In The Park
Angie positioned on the bench in the park, watched the double handful of gosling waddle behind their mother toward the edge of the lake to go for a swim. This was the peaceful hour of the early morning. To swim among the reeds to forage for their breakfast.
Alexander. Wrapped warmly in a rug sat in his pram. He chuckled. Clapped his hands. Pleasure sparkled from his bronze coloured eyes. His pleasure turned to pain when the gosling disappeared from his vision. Tears dribbled down his toffee coloured cheeks. Angie leaned forward to lift him from the pram to console him. She wiped away his tears with the edge of the rug.
Frank sat on the ground beneath a huge tree watching all the early morning people commune with nature. He doubled over with pain in his gut. Pain from the cancer in his body was like a tapeworm making its way through the cells turning his brain to mush. Frank wished the end would hurry so there was no more suffering in his life. He tried to focus his mind to overcome the havoc cancer caused his body. He leaned back against the tree his thoughts returning to the past when his body had been clear from pain. Free of cancer.
Cam. Not wanting to see his father suffer through another day, armed with a battery of high powered solicitors waving writs, marched up the steps of the family home. A couple of policemen were with them to make sure not one of the group took the matter of the law into their own hands to make Frank go into hospital for treatment. Cam paced the porch between knocks on the door while he waited for his father to come to the door.
Trinkle. Frank's other son didn't possess a legal mind. He lived by his wit. He'd advised his father to go out before the troops arrived to badger him into changing his mind. With his mind on other projects, Trinkle, was never sure where he was suppose to be. Or what he should be doing. He left the house not long after his father leaving Cam to cool his heels.
Wind gushed in from the bay. Sails whipped on the masts of the ships. Angie listened to the singing noise caused by the wind lulling her for a moment. The moment of silence was broken by a loud noise.
The noise approached the park The sound rose in volume from the whining noise of a motor bike. Chuck revved the engine of the motor bike to jump the gutter on the edge of the street to reach the park. He didn't know why he'd picked the park to release his pent-up emotions. In agony of the words Cole had used, Chuck had to admit his friend had used hard love to explain how he saw the problem. His boss at the science lab had voiced the same opinion. Now. The Day of Reckoning had come. He had put this in action several months ago. His boss had forced him to take a very long holiday. Everyone had warned him about, burnout. He hadn't listened. He thought he knew what was best for him.
Chuck didn't know his fatal decision would end like that. What had he done wrong. But that was the way his life would be from now on. The memory of what had happened would stay with him forever.
The lack lustre voice of dull, old Seaforth, glided into their minds like a tide of slow moving molasses. There he stood on his soapbox droning on about drugs. In verse. To listen to his version about love no one would attempt to fall in love. The world was a horrible place to live according to his expressions of love. Death. War. Everyone were sinners sucking all the energy from life. Seaforth's glazed eyes told their own story. He was stoned out of his mind taking all the colour from the universe.
Every where was dark. Darkness. Seaforth lived in a black hole. To him. He had no option but to sink further in the stinking mire till his life ended. He'd then be at peace. He'd no longer have to try to surface above a dead man walking.
Angie stiffened imperceptibly at the words spoken by this man. He didn't witness this because his sight didn't see much further than the end of his nose. She felt sorry for him. She prayed another mother wouldn't have to listen to this man sprout words in the future. Her son, Alexander, she hoped, would travel along a different brighter path.
Lily made her way across the path. No make-up. Only strong black, long lines where her eyebrows once had been. Her back ridged. Her face stern. Her body moved gracefully telling of better days. Lily's countenance cold but quite beautiful even without make-up. She was a complicated person. Always busy searching for objects to make her deserted tunnel a home. Was needy for money to pay for her food, and clothes. She presented more like a onion than a banana. She wore many layers of clothes so no one could steal them. Her personality also like an onion but she clammed up tight when people asked about her past.
Finn, lay on the grass. He hadn't been home. His stomach rumbled to reminding him he hadn't eaten since last evening. He had waited in the lounge room for Joyce, a laden platter of fruit, and cheese, arrived to be placed on the coffee table. Before his sweet orange-coloured tea had a chance to cool he'd set to nibbling on the food. His mind else where. On Joyce in the shower. Finn imagined her smoothing fragrant soap over her body. The froth, and bubble, clinging to her skin. He had wanted to be with her in the shower standing naked beneath the flow of the water. His hands moving over her slippery curves. Thinking in this vain, Finn remembered the dark-eyed gypsies he had watched dancing around the camp fires in Romania. His hands burned with want along with the rest of his body parts. He'd been bitterly disappointed. And frustrated. Their night didn't end to his expectations. She came from the shower to tell him to leave. She showed him to the door. Wished him a good night before she closed the door.
