Archives

FIRST SIP OF LOVE

First KissHe saw her from a distance, a waif with a broad smile and bright eyes and a gait that would mesmerize. Waiting for something, someone perhaps and his lapse of concentration was telling. The players were yelling “GET IN THE GAME!”

Blake Daley was his name. Confident and sure with numbers, but horribly bad on the frozen ponds around which he worked. He blamed weak ankles as a kid. Blake never came forward with his lack of interest in anything athletic. When Blake was asked to act in the role of statistician for the rink, he reluctantly jumped at the chance.

But now his thoughts were elsewhere. There across the rink in the bleachers, where she sat with her friend. And she’d glance over and see him watching. He was far from inconspicuous. When their eyes met on those occasions, she’d grin widely and his cheeks would assume a bright shade of fluster. Blake was nervous around girls. Especially one as striking as Carol.

Her eyes were rich like cocoa, hot and searing, endearing himself to her. Her smile showed brightly, a wide grin full of Chiclets which she wore proudly like her badge of honor. Carol’s hair was the hue of autumn’s height, alight with the auburn which he associated with warmth and comfort. And there she was, so near. So far away.

The combatants completed their task. The game was over with little fanfare. And Blake decided he could no longer stare. He was determined to meet the one so fair with crimson hair.

As Blake approached her, Carol’s friend excused herself leaving the two to close the gap between them or fail miserably trying. Blake would be lying if he admitted to not being nervous. But her demeanor calmed him. Her look was soothing and inviting. Silent introductions and handshakes. His hand sliding to grip her elbow to help her keep balance on the rickety bleachers. And it stayed there as they shuffled to the aisle for their short descent to the exit.

“Can I call?” he asked shyly; softly.

“Do you have a pen?” she smiled.

As she wrote, Carol glanced up at Blake and their eyes embraced each other in looks of future’s promise. Her smile remained, a Cheshire cat in the frigid hockey rink,

Carol returned the pen and slid the scrap of paper into his gloved hand. And she leaned in… a tender kiss catching the corner of his lip.

A gentle peck. Their first “kiss”. He prayed it would last a lifetime!

HEADING TO GREENVILLE

“every shade of crimson and orange and umber filled her with wonder”

The trip had been planned for months, there was no turning back now. Even though the Weather Service has been predicting tornadoes throughout the Midwest, Hank and Emily were finally getting the opportunity to get away from things for a while. The farm had been left in capable hands, and this would be the honeymoon that they had never taken. Forty-three years in the making, there was no turning back now.

Emily loved to travel, always wanting to go where the four winds would take her. She wanted to be “a bluebird”; just sprout wings and fly. Across the plain, above the river; under bridges and over rainbows, she was finally getting the chance. Emily rationalized that this certainly wasn’t flying – Henry didn’t drive as fast as he used to.

The colors always intrigued Emily. The vibrancy of each tint and hue made life at home feel very monochromatic. It paled in comparison. But every shade of crimson and orange and umber filled her with wonder for One who could so create such beauty. She declared He was a wizard when it came to foliage! Henry smiled and drove on.

A few miles down the road, the skies started to take on an ominous cloak of darkness, muting the magnificent colorings. Henry followed the road, having a hard time keeping the car on the pavement on occasion. The pall of the storm gave a strange amber accent to the asphalt. Henry hadn’t noticed over Emily’s screaming.

The tail of a twister just seemed to lift out of the ground, sweeping across the road and levitating their automobile into the eye of the swirling behemoth. Emily’s screech was a continuous din now. Henry gripped the steering wheel tightly; his knuckles were ashy white. And then, just as suddenly, the storm released the vehicle and it spun to earth with a muted thud.

The road looked different, certainly not the route that Henry’s GPS had calculated. The car sat crosswise in the hub of an intersection of country roads bordered by cornfields. Henry rolled down his window and asked directions of a farmhand who stood in one of the fields waving away the crows from the lofty stalks.

The couple thanked the man and continued on their adventure. They were unaware of the little girl dressed in bloody gingham and her crushed dog who lay in the road where their car had landed!

TO THE HEIGHTS, AND DEPTHS AND BREATH

J.P.’s father had given up the ghost. Or at least his body did. His heart carried on the struggle.

John Panella, Sr. had battled liver cancer for the last four months, relinquishing fourteen of the months he had been allotted. But he had lapsed in and out of consciousness, flirting with coma for the past three days.

Here lay a man who had been the pinnacle of who J.P. wanted to be. He wondered how a man of such lofty stature could fall so far, so quickly. Sedated now, morphine became his extreme solution in heavy doses.

“To make him comfortable” the nurse offered.

“To render him unreachable” John Jr. thought.

As so he sat at his father’s right side; his sister on the left. They took turns talking to the man who had given them every bit of life he could.

“I love you, Daddy!” his sister Louise whispered to her un-hearing father.

John smiled at the sentiment. But the reality hit him sharply. He couldn’t remember the last time he and his father had exchanged such words. It just wasn’t the way the men in his family handled things, he thought. He surely knows, J.P. thought.

Hours spent clamped to their father’s bony hands, black with necrosis and faintly gripping back. Breathing was a chore he had no energy to undertake, but it kept insinuating itself into his routine. The elder John gagged and gurgled. His children thought it was his last gasp. They held their own breath as well. But his chest fell and rose again. Still erratic, but still expelled.

