A Different Love Story by
I remember the day I met my mistress clearly. It was love at first sight. When I
spotted her, I did everything I could to get her to look at me. I played it
cool, smiled and made eyes at her. Confidence works. She took one look at my
sleek, well muscled body, my brown eyes and long lashes, and she was hooked. We
went home together twenty minutes later. Neither of us ever looked back. We’ve
been committed to each other for six years.
Sure, I know what the others were saying, “Why him? What’s he got that we
haven’t got?” Nothing really. It was a matter of picking her out from the crowd
and focusing my powers to get her to cross the room and realize she was in love.
When Julie and I became partners for life, as I like to think of it, it was the
two of us against the world. Before you could say “Bob’s your uncle” we
established territory and routines. Come to think of it, maybe that’s why she
named me "Bob". She pays the bills and pampers me to the best of her ability; I do
all of the things she won’t do for herself.
Oh, you might think that I’ve got it easy and I don’t take my responsibilities
to her seriously. I do. Just because I’m a terrier-poodle mix doesn’t mean that
I don’t have responsibilities. For the last six years, I’ve protected her from
untold numbers of cats who wanted to use her flowers as a sandbox, numerous
newspapers that were in danger of being unopened and unread, and every delivery
person who has knocked on our door.
Formal Occasion by Alison
The dress was everything Sharon had ever dreamed of wearing for the occasion. A flowing, strapless gown of the deepest burgundy, it fit her perfectly, flattering her curves and accentuating her dark skin and eyes.
"I love it Mum!" she cried with delight as she twirled in front of the mirror.
"Oh now, be careful not to mess up your hair," Carrie smiled, hurrying over to carefully tuck back in a lock of mahogany hair that had escaped from her daughter’s elaborately piled curls.
A Happy New Year by
They were forecasting snow to begin at
7pm, and most of it was to be to the East and to the South of where
she lived. Still, Emma was concerned that her daughter and
son-in-law were in no hurry to leave as they were going to be
traveling North. Snow is unpredictable, as can be forecasters and,
besides, she was a Mom and Mom's worry.
A Jarful of Love by
Hillary dropped her rumpled gift bag
on the night stand as she unpacked her suitcase and stared at it,
willing it to change. A velvet box housing a pair of diamond
earrings would be nice. One of those pink and white packages full of
fancy lingerie from a certain lingerie shop would certainly make her
day. The present just sat there looking lifeless, a reminder that
things rarely turned out the way you planned it.
She looked around the cheap motel room, feeling the jagged collision
between old memories and her new life. The thin floral bedspread,
rough cotton sheets, ragged towels. So different from before. She
hung her inexpensive suits on the hangers in the corner and tucked
the rest of her clothes into the rickety dresser, lost in her
thoughts. Dreams. Where do they go? Gone was the house, the husband,
all the things she’s worked so hard for. Now in their place were a
room at her parent’s house and a job on the road. And bills. Lot’s
She glanced at her watch. Six p.m. If she were at home right now,
they would all be sitting at the kitchen table, eating the
hamburgers cooked especially for her. There would be corn on the
cob, fresh off the grill. Maybe some potato salad, too. And for
dessert, the girls would bring out her favorite fudge cake,
slathered in chocolate frosting. Her father would light the candles
while everyone sang "Happy Birthday". Hillary could hear the family
chorus from where she sat: the soft alto of her mother, her father's
off key base and the sweet soprano voices of her daughters.
Present for Angelia by
“I can’t remember, last I
had a present,” Angelia said.
The old rocker wheezed on beneath her. Down the narrow
road came a swirl of dust, twisting lazily in the hot
August sun. Angelia tilted her head, thinking.
“I know there was something ...”
From across the road, far back beneath a horizontal
tangle of hoary old live oaks and eglantine, came the
drawn-off cries of children. Angelia straightened and
turned her deep-set eyes toward the sound. The rocker
“Well I remember that day down in Rockville, you know
when we all got sent on with Mr. Thomas to see the
twilight dances. That was when he got the fever, you
know. Of course Misses Johnson always did say he weren’t
doin’ himself no good at all, stepping down in them
ditches with the field hands. I wasn’t so old then, but
I know she was right that time. I know she was ...”
Whalen (2,932 words)
"Can you meet me at lunchtime, Emma?
"Love to. See you at the usual place."
Emma sat on the park bench waiting for Brad, enjoying the fragrant
pink and white carnation display, the dappled patterns of swaying
gums on the path. Why did Brad want to see her? The phone call came
as a surprise but, after being together for three years, perhaps he
wanted to pop the question.
Brad strode over, grim-faced, his eyes evading hers, and flung
himself down beside her.
"I’m sorry, Emma, but it’s over."
She flinched, "What’s over?"
"I’ve met someone I want to marry."
