F*** Balls, Grow A Vagina #1000speak #writespiration 76

A struggleThere’s this phrase, ‘grow some balls’ I hate it. Mostly because I say it all the time! I’ve seen a photo banded round the internet that slates that phrase, suggesting instead, that one actually needs to grow a vagina. Why? Because vaginas are hardcore – baby pushing out – machines. While balls…Balls are… soft, squishy, breakable sperm bags.

Why am I talking about balls and vaginas on my writing blog?! Well, this weeks writespiration happens to fall on a 1000speak day, so you’re going to have to bear with me whilst I waffle on in order to explain the challenge! Every month there is a group of people that come together to write on a theme, the campaign is called #1000speak. This months theme is forgiveness. If you haven’t ever joined in, you should. It’s awesome to take some time out to ponder different things, and to join in a movement based on compassion.

The Fawcett Society released a new publication last week. Sex Equality State of the Nation 2016. It peaked my interest, so I took a look.

“In our Sex Equality 2016 report, we found that over two thirds of people (67%) support equality for women and men.

However it seems we are a nation of ‘hidden feminists’ with only 7% of people across the UK actually describing themselves as feminist.

Unsurprisingly women are more likely to be sympathetic to feminism (74%) and to identify as feminist (9%). The poll found that men very were supportive of equality of the sexes (86% of men wanting this for women in their lives) but perhaps predictably even less of them (only 4%) would identify as feminist.”

Wait what? ‘hidden feminist?’. Only 7% of people describe themselves as a feminist? Has the world gone mad? I’ll admit, I unclipped my bra and hooked off a strap at this point but, I managed to wrestle with myself long enough not to burn it… at least not until I finished this post anyway.

It got me thinking about writing and women writers. Since we picked up a pen and learnt to retell stories, we have on occasions, been doing so under pseudonyms. Loads of people still do it. Me included. My name isn’t actually Sacha. I mean it feels like it now, if someone calls out ‘Sacha’ I turn and answer! but It isn’t my birth name.

But, to my surprise when I started to google, I found there are still a lot of women writers publishing under a male pseudonym. Sure, it might be a genre swap and anonymity they are after, but then, why do they feel the need to publish under a male name specifically?

Need examples? How about:

Nora Roberts = J.D.Robb

J.K Rowling = Robert Galbraith. But even more interestingly, I discovered J.K isn’t really a J.K at all. In fact, she is just a Joanne Rowling. But her publishers urged her to publish under her initials because her target audience was MG boys and they didn’t know if it would put them off reading a book written by a woman.

Cue some teeth grinding and match lighting as I unhook my other bra strap. Stuff like that instantly enrages me. Seriously, why are women ok with this? It makes me want to whip out my travel podium, start a riot outside whitehall and wave some placards around (I’ve been known to…. never mind thats a story for another day).

Then something terrible happened. I googled the female spelling of Sacha, and to my horror realised spelling it with a ‘C’ is indicative of the male spelling. NOOOOOOOOOO. I’m a hypocrite. In my defence, I had no idea. Excuse me while I cry into my pillow!

Anyway, how do I bring this back to forgiveness? I guess, I forgive society for its inequality. For the barriers it still puts in womens’ way, and for the glass ceiling it has quietly slipped into every industry, classroom and sector in the world.

I forgive society because, the battle is what defines us. Without the struggle, the win doesn’t seem worth it. It’s only in those moments of strife, hardship and in the face of certain failure, that we show our true colours. Those are the moments that make or break us, because in that instant, we make choices and those decisions are what define us.

#1000speak

 

This week, your challenge is to write about a struggle…

In less than 200 words.

If you want to join in, post your stories in the comments below, and I will publish them with next weeks writespiration.

Now to last week, and your Rusty stories.


 

First up, Charli, my buckaroo pal, who is cheating on her novel (Rock Creek) in weekly writespiration instalments. I for one, have fallen in love with her new protagonist Jen.

Rusty Axe Head by Charli Mills

Panic flared and Jen hit the floor with bare feet before she fully woke up. Orange flames twisted toward the cold sky stars, casting reflections through the beveled glass window pane of her boarding house room. Awake now, Jen’s body slumped and she realized it was just a slash fire that had flared up in the night. Burning excess branches and unusable timber was safe in winter snow drifts, but Jen would never feel safe around the demon of fire.

Knowing sleep would not easily return, she glanced across the room at Mattie’s empty bed. No use moping in empty space. Jen dressed, grabbed a satchel from under her bed and went out to the silent porch to watch the flames dance. In defiance to her buried fear, she lit her own match and puffed a rolled cigarette to life. Jen blew a stream of smoke and glared at the flames.

“Got another?”

Jen stiffened. How did she not see the man standing in the shadows? Most of the returning soldiers at the logging camp ridiculed her, the rest ignored her. She wasn’t used to sharing smokes. “Sure.”

She reached into her open satchel and grabbed the tin that sat on a rusty axe head.

