Friday, November 06, 2009

Monday


It was one of the darkest times of her life. The heavy rains added an appropriate dirge to the wintry early morning sounds. While she waited for the bus, Homeless Reggie, towing a toy wagon filled with plastic bottles, came up to her singing and offered a new refrain: You’re like an angel, honey.

Of course she had to pay him, for that was his self-appointed job. Compliments. He walked over to the others -- the usual commuters at that hour -- and said something to each that would lift the spirits. Love your hair, dear. Sir, that tie is a good one! New shoes? Good taste!

It usually cost them a dollar apiece. Not every day, only on Mondays, for Homeless Reggie had other corners and other compliments to bestow. 

It was one of the darkest times of her life, but for the briefest of moments there was light.

A dollar well spent, she always thought.

The bus arrived and she sat by the window in the back row and sniffled as quietly as she could. She had a plan if anyone asked: “Sorry, it’s my allergies.” But the few people seated at the front kept their eyes on their newspapers, and their ears minded their own business.

Her lover’s words to her this morning were as goodbye as they could get, “I’ve got to go away. Sorry, but I can’t come back.”

He looked in the mirror while he dressed, and spoke to her reflection as he knotted the tie she never liked: a pink silk that was as thin as a tongue. “I do want to be here but my wife needs me more.” Oh yes. The tie had been a gift from his family.

But today was their anniversary. One year. 

Apparently, a time misspent.

Later, when she returned to her small empty apartment after a trying day of work and sorrow and scanned the room, her eyes stopped at the slate fireplace in the corner. Her ex-lover’s picture still sat on the mantle next to the one of her as a small child. In her photo she is seated on a dark velvet-covered chair, and is wearing a simple white lacy frock and an antique cap, handed down from some ancient ancestor, no doubt. Though she is smiling widely, one can see tears in her baby brown eyes.

Smiling through her tears. Nothing has changed.

Outside, several cardinal birds perch along the telephone wire that extends to the back of the alley, their garish red plumage appearing as bloody slashes against the grey and cloudy dusk. She turned away. She refused to think about tomorrow.

After all, Homeless Reggie will not be there either.

28 comments:

  1. Heartbreaking piece. Your foreshadowing is excellent. Where's my tissue?

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  2. Not enough is written from this side of the story Marisa, and you did a fabulous job! I have tears in my eyes.
    Love the line - "as thin as a tongue".
    Lovely!

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  3. The homeless character with the compliments seem an interesting idea

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  4. Touching and thoughtful. I like Homeless Reggie. This character really stands out with brief, effective description.

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  5. "He looked in the mirror while he dressed, and spoke to her reflection as he knotted the tie she never liked: a pink silk that was as thin as a tongue."

    I love the idea of this. Him speaking to her reflection, but looking at himself. That speaks VOLUMES about their relationship.

    lovely piece.
    Karen :0)

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  6. It is sad, and well done. The rain, the homeless man, talking to her reflection... all built the mood perfectly.
    ~jon

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  7. Some great images in this piece. I want to know more about the protagonist - and about Homeless Reggie.

    Helen
    Straight From Hel

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  8. Someone commented earlier about her now ex-lover breaking up with her while he looked at her reflection in the mirror. That struck me so powerfully as I read it. Metaphorically it's incredibly rich. I find myself wanting to know a lot more about...everything. :) Would love to hear more.

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  9. I liked the Homeless Reggie character as well. A nice 'slice of life' couple of scenes.

    I also liked the image of the girl in the photo with the white, lacy frock and antique cap.

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  10. Nicely described story, loved all the elements mentioned almost in passing but which are very important.

    Talking to her reflection was the most striking to me, as if she wasn't even worth facing...

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  11. You've skillfully painted the portrait of a lost woman here, one who needs validation and self-confidence even if it comes from a stranger. I sense daddy issues. Wonderful imagery, now I'm sad.

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  12. A lovely tale, with beautifully drawn details and images: the cardinals against the gray next to her smiles through tears, and these next to the irresistible Reggie - they all reflect each other. Gosh, that's nicely done.

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  13. The truest part of this was that he couldn't look at her. The imagery of the mirror gave the story a whole other level. Well done!

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  14. Ah yes, the unhappy patterns that women fall into! You could extend this into a longer piece. I could see how she would use this low-point to make changes in her life, and in her taste in men.

    Nice work :)

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  15. The colors are outstanding. The descriptions of the colors are otherworldly! I really enjoyed this well thought-out piece. Terrific work.

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  16. Sad and beautiful. I like that bit with the mirror too.

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  17. It's incredible that you've created THREE really compelling characters in this short piece ... Reggie, your main character and her lover. Oh, the birds, too. They're a great addition. What sparked my interest even further was that the main character in my Nanowrimo novel is/was involved with a married man. There's so much to tell there! Great flash! Thanks for sharing.

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  18. It's incredible that you've created THREE really compelling characters in this short piece ... Reggie, your main character and her lover. Oh, the birds, too. They're a great addition. What sparked my interest even further was that the main character in my Nanowrimo novel is/was involved with a married man. There's so much to tell there! Great flash! Thanks for sharing.

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  19. Wonderful and heartfelt.

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  20. Hi, Marisa,
    Alex & I just read this story and enjoyed it very much. Excellent mood piece! Homeless Reggie serves 2 important literary purposes: shows observation & attention to detail; brings & true-to-life element. Another purpose is to show how tiny acts of kindness carry us through hard times.

    Well done.
    Donna Carrick

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  21. Pass the Kleenex... Heartrending piece. I liked the way you wove Homeless Reggie into her sad tale. Loved the line about the silk tie as narrow as his tongue. Peace, Linda

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  22. Sad and lovely. I too thought he speaking to her reflection was wonderful. This is a great one.
    ~chris

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  23. Very nicely done. I too am a fan of the reflection part, and of the homeless chap

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  24. Lovely. I really liked the bit about Homeless Reggie. Well done.

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  25. Your tone was excellent and I loved the minimal but fantastic descriptions.

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  26. Very well written. I wonder if Homeless Reggie knows or cares how much his weekly comment means to her?

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  27. The homeless guy and his importance in her life is a touching piece of this flash fiction.

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  28. Wonderfully written Marisa. So very sad. I also liked the description of the tie as a tongue. Hopefully it will strangle him later on :)

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