Becky's Secret Joy by
Becky breathed in the strong scent of pine and wood, her hazel eyes looked forlornly through the sweeping branches out onto the rolling green pastures. The trunk of the towering pine trees offered her a place of safety, of comfort. She swept another tear from her eye with the back of her hand, reliving the nightmare.
Sheets by Kathyleen Rivera
And I love her. Despite the many rivals I have for her affection, I
completely love her. It is to me that she returns every night. It is my
arms that hold her tight.
Billy, Elvis and Jesus by
Christopher Woods (788 words)
Every morning, the same ritual. You
dust both photographs. Turn Billy’s face up again for another day
while the coffee brews. You look at Billy, then at Elvis. Outside
the sun is coming up.
You never give up. Not you. Yes, it has been eighteen years since
Billy walked out the door. That door. And ever since the door has
grown smaller and the world beyond it vast and mysterious. A cruel
kind of secret, maybe.
Billy, he never said boo. He left without a word. A light sleeper,
you would have heard him if he had a last word or two. You don’t
know where he went. He’s never called, never even dropped a
Skies by Christine
Walter pulled himself up from his chair. He shielded his eyes from the sun and peered toward the mountains. The bluest sky, not a cloud to be seen, not even a puff or a slight trail.
‘Norah, you there? Come on out here,’ he yelled, without turning round.
and a Good Night's Sleep
B. A. Llewellyn
Bob was unhappy. He
hated having to sleep. Every
night he was tucked into bed, and away from all the adventures
he wanted. He
hated it. Bob hated being tired.
couldn’t understand why his wonderful days had to end like this
... in bed. Being tired
meant being away from everyone and everything Bob loved. Being told to sleep meant he had to go sleep and no
asleep meant missing everything for the entire night!
Wootten (311 words)
This is a
true story about a dog named Bourbon.
Chick Secrets by
B. A. Llewellyn
Jung once said the meeting of two personalities is like the
contact of two chemical substances; if there is any reaction, both
are transformed. Which
means that all contact has the chance to be a profound and
uplifting experience. I
am a regular witness to this fact.
I have found that true love and magical moments regularly
touch our days, often in the most mundane circumstances.
by Debbie McCurry
lovers come in all shapes and sizes. Synce
this description. He
is a true blue bitser with various pedigrees
To look at him, some people would say he is cute in an
unusual sort of
Linda - Part 1 - Brief Encounter by Paul
Curtis (1,425 words)
Snow spattered, unseen, against the steamy glass
As the train rattled out of the station
It was a fairly crowded train, but not full
With weary shoppers, shopping bags bursting
And commuting workers the weeks work done
Journeying homeward at the dark days end
A cheerful crowd though
Pleased with themselves bright faced and hearty
Full of seasonal cheer anticipating the holiday
Linda - Part 2 - One Special Night
by Paul Curtis
I found myself stranded in a strange town
With less than a week to go before Christmas
Stranded two hundred miles from home
With a seriously ill car in the garage
And a lack of will to contemplate train travel
In truth I was in no hurry to return home
To the empty soulless house that once was home
But now held no comfort for me
Linda - Part 3 - From Eve to Eve by Paul
Curtis (2,314 words)
It was Christmas Eve and the house was decorated for the season
A large fresh cut tree stood in the corner and perfumed the room
Adorned by a myriad of assorted baubles and lights
Christmas cards of all shapes and sizes adorned every surface
And more hung on bright red and green ribbons from the picture rails
Bright coloured Christmas garlands hung gaily criss-crossing the ceiling
While outside through a break in the dark clouds
A shaft of week winter sunlight shone through the window
Reflecting off the garlands and painting random patterns on the walls
I sat watching TV in my favourite armchair in the front room
Of the house I shared with my wife and soul mate Linda
The woman I loved more then life itself
story is very beautiful but it does involve subject matter that some
people might find confrontational and upsetting.
Tothill (737 words)
Where the trees were - there are car wrecks. Arnold leaves the bike propped against the only bush on the common. He doesn’t put his lock on; he has nothing to secure it to. Only the bush, a prickly waving mass he doesn’t want to touch. Arnold, late sixties, is going over old haunts; his memory of this common land is fading and he wants to tick it off. He wants to set the scene; remember it. If he can.
He pulls an old felt hat over his face to take the glare of the sun away from his eyes and squints towards the far end. The end where he took Maisie when they started dating. He remembers their place - their hidey-hole - was opposite the church. He starts to walk towards the place he thinks it is.
Cottage Cheese by
“You’re a God Damned FOOL!!” my father thundered. He stood and stormed out of
the coffee shop. I suppose the other patrons stopped eating and watched. I was
too stunned to notice.
When I say, “stormed,” I mean it. My father didn’t drizzle. He didn’t rain. He
He was a huge man. Towering, he was built like a solid oak door. But he moved
with the grace of a ballroom dancer.
His hair, kept dark with Grecian Formula, was short and slicked straight back.
It gleamed like onyx. But he had “cow eyes”.
