Everything Aiming Toward You

Submitted for Contest #46 in response to: Write a story about someone returning to their craft after a long hiatus.... view prompt

27 comments

 

Dear Simon,

I just had to write to you. Today is cool and clean and I can smell the bees humming in the wisteria garden just outside. Their hives are so big now, so big and slick and thrumming, you would love to see them. They come buzzing out of their hives in the early morning and flood off out of the garden to the lanes beyond, winding through the yew trees and the bayberry bushes.

Soon it will be ready to harvest. The little boy Green, Smith’s kid, from Smith’s Grocery, said that his daddy would be willing to buy any honey I might have to sell. That’s what I had to tell you. Do you think I should do it? I will keep some, of course, in the little yogurt jars, but I could use some extra money and selling honey would be a good way to get it.

Send me your thoughts, Simon, I really miss them. But I miss you more.

Love,

Janey

 

 

Dear Simon,

I had the windows cleaned today. They were very dusty and I couldn’t reach them from outside. I would have had to climb up the tomato trellises and I couldn’t bear to knock any down. You planted those, remember? One bright March day. I brought out raspberry lemonade and you got dirt in it, and drank it anyway. I remember laughing so hard, so hard, and then I gave you mine. You smiled at me, remember, and I blushed. And smiled back.

Well, I washed the insides of the windows yesterday, and it took me all morning, I forgot to eat breakfast. I used water and then a dry rag because there were cobwebs everywhere. The last time I cleaned the windows, you helped me, and when we were done we made hot chocolate and sat on the porch and watched the sunlight and talked about your maiden aunt.

Another thing. I don’t worry that much about bills, even though I haven’t ben able to work that much. Taxes have disappeared. Just like you.

I miss you, Simon, and I miss your maiden aunt.

Love,

Janey

 

 

Dear Simon,

For awhile after your death I didn’t write. You can’t imagine how strange that felt to me. Since I could write at all, I have written every single day. And then—in the instant. The ordinary instant. Everything has changed. And you know, those grieving people who can’t ever eat after someone dies? I could eat. I ate tea and some toast and potato salad your maiden aunt brought over. It was the words I couldn’t stomach. I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t write. When someone spoke, it hurt me.

That is why, I think, I choose words now. I need you, need your opinion, need to talk to you. I am ready to talk, but the person I want to talk to is gone.

I don’t know why grief feels like bottling-up. Constipation, almost, of the soul. Perhaps it is because I am used to speaking to you, laughing with you, singing tuneless Christmas songs with you, and then suddenly there was no response.

The urges didn’t end, the urges to talk to you. I still talk to you, laugh, sing… What ended was the possibility of a response.

I miss you, Simon.

Love,

Janey

 

 

Dear Simon,

Your maiden aunt came by today. She brought potato salad and a quilt she has been sewing. “Have your bees ripened yet?” she kept asking. “No,” I kept replying, not telling her the right phrase for ‘ripened’ but also thinking that it was the perfect phrase.

I suppose you haven’t seen her in awhile. She had only just moved to town when you died. I think the last time you saw her was a year and a half ago, at Thanksgiving, and she was grand and fat and ate three helpings of potatoes. Now she is grand and thin and eats very little except my most expensive teas. She has a scar underneath her left eye, where she fell once, outside in her stone garden. You didn’t see that, either. It was just after your funeral. She told me, “Come on over,” and we had coffee in her garden and she stood up and toppled over.

All I could do was laugh, Simon. It was horrible but I couldn’t stop laughing. Just my luck, of course. I had lost you after fifteen years and (of course!) as soon as you were gone, your closest relative would die too.

I laughed helplessly, high and cold, and she got up and patted me and said she understood. I know she thought me a horrible monster but I didn’t care. You are gone now. Who cares if someone thinks I am a monster?

Love,

Janey

 

 

Dear Simon,

I have been writing now for half a year. The words flow much easier now, and three days ago I managed a little bit of poetry. A short poem. Sad. Silent. But it came. You have helped me, Simon. I’ve been writing and you have been listening. I hope.

Reflections still look the same to me. Except that you’re missing from my reflection.

Half a year ago my heart stopped beating. I became numb. I went on like a machine. Things needed to be done. The funeral arranged, clothes given away, pictures framed, tea hosted. But I couldn’t bear to sell your books. You had so few, you know, for a writer. It surprised people, but I understood why. You already knew what writers are trying to say. You didn’t need a bit of wood and paper telling you.

My life as I knew it ended. In an instant, the ordinary instant. You sit down to breakfast and then the world has careened upside down. The next morning I was hungry, so I ate. I was tired, so I slept. I was dry, so I wept. I felt raw, so I tried to write. And the words wouldn’t come.

