Simon trudges off the train, not even hearing the name of the city the conductor announces. They were all the same to him. He maneuvers through the crowd out of the train station and flags a taxi. The yellow cab pulls up and a short man rushes out. He quickly grabs the bags and throws them into the trunk. Simon bends low and groans in pain as he falls into the squeaky back seat. He rubs his lower back and pulls the pain pills from his briefcase popping two back without water.
“Where to sir?” the taxi driver’s thick accent floated back to him through his fog of pain.
“The City Side Inn please.”
“Are you sure you want to go there? A man of your stature might want to stay at the Ritz. It’s only a couple blocks from here and would be much nicer for you.”
Simon, used to the response to his pressed suit, shiny black shoes and name brand briefcase, doesn’t bat an eye as he responds, “The City Side Inn is much more economical for a family man like myself thank you.”
The driver shrugs and wordlessly drives on through winding street after winding street until they pull up to a motel that had seen better days. The faded yellow paint was chipping in several locations. Many shutters had fallen from the window and the remaining ones were tilted in one direction or another. The lit up sign reads “ ity S e in” instead of City Side Inn as several light bulbs must have burned out. Simon pays the driver and drags his luggage inside to a dimly lit reception desk where a bored looking middle-aged woman sits clicking at the keyboard with one finger.
“Can I help you?” she murmurs without looking up.
“Checking in under Simon…”
“Gotchu right here.” She clicks on a couple keys then opens a drawer and hands him a key. “Room 105 out these doors to the right 4 doors down.”
Simon finds himself in front of room 105 and pushes open the door, bending his tall frame to get inside. He sits on another lumpy bed, his back already protesting. He looks at the clock hoping it isn’t too late. He grabs the motel phone and dials out.
“Hey it’s me. I got here safe.”
“Simon, you don’t need to tell me that anymore.”
“Sorry Mary, old habit.”
“Which is why we’re no longer together. You’re too late, I just put the kids down.”
“Please Mary, I’ve had a long trip, can I just tell them goodnight really quick?”
Silence. He holds his breath hoping she doesn’t hang up on him. He hears muffling then two sleepy voices answer the phone. “Hello?”
“Hey kids! I just wanted to wish you goodnight.”
“Where are you daddy?”
“We haven’t seen you in so long daddy.”
“I know guys, I’m on another trip I’ll be home soon.”
“Dad, don’t forget about my soccer game it’s on Saturday.”
“And, and, and don’t forget about my dance recital! It’s on Friday!”
“I’ll do my best.”
“Ok daddy. We miss you come home soon! We love you!”
“Love you both. I’ll be there I promise.”
“Simon, you need to stop making promises you can’t keep. I won’t allow you to talk to them anymore. This was our biggest problem and the biggest reason why we broke up.”
“Mary, I’m tired of this. I promise I’ll be there. This is going to be the big sale I’ve been looking for, so I don’t have to travel anymore. I should have been a better husband, I should have been there. This time is different. I’ll be there, I’ll make it up to everyone I promise.”
“You always say that.” Click.
Simon hangs up the phone and lay back down on the lumpy bed. He clenches his fists as hot tears streak his face. He sits up quickly and grabs a pad of paper writing furiously notes and plans. After an hour he smiles at his plan and lays back down. This was it. He was going to make this sale, but it was his last one with his company. He was going to strike out on his own and become his own boss. No more traveling all the time. No more bad back and sleeping on lumpy beds. He wanted to sleep in his own bed and be with his kids every night.
Simon smiles as he falls into the first peaceful sleep in a long time.
The air is thick and sticky. A woman in a summer dress covers her eyes from the searing sun beating down. Waves of heat permeate through her sandals as it simmers up from the hot, black, hard earth. Her feet feel like she is walking across burning coals. Quickly she steers to the nearby scraggly trees carrying the sweet scent of desert flowers. She walks from one shade to the next trying to avoid the sun’s rays. She prays for even a small breeze to abate the sweat beads dripping down the middle of her back.
