Kreative Kue 304 asked for submissions based on this photograph:
“I think I see something.”
“Yeah, right. Might be a mirage.”
“I don’t think so.”
“How can you say you see something. We have been on this trail for days, and there is nothing but grass on either side of us.”
“I’m telling you the road takes a curve, and just beyond is an oasis.”
“You are now getting on my nerves. Not only do you think you see something, but you call it an oasis. You better snap out of it. You are delirious.”
“Look, I’m a whole hand taller than you, and when I say I see something, there is something.”
“Fine. I’ll let it go, but when we hit civilization, I’m going to take you to a doctor.”
“You are going to eat those words in a few minutes. Let’s hurry. We are almost to the curve.”
“Do you know how hard it is to run carrying a full load?”
“You may want to drop that when you see what is available.”
“Drop it? I’ve been hauling this thing ever since we started.”
“And I told you when you picked it up, you were a fool.”
“Hey, what is that?”
“I told you.”
“Are you kidding me? It is an oasis.”
“Ha. What did I say?”
“I’m dropping this leave now. That s a fully stocked trash bin. Do you know how much stuff there will be in there for us?”
“Told you, told you.”
“Okay, you were right. Looks it has a metal pole as if that will keep us ants out of it. My pincers are watering. Time for a feast. I’ll bet there is a leftover french fry in there.”
“I’m looking forward to the sugar packet. Always my favorite.”
“And the cola. Let’s stop talking and get up there.”
“After you, my doubting friend.”
My effort was:
Come for a walk by the river, she said. It’ll be nice, she said. Take you out of yourself, get some air into your lungs; good brisk walk – you’ll feel a new man afterwards, she said.
I wasn’t interested in feeling a new man, was I? I was quite happy being this one, although I have to admit, if I could be him without saying ouch every time I get up out of a chair, it wouldn’t be such a bad thing, I suppose. Air in my lungs? Humph. What does she think I’m breathing indoors, methane?
She’s been going on about it for ages on this portal thing she’s making me use. I don’t mind talking to her every day on it though, and it’s very easy and convenient, what with it being on top of the telly and all. It saves me from being completely alone twenty-four-seven, but – and I know she means well; I know she’s just concerned for my well-being and all, but she does come over a bit school-marmy sometimes.
When she was small, she depended on me and her Mum to tell her everything: how to look after herself, what to wear, what to eat; everything, really. I suppose she thinks I’ve forgotten how to live properly since her mother died. I haven’t though. I know what I need to do, and I don’t need to be told. Not every day, anyway. But, yeah, she means well; her heart’s in the right place. Not like her brother.
Twelve months we’ve been locked down. She’s spoken to me every day since we got this portal thing going. Every day. I don’t think she’s missed one – and I know she’s busy, what with working from home and trying to teach the kids when the schools were closed; and I know she doesn’t get much help from her husband, either. Not his fault. He does long shifts six days a week, so I suppose talking to me is a bit of a break for her as well. But her brother? I could count the number of times he’s called me on the fingers of one hand if I’d had half of them cut off. Well, a few more than that, but no better than once a month and even then he seems to be in a hurry to end his call. Always got an excuse, he has. Work or family, he blames. Not that I worry too much. He never has anything interesting to say anyway.
So, as I was saying, she told me to go for a walk by the river. Even said she’d drive up to go with me. You can’t, I told her. Lockdown. You can exercise with one other person, she said, even have a cup of coffee on a bench. She reckoned that if I’d agreed to be in her bubble, she could have come up to see me as often as I wanted. I don’t know anything about this bubble stuff. As far as I’m concerned, a bubble is what you get when you mix soap with water. That and clean hands.
So, anyway, she insisted and, in the end, I gave in. She knew I would. I moan about her sometimes, but I love her to bits and I know she talks sense. So I said okay. We agreed that I would stay in the house until she called from her car to tell me she was five minutes out. It takes her nearly an hour to drive from her house to mine – a bit less now, with there being less traffic on the road. So when she called me, I put my coat on and walked down to the river. When I got to the bench, she was already sat on it, waiting for me. Come here, I said, give your old dad a hug. Can’t, she said. Social distancing still in place. Well, I said, at least take that mask off so I can see you properly. She looked at me over the material and said, I will, but you have to stay two metres away from me. When I said I thought that was bunkum, she said in that case she’d have to keep the mask on. Well, how am I supposed to know what two metres is when we’re walking side-by-side. Half the time, I’m not even sure what it is when I’m standing still with a tape measure in my hand. I agreed, though. We walked and talked. It was really nice to talk to her face-to-face instead of through the portal thing all the time. She had me walking quite fast and I was fairly out of puff by the time we reached the next bench.
Fancy a sit-down, Dad, she said. I did, so we sat down. She produced a flask of tea and a couple of egg and tomato sandwiches out of her bag. Bless her – she remembered they were my favourites. We had a good old chinwag and then walked home. As I unlocked my front door, she said, we must do this again. I agreed, and she went off, back to her own home.
You know what? She was right. That walk did me a power of good. A good brisk walk took me out of myself and I got some clean, fresh air into my lungs. I feel like a new man now.
On to this week’s challenge: Using this photo as inspiration, write a short story, flash fiction, scene, poem; anything, really; even just a caption for the photograph. Either put it (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at email@example.com before 6pm next Sunday (if you aren’t sure what the time is where I live, this link will tell you). If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be appreciated, but please do also mention it in a comment here.
Go on. You know you want to. Let your creativity and imagination soar. I shall display the entries next Monday.