drama

The Memory – flash fiction-drama

Dad had always played by the rules. “Don’t cheat.” “Don’t steal.” “Say please.” “Don’t fight.” “Always ask before using someone else’s things.” And so on. So his suggestion early that morning took me by surprise.

“Do you want to go for a ride in it?” He smiled as he looked down at the seven-year-old-me. The stranded boat sat silently on the sandy beach.

My heart leaped—a couple times, actually. I stared up at him with my only answer being the giant smile on my face that matched how large my eyes were at the moment.

“Help me pull it to the water, big guy!”

It was dirty inside. We could tell it had been sitting on the beach for a while. A daddy long leg scurried across my hand before we made it to the water, but I didn’t mind. It was the thick black kind of spider that I couldn’t stand. The water pushed up to the shore repeatedly.  There were mainly little rushes of water, but sometimes a bigger rush of water rolled up with a lasting swish sound as it completed its summersault. Eventually my giant smile gave way to excited chit-chat and probably one too many questions. Looking back I either drove my dad nuts that morning or made him fall deeper in love with me.

There was only one oar in the boat, but that was enough for Dad. “Climb in Jimmy, and stay seated, okay?”

“What happens if I stand up, Daddy?”–One of my hundred questions during the 30 minute boat ride. Dad pushed us deeper into the water and then jumped in himself. “Will we tip if I stand? How come you could stand when you got in?” And the questions went on until there was silence as we both enjoyed the rocking of the boat, the sounds of birds, the freshness of the air along with its gentle morning chill, the faintest smell of fish in the water below us, and everything else the free boat ride had to offer us. It was beautiful—the weather and the time we spent together.

Today if I could, I would find the man who had left the boat on the beach and thank him. Because of him, my dad put aside his rules for the only time in my life so that he and I could have a memory that lasted forever. That was my favorite memory of us and it will be the memory I share later today at his service before we lay him to rest for eternity.

I love you, Dad. I will miss you forever.
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Written by Sheryl Marasi
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drama, love, Uncategorized

About Time – flash fiction-drama

Jerry was the quiet neighbor. The one who never had a television blaring, music playing, or kids yelling. He was that neighbor. The good neighbor. At least that was the case until one week ago at 2:00 am. Yes, 2:00 am…on a work night.

I met Jerry six years ago. It was noon and the summer sun had clearly turned its hot focus directly on me as I was moving items into my new home. I’m pretty sure he took pity on all one hundred pounds of me as I tried for ten minutes to push my sofa through the front door all by myself.

“You need some help, Beautiful?” he asked as he walked up the pathway that divided my yard of weeds into two.

“The name is Katie,” I said being sure to make eye contact. “Katie.” I walked into the house and grabbed the end of the sofa that refused to enter its new home. “Sure, I could use some help.”

As he walked closer to the couch, I could smell my Grandpa. It was a scent I sadly hadn’t smelled in years. Freshly burned, sweet pipe tobacco. “I’m Jerry,” he said. “I live right there.” He pointed to the green-vinyl home to the left of mine.

It took an hour to finish. My clothes were sticking to me and Jerry’s tank was no longer dry.

“I wish I could thank you with something cold to drink, but I don’t have anything other than tap water.” I looked toward the kitchen. “Or glasses.”

“Don’t worry, Beautiful,” he said. “I have lemonade. Why don’t you come over for a drink.”

“Katie,” I said a little more firmly as I followed him to his house.

I felt like I was walking into a home in one of those outdoor historical museums set in the early 1900’s, except this home, thankfully, had air conditioning. The wood floor had a large oriental rug covering most of it, the far wall contained multiple wooden book shelves that were stuffed full with antique books, the curtains were off-white with mini red flowers all over them, and the sofas were dressed in red velvet. Most interesting, though was the record player to my right that was built into a wooden display case. “It’s beautiful,” I said. “Does it still work?”

Jerry ignored my question and made his way into the kitchen. “Come have a seat,” he called from the kitchen.

I sat at a tiny wood table that was covered in a thick table cloth lined with plastic. He placed a glass of iced lemonade in front of me. The ice clinked while he used the table as leverage to lower himself to the chair.

“I haven’t played it for ten years,” he said, looking at me through his glasses. “Not since Barbara passed away.”

I looked back into the living room at the record player and was surprised at all of the pictures that I missed. They covered the wall above and on both sides of the player. I excused myself to take a closer look at them. There were black and white photos from their younger years which transitioned to brown tinted photos and then to color photos over the years. They looked like a very happy couple. They were beautiful.

Jerry joined me in front of the pictures. “That’s my beautiful Barbara. When she was here, we would play that record player every night and dance at least one song together. Every single night. You see that mirror up there with the pictures?”

I did. It blended in with them. Same shape and frame, just a little larger. It was directly in front of me.

“Barbara liked to watch us dance in that mirror. She would comment that out of all the couples dancing, those two right there were the best.” He chuckled. “She made me smile every day.”

Barbara passed away at seventy-two in her sleep. It was peaceful. They never had children. Jerry said they tried for years, but it just wasn’t meant to be. He still had some nieces and nephews that came around on occasion, but he would have loved to have had his own children, especially since they would have been pieces of his Barbara still with him after she left. He explained that the saying that time flies when you get older is only true until the love of your life dies. Then time goes slower than it did when you were a child impatiently waiting to become an adult. Every morning was a reminder to him that he would have to wait at least one more day to be with her.