He looked introspectively into his mind to find the reason why his night out with the luscious, hot, Joyce, didn't go to plan.
“Edward. Are you listening,” Finn grumbled to his friend who sat beside him. “What did I do wrong? She brushed me off like last week's breadcrumbs stuck to her jumper.”
“That's women for you, my friend. I've learned to expect nothing but the unexpected. That way. You don't take their refusal to heart when the door is slammed in your face.”
“I think I'll pass in the future. Women don't know what they want. They have you panting. Tonguing. Then they cut you off at the knees.”
“I watched what happened to my father,” moaned Edward. “The poor bugger. The light went out of his life when mum walked out on us. He drank whiskey day, and night, to try to forget. But still a hazy vision of mum floated beyond his reach.”
“How come we ended the night in the park?” Finn sat, to look around.
“I always come here when I want to fudge out. Look to see who may be worse off then me. I haven't seen the woman with the baby here before today. Wonder who she is.”
Angie wore a dress the same colour blue of her eyes. This dress reminded her of the one her father had brought home for her from San Francisco. She had taken her son to visit his grandfather for the first time. Her father had disowned her when she had fallen pregnant. He refused to let either of them enter his home this morning.
She bundled Alexander into the pram. She stood to walk from the park. She had waited long enough for her father to change his mind.
“Angie.” Finn looked puzzled.
“Who is Angie? Where is she?” Edward searched for a beautiful, young woman.
Finn stood. “Angie,” he called louder. He walked faster to catch up with her. “Angie.”
Angie stopped walking believing her father had changed his mind. She looked into Finn's puzzled face.
“Finn.” She turned the pram away from Finn. Shocked to see him. Angie didn't believe she'd ever set her eyes on him ever, again. Except in the features of her son.
“I thought I recognised you. Are you babysitting?”
“No. This is my full tine job.”
“You've become a, nanny?”
“No. I've become a mother.” She swung the pram to face her son toward Finn. “Meet Alexander. Our son.”
Finn stood gasping like a fish out of water. He looked at the son he didn't know about.
Raz couldn't remember the last time he'd had a clean change of clothes to wear. Or a warm soft bed in which to sleep. On wobbly legs he nearly tripped down the steps from the plane. He staggered across the tarmac to the terminal to find his knapsack. Made his way through the crowd waiting for their flight. People stepped out of his way. He walked to the luggage carousel to grab his knapsack before going to find a taxi.
Rain had begun to fall from the threatening storm clouds the plane had descended through to land. The muggy weather turned wet with a chilly wind. He leaned back against the seat of the taxi. He gave the driver his address then closed his eyes. He slept.
“Hey, buddy. Wake up,” yelled the taxi driver. He cursed when the passenger didn't move. In a bad mood, he stepped from the car to open the rear door. He shook Raz to wake him.
Springing into action. Raz grabbed the driver by the front of his coat before he realised where he was. His mind had been back in the jungle. He opened his glazed eyes to focus on the offender. He dropped his hands from the scared man. He looked around to find out what situation he faced.
“You have to walk from here, buddy. No way am I taking my car up your road.” Run-off water flowed down the dirt driveway washing deeper ruts every second.
He paid the driver. Stepped from the cab with his knapsack in his hand he'd reclaimed from the seat. He trudged up the hill to his house. Rain pelted down on his battered, and bruised, body. By the time he reached the veranda he was soaked through his clothes to his skin. Exhausted. H dropped his knapsack on the floor. Collapsed on the nearest chair to remove his boots, and socks. He stripped off his wet clothes. Rose to his feet. Unlocked the front door then walked inside.
“Stick your hands above your head,” a female voice demanded from somewhere in the darkened room. “I'll shoot you if you make any sudden moves.”
“Fine. Shoot me. Please put me out of my misery.” Raz turned to walk toward his bedroom. “I don't give a damn.”
A shrill shirk echoed from the darkness. “Raz Fellows. You're naked. What happened to your clothes?”
“Wet. On the veranda. I'm going to bed.”
“You can't do that,” the voice grew louder with panic.
“Excuse me. Why can't I sleep in my own bed?”
“I've been sleeping in your bed. Where do you expect me to sleep?”
He cast a smile toward the unknown person. “You can be my water bottle to warm my frozen body. Or you can sleep on the couch.” Raz moved toward his bedroom. He bumped into some hard object. A loud boom exploded. The sound echoed in his ears before darkness swallowed him.
“Oh. Raz. I'm sorry. Your mother will kill me for shooting you.” Prue sobbed over his prone body. She hadn't realised the gun had been loaded.
Old grandpa Joe was a grouch.