She clutches a bulky, manila envelope to her chest avoiding the lizards that scurry by. She needs to get back quickly to get water, her mouth feels dry and hot like the ground. She looks up and notices in the distance dark grey clouds. A humid breeze rustles twigs along her path, bringing the sweet scent of rain to her lips. Rain was finally coming. Birds twitter furiously, a hawk leaps from a nearby branch and soars away almost as if to escape the electrifying atmosphere brewing around her.
A lightning bolt flashes above and as if on cue the wind picks up swirling her dress and hair around her. She hurries on, her footsteps pounding along the ground. She doesn’t try to stick to the shade anymore as the clouds gather and rumble above her shaking the earth. Her eyes widen as she sees the glass building in the distance. This is no normal rain storm, this will be a downpour and the earth around her will soon be flooded. She needs to get to the building before the storm catches her and sweeps her up in its torrential downpour. She walks a little faster, the envelope bouncing on her chest. Suddenly, she trips over a rock, the envelope falls to the ground.
A fat rain drop hits her hand as she jumps up dusting the sand off of her dress. Her knee scraped and bleeding she ignores it and hurriedly snatches up the envelope as the rain drops fall heavily around her. The glass door looms in site but she can hear the whooshing of heavy rain following her. She glances over her shoulder to see a sheet of rain gaining on her. She runs to the glass door, swipes her badge and yanks it open rushing inside just as the downpour hits, thunder cracks and shakes the building.
Bent over breathing heavily, she finally catches her breath. She stands and sees a woman with dark framed glasses watching her and smiling.
“I told you not to go the long way to get the mail Aida.”
Aida smirks. “I know boss but I just love how it feels outside right before it rains.”
Her boss’ eyes furrow as she points to Aida’s knee. “I saw your spill out there. Looks like you got some black top in that cut. You ok?”
Sheepishly she looked down at the bruising knee and waves it off. “I’ll just go wash it off and get the first aid kit to patch it up. My feet hurt more from that hot pavement. Why they did black top instead of concrete, especially here in Florida, still boggles me.”
Her boss nods, “Was it there at least?”
Aida smiles and hands over the envelope. Her boss smiles and takes the package immediately ripping it open, she flips through the pages quickly then hands them over to Aida. “Looks like everything is in order. It was worth the trip for you, if you’re good with everything we can proceed.” She sticks out her hand.
Aida flips through the paperwork and smiles. “All looks good boss.” She grabs her boss’ hand.
“No Aida, you mean partner.” They both smile and shake hands.
Good morning world!
It’s a new day!
What new things will I learn today?
Does God live in Colorado?
Where the bison say ‘moo’?
And why is it only at nighttime that I say hi to the moon?
Oh, what new adventures does today have in store?
What new places and things can I explore?
Mami, I can fit in the pantry and close the door.
Oh yes, I need to roll around on the floor.
Outside in the dirt is the best place to play.
That’s where I imagine best as I play the day away.
Mami, why do you sigh
when I tell everyone hi?
I have to yell very loud
cuz I’m small you see, my hi gets lost in a crowd.
I find all the people interesting
especially when their forehead is wrinkling.
I like to make people smile
see Mami, so many haven’t done it in a while.
I just love to laugh and wiggle
and it’s more fun when I make other people giggle.
Oh Mami the day is almost done
I think I’ve almost finished all my fun
and after my day I want to cuddle
read me a book so we can snuggle
and now it’s time to kiss you goodnight
as I drift off to sleep in happy delight.
For today was a good day
Mami I learned so much.
There were so many people’s hearts that I touched.
I went on so many adventures
discovered so many treasures.
Laughed until I fell to the floor
and made people smile, even the biggest bore!
Mami, I even gave lots of compliments!
Yup today was filled with accomplishments.
Ok Mami I’m going to bed now.
I’m so tired so I yawn then I bow
and I thank the day for the adventures I had.
Oh it gave me so much, I’m so glad.
Well Mami here I go
my twinkling, mischievous eyes close.
I smile as off to dreamland I float
because I know tomorrow is another day full of hope!
