This blog is for all who desire to create with words and images.
You are encouraged to participate in any way that is meaningful to you.

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All prompts beneath the photos are only suggestions.
You are free to use the photo to be inspired to write any way you desire.
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There is no deadline on posting,
you may offer your writing to any prompt anytime.
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Write and you are a writer.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The House

Photograph by François Dubeau
François' photos and a link for his art can be found at -
http://www.francoisdubeau.com/photos/
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Suggested prompt...
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There is a little boy/girl in the house.
Write a story about him/her.
The challenge make it sad, tragic even. Make us cry.
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(Remember all prompts are just suggestions,
you want to write a happy story about daisies, that works too.)



______________________


1

It’s happening again. This time I’m not asleep. I know this house but how do I know this house? Something’s got to give. I used to see it in my dreams over and over again but now I it flashes through my head like a lightning strike. I can’t stop thinking about it. I told Mr. Wright here at the foster home about it. He knows why I can’t see the house but he won’t tell me. Where are my mom and dad….would they know whose house it is? Are they even alive?

2

The flowers are beautiful. How can they be in the same image as this dreadful house? When I see the image again, I am going to just look at the flowers. I can’t, I focus on the whites and yellows and greens but the house draws me in. I can’t sleep now; I know what will happen over and over again.

3

Mr. Wright is worried about me, he says I ‘m preoccupied and won’t talk to the other kids my age. They seem normal, what is wrong with me? It must be my fault. It is my fault. Something happened in that house and it was my fault.

4

Mr. Wright says we are going to take a trip today. It will answer some questions but I should know that it is too soon to understand everything. We are leaving and heading towards the outskirts of town…I remember that small grocery store, “hey” I said, “stop” …I used to go in there when I was very young and my dad would….I remember my dad being with me! This is the town where I used to live. Where are they now, why did they put me in a foster home?

5

It was beginning to sleet when we pulled into the graveyard. Mr. Wright knew where we were going, he had been there before. The rose granite gravestone read: “Millers …Dedicated Husband, Wife and Beloved daughter”….”Taken into your loving arms, April, 1980”. I’m Chase Miller. It’s my family. How did they die? Why don’t I remember? It’s my fault. I was only 3. Why am I still living….it must be my fault.

6

I am now 28 and married with two children of my own. The day that Mr. Wright took me to the grave site was the day my obsession mercifully stopped. When we got back to the foster home, Mr. Wright showed me a picture of a house….a house in crisp focus….the house that I couldn’t get out of my head. The house that was driving me insane. It was a spring day in April, I was only three and wandered out to mom’s flowerbed. She told me we would watch the flowers grow. Mom always went with me but that day, she was busy cooking breakfast and getting dad off to work and Leah off to school so I went on my own. The trauma of the natural gas disintegrating the house and everything I knew right before my very eyes was too much. The counselors told me that I coped by eliminating the past from my memory. Into my early teen years, the image of the house began to resurface and had to be dealt with. Now, I know it wasn’t my fault and I have the crisp, in focus photo of a blue and white house with a wonderful flower garden framed and hanging on our wall. A link to my past and a release to let me live the rest of my life in honor of a family….my family. Thank you Mr. Wright.

~ Dan Felstead


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19 comments:

SUBHADIP said...

Hey..a BRILLIANT PICTURE AGAIN..it looks like a dividing line between dream and a reality..

Simply Heather said...

Oh, I am bursting with a story to share with this beautiful photo. I have it tucked in my heart for safe keeping; maybe I'll be able to pull it out later today; but for now, my little man awakes.

{To be torn in two - it's a mother's life, isn't it?}

Simply Heather said...

...oh, and LJ; did you create this one for me? {jk} :o>

Laura Jayne said...

It is part of my job... pull those words from deep inside... come on now... bring that story out for us to share.

lensguysteve said...

Beautiful Photo, great use of focus.

Simply Heather said...

My time has come, LJ. Thank you for pulling these out of me. You have no idea how blessed I am by you!!

******************

"Mommy, whose house is this?” she asked me.

I glanced at the picture quickly, as I carried in the last box and thoughts carried me away into another place.

