Archive for category Original Prose
Occasionally, I am asked how I maintain my creativity and output. The answer is not easy to give. I do not fully understand it myself, but there are things I practice.
I choose to create every day. Writing is what I do most often. I keep a journal that catches much of the produce of my thought. It is not a personal diary or a planner, but a book of ideas. I keep it in longhand.
At times I have no desire to write, but I do it anyway. I am aware that all I create will not be great or even good. I am comfortable with writing poorly at times because I can edit that out. Getting words to flow is the goal. If I skip days, a dam develops, and priming myself is very hard.
For me, writing is the constant of my lifetime. I began at a young age and have continued working with words no matter my situation. It is like eating, I do it to survive.
To inspire me, I read everything, and each day. I study reference and craft books. I read fiction, non-fiction, scripture, devotionals, newspapers, magazines, professional journals, biographies, poetry, various pieces on-line, and anything else that comes before me.
I rarely watch television or video. I have an extreme aversion to advertising, which is inescapable with television, so I avoid it.
I listen to a wide variety and large quantity of music. When I work, I often have it playing though I love quiet too.
My vision is that no subject is so dull it cannot be covered in writing. Surprising results can be achieved writing about the seemingly mundane. A word can be the basis of a poem or story. The life of the mind, a task, a visual, an emotion, an idea, anything is material.
After years of writing, I realize something I believe of keen interest, may appeal to no one else. An essential part of maintaining creative practice is distancing one’s satisfaction with the work from the results. If no one reacts to an effort, it is not an indication it is unworthy. It only means at this moment it did not draw attention.
Creation is never wasted. Skill and definition require training in methods and practice. All words lead toward correct composition. Labor is not done in vain. Talent must be honed to become stronger, better.
I keep producing because I love people, and I hope to encourage and inspire. Often I am unsure of my offering, but words manifest, so I capture them.
I create a lot because I see it as a good practice. The process must progress to accomplish any success.
© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan
Posted by Jo Ann J. A. Jordan in Artwork, Blessings, Creativity, Design, Dreams, Encouragement, Gifts, God, Gratitude, Journal Writings, Journal Writings and Original Poetry, Love, Odd Ramblings, Original Poems and Prose, Original Poetry, Original Prose, Personal Enrichment, Photographs, Poem, Poetry, Prompt, Protest, Words, Writing on July 18, 2018
Posted by Jo Ann J. A. Jordan in Blessings, Creativity, Dog, Dreams, Encouragement, Family, Friendship, Gifts, Gratitude, Journal Writings, List, Love, Mother, My Dog, My Mom, My Personal News, My Son, Odd Ramblings, Original Prose, Photographs, Poem, Poetry, Prompt, Technology, Words, Writing on December 6, 2016
I wrote this while most were sleeping. It was one of those times when sleep eluded me. Perhaps having a new pen had something to do with it too. I hope you can read my scribblings.
Worth More Than The Stars
You may not realize
How very important you are
In the eyes of those
Who love you completely,
And God who created you
To be His own chosen child;
No matter your mistakes, sins,
You are treasured beyond your imagining,
You are counted among the precious,
Priceless people who are never forgotten.
You are worth more than the stars.
This photograph has nothing to do with the subject recounted above, but I thought it grand.
My doggy, Hope, who is my close companion now because it is raining and she is afraid of rain.
I am grateful:
- I have my Mom for whom to care.
- My dog is a very loving animal who helps me deal with problems.
- There are beautiful ink pens in the world.
- I am reasonably good at writing.
- My new keyboard and mouse arrived on Monday.
- We have central heat and air to keep us comfortable.
- There is plenty of food in the house.
- I have very recently secured a part-time job as Copy Editor for local publications.
- My friends have encouraged me when I could not believe in myself.
- My son will soon come off recruiting duty which is his wish.
If you have the time, write a short list of things for which you are thankful. I find detailing my blessings improves my mood and makes what I lack seem less important. You might find it beneficial as well.
If you need a prompt, consider doing as the handwritten part of this entry suggests and handwrite something. If you send someone a letter or card, I guarantee it will brighten their day.
Creativity is your natural state. Open yourself to the inspiration around you, put your mind and hands to work adding something beautiful to the world. We need what you have to share. Someone might be looking for exactly what you have to say. So get busy and create a work of art in whatever form you choose.
If you have enjoyed this blog, I invite you to explore more pages, follow it, so you get email updates, and come back to visit often.
Jo Ann J. A. Jordan
Posted by Jo Ann J. A. Jordan in Bible, Blessings, Church, Current Events, Encouragement, Fear, Gifts, God, Gratitude, Journal Writings, Love, News, News and politics, Odd Ramblings, Original Prose, Photographs, Problems, Protest, Religion, Society, Tragedy, United States, Words, Writing on July 6, 2016
A terrorist is a person who has willingly been misled into a belief system that is inimical to life and liberty. He or she has embraced a diabolical ideology that foments terrible violence, destruction, and elimination of human life.
