teacups inspiration from Ermilia Blog wordpress.com post

“Jessica, pass me a biscuit, would you, lovey, there’s no point being careful at this weight any more.”

Jean said this while eyeing her twin sister with a hopelessness that blended into her third chin so well nobody noticed her self deprecating comments any longer.

Jessica passed the platter of custard cream biscuits without thought, her always mercurial expression untraceable to anything or anyone present. Her thin arms were reliable and safe to all who knew her.  The only person Jessica was in danger of failing was herself. You’d never know it to look at her.

“Arlette, how is that truck driving job of yours doing these days?” Melony asked of their other sister.

Melony didn’t really care how Arlette’s job was; she already knew the answer. She just wanted to divert attention away from all of them watching their older sister eating the entire plate full of cookies.

“It’s a job. Work is work. Not much changes there. I wish I could put my feet up and be a lady of leisure like you,”

Arlette said this while pouring tea for all of them, their cups designated by their birth order. The twins always got the matching pink cups.

“Don’t think for one second I didn’t pay my dues, Arlette. Everybody’s got skeletons. Being able to retire early didn’t come cheap for me and Dean.  There is a price to pay for everything in life. You, of all people, should know that.”

Melony’s French manicure and pedicure momentarily seemed almost real to Arlette who always hid her hands from view, wearing tops or jackets with pockets so no one could see all the biting she’d done right down to the quick.

“Girls, girls,” their mother said, sitting all primped in her cable knit pink sweater.

Anne always sat closest to the gas fireplace she ran night and day no matter the season. She was always cold. Nothing could warm her, especially now that her circulation had all but shut down.

Anne had done her best by her girls, that’s what she always told them. Sometimes when she watched them, she felt like apologizing. Still, at seventy-six, every time they met for tea she felt herself repressing the urge to apologize. Still, she didn’t really know what she would apologize for.

“Nevermind, Mother, we’re fine. Just fine,” Arlette was always silently appointed sooth-sayer among them.

“You want to find yourself a good man so you can get into a proper house like your sisters have,” Anne said.

She set her navy and white cup down on the side table beside her tapestry wing chair.

“Nevermind, Mother, nevermind. I’m just fine without a man. Just fine.”

Arlette rose and turned toward her mother, planting a kiss on her cheek and giving her a quick squeeze,

“You’re not going already are you?” Anne asked.

As if on cue the other three women rose and made their excuses to exit. Jean carried the last two biscuits in her hand, noshing on the way through her mother’s receiving line. Jessica hurried as though her home were on fire despite wearing stiletto heels that carried her above everyone else.

“Melony, would you bring some of those lemon squares you make so well next time?” Anne asked this. She didn’t like asking for anything but it was her way of ensuring there would be a next time.

“I sure will,” Melony said, “How about two weeks from today we all have tea with Mom again?”

She opened her patent leather hand bag to withdraw her date book.

No passerby would have guessed the four women exiting their mother’s townhouse were sisters who had just come from visiting their mother. They just looked like any other four strangers exiting the lobby at the same time.

Inside, Anne sat in the quiet flicker of the firelight though the sun shone in through all the tall windows, steady as ever. Her eyes were on the multi-colored bouquet of roses Melony had cut from her garden this morning.

“Get your dust cloth out,” she called out to the third agency housekeeper she’d had in as many months.

The petals were already falling.

(c) Aurora Morealist

Dearest John:

Photo courtesy of Michelle Weber. DPChallenge Jun3 2013

For the longest time I read the name DPChallenge on the posts and thought to myself, My Goodness, this fellow (I don’t know why I say fellow, other than several of the posts read as written by a male) is certainly Freshly Pressed often.

Reading was always a pleasure and I couldn’t think that his writing did not deserve to be in the spotlight. Because it did.

This week, upon seeing his photo and the intense expression on his face as he assembles a feast as well as he carefully constructs his creative writing pieces, I finally see him up close and personal for myself.

I had no idea he had a beard.

