Oh and my math might be bad, but I haven’t spontaneously jumped into decimal numbers for no reason. I’m cheating. I’d already scheduled 83 this week and changed my mind because tomorrow is my birthday and I wanted to play a fun game instead.
Your challenge is to write the WORST opening line to a story you can, and then write the WORST closing line to the same story.
The badder it is, the better, if I see even a hint of good quality writing I’ll disqualify you faster than I can eat a family sized bar of chocolate, and don’t be fooled, that’s fast. Post both lines in the comments, or on your own blog with a ping back here so I know you’ve entered.
First in Marina, who hasn’t participated before, with this beautiful tale, and if you click her name you can read the full story behind it, so heart wrenching,
When you are thirteen, your cousin’s best friend is the knight from fairy tales: tall, dark, handsome, blue-eyed. How could he walk, talk, breathe amongst us mere mortals? And yet he looked at you, kissed you, so you wrote to each other for two years. You lived for your brief meetings. No cross word ever passed between you.
You parted as good friends, moved on to other lives, other people, marriage, children, divorce, remarriage. You studied and worked in different countries, met again on LinkedIn. Grey hair, little paunch, wrinkles – and that’s just the flattering pictures. Older yet not much wiser, you knew he had been The One, but you were both too young to understand or to need each other all those years ago. No going back, no proof of discontent with your present life, but you wanted to let him know how you felt about him back then.
You let him in through a gap in your armour. You held out the shivering pulp of raw heart. You try to be fair, not see disgust or hasty retreat where none was intended. But the silence was thunderous.
Next in Jane, with a piece of full of loss and bitter sweet memories it is sure to choke you up. Stunning piece that reminded me of my own impassable bend. Oh and by the way, (she didn’t ask me to do this, but I figured I would anyway) Jane has just published her new book through Finch Books. I am reading it now, and you really ought to check it out… here.
You have both gone now, both buried in a corner of a churchyard that had never been yours. Beneath a tree, because trees don’t mind if you were Catholic or Protestant. Or foreign. Or if your living heart had always ached for a place not so far away, but unattainable. Trees understand and bow and bend and whisper in sympathy. You had both put down roots here, children, a scattering of friends, too much to let you pack up and leave when you retired. Too much, too late. The furthest you moved was to a small house down in the town to be close to the shops and the buses, pretending it was only temporary. But you stayed and you sighed, and eventually you died, and the setting sun carried all your longings away into the west.
We dry our tears, we children left behind, and walk up the steep hill out of the town, the road that curves and uncoils as it rises up to the moor. The house of our childhood is beyond the bend after the bridge over the disused railway, that peaceful, tree-filled gulf that has been silent since before we were born. We walk, remembering the way we poked our fingers in the holes of the millstone grit walls, remembering long-dead dogs that ran barking behind garden fences. We cross the bridge and remark how tall and dense the birch and hazels have grown, obscuring the valley bottom and the stream that runs there instead of railway tracks.
We fall silent when the road curves again. Beyond the last sharp rise we will be able to see the tiny hamlet and the house where our childhood ghosts still play. I hear the foxes playing on the lawn, see the dewy morning rabbits, the banks of opium poppies and broom, roses and laburnum, stone flags and apple trees. I hear the songs of bees and swallows and see white clouds scudding overhead in the summer breeze.
Soon, in a moment, the gentle barrier of time will fall, and harsh, brash reality will jackboot its way across tender memories. I will see what the new owners have done to the house in the ten years since you both moved out. I know, without ever having seen it, that there will be a garage now and a fitted kitchen, and your Victorian scavengings from junk shops, Dad, will have been replaced by furniture from Ikea. There will be a sterile lawn and a trampoline and begonias instead of the savage mass of vegetation you loved so much, Mum. I will feel the imprint of these unconscious Philistines like a physical violation.
I stop, we all stop, we grown-up tiny children. I shake my head and my siblings too hang back. I turn back down the hill, the last bend in the road impassable, like the entrance to a lost domain, my precious dreams, your dreams, clutched tight against my heart, safe from the shredding claws of disillusion.
Next up Geoffle, with a post and pictures that speak a thousand words. I really think you ought to have a look, instead of cutting all the paragraphs and piecing them together, I have copy just one paragraph of the moving post:
“Parents lie; but however consummate their lying they can’t hide their own hurt. It might be in the timbre of their voice, in the shape of their shoulders, in the stiff way they stir something as mundane as porridge.”
Next up Judy, with a really amazing, but emotionally charged poem, prepare to be choked up
I thought my life was over
The day I walked away
Ten years down the drain
Nothing left to say
I gave you everything I had
My heart, my love, my soul
But, you had never loved me
Just wanted to be in control
The day that we got married
You said that I was fat
Just two guests at our wedding
It was over in 10 minutes flat!
Then you became possessive
And wracked with jealousy
Stupidly I was pleased
Thought it meant you cared for me
I always wanted children
You said you wanted none
Yet an affair I found out later
Had produced your eldest son
I really tried to make it work
But I became so trodden down
The final straw was knowing
That your wife had come to town.