We, as a nation, Americans, as a people, have always held the beliefs that life and liberty are sacred. Our ideology is one of compassion, construction, and respect for all life.
Unfortunately, there is a war going on. It is a war for the hearts and minds of human beings. It is being waged worldwide, and all the actors are not flesh and blood. There are, of course, people involved, but there are also principalities and powers who are stronger than we. There are ideals not easily banished from susceptible humanity.
To win this war it will take the sacrifice of precious lives in combat, of lives that are taken without just cause, lives we can ill afford to lose. If we win, if we overcome this present evil, we will also have to submit ourselves to the love and power of Almighty God. Christ is the One, who will ultimately win this war. It has always been waged throughout all history. We will triumph in the Lord! Heed the call! Jesus is Coming! Everybody Get Ready, The King Is Coming!
Otherwise Entertained (12)
Morgan woke up shivering on the bunk bed where she had fallen into an exhausted sleep. As soon as she gained consciousness, she realized her left wrist, right ankle, and back were in worse shape than she had imagined before she lay down. She turned on the lamp her mother had given them as a wedding present and realized her wrist was an angry shade of purple, almost black. Her ankle was hurting worse than it had the first morning after she fell in the ravine. Her back smarted where the whip had dug into her tender flesh.
She wished she could go to the hospital, but it was Sunday morning, she had no insurance because Tony had not been at his job long enough to gain coverage, and she doubted he would appreciate her writing a check for the cost. She knew there were a couple of thousand dollars in the account if he had not spent all the money she had deposited from her working summer jobs. She did not know the balance because he insisted since he made all the money that he should have control of the finances. He gave her a cash allowance for groceries and other spending. She knew he made good money at his present job, but she had no idea what he spent when she was not around. If the tip he left last night was any indication, there might be less money in the account than she guessed.
She tried to use the crutches to hobble to the bedroom, but found it hurt to put any pressure on her left hand. This was not a good state of affairs. She wanted to go to church because there might be questions if she were not there. She managed to hobble to the bedroom bracing herself on the right wall. Tony was still asleep and she chose not to wake him. She did not think she could take more punishment like that of last night and she had no idea what mood in which he would awaken.
She felt around in the closet her father had constructed and found a long sleeved shirt and a long skirt hanging together. She wished it was appropriate to wear jeans on Sunday morning, but knew people would stare if she did. She did not wish to draw undue attention to herself. She got fresh underwear out of her childhood dresser and limped to the bathroom.
When she turned her back to the shower, she nearly fainted. Now she knew what slaves felt like after being beaten by an overseer. No pain so excruciating had visited her body before. She almost forgot her ankle and wrist hurt. God only knew what she had done to deserve this suffering. When she got out of the shower, she took a makeup mirror and turned her back to the mirror over the sink. The reflection made her gasp. There were deep red welts crisscrossing the middle of her back. She was glad the shirt she had found was dark and thick.
She dressed and combed out her hair. She decided makeup was necessary and carefully applied it to her face. She checked on Tony again, finding him still asleep. They did not always go to church together so she figured no one would be overly concerned when she showed up alone.
She tried to eat a bowl of cereal, but found she had no appetite. She picked up her purse, and slung it over her right shoulder. Again, she felt pain shoot through her. This was not going to be easy. She hobbled out the door and shut it quietly behind her. She made it to Katie in a few wobbly steps. When her back touched the seat, she drew in a deep breath. She cranked the Cadillac and backed out of the driveway slowly, trying not to rev the big engine.
Driving was no fun, every time she made a turn or put on brakes she was reminded of her injuries. She made it to the small white church on the hill and found the parking lot already crowded. She parked as close to the building as possible and tried to walk inside without limping. She ground her teeth together to avoid moaning.
One of her friends hugged her, and she wished she had not done so. One of the older women asked what had happened to her foot. She answered that she had fallen down some stairs. She made it through Sunday school without any more questions about her condition. The teacher did ask where Tony was and she told him he had wanted to sleep in because he was very tired.
The pastor preached a beautiful sermon on First Corinthians Thirteen. She thought how that definition of love was lacking in her life with Tony, but she smiled thinking of Kelvin. Then guilt overwhelmed her and tears trickled over her cheeks. She swiped them away with her right hand. She shut her eyes and prayed that she could be forgiven.
When the service ended, she walked out as quickly as she could. A few people stopped her to shake hands and hug her. When she got to the car, she sighed with relief. She thought it had gone very well, but she felt no absolution.
She drove home slowly trying to avoid as much pain as she could. When she got home Tony’s Camaro was missing from the driveway. That could not possibly be good, but she was relieved she would not have face him immediately.
She went inside and put down her purse and Bible. She limped to the bedroom and changed out of her church clothes. She put on another long sleeved shirt and jeans. Her back smarted when the material touched the welts. She limped to the front room and took a Diet Coke from the refrigerator. She thought of the crutches, but guessed they would be more trouble than help. She hobbled to her desk and took out her journal. She wondered if it was safe to write about last night and this morning. She decided she had nothing to lose. After writing down what she experienced, she put the journal back in the bottom of one of the drawers where she usually hid it.