When the bees started to ‘ripen’ I just had to tell you. I told you everything—we talked about everything, from bread prices to bees and yew trees to your maiden aunt to the new mayor who looks like a goblin. She still does, Simon. But I don’t worry about money much, because what taxes she could lower, she did. I wanted to tell you about that. And I did. That never ended. What ended was the possibility of your response.

I miss you, Simon.

Love,

Janey

 

 

Dear Simon,

You were half my life. I loved you. I respected you. We discussed everything. The words I wrote—it all aimed toward you. I still insisted on independence, and I had that. But I never realized how much—through words—I depended on you. Talking to someone. Sharing a life with someone. It hurts when suddenly half of that is gone.

Everything was aiming toward you. And in an instant—the ordinary instant—everything had lost its target. You sit down to dinner and the world careens upside down. A truck with a half-asleep driver pushed it over.

I love you, Simon. That shall never end. I promise.

Love,

Janey

 

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27 comments

Evanlyn Green
14:21 Jun 20, 2020

Lovely story! You add so many wonderful pieces to Reedsy. I am a new writer, and I would love it if you could read my first entry. It's called "Starlight City".

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Zilla Babbitt
14:53 Jun 20, 2020

Thank you! I'd love to read your story.

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Ranya Navarez
15:29 Jun 18, 2020

Aww. That was very sweet! You know, I'm constantly amazed at how you easily figure out a creative perspective on a prompt that may or may not seem very creative, and then you spin that creativity perfectly in your writing. Awesome job, Zilla!

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Zilla Babbitt
01:09 Jun 20, 2020

Thank you so much!

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Ranya Navarez
13:00 Jun 20, 2020

You're welcome! Also, would you mind reading my newest story? It's called "Elize Pena, Author".

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Zilla Babbitt
14:53 Jun 20, 2020

Yeah, sure thing!

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Ranya Navarez
22:12 Jun 20, 2020

Thanks!

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14:32 Jun 18, 2020

Wow this is great.

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Ismell Sarcasm
01:29 Jun 22, 2020

This was amazing! The fact that Simon was dead came early in the story but I still didn't expect it You went for a very creative twist on the prompt that was given and made a really fantastic story :D Would you also mind checking out my story? It was kind of rushed but I would love some pointers from someone as creative as you :)

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Zilla Babbitt
12:09 Jun 23, 2020

Thank you! I'd love to read your story.

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Sophia Rose
09:55 Jun 21, 2020

Your work is amazing and refreshing. I haven't been here long but your perspective and creativity with creating characters that find its way to your heart is absolutely mind-blowing

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Zilla Babbitt
13:17 Jun 21, 2020

Thanks so much!

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J.f. Laurent
07:32 Jun 21, 2020

Poignant and striking. Kudos!

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Kelly Vavala
18:11 Jun 20, 2020

This was well done! Loved how she was talking to her muse. (Like Letters to a Young Poet) Captivating and held my interest. Would you mind giving mine a read?

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Zilla Babbitt
13:17 Jun 21, 2020

Thanks so much! I'd be glad to read your story.

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Vrishni Maharaj
16:34 Jun 20, 2020

Absolutely lovely! Your writing style is phenomenal:)

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Laura Clark
10:26 Jun 20, 2020

Wow. This is really powerful and really cathartic. What beautiful writing! I think the letter format is a really effective way of showing time passing and your protagonist’s progress without having to waste words on the fiddly in between bits. Lovely writing!

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Zilla Babbitt
14:52 Jun 20, 2020

Thank you so much!

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Johanna J
22:07 Jun 19, 2020

This is amazing! I always love reading your stories!!!! :)

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Zilla Babbitt
12:51 Jun 23, 2020

Thanks so much!

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Johanna J
17:21 Jun 23, 2020

If you have time, would you mind reading my latest story? Thanks again :)

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Felicity Pathis
14:42 Jul 14, 2020

This is a great story! Writing in letter form can be difficult, but you mastered it in this story. Great job!

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18:05 Jun 26, 2020

How on Mars do you write such good story's?!?! They always make me smile :D Can't wait to read more!

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Zilla Babbitt
02:13 Jun 29, 2020

Oh, thank you so much!

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Pearl Baker
12:09 Jun 26, 2020

Hi again! I'm here to return the critique :D I like the way you paint a picture with the words, it's really expressive and lively! I know that wasn't a critique, but it was a wonderful read! PS (I hope I'm doing this correctly, I'm relatively new to Reedsy, so I'm still learning :D)

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Zilla Babbitt
12:23 Jun 26, 2020

Thank you very much! Yep, that's all you need to do. :)

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Pearl Baker
02:00 Jun 27, 2020

Thanks! Good to know :D

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