Cassandra’s Tears

Tears of joy, tears of pain, we are reflected in the salt-water pools we create. So let us build a fleet of paper boats and sail them on our ocean of indecision, laughing at the wind-whipped white-crested waves that would wash over us, drowning us in our own despair, yet somehow never vanquishing us in the end.

My Photo
Location: Lennoxville, Quebec, Canada

Sunday, November 28, 2004

In one life, how many times can the heart break?

In one life, how many times can the heart break? Samuel looked up from the grassy mound at his feet and read the inscription on the stele in front of him:

Martha Bagget
Loving wife and mother
Resquiat in pace

Next to her tombstone was a smaller stone, a child’s stone:

Catherine Baggett

and another:

Joshua Baggett

Samuel sighed and raised his eyes farther, looking past the other markers in the small cemetary, seeking the distant hills, the dark woods and the high cirrus clouds like gauze curtains in the bright sunlight. How many times indeed? He whistled once and Brandy came bounding back from where he had been inspecting the scents left by others of his race, leaving his own signature atop theirs.

Samuel leaned heavily on his cane as he descended the hill and found the path to his own cabin. So many years of labour and loss weighed heavily on him. Somehow he had managed to keep going. First Cathy died of scarlet fever. That had been a terrible blow. She had been the apple of his eye, the delight of his soul. She ran to him through the apple orchard of his memory, golden curls framing her cherubic face, apple blossoms caught in their folds. Then it was Joshua, swept away by measles. Only it hadn’t been the measles that had killed him, but the meningitis that followed. He had been Samuel’s little man, his future. Samuel had shown him the manly arts: how to whittle with a pen knife, how to test the wind with a moistened fingertip for direction, when the fish bit; and Martha, Martha his partner in life, through thick and thin, sickness and health, who had caught Joshua’s measles and cared for him even when she could do nothng for herself. Gone. All gone. As though they had never been, except for the stone markers on the hillside.

Samuel settled into the wicker chair on the porch and watched the sun lower itself towards those distant hills. He too would be gone soon. There was no reason to hang around. Brandy whined as though sensing his master’s thoughts and Samuel scratched him behind his ears. It’s like water under the bridge, he thought to himself. The river gets dug deeper, but the water that did the digging is long gone. There was no point breaking Brandy’s heart too. Samuel could wait at least that long.

Friday, November 26, 2004

A Rainy-weather Renga

The man wears a hat,
His coat is black and quite worn,
His shoes are broken.

He carries an umbrella,
The pointed spokes extruding.

It rains cats and dogs:
They meow, bark, chase each other;
Streets are awash in chaos.

But the homeless man uses
His umbrella like a shield.

He does not notice
The kitten curled ’round his hat
Or the small puppy

Which clings to his frayed pantleg
As he splashes through puddles.

This is so common,
That the sky deposits pets
On the city streets:

Pet stores have lost all business
Since dogs and felines are free.

But, fortunately,
Equipped to deal with downpours
The City’s sewers

Have extra large openings
And empty in the country.

The homeless man walks,
Shrugs off the cat and puppy,
Seeks some dry shelter,

Tends his garden of catnip
And his diary of bones.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The End of the Affair

Mary sniffled as the chopped onion stung her eyes and the tears dripped off the end of her nose.

“Could you pass me a tissue, please?” she asked John, who was seeding a tomato at the other end of the counter.

“Uh, sure, here,” he handed her a paper towel, slightly damp with tomato juice. “So, what did you think of the play?” he asked.

Mary threw the chopped onion into the wok, where it sizzled on contact with the hot oil. “It was okay,” she said.

“Just okay?” sputtered John. “MacBeth is a classic!”

“I know,” replied Mary, as she went to work on some cloves of garlic. “We studied it in school.”

John wrestled with the cork from the red wine. It suddenly slid out of the neck of the bottle with a resounding “pop”. “Wine?” he offered her a glassful.

“Sorry, I don’t drink when I cook,” she answered, putting the glass far back on the counter out of danger from the spattering oil. She quickly turned down the heat.

“Well, what did you like about it?” asked John.

“About what?”

“About the play!”

“Oh, I thought Duncan was really good, and MacDuff too, but the others were kind of weak,” Mary replied as she gave the vegetables a stir.

“Yeah, but what about the fight scenes?” asked John.

“I don’t remember,” she answered.

“Oh, come on, they were the best part!” he insisted.

“Could you pass me the carrots, please?”

Mary proceeded to peel and chop the carrots before adding them to the wok with a sprinkling of salt.

“Hey,” exclaimed John, “aren’t you going to add rosemary?”

“No,” said Mary, “I hate rosemary.”

“But I always put rosemary in my stir fries!”

“Well, if I’m going to eat it, no rosemary.” Mary quickly peeled and diced some new potatoes and tossed them in. Now she added a pinch of dill.

“So, what else did you think of the play?” asked John, starting on his second glass of wine. “What about Lady MacBeth?”

Mary stirred the contents of the wok, sniffed appraisingly, and threw in a handful of dried parsley and a bay leaf. “I thought she acted really well, but I hated her dress.”

John looked thoughtfully into his wine. “I don’t remember her dress.”

“How could you miss it?” exclaimed Mary. “Her boobs looked like two enormous bags hanging off her chest!”

John said, puzzled, “I thought she looked nice!”

Mary rolled her eyes and added the celery she had just finished chopping. “Would you please check the rice, John?” she asked sweetly. She glanced sideways at him and watched his glasses steam up as he lifted the pot lid. While his vision was thus obscured, she measured out a teaspoonful of cayenne pepper and added it to the now fragrant vegetables.

Replacing the pot lid and retrieving his wine, John said, “What do you say we go to a movie tonight after dinner? That one about the motorcycle racing looked really good!”

“Maybe,” said Mary. “We’ll see.” She now added to the wok the seitan which had been marinating in tamari and ginger and the chopped tomatoes, turned the heat down and covered it. “I believe I will have that wine now,” she said, and sipped it carefully. “I was thinking I’d like to see that new Hugh Grant movie, actually. I’ve got a newspaper; we could check the times.”

“Hugh Grant! You mean a chick flick?”

Mary noticed that the wine bottle was mostly empty. She quickly rose, got out the plates and cutlery and set the table. She emptied the rice into a china bowl and set it on the table. Then she removed the wok from the heat, placed it on a cork mat in front of John, handed him the serving spoon and said, “I hope it’s hot enough for you.”