His body was toughened from years of hard physical work. His arms were like
pistons. His hands were like calloused dinner plates. They could swat your ass
so hard your eyes watered and your nose ran. Or they could stroke your head so
tenderly that you fluoresced with pride.
He was Odin, Thor, Zeus. And when he bellowed, walls shook.
So, I guess the other patrons noticed.
Pete and Ellie teased each other about the conch shell for months, their
laughter rippling warmly through the calm waters of their loving relationship.
The huge shell came from the charity shop where Ellie worked as deputy manager.
From the state it had been in when she first saw it, she guessed that the
previous owner had used it as a flowerpot. Deciding it was unsellable the
manager had dropped it onto the forlorn pile of rejects, but later that day
Ellie rescued it and brought it home to the flat.
While Pete watched, she attacked it with a bottlebrush and the pearly pink
beauty of the shell’s interior emerged - gleaming, from the crust of filth that
had covered it. Pete was amazed at the transformation; he told her she was lucky
to find it, because conch shells were collectors items and usually very
expensive. She placed the shell, carefully, in the middle of the mantelshelf,
under the gold-framed mirror and each day her morning face was reflected above
it, as she hurriedly made up for work. They got into the habit of tucking their
lottery tickets into it for luck.
Pete searched the Web to find out where the shell might have come from and
printed out some pages for her. The pictures showed an opulent holiday home in
the Bahamas called Conch'd Out, promising views of the ocean, "from every room".
The dreaming island of Eleuthera floated, pink-sanded, in the clear sparkling
loveliness of Caribbean waters. Ellie laughed at him, and looked at the printout
of a Needle by
Well, Kade was a good cook, a really very good one. So much that everyone marvelled, wondering if he was a woman in man’s skin. You know when a man can cook better than a woman, he could be an aspirant for the throne of a kitchen goddess. Anyway, Jade was worse than Kade, doing far more badly. I mean he was more stupid and lazy than a pig on a vacation.
Manuela Francesca Yee (1,147 words)
In their dilapidated $60 per
week flat, Confusion propped the window sash open on an old
brick, like a drained eye built of matchsticks. She gazed,
not at the grey sky but, at the few lacklustre coins that
rested in her palm. Four times, Confusion counted and still
only two dollars and ninety seven cents. That’s all she’d
saved and tomorrow loomed her wedding anniversary to
Stillness. Slumping on the ragged couch that doubled as
their bed, all Confusion could do was weep, inconsolably.
This was the first time she’d cried since marrying her
Footprints On My Heart
Ngaire Hart (313 words)
Fourteen minutes after my grandson’s
birth, the phone rang and I heard his cry. That special sound tugged
at my heart. I felt a lump in my throat. Tears of joy tickled down
my cheeks. Emotions welled up so strong and unexpected. I could feel
love oozing out of all my pores. A child of my child, how fantastic.
I felt an invisible thread pulling me towards the hospital.
I saw a perfect head of blonde hair, and a tiny button nose peaked
out of the standard-issue, hospital towel he was wrapped in. I held
him close. His mother watched me watch him. I gave him a special
green bear to love. He opened his eyes and mouth, as he looked at
the bear. My gift of love, a physical gift for him to cuddle even
Grandmother by Asther Bascuña-Creo
“I miss Lola, Mum,” my five-year-old Anya said woefully, referring to her grandmother who was in another country.
She was echoed by her three-year-old sister Thea who had gotten bored of her activity book and was looking sadly out the window. Out on the street, the trees swayed as the wind howled. It was not a pretty sight for children who had grown up amidst the tropical climate, where the sun was almost always out, and where everyday was ideal for outdoor play.
“Me too, darling,” I said, swallowing a sob that was caught in my throat.
Ugly, she thought. Ugly, ugly, ugly. Standing in the mirror she did not like what she saw. Long crooked toes. Fat white thighs that wobbled when she breathed. A stomach that looked as though the only thing she ate was beer. Tiny little mole hills, no way they could sustain life she mused. Turkey skin arms. Big brown freckles splotched wherever they felt the need to congregate. Pasty white skin. Uneven lips.
by Ronda Del Boccio
When I moved to the Ozarks, I never imagined that the magical land would have magical inhabitants. Nor would I ever have guessed that one of the creatures, right out of myths and fairy tales, would befriend me – and annoy me!
How Did You Know? by
“How did you know?” the man asked the
elderly woman seated across the scarred kitchen table from him. They
were a juxtaposition at every level. He was tall, muscular, full of
life. She was older, a little hunched, flabby, and exuded a quiet
“Know what?” she asked.
“That Uncle Matt was the one.”
by Annette Hunter
I sit on the headland, the soft grass below, the warm sun
above. I look out over the ocean, waves beating against the rocks below. I have sat here many times before in this very same spot, in the same town that I grew up in, the same town that my mother grew up in, and I remember.
