Monthly Archives: December 2013

What you’re doing now

Following yesterday’s post I have received some wonderful comments and support for which I thank you.  One included this verse which I post here unashamedly knowing what my boy and his siblings are up to … (with additional thanks to Ingrid Folkers)

Rainbow Bridge
inspired by a Norse legend
By the edge of a woods, at the foot of a hill,
Is a lush, green meadow where time stands still.
Where the friends of man and woman do run,
When their time on earth is over and done.

For here, between this world and the next,
Is a place where each beloved creature finds rest.
On this golden land, they wait and they play,
Till the Rainbow Bridge they cross over one day.

No more do they suffer, in pain or in sadness,
For here they are whole, their lives filled with gladness.
Their limbs are restored, their health renewed,
Their bodies have healed, with strength imbued.

They romp through the grass, without even a care,
Until one day they start, and sniff at the air.
All ears prick forward, eyes dart front and back,
Then all of a sudden, one breaks from the pack.

For just at that instant, their eyes have met;
Together again, both person and pet.
So they run to each other, these friends from long past,
The time of their parting is over at last.

The sadness they felt while they were apart,
Has turned into joy once more in each heart.
They embrace with a love that will last forever,
And then, side-by-side, they cross over… together.
© 1998 Steve and Diane Bodofsky. All Rights Reserved. 

rainbow bridge

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Filed under Lyrical or poem

Where you slept

Your basket lies empty now, a sad reminder of where you slept.

As I fall asleep each night I gaze at your place, now empty and wanting. Your blankets lie undisturbed, except for where Cuddy has sniffed around. Twice today she visited your basket and came away with a look on her face of sadness or confusion. She misses you too. My evenings are incomplete without our cuddle on the sofa. My mornings are the same without our shared walkies. Cuddy and I retrace our usual route but we both know something is missing.

When I wake in the morning the first thing I see is your bed. For a moment I don’t remember you have gone, then as my mind and my sight clear I see the empty space and my heart lurches again.

I have such beautiful memories of our tender moments, times when you slept in my arms in the summer sunshine or  on the sofa during a winter’s afternoon. memories of the wild times when you ran like a crazy creature chasing things that weren’t there, or that I couldn’t see, chasing leaves in autumn, chasing, running, chasing.

The cats sometimes use your bed, but not at night, yet. It was always your place and they still know and respect that.

My wonderful man you will be forever in my heart, and your presence will always be in our home. I must trust that you are no longer in any pain, I must trust that you have gone to a better place, for anything else would be too wrong.

Xali, you are my star, a wondrous creature that brought us so much yet wanted so little in return. For this and so much more I thank you.

P1020754

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Waiting

Book sales for my recently published children’s book are going well. Here’s an excerpt from my first Novel – WINNER

1

 Waiting

It feels like I’ve been standing in this queue for ages, but I guess it’s only an hour or so in reality. Besides I’m the one who decided, with a little encouragement, to come here and join the snake of a thousand, and then some, hopefuls. At least the queue has been moving gradually forward, although so slowly it’s almost unnoticeable.  The noise the crowd is making is incredible and at times deafening. At times  I’m wondering what on earth I’m doing here, and at least twice I’ve almost jumped the barriers and run off to the closest pub.  It’s baking hot under the late English Summer midday sun and a pint seems infinitely more enticing that standing in this queue for the next hour or so. If I gave up now though I’d never forgive myself and I’d never know just what I really am capable of. What a way to spend a day off!

The front of the queue and the registration desks are now in sight as I stand here in my best, and I must say arse-huggingly sexy jeans. I’m sure they show my packet off to my advantage too, judging by the number of times I got cruised on the tube on the way here. I took my time choosing what to wear this morning, not sure whether to play the little-boy-lost card, or to go for the stud with attitude look. I think I’ve settled somewhere in between, anyway I’ve never quite managed ‘attitude’ without looking dumb, and as for stud that’s a story for a whole different time, and probably age-group, but I guess I’ll get round to it before my story’s told.

So here I am, as I said in my best and remarkably creaseless jeans, a polo shirt that hugs my pecs as well as the jeans do the job downstairs and I’m as nervous as hell, but I have a good feeling that things will go right. It’s that gentle buzzing sensation down there that usually comes before a special night out that’s making me feel on a pre-show high.