This house. How could I explain this house to my daughter? If you look at the picture, it invites you in with the colorful display of wildflowers and the warmth of the appearance. This house. Its appearance was a lie for most of my childhood.

This is the house where the innocence of childhood was taken from me at the age of five. This is the house that stole my mother's life; just as I needed her most and became a young lady. This is the house that caused me to grow up too soon; taking care of my younger siblings and my alcoholic father. This house.

I couldn't find one good thing within myself to tell my daughter, about this house. "Mommy, I said...whose house is this?” she asked again.

I hear her voice, but it isn't strong enough to break me away from my memories. This is the house where I lost my best friend, a bunny that left me to never return. This is the house where I found no protection from the world outside. It seemed that everything which defined this house was of evil and lost hope. This house was not a house that I wanted to remember.

"Mommmyyyy, can't your hear me?” she persisted. "Yes, honey. I can hear you. It's the house I grew up in, honey.” I told her.

"It's a pretty house, mommy. I like the flowers outside; they're just like the ones in our yard. Mommy, isn't that great? You had the same flowers in your yard when you were little?” she said to me.

Oh, the flowers, I thought to myself. How could I forget those flowers? "Yes, honey. They are the same flowers, aren't they?"

I made my way into the house and closed the door. This would be our first night in our new home; which reminded me that I still had much to do. I couldn't just sit here in agony over old memories. This is a new life; a fresh start for my daughter and I.

I began making dinner when those old memories returned. I was five years old when I could smell that wonderful smell in the kitchen. My own mother was making the same soup that I was making right now, when it happened. I heard those footsteps coming from the hallway, as I played in my room. "Mommy, what are you cooking?” my daughter interrupts my thoughts. "Oh, honey, how I do love you.” I tell her.

"Mommy's making soup, sweetie. It’s the same soup that my mommy made for me when I was your age."

"You loved your mommy, didn't you?” she asked me. "Yes, honey, I loved my mommy very much.” I said. You know, my little girl has my mothers’ eyes. Every time I look into her eyes, I am reminded of love and forgiveness.

It was finally time for bed; after a full day of moving into the new house. I tucked my little one in, we prayed together and she drifted off to sleep.

I went into the kitchen to make a cup of tea and settle myself. Rummaging through the box marked kitchen, I found my mothers old teapot and it reminded me of that last day; the day that she left me. "Why, Lord? Why did all of this have to happen to me when I was so young?” I ask.

My thoughts are interrupted with the screaming of the boiling water. I didn't even realize I had put it on the stove. "Where is my mind", I thought.

I grabbed my Bible, the cup of tea, my warm knitted blanket and found myself a quite spot in where my favorite chair rests. My chair, it's the chair that I was sitting in beside my mother's bedside the day she left me. Isn't it something, all of these memories are being pulled from my mind this day. "Lord, it's suppose to be a new start for me; this house. Why? I need to bury these hurtful memories, Lord. I can't live in this hurt."

Again, lost in my thoughts; I hear a plunk and look down at my feet. My Bible slid from my lap and lay there open on the floor below. I reach down to pick it up when one Word shouts out at me. The Word was "watch"; so I begin reading Psalm 121:

"The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps WATCH over you as you come and go, both now and forever."

"Really?” I thought to myself. "You watched over my life and kept me from harm, Lord? When? How can I know the promise that You will watch me as I come and go from this point on? How can I know, Lord that you will protect my little girl from the life that I lived once? Why is this one word sticking out so vividly on this page; this word, watch?"

Then I hear the front door close. It's my husband coming home from his second shift job. "How'd the day go?” he asks me. I start to cry. I don't want to but I can't hold it back any longer. He comes over to me and picks me up into his arms. He simply holds me as I cry. "I know, darling. I understand.” he says to me.

Does he understand? I wonder. Can he really? I mean, he didn't live the way that I did. He wasn't abused. He didn't lose his mother. He didn't live in that house. He doesn't know.

"Darling, I do understand. I really do and I knew that this house was going to bring back all the feelings of your childhood. I told you that when we began building it but I also know that it's part of your healing. You need this, darling. You need it.", he told me.

Sure, I need it. I need it. Who is he to tell me this? I begin to pull away from him and I'm angry; not at him but at all of it. How am I going to raise my little girl with so much hurt in myself? It's all too overwhelming for me right now. It's easier to just sleep.