Search of Romance by Shelley Banks
In the corner of the café two people sat in uncomfortable silence. The first date wasn’t going as well as they’d both hoped. Occasionally one of them spoke and the other replied but then they became silent again. They didn’t have much in common and neither seemed interested in getting to know the other better. But something kept them there. Maybe it was fate.
Lines in the Snow
by Gary Kemble (1,357
As the days grew longer, so did the look of longing in her eyes. I’m an old man
so I can see these things, but Jack missed it, the poor fool. He was too busy
thinking about picking a ring in Jonestown and whether Pip Sullivan’s barn would
be big enough for the reception. Lucy, meanwhile, was eyeing the sleigh she’d
rode in on, watching the blanket of snow on Main Street growing thinner each
I was over at the stables, sweeping up, the morning she left. He ran out of his
store wearing nothing but his long johns and jumped out into the street, barely
noticing the snow biting his toes. He held his hand over his eyes like a sun
visor and stared at those two lines in the snow, like railroad tracks, heading
Love Potion by
When I was just a little girl I realised that my Grandmother was a
I was heavily into stories about Snow White and Sleeping Beauty at
the time so that may have been what tipped me off.
Read More ...
Love Will Burst
Your Heart by
Pierrino Mascarino (554 words)
"Go-or-or do," sung cinnamon-skinned,
pretty, little Graciela up to Gordo through the sputtering smoke of
his sizzling sausage cart.
"Por favor," said Gordo, squeezing onto his grill yet another floppy
bacon-wrapped-sausage; “don’ go calling me Gordo no more, I been
rebajaing my weights."
“But I bring you flores,” Graciella whispered in a tender, husky
voice, through Gordo’s popping sputters, holding her vase-bouquet of
yellow ranunculus, purple anemones, crimson poppies, blinking her
jet black eyes.
"Para mi," he said, "you bring? For why?"
"Saying ‘I love you’, you silly Gordo," stamping her foot and moving
her flowers out of the grease sputters.
"Love? Now? Gotta sell salchiche this morning. If I don't sell, are
dey any no good manana?"
"What you are den yourself?" Graciella demanded, "(cough cough) una
bestia, who don't got no eyes for seeing de mujer here que te quere?"
"Who dis womans who loves me?"
Kathy’s dad is with us from
Saskatchewan, Canada. Bill is 84 and we are lucky he can still visit
us, as he has most years since we’ve been married. We lost Betty,
Kathy’s mom, over ten years ago.
We drove to the Piatti Locali restaurant in Danville in two vehicles
- not enough seat belts for all of us in one. Our daughter, Liz,
drove our son, Scott, and his girlfriend, Sylvia, in one car. I
drove Bill and Kathy. It is her birthday.
I remember when we met. It was the 4th of July 1975. I’d come into
Belize City from the ranch.
I’d been in Belize since October 1974, when I arrived with my
family, Jay and Jeannie, my sister Erin, and brothers Mike and Matt.
I’d agreed to help them relocate to Gold Button Ranch to work on Roy
Carver’s 20,000 land development project.
My family had rented a house in Belize City on A Street. Jeannie set
up housekeeping there so we had a place in the city.
Jeannie had met a number of people in the city including Jack and
Eve Garden. Jack was a retired RAF pilot and ran the USDA certified
meat-packing plant, an important asset to market beef production
from the ranch.
Jeannie told me, “Pat, when I was at the Gardens, I met a really
delightful, young woman - Kathy Scott. She is a Canadian and works
on the Canadian Aid project to bring water and sewerage systems to
Belize City. I think you’d like her.”
In you, I see everything that is sought but very rarely found, hunted but very rarely captured, craved but very rarely satiated. You possess a rare gem, whose captivating sparkle is only seen by a select few. When my eye catches yours, I melt, the world stops, time slows down, I am entranced, nothing else matters, just you.
Day by Tom
There’s things in the attic, fifteen years old, twenty, or more, cobweb-tangled, dirt-roughened, dust-smeared, never-forgotten. There’s things in the attic which mean nothing to anyone but me. There’s things in the attic, rising above it all.
You, you’re there. Your breath, your spores, droplets of vapour crystallised, hanging in the air untouched, unbreathed since you last clumped up the ladder with a torch in your hand and a cancer in your gut.
Than I Deserve by Billy
Success is an insatiable want. Its victories are euphoric,
its defeats disastrous. It is a small, seven letter word that can
only truly be defined inside each one of us individually.
The path to achieving it, in our minds, is clear, but
it’s the intangibles that test our will. Failure is its shadow,
always lurking close behind.
My Favourite Place by
I feel calm here, relaxed and happy. The air is filled with a sweet aroma, not a
manufactured scent but a fresh, natural perfume, impossible to bottle.
It isn’t a big space and not small either, I would describe it as ‘cosy’. It
nestles comfortably between wide, open fields to the left and red brick houses
to the right.
It is a haven, my own respite from the world, I sing at the top of my voice
here, from joy, from the sheer happiness of just being here. I can laugh so
loudly tears run freely down my face. And, more than anything I am loved here. I
feel love envelope me and swirl around me whilst I am here. I love here.
