I've been meaning to sign up, but it completely slipped my mind. Can I still get in or am I poo poo out of luck?
|# ¿ Feb 15, 2014 06:10|
|# ¿ Mar 22, 2019 00:35|
My grandmother and I
My eyes traced the lines along the stem of the chestnut tree until the lines were no longer visible through the branches. The crown of the tree was large and completely covered in green leaves. The fruits of the tree were hanging from its branches, packed in their spiked, green cocoon-like shells. I marvelled at the beauty of the crown, as I stepped back to take in the scene. It was raining, and my father and I were in an isolated corner of the cemetery. A small, quadratic area was marked up under the tree.
"It's a nice spot," I commented.
"Yeah, I think your grandmother would've liked it."
My father was standing just behind me.
"When's the funeral service?"
"This Thursday," he answered. "I'm sorry, but that's the only day we could make everything fit."
I had come 200 miles from Copenhagen to see her one last time, before she was cremated. I had to go back on the same day due to exams.
“I know; it's ok.”
"The date of the burial still hasn't been decided. We can do it after your exams, so you can be here.”
“I'd like that,” I said as I turned to face him. “Let me know when you've found a date and I'll be here.” I knew I wouldn't have to cancel anything.
“I'll do that.”
We headed to the mortuary. It was a small annex built from the same smooth, grey stone bricks as the church it was attached to. The undertaker greeted us at the entrance.
“Hi, you must be the grandson. My condolences,” she said, bowing slightly. “Your grandmother is through here.”
We entered a cold room, which was lit by just four small window slits. Coffins were stacked around the edges. At the centre of the room, a single open coffin was placed upon a wooden pedestal. I recognised my grandmother instantly. She was dressed in her favourite night gown and her mouth and eyes were open. As I moved closer I could see her eyes clearly. They were dried up and empty. I'd sensed worry in those eyes, but also kindness and love; all of it was gone. I walked up next to the coffin, and reached out to touch her shoulder. As my fingers graced her overarm I froze. She was completely cold to the touch, and I could feel her bones through the gown. My father approached the coffin from the other side and repeated my movements.
“Are you ok?” he asked.
I didn't respond.
When I finally managed to move again, I looked up at him. He was looking at me with a slight, sympathetic smile.
“How did she die?” I asked.
“In her apartment,” he replied. “Her favourite home care nurse was there, holding her hand.”
“Oh. That's good.”
Later that day, on the train home, the experience in the mortuary still hadn't left my mind. The image of her empty eyes was particularly tenacious. My father, brother and I had been visiting her maybe once or twice a year on my father's initiative. Every time, I could feel those kind eyes looking, and whenever I'd returned her gaze, she'd mustered a faint smile and looked away. She'd never talked much, and when she had it'd always been to my father.
“Why would I move to a nursing home?” she'd asked one time.
“You've told me you like it here in the hospital,” my father'd replied. “You said you like the food and the company at the ward.”
“But I'd just be a burden and a nuisance to everyone there. Who'd want to have to take care of me all hours of the day?”
“It's what nursing homes are there for,“ he'd said, frustration growing in his voice. “What makes you think you'd be a nuisance?”
“That's just what people think of me.”
A lot of their conversations had gone like that.
“I'd wish I wasn't always alone,” she'd said another time.
“You live in the same town as several of your sisters, why don't you call them?” he'd asked.
“They don't want to be around me.”
“Have they said that?”
My thoughts were interrupted by the sound of my phone. It was a text from one of my classmates. Hey, how was it today? it read. I'd been talking to him during a smoke break earlier in the week, and I'd mentioned having to go see my grandmother. I considered for a second how to reply. It was ok. I wrote, before stopping. I put down my phone.
“How did you and dad meet?” My father'd asked.
“Why do you always ask that? I don't want to tell that story, and I'm sure you don't want to hear it,” she'd replied.
“Of course I do. I'm your son.”
“It's a personal story. Nothing interesting about it.”
“I'd still really like to hear it.”
“No, you don't.”
“How can you know what I think of it, if you never share it with me?” he'd said.
I picked up my phone again and started typing. It's been a p tough day ...
A few weeks later I was back that the cemetery. I let the morning sun warm my body, while waiting for my family to arrive. It hadn't been long before a car arrived at the parking lot in front of me. As they walked towards me, my eyes met my father's and we smiled at each other. He was walking in between my stepmother and my brother. My sister, who was holding my stepmother's hand, got a great smile on her face when she noticed me. I smiled back. I greeted them all with hugs.
“How was your trip?” My stepmother asked.
“It was good.” I replied.
“I'm sorry you had to cancel with your friend,” my father said.
“No worries, I wanted to be here for this.”
The undertaker wouldn't arrive with the urn for another 10 minutes, so we decided to go to my grandmother's plot. The crown of the chestnut tree looked even more gorgeous in the bright sun. Its fruits had started dropping. The smooth, light brown chestnuts, having shed their shells, lay strewn around the grass under the crown. We walked up to the small, square hole, where my grandmother's urn would be buried.
“I'm going to miss her,” I said.
“Yeah, me too,” my father said.
I noticed a single chestnut in my grandmother's grave. This one was still inside its shell. The funeral director came towards us along the narrow path, and my eyes wandered to the urn she was carrying. I closed my eyes, and wept.
|# ¿ Feb 17, 2014 01:16|
|# ¿ Feb 18, 2014 13:06|
Since uni work kept me from submitting a story last time I'm in with a
|# ¿ Mar 7, 2014 12:02|
All dialogue must include said-bookisms and they must, without exception, be as elaborate as you can make them, while complementing what is actually being said.