She took out some paper and wrote a couple of poems. One was a prayer of contrition asking for forgiveness and the other was a love song. It had been a long time since she was inspired to write about love. She thought about that and decided it was a sad commentary on the state of her marriage. After the preceding night, she wondered if she was crazy to be sitting in this apartment. Her pride prevented her from admitting to anyone else how horribly wrong she had been to get married. Now Kelvin knew she had reservations, but she did not think he would reveal what she had said to anyone else.
She heard a car pull up in the driveway and stuffed her papers into a drawer. In a moment keys rattled in the lock. Tony burst into the room and glared at her.
“Where the hell have you been?”
She answered, “I went to church as I often do on Sundays. You were sleeping so soundly I decided it was best not to wake you. I knew you had a tiring week and thought you could use the extra rest.”
He nodded and said, “Thank you. That was sweet of you. I am sorry I was so rough on you last night. I will not do it again. Can you forgive me?”
She could not believe what he was saying, but she did not want to upset him. She said, “Of course. It was not so bad.”
He looked at her feet and then met her eyes, “You’re wearing the bandage again. Is your ankle hurting?”
She answered, “It seemed a little worse today and I thought it would be good to wrap it.”
“Do you want to go get something to eat? I’ll drive,” he said.
She answered, “I think I will stay home, but if you want to go get some chicken that would be great.”
He smiled and said, “Sure, I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
He left and she sat stunned at her desk. She wondered how he thought a few words could erase the deeds of the night before. Maybe she was crazy, but it seemed like he would realize how badly he had hurt her. She wished she knew someone she could talk to about it, but it was long distance to call her best friend and she did not think anyone else would understand.
After about twenty minutes, she heard the Camaro outside. He came in and served their plates from the bucket of chicken and side items. He sat down on the bunk and patted the place beside him.
He asked, “Why don’t you come sit over here?”
She carefully balanced her plate and limped the few steps over to the bunk. She sat down, and he patted her on the back. She bit her tongue to avoid screaming. She wondered if he could truly be so insensitive, or if he had forgotten whipping her. She decided there was no good explanation for the way he was acting.
After they finished eating, he took their plates and emptied the bones into the trashcan. He ran a sink full of water and washed the dishes, putting them in the drainer to dry.
She got up to go to the bathroom and he asked her, “Do you want to use your crutches? I can get them for you.”
She did not want to explain about her wrist, so she said, “I am doing fine without them. They make my underarms hurt worse than my foot.”
He nodded and crossed the room. He said, “I bought a new album. Would you like to listen to it?”
She called back over her shoulder, “Sure, when I come back from the bathroom.”
She looked closely at her face after she washed her hands. She decided that maybe the damage did not show, except in the depths of her eyes.
When she got back to the front room, he started the album. She recognized the artist as Pat Benatar. She had never heard the whole album before. As the song, Hell Is For Children played she felt tears begin trickling down her face.
He asked, “Are you okay, darling?”
She wiped her eyes and said, “Sure, I just have not heard that before. It caught me off guard. It is a really sad song.”
He said, “It is horrible that some people do that to their children. When we have ours, it will not be like that. We will be marvelous parents.”
She thought, no God, no children, not after last night. Please Jesus save us all from such suffering.
© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Otherwise Entertained (13)
Monday was the regularly scheduled game day at Ramsey’s house, but she was dreading it this time. She did not want the group to see her in her current condition. She was tired of wearing long sleeves already. She was a very warm natured person and she was overheating.
At noon, someone knocked on the door. Her heart raced because she thought it might be Kelvin. When she answered the door, she found a woman holding a huge bouquet of red roses. She thought there was some mistake.
The woman asked, “Are you Morgan?”
She answered, “Yes, I am.”
The woman handed her the vase and said, “Then these are for you!”
She returned to her van without giving Morgan a chance to ask any questions.
Turning around and shutting the door she wondered why she had received such a lavish display. She limped to the bar and searched the arrangement for a card. She found it and opened the envelope. The message was scrawled in Tony’s handwriting.
It read, “Thinking of you with love and affection today. Hoping these bring a smile to your beautiful face. Yours forever, Tony.”
She found herself frowning with consternation. She did not understand why a man, who always said flowers had absolutely no meaning, would send her roses. He had never done anything like this when their relationship had been more loving.
She sat down in her desk chair and stared at the flowers sitting on the bar. They were undeniably gorgeous, but she felt their beauty was tainted by his recent actions. She wished she could accept them as a lovely gift, but instead they bewildered her. Was she simply going insane? Should she accept the gesture as one of love and good will?
She reached for the phone, but realized Yvonne would be in school at this time of day, and it was long distance anyway. She wanted to talk to someone who loved her, but would not react over-protectively as would her mother. Her family really could not know about this, someone would lose their temper and the consequences could be disastrous. Her male family members were hot heads who would not hesitate in using force to settle a score. Hurting a female was unconscionable, especially a female who belonged to them.
Lost in thought she jumped when someone knocked loudly on the door. This was turning into an unusually busy day for interruptions.
