In the meantime, enjoy the responses I have made to other prompts.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

If roses are given to me
of course I’ll accept them with glee,
but the joy I impart
does not match with my heart
as the flowers do nothing for me!

My husband’s been told this is true.
Yet on holidays, what does he do?
Each of twenty-eight years
on the counter appears
a vase filled with varying hue.

He won't change his habits I've found
and I know how ungrateful I sound,
but I'd like it much more
if the man I adore
would just leave those stems in the ground!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

In their million-year history, nothing like this had ever happened to the merfolk population before. Merdoctors in the Under-the-Sea Hospital worked to keep the baby alive with an oxygen mask and a water-proof holding tank until the village elders could decide the newborn’s fate. The boy’s parents, Merman Mike and Mermaid Sarah swam about in the waiting room, anxious to hear any news about their history-making child’s future. 

Mike feebly attempted to calm his wife, “Don’t worry my dear. I am certain the elders will do what is best.”

“How would they know? Our child is the first child to ever be born in this hospital without fins and scales. He has legs and arms! Our baby is human! He cannot survive under the water on his own and we cannot survive out of it!” She whipped her tailfin violently against a nearby coral. The pain from the contact felt good.

Mike let her swim out her anger as he moved to avoid her. He’d seen her upset before, but never like this. He didn’t know what he could do to comfort her since he was suffering from his own grief. How long had they waited to spawn a child? They’d been trying for what seemed like a lifetime. Their desperation pushed them to try in vitro fertilization. The doctors had assured them the egg and the sperm belonged to them. Now Mike had to wonder.

As far as he knew, no merfolk had ever been in contact with humans. They made it their mission to not be seen. So how could this have happened to their baby boy? Was it some sort of mutation or was there collusion between the human and merfolk doctors? Through advancements in technology it could now be possible to communicate with species outside of their village. As a computer programmer Mark should know. Mark also knew how closely the village elders monitored all progress, threatening death to anyone abusing their skills and attempting to make contact outside of their sea area. But still, the fact their son was the first ever to be born human made Mark a little suspicious. If he investigated, it would have to be without anyone else knowing. It would also have to wait. Right now both he and his wife were being beckoned by the head merdoctor, Dr. 

“Your son is doing well,” he said. “He is being sustained by the oxygen and although no mernurse can enter into his chamber, we are able to simulate contact with him. We know how important the merfolk touch is in the first months of existence.” He hesitated and then said, “You are aware you have not told us what name to call him?”

Though relieved to hear he was doing okay, both parents looked down, a bit embarrassed to admit the doctor was right, they had yet to agree on a name. It was supposed to be Mark Jr. until they saw he bore no resemblance whatsoever to his father. They weren’t sure they would ever even see the boy again after his birth, or whether he would live for more than a couple of hours. The fact he had made it this far was a small miracle, but the impossible would never happen. He would not be able to live with his parents. How do you name a child you will never see again? 

“Yes Dr. and thank you for finding a means to keep him alive,” Mark said. “Do you know if the village elders have come to a decision as of yet?”

“I do not. My job is his well-being. I will do whatever they recommend as long as it is in the best interest of the merchild – er, uh child. Now if you will excuse me, I need to go check on some other patients.”

Mark looked at Sarah. She seemed to have settled down a little bit after the doctor’s news. Now would be as good of a time as any to talk about their son’s name. “Sarah, my dear. I think we should stay with the name we had originally considered. We should call him Mark, Jr.”

Sarah looked at him, or more like through him. “You can call him whatever you want to call him because whatever it is it probably won’t stay with him. And even if he gets to live, it will be with someone else and they will name him what they want.” She turned and swam as far away from him as the room would allow. He chose not to swim after her. He knew better.

All Mark wanted now was for the elders to come to a decision. He could not do anything to help Sarah until he knew what the next steps would be. He wasn’t too sure even then he’d be able to help her – he suspected she blamed him to some extent because it was his idea to do the in vitro, but at least there would be a direction. 

“Merman Mark?” Mark felt a nudge and it took him a few seconds to realize he was still in the waiting room. He must have fallen asleep. He was dreaming about playing tag with his son, Mark. Jr., but his son couldn’t swim and then the boy started drowning. He tried to shake the nightmare from his mind. “Merman Mark?” a voice said again.
“Yes?” Mark looked around for his wife. Sarah was swimming toward him with another merman. 

“We are the representatives of the village elders,” the merman said. I am Pete and this,” he said pointing to the merman accompanying Sarah, “is Sam. We cannot tell you how sorry we are for your situation and how difficult it was for us to come to an agreement as to how to handle it.”

Mark sidled next to Sarah, bracing for the news. Neither spoke to the elders, so Pete continued, “We know the only way for the child to live is for him to be taken ashore. There is a tremendous risk to our safety and secrecy in doing so, but our plan is to take him in the early morning hours, after the tides change, to where our research indicates is a well-attended beach. We cannot guarantee he will be found, but the likelihood is extremely high. I know it is not a perfect solution, but it is, nevertheless, the best solution we could devise.”

Still the couple said nothing. Although it was not easy to tell in the midst of the seawater, the wracking of Sarah’s body indicated how hard she was crying. Mark tried to console her by stroking her scales with his webbed hand, but the tears would not stop.