“What’s that? Hope it’s not what you use to bump knots.”

“No, just a relic.”

He lit her offered cigarette and looked at her with blue eyes that reminded her of her own lineage. His accent was completely American, though, something she perfected, too. “You’re Bardrick Fatland’s daughter,” he said.

Jen nodded. Then she added, “And that relic was his.”

The man looked out across the meadow watching the slash fire. “Hard to believe the Great Fire was ten years ago. I heard he died saving a crew sent in to cut a fire line.”

Despite her will to stay strong like steel and iron, Jen shuddered. “I found his body because I recognized the axe head at its side.”

“You were working the line kitchen at the fires?”

“In 1910 that’s what I did. What every woman did. Then I drug my father’s charred body to camp, claimed his axe, put it on a new handle and joined the fire line. Line boss was my uncle. No one said no. Been clearing limbs and building slash piles for him ever since.”

“How’d it get so rusty?”

Jen smiled, but more to conceal her anger. “My mother threw it away. Thought it would bring me to my senses. Make me behave more lady-like. I found it two years ago. It’s rusty but distinct. All I have of him except for what he taught me of living in the woods.”

The man held out his hand. “I’m Wolfrick Krugman. My name makes me rather unpopular despite serving the US Army two years in hell abroad. What others think is overrated by those doing the thinking.”

Jen estimated Wolfrick was 20, closer to Mattie’s age than her 30 years, though his blue eyes seemed older. She blew out another stream of smoke and grasped his hand as strong as hers. “Jen Fatland. Guilty on both counts of German heritage and unladylike conduct.”


 

Judy from Edwina’s Episodes is back with this hilarious rhyming poem.

I am pretty rubbish at English

And Maths was never my thing

I was always bewildered by Science

As for Music, I never could sing!

I was totally lost in Geography

History was never that clear

Religious Studies were hopeless

PE had me quaking in fear!

French was not my best subject

And Spanish I had not a clue

Cookery was never my forte

And Art was disastrous too!

So when my daughter struggles with homework

And asks me to help if I could

I tell her that I am a ‘bit rusty’

Rather than I’m just not very good!


 

Next up, Jane, with this heart wrenching story, as a mother of a small toddler, I’m hoping its not true!

They had lived in the same house for twenty years and now they were leaving it, moving to a smaller place. They’d last moved when child number four was born and they had run out of corners that could be turned into somebody’s private space. Child number four was now leaving home, taking her belongings and the few inherited bits and pieces that spoke to her. The others already had their own places and had ransacked the house years before for anything useful.

She had been gradually filling bin bags with things she didn’t want, emptying drawers, wardrobes, dressers, going through the dozens of boxes full of amorphous ‘stuff’ that should have been thrown out long ago but was supposed to come in useful one day. She had now reached her own personal things, the single drawer in the entire house that held the bits of rubbish that meant something to her. She never opened the drawer, never looked inside the leather case that held the letters, the odd bits of inherited jewellery, the child’s toys, broken watches, and scratched glass paperweights.

She opened it now and caught her breath. So many memories fluttered out. She closed her eyes. Scenes of the past flickered behind her closed lids so fast she had barely time to grasp them before they subsided again. Their first cat’s collar, the bell tarnished and silent, a plastic turtle she had loved when she was a kid, her mother’s only pair of earrings, the children’s maternity bracelets, the ink on the name tags illegible now. Two were chopped to pieces. Joe’s. The duty nurse forgot to take them off at the maternity hospital, and she remembered how they had panicked when the baby’s hands had swollen up and had rushed him to the paediatrician to have them removed. That was the first emergency with Joe, the first of many. He was gone now, that son who had caused them so much heartache as a child. Gone to live in Australia. She dropped the bracelets into a bin bag with the plastic turtle and the cat collar.

A hand on her shoulder made her turn.

“Why are you throwing those things away? Remember how Rambo used to hate that collar? And how he almost choked when it caught in a branch of the apple tree?”

He picked up the collar and fingered it lovingly. She saw a piece of faded leather and a tin bell that didn’t ring. She pushed back the memory of the old cat lying still, a dribble of dead drool on his lip.

“And the kids’ bracelets! Don’t you want to keep those?”

“Why?”

He looked at her with wide, questioning eyes.

“Well… as souvenirs.”

“We have the children. In a way. Why keep bits of plastic?”

He wasn’t listening, riffling through the paper, the letters, restaurant menus, hotel bills, theatre tickets, part of their shared youth. She could sense his annoyance.

“These things, the letters I sent you, your parents’ letters, the souvenirs of that holiday in Greece. You can’t throw those away!”

Suddenly it was too much. She covered her face with her hands and sobbed.

“Hey.” He was tender now, crouching on the floor beside her. “Hey.” He pulled a strand of hair from her tear-sticky cheek and kissed it. “I just don’t understand…”

She swallowed and cleared her throat, steadying the tremble in her voice.