For clarification: Does this mean that every single line of dialogue has to be su/prefixed with said-bookisms, or are we allowed to use said/says or nothing at all if said-bookisms break the flow too much?
|# ¿ Mar 8, 2014 11:51|
“What can I do to convince you?” Albert insisted.
“Nothing,” the voice in the telephone answered.
“Listen, Mr. Johansen,” Al persisted, “I'm offering you an excellent piece of hardware, at a very advantageous ...”
“We appreciate the offer, but we're simply not interested,” Mr. Johansen interrupted, calmly.
“Well,” Al sighed, “I guess there's no convincing you. Thank you for your time, Mr. Johansen.”
He hung up the phone and walked to the window. His office was on the 21st floor, so he had an excellent view. He scanned the horizon and stalled on the smoke rising like pillars of black clouds from the industrial area to the West. A knot formed in his chest as he thought about the steel foundry that used to be there. He shivered and shrug his head to as if to dismiss a bad thought.
He sat back down at his desk and crossed out Johansen Steel Co. from the list. This had been his seventh attempt. The other assets he'd been tasked with had been easy to get rid of, but he was running out of options on this last one.
He'd made good progress since starting at the firm. At first he wasn't even able to sell most basic assets. It made him feel uncomfortable. “You have to convince yourself that everyone is better off after the trade,” his boss had solicited, “when you've done that, the rest should be a piece of cake.” He'd found that advice easy to employ in most cases, and before long he'd been able to sell raw materials and tools without second thought. He never did crack the furnaces, though.
It was getting late, and he decided he wasn't going to make the sale today. He packed his things.
As he reached the bottom of the stairs, he realised he had his letter opener in his inner pocket. It was a straight, golden blade with an ornate handle. His boss had given it to him when he had gotten his first promotion. He must've left it in his pocket when he had been opening his mail earlier. He put it in his bag to bring it back on Monday.
Al started walking down the pavement. The weather was warm and still, and Al removed his tie and jacket and rested them over his shoulder. The pavement was busy with people on their way home from work, and all the streets were gridlocked with rush hour traffic. He lived 30 minutes from his office, but at this time it'd take him at least an hour. It was Friday, so he decided to go for a drink. Maybe the alcohol would help him think of something so he could sell that damned furnace. He walked a couple of blocks to where he knew there was a small bar where you could smoke. He used to drink there before he got his job.
The bar was nowhere near as full as he'd expected. There were a couple of groups of workers having beers in the booths along the wall. At the far end, two guys sat on stools by the bar. Al walked there and sat down on one of the unoccupied stools.
“What'll you have?” the bartender rasped.
“Scotch,” Al replied.
“Ice or water?” the bartender inquired.
“Clean,” Al asserted.
The bartender poured him a scotch and a group of workers sat down at a table behind Al.
“You look like you've had a rough day,” the bartender observed.
“Not really, I just have a lot on my mind,” Al mumbled.
Al stayed at the bar for a couple of hours. He lost count, but had sipped his way through a significant amount of whiskey.
“Say,” he inquired the bartender, “I don't suppose you have any need for a steel furnace do you?”
The bartender laughed, “No, I have no such need. Why, are you trying to get rid of one?”
“Desperately,” Al exhausted, “The company I work for recently acquired a steel foundry, and I can't get the damned thing off my hands.”
Al was startled by one of the men from the table behind him suddenly sitting next to him. The man looked at Al disapprovingly.
“Yes?” Al demanded.
“You work for the company that bought the steel foundry?” the man inquired.
“Indeed” Al answered.
“I used to work at that foundry,” the man started, “we were 150 workers who got fired when you bought it”
“The business wasn't making a profit,” Al recited, “We live in a capitalist economy.” A knot had started forming in his chest.
“And how does that make it ok?” the man questioned him.
Al's hands had started shaking. “We were the highest bidder,” He argued.
“But others were willing to keep the operation going.” The man insisted.
“We cannot make such considerations. We have to maintain a competitive economy or we're all worse off” Al tried to convince the man as well as himself.
“You laid off myself and 150 other good workers for profit, and you defend yourselves with the economy. Does none of this bother you?” the man persisted.
“No,” Al lied. The knot in his chest had grown significantly. He wished it would go away.
“My family is supported by a single … ” the man began.
“No more of this” Al boomed, his voice raising with each word, “leave me alone.”
Al remained at the bar for a couple of minutes to finish his Whiskey. Every time he glanced at the man at the table behind him the knot in his chest returned. His thoughts had become unruly.
He put on his jacket and tie and left the bar. As he started down the street, he noticed the shadow of a man walking behind him. When he turned around he saw the man he'd argued with in the bar.
“What do you want from me?” Al yelled, as he fumbled through his bag.
“You can't just deny my presence,” the man declared as he walked closer to Al.
In a rush of panic Al's hand rushed from his bag to the man's chest. The man looked at Al in disbelief.
“What ha-, why?” the man mouthed as he slumped to the ground.
It took a second for Al to snap out of the adrenaline rush. When he did, he noticed the letter opener in his hand; its golden blade spotted with blood. When he saw the man he knelt down beside him. As the reality of the situation dawned on him, a sharp pain arose in his chest and he started crying. He cried for the man he had just murdered and his family. He cried for the 150 people at the steel foundry. And most of all he cried because he knew what he had lost, and that it would be lost forever. When he was done, a cold, numb feeling spread in his chest. He would have no problem selling the furnace now.
|# ¿ Mar 10, 2014 02:36|
|# ¿ Mar 22, 2019 00:35|
A Toxx clause means that if you fail to deliver, you're gonna be banned. The backstory of the term can be found in the SAclopedia
|# ¿ Aug 26, 2014 08:38|