John Panella, Sr.’s face was ashen and his eyes occupied deep depressions in his skull. His lips were turning blue and his hands were cold and still. His eyes flashed momentarily and a slight smile graced his face. His chest rose one last time ending in a long drawn-out exhalation. His last breath.

J.P. noticed that death felt the same as life did mere moments ago. His father’s battle was over. He needed not fight any longer. Now John Jr. and his sister could breathe easier.

The young man leaned close to his father’s right ear to whisper what had always remained unsaid.

 

Copyright © Walter J. Wojtanik – 2012

TRES AMIGOS

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Every Sunday for twenty-two years, Peter, Paul and Frank met for dinner and drinks. It was a reason play catch-up. It always turned into a reason to get “three sheets to the wind”!

They were three friends, the “Tres Amigos” – Pedro, Paulo and Francisco, each with their own charm and specific diversion to drink. Pedro preferred the “Cuervo”; it’s golden elixir cured his ailments. Paulo had a palette for cerveza preparada, a strange blend of beer mixed with tomato juice, hot sauce, or salsa.

But Francisco kept his taste simple and his living clean. Frank was averted to Perrier water. It was of a different tongue both linguistic-wise and libation-wise! But he liked what he liked.

Francesca liked walking in the Spring rain. She liked satin sheets and had a passion for the theater. She was exceptional at interior design. She… wait, did I just say she?

Every Sunday for twenty-two years, Peter, Paul and Frank met for dinner and drinks. It was a reason play catch-up. It always turned into a reason to get “three sheets to the wind”! This Sunday, Frank’s secret came out. And so did Frank!

Salud Tres Amigos!

 

Copyright © – Walter J. Wojtanik 2012

NO MORE FIGHT LEFT

“J.D. sipped his drink. He thought it would give him “courage” and settle his nerves.”

John Dunn Sylvester sat in his window seat staring out at the tarmac and watching the loaders complete their chore. The Flight Attendant came down the aisle offering assistance and instruction. She stopped by J.D.’s seat.

“Sir, can I get you anything?” she asked.

“Huh? Oh, no thanks, I… no, thank you, I’m fine” came his distracted reply. Her smile offered little in the way of comfort or assurance. It would take more than that, he was afraid.

John remembered passing through the terminal thinking how appropriately the word irritated him after his journey. The doctors at the clinic were all in agreement. They labeled his condition with the same hopeless word. Terminal.
His cancer had metastasized. 18 months was the sentence proclaimed. He got nothing off for good behavior.

“Get your affairs in order, John!” the words ringing hollow in his head.

Sylvester was coming home to do just that. For a moment he thought it was a blessing that he and Beth couldn’t have children. But guilt washed over him, knowing that now his wife would be all alone. Her tears had been plentiful during their ordeal, but the determination as a last “second” opinion would surely open the floodgates.

J.D. sipped his drink. He thought it would give him “courage” and settle his nerves. But all that the Sweet Soco Manhattan did was excite the butterflies in his gut.

It is amazing how when your mind seems a million miles away, you don’t notice the obvious happenings around you. Announcements and recommendations filtered across the intercom.

“Approaching runway 19…”

“Tray tables in the upright…”

“Keep seat belts fastened until…”

The screech of the wheels as they contacted the runway, pierced him with a final thrust. As the plane taxied to the terminus, he tried to compose himself. How could he face Beth knowing he had refused all further treatment? He didn’t want to fight anymore. He just wanted to spend every minute he could loving the love of his life in his last months.

The line of passengers spilled into the waiting area, heading for the baggage claim. John had followed the others like cattle; mindlessly plodding along.

And there she was. Near the carousel. He saw Beth’s tears glisten down her cheek as she tried to retain some semblance of calm. As they embraced, he felt her shudder against his chest in muted sobs.

Pressing his cheek against hers he whispered “Beth, I love you so much!”

She gave a squeeze. Beth sniffed in her last tear.

“Let’s go home!” she whispered, never veering from his side.

THE POINT

“The rising orb of the Son gained the upper hand over the ravages of darkest night…” (Photo by chevygirl1064 on Photobucket)

Oblio and Arrow had come to the rendezvous point. It was an arduous journey for sure, but a trek well worth making. And even though it had taken him years to arrive, Oblio knew it was well overdue.

He had gotten there a bit early in the morning. The moon and the rising sun fought the night for dominance, and Oblio just watched in wonder. He had been under its spell; the magnificence of nature being revealed in metered increments. And as he observed, his dog Arrow sat on its haunches admiring the scene as well. His head cocked slightly to the right as if listening to his master’s voice.

It seemed the both were. The boy had read in the Manifests that this was the spot and moment in which He would appear. No one else gave the impression that they believed in His real presence in this world. But now as the promised “second coming” was at hand, it remained just Oblio and Arrow, side-by-side as they had always been since they were both young “pups”.

The rising orb of the Son gained the upper hand over the ravages of darkest night, as it crept ever-slowly into the morning sky. Obilo swallowed the lump in his throat, awed by the display that made his being there, more meaningful than he could imagine. Arrow barked at the sight of Its brilliance, singing his praises in Doggese as his tail swiped at the sand in sweeping arcs.

Oblio bowed his head in reverence. Arrow did the same. And the morning Son had returned. The manifest said it would be a sign, and by His sign you would know Him. And be saved by Him.
They would be nourished and protected by Him. Oblio believed it. Arrow did the same. The beauty of His coming was a sight they would not soon forget. It engrained itself in their hearts.

They felt sorry for those who did not believe. The Son also rose for them. But now, they’ll never get the chance to know!