Finish the Story, Nov #1

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Are You Coming Over?

The table was set just as it had been for more than sixty years. The place settings grew from two to thirteen in the early years, but for more than forty years, it had been set for two. Marjorie sat at the table and lightly spread orange marmalade on her toast and looked out into the backyard that was once filled with laughter. Now, snow was starting to fall on long silent echos of the past. She looked across the table at the empty place setting. A silent tear trickled down her cheek.

When she was finished with her morning toast and glass of water, she washed her dishes, put everything away, and listened to the silence. The birds had left weeks earlier and her neighbor poisoned all the squirrels, so it was very quiet now. There used to be ten families of squirrels that would eat, chatter, run, and play all year long in her garden. Their happiness attracted the winter birds to the garden. She and Bill would sit for hours holding hands and watching the animals play as their child once had.

All was silent now. Their children all grown and long since moved away. Henry and Francis were lost in the war, cancer took Sally, and Benjamin was too busy with his children. She understood. That was the way life worked. Still, it would be nice to hear from him once in a while. She was so tired of the quiet. So very tired.

A light knock on the door caught her by surprise.

“Just a moment,” she called out.

When she opened the door, a little girl in a white summer dress stood on her door step and shivered.

“Goodness,” Marjorie said, “Who are you, and why are you out here in the cold without a coat?”

The girl rubbed her arms and said, …

To Be Continued


For this first journey into November, I am tagging Mws R Writings.

Rules

  1. Copy the story as it appears when you receive it (and the rules please)
  2. Add somehow to the story in which ever style and length you choose
  3. Be sure to pingback or comment on the original post (here) please
  4. Tag only 1 person to continue the story
  5. Have fun!
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Make it Stop

Emily woke up her normal, happy self. Jumped in the shower, then got ready for work. That’s when it decided to join her. She didn’t know why, but it was there. She tried to ignore it, but it just would not go away. The first part of her shift at the First National Bank flew by because of it, but then when it wouldn’t go away, it just got annoying. Nothing she did helped. Her coworkers, upon hearing of her problem, tried everything they could to make it go away, but nothing worked. Finally, after a long day at work, she stopped by her favorite coffee house where the local band had started their nightly set. She hoped it would work, but it didn’t. Nothing helped. Frustrated and defeated, she went home and changed into her pajamas. It was with her when she brushed her teeth, and when she took make up off. It was even with her when she laid down to try to go to sleep. It would be gone in the morning, she told herself. And it was…sort of. Yesterday’s ear worm had been replaced by a new one.


 

My two most common ear worms:

 

What are yours?

Where Did It All Go

Walking hand in hand, exploring the world.

Time enough for eternity, possibilities unfurled.

Dreams ahead, paving the way.

Hand in hand, neither led astray.

Time passed, dreams in shatter.

Only memories, how easily they scatter.

What once was two, now only one.

On our own, cannot be outrun.

Nullified dreams rest, greet the new sun.

Dreams reformed, a new life begun.

Life’s Not A Competition

Life is not a competition, her grandfather would say when driving down the road and an out-of-towner would blast their horn and yell or flip him off when they passed. He would simply wave and smile.

Life is not a competition, he would say while waiting in line at the grocery store while others tapped their feet, looked at their watches, or counted items while grumbling about what people in front of them bought. He would simply wait patiently, then smile at the cashier and say, “Have a nice day. Thank you,” when they were done.

Life sure seemed like a competition to her though. If she earned a ninety-five on a test, someone earned a hundred. If she read a book, someone had to read two. If she wrote one story, someone wrote six. No, life was most certainly a competition — and she was losing.

“You either get with the program, or you get left behind,” her mother would say.

“It’s a dog-eat-dog world, and you better be ready,” her father would say.

“Colleges only want the best,” her brother would say.

Wasn’t there always only one best at a time, she wondered. Can you really have two top scorers in the game? What about the other players who made those scores possible — don’t they matter as well?

“No one cares about them,” her brother would say as he put on his football uniform.

“They’re wannabes,” her father would say.

“They’re all jealous,” her mother would say.

Funny. When she watched the game from the stands with her family, she saw lots of people on the field all working toward the same goal — to win.

As she grew older and watched as her mother, father, and brother all played in the competition of life, the more she thought her grandfather was right. Life was not a competition. It was a marathon of sunrises and sunsets, first snowfalls and last icicles clinging on to winter. It was a game where the losers gained the most, and the winners competed for express passes to the top.

Her brother was the first to stamp his express ticket when he believed he could compete against a midnight train. Then her mother punched hers when she became enraged at a man who cut her off a mile before her exit and had to show him who was going to be the first on the off ramp. Her father found his express ticket at the bottom of a bottle of pills after he was passed over for a promotion at work. It didn’t matter to him if he knew nothing of marketing and promotions. He had to be the best.

Her grandmother and grandfather went together just as they had hoped. After their funeral, she moved to the old farm and enjoyed a marathon life full of laughter and tears, songs and stories. Taking it nice and slow — after all, life’s not a competition.