“Dip your toes in the water” she spoke, almost a whisper, like a prayer to a mere mortal. The warm July wind hummed across the the Cote d’Azur, singing softly through the trees. He stared pensively to the blue, hesitant to offer any response. Still, she prayed once more:
“Dip, just try it, dip, dip your toes in the water”. Her call was sweet, and despite her beauty, she was no siren, there was no temptress tone in her words.
The pain was still too great. The fear, crippling. For dipping would lead to heels, heels to which his head would fall over too quickly.
Her soft fingers traced down his sunbrown back. Sand stuck to his lightly sweated neck. Flinching, he was unable to dissuade her hearts call to touch.
“Just a toe” she whispered.
His cheek flinched, the sun sparkling rays of warmth into his otherwise cold soul. His raised arm over his face no match from the glare from the blue. He shifted, nestling under the protection of the vine, shielding, as if it were, from the warmth. Her words resonated. Echoed. Bounced off the walls of his heavily guarded heart. Still, her hand gently persistent, tracing ‘eternity’ around his squared, pensive shoulders.
“One dip, it’s all I ask” sweetness permeated from her lips. He wondered, picking his salt-dried lips, wondered, wondered, wondered why. The pain gripped him around the throat one more time, angrily choking the wonder from his mind.
He remembered the cruel sea. He remembered the pain of the dark blue. The storms. The angry wind, the viscous waves. The grave of the deep reaching his angry hand to drag him down. The siren of the water, that whore, promising pleasure, leaving him shipwrecked, alone, adrift.
Still, he wondered.
She stared out across the Mediterranean. Her fingers, massaging the nape of his neck, prying the anger away from his throat. Her warm fingers. Twirling a lock. Tracing the bones of his spine. Being.
They hadn’t spoken since her proclamation in Marseilles, since he shut down, wondering why she would ruin what they had with something so reckless as love. His broken heart still clenched tight, he angered at why she would dare. Why she would be so foolish as to entrust such a thing in him. Still, her fingers lingered.
“Try me” she implored once again “Just dip your toe in, just once” her words, reassuring, her repetition comforting. He found himself inching towards the thought.
He trained his eyes on the sea. The white caps of the waves, the boats rocking like distant metronomes on the water. He felt the tempest recede inside of him. He wondered, just wondered.
“Dip your toe in the water, my darling, dip it in the water, with me” her voice once again gently persistent like the incoming tide, coming up to meet him, to meet his shore.
The storm still stirred, yet he turned, turned towards her. Her eyes deep as the blue before him, he mustered a squint and a smile
“I’ll dip my toe in the water, I’ll dip it with you”.
Image from http://swim-in-the-sea-count-the-stars.tumblr.com/post/112132247487
Writer’s note: I wrote this not to advocate any position, or to say anything in particular. It’s simply a collection of observations, stories, hushed chats and whispers. There’s stories in here that aren’t my own, and it’s certainly not my intention to sound like I’m advocating a position. It’s in a minor key, it’s a bundle of observations and a collection of mumbles.
Bekka’s turning 18, coming of age, party at mum and dads. Scotty spins the tunes and dad throws up the fairy lights, mum caters to fill teenage stomachs – it’ll come up in the front paddock in a few hours anyway.
Mason’s got a new truck, lifted with an LED bar light to be seen from space. He’s the first to arrive at this festive event, and his country dimples cover valleys of insecurity. Cowboy hat bent at the front, ma and pa secretly hope he’d turn his eyes towards their Bek – if only they knew.
Stace, Maria and Bree tumble out of someone’s back seat, pre-loaded. Dressed to the nines, their heels sink into soft country soil, squealing with each squelch, their lives work to snob you off.
Jase makes an entrance, circle work in his beat up ute. The joker, always the laugh. Bekka’s beau, the half bottle of cheap bourbon held by it’s neck. He’s the joker, but she’s got a creeping suspicion the joke’s on him. 20 years old, on the same an hour, with no prospects of increase.
Family comes, smiles abound. Uncle Frank and Aunt Nina, there’s grandma and gramps. Cousins of all ages. Dad playfully grabs Danny in a headlock, trying to explain that his sodomite son is merely creative, like you can try to explain the gay away. Thanks dad, but they both grieve, unable to move past recent revelations.
Raye and Chrissy sit in the tray of Mason’s ute, necking cheap vodka straight from the bottle. He could have both in a heartbeat, but his sights are set on other targets, perhaps tonight he’ll pipe up the confidence to tell her.