Pete tried to give them a few minutes before he continued, “The committee understands you might be tempted to leave a note with the boy, but must forbid you from doing so. No one can know from where he came. The transition will take place sometime tomorrow morning.” He wanted to add they could come say their goodbyes, but seeing Sarah had yet to stop her convulsive crying, he could not bring himself to say anything more. Pete motioned to Sam and the two of them left Mark and Sarah to their grief.

Author's note: this was a response to a prompt, but if you think it is a good start to a YA novel, please let me know.  Thanks!!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Once Upon a Day - for Real

Today was like a fairy tale 
(without a noble steed,
or handsome prince or evil witch
or princess to be freed).

It did involve a girl and boy
who, when they tried to swim,
would always hold their noses
and the chance they’d stop was slim!

No coaxing from their caring aunt
convinced them to let go.
When urged to try without the plugs
they flatly answered no.

Until, that is, this morning when
their swimming class began
with young adult instructors
named Elizabeth and Anne.

They told them to blow bubbles
and to, at the same time, hum.
My nephew said he couldn’t 
and my niece looked somewhat glum.

But after many minutes
and their coaches’ repartee,
both heads were underwater
and they each had two hands free!

The grins upon their faces matched
the grin upon my own,
but tears were shed by only me – 
a trait for which I’m known.

This fairy tale continues
with an aging aunt of mine
whose health for fifteen years or so
has been on the decline.

Her long-term care insurance
covered housing for a bit,
but then, for reasons no one knew,
the server ended it.

She moved to cousin Billy’s;
he’s her second oldest son.
Though he’s known for many virtues,
having patience isn’t one.

So, Bev comes to the rescue;
she’s the only girl of four,
as well, the most persistent,
not a voice folks could ignore.

The care was reinstated
which is why this story’s told,
for I went to see Aunt Donna
in a setting to behold!

She has her own apartment,
plus her meals are all prepared,
her laundry’s done, her rooms are cleaned,
and company is shared.

A nurse is there to tend to her
at least two times a day.
I could not be more pleased for her
to know she lives this way! 

Next, as this tale comes to an end,
I’m heading to D.C.
to catch a flight to Hartford
where my husband waits for me.

With backpack on and bag in tow
I leave my aunt to find
a transport to the metro,
but I have no route in mind.

I bank on faith and maybe luck
to help me find a ride,
then added in some extra time
to search the city side.

But just as I had crossed the street
a woman stopped her car.
She asked if I could use a lift,
without a clue how far.

I cannot stress how strange it was
for her to stop right then.
It could not ever happen 
if I tried this trek again!

She drove me into Dulles,
but she would not take a cent.
She took the hug I offered her,
then on her way she went.

I journeyed on without a hitch,
but had to shake my head,
though life is not a fairy tale,
this day would do instead.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Another response to a prompt - and a little about me

Destination Recovery

It was not the best of times; it was not the worst of times. It was college, for me, a time of tremendous growth and self-discovery. And none of it would have happened if a boss at a blue collar direct mail services facility hadn’t taken me into his family. Al Forrester, God rest his soul, saw in me what I could not – potential. After spending a summer being a big sister to his and his wife’s, Donna’s, five daughters and learning how a loving family operates, through Al’s insistence and his preacher brother’s connections, I began my freshman year at Tennessee Temple University at aged twenty-one.

As a freshman I was on probation. My recollection is it was because I never took the SAT’s, but it could have been I scored poorly on them. In either case, I needed to prove myself academically.  Reflecting back to my academic performance prior to college, excluding my senior year when I moved from Virginia to South Pasadena, California to meet my father for the first time (which is another story), I was never a good student. I was probably one of those students we teachers say has potential, but doesn’t live up to it. Unfortunately for me, my teachers never stopped to ask why.

But as a college student, I blossomed. I learned I was not as stupid as my mother and alcoholic step-father constantly told me. That has to be the greatest lesson I would take away from my year at Tennessee Temple, and my subsequent years at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, of which there were many, UCONN Law School and Central Connecticut State University where I earned my teacher certification (after spending twenty years as a tax accountant).

Yes, that is a lot of schooling, but as an undergraduate I never gave thought to college being a means to an end. I majored in English because I wanted to be a writer, but I never thought about job opportunities. I never talked to career counselors, although I expect the school had them. I took the courses my major required. I graduated magna cum laude and I ended up working at a blue collar direct mail services facility – with no connection to Al Forrester – when done.

Along my college journey I did not stop to think about my future because thinking tended to be painful if it were on a personal level. It was almost as if I were a student placed on a conveyor belt in a college assembly factory. I rode the belt until the end when I was taken off and given my diploma.  I had the brains to excel in my classes, but lacked the wherewithal to do anything with my education.

My upbringing – plagued by physical, emotional, and sexual abuse – left my mind in a dysfunctional state as a young adult. I cannot emphasize enough what the Forresters did to start my healing in motion. It’s kind of scary to think where I might have ended up had Al Forrester not crossed my path, but he did.  He turned the switch to move my life and mind onto a different track, with the first stop being college.

Undergraduate school taught me I could think. From there it was a long journey to adjusting other misconceptions about myself and humanity, but the trip eventually found me mentally strong enough to live a somewhat-normal life with a husband, three amazing daughters and, for the last fourteen years, a job as a middle school math teacher. Just as when I was a freshman at Tennessee Temple, I still want to be a published writer. However, the education I received while pursuing my bachelor’s degree was invaluable and not one I would trade for any job.