He never considered he was in the wrong. His word was law. What words he uttered were barked at each, and everyone he met. He had a label for each generation. Crook. Slow moving, elderly person being someone who didn't know when to lay down to die. The generation below were takers who didn't care what happened to the elderly. Children were noisy brats who were to be seen but not heard. A rowdy bunch of no hopers were those who made a lot of noise. Caused too much trouble. Always in trouble. Never did what was asked of them. He never had a good word to say about anyone.
He lived in an old run down cottage on the edge of town. He owned a huge cat called Sheba. Sheba was the only friend grandpa Joe had any feelings for. Young children tormented him because he scared them. Chased them away with his walking stick. The stick had been made from a sturdy, crooked tree branch. Grandpa Joe had taken his time to sand, and varnish, the wood.
Brice knew grandpa Joe's secrets. He'd seen beneath the grouch persona of a man who had been dealt a rotten hand in life. What he presented to the world was a cover for his fear of dying alone. Forgotten by his family. He no longer was any use to them. He had become a anchor weighing them down. His family had cut him out to be able to enjoy their own life.
Age. Being a barrier to usefulness. Grandpa Joe was capable of taking care of himself. He lived in isolation to continue the craft he'd been secretly working on most of his life. A secret non of his family knew about. Brice knew how many hours he toiled to shape and old, not attractive piece of wood he had collected from the bush. How he'd turned it into a beautiful work of art. How he worked with love to shape animals. People. Birds. And many other pieces of art. The way he smiled. Sighed. While he sat there to appraise his work before he packaged his work to ship to a gallery. On occasions a truck arrived late at night to collect his boxed wares.
One of the many evenings, Brice was left at home on his own to fend for himself, because his father worked late. His mother had taken off to a meeting. He walked out of the house to go check on grandpa Joe. He had checked on him for months since he worked out both of them were kindred spirits. Both of them not wanted by their family. They were both an inconvenience no one wanted. They were discarded like a piece of unwanted junk.
Smelling smoke. Brice began to run fast toward the cottage. Smoke billowed out of the kitchen window. He picked up a rock to smash the window in the front of the cottage to unlock the window. He crawled through the window to search for grandpa Joe. Sheba stood near the kitchen doorway, yowling. Covering his nose. And mouth. With hi hand. He entered the smoke filled room. He grabbed a tea towel to tie around his face. Grandpa Joe lay sprawled on the floor with his leg bent in an awkward position. There was no time to strap the leg. Brice whipped the cloth from the table. He rolled Grandpa Joe on to his side. Spread the clothe of the floor. He rolled him back on to the cloth. Taking a hold of two corners of the cloth. And both of the patient's arms. He dragged him through the cottage, and out side to safety.
He rushed back inside. Brice rescued the precious pieces of art to carry them from the cottage. He kept returning to collect every packed box. Exhausted. Weary. Brice staggered from the cottage. A fire engine screamed to a halt. Brice collapsed while he tried to drag the last box to safety.
“Why didn't you leave me to die,” were the first words mumbled by grandpa Joe when he came around.
“We had nothing to do with saving you,” said the paramedic attending to him. “Young Brice had everything under control when we arrived. He must believe you were worth saving.”
“All my work has been turned to ashes. Where is the young lad?”
“He's been taken to the hospital,” answered the paramedic. He looked around to where some boxes had been moved out of the way. “Was your work in boxes?”
“I believe that might be those boxes over there. The ones Brice risked his life to rescue. And you cat is over there with the boxes.”
The next morning. Everyone in town knew Grandpa Joe's secrets Spread across the front page of the newspaper was the life of Joe Cannely. Famous sculpture of wood. He had been saved by a young boy. Brice Young.
Tired. Wearing a scruffy beard. Long hair hanging past his broad shoulder. Ross wearily walked up the path to his house. Eyes bleary from hours of travelling across time zones. Ross lowered his luggage to the side of the path. He rubbed his sandy eyes. Stared at his house, once again. A light shone inside the house. A light which should not be there.
On silent feet. Ross made his way to the side of the house to peer through the lounge room window to case the situation before attempting to enter to confront the intruder. Who had dared to take residence in his absence. Ross tried all the doors. Windows Nothing was broken. How was this person able to enter without breaking a window. Or by forcing open the door. Puzzled. He took the keys from his pants pocket. Opened the back door. He checked the security device before he walked too far into the room. To his surprise the system had been deactivated. Slipping off his boots. Ross crept through the house toward the lounge room. The television screen was the only light in the room.
Creeping in further. He came to a stand still behind the couch to find the culprit asleep with dirty dishes on the floor. The person had helped themselves to his food. He leaned over the back of the couch to grab the offender by the scruff of his neck.
“Okay. Buddy. Explain.” Ross lifted the person up so he was able to see who the person was.
“What? I didn't steal a thing,” Halian stammered, from being rudely woken from his sleep. He'd been on the road for days without sleep.