Okay, now I am at the front, just a couple of over-blond Essex girls in front and I’ll be there, registering.  Hang on a minute: just before I move forward I’m stopped by the delectable Russell who asks if I’ll have a chat with him on camera.  He’s as good looking up close and personal as he is on the box, and he wants to talk to me. Of course I agree to chat with him. He tells me to relax and just be myself, then the cameras are rolling and we’re chatting like we were the best of buddies. He asks me why I’m here, “Duh” I think but say “Because I’ve got the voice, the looks and the talent to win this competition”. His reply is along the lines of how confident or cocky, which as he says it I’m sure, or do I mean hoping,  he’s checking me out, well my trouser-shape anyway. I’d heard a rumour or two that he batted for the other side that I can only hope is true. He ends our on-camera chat by wishing me good luck, and as the camera pans away to the crowd- he gives me a hug. Now I know he’s not really interested as the hug is at arm’s length only –no body touching just the way many straight guys try to impersonate intimacy with their gay friends. Once again the crowd is shouting the inane chant they’ve been shouting on and off for the last few hours and Russell is off to chat to a leggy brunette in the tightest black dress you can imagine. I’d take a bet now that she won’t get the arms-length hug. Despite my nerves I feel that old familiar stirring as I watch Russell moving away, and have to quickly think of crossword solutions, or nuns in prayer to prevent anything embarrassing being apparent as I approach the crotch-level registration desk.

I’m given number 12789, which I take to be a lucky sign as it’s my date of birth. I answer all the questions that are thrown at me and fill in a form, signing some disclaimer or other, and I’m sent to the much shorter queue to get inside. My nerves are now fired up another gear.

The last time I was at the O2 centre was to see ‘Think-on’ in concert. I must have been one of the only guys there. The place was full to brimming with screaming teenies who knew nothing of the group’s previous incarnation, and swaying oldies who knew all the songs from years ago.  Of course I wasn’t the only guy there, and amongst the others was that cute hairy-bear-type who was probably about thirty, but as sexy as hell and got us into an almost compromising situation when we exchanged intimate handshakes at the urinals. He blue-toothed me his details, so I soon had his name, and a few days later shared much more with him at his place in Kensington, where I am now living. It was him who encouraged me to come here today, so here I am.

 Winner Front Cover

Available on Lulu.com in paperback and e-book. 

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Filed under Adult, Contemporary

DRINK

Sharon was going to her very first grown up party. She was seventeen and her parents had at last given her permission to go with Anna , her best friend, to one of their friends’ houses for a Christmas party.  She had already been shopping with Anna so that they could buy something new to wear, and she had spent the afternoon at Anna’s talking about who would and wouldn’t be there and how exciting it was.  This Christmas it was Allen who was holding the party at his parents house with their permission.

Anna had been to a couple of her friend’s parties before so she filled Sharon in on what went on, and who had got of with whom at the last one. Most of what Anna was telling her Sharon already knew as it was Anna’s habit to come to school the day after any party and tell Sharon all about it in minute detail.  So that she could get ready Sharon went back to her house at around five thirty.

Sharon had a shower and got dressed in her room, carefully putting on her make-up and doing her hair so she would look the best she could. Anna and Sharon had already agreed that Anna would call round for her at just before seven so that they could go to the party together. Sharon didn’t want to arrive alone and feel even more nervous than she already was.

As dictated by social norms the party was a ‘bring-a-bottle’ party. At first Sharon’s parents had been worried by this, but she explained it was the norm and that all everyone took was beer or cider. Having consulted with Allen’s parents about alcohol at the party Sharon’s parents had relented and agreed to allowing her a bottle of low alcohol cider to take, on the promise that she drink nothing else.

Just before seven Anna arrived and they set out for the party. Although it was on the other side of the village the girls had decided that they would walk there, and had wrapped up warm to do so.  Although under their big coats they had on their thin party dresses.

Sharon and Anna were two of the first to arrive at the party. Allen welcomed them in, taking the coats and the bottles they had brought and offered them glasses of warmed wine. Although Sharon had been told not to drink anything but her cider she accepted the offer of the wine and took a glass from Allen. As he passed her the glass their fingers touched and a tingle of electricity ran all the way up Sharon’s arm. She smiled   and thanked Allen for the drink with a slight giggle. He smiled back and winked. Sharon’s heart beat faster. She had always thought Allen was cute but didn’t think he would ever look at her, but now here he was smiling and winking at her. She was in heaven.

