Stories by Sarah

Track Record

Pacing from end to end of the platform, keeping warm while I waited. I shook my hands, trying to get the blood flowing. It was another crisp morning. With despair, I felt the first few drops of rain, and stood underneath the scaffold of a nearby hedge, seeking shelter. I really hope that damn train is on time today, I thought. Our line was notorious for delays and cancellations.

I noted the other passengers, all three of them, were eagerly checking their watches and straining for signs of an approaching diesel engine too.

Across the still air, dampened by the wet ground, we heard it. Not a toot, more of a blare. Sounding impatient and eager to get here. Within minutes, we saw the headlights and felt the suction of the wind being drawn toward to the approaching XPT.

4:47am. 2 minutes late, but very good, considering the track record.

I wrenched open the carriage door for Car D. Looking at my ticket, I checked my seat number for the third time. D10. Nope, hadn’t changed since last I looked. Ambling along the narrow aisle I strained to see the seat numbers. The carriage was in full darkness and the lumps of passenger silhouettes, told me everyone was sleeping.

From the other end of the carriage I saw a small beam of light. It was a woman in a NSW Rail uniform, waddling down to assist me.

“What number are you love?” she asked.

I showed her my ticket and she shone the torch towards the correct location.

“Thanks,” I replied, gratefully, however once I got there, I became aware there was a problem. Lying across my seat, and hers, was a young lady, fast asleep. The train began to move, leaving the station. Light from the town street lights flickered on her briefly, illuminating her. She was small and willowy, her clothes shabby and torn. I noticed she appeared thoroughly beaten down by her short time on this earth. Or maybe she was stuck in a mimeomia.

“Um, excuse me, that’s my seat,” I said gently, not wanting to scare her.

No response.

“Hello, miss?” I tried again.

Nothing.

Suddenly, from behind me I heard the NSW Rail woman’s voice bark loud and authoritatively, “Sit up now please!”

The girl jumped up, sleepily pulled herself upright into her chair and mumbled an apology.

Cringing with embarrassment, I took my seat.  The train rocked and swayed, dancing with the tracks as we sped our way to Melbourne. I pulled out a nectarine from my backpack and proceeded to wolf it down. A meagre breakfast substitute until the buffet car opened at 6am.

In the seclusion of my mind, I wondered what else the day ahead would bring.

By Sarah ©2017


Image courtesy of Pixabay



* Mimeomia (n.) the frustration of knowing how easily you fit into a stereotype, even if you never intended to, even if it’s unfair, even if everyone else feels the same way—each of us trick-or-treating for money and respect and attention, wearing a safe and predictable costume because we’re tired of answering the question, “What are you supposed to be?”

Prompt: Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie, Wordle #157 and Daily Post Daily Prompt, Word: cringe

Words used: blood, scaffold, despair, seek(ing), nectarine, wolf, woman, willowy, aware, beaten

Stories by Sarah

First Frost

My eyes popped open as the alarm screeched, hammering my brain. Noooooo! I thought.

I peeled back the covers and promptly pulled them back over myself again. It was FREEZING. I snuggled back in, pretending I hadn’t heard the clock. I tried to go back to sleep but guilt kept my mind from such joy.

“Are we getting up?” my husband asked, after a few minutes.

“I don’t want to,” I replied.

“Come on. It won’t be so bad,” he promised. “Count of three?   1…2…3…”

We threw off the covers and bravely jumped out of bed. I began hopping from foot to foot, as the cool tiles stuck to my soles. I frantically tugged off my pyjamas and put on my active wear, ready for our daily morning walk. I considered my usual cap and opted for a beanie instead.

We opened the front door and the icy chill hit. It was straight from the antarctic. Although the sky was still dark, the moon reflected on the sparkling, shimmering frost that coated the blades of our front lawn. There was no going back now. We crunched through the ice leaving green impressions of our shoes behind us.

As we hit the footpath, I was so grateful I had chosen the beanie. We breathed out and steamy clouds escaped our mouths. It was at least 0 oC or below and perfectly crisp.

“First frost for the year,” my husband observed.

“Mmmm, hmmmm.” I answered, unable to unclench my teeth long enough for a more eloquent response.

I shivered as we walked along in the foggy early morning. My fingers numb, my nose running and my limbs stiff from the shock of the cold. Our footfall echoed in the still air. Each step, an effort.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~   ~  ~  ~

Twenty minutes later we arrived back at our house, green footprints still visible and guiding the way. As I opened the door, I felt enormous relief that it was over.

We made ourselves coffee and porridge for breakfast. The warmth from the coffee thawed my frozen digits as I cupped my mug. The oats seemed to radiate from my belly, heating my core. I began to feel human again.

As I looked over at my husband, content, I said, “The first frost is always the worst.

He grinned and replied, “Sure is. Same time tomorrow?”

By Sarah ©2017


Image courtesy of Pixabay

Prompt: Daily Post Daily Prompt, Word: observefrantic, shimmer, foggy


Free Verse, Poetry by Sarah

The Sacrifice 

the redhead was struck
blackened and withered
she falls away from my hand
no matter
her job is done
I watch intently
satisfied
as the flicker becomes a flame
the radiant glow of her sacrifice.


By Sarah ©2017


Image courtesy of Paul at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Author’s Note: Redheads is an iconic Australian brand of matches originally manufactured in Richmond, Victoria by Bryant and May but now manufactured in Sweden by Swedish Match. It is the top-selling brand in the country.