Ross turned the person around to face him. He though he had recognised the voice. He blinked. This wasn't happening. “Halian. What the blazers are you doing here. How'd you get inside?”
“Uncle, Ross. I thought you were a burglar. I was ready to grab for my pocket knife.”
“You had better have a very good excuse for being here.” Ross let his nephew slide to the floor. “Now. Start talking.” He changed his mind. “First. You can clean up the mess in here. Then you can go out the front to retrieve my luggage. And have the kettle boiled by the time I've had my shower. And find some clean clothes.”
“Do your own work. I'm not your slave. You can't make me your slave,” shouted a defiant Halian, sick of taking harsh orders.
Ross shook his tired shoulders. “That's fine by me. Make sure you close the door on your way out.” He walked away from the lounge room to find some clothes. Have a much needed shower. Ross shook his head. He didn't feel like facing the rebel who had confronted him him in the lounge room. What had happened to his nephew.
Ross walked into the kitchen fresh from his shower to find Halian slumped in a chair. His luggage had been collected. And dumped on the floor just inside the door. The kettle was hot when he felt it for heat. Ross reached into the cupboard to take down a mug.
“So. You're still here.” There was no comment. “Does your mother know where you are?”
“She wouldn't care if I didn't return. I'm the nasty brat who resides in her house. A piece of rubbish to be swept under the mat. The new shag is worse than the last one. I'm the problem who won't go away.”
“How long has this been happening? Is she drinking, again?”
“No. The flashy stud doesn't want me around. I cramp his style. So I up and left. I'm not returning home. If I can't stay here I'll find somewhere else to crash.” The savage look he cast toward his uncle told him Halian had taken enough from those who were suppose to love him.
“I'll call your...” Ross lifted his hand to signal Halian to remain silent, “mother to tell her you are here. After we've had some sleep we'll calmly discuss the situation. Now. Go find a bed.”
Ross watched his troubled nephew walk out of the kitchen.
Love Worth More Than Money
It was a sunny day.
Bina sat on the seat at the picnic table in the park. She had come there to think over the proposition Lieb had proposed. She didn't believe he had the gall to suggest they move up their wedding so she'd care for his love child to his mistress. All this time, Bina had been engaged to Lieb, she had no idea he had another woman hidden away in one of his many houses.
Lieb received a call while they were out enjoying a meal before they attended a concert. Pain clouded his handsome face. He cursed. Yelled at the caller. He stormed from the restaurant without a word to her. Left to pay the bill. Bina found her own way home. She waited two days for him to call with an explanation. He hadn't come to tell her why he'd stormed out on her. Not once did he return any of her calls. Then. He had the hide to turn up at the door with a baby in his arms. Shocked at the sight of the baby she tried to close the door in his face. He forced his way into the flat.
“I need to talk to you.” He spun on his heels to face her.
“I've been waiting to talk to you for days,” she snapped. “You never did answer. Where have you been. What're you doing with a baby?”
He ran his agitated fingers through his tousled hair. “At the hospital. Bella had complications giving birth. She died soon after giving birth to the baby.”
“Who the hell is, Bella,” she shouted, mad beyond comprehension. “A sister. A niece Tell me who Bella was to you?”
“My mistress.” The bottom fell out of her world to crumble to dust. She grabbed hold of the back of the lounge chair before her legs crumbled. She finally. Collapsed to the floor.
“You had. A mistress. But we were engaged to be married.” She could fathom out what she'd been told. She didn't want to understand. He'd played her for a fool. “Wasn't she worthy of taking you name. Why are you here?” Tears streamed down her pale cheeks.
“To ask you to become the mother of my daughter. To adopt her child to be ours,” he suggested, believing she do like he'd asked.
“You have to be joking. How many more mistresses do you have stored away waiting for you to visit?”
“None. I want us to marry earlier. We can raise my daughter, together.”
“I don't think so. You have made your bed. Therefore. You can lie in it. Take your package. Leave.” She rose on shaking legs. Bina slipped off the engagement ring. She placed it on the baby's thumb. Walked to the door. Opened it for the final time to the man she had once loved with all her heart.
“Good, bye, Lieb. I don't wish to see your face, ever again.
“Please, Bina. We can work past this,” he pleaded. “I love you.” He knew she wasn't in a mood to changer her mind. She was in shock. So was he. “I'll call you in a couple of days.”
“Don't bother. I won't change my mind.” She closed the door behind his retreating back. Her stance told him she'd never change her mind.
Standing. Leaning against the closed door. She rubbed her stomach with her hand. “Me. And you. Against the world, kid. We have a world to explore. First. We need to move on.”
She went into her bedroom to begin packing what she need to take with her on her new life.