Gustav

There once was a rather large goose named Gustav.  He lived on a very sunny pond surrounded by little houses and bushes and trees.  The pond was full of ducks and geese to keep things lively, frogs and crickets to sing all night long, and fish that liked to jump high out of the water just so that the sun would shine off their backs.  It doesn’t sound too bad, does it?

Gustav’s life would have been quite perfect except for the fact that Gustav couldn’t fly, and so he was stuck on the pond forever.  You see, Gustav had been born with a bad wing.  It wouldn’t move like it was supposed to; it hung down almost to the ground, and it was a little ragged around the edges.

Gustav didn’t mind the wing terribly.  He liked the little pond and didn’t particularly want to leave and besides, if he turned just right, the loose wing blocked the wind and kept his feet warm.

The biggest problem with the wing was that it kept Gustav from really fitting in.  The other geese on the pond didn’t ever stay long.  They flew away before Gustav had even gotten to ask each member of the flock their name, and Gustav could never tag along on their winter vacations.  And to be quite honest, they weren’t very interested in Gustav either.  They kind of ignored him, all because of his silly old wing.

And Gustav didn’t quite fit in with the ducks, either.  At bathtime, they always looked like they were having so much fun and Gustav wanted to join in.  So, to get their attention and let them know what a fun-loving goose he was, Gustav would cannonball right into the middle of their bathtime party.  However, Gustav, as I said, was a rather large bird and the waves that his cannonball created half drowned most of the ducks and sent the rest of them sailing down to the other edge of the pond, where they would gather together in a tight knot and cluck at him suspiciously.

Winter time was the quietest time around the pond.  All the animals and fish and insects left or went into their burrows or deep under the water.  Each little family or flock could keep each other company, but Gustav was stuck on his own.

It wasn’t that he didn’t stay warm.  He had made himself a lovely little nest in the bushes on the far bank of the pond, and he could curl up in there amid discarded feathers and crunchy fall leaves, wrap his loose wing around his feet and sleep quite warmly and comfortably.

But he did get bored.  On a rather warm day one winter, while he was trying to amuse himself, he decided to see if he liked living in a burrow like some of the animals.  So, while his neighbor Barnaby the Badger was out collecting some extra padding for his hole, Gustav decided to crawl inside and see how he liked it.

Unfortunately, Gustav got quite stuck.  Poor Barnaby came back to goose tail feathers and wildly flapping webbed feet sticking out his front door and had to spend two hours digging Gustav out.  He didn’t get mad, but he didn’t share any of his soft moss with Gustav either.

Gustav limped his way back to his own nest and settled down to let his ruffled feathers relax.  He was feeling a little sad.  What would it take to be really, truly happy?

to be continued.

New Life, New Name (Writing prompt #5)

Lois was leaving this stupid town for good and would never look back.  This was the first day of a new life, she could choose who she wanted to be this time.

Since that day in the fourth grade she knew that one day she would leave.  A boy in her class, Thomas Lee Henry said he’d be her boyfriend if she gave him her lollipop.  She hadn’t known it was a trick, she just wanted to be accepted but the other kids laughed at her.

After both of her her parents died of drug overdoses Lois was raised by her grandmother.  Gran was a good woman and she made sure that Lois always had food to eat and clothes to wear.  Gran never talked much, even when Lois would press her for information about her son, Lois’s Dad. 

The town was so small you could get the gossip on anyone just by going to the market.  You can imagine that Lois’s story dominated the talking circles.  The whole lot of them can rot in hell she thought as she packed her car up bound for some place far, far away from this hell hole.

She’d been saving the money she earned from babysitting, doing yard work and errands for people around town.  Focused and determined, she poured her hurt and anger into this plan. 

Finding a cheap hotel along the route, she took a break so she could get some food, rest and gas.  Looking over the menu at a local diner one of the desserts popped out to her, “Chocolate Charm”.  

She giggled, her new name presented itself like it’d been waiting for her.  With enough money to last her a few months, a new name, and a new life ahead, she felt unstoppable, free and finally able to live the life she’d dreamed about for so many years.

A few weeks went by, she’d found a place to live and a place to work in a big city.  No longer living in a small pond, she could hide amongst the masses of people.

She’d settled on a story to tell people if they asked about her background.  Her parents had died overseas while working as missionaries, so she was raised in a small orphanage where they mistreated the children.  When she was old enough, she escaped the orphanage, heading as far away from the place as she could. 

Charm Reardan  knew that she’d finally broken the barrier of her past and made a fresh start.  She had a new job, a new place to live and a new name.

She was sitting in a coffee shop planning her new life, pleased that she was finally free. 

A man walked in, looked at her very intently and smiled.  Later, he walked over to Charm to introduce himself.  She was friendly with him and they had a nice conversation.  He asked for her number.  Charm never dated much, she was too focused on her goal of getting away from town.

The idea made her nervous, she had sworn to herself that she would never tell anyone about her past.  The real story.  They began dating very casually, dinners here and lunch there.

Little did she know that out of all the places in the world she could have met someone, he was born and raised in the town she’d just left.

Love

He said that he would love me forever, but he never said that it would be hard.    When a guy says something like that, you assume that it’s effortless and easy and free and that love means never having to try.  Some of the romance eroded away every time he said “I love you” when I knew he was angry, or sad, or indifferent.

And I… resented it.  It wasn’t love.  It was a forced expression of something that he didn’t feel.  He was duped.  Isn’t love meant to be a feeling?  A driving force that carries you along – not something that you must carry?

That’s what I wanted to believe love was.  I wanted his whole heart and devotion without him having to try.  I wanted him to feel an ocean of emotion every time he saw my face.  And so I said goodbye.  I said it wasn’t working.  I said all of those forced things that you express when it isn’t what you really feel.

Later I knew that it was I who was hollow.  I believed in something that didn’t belong to me.  What I had made love out to be – what I thought I wanted to believe in – was something I was subjected to, that I could not control.  It made me vulnerable, and lonely, and uncertain.  It became my slavedriver and it ruled my life.  I wasn’t free to make decisions about relationships or about feelings.  The duped one was me.

And I was alone.

Waiting Room

I sit and I write.

Yet it will never be right.

 

Look away from the light,

it’s not quite.

 

I toss and I turn,

I yearn. 

 

For what I ask,

is it that I am supposed to LEARN?

 

Tired of the deal,

turning and turning but not the one

behind the wheel.

 

Stop your judgement,

stop your machine,

stop doing what you’ve always done.