When I arrive and glance up I am greeted by the sight of beautiful green grass,
sometimes cropped short, too short. Other times left to grow wild, not in a
magical, delicate way but in a natural, harmonious way.
I never walk over this grass, instead I love to walk around and crunch across
the gravel laid thickly to one side. The gravel, once lovingly raked flat, now
lays, almost forgotten, in waves like the sea in a storm. Pushed up into tiny
rocky mounds and leaving other patches bare and scared by the marks from tiny
My Own Prince Charming by
I have two
great loves in my life, I think. There is the man I married
and with whom I share the suburban dream. You know the one:
2.3 kids, house, picket fence, dinner by six every night.
The man I married loves me more than I have ever thought of
loving him. He does anything and everything in his powers to
bring me what happiness he can, but it isn’t enough, we both
know it but never talk about it.
Then there is the love of my life. We have limited time
together, but when we are alone together I know that I love
him far more than he loves me. He has the most perfect
smile, it lights up his entire face and you can see joy
coming out of every part of his body. People have no problem
telling when I have had quality time with “him”, but it is
hard to get to be alone with him and, when we are, it is
stolen time. The kind of time where there are whispers of
promises in the dark, sighs and soft touching.
How did I get here? Who is to
blame? I blame it all on Walt Disney and the Brothers Grimm;
they are both responsible for the state of my marriage. Ok,
I know I really can’t blame them for it, but my marriage
feels so empty of what every little girl dreams about. We
all know the dream, the one of the unattainable Prince
Charming, the one true love of my life.
No Hidden Heart by Dion J. Crowe
I stared with overwhelming despair
through a small glass window in a door.
"The doctors say her catatonia hasn’t improved," said the nurse
standing next to me.
I nodded slowly.
"She doesn’t seem to be responding to the drugs we’ve given. There’s
a part of her that won’t accept our treatment. There’s new drugs
being trialled but our only other option is to try electroconvulsive
I shook my head, "No, no! We’re not going to hook my wife up to
electrodes and shock her body, okay? That’s not an option."
"It’s the only way she’ll recover from her mental degrading," said
I raised my index finger up to the nurse and said clearly, "Look, I
don’t care what you want to do. The fact is she’s my wife and you
are not convulsing her body with electricity."
The nurse sighed. "Well, what do you think we should do then?"
I ran my hand through my hair and thought hard on it.
"Let me talk to her."
Oh, Carol, I Am But A Fool by Norma
Jean Kawak (2,980 words)
Carol … I am But a Fool." I still hear Neil Sedaka
occasionally singing that song on the radio, a chord that never
fails to delve deep into my memory reminding me of a story about
love and courage, but mostly about human endurance in a society
which seeks self righteousness from its benevolence.
It all began many years ago when Brisbane was still struggling with
its image of a being just a big country town. My sister, Barbara,
and I left our home in Brisbane seeking the excitement of big city
Sydney. With suitcases in hand and a head full of dreams we headed
straight from Sydney Central railway station to the Salvation Army
Hostel for Women in Paddington, a place we knew would provide us
with the cheapest accommodation in Sydney.
I had the dream again, for the first time in ages. The one where I’m running away. It’s so vivid I can feel my heart thumping out of time as I grab a suitcase and stuff it with clothes. I open the front door and step outside. The smell of fresh air fills me with hope and I start walking towards golden sunshine. I don’t know where I’m heading but it doesn’t matter because I’m free.
As I reach the end of the road dense clouds gather, heavy with rain. Invisible arms drag me back and I battle something shapeless pressing against my chest.
I wake up exhausted, sensing chaos, and hear a crash from the living room. Blundering out of bed I stumble downstairs.
Lyell (464 words)
The sun was low, nestled amongst the wind tossed clouds that obscured a perfect horizon. Haphazard shards of intense pink, orange and red pierced the sky, swirling in a multitude of colour. Sprinkled over the deep blue blanket, crisp white triangles floated serenely. A cool breeze curled its fingers around her hair, sending it flying in various directions. She attempted to tame it, encaging it with a thick elastic band. The air was suffocated with the sweet nectar of bird song and the occasional pierce of cicadas basking themselves in the suns first rays, on the limbs of the large trees.
Rainbow Bridge by Unknown and B. A. Llewellyn
Dedicated to our Darlin'
and all people who adore their pets.
this side of heaven is a wonderful place called Rainbow
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone
here on Earth, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
Do you remember getting dressed in front of an electric fire; when your legs burned and your skin went red and blotchy?
Do you remember waking in the morning, the windows frosted over – you blew on them and the frost would melt and you wrote my name in the mist?
Do remember when I toasted crumpets on a fork from the heat of the fire, spread marge over them and yours dripped over your school shirt and I had to rinse it? Do you remember? It was the first meal I made. My first time cooking for you.