She limped to the door and opened it. Kelvin stepped briskly inside and closed the door behind him.
He said, “Are you okay?”
She said, “I think I might be dreaming. This day is becoming extremely strange. Aren’t you supposed to be in school? What are you doing here?”
He took her in his arms and kissed her. He said, “Does that prove you are not dreaming? I took the afternoon off, senior privilege. I wanted to see you and thought this might be a good time. Does that answer your questions? Are you still convinced things are strange?”
She tried to hide her pain and said, “Too many surprises. I think I need to sit down.”
She stumbled as she stepped to the bunk and he grabbed her left hand. She gasped.
He said, “What’s this? I thought your ankle was healing and you did not seem to mind my holding your hand the last time I saw you.”
She pulled her hand away and put it down beside her. His eyes followed the movement.
He asked, “Are you going to answer me? What is wrong?”
“I fell, spraining my wrist, and reinjuring my ankle,” she answered.
He shook his head, “This said by the girl I have watched sprint up several flights of crowded stairs in four inch spikes when late to class. Tell me another story. I disbelieve that one.”
She shrugged and said, “That’s the only one I have.”
He stood over her and lifted her hand, pushing back her sleeve, “You are obviously trying to hide something because I never saw you in such thick clothes even in the dead of winter. Now you want to tell me the truth?”
She looked away from him and closed her eyes trying to think of an explanation he would accept.
“You forget I told you I care about you. I know you, probably better than the rest of the group. You think you can deceive me. You are forgetting who I am. Now look at me and tell me why I find you more broken than I have ever seen you,” he said.
She sobbed, “Why can you not be satisfied with a simple answer?”
“Because you are one of the strongest people I know, and my questions have reduced you to tears. What did that son of a bitch do to you? Did he figure out I had been here? Is this my fault? Other people may accept your stories or fail to notice something is wrong, but I am not other people,” he said in a voice roughened by his emotions.
Morgan looked him in the eyes and said, “You really don’t want to know.”
He roared, “You think this is none of my business? You think I walk away when someone hurts someone dear to me. After so many months in my presence, you have learned so little about me. Come on Morgan, if you do not tell me now, I swear all of us will beat it out of him tonight. Don’t try my patience and remember I never make idle threats.”
“He did not know what he was doing. I made him angry. It was my fault,” she said softly.
“I have heard about the bullies who tormented you. Did you make excuses for them like this? Is that why your brothers never beat the crap out of them?” He demanded.
“No they were older and I never told them what happened, they never asked,” she said.
“Well, I’m asking, and you are going to give me an honest answer or I am walking out of here and you will never see me again. Answer me now, woman. I will not ask again,” he said with such force it frightened her.
She motioned for him to sit down beside her; he shook his head and said, “No thanks, I’ll stand so I can see your face. You cannot lie to me if I am looking at you like this, I will know if you do.”
“He came home a while after you left. We went to the Barbecue House for supper. He flirted with the waitress and left her a twenty-dollar tip. I drove to the theater and we saw a horror movie. When I was scared, he laughed at me. He refused even to hold my hand. He walked way ahead of me to the car and played the stereo so loud it made my head hurt. When we got home, he locked me out. When I stepped inside in the dark, he grabbed me and covered my mouth as I screamed. Is that enough to satisfy your curiosity?” She said looking into his eyes.
He said, “I don’t think that is the end of the story. You have started; you can tell me the whole thing.”
She nodded and continued, “I stumbled and he let me go. I fell hard on the floor and twisted my ankle again. He cursed at me and refused to help me up off the floor. He told me he had plans and told me to crawl to the bedroom. As I was crawling, he walked by me and kicked my left wrist. I nearly fell on my face. He got to the bedroom and turned on the light. He threw me on the bed and tied my hands over my head with rope. I really don’t want to say any more, is it not enough? You don’t understand, I have to relive it all as I tell you.”
There were tears in his eyes, and he said, “I need to know the rest of it. I cannot help if I do not know.”
She took a deep breath and began again, “He left the room and came back with a tumbler of whiskey. He took both our clothes off. He turned me onto my stomach and beat me with a whip. When I begged him to stop, he demanded I do what he wanted. I did it and he threw me back on my stomach. He took me roughly from behind. When he finished he drank some whiskey, lit a joint, and told me to leave him alone. I made it to the bathroom, untied my hands, and put on my bathrobe. I slept on this bunk. I woke up in pain.”
He moved to her side and sat down beside her. She realized he was crying and began sobbing herself.
She said, “It was all so awful. Now he is being unusually kind. He even sent me those roses today.”
He said, “That low down son of a bitch. He is going to pay for this.”
She grabbed his balled up fist, “No, it is not worth it. I am okay.”
“The hell you are. Now let me see your back,” he said reaching for her shirt. She ground her teeth as he pulled it up.
“Oh my God! I have seen some bad things, but this is too much. You poor darling! No wonder you did not want me to touch you. You should have gone to the hospital. I can take you now. I have my license even though I don’t have a vehicle,” he said.
