile miracle she was experiencing. Laughter bubbled out. Fun erupted. The children’s mischief and messes didn’t overwhelm her. She could think with clarity. Planning ahead provided hope instead of a sense of dread. Creating a simple meal brought satisfaction.

Even the muscles in her body responded to the difference in the very air around her. She moved quicker and accomplished tasks without achiness or apprehension.

She thought perhaps the medications were helping.

Her husband thought so, too. He’d said as much one evening after dinner. The kids had slipped away from the table and back to a bedroom to play.

Dinner Plate Finished

(Photo credit: bazadwalker)

“Nice dinner, sweetie,” he said.

“It was good, wasn’t it?” she said running a finger along the edge of her plate. “And quick and easy to fix, too.” She felt pleased at the accomplishment.

“How are you feeling lately?” he ventured.

“Mmm. Okay, some days. I guess,” she replied.

He shook his head as if agreeing with her. There was some silence. He seemed to be waiting for her to say something more, but she didn’t.

“To me, your lows seem less low,” he said.


“And your highs, your good moments, your good days, seem,” he looked for just the right word, “tempered.”


“Yes. Not as vibrant. Happy but not too happy, I think.” His forehead furrowed as he looked at her.


“It’s like your meds have placed a floor and a ceiling on your moods.” He had emphasized the word “and” as if it were critical to the meaning of his sentence.

“Hmm,” she leaned her chin into the cup of her hand, her elbow resting on the table. “Hmm,” she repeated. “Interesting visual.”

Genius - Wile E. Coyote - Chuck Jones

In her mind she pictured a cartoon drawing of herself bouncing through a long tunnel, her head crashing into the ceiling, then rebounding to the floor. Seems like she had seen a “Roadrunner and Coyote” cartoon like that once. The hapless Coyote ricocheting off winding tunnels, his hard-hat light clicking off and on as he bounded helplessly along.

She laughed out loud at the memory of it.

“What?” he asked. “Why are you laughing?”

She described the cartoon to him and he chuckled slightly.

“I didn’t mean it quite like that,” he said almost apologetically, a grin spreading despite his efforts to hold it back.

“Oh, I know,” she smiled. Then she lifted a hand to his face across the table. His day old beard was scratchy but only slightly. The warmth of his cheek felt calming. Reassuring.

“Mmmm,” he said, closing his eyes at this unexpected affection. After a moment or two, he reached for her other hand across the table.

There was a squeal and burst of laughter from the kids in their bedroom, then near silence. Other than that, the house was quiet and still.

“Thank you,” she whispered.

“For what?” he asked, opening his eyes and looking at her.  She shook her head, her eyes shiny with tears she was holding back. Taking her hand from his cheek, he cradled both of her hands between his.

She couldn’t put words to what she meant, not really, but she tried anyway. In a barely audible voice she said, “Thank you. For not giving up on me.”

“Shh…” he responded, “shh.”

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Starting Over: A Little Piece of Fiction

In this week’s Daily Post Writing Challenge, we’re asking you to write a short piece of creative writing (fiction/poetry/prose poetry/freeform mindjazz/whatever floats your boat) on the theme of Starting Over.
Drop Starting Over on your page and see where it takes you.


Starting over was what she did all too often. Scrounge for boxes, pack up stuff, tape and seal, haul and load, clean and leave.

packing up

packing up (Photo credit: Joanna Bourne)

Then reverse the process, arrive and clean, haul and unload, rip open, unwrap, and unpack.  Then the decision: store the flattened boxes for the next inevitable move, or recycle them and scrounge again when the time came.  Neither decision carried any assurance, or saved any work.

Sooner than she’d want she’d be back at it, finding boxes, packing, taping, hauling, loading, cleaning, leaving. Once again, she’d find herself arriving, cleaning, unpacking, starting over, settling in very lightly.

Starting over was something she’d have earned a degree in if it were a college major. She should be a pro by now, but she wasn’t.

She had always dreamed of a settled, permanent place called home. But she refused to admit it out loud. The disappointment would be more tangible if she did.

The first few months after starting over she resisted putting out personal effects, choosing instead to leave them in boxes, stacked and stored.  She certainly wouldn’t hang curtains or put up pictures.  That jinxed things immediately.

It was what they did.  It was the path they had put themselves on years ago.  It wasn’t really running.  It was simply not staying.

Planting something in the yard all but guaranteed there would be a move before the plant came full circle, bloomed, self-seeded, volunteered again the next season.

Wildflowers in Death Valley National Park

Wildflowers in Death Valley National Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a way she was a wildflower seed, except she was the seed that blew across the top soil with a breeze and landed far down the road, in an unpredictable, unusually rocky untilled soil. Waiting for dust, rain, a thin grip on ground so she could grow clingy roots.

It was wearing her out.  She wanted to stop.

Maybe someday she would say it out loud.  “No more.”

Sure she would.

Probably not.

There was never any choice anyway.  Saying “no” would make no difference in the outcome.

Someday, yes, someday she’d get planted deeply and stay forever. Then she might flower.  Then she would rest.

But that wasn’t likely to happen for a long while. And so, she continued starting over and starting over and starting over.

Categories: Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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