My husband picks me up into his arms and carries me off to bed. He covers me with the blanket and just lay beside me as I drift off.

It's a new morning, when I hear the birds outside the window. My little one is jumping on my bed and singing "What a wonderful world." to me, in her special way.

"Lord, Thank You for this new day and for the blessing I have in front of me, this precious little girl. Enable me to be the mother that You've created me to be."

Suddenly I feel warm all over, from the inside out and I sense an embrace around me. This is something I had never felt before. It's as if love became me. I was a little scared but as it lasted for a few minutes, I began to understand. I got out of bed and went to the window. I saw the beautiful flowers on the hillside; and there it was...the monarch; the butterfly of new life, new beginnings.

This was a new day. This house we just moved into was a new life for me and I know that with the strength I find in my Savior, I'm able to raise my little girl to dance. For her, I will trust. I will watch. For her, this will be a wonderful world.

******
This story is not at all true to my life or my childhood. It’s something placed in my heart to share, for some reason. I dedicate it to all of God’s girls out there who are in need of healing from past hurts. He WILL enable you to overcome them and one day, you’ll realize that He has placed in your reach; a wonderful world…..just trust and watch.

Inkpot said...

Timmy gazed through a chink in the boards nailed across the window. Outside there was sunshine and daisies. if he pushed his fingers through the gap, risking splinters, he could touch the glass of the window with his fingernails. It was a small pressure, not enough to tap on the glass or make any noise. He was too weak to pry the wood away from the frame.
He watched the postman walk along the path on the other side of the daisies. He wondered what the postman thought of the house. Did it look like a castle? Did the man with the big bag and the letters think the house was deserted? He never came to the house.
Sometimes Timmy thought the sunshine and the daisies and the postman were a dream. A land of fantasy that he had conjured up to sooth his aching mind. Maybe it was a virtual reality that only he could look out on.
He heard footsteps pounding down the corridor outside his room. He pulled the drapes back over the window, settling it just right so that they wouldn't know he had disturbed them, and ran back to bed. If they thought he had been looking outside dreaming of escape they would be angry, and he didn't want to anger them again.

Dan Felstead said...

Simply Heather,

You've just written a parable that I will never forget...even though it is not true...it is universal life experience that we all can identify with, the loss of someone very close to us and how we can cope and somehow move on with our lives.

Thanks for a road map for the day.

Dan

justsomethoughts... said...

a little at a time
two voices
words i cant use again
here
an illegitimate fear
its quiet
and lulls me to a better place
sad maybe
but home
not a house
just a place for me
a place just for me
retreating
backing into the doorway
the 21 gun salute
and i am at peace
already broken
fragile no more

Dan Felstead said...

1

It’s happening again. This time I’m not asleep. I know this house but how do I know this house? Something’s got to give. I used to see it in my dreams over and over again but now I it flashes through my head like a lightning strike. I can’t stop thinking about it. I told Mr. Wright here at the foster home about it. He knows why I can’t see the house but he won’t tell me. Where are my mom and dad….would they know whose house it is? Are they even alive?

2

The flowers are beautiful. How can they be in the same image as this dreadful house? When I see the image again, I am going to just look at the flowers. I can’t, I focus on the whites and yellows and greens but the house draws me in. I can’t sleep now; I know what will happen over and over again.

3

Mr. Wright is worried about me, he says I ‘m preoccupied and won’t talk to the other kids my age. They seem normal, what is wrong with me? It must be my fault. It is my fault. Something happened in that house and it was my fault.

4

Mr. Wright says we are going to take a trip today. It will answer some questions but I should know that it is too soon to understand everything. We are leaving and heading towards the outskirts of town…I remember that small grocery store, “hey” I said, “stop” …I used to go in there when I was very young and my dad would….I remember my dad being with me! This is the town where I used to live. Where are they now, why did they put me in a foster home?

5

It was beginning to sleet when we pulled into the graveyard. Mr. Wright knew where we were going, he had been there before. The rose granite gravestone read: “Millers …Dedicated Husband, Wife and Beloved daughter”….”Taken into your loving arms, April, 1980”. I’m Chase Miller. It’s my family. How did they die? Why don’t I remember? It’s my fault. I was only 3. Why am I still living….it must be my fault.