“All these memories, souvenirs you call them, they’re all bits of what’s gone, finished. We don’t have babies any more, or parents, or a cat. All of this,” she gestured at the papers and objects scattered round her on the floor, “it’s just a reminder of what we’ve lost.”

She looked into the bewilderment of his eyes and saw that he hadn’t understood.

“But they’re souvenirs of good times, not sad times. Don’t you want to remember happiness?”

She shook her head. “But we don’t remember happiness, not really, just the idea of happiness. Haven’t you noticed that the sharpest memories are always the sad ones? They jump out at you when you’re unprepared, and each one unleashes a whole crowd of other sad memories, unrelated except in their sadness. When I look at Rambo’s collar, I don’t see a happy young cat, I see me taking the collar off for the last time when he died. I don’t remember why I loved that plastic turtle so much, it’s too long ago, but I do remember how heartbroken I was when my hamster died when I was eight. Don’t you see?”

She searched his face for a glimmer of understanding. She took his hands. “Seeing Joe’s baby bracelet just reminds me that he’s gone. I know Australia isn’t death,” she managed a smile that he echoed, “but that little boy we loved so much has gone. I don’t want to be one of those old ladies who lives in the past, sifting over the deaths and the partings. I don’t want to be ruled by memories.”

He sighed. “We’ve built up quite a past, haven’t we? When I look back—”

“Don’t! There’s too much past, and not enough left ahead. The river never stops flowing, you know. When I die, I want it to be trying to finish one last thing, not drifting backwards into some rose-tinted, bittersweet place that didn’t exist, trying to catch up with the people who have already flowed back along the river.”

He smiled and nodded. Understanding.

“So, we’ll give your mum’s earrings to Isa, and we’ll get another cat for Rambo’s collar.” He dropped the plastic turtle into a bin bag.

“And we’ll take cuttings of the roses to plant in the garden of the new house.”

“And nothing else.”

“Nothing. Just you and me.” She held his hands tight. “Building something new.”


 

Kim Joined us this week with a poem, you can find her here.

The key to his heart

Was hidden safely in the dark

Depths of the back of a drawer

Together with letters and notes

Among the underwear

The key to his heart

 

Is flaked with rust

The key she thought golden

Precious and unique

A symbol of love

Is cheap and fake

Is flaked with rust

 

That turns to bloody dust

In the sweat of her fingers

Tainted by her tears

Bent by her anger

Love of her best years

That turns to bloody dust

 

The key to his heart

Is flaked with rust

That turns to bloody dust

And no longer fits the lock


Next, Hugh, with a story that has an epic twist at the end, I think this is actually my favourite story of his yet:

“You need to give up!”

“Why?”

“Because you’ve had it. Nobody likes you. You’re an embarrassment. Can’t you see that?”

“No, I can’t Richie. Nobody but you has ever told me that I’m an embarrassment.”

“That’s because they’re all afraid to tell you.”

“I don’t think so. Why do you always have to try and bring me down? I love this life of mine. I love what I do. If it wasn’t for those people out there then I could understand what you were saying, but they keep coming back. How many bottles of champagne was it last week?”

“You’re kidding yourself. It wasn’t all champagne that was left for you and what champagne you were given was something I’d not even give to my worst enemy.”

“You’re so bitter, Richie.  It’s you that nobody likes, not me.”

Richie shook his head and walked around the room. Many thoughts went flashing through his mind. She had to believe what he was telling her. It was an embarrassment when people talked to him about her. He still loved her so much and all he wanted to do was protect her.

“Did I locked the door when I came in?  Michael’s taking his time with my drink. He’s such a sweetie. Great on the eye as well.”

“You fancy him, don’t you?”

There was no reaction, but Richie knew the answer. However, so long as it was just ‘window-shopping’ then no harm would be done.

“Don’t you think you’ve gone a little rusty?”

“Ha! very funny” she smiled. “I’m just perfect and that’s exactly what that lot also think. Now, out of the way Richie, I’ve got work to do.”

She stood up and walked towards the silver strands of ribbon that sparkled and flashed in the light coming from the other-side. She waited for her cue.

“And now, Dreams Nightclub brings you the one and only…Miss Rusty Balls.”

There was a loud cheer from the other side and Rusty stepped out onto her stage. Her audience went ecstatic for her.

Back in the dressing room a key unlocked the door and Michael walked in with Rusty’s drink. He put his head through the silver strips of the stage entrance and placed her drink on a table at the back of the stage. Rusty turned around and blew the gorgeous man a kiss.

“Thank you” she lipped to him.

The young nightclub manager smiled. He admired Rusty so much. How Richie Barnes managed to turn himself into Rusty Balls, he had no idea. However, it was definitely the best drag act on the circuit and the Hen Parties, the nightclub were well known for, loved her.


 

Next up, my dear Geoffle, who wrote a rather kinky love story! This is awesome and I love the ending.

