Just Is

Submitted into Contest #92 in response to: End your story with a truth coming to light.... view prompt

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Contemporary Fiction

Walking in the Woods next to a small stream I can smell the wet dirt. I thought the trees were maples and oak, but no, they are palms and mangos. The dirt slowly becomes sandy. The forest opens up to the courtyard of a big house with many small houses around it. Home. I can smell the ocean and I am barefoot. There is always the gritty feel of the sand everywhere, and I love it.

This little home has a screen door with a basic wood frame gently knocking into place. There is a latch I sometimes use at night to keep the mosquitos out but I only latch it for the mosquitos. Not for the monsters… those aren’t a concern.

It is bright here inside my little house and I’ve tracked in a bit more sand but the inside is so close to the outside that it doesn’t seem to make much of a difference. I walk into the bare living room that has little inside, no tv, not many things… a mirror off to the corner close to the bathroom, a book or 2 that I read for fun on the coffee table. And some decks of cards, for later.

I walk into the kitchen, which is really just an extension of the living room… all open…. There is no table, but instead a bar because the space is small. There is a plate of cheese and green grapes there and I eat a bit. There are a few dishes in the sink that I will get to later. And not much food here, not in the fridge nor in the cupboards. We all grab stuff and leave it in the big house where we share the kitchen and laugh leisurely as we throw together our simple but delicious meals. We clean up over conversations as well.

I go upstairs to the bedroom and the smell of the sea is greater here since the windows are open, they are almost never closed. The roof hangs in such a way that even when it rains the water doesn’t come in… I should really check to see if the windows can still be shut, you never know when you might want to close one. I can hear the laughter of my friends and our children running around outside. In my bedroom, a loft type of room, the basic wood is the same here as in the rest of the house. There isn’t much in this room either. My bed, the little table, a lamp. I don’t even pay attention. Thank god I can close my closet door and not see all the crap I have there. I open it up just to see and there, in the front are my holey jeans and a few sweatshirts. Some t-shirts and things I can throw on over my suit. Back behind everything, there is a box and in the box is my brother’s ex-wife’s wedding ring. I don’t know what to do with it, I don’t know why I have it, so I stick it back in the box, close it up, and walk away. I’ll deal with it later. Into my workspace next door. I breathe a sigh of relief as I enter into this space, the bookshelf full of my favorites, the floor full of stacks of books that hope to earn a space on those most cherished of shelves. I might have to get another one, but I promised myself I wouldn’t. I promised that the last one would be, the last one.

My eyes drift to my desk and tables full of all of these pieces of maybes. Maybe I’ll work on that next, maybe I’ll come back to that. Maybe that could be something. Maybe not. As it is, it is okay. On my desk more maybes, the sharpest one is the picture of Sara and Julia. Maybe I’ll be a better grown-up someday. Maybe I’ll be a better mother.

I walk away from those little girls because I sometimes think that maybe they deserve more than I can give… I take my notebook full of thoughts and ideas and other maybe’s.

I go downstairs into the basement but I have to pull out my cell for light, I forgot to download the flashlight when I reprogrammed the old phone so I can’t see much of anything. It smells very musty. I rummage around because I can’t remember what I have in the old trunk. The smell is intense and the trunk is beaten up. I open it up to find old Beatles LPs and the ceramic JON tiny baseball mitt that holds your chewed gum. Did people really used to save their gum like that? There is a photo album from UConn and the apple top that was my brother’s too. Lucky nothing like that is important to him.

Behind that, there is a picture of an ex-boyfriend. Yuck. What a jackass, him or me, maybe both.

Going upstairs I see the picture of my mother. Wow. She didn’t just go beyond, she was beyond. And she wasn’t perfect, she didn’t have to be. She just somehow managed to put us before her. She always put me first. Until she didn’t. And it hurt. It still does. I told her about everything, but not really, and then I walked away.

As I’m about to walk out the door I turn around once more, I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror across the room and run my hand through my hair. I walk outside to the rope swing with those long ropes connected to the branches that are so far up, and I swing. I take a swig from my glass of iced lemonade, it almost slips out of my hand as I try to put it down because the glass is sweating so much. But it didn’t fall, and neither did I and sometimes that’s enough. I put it down and walk away. Again. 

May 02, 2021 05:07

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