I pictured him with a moustache alright. Bald was what I figured he had to be since he wrote so maturely. Most of the time.

In his photo this week, I am compelled to reach in, touch his arm and ask, why didn’t you tell me who you really were all along?

If I had known you were a “cook,” I would have thought differently about your work.

If I had known you were more than one person, I would have perceived your writings from another vantage point entirely.

Instead, I swallowed the stories and believed in your ability to take us, the reader, any place you chose.

Even to the confines of your own heart.

Yet, right there in the photo you sport a wedding band and have no business flaunting yourself for the purpose of any engagement in serious relationships.

How little we know from the written word.

How much we can see in a photograph.

If we are really looking.

You see, DP Challenge, I thought you were a person… an entire living human being. Just one person. Now I know there are many of you and that frightens me a little.

My heart was almost yours. This is the thing I know you will never understand.

I admired all those pieces you wrote, your creative flair sinking into my psyche with the post banquette effect of the delicacies you prepare tonight in the photograph.  Savoring every morsel of every word, I ran with you to the outer limits of the writer’s mind and all the way back to some fine living recipes. Then over to your inner world of singledom and into another orbit with your description of your worldly travels.

Still, you eluded me, DPChallenge.

How you succeeded, I cannot fathom. I read you faithfully. As I clicked on Freshly Pressed and saw your name yet again, my heart was both buoyant with your brilliance and, on the heels of that, deflated with a sense of never being good enough for the pages of Freshly Pressed next to you.

Tonight as I gaze at this photo of you, I am wont to smile and say, how do you do it all? Cooking, writing, marriage, relationships and you must do it all very well because nothing I have read to date is less than stellar.

When you serve this concoction to your waiting audience tonight, I wonder what it will taste like.

Will there be bones to chew on afterward or will the spinelessness of your hiding from me finally be revealed?

Will your wife know you have misled us all for so long, had us thinking you were the ultra perfect man who knew how to navigate all relationships with such finesse, we never thought to even ask who you were…

Do you have any children, I wonder? Their pride in you is surely justified for you have become a familiar name and now I finally have a face to attach to it.

I would ask you for a bite of your intensely created dish but I’m sure you have other plans. I can tell by the way you are plating the food so perfectly that you do everything with the precise eye of a raven and there will be no future mistaking you at all.

Everyone will know what you look like now.  Even if I fail to tell them, they will figure it out for themselves.

Normally, I am not so slow myself.

Even listening to others speak sometimes becomes gibberish to my ears and I have to ask them to repeat themselves.

Never you, though, DP Challenge. Never. Your words were always so well turned that if your cookery is anything near the same realm, you are sure to freshly press yet again.

Though I am ecstatic to finally see you, I must bid you farewell before dessert.

You see, DP Challenge, I finally grasp the full meaning of your name.

I, too, have been challenged for nearly two years running. It’s as though I am trying to plate a dish just as you are except there is no dish and there is no plate and there is no one to help me as there obviously is at your side in your world.

I think it’s time I tell you why I could not recognize you all this time.

I have PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – that sometimes renders me incapable of anything beyond reading and writing.  These past two years of fighting the war on PTSD have left me incapable of doing all I once did, comprehending all I once understood. Even talking can become challenging so we’ll never be talking to one another, DP Challenge. I am sorry. A little.

In another way, this has been a lovely surprise, a huge relief and I thank you for giving me a visual that I may finally close the book on our relationship I’m sure you never knew we had.

It was an absolute pleasure to see you this way, DP Challenge.  I hope you’ll understand I can’t continue reading you this way.  The word stops here for me.  May your new chef hat take you even further than your writing.

I’ll still smile whenever I read your name.

©AuroraMorealist 3June2013

998 words

(This post is my submission to The Daily Post Challenge here on WordPress.com: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/06/03/weekly-writing-challenge-1000-words-three/)

Photo courtesy of Michelle Weber. DPChallenge Jun3 2013 WordPress.com