Abi first noticed the nail on a Thursday. That’s when granny took her to school. It stuck out of the pole by the traffic lights. ‘Careful.’ Granny always told her to be careful.
It was soft.
Squidgy.
Like a marshmallow.
‘Abi, I told you…’
‘It’s soft, Granny. Touch it.’
She loved her Granny but she didn’t believe in fairies and she said it was hard and dirty.
‘It’s just a nail. Now leave it alone.’
Abi didn’t want to be naughty but she couldn’t leave it alone. And each touch felt different: hot, slimy, dripping, sticky and rough.
The next time she touched it it felt so smooth her finger slipped off. She pushed harder and, to her surprise the nail disappeared. As it did so a puff of silvery gas emerged before weaving into her school bag.
‘What are you doing, Abigail? Let me see your hand.’
A dark red streak showed across the palm.
Granny hugged Abi, surprising her. ‘Thank heavens it isn’t cut. That’s a rusty old nail and… Where’s it gone?’
Abi looked where Granny looked. The post was smooth, the paintwork unblemished. There was no sign that there had ever been a rusty nail there at all.
‘Well I never.’
At school Abi waited until break before she emptied her bag. At the bottom was the rusty nail but nothing else. Disappointed she put the nail back and forgot about it.
That Saturday the family went to the seaside. Abi took her school bag as it held her current favourite book. While mummy slept and daddy built a sandcastle with her baby brother Abi took out her book to read. As she did so the nail fell by Granny’s feet.
‘What have you got there?’ Granny picked up the nail. ‘Oh Abi this isn’t that dirty old nail from the post, is it? I…’ She stopped before rubbing it with her finger. ‘Well I never.’
‘What is it Granny?’ Abi wondered if she should get mummy.
Granny stared out to sea. ‘When I was a girl, I rode a horse. I loved that horse. One day it lost a shoe so I took her to the blacksmith. Your grandpa was apprenticed there. It was the first time I saw him.’ She smiled to herself. ‘Not exactly love at first sight. He was covered in sweat and smelt awful. But he said he loved me right from that moment. On our wedding day, he gave me a nail, the sort they use to hold on horseshoes, with his and my initials engraved on it.’ Once again she rubbed the nail. ‘When he died I put it in his coffin. I told him I would when he was ill, so he’d never get away from me.’
‘Granny, what’s wrong? Don’t cry.’
‘It’s alright dear. He told me, if I did, he’d give it back to me. I think he’s just kept that promise.’


 

Next, Ali, with this hilarious little tale of the life of kids.

“I’ve sorted it,” you say, flinging yourself down on the seat beside me as the engine revs, and the ancient school bus chugs into motion. Your whole face blazes with triumph. “Big Bad Billy. He’s just a pussycat really.”

I snort in disbelief. “Really? That’s not what you said yesterday.”

You shrug your scrawny shoulders and lean in close. “No, but yesterday I hadn’t figured it out.”

“Figured out what?” I lay down my book, trying not to let my scepticism show. “Ok, Rusty. Spill. What did you do?”

You can’t hide your glee. “Aha, that’s just it. I’m Rusty no more.” With a dramatic flourish, you whip off your beanie hat which had been pulled firmly down to your eyes, and I can’t restrain a gasp.

Sunshine beams in through the window and bounces off the pale gleaming skin once covered by your mane of fiery red hair.

“Can’t bully me for being a ginge now, can he?” you say cheerfully.

“No,” I manage, “But it’s not him I’d be afraid of. Your mam’s gonna kill you.”

You look out the window. “Yeah,” you say after a while. “I’m so gonna get killed. Then she’ll ground me for a month.”

And we both burst out laughing.


 

Next my dear friend, Wandering Willis, who has been travelling for nearly five months, whilst she was away, she thought she would have a dabble with a story or two, and here is her brilliant Rusty story, that she wrote on her phone in the back end of god knows where in Asia, I am seriously impressed, so much so I asked her to write on…

