Life and Other Distractions

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Life and Other Distractions

My daughter once built magical cities from wooden IKEA blocks and now studies Architecture. My son pestered his patient teacher with ‘why’ questions: Why did they vote for Hitler in the first place? This month he takes his History finals.

In my empty nest I finally had time to write, but when spring came I stuffed my unfinished manuscript inside a tree trunk. (Who am I kidding, delusional fool – it was barely started!) Instead I meandered for miles by a river, tended a flower garden, volunteered on a farm and trained as a children’s mentor.

Wonder what I’ll do when I grow up?

(Genre: unreliable memoir, 100 words, or so)

Miranda Lewis 2017

Welcome to Friday Flash Fiction, hosted by the talented writer Rochelle and with a photo this week from Sandra Crook. Thanks to all who drop by and especially those who stay to comment.

Please respect the copyright of the author and the photographer.

Here is a link to my daughter’s Instagram of her beautiful final pieces for this year.

A Death in the Family

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A Death in the Family

Strangely death and beauty are often companions. Closed lids hid the milky cataracts of his decayed old age. Pearl-pink pads decorated delicately curled feet. I placed a cheek on his curved back and felt the last of his fur-wrapped warmth.

The grave my husband dug on that dark January night made criminals of us all. No, not my granny, I quipped to a neighbour. Tears flowed freely as we said goodbye and buried the box, securing the lid against foxes.

Alone at last; silent house. I open the freezer, reach deep for the wrapped package and cradle the frozen form in aching arms.

M J Lewis 2017

Welcome to the world of Friday Flash Fiction, hosted by the talented writer Rochelle. Thanks as ever to our seemingly tireless host and also to Liz Young for the photo.

The above is partly true – I’ll leave you to decide what is fiction and what is imagination! Thanks to all who visit and especially those who stay and comment.

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The Jewelled Locust

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The Jewelled Locust

The room was almost unbearably hot. A ceiling fan stirred the soupy air listlessly.

My grandmother’s face when she turned to me was yellow, skin taught over sharp cheek bones, eye sockets deep pools of purple.

She indicated the box of jewels. ‘For you and you alone. The very best.’

All I saw was the blood and toil of others, wealth won with deception and malice.

Outside, I opened the lid and handed a brooch to the child who guarded the decaying lobby. Fake emeralds, nevertheless valuable.

Unknown to my grandmother my half-sister and I still speak: different box, same lies.

M J Lewis 2017

Very late to the Friday Feast of Fiction this week, but such a stunning photo, thanks to Shaktiki Sharma. Thanks also, of course, to our esteemed host, Rochelle, and thanks to all who visit, especially those who stay to comment.

Things My Grandmother Taught Me

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Things My Grandmother Taught Me

Lavender sprouted from my Grandmother’s fingertips and lilac nodded around her backdoor.

‘Let us pray,’ she’d say as she knelt, trowel in hand. ‘Amen, and one for the squirrel,’ was my cue to heave her up. Once we tumbled right over, her stick-thin frame cushioned by my stocky little body.

Today I’ve brought all her favourites – purple crocuses, alliums, tulips. I stick the fork into the rich soil and she raps on the window.

‘Who the heck are you?’ she hollers across the lawn.

The best thing about spring bulbs – you can plant them in hope or despair; they’ll bloom anyway.

M J Lewis 2016

It’s Friday already so I’m late for Friday Fiction. Thanks as ever to our talented host Rochelle and to C. E. Ayr for the beautiful photo. For more prose, purple and otherwise, click here. 

Purple is one of my favourite garden colours, so my brain took me straight out into the garden. But hoping somebody writes, or has written, a story about the creation of Henry Perkin’s purple dye, Mauveine. If nobody’s done so, might have to do it myself. It did create a sensation at the time, not unlike a version of tulip fever.

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The Imposter

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The Imposter

I suspected my father was an imposter the day he accepted and smoked a cigarette. We were staying with distant cousins at their strange lakeside house. That my mother would behave differently was predictable – lipstick a deeper pink, laugh shrill. But my father.

Back home he still wore his old summer shirt, with the open weave that looked like a dish-cloth, but I kept vigil through eight-year-old eyes.

Later, at a faraway airport I watched as my new husband clasped my father’s limp old hand in easy greeting and realised that it was I, all along, who had been the imposter.

M J Lewis 2016

Welcome to all who visit Friday Fiction and a particular thanks to those who stay to read and comment. Thanks as ever to our host, the writer and artist Rochelle and also to the Friday Fiction regular, C.E.Ayr who supplies the photo this week.

(Please note all Friday Fiction photos are copyright and should only be posted in conjunction with Friday Fiction or by permission of the photographer.)

When Dad’s Away

When Dad’s away my mother blooms,

a princess in peachy lace,

gives the hoover the run around

serenading the baby on her satin hip.

 

We feast on scrumbled eggs and tin salmon

cross-legged on old magazines in front of the telly,

let the baby suckle to kitten-soft sleep,

leave the fairies the dishes.

 

Night-time my brother takes the dog to bed

and I whisper waking spells,

crossing fingers three times, three times, three o’clock,

to tiptoe to the big bed

and lie in the lee of her back.

 

Miranda Lewis 2016

Visit this lush natural garden in the heart of Wiltshire

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Visit this Lush Natural Garden in the Heart of Wiltshire

Great-Aunt Mabel: ninety-two, wheelchair-bound, avid armchair gardener, royal pain in the nether regions. And it’s my luck to be pushing her around this blooming garden.

‘Closer, child. Just smell those roses.’

‘You know, I’ve read about this garden.’

Aunt Mabel snorts.

‘Onward! The colour of that lavender!’

Two sturdy brown legs emerge from behind the delphiniums.  He’s not, is he? Yep, just the boots and gardening gloves. Mabel can’t help but stare – filched lavender cutting held aloft between bony forefinger and thumb.

‘You can admire all you like madam, but please don’t pinch what isn’t yours.’

Told you this garden was famous.

M J Lewis©2016

Actually, the famous naked gardener of Abbey House Gardens of Malmesbury in Wiltshire also used to wear a rather fetching tool belt, but that would have pushed me beyond the Friday Fiction 100 words.

And apparently you folks in the US also have a long history of poetry, gardening and nudity, via Walt Whitman.

Don’t have a clip of Walt, but here’s a very British (clothed) interviewer on Country File visiting Abbey House Gardens. Sadly I think it’s clothes-on every day now at Malmesbury and the famous clothes-optional visiting days are no more. Think I’ll just take up naked bathing, in my own bathroom.

Many thanks to our gracious host Rochelle,to John Nixon for the strange photo prompt (which it has to be said has produced some very weird stories, mine included) and to all who visit.