“No, no one can know!” She said quietly.
“I know!” He exclaimed.
“You would not let it go. Others would not either. Someone would get in terrible trouble. You have to keep it a secret. Tell no one!” She said.
“You think I am a coward? I will give him worse than he ever imagined,” he said.
“You will let it go if you really care about me. I cannot lose you now,” she said and kissed him.
“I am afraid to touch you. I might harm you. How am I supposed to sit in the same room with him tonight?” He asked.
“You pretend it never happened and treat him just as you always have,” she said.
“You forget who I am, and try to take my manhood from me,” he said.
She whispered, “No, I know exactly who you are and I respect you more than you guess.”
“Maybe so, but you don’t understand what you are asking,” he said.
She said, “A time will come.”
He said, “I can guarantee you it will.”
She kissed him and put her arms around his neck. She said, “Thank you for not giving up until you got the truth and for listening. I needed someone to talk to about all of it. Why do you think he is being so nice now?”
He explained, “Probably because he feels guilty, is a coward, and thinks that being nice will save his ass by causing you to keep quiet about what happened. I am sure he knows he should have never treated you that way. He may be scared you will talk to the police. They would arrest him in a heartbeat after seeing your back. I will take you to talk to them if you want to go.”
She shook her head and said, “No, it would get back to others and they would not stop until they did something so horrible they would never be free again.”
He said, “You know sometimes consequences do not matter. Only revenge matters, there is satisfaction in making someone pay for his or her actions.”
He kissed her gently and said, “You know someone should put something soothing on those welts. I do not know how you will avoid terrible scars. How can you trust anyone when he did this to you?”
She smiled, “Just because one person does something hurtful does not mean that another person is also cruel. Each one should be held accountable for his or her own actions. God calls us to let go our judgment of all others and love each other alike. Forgiveness is a gift of peace that we give to ourselves.”
He said, “I knew there was a reason I admired you. Come sit in my lap for a few minutes before I leave. This has not been exactly the afternoon I envisioned. I do not pretend to understand why you insist I keep this secret and mete out no punishment. I will warn you not to come between our characters in Ambazzar. How are you going to answer questions from the others tonight? They may not call you out on it as I did, but they are apt to wonder about anything you tell them.”
She said, “The others tend to be less observant than you. Sometimes I think they all consider me just another of the guys.”
He said, “I can assure you they all realize you are not one of the guys.”
He kissed her long and passionately. He said, “He managed to come between us again. One day I will have you all to myself.”
She said, “I would like that very much. Now you should probably be leaving. I cannot imagine what he would do if he caught us together like this. I do not think it would be pretty. He was not even happy you carried me out of the woods.”
He asked, “Do you think that is why he did this to you? Do you think he suspects us?”
She answered, “No, but there is some tension between you two. I have been watching it for months now. You are a leader, and I know he resents authority.”
He said, “I think you have a lively imagination. Take good care and don’t get hurt!”
He kissed her once more and slipped out the door. The apartment felt so empty to her when he left.
© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Otherwise Entertained (14)
Sitting at her desk, Morgan thought about Kelvin. He would have a hard time carrying her secret and keeping his hands off Tony. She knew he never backed down from a challenge and always defended his friends. His admission of care for her put her in the position where he would want to fight for her. He was not a jock, but he had proven when he carried her from the woods that he was strong. Only her pleas that he not act on his feelings of revenge would keep him from beating Tony mercilessly, if those worked. She was unwilling to give up the game nights, but maybe Tony would fall away from the group. She knew there would be some repercussions for his treatment of her. Even if they did not know what happened, the others would probably sense something. Kelvin might not act in reality, but Kaos had no inhibitions.
She took the green Royal out of its case and rolled in a sheet of typing paper. She thought how things were between she and Kelvin and began a poem.
Hidden beneath the surface
Not allowed the light,
Their passion like a jewel
Centered deep inside.
No one must hear a whisper,
No tales could now be told,
Their kisses must be secret
Treasured dear as gold.
No longer a maiden
Not counted extremely fair,
Worried, conscience laden,
Afraid promises to foreswear.
A knight golden
Striving to be white,
To no one beholden,
Spoiling for a fight.
A quite unlikely couple
Though friends throughout time,
An affair born in trouble
Surely could not be a crime.
She took the paper from the typewriter and read it over. It was like most of her poems, something no one else would ever read, but it eased her soul to write the words.
She heard the Camaro pull into the driveway and tucked the poem beneath some other papers in a desk drawer.
Tony unlocked the door and burst into the apartment, the door banging against her desk. His eyes swept the room and came to rest on her face.
He said, “I see you got the roses. Do you like them?”
She sighed and answered, “They are quite beautiful and totally unexpected.”
He smirked and said, “You deserve them and so much more.”
He walked to the bedroom and came back changed from his brown uniform into jeans and a striped shirt.
He took her hands and asked, “Would you like to have a steak tonight? I think it would be nice before we go to Ramsey’s house.
She gently disengaged her hands from his and said, “That sounds very nice. You know I enjoy steak.”
