Thursday, August 12, 2010

Novel characters

     He stared at the picture of the young woman that lay on his night stand on top of the folder that contained her life history. Since he took on her case a few weeks ago, Daniel couldn’t stop thinking about Celestina. He wondered if she had hopes and dreams before her life came crashing down. He picked up the worn photo. She was pretty in an earthy sort of way. Skin a light mocha. Hair to her shoulders and flipped at the ends. Her attempt to straighten it was not completely successful.
     Daniel sighed. He wished he had known his mother. He thought maybe his mother might have looked like Celestina, still a glimmer of life there before the realities of a child to feed and clothe kicked in. Daniel knew he had to help her, had to make sure her child could grow up with his mother and get the care and education he needed. There was a women’s shelter in Whittier that might be able to help. He had heard good things about it and so had asked Shiori to go talk to the director today to make sure it was ok. Since Shiroi worked over here she could make a visit. The shelter was full at the moment, but he was hopeful with its good reputation that women were being helped quickly. The shelter nearest to Celestina’s home was full and wasn’t the best. He really hoped he could help her get in over here. Daniel thought about his past. Though he was adopted out of a horrible situation by a successful white couple from Connecticut, he still wondered what it would have been like to grow up with his mother.
     He put down the picture and as it touched the side table an image of a girl child jumped into his mind. He had a strange dream last night. It wasn’t until this moment that he remembered dreaming at all. He closed his eyes. What was the dream? He remembered traveling down a dark corridor. There was a light up ahead so he kept going toward it. Suddenly a little girl jumped in front of the light. She looked like a paper doll silhouetted with the light behind her. She was all shadow and he wondered if maybe he was only seeing her shadow on a wall. He kept moving toward her. When he got close, she fell backward. He looked where she fell and saw only an opening in her sillohuette. He remembered thinking how curious that was and started to walk over to the hole. He realized suddenly that he would fall in, so he went around it toward the light. Then he woke up.
     Daniel thought about it for awhile. He felt like there was something he was supposed to do in that dream, and he had somehow missed his chance to do it. He was lucky to have been saved from the life Celestina and her son were living by being adopted by a lawyer and his wife, but in some ways he felt like he missed a lesson of life by not falling into that abyss.
     Shiori rolled over and moaned. She snuggled up behind him wrapping her arm around his waist. “Turn off the light and come back to bed. It’s too early.”
     He turned and rolled himself in next to her. She felt warm and safe. But now that he remembered the dream he found his mind wandering over its meaning. He often had dreams. As a child, he’d had more and scary ones. This one wasn’t scary exactly, but something disturbed him about it. Maybe it’ll make more sense in the morning. He closed his eyes and finally fell back to sleep.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Novel character

     The light shone through the back window onto the ancient linoleum, bringing out the specks of gold forever encased in its pattern. Maddie sat mesmerized by the glitter.
     The dream was so strange and so rich with images that Maddie wished she could paint so she could capture the dream she had last night. The thought of painting made her think of Janine who liked to paint. Maddie still missed her more than she thought she would. Being here without her partner was even harder than she imagined, but she knew this was where she was supposed to be. She just wished she had more time to help with the problems in Santa Isabel in Baha California, Mexico where the women were being murdered. It seemed the same thing was happening there as had happened years ago in Juarez. Her dreams never let her forget them, and last night’s dream was the strangest one yet.
     She was walking in a moonlit field of tall grasses. A wind blew the grass back and forth so that it looked like an ocean in the soft light. She heard the voices of women calling to her. In the distance, a figure stood still as her dress waved around her. The closer she got to the figure the more she realized it was just a little girl. Maddie thought she would be able to make out what she looked like, but the child seemed to remain a shadow. When she got close, the girl swayed back and fell. She just went down and disappeared into a dark hole in the ground. Maddie looked down and saw nothing. She wondered if she should follow. Was there something she needed to see? There was something that seemed to always remain in shadow in her memory. It seemed to have disappeared from her view like the girl in the dream. She had a strange feeling she was connected to that child.
     She had gotten so used to these dreams that she began to realize in the middle of them that she was in a dream. Unfortunately, when she knew it was a dream, she would wake up.
     The full moon, the field that looked like an ocean, the girl that was shadow, the abyss; all such fascinating images. She would have to look at her symbols dictionary later. Right now she had to get going. Another busy day at the center with the Sufi women coming to talk to the women’s group, and the reporter… “Darn it!” She had forgotten about the reporter. She wouldn’t have as much time to do an interview today. Well maybe the visiting Sufis would help make a story for the young reporter. In fact it was perfect. The Sufi women would get exposure and so would the center.


Prose poem for dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night #6

Long black hair veils grief as she rests her head next to a still warm hand. The rise and fall of her body matches the old woman’s who lies on the bed. Life moves in and out of this small dark room in the back of a 20’s bungalow. A home that has passed through the hands of many generations.

The younger woman looks up, takes the rough spotted hand, now mostly bone, into her soft manicured one. With her other hand she gently strokes the ancient one. Perhaps she can discover all the stories imprinted there. Years of hard work and endless caresses have left the old woman’s skin dry, translucent. Veins are visible, but stories are memory now and locked deep within both the silent one and the one silenced. Years are released with every breath and for a moment young and old become one. The woman lays her head down upon the still rising chest.

The silence is broken when the door is cracked open. A slant of light eases its way into the darkness and strikes strands of silver woven through black draped over the last moments. Those waiting wonder, hover, but don’t enter into the shared breath.

Darkness and darkness still. Breath then quiet, then breath again. Hands hold onto life a little longer, holding until the last breath is held forever. Breath then quiet. Then quiet, then quiet, then quiet…

©2007 Joanne Elliott