So Badly by Dion J. Crowe
In the dark of night, with the rain falling down her face, she stares out of a
lone-lit bedroom window. She looks up to the stars, with rain on the window
tracing mirror images of the tears running down her face.
In the lamp light, on the street, staring back up to the window, I’m wishing all
my possible love to her soul. A serenade in silence as it will forever be from
now on. I can be here for you now only in shadow.
Take the things we took for granted and remember them for all that we knew. Long
love on hot summers days, we ran in fields of grass and laughter. I’d catch and
fall with you, roll in each other’s arms and share the spark in our eyes. It’s
the days that grew, seemingly endless, in memory and now, forever, they shall
Kiss the kids "goodnight", keep them safe and warm. Let their dreams not be sad
but full of adventure that only a young soul can discover. It’s for them you
need to be strong and, if strength seeps out, then see my smile in them and let
it keep you walking. I’m only a step behind.
Till Death do us Part
The machine that measured his heartbeat was the only noise in the cold antiseptic hospital room. For days he had hung on, his grasp on life tenuous, his conscious mind had retreated inside itself to prepare for death.
She had sat beside him, holding his hand knowing that on some level he would be able to sense her presence.
The Bouquet by Carl Palmer
There I was, Valentine’s Day, 7PM,
at the florist. Even with the reminder note sitting on my
passenger seat, I didn’t notice it again until I’d pulled into
my garage, after driving home from work a few minutes earlier. I
restarted the car immediately and rushed out to buy flowers.
Arriving home empty-handed on Valentine’s Day would be bad
enough, but it’s also our 40th wedding anniversary.
The small flower store is crowded with anxious, flustered men,
obviously lovers, boyfriends and husbands, like me, no different
than the ones on any late Christmas Eve shopping for their last
minute gifts, also like me.
Read More ...
The Coffee Shop by
Pat Tyrer (788 words)
As they walked hand-in-hand along the cobblestone street of the
plaza, he spotted a small coffee shop tucked in between two stores
now closed for the evening.
“Do you want to get out of the rain?” he asked.
“It’s not raining” she replied.
“It might rain,” he said.
Day I Re-Met My Father by Rebekah
Sunlight streams rudely through a gap in my curtain. The smell of fresh cut grass and freesias too sweet for the morning. My eyes struggle open, finally alighting on the only photo of my Father and I.
She is in the kitchen. Her angelic voice twinkling up the stairs and twirling under my door. The static from the small radio is barely audible over her. She sounds happy.
The Elevator Angel
by B. A. Llewellyn
She walked gracefully into
his world at the tenth floor.
The First Word by
There they are, the three of them, together on the grass, Mother and Father
looking down at Baby. The sunlight comes down through the leaves of a tree and
speckles the grass, the blanket, Baby’s face. The sun is bright and warm, and it
kisses the backs of Mother’s and Father’s necks and their t-shirts and the
ground. There are clouds in the sky, big white cotton-ball clouds, the type that
used to make Father so happy he’d feel like a water balloon with too much water,
distended, bobbing from the faucet, filled up to the bursting with all those
thoughts that now seemed so naïve and youthful, to him. But he doesn't see the
clouds, only feels them, in breaks of sunlight on his neck.
Gift of Freedom by B. A. Llewellyn
Many years ago I read about
the charming Asian custom of giving a
recently caged dove or pigeon as a special
Symbolically, the bird and the gift’s recipient are
spiritually joined to
one another, giving the bird’s ability to fly special
Traditionally, the new
bird-owner releases their birthday present, soon after receiving it.
They know that by giving freedom to their bird, they are giving freedom
to themselves. The newly released,
and their releaser, are emotionally bonded.
Together, they fly away from all their fears and worries.
Together, they draw a little closer to heavenly bliss.
It is meant to be a deeply spiritual moment, and a profound reminder of
our connection with all forms of life, and with life itself.
I gave my first pigeon to the
strong, forceful and beguiling woman who had become my mother figure.
It was her birthday. She was
delighted by the symbolism of her present.
She wanted to feel some of that symbolic freedom straight away.
She insisted on releasing the pigeon immediately.
We walked to the local park,
which was under the pylons of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
We were both delighted by the dramatic setting, and our own sense of
celebration. My friend opened the
small cage with all the aplomb of an opening night.
Great Dunny Disaster by
You know those days when things are just so
dull, and you’re trying to read a comic or do a puzzle, but everything is just too quiet and you can count on it that something dreadful has just got to happen? Well, this is about one of those days.
I had only two brothers then, and a little sister who was so soft-fingered and so powdery, milky smelling that she can have no place in this story. It is about my hard, warty-fingered, brown, dusty smelling brothers, covered in boy-germs and completely yucky. And it’s about me. I was a girl with short red pigtails then, and I was eleven. Warren was nine and Peter was seven.
by B. A. Llewellyn
The little girl
snuggled into the lounge chair with her new-found soul mate,
“Will you tell me the stories? The ones you’ve made up first.
