Friday, February 27, 2015

Friends Without End

     The locks on the front door activated without a human hand. No amount of effort deactivated them. No amount of pulling on the knob forced the door to open.
     'Damnit. Open.'
     'Sorry. I can't let you leave.' The familiar voice did nothing to calm Damian's nerves.
     'This apartment isn't mine anymore. I have to finish moving into my new apartment.'
     'I want you to stay with me here.'
     'There is no here here. The owners are making extreme renovations. I must leave, so open this door. Now.
     'I can't let you go. You are the only person in decades to acknowledge me. You talk with me.'
     'Come with me if you want. I invite you to haunt my new place. We can still talk. I can't stay here. Please, unlock this door.'
     'I can't leave with you. I can, however, make it possible for you to remain here with me.'
     Days later several of the other tenants of the building complained about a terrible odor coming from the apartment. When the super entered the apartment, Damian's body lay on the floor.
     'See, Damian. I told you everything turn out for the best.'
     'So what shall we discuss?'
     The super cocked his head as though he heard something, shook his head and called 9-1-1 from his cellphone. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

String Dream

     Such a bizarre dream I woke from. Without a moment's hesitation, I phoned my friend Laurie to describe the events while fresh in my memory to get her interpretation.
     'Laurie, I dreamt I worked as a switchboard operator in a clothing store.'
     'Switchboard? You mean one of those old-timey things with multiple lines like in old movies?'
     'Something similar, I guess.'
     'In your dream did you enjoy doing this?'
     'Not at all. The stupid thing kept ringing and I couldn't escape it.'
     'Well, darling, my first thought is you having to work for someone else is no dream. This is a nightmare best forgotten. Tell Cook you don't want her to make whatever you ate for dinner last night ever again.'
     'That's all? No other insight you can offer?'
     'Get out of bed. Get dressed and take your dogs for a walk around your estate. Appreciation for what you possess should set your mind straight again. Come to mine for luncheon when you're finished. I'll tell Marie make one of your favorites.'
     'Fine, Thank you, Laurie. I'll see you later then.'
     'The very idea of you with a job? And in a shop no less is too ridiculous. Push those thoughts right out of your mind.'

* * * *

     I woke from this dream, made coffee, and prepared to go to my job as a switchboard operator in a clothing store.

Riparian Meditation

    Blustering chill winds imprisoning most people in their homes howled one man's name urging him to the river. Aron put his daily chores on hold . Pulling two pairs of jeans over his longjohns, a flannel shirt and thermal vest layered under his coat, he left his cottage for the river.
     'This weather isn't so bad,' he told himself as he sat on his favorite bench. An icebreaker plowed a path through the ice for other boats making their usual upriver journey. Huge chunks of ice left floating, bobbed in the wake. Fog lifted from the surface of the water presenting an odd scene. Aron marvelled at the three forms of water on display. 'Does the river, ice, and fog recognize themselves as dimensions of their being?'
     Aron never experienced the like in his eighty-some years of life near the water. He thanked the winds for bringing him to the show.
     As he continued to contemplate the scene, a kind of steam or fog rose from the top of Aron's head like a genie escaping he bottle. Aron somehow witnessed this also and smiled. He understood while the river, its ice, and fog are comprised of the same hydrogen and oxygen atoms they did not interact with each other. They couldn't if they wanted to because not one of them possessed the power to cross over from one dimension to be with another. Fog would condensate and ice would melt, rejoining them to their source. The fog rising from Aron grew and grew until it dissipated.
     Soon a young man walking his dog approached Aron's bench. The dog sauntered over to be petted by Aron say hello, but Aron, still smiling, reunited with his source.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Mirror, Mirror (Finale)

     Mateus Dyrbar made daily deliveries of newspapers to Heidi's front porch. Sometimes the door stood ajar with an invitation to enter attached. The visits didn't last long, but Mateus became more comfortable with the woman perched in a wheelchair in the shadows each time. The young man even began to image her face. He didn't find her ugly, at least not as he thought she appeared.
     He purchased a hand mirror  to bring Heidi as a surprise present. He thought showing her how she appeared to him would help her to like herself more. He intended to make her happy, but that is not what transpired.
     He opened the daily newspaper to conceal his surprise gift. He went inside, careful to close the door behind him as usual. He sat in the same chair he always sat in with the newspaper and mirror on his lap.
     'You opened my paper.'
     'I brought you something.'
     'Yes, you opened my paper. Why?
     'I brought you this.' With a flourish he produced the hand mirror.
     'You idiot. Why do you insult me with such a thing when the mirror over the mantle is blind? After I told you I don't care to face my ugliness? How dare you!'
     'I want you to show you the woman I visit every day; a woman who is not ugly at all.'
     'Give me that and get out.'
     Heidi lunged forward out of her chair. Mateus, caught off-guard, dropped the mirror. The glass missed the carpet and shattered on the aged mahogany floor. Shards of broken glass exploded into the air. One of the larger pieces rocketed its way to Mateus and stabbed him in the neck. The severed carotid artery became a geyser of blood. Some splashed on Heidi's face as Mateus fell dead to the floor.
     Heidi stood in apparent shock at the scene playing out in front of her. She bent down to pick up one of the larger pieces of mirror and gazed at her reflection.
     'Mateus, you were right. I am quite beautiful. Thanks to your blood I should remain beautiful for a year or two. Oh, my precious friend, you certainly took your time bringing this mirror. My other young gentlemen callers were much faster in presenting their gifts.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Mirror, Mirror (Part Three)