Looking at his father propped up in bed, dwarfed by billowing pillows and a cloudlike duvet,Russell couldn’t believe this shell of a man was the same bellowing giant of his childhood. The shrunken body and linedface did nothing to lesson Russell’s hatred towards him. In fact, a fresh twinge of anger surged through him as he sat and thought about the sheer inconvenience the old devil had put them all through over the last few months.  The twins, Max and Charlie, had been sleeping on Russell’s bedroom floor for the last 8 weeks. They’d thought it a great adventure to make a den at the end of their parentsbed, squirrelling away toys and books, cookies, the TV remote control. Only the most painful toy soldiers and stickiest of sweets seemed to find their wayunder Russell’s feet as he snuck in each night, long after the boys had fallen asleep. Hopping around, cursing under his breath, he tried to remember itwasn’t the lads fault; they’d so willingly left their room so that Grandpacould have his own space during his stay. In their homely, cosy cottage,perfectly proportioned for four, not five, there was nowhere else to put them,so they’d been moved temporarily into Russell’s sanctuary.  Sitting in the twinsroom, he turned his glare away from his sleeping father and looked slowlyaround the walls, the chest of drawers, the toy bins. His anger melted away.How could he feel anger in a room like this ? It was beautiful. Ash, hisclever, talented wife, had decorated it lovingly before the boys had been born.As soon as the scan showed twin boys, Ash had burst into action, never seemingdaunted or scared in the least about how much their lives were about to change.The room had been a labour of love for her, determined to get it completedbefore she was too uncomfortable and big to manage it herself. Playfulgiraffes, cheeky monkeys and colourful parrots cavorted around the walls, inamongst artfully designed numbers and alphabet letters. Stuffed animals hadfound homes in each corner and mobiles hung from the ceiling; the room wasperfect for his amazing, happy, beautiful boys. Except now he was in it. Ruining everything.  Russell dropped hishead into his hand and pushed his fingers against his closed eyelids. His eyesfelt scratchy, his head ached and he still had over 100 emails to read thisevening before he could think about calling it a night. He opened his eyes and lookedgloomily at the yogurt pot occupying his other hand. Rhubarb. Disgusting.  All he wanted to do was seek refuge in hisstudy, get his work done and hide away from all this annoyance. Pretendeverything was alright. But it wasn’t. It wasn’t all right at all.  The only thingstanding in the way of Russell retreating into his man cave tonight was therhubarb yoghurt and the cantankerous old git in his sons bed. The sooner he gotthe foul tasting lumpy gunk into his father the sooner he could leave him tosleep and get his work done, lose himself in spreadsheets and finance, accountsand budgets. Much less complicated than real life.  Russell took a deepbreath and turned his attention back to the task in hand. Looking at his fatherhe had a sudden pang of morbid curiosity. Was he breathing ? Hope bubbled upinside him. He couldn’t see his father’s puny chest rising and falling under thefluffy duvet Ash had so thoughtfully bought when she’d learnt they’d be havinga house guest. The new pillows, the mountainous duvet and the few knickknacksthat adorned the bedside table were all her womanly touches to ensure hisfather had a comfortable stay. Guilt crushed him as he realised he’d donenothing to help her prepare for this monumental upheaval in their lives. Heclenched his jaw and peered closer at this man who’d caused him years, no, alifetime of confusion, betrayal and hurt. Was this it ? Was he finally gone ?  Alf’s breath driftedslowly across his dry, scaly tongue, inaudibly, barely there at all. Up close,his open mouth released whiffs of stale air that caused Russell to wrinkle hisnose and turn his face away in disappointment.  Why wont you just die ?!  As if he’d heard hisson’s thoughts, Alf’s crusted eyes cracked open, revealing gummy red rims. Hiswizened fingers crept over the top of the pale blue duvet and he shuffled hisshoulders against the soft pillows. His coated tongue flickered over his lipsin a vain attempt to moisten them. He swallowed slowly, taking his time tounstick his tongue from the roof of his mouth.  “Kid.” Russell’s insidescoiled with anger. Why couldn’t he just call him Russell, Russ, Son ? Hell,even the lads called him Rusty in the office, that would do. Why must it alwaysbe Kid or Boy ? Alf knew how much it hurt his son, but he did it anyway. A tinyvictory each time the words escaped his mouth and hit their target. “Dad.” “Where’s Ash?” “She’s takenthe boys to their swimming lesson, we’re stuck with each other until she comeshome.”  “Hmmm.”Alf eyed his son grumpily and Russell could hear the cogs whirring in the oldmans brain. He saw his fathers eyes drop to yoghurt pot in his hand. “I’m supposedto help you with this, and to drink some water before they’re back. Drsorders.” Russell explained grudgingly.  “How long ’tilAsh is home ?” Alf whispered, his mouth was horribly dry and he eyed hisfavourite yoghurt furtively. Ash knew just the ones he liked, she was such agood girl. Too good for this eejit.  “About an hour,but this’ll go a lot quicker if you just let me help you and then I’ll leaveyou alone.” Russell’s heckles were already beginning to rise, why must healways be so difficult ? It was exhausting. Russell stood and started to shifthis chair towards the bed, it was awkward with one hand full of yoghurt pot andits accompanying spoon, so he accidently cracked his shin against the edge ofthe wooden bed frame.  “Goddamit!” “Watch yourmouth, Boy,”  Alf breathed. Atwinkle in his eye at his sons misfortune.  Russell’s headsnapped up to look directly into Alf’s face. He opened his mouth to give hisfather a short retort, but swallowed it, and sat down sharply on the bedsidechair, rubbing his injured leg.  “You wont haveto put up with me for much longer, Kid.”  Russell took a deepbreath and ran his hand through his wiry auburn hair. Avoiding his fatherspiercing glare he peeled the lid back on the yoghurt pot and purposefullypicked up the spoon. Loading it and aiming it towards his fathers cracked lips,Russell was determined to finish his task and get out of this stuffy,frustrating room.  “Well I guessif its just us, now would be a good a time as any to tell you about her.” Alf’s breathy words stoppedRussell’s arm in its tracks. A dollop of sweet purple gloop dropped onto thenew bed clothes. Russell stared at his fathers rheumy eyes, pinched lips andfurrowed brow. His bushy grey white eyebrows met in a determined frown andknitted together.  “What?”  Really ? Now ? Afterall this time, this was the moment his father had chosen to tell him about hismother ? This moment when he could barely talk, barely breath and they couldn’tstand each others company for more than a few minutes. Now, this was the moment? Years. For years and years and Russell had pestered, begged, argued for anysnippet of information about this woman that had ‘disappeared’ when he was just2 years old. Alf had determinedly dodged his son efforts and finally he’drefused all conversation about her full stop. She’d gone. She wasn’t hereanymore. That was all Russell needed to know. As Russell slowlylowered him self back into the hard wooden chair, abandoning the sticky syrupysnack on the bedside table, Alf dug his elbows into the mattress and shimmiedhimself up a few inches. He licked his lips and took a deep breath.  “Her name wasRusty. She was a lounge room singer. She had the most beautiful russet colouredhair that fell to her shoulders in waves, and her voice….her voice was likemolten butterscotch.” Russell exhaled andclosed his eyes. He listened to his fathers slow whispery story for the nexthour, and in that short time, he forgave him.