That star over there?
The green one? Can
you see it? Near that
big, bright one? Do
you know its story?”
The House Guest by Paul
Curtis (12,154 words)
Chestnut Cottage is a rather
quaint, Tudor thatched dwelling with its white walls and black oak timbers, rose covered lych-gate and a wishing well in the garden. It is very much the
stereo typical “chocolate box” image of an English country cottage.
It’s in a fairly remote area situated at the end of Vicarage Lane, some half a
mile from the church and about a mile from Appleby village itself.
My name is Harry Tyler and I lived in the cottage for more than twenty years and,
by the time summer came to an end, I had been in residence another eight months
after I died.
Not in a physical sense, my body did not lie undiscovered, decomposing in my
armchair; I was found and dealt with in the proper manner.
At the time I was happy enough to die though I took no hand in it, I hasten to
add. I died of natural causes.
The last year of my life was a mere existence after the death of my dear wife,
We had no children of our own and what other family that were left, we were not
Rose and I had been happily married for 47 years. We retired to Appleby
village and we had such a nice life together. She was my conduit to the world;
she was the interface that connected me to people. After she was gone, it was
like being stranded in a foreign land without a translator.
To find myself alone in the world, at the age of seventy four, filled me with
dread so I withdrew into the safety of the cottage and became very reclusive, only venturing out when I had to.
When I died, I thought I would be reunited
with my Rose again. But I remained in the cottage and she was nowhere to be
I spent every day confined to the cottage and garden, the same prison I confined
myself to before I died.
In many ways it was no different to when I was alive except I didn’t have to
eat or drink. Nor did I have to wash or comb my hair or trim my beard and, of
course, I didn’t feel anything. I was exactly as I was when I died … a fat, old
man with white hair and a beard, wearing the same clothes I had on when I
breathed my last.
I hoped to God I didn’t have to spend eternity wearing that awful red jumper. I
hated that jumper. The only reason I was wearing it at all was that my
favourite one was still damp and I didn’t want to catch a chill. If I had
realised I was going to pop my clogs anyway, I would have worn the other one.
Job by Neva
I watched as the car slowly pulled out of the drive and onto the dusty track that led into town. Abe waved, he waved each time he drove off but this time it was different. Abe had a job, he’d been to see Mr. Stokes and he’d agreed to give him a go.
Letter by Dion J. Crowe
A refrigerator hums in the background. It’s my only companion. The lounge room is still, the bedrooms and kitchen, they too are still. Nothing moves but dust motes in stuffy air.
An empty house is a lonely house.
I stand and walk into the lounge. Above the fireplace are pictures of Judy and me – windows into past memories. They are Judy’s proof of life.
Remember, Judy, photos taken that day in Queenstown, New Zealand, when we swished on skis down mountain slopes?
Man of Straw by Dion J. Crowe
Alva stirred the pot as she gazed out of her kitchen window at the white surroundings, clear sky and frozen ground. Tall trees grew heavy with the weight of snow on their branches. Grey boulders had white caps. Tall grass that grew in summer was now buried under snow. The stream that tinkled over smooth pebbles was now iced over. Everything that once had life was now covered in a bleak colour. Alva couldn’t help but feel the same.
A hand made from straw placed itself upon Alva’s shoulder. Alva patted it as she turned to the man of straw.
"It’s okay, my love. I’m just thinking."
The Snow Angels by Paul
It had been an amazing year,
a life changing year, a year never to be forgotten, beginning with love at first
sight and ending with a miracle.
It all began, of course, as all years do, on New Year’s Day. You might think
that very little occurs, let alone starts, on New Year’s Day as everyone is
either nursing a hangover or is just too tired to even contemplate participation
in anything very much at all. Now, that may well be true for some, but not for
For me, New Year’s Day is no different to any other day of the year … after all,
isn’t every day the first day of another year? You might deduce from this that
if I have such disdain for the first day of the year that my feeling for the
last day of the old year might be likewise, and you would be right.
I am, and always have been, a Christmas person, I love every aspect of that
season … but New Years Eve has always left me cold. In fact, I dislike every
thing about it. I hate the crowded pubs, the noisy house parties, “old lang syne”,
first footing and, of course, the bloody fireworks.
I always spent the evening with likeminded people, namely, my younger brother,
Greg, eating Chinese takeaway and watching DVDS. We would prefer to go out to
eat but, to go anywhere decent, you have to book at Easter.
On the other hand, my friends, Dave and his wife, Emma, loved New Years Eve but
didn’t celebrate it for quite different reasons. Dave worked shifts as a porter
at the local hospital. He’d been there since he left school, which was nearly
fifteen years. It didn’t pay well but he really loved it. As a family man he
always managed to trade shifts so he had Christmas off but subsequently he
always had to work New Years Eve.