I left your life with nothing
But a few clothes that I packed
And the freedom to be me again
And to never, ever look back!
Next in Jade, with her first entry to writespiration, and what a beautifully emotional piece.
I know it’s only been three weeks, but I swear I can still feel you kicking inside me. The doctor said writing in a journal would help, but it doesn’t. It doesn’t help knowing that my own body rejected you. You were my precious baby girl, who was supposed to grow up with springy little curls, curious hazel eyes, and all the energy of a small tornado.
The doctor said it was a tragic accident, but there are no accidents. The doctor said time would make it easier, but that’s a lie too.
I miss you so much baby girl. Some nights, I swear I’m hugging you, only to wake up in the middle of the night and feel the emptiness flooding back. Some mornings, I swear I hear you running lightly behind me, giggling in that innocence that you would have, only to turn and hear the silence mocking me.
I wanted you so much, baby girl. So much. But I wasn’t strong enough. I wasn’t strong enough to take care of you and bring you into this world, and now…now I don’t know if I’m strong enough to keep missing you.
Next in Lori, with this emotional rollercoaster of a true story
I met my someone playing an internet vampire game called Vampires: A Dark Alleyway back in the mid-2000s. We met in a chat room set up on a proboard site for the game. For the longest time, probably a couple of years, we remained in character only. My character and her character became lovers in the game. After roll-playing them for those two years, our “humans” (a term used to described the creators behind the characters in the game) became good friends. A romance struck up between us. So you can imagine my excitement when she made plans to come down from Canada to visit me.
Shortly after our plans were made, but before she could come for her visit, she lost her residence. She was homeless and living out of her van. I talked it over with my then-husband and we agreed. She would still come down to visit and could stay as long as she wanted. The moment we met, I knew she was my perfect someone, the one I had longed for all of my life. She was beautiful, witty and uber intelligent.
She became my saving grace as things with the then-husband progressed to a horrid state. He became increasingly jealous of my friend, even though he knew I was bisexual from the get-go. He also knew that she was a lesbian and that there was no way she would have a relationship with him too, which ultimately was what all the fighting was over. He and I had talked it all over before she came down from Canada, but by the time she arrived, he got it all twisted up in his head (or his dick) and decided if we didn’t share with him, he would make our lives miserable and then proceeded to do just that. After one horrible physical altercation where he threw me into a heavy wooden bookcase and injured my back, my new friend and I moved out and into an apartment of our own.
I hadn’t had a real home since I left my childhood home at the age of 17. I’d always lived in shitty apartments with barely enough furniture and even the house I lived in with the then-husband was a wreck since he was such a pack-rat. This wonderful woman created such a space for me. Believe it or not, all of our nice furniture was a result of curb-side finds and dumpster dives except the bed and the kitchen table. She cooked for me and kept the house clean since I was the only one working at the time. We lived in bliss this way for six months. Then I had a mishap at my job, got fired and we lost it all.
We ended up living back with the then-husband, but things between she and I worsened. She didn’t like him and she didn’t like the way he treated me. She also knew that she couldn’t keep living on no income and couldn’t find a job in the US. On my birthday that year, she got on a bus and went back home to Canada. I was devastated and slipped into a deep depression, so deep that it would take the next three years to get me out of it.
We managed an internet and phone relationship for a couple more years. During that time, we both ended up with uterine cancer, both had surgery, and both underwent chemo. Near the end of the chemo treatments, she stopped contacting me. For seven months, I heard absolutely nothing from her. I kept emailing her, sending her messages on Facebook, and even tried calling a few times. No response. She’d made new friends in Canada, was living with her mother and working in her mother’s shop. She didn’t need me anymore. By the time she finally contacted me again on Christmas Eve in 2013, I had already worked her out of my system through therapy and writing. I was still in love with her, but done waiting. She claimed that she wasn’t over me though and wanted us to pick up where we left off, but I just couldn’t. I treasured my growing sanity too much. I broke off all contact with her. She was the one who got away and will always remain one of the truest loves of my life.
Ladylee has joined in for the first time with this heart wrenching poem that you can find here.
Her heart is hard enough as it is
Her voice softens and opens up
Threading a tremulous quaver
Through its tranquil melody
As she wanders through the city
With all its baroque architecture
Customs and traditions they adhere
She remembers the times in their lives
When they used to wander together
When they were happy and inseparable
But then that love didn’t hold them together
There was something missing she can’t identify
Perhaps forgotten reveries and visualisations
They were not destined to be together
If it’s goodbye
Then they should do it right
She has no regrets
Thanking him for being part of her life
He made her happy, he made her sad
He made her care, he made her cry
But let him listen, can he hear that?
It’s her heart, smashing into pieces
She knows it will take some time
For everything to be alright
But one day, it will be fine
For now, let them part as friends
And leave some beautiful memories
Perhaps one day they’ll meet again