 

Last but by no means least Dr.R. with a tale that gives you the happy ever after  you wanted<3

“I feel like the way things are going, the closeness in our relationship is going away” said a despondent Ella. She looked at Jon, hoping her words had not irked him, she did not say that to cause harm, more to get off her chest the feelings that she had been finding increasingly difficult to suppress. Initially, Jon was taken aback when heard Ella say this but after the initial shock, he knew that deep down what Ella had just said was the truth, he could deny it no longer. “I’m sorry” said Jon, his tone of voice sounding a little emotional, “I’ve fucked up, I should have seen this coming”, Jon said this with a lump in his throat, bowing his head at the table they were sitting at almost grief-stricken and the thought of the errors in his ways.

As the tears slowly started to flow down Ella’s face, completely ruining her make-up which had taken her the best part of an hour to put on, Jon now with his head up again after regaining his composure sought to comfort his now visibly distressed wife. He got out of his seat and went towards Ella, taking her into his arms and caressing her in a way he had not done in months, he embraced her with a sincere passion and then look at her teary face and realised what a fool he had been to the woman that gave him the will to live, the woman he would run threw a brick wall for, the woman who managed to cast out the frost from his heart and turned it into warmth.

“I just wanted your attention, I just wanted to know you appreciated me” cried Ella gazing at Jon. Before she could utter another word, Jon kissed her and in that moment, it seemed like nothing else in the world mattered, time stood motionless as the lovers’ lips embraced. The rust that had been building up in the relationship had been abated, all because of one kiss, a kiss that seemed to point towards a fresh chapter, a new beginning, a more pristine love. Now everything seemed to be clear to Jon, he had neglected his relationship with Ella and allowed the relationship to rust, now with some TLC, the two of them together could freshen up their bond and get to know each other all over again as if they were dating for the first time.

Time commenced again as Jon wiped Ella’s tears away with his fingers, gently stroking her face which by now was a total mess, her face was smeared in various shades of red. Symbolically however, wiping away the tears (and the expensive make-up) signalled the wiping away of the rust, with time, the closeness between Jon and Ella would return. “I’m going to make things right” Jon declared whilst holding Ella’s hands in his grasp, feeling the warmth in her hands and quickly thinking about the warmth she had given to his heart. He felt he owed it to her to pay more attention to her and to appreciate her.

Ella had stopped crying and suddenly she could not be any happier, finally it seemed like her life had gotten the freshening up it needed. With the rust that was surrounding Jon slowly dissipating, it seemed like now was the time to catch up on lost time and use the time they still had to make time for them to reminisce about the time when the rust almost signalled time for them to call time on their time being together.


 

69 comments

  1. Oh so very fabulous! These posts are getting quite epic! And you made me laugh out loud with your rant this week haha! Thanks for forgiving us! I must admit I’m all for equal rights in all areas of life, but don’t consider myself a feminist. Why? The word doesn’t conjure up images which describe me, or which I aspire to. I need my bra, even though what goes in it is not reallynch that impressive, and I’m not going to chain myself to any railings to make a point. That kind of thing just isn’t me. It always struck me that feminists want to be more like men rather than women, and that’s not me. Celebrate the difference. I’d rather do it by posting breastfeeding photos, for example. Anyway, great post, and fab reading here as always.

    1. Don’t ever tell a feminist you think they want to be a man!!! I completely disagree – I think they celebrity femininity in all its beauty. I am also joking a little when I talk about whipping my bra off, I just think its an amusing thought. Although I have genuinely protested on lots of occasions but, mostly about educational things, like university tuition fees going up. 😀

      1. Haha! Protesting is one thing, aggression is another. Perhaps that’s what I see and don’t like. Anyway. Keep your bra on while you do it, or you’ll revert it when you’re older and they sadly head south!