Dwayne sings along to the country ditties, he’s unusually talented that way. Laughing off the compliments, he wonders how life might be different if not yoked with three generations of expectation breathing down his neck. Still, he hums along, wondering, even for a second, if things were different.
Kal, as everyone agrees, is classic wife material, the mother hen of the group. She chats CWA with mum, half an eye on Danny, blissfully unaware he’ll make no woman honest. She mistakes his compliments for flirting, and the thought crosses his mind that perhaps he could fake it, until he made it.
Speeches, and mum and dad praise their perfect Bekka. She spies Jase, he’s getting amorous with Raye, and way too close to his bourbon. She pats her tummy – a week late, and she wonders how daddy will react if she breaks the news to him.
And the party continues, and the fire crackles. They all continue to live their lives together, all in secret.
Picture from https://www.google.com.au/imgres?imgurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lovethispic.com%2Fuploaded_images%2F108685-Bonfire-Party.jpg&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lovethispic.com%2Fimage%2F108685%2Fbonfire-party&docid=2BomfXY3f8L2kM&tbnid=ahC-QHXakHIw-M%3A&vet=1&w=500&h=332&bih=708&biw=1517&q=teenagers%20party%20bonfire&ved=0ahUKEwiY4ePVj7_SAhVrrFQKHcKHDpgQMwhFKCMwIw&iact=mrc&uact=8#h=332&imgrc=ahC-QHXakHIw-M:&vet=1&w=500
“Excuse me, you there, where am I?” the greyed lady asked, pulling a crocheted blanket over her lap.
The equally greyed man smiled at her and turned to face her.
“Oh hello” his warm voice responded
“There must be a mistake” the lady continued in a confused state. The man sat for a minute, allowing her to absorb her surrounds. “These people here are terribly old, and why am I wearing these old clothes! I expect my husband will be here soon to fetch me” she quipped
“Would you like me to check with someone when your husband will be here?” the man kindly offered
“Yes, that would be very kind. Miller is his name” she smiled, finding herself unusually sapped of strength and unable to get out of her chair. As promised, the man shuffled off and had a chat to someone else, then shuffled back.
“Some good news, Mrs Miller. Your husband is on his way”
“Thank goodness for that. He’s on the Council, you know, and he’s very busy. I expect he got caught up in a meeting discussing something very important” the old lady felt relieved “Tell me” she continued, “Where am I?”
“Oh, we are at the Department of Lost Stars” he responded with a glimmer in his eye
“That’s right. Everyone here is a star in some way – all very special”
“But why are they lost?”
“Oh, they are not lost. Once you’re here, you’re found!”
“What a witty thing to say” the old lady broke her first smile.
The pair sat in silence for a few minutes, watching people come and go, their shoes tap tapping on the worn linoleum floor. In the background, a crackly radio whispered some songs of old. The sitting room was a light, open affair with windows that viewed over the ocean. A light breeze rippled across the otherwise still ocean and the late Autumn sun danced across the expanse of blue.
After a few minutes, the man turned to his new companion. “Mrs Miller, would you care for a cup of tea?”
“Oh yes, that would be lovely” she smiled, once again
“I expect you will take it without sugar?”
“How did you ever guess?”
“Because you’re sweet enough as it is” he chuckled
The lady smiled, a cheeky sparkle shone out of her eyes
“Shame on you” she seemed to giggle “I’m a married woman!”
Before too long, the man had returned with two cups of tea, served in thick, white china.
“Mrs Miller, I’ve got a jam drop here if you’d like”
“Oh, my favourite” her eyes lit up “I haven’t had a jam drop in ever such a long time. Do you know, I used to court a man, I simply can’t remember his name now, but he would always bring jam drops whenever we’d meet. He was such a sweet man, I wish I could remember his name”
“I’m very pleased it brings back happy memories” he smiled
The old pair continued to chat as the sun crept down behind the mountain. Some of the old stars in the sitting room sat quietly – reading, doing crossword puzzles or simply watching liners slip into the horizon over the ocean.
“I’m terribly sorry, and how rude of me” the old lady realised “I never asked your name”
“Miller” he smiled
“Oh, just like me!” her spirits lifted “I suppose you might be related to my husband’s family. They are terribly nice – my husband works on the Council, I expect you’ve heard about him” she boasted
“Yes Mrs Miller, I have met him on a number of occasions, and he always spoke glowingly of you”
“My Vernon would say something like that. He’s so sweet” she gushed “I hope not to pry Mr Miller, but is there a Mrs Miller?”