     'All I can see of you are your lapis eyes.'
     'Are you uncomfortable?'
     'Not at all. Your eyes are beautiful, rather like the Cheshire Cat.'
     'The Cheshire Cat's were green as I recall. Would you like me to smile so you can check my teeth?'
     'Do you make a habit of turning the slightest compliment into something rude?'
     'I don't get many visitors.'
     'I can understand that. I'm sure not many people are willing to sit with you in the shadows without being able to look at you.'
     'But you are? Willing to sit in the shadows with an old lady?
     'You voice doesn't sound old. Something metallic glints on either side of you. Are you in a wheelchair?'
     'I am. You detect more than you thought possible.'
     'The result of an accident?'
     'An accident of birth. You see, someone raped my mother.'
     'I'm sorry for your mother, but something good came as a result.'
     'Something good?'
     'Well, yes. You.'
     'My mother never missed a day to remind me I am the hideous result of a hideous crime committed by a hideous man. She delighted in using the word for me. She named me Heidi as some sort of sick joke.'
     'What a cruel way to treat an innocent child. Did she care for you otherwise?'
     'By way of a nanny, a governess followed by a ladies' maid. My mother's money allowed her to keep her distance.'
     'How do you keep yourself now? Do your friends visit and bring you groceries?
     'Friends? What sort of friends visit and allow newspapers to gather in the front yard? As for groceries, what little I need comes to me, as you did with my papers.'
     Heidi's implication she expected his service to continue caused the young man momentary discomfort. Unsure of what to sat next, he blurted out, 'Mateus.'
     'I beg your pardon?'
     'My name is Mateus Dyrbar.' 
     'Precious. Odd surname for a Swede.'
     'I suppose.' Mateus glanced around the room in an effort to discover some object to change the direction of the conversation. 'Your room is filled with a lot of things I wish I were able to view better. Why is the mirror over the fireplace mantle blacked out?'
     'Why gaze upon Hideous Heidi. Would you want to face your ugliness every day?'
     'I think I so.'
     Heidi laughed. 'You think so. You're handsome is why. I bet you stop by shop windows to check yourself out. You can't begin to comprehend the impact of deformity.'
     'Humans have feelings regardless of their appearance. I think I should leave. I've taken enough of your time.'
     'Will you come again tomorrow?'
     'You should call whoever throws your paper to ask him to make sure the paper hits the porch. He'll do that, you know.'
     'I see. Another life lesson taught me. Yes, I think you should go.'
     Mateus started to approach Heidi to take her hand, but she spun her wheelchair to face the wall, leaving him with nothing else but to let himself out. 
     He determined to take a different route to work in the future. Still, he was sad for Heidi and the life she lived. He sensed her watching him walk to the street, but he never looked back.
     Two weeks later, he walked his former route to his office without thinking and happened to pass Heidi's house. As expected the newspaper rolls tracked the days of his absence. He stopped to pick them up and chucked them like pebbles against the front door. 
     The door opened wide enough for the familiar hand to appear. This time, however, the hand wore no glove. The gnarled and twisted fingers grasped each roll like a talon with a twig and drew them inside one after the other. He shamed himself for his impatience. Perhaps tomorrow, he would deliver the paper to the door and ring the bell. The hand did not acknowledge him as usual before the door closed. 
     'Then again, the best thing may be to leave things alone.' 
     He would think about it some more.


Saturday, January 31, 2015

Mirror, Mirror (Continues)

     Several days later, the young man found himself on the same street. More rolled-up newspapers littered the front yard. He gathered these as before and walked up to the porch to ring the bell. Again, no answer came so he left them piled near the door and left.
     He watched from the sidewalk for anyone would bring the papers indoors. After a while, the door did open. A small, delicate gloved hand reached out for the papers, drawing them inside one by one like a mechanical clockwork. 'So it is a lady who lives there.' The young man further assumed she must live alone since there was no one other than himself fetched the papers from the yard.
     The next day, he brought the daily edition to the front door and rang the bell. Again, no one responded until he returned to the street. The door opened as he observed before and the same gloved hand reached out for the paper.
     Intrigued, he made delivery of the paper to the house part of his daily routine. After a few weeks, he brought a single pink, almost white long-stemmed rose which he stuck into the center of the rolled paper. The gloved hand paused midway of the usual reach. The man imagined a friendly wave before rose and paper disappeared into the house.
     When he return the following day, the door stood ajar. A note card written in a delicate feminine hand said, 'You may come inside, if you like.' The young man smiled and entered the house. He stood statue still as his eyes adjusted to the dim light. His hostess sat in the shadows of the far corner of the room.
     'I am very happy you accepted my invitation. I wanted to meet you and say thank you for your courtesy.'
     'May I turn on a light? All I distinguish your silhouette. I think people ought to converse face-to-face, don't you?'
     'No. No light. I see you quite well.'
     "But, I --'
     'Perhaps I made a mistake inviting you inside.'
     No one ever put the young man into an awkward situation before. He understood he should do as the lady asked, but he wanted to share a conversation with her. 'I'm sorry. We didn't exchange names yet. Besides, you only said you wanted to say thank you, but you didn't.' He smiled the smile that always won him his way.
     'If you insist on staying you may. Thank you, young man for bringing my newspapers within my reach.' The front door slammed shut startling the man. 'Please make yourself comfortable since you won't be leaving right away.'
     His winning smile faded into apprehension.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Mirror, Mirror

     Their relationship began with a simple act of kindness the previous winter. Movement of a curtain caught a young man's eye as he passed the old Victorian house. Several rolled up newspapers gathered at the curb on the sidewalk leading up to the house. The young man delivered them to the front door and rang the bell. Another quick movement in the curtains signaled the presence of someone inside, but no one answered the door. He left the papers and went on his way.
     The woman stood at an angle so she could observe the young man leave without being seen. When he didn't turn back after a few minutes she decided it was safe to retrieve the newspapers. This she did so quickly any observer wasn't sure the door had even been ajar.