    1. Thanks Judith, and what a lovely thing to do. That has made my day. I think its a really important thing to accept, the choices we make DO define us, the good ones and the bad. <3 Hope you're having a good writing week.

      1. Thanks, Sacha. I was going to comment on your main post – your rant, as someone else said – but I thought that perhaps more would be said by unspoken words or by my story itself.

  2. I have called myself a feminist for 45 years. When I married I debated about whether to change my last name. I finally opted to accept my spouse’s only because I wanted to dissociate myself from my abusive father and his notoriety. I believe it is the word itself that we shy away from because so many don’t know what it means. While it actually means a belief in equality of the sexes many still associate it with militant lesbians or man haters. (note – I said militant. I am NOT anti-gay) It’s the perception that needs to change so we can claim the label with pride instead of fear.

    1. Interesting, my real surname is double barrelled because neither of us wanted to give up our surnames. You are absolutely right though Yvonne, and nailed it on the head, it IS about equality of the sexes not just the stereotypes people have. Haha, your comment made me giggle militant lesbian!! *tears rolling down my cheeks* I knew you weren’t being anti gay don’t worry!! but you are right, it is a perception that needs changing, I just wish I knew how. It’s worse for me, because if I say I am a feminist, because I am a lesbian, people automatically assume I am militant and don’t wear a bra and am a man-hater etc etc etc… when all I wanted to do was stand up for equality. sigh.

      1. lol. Exactly. No, I am not anti-lesbian any more than I am anti-male. What I am against is hate, stereotypes and prejudice. We ARE all equal and all deserve the same opportunities and respect – and that includes almost every “militant” of any kind.
        Even those with lesser abilities (and I don’t mean as belonging to any particular group). Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and offered futures in keeping with their wishes and abilities.

        1. I agree 100% I don’t think there is any need for hate these days. I really don’t understand inequality or extremism or hate of any kind really. Not that I am religious, but whatever happened to love thy neighbour…. you know?!

  3. Unfortunately my struggle cannot be contained within 200 words. Ugh, the struggle is real.

    So let’s talk feminism instead. Now some may say that because I want women to be as comfortable in a STEM field (and paid accordingly) as they might be in a more traditionally female career that makes me a feminist, however, I have two boys. I want them to have the exact same opportunity as their female peers. Therefore I cannot in good conscious promote women over men. I do however believe that women should have the exact same opportunities as men and vice versa. If my boys want to stay at home and raise their family while their spouse works so be it (they’d be great at it). If they prefer the arts over sports, I am all about witnessing less injuries. So no, I do not consider myself a feminist, but I do consider myself an equalitist.

    1. I am 100% with you. And its those pesky glass ceilings that often stop women from having the same opportunity, although many a HR department will disagree and masquerade around saying they are promoting equality. Well, psht. I agree. If my boy wanted to stay at home so his wife could earn money then so be it. Whatever makes them happy at the end of the day. Its just a shame more people don’t think that way. Sigh.

  4. I hate that phrase too – I’ve never understood it. And I feel that, as I believe in equality for the sexes, I’m a feminist 🙂 It’s funny – I had a young man buy a copy of my book at an author event, and found myself thinking ‘oh, I hope he likes it, because the main character is female blah blah blah.’ Then I stopped short. I don’t imagine, were the genders reversed, that the same would apply.
    Anyway, enjoyed all the stories this week – excellent stuff!

    1. Good, glad you feel that way. I too feel like an equalitist (thats not a word) but i mean – in favour of equality for all sexes rather than just females.

      But, just because I try and embody what I think doesn’t mean Im not hard wired to have unconscious biases – I did a test on them the other day and was gobsmacked at the results. Have you heard of it?

  5. I’m with you about feminism, Sacha. I’m sick of hearing men bleating about being discriminated against, then turning round and calling a woman a slut because she doesn’t like being fumbled by them in the street. We need to end all discrimination, but it seems to me that discrimination against 50% of the population is the hardest one to get rid of!
    I’ll write a ‘struggle’ story, just wanted to thank you for the other prompt about forgiveness. It led to this story which I haven’t posted on the 1000speak site because I’m not certain it’s what they were thinking of.
    https://janedougherty.wordpress.com/2016/01/21/microfiction-ginger/

    1. Thanks Jane, I have a few posts to catch up on for you. Bear with me I am even slower than normal this week because of this monster migraine Ive had. Looking forward to reading this. And I agree. sometimes I feel like we haven’t moved on in 100 years. Sadly I think some of the population haven’t.