An uneasy smile came across the old mans face. He took his new companion by the hand and looked into her misty blue eyes
“There was a Mrs Miller once, she was the apple of my eye” a tear welled in his eye
Enraptured, she leant forward
“She was taken by that wicked dementia” he wiped a tear from his eye
“Oh Mr Miller, I’m terribly sorry to hear that” she offered her heartfelt apologies
He held her hand, and she found herself making no attempt to remove herself from his warm touch
“Mrs Miller, I do have a confession to make”
“Oh?” she quipped
“There is another I do have my eye on” he smiled cheekily “but I’m sure she wouldn’t remember me, even if I was sitting in front of her” his smile wore thin
“Now now, there’s nothing flattering about a lack of self confidence. Whoever this lady is, I’m sure she would be very flattered by your attention”
By now, the sun had set and the sitting room was filled with the yellowing glow of florescent lights. Some of the old stars had drifted to sleep, some were eating a dinner of roast beef and soft vegetables. Tables were produced and the old pair were offered dinner. They found themselves talking about this and that, enjoying quiet conversation over the clink of cutlery on heavy porcelain plates.
After dinner, a kindly young lady came to the pair
“Mrs Miller, it’s time I took you to your room”
“My room? I expect my husband will be here shortly to fetch me from this place”
“Of course, Mrs Miller. He called through earlier and said he has an urgent Council issue, but he has organised for you to stay here overnight”
“Oh” the old lady seemed deflated “He is very busy, you know. He’s on the Council, you know. How very thoughtful of him to organise a hotel for me. He’s always been very thoughtful, I expect that’s why he keeps getting voted in” she responded, speaking highly of her husband.
“Well Mrs Miller, it’s been a pleasure meeting you” Mr Miller held his new companions hand
“Thank you Mr Miller. You look just like the father of a man I used to court, many years ago. I do wish I could remember his name. He used to bring me jam drops. Isn’t it interesting, the things you remember and the things you forget”
“Happiness is good health and a bad memory” Mr Miller smiled
“Mr Miller, I do hope to find you here tomorrow” she implored
“I expect I will see you tomorrow Mrs Miller, here, in the Department of Lost Stars”
“Lost stars?” she smiled “We’re not lost – we’ve found each other”.
How good is it to watch those you love do what they love? My nanny just comes alive when you ask her about her garden. My brothers love looking after the sick and injured, both human and animal.
It is just amazing to watch those you love ‘ply their craft’ without fear or concern of financial reward. There is very little money in tending your garden, or looking after the ill. But to those who do it, they get an immense amount of satisfaction.
For me, I quite enjoy writing. I’ve found blogging, both here and the Vidins Travel Blog is just so invigorating and enjoyable. I love thinking about what to write, thinking about how the words will look on the page, how the paragraphs will flow, how the writing will make people react.
I’ve had a few people tell me that I should write for money. Perhaps write a short story for a magazine, or something similar. Whilst I think this is grand, I guess there is something always holding me back. A few things, actually.
I love writing, but my concern is, if I was paid for it, would it become a chore, a job? Would the inherent enjoy-ability and freedom be diminished? Who knows.
Also, you just don’t know how good you really are. Mel Gibson stars in a movie called ‘Maverick’, where he is a poker player. He says a line in it which goes something like ‘I wanted to know how good I actually was’, when referring to going into a poker competition.
I don’t know if it is my personality, or what, but if I go in a competition (and know that I am super non-competitive), I want to know if I’m going to win. And if I go in a writing completion, I’d want to win. So I wouldn’t go in the competition if I was not going to win. And when I say I’d want to win, I want to know that the other people were better than me, so I’d beat them.
In year 11, I was put in the ‘low’ English class. Not many things in school annoyed me, but that annoyed me. I knew I was not ‘low’ English material. I knew I deserved to be in the top class. I don’t know how I ended up in that class, but I did. So I made a bet. I bet the teacher of the top English class that at the end of the year, my score / ranking would be in the top half of the whole grade – that is – better than half of the ‘top’ English class. The reward? A three pack of Mars Bars.
Guess who brought home the bacon? That’s right. Your Man Vidins.
I’ve always been lousy at sports. Maths is like pfft. I’m a mediocre manager at best. But I do enjoy writing. I’d even go as far as blowing my own horn and say that not only do I enjoy it, but I’m not half bad.
A friend sent me a link to a writing completion. It’s pricked my interest.
I think I’ll go in it. Not to win (secretly, I want to win big time). Actually, I’ll be overt. I want to win. I want to know how good I could be.