Kid, you see the writing on the wall, right? You see that guy? He plays video games on a stream and makes bank. Not that kind of stream...or bank...what, you think we're going fishing? lol
Lady, you need to put yourself in their shoes for a second. Stop fighting progress just because it doesn't include you. Won't someone please think of the shareholders?
Folks, you're here to see a show. The show will change your life. Sit back and relax. Put this headset on. You may feel a moment of searing pain. That's just your brain connecting to the metabrain. It's worth the brief hurt. Trust me.
Self, I knew you before you were optimized and actualized. We had a few good times. Some unpleasantness. That's over now.
Welcome to the hive.
That's just gorgeous. Digging the pattern, and that last paragraph hits.ReplyDelete
I read this as though it's being presented by a tv snake-oil salesman who's the official mouthpiece for a cult (or a national government - they're not so vary different these days). It's so damn slick and well observed, but that's par for the course with your writing, Dan. Excellent, as always!Delete
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From the stoop I watch my grandmother drawing closer. Her back is bent—she says from the sins of her youth—her walk plodding but deliberate. When she sees me her step quickens, her smile twinkles eyes nearly lost in a roadmap of wrinkles.ReplyDelete
“Mein shayna madel,” she says, over and over as if we had not seen each other in years, squeezing my left forearm with strength built from hauling groceries and children, rolling out pastry, carrying the burdens of others. Then, “So. Are you married yet?”
It’s a joke between us.
“Nope.” I grin, taking the string bag from her arm—a bouquet of almost-fresh black-eyed Susans, day-old bread, and a cheese, the aroma of which I can’t place. “Are you?”
“Ach, you.” She is done with men, she always says. Then spits out a Yiddish phrase, literally translated as “they shit in your house and leave you the mess.” But I don’t believe her. I’ve seen her old charcoal drawings, many of the same handsome shirtless man, with eyes like fire and a prominent scar running down his torso. I’m only a college student and don’t know much about art, but there is clearly passion in those lines and shadows. I can hardly see this woman being done with men for good, unless it’s for spite.
Finally we go upstairs; I make tea and she sits at my kitchen table, awaiting me. I put the flowers into a vase and hope they’ll revive; I make a plate of the bread and cheese with some apples I bought from the farm market. I don’t let her lift a finger. She fought my mother on this but not me. Never me. Maybe that’s the difference between being a daughter versus a granddaughter.
When I join her and we prepare to eat, she reaches for my hand and murmurs a prayer. Our tradition is to say what others call “grace” after a meal, but it is just the two of us now and grandma says we can make our own traditions.
We bow our heads, tighten the grip between us and say “Putin khylo.”
My grandmother turns her head and spits. Then we eat.
It’s funny. The man is long dead, and we still do this thing. So we’ll never forget, she says.
But she doesn’t like to talk about what it is she wants to forget. I know it has to do with the war, and what happened after. I promise myself that next time, I will ask about the man in the drawings. But not today. Today is for bread and cheese and flowers, and for practicing how to forget.
I love the pacing and the detail you've included on this. You've created a cinematic marvel here, creating a world from a collection of well chosen brush strokes, skillfully drawing us in so we can see the scene. You write with warmth, charm and truth and I envy you for the skill you have with your words. This is fabulous, of course, Laurie.Delete
This is such a complete picture here. And the relationship is so authentic. Really enjoyed this story.Delete
JD, that gave me chills.ReplyDelete
Laurie, BEAUTIFUL slice of life. And yes, Putin IS a dickhead.ReplyDelete
This house was still the wrong house. It wasn’t my home; although it initially seemed to be, almost everything in it as I’d remembered. The outer door leading inside from the street was the same one I used every day, its white plastic frame notched where I'd damaged it with one of the feet of the washing machine I'd been struggling to carry inside. But there were hundreds of other subtle differences everywhere that stood out when I stopped to look around.ReplyDelete
The hallway was the source of my first confusion. The lights fitted to the wall were to the left, and there were now two instead of three. The painting we never looked at was missing, and the floor was carpeted the full width, the laminate flooring I’d laid no longer there. The glass-panelled door to the right might never have been there; there were a set of scars on the frame where its hinges could have been, any door hung there now long gone, its wood painted over, and its colour faded to beige.
I needed to sit down. I needed to rest. I needed to find my way home. I went into the next room, looking for somewhere to sit, suddenly feeling dizzy and confused.
“Darling - you’re finally home. What took you so long?” The dark-haired woman in the corner scowled at me, lifting her eyes from her newspaper. She was sitting in my favourite armchair, across from the TV, which had also moved. The dress she was wearing was the one Moira rarely wore, thinking it made her look overweight.
“Moira,” I said, dropping into the chair by the door. “And who are you? You’re not my wife.”
The woman sighed as she folded her paper, placing it squarely on the table to her side. She stood up, smoothed her dress down and tugged at its hem to straighten it, then she stomped across towards me, her heels clattering like hooves against the floor. Her eyes were hostile and a cold icy blue.
“You’re doing this again, are you?” Her voice was like a lash, and I winced, confused and afraid. I didn’t know this woman – didn’t know why she should treat me this way. I needed to be comforted, not attacked.
“I… I… I…” I said, looking away, looking for something familiar. The light fitting was the right one, but its shades were wrong; the glass formed into tulip bowl shapes. The slats on the blinds fitted at the windows were all horizontal – that had changed too. The only thing that I was sure of was the name of the card I was holding before me, like a shield – the Great Smoking Mirror from the Sacred Path set.
“You’re still fooling with those things,” the woman said, plucking it quickly from my fingers. “The doctor said you should stop that; you should accept her diagnosis – you know they only make you anxious and afraid. I know it must be frightening for you, getting Alzheimer’s at your age, but you knew there was a strong chance it could come. You’ve got to give up on using those cards before you get any worse - there is only this one reality. And you’re going to need to get used to that, I’m afraid.”
This is a really interesting piece. The tension built up in the beginning is so strong. You can feel the confusion and panic setting in.Delete