6

I am now 28 and married with two children of my own. The day that Mr. Wright took me to the grave site was the day my obsession mercifully stopped. When we got back to the foster home, Mr. Wright showed me a picture of a house….a house in crisp focus….the house that I couldn’t get out of my head. The house that was driving me insane. It was a spring day in April, I was only three and wandered out to mom’s flowerbed. She told me we would watch the flowers grow. Mom always went with me but that day, she was busy cooking breakfast and getting dad off to work and Leah off to school so I went on my own. The trauma of the natural gas disintegrating the house and everything I knew right before my very eyes was too much. The counselors told me that I coped by eliminating the past from my memory. Into my early teen years, the image of the house began to resurface and had to be dealt with. Now, I know it wasn’t my fault and I have the crisp, in focus photo of a blue and white house with a wonderful flower garden framed and hanging on our wall. A link to my past and a release to let me live the rest of my life in honor of a family….my family. Thank you Mr. Wright

Simply Heather said...

Oh, Dan Felstead, what a story; so sad and with such freedom in the end. I felt the hurt, the pain of the little three year old boy wondering what he did wrong...the little boy he was for so long, lost in time. Thank you, thank you; for your story and for allowing mine to touch your heart. I'm in awe of it all :o>.

Laura Jayne said...

Now, this has been a day for wonderful writing. I have felt the emotional pull of each of these.

Wow!!! You are writers today to be sure.

Dan Felstead said...

I don't know what it was about that photo but there is certainly something stirring there and Laura Jane, your suggestion as to something tragic was brilliant. I never would have looked at this photo with bright daisies on a spring day and thought....Tragedy but you were spot on.

Dan

Jaime. said...

The girl's name is Regina Felangi, and she had everything going for her. Her school was amazing, so were her grades. Her parents both owned oil companies and although they were rich as hell, the family was never together. And even though Regina had every other thing she could possibly want, she just wanted to be with her mom and dad, who also had good hearts, but no one could see them because their demanding jobs always got in the way. This past Thanksgiving, Regina's parents were on opposite sides of the world, and Regina was stuck in Oregon, where nothing happens. Except the Oregon Trail. Regina's parents couldn't call because they were out of the country, and Regina's nanny, named Paulita, was with her family. So Regina microwaved Stouffer's frozen TV Dinner of peas, turkey, and macaroni drowned with tears. Regina had enough! So Regina ran. She ran out of the kitchen, out of the mansion doors, out of the driveway, out of the iron mechanical gates, and into the grassy meadow until she was out of breath. She was so sick and tired of always being alone! Her parents had hired the most sought-after private home teachers, so she never made any school friends. Each house in her neighborhood was at least eight acres large, so she never had any neighborhood friends. She was alone except for Paulita. And all she thought about in that meadow was that all she wanted was a friend, or a real family. Then she looked up and saw a tiny white house. It was about the size of her parent's master bedroom, and there was a white fencepost around it. She peered into the window, and saw a happy family, gathered around a turkey with a dim chandelier overhead. There was a little girl about her age, and a little boy just a few years younger. There was a mom and a dad, both in holiday sweaters. One holding a turkey carver and the other holding hands with the son. It had looked like a picture right out of a storybook. And more than anything, Regina wanted to be a part of it. So she opened the fence doors, tapping the post, and knocked on the door. She got close enough to hear laughter and she could feel the warmth of the house (and the family) by being right outside of it. The mom answered the door and saw Regina welling up with tears. She invited Regina in, and listened to Regina's sad story on a pleather futon. She took Regina by the hand, and got a plate from the kitchen. She instructed Regina to sit next to the daughter, named Sally, and told Regina that they would be her family for the day. So that night, Regina got more than she'd wanted her whole life. A Thanksgiving with a real family in a homey home, and a real friend. Named Sally.

Monica said...

Amazing writings and photography! I was in tears reading some of the writings and there were a couple that hit very close to my heart home. LJ, I love what you have done here. I just might try to write sometime in the future.

Monica

Sacha van Straten said...

Heather and Dan, your stories made me cry. Both pieces were beautifully written.

I don't tend to 'do' tragic but since you've put me in the mood.....