None of this went unnoticed by Anna. She grabbed Sharon’s arm lightly and steered her away from Allen’s obvious advances.

“Steady girl,” Anna whispered. “We’ve only just got here, and you know he’s supposed to be with Jenna.”

“I thought they’d split up.” Sharon couldn’t stop her glance from returning to Allen as she spoke.

“They may have, but you can bet she’ll come this evening and it’ll all be back on.” Anna warned.

“But…” Sharon wanted Allen more than she realised.

“But nothing. PLenty more fish in the sea.”

“But why have prawns when the bigger fish is so much tastier,” Sharon said making her feelings for Allen clear.

“You didn’t tell me you fancied him.” Anna accused her friend.

“Well, like you said he was with Jenna, and I didn’t think I had a chance with him anyway. But now… Well did you see the way he looked at me?” Sharon’s eyes eventually settled on Anna as she spoke.

“I did, and I reckon it’s that dress you’re wearing. He’s never seen you out of school clothes, but tonight you look stunning.” Anna had to admit her friend really did look good in  her new dress.

“Stunning.. pah… stunned more like,” Sharon disagreed.

For awhile the girls continued their conversation as more people arrived. Little by little the party got more and more crowded, and little by little Sharon and Anna had more of the warm wine. It made them feel good.

Within a couple of hours everybody was dancing and moving around the room chatting and drinking.  By this point Anna and Sharon realised they had had enough to drink and were feeling just a little light-headed. All of a sudden Allen appeared between them with cheesy chat up lines. He gave them both fresh drinks and insisted they dance with him. Anna declined allowing Sharon free rein to dance with Allen on her own.  She sat on the sofa and watched the goings on around the room until another friend joined her and they moved off to the kitchen where it was quieter.

Around Midnight Anna realised she hadn’t seen Sharon for quite a while and went in search for her so that they could walk home together.  Strangely, or perhaps not, Allen wasn’t anywhere to be seen either. Anna wondered if her worst fears might have been realised and rushed up the stairs to try to find her friend.

The first room Anna barged into was Allen’s parent’s room, where she could just make out the bodies of two of her friends under a pile of coats. Pulling hers and Sharon’s from the pile she left the room.

The next door she opened was  a cupboard. Slamming that shut she crossed the hallway and opened another door to find Sharon and Allen sitting on his bed chatting.

“I, er, I.. well it’s midnight and I thought we should make our way home. I’ve got our coats here.” Anna said.

“More like you thought I was the worse for the drink and came to rescue me,” Sharon laughed.

“Well….” Anna left the thought unsaid.

“Yes, well …. ” Sharon replied standing up and straightening her dress. “I’ll see you tomorrow then, Allen,” she said as she kissed him gently on the cheek.”

Anna’s face was a picture. She wanted to know what had happened here, and was going to make sure Sharon told her on the way home. But first she thought she needed just one more drink so handing Sharon her coat she made her way back downstairs…

 

2013-12-14 -drink

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Filed under Adult, Contemporary, humour

SILVER

It is at this time of year that memories are made and at this time of year that memories flood back to cast their spell over us whether for good or for bad.

Sitting by the fire sipping mulled wine Archie and his friends were reliving their memories. Sometimes it seemed to Archie that memories were all they really had. This didn’t sadden him. He was at home with his memories whereas the modern technological world he was forced to live in scared him. Archie understood that the advances were steps forward for most but he could only see the steps taken backwards with less communication.

Lee, who was sitting next to Archie finished his story and passed Archie the jug of mulled wine. As he did so he nodded letting Archie know it was his turn to dredge up a memory to share.

Dredging up memories was never a problem for Archie and as he took the jug his mind flicked through his memories like a jukebox flicks through records. Archie tipped the jug up to refill his glass.  As he moved the rings on the fingers of his left hand caught the glow from the  fire and a memory burst to the front of Archie’s mind as if it were yesterday.

“Forever,” he heard the soft voice of his wife, Josie, now long since gone. This was followed by his own voice repeating the same word in affirmation.

Archie’s friends were watching him, waiting for him to share the memory that the could see was running through his mind. They knew better than to interrupt his private musings and waited for him to begin, honouring his memory with the same respect that he would give theirs.