The salty breeze pushed white foamy waves against the rocks. Stella always thought the white foam crashing against the rocky shore looked like hands trying to claw their way out of the sea and onto dry land. Thunder rumbled in the distance. The land won’t stay dry for long, she thought to herself. She scanned the horizon where dark and angry clouds formed, hiding what would have been a beautiful summer sunset. As the wind picked up Stella wrapped her floral shawl around her shoulders and stood from the wooden bench that sat at the edge of the cliff overlooking the shore. She better get back to her garden and clean up before the storm hit.
She sighed as she turned from the amazing view and looked back at her blue house perched at the top of the hill. The house almost blended into the darkening sky, all except the white doors and white trim around the windows that glowed like a beacon from the lighthouse. As she climbed up the dirt path she willed herself not to look at the lighthouse a half mile in the distance beyond her house but she couldn’t help it and glanced at the light on top that was still dark. Her heart sank and she wiped a tear from her rosy cheek.
She couldn’t help but count in her head, 73 days.
The white, knee high gate greeted her, waving in the wind, as she walked up to her garden. She entered and picked up her gardening tools, walked over to the shed next to the house and placed them inside before locking up. She looked to the horizon one last time watching the clouds swirl together before she entered her home. The phone rang as she stepped through the white door.
“Hey Trish, no nothing yet.” Stella could hear Trish sighing in the back ground.
“Thanks for keeping an eye out. I know the waiting’s hard but we got to keep our faith up.”
“Is there anything I can do for you in the meantime? Looks like a nasty storm is coming, do you need me to come stay with you?”
“Thank you, Trish, but I’ll be fine. I’ve been through nastier storms than this by myself.”
“Ok hon, stay safe and don’t worry ok?”
“Ok Trish. Thanks. Love you too.” Stella hung up the phone and walked to the sink to finish washing the dishes she had left there. She hoped she hadn’t hurt her mother-in-law’s feelings. She loved Trish, she just needed space. A louder rumble shook the house causing Stella to come out of her thoughts and walk to the kitchen window overlooking the sea. She glanced out, turned away, then just as quickly pushed her face against the window again.
What was that in the distance?
She grabbed her shawl and rushed outside. The wind was stronger than before and whipped her shawl around before she could wrangle it around herself. She stumbled back down along the dirt path to the bench she had just vacated earlier. Her heart pounded in her chest as she strained her eyes trying to see through the darkening sky.
There it was again! She stood on the wooden bench trying to get a better view and that’s when she saw it. A white boat bouncing along in the water, just ahead of the storm. She rushed back to the house, grabbing the binoculars from the kitchen table and ran back to the bench, falling twice along the dirt path.
Stella jumped onto the bench and peered through the binoculars. Her blood pounded louder in her ears than the surf on the shore. She searched again and there it was. The white ship. She whispered a prayer searching its deck until she saw him standing there at the mast, fighting with the ship, leading it back to shore. She dropped the binoculars and screamed, jumping up and down on the bench. Suddenly the lighthouse glowed and a beam of light shot down to the boat.
Stella cheered and danced around the bench as the rain began to fall. She opened her arms to the sky, not caring that she was getting drenched. She yelled “Thank you!” to the sky over and over again. She looked back to the ocean, wiping her matted hair from her face, her smile shone in the darkness. With a sigh and her hand on her heart, she whispered to herself “My husband is finally home again.”
They tell me
“Life’s not a romantic fairytale”
long gone are hopeful dreams
men playing knights in shining armor
don’t ride in during trouble scenes
Life’s day to dull day actions
aren’t filled with exciting heroine schemes
and happy endings only happen
with Facebook like esteem
Life’s happy moments play out
on the social media stage
Happy pictures play out scenes
hiding life’s usual way
Frozen fake smiles
flashy lifestyle guiles
all in the name of pretend
Perfecting the perfect fake life
on the social media trend
But I choose to believe
in my happy fairytale dreams
that I can make come true
my life’s survival
of fake lies
posted for the world to see
So I press forward
for my happiness
no Facebook friend can understand
and I smile content
not being anyone’s puppet
Because I’m free