He gathered their gaming things from the black metal shelf, gave her purse to her, and said, “Let’s go then. Is your ankle still hurting? I can drive Katie for you.”
“That would be nice,” she said as she limped to the passenger side of her car.
He came around her, set the books on the hood, and opened her door.
Her eyebrows raised as she said, “Thanks Tony.”
As he closed the heavy door he said, “You are very welcome.”
He drove to the restaurant and opened her door for her. He held her arm, allowing her to lean on him as they walked inside. After they finished the meal, he helped her back to the car and made sure she was comfortably seated before starting the Cadillac.
At Ramsey’s house, he helped her inside and went back to the car.
Wagner asked, “Shouldn’t your ankle be better by now?”
Several of the others nodded in agreement and looked at her closely.
She swallowed and answered, “I guess it was a little more serious than I thought.”
Kelvin shuffled some papers and said, “I think we are in for quite an adventure tonight. I am looking forward to it.”
Tony came in with their books and gaming gear. He handed Morgan’s things to her and started to sit down near Kelvin who suddenly spread his books out into that space. Tony changed direction and took an empty chair across the room.
Morgan noticed some puzzled looks pass between the guys. Kelvin gave a slight shrug when their eyes met his.
Ramsey gave them a little background on the nearby dungeon through non-player character conversation in the tavern where their adventures began. The group rode out in high spirits.
Tony’s character, Cornelius, took the lead position, entering the dungeon first. When they encountered a small group of Minotaur, the fighting became intense.
When only one Minotaur remained, Kelvin rolled his dice and announced, “Kaos accidentally hits Cornelius in the back with his sword while aiming for the Minotaur. He does six points damage.”
Ramsey rolled his dice behind the screen and said, “The Minotaur hits Cornelius with its axe and he falls to ground, bleeding profusely.”
Max called out, “Silas attempts to pull Cornelius away from the fighting.”
Kelvin and Ramsey rolled dice simultaneously and Ramsey said, “The Minotaur lifts Cornelius’ nearly lifeless body and darts into the shadows.”
The rest of the group pursued the Minotaur, but it got away in a maze of corridors. Ramsey rolled some dice and told them, “You find a room with several doors…”
The adventure continued for an hour in which Tony could only watch and listen because the group did not return to town. When Morgan glanced at Kelvin, he gave her a satisfied smile.
Ramsey suggested they take a break and have some snacks. They all filed into the kitchen carrying on lively conversations about the game. Morgan noticed Tony sullenly refused to participate. Kelvin seemed determined to keep his distance from her husband.
They returned to the den and Tony rolled a new character. In their next sally into the dungeon, Kelvin’s character, Kaos, again turned his weapons on Tony’s character. Tony was left sitting quietly in the background as the game continued around him.
When the game broke up about an hour later, Tony left the house without a word to anyone. Kelvin picked up Morgan’s gaming gear along with his own and walked her to the car. Tony was already sitting in the passenger seat with the stereo blaring.
Kelvin opened the driver’s side door and deposited Morgan’s gear in the back seat. He said, “Tony, don’t you think you should drive? Your wife seems in no shape to be handling a vehicle.”
Morgan paused before sitting down and heard Tony say, “She can drive well enough. What was your idea of killing my characters tonight?”
Kelvin laughed and said, “Just bad luck, sometimes it is all in the roll of the dice.”
He patted her on the shoulder, saying, “You take care of yourself and drive carefully. You know our numbers if you need anything.”
He closed the door and backed away from the car. When she cranked it and began backing away, he waved.
The driving was not so bad, but when she attempted to turn the stereo down Tony batted her hand away from the knob.
He yelled, “Take me to the liquor store. I need some Jack Daniels.”
She drove there and he slammed Katie’s door especially hard when he got out. She turned the stereo off and enjoyed the quiet. After a few minutes, he came out with a brown paper bag.
He said, “I picked up another bottle of Bacardi 151 so you can join me as I drink tonight.”
She took a moment before saying, “The bottle we had was not nearly empty, but it is nice of you to think of me.”
He turned the stereo back on at high volume. When they reached the apartment, he jumped out of the car leaving their gaming gear in the back seat. She gathered it and limped to the closed apartment door. She was not surprised when she found it locked. She opened the door and stepped inside. She saw him pouring Bacardi 151 into a glass on the bar.
He said, “You were right. Your bottle was not near empty. I took the liberty of preparing your drink for you.”
As he put it in her hand she said, “Thank you, but I really did not need it.”
He took a Led Zeppelin album out and placed it on the turntable. He said, “You may not need the drink, but I don’t want to drink alone.”
He sat down on a bunk and began drinking. She sat in her desk chair and listened to the music. It was not as loud as he had played the stereo in the car because he could not afford to disturb the neighbors above or in the other basement apartment next to theirs.
He patted the seat next to him and said, “Come on over here. I don’t bite.”
She joined him, but asked, “Don’t you think you ought to get to bed since you have work tomorrow?”