Emma was a housewife or homemaker, or domestic goddess, or whatever the pc speak
is. She had worked at the hospital as well until she fell pregnant with their
first child. Now they had three boys, all under 5 years old, so she never had
So, with all those in mind who do not participate in the Old years night rituals
either by design, as in my case, or by circumstance, as with Dave and Emma, I
set the scene for this tale. With all that said, let’s get back to the beginning
of the story, the start of that amazing year.
Time In The Sand
Ngaire Hart (871 words)
A wave of desolation overcame her. Had
it really been 12 months since her darling Donald had died? This was
the first time she’d visited the beach and the holiday house they
had both shared. The memories were overwhelming she ran outside and
didn’t stop until she reached the surf’s edge. The white foamy waves
were lapping at her toes. Her onyx eyes innocent and trusting
starring out to sea. She wished life could be pre-packaged so that
she could have it all.
With Donald she thought she did. They were high school sweethearts.
They had a house that they’d turned into a home and were planning on
having a family. But that hadn’t happened and now it never would.
Donald was dead. They had waited too long wrapped up in themselves
believing they had all the time in the world to have babies. She was
only 36 years old and they had known each other for 20 years. No
blonde babies would be born. No teenage daughter or having to deal
with a tattooed boyfriend. Donald wouldn’t age, get wrinkled or have
grey hair. There would be no midlife crisis to overcome. No twilight
years or caravanning around Australia.
Irene had that all ahead of her, alone. She was depressed. Down in
the dumps. Suicide wasn’t an option. She was scared of pain. She was
stronger than the pain she was feeling. She just needed a moment to
remember all the good times they had shared.
Sweet the Wine by Tony Williams
The drowned fly bobbed in the wine, halfway down the bottle.
“Ten thousand to one,” Alisa said, holding the bottle up. “On second thoughts, look at the size of this restaurant. Make that a million to one.”
“I dunno,” I said. “I count only six other couples besides us. And look at this wine, a Venus flytrap if ever I saw one. Five hundred to one – tops!”
Two Gifts by Norma
As we get older there are
certain gifts which, given or received as a child, stand out in our
memories for a variety reasons.
The gift I was given and treasured most was a doll named Patsy. She
wasn’t originally mine but was my younger sister’s Christmas gift,
but on holding Patsy I immediately fell in love with her and
couldn’t bear to part with her. Luckily, my sister was quite happy
to exchange dolls. From then on Patsy was defiantly my baby and I
continued to love her dearly and would have died for her ... that
was until I received a real live baby in the form of a little
sister. Overnight, Patsy mysteriously turned into being just a doll.
I was on my way to the Children’s Saturday matinee at the local
cinema when I happened to stop to look in the window of the gift
shop at the corner of our street. There were lovely fair-isle
knitted gloves, pretty flowered handkerchiefs, rose patterned
teacups and saucers, and fancy padded coat hangers, all in pretty
boxes. Seeing all these lovely gifts reminded me that it would soon
be my Mother’s Day and my mother’s birthday. Wouldn’t it be nice, I
thought, if I could give my mother something really special,
something I’d bought myself? So I ventured inside and asked about
one item I was sure my mother would love.
I was living on the streets when he found me – dirty, scruffy, half-starved – eating out of dustbins – sleeping where I could find a warm corner.
I don’t know what he was doing in that poorly lit alley on that dark night, but it was to my advantage because he felt sorry for me and took me home with him.
Don’t get the wrong idea – he’s an honourable man. Didn’t expect anything from me except companionship, and not even that at first. He just wanted to look after me, feed me up and get me back on my feet.
When Love Strikes by
Wisneski (1,842 words)
“You don’t look right.”
Bill turned his head to the left, cocked his chin up, tightened his
lips, and gave an evil stare at the woman who just said that to
him. Who did this woman think she was? Talking like that to a
“This is why I don’t walk to work,” Bill thought to himself, “Nuts.
These people are all nuts.”
“I know you heard me,” the woman said again.
Bill grabbed his tie and pulled it. He hated the thought of talking
to someone and not having his tie perfectly aligned.
“Do I know you?” Bill said to the woman. “Now, before you open your
mouth again, why don’t you stop for a minute and think. You
shouldn’t talk to people you don’t know. But since we are talking
now, want to know something funny?”
“I’d love nothing more,” the woman replied.
The blue, stained-glass windows dimmed the moon, making
an eerie cross-pattern on the floor. From nods to winks,
the faithful came to pay their respects, obeying the
call, among lavish saints painted on emblazoned glass, a
stintless attempt at glorifying the Lord. My mother
responded in kind to their cares, griefs and guile but I
found no burning faith among the enkindled crowd or the
votive candles. The dark casket that held my father
reflected a solitary light that seemed to dangle in
Was Wednesday by Christine
We are walking away from school; his jumper over his shoulder, his shirt hanging out the back of his trousers.
"Nanny, you look like my
friend," he says. He jumps up onto a garden wall and walks along the top of it. A man with a grumpy looking face opens the front door and glares at Harry.