“Nineteen ninety seven,” Archie said beginning his story. The distance was evident in his voice as he repeated the year his memory had taken him back to.

“Nineteen ninety seven. That was our last Christmas together. The best and worst of times all rolled into one.”

“We had a trip to Vegas just before Christmas, it was something she wanted to do before, well just before. And we bought each other these silver eternity rings. It was kind of like saying we knew she would be leaving soon, but that we would still be together. Love doesn’t die just because someone dies. I still love her as much and still think of her as much every day. That’s why I wear both these things.” Archie lifted his hand displaying the two silver eternity rings.

“If we had had kids we would have probably spent that last Christmas with them, but as we didn’t we had the whole damn time to ourselves. and we really made the best of it. We were just like kids ourselves. We bought in way too much food. I don’t think I had ever eaten so much chocolate ever before in my life, nor after come to that.” Archie paused to sip his drink.

“We decorated every space in the house that we used, even the toilet had baubles in it,” he laughed at the memory.

“On Christmas Eve we went to bed early, just like we were kids, but being the gentleman I am I shall gloss over the part before we woke, except to say that during the night I crept out of bed and put the few presents I had secretly bought under the tree as a surprise for Josie. How that woman loved surprises.”  For a moment Archie stopped and stared off into space. His eyes were shining brightly with tears unshed, but his face was alive with the memory he was reliving.

“That Christmas morning we woke early and after I’d made a brew we sat under the tree to open our presents just throwing the paper anywhere as we tore it off. Josie had the biggest smile ever. To look at her you would never have known that… well you’d just never know. When she found the few gifts that I’d hidden under the tree during the night she was like a child on Christmas Day, thrilled and excited hardly begins to cover it. They weren’t much, those presents, but she was so happy that her Santa had delivered surprises for her during the night.”  Archie wiped his eyes gently releasing the tears that had built up.

“Ah such wonderful memories. Like I said the best of times,  the worst of times. I still miss her like crazy, but I guess I won’t be waiting too long now before I see her again, and that makes me happy. You know guys, and I guess you do. It’s always important to make the most of our times with our loved ones for we never know when we will be parted. And I guess Christmas really is a time for making the most of everything and everyone we love.”

“Merry Christmas guys, and Merry Christmas my Josie,” Archie raised his glass in a toast and settled back into his chair to await another tale as he moved the two silver rings around on his finger.

2013-12-13 silver

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JOY IS …

JOY  is ….

The smile of a Loved One

A caress from another

Life

2013-12-11 joy

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Filed under Contemporary, Lyrical or poem

LIGHTS

Sammy stood outside the local gift shop staring in the window. It was just three days to Christmas and he loved to stand and stare at all the bright lights on the tree in the window and at the toys and presents scattered round its base. The bright lights in this shop always drew him closer as he passed by on his way to or from the daycare centre he spent time at while his mum worked.

This Christmas looking in the window of this shop would be as close as he would get to having a Christmas tree.  His mum had told him several times that they didn’t have any extra money for treats this year.  It seemed to Sammy that each year since his dad had died things got more and more difficult. He didn’t understand that if his dad had died as a hero why were they left to suffer.

Sammy’s dad had been killed in an explosion whilst he was on detail in Helmand Province, in Afghanistan. Sammy had no idea where that was but everyone had told him that his dad had been a great man and died to protect their country. All Sammy knew was that his dad was no longer around to hold him and tell him everything would be alright. It seemed to Sammy that nothing was going to be alright ever again.  After his dad had died they had moved into a smaller house away from all Sammy’s friends. Sammy’s mum had had to get a job, but Sammy knew she was not happy doing what she was doing, and she always came home from the factory smelling of the chemicals she used there, and she was always so tired.

Standing here looking in the shop window Sammy tried to forget all the sad tings in his life and pretend that Christmas was going to be wonderful again. He stared at the lights until the filled his vision, and his mind wandered to past Christmases when his dad was around and the days were full of fun. He could just about remember the first Christmas tree they had put up in their home. It had been loaded down with tinsel and decorations and covered in flashing lights of all colours. How he used to love to sit at the dinner table and stare at those lights just as he did with the lights in the toy shop now.