He answered, “It is not as late as some nights and I really need to calm down after this evening. I never realized how boring it was to just sit and watch the game being played. I wanted to punch Kelvin for killing my characters. Tonight was awful. I am not sure I will go Wednesday. I could go hang out with Michael while you were gone.”
She said, “I am sorry it was not pleasant for you. I am also very glad you did not hit Kelvin. It would have been bad for a fight to break out over the game. Ramsey’s mother might have banned everyone from playing there anymore and that would be unfair to the others.”
He said, “Yeah, I thought of that. I knew it was all an accident anyway. I have not been in a fistfight in years and did not want to hurt anyone.”
She said, “It was good you thought about it. I would hate to see you in a fight. You might get hurt and that would make me unhappy.”
He finished his drink and said, “I think I will head to bed. Work time comes early. Will you join me, I hate for you to sleep up here.”
She said, “I will be back in a while. I have a few things to do before I settle down. I will slip in quietly without disturbing your rest. Sleep well with sweet dreams.”
He left the room and then she heard the bedroom door close. She thought about what Kelvin had done during the game and smiled. She knew he would like to do something similar in real life, but she was glad he had restrained himself throughout the evening. She wondered what all of them would think of her coming to play alone, but she guessed she was enough a part of the group that it would make little difference.
She took out the poem she had written that afternoon and read it again. It was not great, but she liked it. Maybe one day she could share it with Kelvin. He might like it, but then again some people had no use for poetry.
© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan
Friday, November 8, 2013
I had a very hard time getting this written. I am still uncertain I handled the love scene well. Fortunately, in the end the words began to flow and it got easier. Please be advised there are adult language, content, and situations in this post. If you were abused there may be triggers here. As always, read at your own risk.
Otherwise Entertained (11)
Morgan did not sleep well, troubled by uneasy dreams. She woke before the clock alarmed at 6:00. She cooked scrambled eggs and toast for Tony’s breakfast. He grumbled about having a headache, but left for work without mentioning the night before.
She turned on the small black and white television for a few minutes hoping to distract herself, but she found as usual that it did not entertain her. After turning the television off, she put Neil Young’s Decade on the stereo. The music provided a pleasant background for her to tidy the apartment. Side one of the album finished playing and cut off itself. She wondered what Kelvin was doing this morning, but guessed he would still be asleep.
She showered, but before she finished dressing, someone knocked on the door. She grabbed her plush white terry cloth bathrobe, put it on over her underwear, and belted it tightly at her waist. She wondered who would be visiting this early on Saturday morning. As she passed the window, she noted that only Katie was in the driveway.
The knocking continued and she opened the door. She was surprised to find Kelvin standing there.
She stepped to the side to let him in and asked him, “How did you get here?”
He said, “I walked, as I do most of the time.”
After he shut the door behind him, he took her in his arms. His embrace was tender and warm. She wrapped her arms around him in return.
He murmured into her damp hair, “You smell so sweet.”
She looked up at him and said, “I need to go dress. I just finished my shower.”
He lifted her chin and kissed her hungrily. She responded with equal ardor.
He took her hand and led her to the bunk against the wall. When they were seated, he asked, “How is your ankle?”
She answered, “It seems to be getting better. Thank you for bringing me out of the woods. I do not think I could have walked so far alone. You seem more concerned about my ankle than anyone else.”
He said, “I care about you. You should realize that.”
They were still holding hands and she thought how nice it was. Kelvin slipped his arm around her waist and pulled her tightly against him. They kissed again and Morgan felt her body reacting to his tenderness.
He said, “I don’t like the way Tony treats you. You deserve better.”
She looked into his kind brown eyes and said, “You are making it better by being here. I never dreamed you would walk this far to see me. It is not safe for either of us.”
He kissed her again, and said, “Safety is overrated. Besides no one knows I am here, there is no car to give us away. I suppose that is one advantage of being the only person without a car at eighteen. I never before thought there was anything positive about it.”
They kissed and he said, “Are you in love with him? It does not seem possible, but I need to know, before I…”
She put a finger to his lips, and said, “He has been pulling away from me for some time; he hurts me with words and actions. I do not feel like I used to, I made a horrible mistake marrying him, but he was different then. I think some of it is the drugs he takes. I think those have changed him. I was not aware of that habit. I have tried to get him to quit, but he ignores me. I was so stupid.”
He caressed her cheek, and said, “It is not your fault. Sometimes we rush into things without being certain what we are going to be getting.”
Their lips met and the kissing went on for several minutes. She broke away from his mouth and snuggled into his neck, kissing him there. He pulled her onto his lap and slid his hands beneath her robe. She moved her hands over his chest.
The phone rang, startling them both. She limped across the room to answer it. It was a telemarketer wanting to sell her magazines. She hung up.
He was at the refrigerator when she turned around. She guessed he needed a drink.
“You know you really should clean out the leftovers sometime. I noticed this stuff growing last night,” he said as he sat the dish containing the spaghetti on the bar.
She answered, “Yeah, I found that yesterday, but got busy, and forgot it.”