Over the years, Jerry continued to call me “beautiful” rather than Katie. I came to learn that every time he was able to call someone “beautiful”, it was his way of remembering Barbara, and if I could be any comfort to the old man, I decided it wouldn’t hurt.

***

A week ago, Sunday, I was awoken. Before I fully pulled myself from whatever dream I may have been having it was already quiet again. Some faint noise, somewhere in the night. I drifted back to my slumber.

The next night, it happened again. That time I woke up soon enough to hear the clarinets and saxophones playing to the blackness outside. Swing. It was a swing-styled song. And then, it was over.

By Friday night, it became a ritual. 2:00am, Glenn Miller – Moonlight Serenade, and then it was over. The odd thing was that it seemed to be coming from Jerry’s house. Quiet, Jerry’s house.

By Saturday I had had enough. 2:00 am hit, the song began, and within the thirty seconds it took for me to painfully assault my eyes with my 100 watt lamp, blindly put my slippers on, and angrily whip on my robe, I was in my driveway playing sound detective. Jerry. I stomped over to his house and knocked. Loudly. The music continued. In fact, the song oddly started over a second time. I knocked again, with no answer. I tried the door knob, and it turned.

“Jerry?” I said over the music as I opened the door. There was no answer. When I stepped into the room my lungs momentarily stopped as I was greeted with what smelled like garbage that missed last month’s trash pick-up. I covered my nose and continued to breathe at a bare minimum. The room was dark aside from a glow traveling in from the oven light in the kitchen. “Jerry,” I said again. Then, I saw him. He was sitting on his red velvet sofa with is head tilted back, mouth open. The song stopped.

“Jerry!” I ran to him. He was cold and firm. The song started for a third time. It wasn’t as loud this time. It was quite pleasant, but I thought I should turn off the record player anyway. I walked over, but as I approached, the record wasn’t moving. In fact, the needle was at rest in its slot. Movement in the mirror above the record player caught my attention. There was a soft glow in the room’s reflection. And I saw Jerry dancing in the image with his beautiful Barbara. He looked happy. Much happier than I had ever seen him in the six years I had known him. I looked behind me half expecting both of them to be dancing behind me yelling “Got ya!”, but there was only Jerry, firmly attached to the sofa. The music faded and when I turned around, the only person I saw in the mirror was me.

***

The ambulance technicians said it looked as though Jerry had been dead for about a week.

It was a week ago when I had begun to hear the music. One song every night. Every single night.

It’s about time, Beautiful Barbara, I thought. He has been waiting sixteen long years for that dance.

AUDIO VERSION HERE
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Written by Sheryl Marasi (pen name)

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Fun, thriller

The Woman in the Portrait

     Oh the years that have passed as I yearn to be seen. Notice me. Please notice me. I beg of you, new man of greatness who has come to possibly own this home. Can you see me? Can you see me looking at you?
      I am quite certain my history will soon be told to you. It is told to each person who enters this great mansion. Each person is always amazed to know that I, Elizabeth Watts, lived my entire life in this impressive home. They stare at me in total admiration as the story unfolds. Some of them have been kind enough to caress my weathered skin. My skin that continues to fissure over the years. These lines that resemble the look of a woman who has been cut over a hundred times and poorly sewn back together. These lines are caressed and looked at as the beautiful aging of artwork. And oh how I have aged alone. How I am so desperate for someone to know I am here.
      Can you see me? Dear Lord, can you SEE ME? Please tell me that you see me looking back at you.
You do have beautiful, deep brown eyes. I love how they are connected to mine. You must see me looking at you. Don’t you? Say something! So long it has been since a man has spoken directly to me. Tell me I’m beautiful. Tell me that my beauty surpasses all of the warm sunsets you have beheld in your lifetime.
      When they tell you my story, you will learn my life was abruptly taken in this home. There was a menacing fire. It happened so quickly, and I had nowhere to go. Nowhere! The searing pain was ghastly, and when the pain ended, I fled to safety as quickly as possible. I hid in this picture. It was high, so high above the flames, and I was safe. When the fire had been put out, I could see my body below. Burnt. Every last area of my body was scorched. I tried to get a closer look, but found myself trapped. Here, in this painting of myself. And I have been here ever since.
      I know you see me looking at you. No one has ever kept their gaze on me for such a long period. It is wonderful, knowing you see me. I can feel it. Say something. Anything.
“Hey, Honey, can you come over here?”
Who are you talking to? Who is this woman?
“I love this house, Babe!”
Why is she calling you “Babe”? Don’t let her take your attention from me. Please! You are the first to ever know I am here.
“Yeah, Honey, I love it too. Except this picture is freaking the fuck out of me. If we buy the house, we’re burning it. Okay with you?”
“Of course, Babe. Too bad, she is so beautiful.”

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Written by Sheryl Marasi (pen name)

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AUDIO version

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Subscribe/Follow to receive stories directly to your email.  I always share stories to my blog and with subscribers first.

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Feel free to leave a comment!  As always, thank you for reading and sharing the stories you enjoy!

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Artist to photo is unknown.  Photo was the inspiration behind this story.