You are never more loved
Than when the darkness
Folds you tightly
In its blessed embrace.
Dissolving walls
And the sounds of the stillness
Allow you to run
From the terrors of daylight.
Tonight, you will sleep on a quilt
Stitched out of roses,
A pillow of daisies,
And the darknesss will hold you,
Protection from the Sun.

justsomethoughts... said...

bravo! sacha. well done.

Maryanne said...

How do you escape a place that just wont let you go?
How do you escape the memories that haunt you?
How do you escape the pain and the loss?
How do you escape the darkness?
You don't. . . . .Somethings have a way of holding you forever.

I rue the day we laid eyes on that house. Lucayn thought he had died and been transported to another time. He fell in love with it instantly. Me? I didn't like it. It felt. . . . . .wrong. Before i knew it we were moving into our new house in the country, with its endless fields of yellow, white and purple flowers surrounding the house on all sides. It was hard to reason with an Artist especially one as passionate as Lucayn and he had been having a hard time with inspiration but he felt this house would turn it all around for him, that he would find his will to paint once again.

What could i say to his enthusiasm, i didn't have the heart to crush his one chance of being able to paint again because i had a problem with the house, especially when it had been such a long time for him, empty canvasses and a lot of frustration. I did my duty as his wife, I smiled and helped carry some boxes into our new home. I was willing to do whatever it took to for Lucayn just to see him paint again. Within a week we had the house set up the way we wanted it, lucayn had a room dedicated to his work and i had a room dedicated to mine.

Everything was going great for a while, Lucayn was producing spectacular pieces, and selling them just as fast as he was painting them. He was over the moon with the turnaround and so was I. Things felt like they were going to work out. It was the closet thing he got to a miracle and i had forgotten about my misgivings toward the house but then things started to change. Lucayn changed.

Nights were spent less and less with him to the point where he hardly slept anymore. His paintings started to change taking on a more sinsiter macbre look. They spoke of hatred and anger. Envy and death, sometimes all you would see staring back at you was rage in its purest form. He would get angry if i asked where they came from saying i was jealous of his talent and that i wanted to him fail. He would shut me out of his world. I was losing my husband. I was losing my husband to this house. The more i tried to reach him the further he would retreat.

At night i would hear him talking sometimes. When i'd knock on his door and ask who he was talking to he would go silent or he would tell me to go away. For weeks this went on until i had, had enough of it. Banging on Lucayns door i demanded he let me in, nothing came from the otherside except silence. Pressing my ear against the door i could just make out the slightest movement. "Lucayn! Open up this door. Lucayn!" Banging didnt seem to be doing anything. Looking around thinking of what i could do i made my way out to the front of the house looking up to the window of Lucayns sanctuary.

"Goddam you Lucayn".

This had to stop i couldnt stand it. Someone or something was turning my husband against me, and had no intentions of bowing out gracefully. I would not lose him. I would not lose Lucayn. Yanking the ladder from its resting place in the rickety box that passed as a shed i dragged it around to the front of the house and rested against the house next to the small window of Lucayns room. Steadying myself i took a deep breathe and began to climb.

Sitting in front of a canvas with his mouth open, his head slightly tilted, his eyes rolled back into his head, his arm strecthed out and the brush moving all over the canvas guided by the thing that was my husband. Beneath him were pools of liquid and a dark stain that spread across the crotch of his trousers. Holding back the urge to scream as peered into the window i whispered his name only to have it look at me. The sudden shock of it looking at me caused me to loose my footing on the ladder and nearly fall. Scrambling back down the ladder i race inside wanting nothing more but to get to get away only to find Lucayn standing in the hallway.

"Please. . . .Please Lucayn. Dont do this. Leave with me, leave with me please. Its this house its taking you from me. Please. Lucayn?". . . . . . .

I left that day. I left and never went back. I dont know what happened, i dont know what happened to my husband. All i know is i left that day without him. I left without the man that i loved. I had lost. I had lost to whatever was in that house. It had taken him from me A few months after my husband, my Lucayn was found in his room with one of his brushes stabbed through his eye in a pool of his own filth, with a finished painting of the house with its fields of flowers in full bloom and Lucayn standing on the porch smiling.

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