He dumped it in the garbage and ran water into the dish in the sink. He returned with a Coke to the bunk where she was sitting and handed her a Diet Coke.
“You do not seem well prepared for marriage. Maybe you need someone to teach you,” he said and kissed her again.
When their mouths separated, she said, “I think you will find me a fast learner, but perhaps I can teach you a few things too.”
He grinned, “I would just bet you can. I am willing, teach me.”
They lay down facing each other on the bunk and as they kissed, they explored one another’s bodies. The gentleness with which he touched her made her body quiver and tingle. There was no rush, no selfishness, and she reacted in kind.
The piercing ring of the phone made them both jump. She got up to answer it, and took a few deep breaths before she lifted the receiver to her ear. She turned to face Kelvin as she said, “Hello Tony.”
While he told her he wanted her ready to go out when he got home, she and Kelvin were making themselves presentable. Tony was getting off early. It appeared he had forgotten to tell her he wanted to go for dinner and a movie that evening.
When she got off the phone she said, “You had better go, he has decided to come home early. Maybe there will be another time for lessons.”
Kelvin kissed her deeply, and said, “I am sure there will be. He cannot always spoil things.”
He slipped out the door, closing it softly behind him. She hugged herself and wished things were different. Wishing they did not have to worry about being discovered. They were lucky this time; Tony could have come home without warning. She wondered what she was going to do. Nothing was as simple as it should be.
She limped to the bedroom and put on jeans and an embroidered blouse. In the bathroom, she brushed her hair until it shone. She put on a little make up hoping Tony would be pleased.
When he came home, he rushed past her, and slammed the bedroom door. He came out a few minutes later in jeans and a concert tee shirt. He grabbed a beer from the refrigerator.
He asked, “What are you looking at?”
She said, “I was just thinking you should not drink and drive.”
He frowned and said, “What makes you think I am driving? You can do it just as well as I can. At least you are good for that.”
She winced, thinking how different it was dealing with Kelvin. She wished she could walk away, but it was all so complicated. When she moved out of her parents’ house, she had promised herself she would never go back to that torment. Yet there was really nowhere else she could go. Better here with Tony, than there.
They ate at her favorite barbecue place, but Tony flirted with the waitress every time she came around. He left a twenty-dollar tip and laughed at Morgan’s raised eyebrows and open mouth.
The movie was another horror film. When she tried to hold his hand during the scary parts, he brushed her away. When she screamed, he laughed at her. Walking to the car, he strode off ahead of her. He turned the stereo so loud on the way home that it gave her a headache.
He jumped out of the car when they reached the apartment and hurried inside. She found the door locked again. The lights were out when she came through the door. She reached for the switch and he grabbed her wrist and slipped in behind her putting his other hand over her mouth when she started to scream. She stumbled and he let go of her. She fell hard onto the floor.
He laughed, “Not such a brave bitch now, are you? Get up you sorry piece of shit! Get to the bedroom; I have a little game in mind.”
She tried to get up, but found her ankle did not want to support her.
She said, “You’ll have to help me, Tony. My ankle twisted again as I fell.”
He yelled, “I’m not helping you. Crawl like the dog you are, but hurry the hell up.”
She whimpered, and crawled toward the bedroom. She was grateful the floor was clean since she had vacuumed that morning. Tony passed her and kicked one of her hands from under her so she almost hit the floor face first.
He turned the bedroom light on and she was grateful for the light. As she entered the room, he grabbed her, picked her up, and threw her on the bed. He took a rope and tied her hands above her head.
“You stay there, I’ll be right back,” he said.
She did not see where she had much choice, but to do as he told her. She wished Kelvin, Ramsey, and Wagner would appear at the door, knowing there was little chance of it.
He came back with a tumbler of whiskey over ice. He sat it on the nightstand and began undressing. He almost tore her clothes off. He rolled her over on her stomach and then she heard a hiss and felt a sting on her back. She cried out.
He said, “How’s that feel baby? You like that?”
She felt the sting again several times, and wondered what had given him this idea. She had known he bought a whip a while back, but thought it only a keepsake. He had never been this mean.
She said, “Please stop! I’ll do whatever you want, but please stop.”
He said, “Then get up and get me off. Since your hands are tied you will have to use your mouth, but you are good at that. Real good.”
She did as he said, trying to think of something else. Trying not to dwell on the degradation. She knew she could survive this, knew she would be okay. She had already proven herself strong.
After she had pleasured him once, he quickly revived. He threw her back down on her stomach and took her roughly from behind. When he was done, he finished his drink, lit his pot, and told her to leave him alone.
She stumbled out of the room, leaning heavily on the wall, with her hands still tied. She went to the bathroom and managed to get the rope off after several minutes. She put on her bathrobe and washed her face. She limped to the front room and found her crutches under one of the bunks. She got a Diet Coke out of the fridge; thanking God the episode was over. She hoped he would fall asleep, as he usually did after sex, and leave her in peace.
She thought back over the day as she sat at her desk. She took out pen and paper to begin writing. She shook her head musing what a difference a few hours could make.
© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan
Wednesday, November 6, 2013