  6. Token bloke here. Growing up in the 1970s I had a choice. Be an MCP or a feminist and I went for the latter. I firmly believe in helping smash all glass walls ceilings and other restraints. Even more so now I have a daughter. He for she and all that. And of course men are weaker, we’re just heavier and louder. Anyway, I thought this week, given your prompt that I’d have to make my central character a pussy.
    For the love of a good cat
    Even at the start Sheila knew Martin was going to be a problem. Indifferent to her affection he spent most days outdoors. He moaned for food and then disappeared. It was different with visitors – mother especially. He was on her lap and purring before she’d taken off her initial disappointment.
    His death was quick – a moment’s inattention and the paper boy’s bicycle. Sheila had no plans for a replacement until Marjory begged her to take one from a large litter.
    At first Sheila was delighted. Affectionate, Mabel was all Martin was not. But gradually delight turned to despair. Mabel had a conscience. Every crippled mouse, battered vole and screwed up shrew was dragged, mostly reluctantly, through the cat flap and nurtured by the fire. The patients mostly died of fright, what with two green eyes staring at them constantly but Mabel kept trying.
    When the house began to smell of rot Sheila understood her problem. Mabel buried her dead indoors with the same care as she sought to save them. While Sheila hunted, Mabel nurtured, each aware that their own struggle was futile and doomed to fail but no less compelling for that.

  7. This blog rocks. I always have to save it for last to enjoy my cup of tea and read some terrific posts here with your challenges Sach (yes, I’d feel really weird calling you Nico). I just read Judy’s over at her blog, I chuckled and applauded her for her ‘Woman Up’ post. <3

    1. Aww really? Haha well at least I don’t drive you to wine!! 😂😂 haha no one from the blogging world calls me Nica, everyone calls me Sacha my wife finds it really weird when I’m talking to someone and they refer to me as Sacha!! I’m used to it now, and answer to both!

      1. I can understand that. But for those of us here who met you here, we don’t know you as anyone but Sacha. PS I know I spelled Nica wrong, I hit ‘o’ instead of ‘a’ by mistake. – Fat fingers, lol xo

        1. Yep exactly and the thing is I feel more like Sacha than Nica sometimes! She is my alter ego and the name I (sort of) chose for myself. I will publish under Sacha Black too. Partly cause my surname won’t fit on a book but also because I feel this is the real me… You know?

  8. Ok, I got one for you, but I don’t mind telling you, I found this challenge quite difficult. I don’t know why, our books are all about our protagonists struggles, so you’d think it would be easy. Anyway, here goes, and this is based on a true story…

    The phone is ringing. The new girl sits at her desk looking at it, face scarlet. I pause, half hidden behind a tall shelf unit, and watch; her third day, and she still hasn’t answered the phone.

    Suzie, her mentor, turns to me questioningly, but I shake my head. She says something to the girl and smiles, but her eyes are glued to the phone in terror, and she doesn’t see.

    It’s only a phone, I murmur, willing her to pick up. The phone rings and rings. Its persistent tone is starting to irritate; more than a few annoyed faces glance her way across the office.

    Was I wrong about her, I wonder.

    Slowly, her hand reaches out and hovers above the receiver, as if she half expects it will leap up and bite. Then she lunges forward and answers. She speaks self-consciously into the mouthpiece, frowning in concentration, presses a button, and her voice floats loud and clear over the tannoy.

    “Ph-ph-ph-phonecall on line one for Miss Isaac.”

    Her colleagues erupt in applause, and I go forward to congratulate her. She is beaming with pride. Such a small achievement, you might think, but for someone with a stutter, it is Everest.

  9. Sorry, Sacha, I’m cluttering up your comments with pingbacks. Every time I mention your writing prompt I link to your blog hence all the inappropriate stories you’ve been getting.
    Here’s the one I wrote for your challenge.

    Footsteps rang out on the walkway, echoing in the caverns of the empty boutiques. Carla stiffened and grabbed Kat’s arm.
    “Ratmen?” she whispered.
    Kat listened. The footsteps continued, lots of feet, stealthy almost, nervous.
    “Maybe.”
    They moved away from the yawning gap of the hall below, where pieces of safety rail swung free, into the squealing scuffling shadows… Carla shuddered at the memory, the long twitching nose, sloping forehead, the big ears and bristle-covered face. She shuddered at the terror in those mad eyes. Kat had killed it and it had screamed like a child.
    The footsteps stopped. Ahead in the shadows, deeper shadows waited. Carla held her breath. A single shadow moved forward.
    “Carla?”
    Tully.
    She forced herself not to run to him.
    “Carla?”
    She could see him now, his face, his eyes.
    No! You don’t care!
    She clenched her fists, clenched her eyes tight closed. But she still saw him, the gentle eyes full of…sorrow.
    “Carla,” he whispered and she could feel his breath on her skin. “I’m so sorry.”
    Tears squeezed from behind her lids. She sobbed as her clenched fists beat his chest then opened, pulling him towards her, his face, as damp as hers.

  10. The title caught my eye – shame I didn’t see it earlier! Funnily enough I was discussing my possible author name with my daughter recently. I asked if I should use M J Mallon or Marjorie Mallon. My daughter vehemently said not to use my initials to make it clear I’m female! Clever girl. So proud 😉

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