As he stared into the shop wishing that he was as lucky as his friends at his new school he felt a light touch on his shoulder. He hadn’t seen anyone come up behind him in the reflection of the shop window and jumped out of his skin. He turned round quickly expecting to find someone from school playing a joke on him.  Instead he saw a tall smartly dressed gentleman who was smiling down at him. In truth this stranger had been watching him for some time.

“Hello there young man,” the man said to him. “There are some wonderful things in there aren’t there? Are some of them on your Christmas list ?”

“I’m not supposed to talk to strangers,” Sammy replied feeling a little silly.

“Well let me introduce myself. Then we shan’t be strangers any more. My name is Nicholas, but you may call me Nick and I must say I am delighted to meet you, ” The man held out his hand for a handshake.

Sammy put his hand in the Nick’s large hand and shook as he told him his name.

“So Sammy, which of those toys would you like most?” Nick asked him.

“I’m just looking,” Sammy replied revealing no more for a moment. “But, ….. If I had the money I’d buy that one there for my mum,” he said pointing to an electric massager, “She’s always tired and that might make her feel better.”

“I’m sure it would. There sure area  lot of nice things in there, aren’t there? And such wonderful lights.”  Nick peered through the window with the same kind of awe as Sammy.

“I guess.” Sammy dug his hands in his pockets and stared into the window too. He wished he really could chose some of the things inside.

“What would you like most in the whole wide world?” Nick asked him.

Sammy didn’t need to think about this one. “To have my dad back and for my mum to be happy again. I’d like to make Christmas special for her again,” he said. Tears brimmed in his eyes for a second or two until he blinked them away hoping Nick didn’t see them He didn’t want him to think he was a baby.

“That’s a mighty fine wish, my friend,” Nick told him.

Sammy wondered why Nick didn’t ask more about where his dad was and why his mum was unhappy, but he guessed he just didn’t wan to be nosy.  He looked up at Nick and for a moment thought that he half-recognised him. When Nick looked down he smiled and looked away shyly.

“Well young man, it has been a delight to talk to you, but I’ve much to do over the next few days before I can rest awhile,” NIck told him as he started to turn away from the window, “…but I’d like to wish you a very Merry Christmas.”

“Thank you, You too,” Sammy replied smiling back.

Nick held his hand out for a shake, telling Sammy to keep wishing and who knows what dreams might come true. Sammy shook his hand and returned to looking in the shop for a second or two more before he went home. Looking in the shop window Nick appeared to have disappeared just as oddly as he had appeared.

When Sammy got home his mum was already home preparing dinner. He didn’t tell her about Nick because he thought she might be angry with him for talking to a stranger, even though Nick had seemed really nice.  However, over the next couple of days Sammy thought about Nick a lot and how much he had surprised him appearing as if out of nowhere.

On Christmas Eve his mum didn’t work and they went for a look around the town and even had a cup of tea and a bun in one of the little cafes. Returning home that evening both Sammy and his mum were a little sad. Sammy’s mum was sad because she knew it wouldn’t be a wonderful Christmas for Sammy again. Sammy was sad because he knew his mum was sad and wanted so much to make her  happy again. That night they watched the television until late then went to bed, neither of them really looking forward to the coming day.

At about seven o’clock the next morning Sammy was woken by shouts from his mum.

“Sammy, quick. come on down here, quick,” his mum shouted up the stairs.

Sammy guessed that she was trying to make the day a little more exciting for him by pretending to be excited herself. He slowly got out of bed and put on his dressing gown and one step after the other slowly went downstairs. As he got closer to the bottom step he could smell something different. It smelt like a Christmas tree but they hadn’t got one this year. Then he thought that he could see lights flashing as he rounded the bottom landing on the stairs.  He wondered what on earth his mum must be doing.

Pushing the living room door open he stepped inside to see the most magnificent of trees in the corner next to the television. It was covered in wonderful decorations and the most amazing display of flashing lights. “What?” he said quietly.  Under the tree was a pile of exquisitely wrapped presents, and to top it all beside the television a huge tin of ‘Quality Street’ chocolates.

“It seems Santa really does exist,” his mum said to him with tears in her eyes. “Who else could have done all this for us. And what’s more there’s already a turkey in the oven and vegetables on the stove. Good old Saint Nick.” she continued, laughing.

“Saint Nick,” Sammy said wiping away his own tears, “Saint Nick.”

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Filed under Contemporary, Kids stuff