Prompt: Daily Post Daily Prompt, Word: radiate, radiant 

Stories by Sarah

The Silver Violin

It had been months since she had even picked it up. Though the music still coursed through her, the rhythm was sadder, the beat, slower than it had once been. She didn’t want to give up, but she didn’t know if she could move forward.

She ran her fingers over her throat. Feeling the clench in her jaw and her rapid breathing. She tried to calm herself.

Focusing her thoughts, she decided to get ready. She looked at herself in the mirror. Who are you? she wondered, as she took in the pallid colour of her skin. Her eyes, usually bright, were dull and flat. And her hair! She could not recall the last time she’d washed it. It hung in greasy ropes around her thin face.

You’ve got to get it together, she scolded herself. It’s been three months since you lost the baby.

She pinched her cheeks trying to draw some colour. Her husband would worry the minute he took one look at her.

Not bothering with makeup, she decided to dress instead. She picked up her favourite frock.

Usually the pattern, so vibrant and colourful, would make her feel a million dollars. Today it seemed as appropriate as wearing a clown costume to a funeral. The dress, which used to hug and flatter her curvy figure, now hung loosely from her frame.

She sighed. She couldn’t muster the energy to change so instead, turned the mirror around.

“Honey, you ready?” her husband’s anxious voice asked.

“Be there in a sec,” she replied absently.

A few seconds later, he opened the door.

“How you doing today?” he asked gently.

“Ok. The same really,” she answered.

He glanced over to wear it lay. His gaze an unasked question.

He watched her carefully, as he went over to the dresser and picked it up. He rubbed his fingers over it, and gently felt it’s cool metal frame. He turned the key and the tinkling music streamed out.

“It really was an exquisite gift,” he stated.

“Well it’s useless now,” she retorted bitterly.

It had been intended as a christening gift for their child. A tiny, delicate, sterling silver model of a violin that played music when wound.

“Aha! Maybe not,” he replied mischeveiously.

He reached into his pocket and pulled out a beautiful long silver chain. Watching her, gauging her reaction like a cornered bird, he threaded it through the strings of the silver violin. He walked over to where she stood and looped it around her neck.

“Now you can keep her with you always,” he said, a tear slipping down his cheek. “Never to be forgotten.”

He wound the key again and as the tune that soothed her soul tinkled out, she sang along softly, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine…” 

and smiled.

By Sarah ©2017


Image courtesy of Pixabay

Prompt: MLMM Writing Prompt #209, “It’s All in the Title”, and, Daily Post Daily Prompt, Word: loop

Poetry by Sarah, Shadorma

Whispers in the Willow Trees


Image courtesy of Pixabay

its bough bends
with outstretched fingers 
to trail through 
the water 
and whisper to fish below 
‘carry me with you’


By Sarah ©2017

Prompt: MLMM Writing Prompt #209, “It’s All In The Title”

Scribblings by Sarah

A Jolly German Baker

A phone call woke me early this morning.

As everyone knows,  no good news is ever delivered in these hours. I saw it was my mother ringing and guessed the reason why.

“Grandma passed away last night, at about 11pm,” she stated matter of factly.

This was not a surprise. Grandma had been in a steady decline for weeks. 

Although I was never close with her, the strongest memory I have of her is busy in her kitchen. She was always a jolly, German baker eager to feed the masses. We loved nothing more than scrambling into her house and checking out what baked goods she had laid out for us when we visited. The house was always infused with the smells of her cooking and our absolute favourite pastries were always the vanilla kipfel, apple strudel and krapfen. 

In memory of her, I wanted to share today, a recipe for German donuts (krapfen). 

This recipe is sourced from: http://12tomatoes.com/german-doughnut-recipe-krapfen-with-raspberry-jam/

Krapfen with Raspberry Jam (makes 10-12 doughnuts)

Ingredients:

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
1 cup milk 
1 1/2 oz. fresh yeast 
1 teaspoon salt 
6 tablespoons butter, melted 
1/3 cup sugar (melted)
lemon peel
5 egg yolks, beaten 
Shortening or vegetable oil (for deep frying) 
Raspberry jam 
Powdered sugar (for decorating)

Directions:
1. Let yeast soften by allowing it to soak in 1/4 cup of warmed milk. Set aside. Heat remaining 3/4 cup milk so it’s lukewarm, then combine it with 2 1/2 cups flour, creating a smooth mixture. 

2. Next, combine the yeast and flour mixtures. Cover with a towel and allow mixture to rest in a warm place for about 30 minutes. Then mix in a teaspoon of salt, knead the dough, and cover it for another half-hour. 

3. Once it has risen (it should have doubled in size), combine with melted butter, lemon peel, sugar, egg yolks, and the rest of the flour (2 cups). 

4. Lightly flour a surface. Roll out your dough so it’s about 3/4 inch thick. Then cut out “doughnuts” with a 3-inch round cookie cutter or a glass/cup of about that size. 

5. Spread a heaping teaspoon of jam on half of the rounds. Cover them with the other half of the dough rounds, crimping the edges. Then cover the doughnuts once more with a towel for about 15 minutes. 

6. Heat oil to about 350 F in a large saucepan or deep fryer. Fry a few krapfen at a time, letting each side brown for 2-5 minutes before flipping onto the other side. 

7. Remove from deep fryer and place on a thick paper towel to drain. Roll doughnuts in powdered sugar (or sprinkle some on top) while they’re still hot. 

8. Enjoy!


Image courtesy of Pixabay 


Rest in peace Grandma 💜

Pantoum, Poetry by Sarah

Toilet Humour

Lost in my thoughts
As I stumbled along
Didn’t see I was off course
Didn’t know I was wrong

As I stumbled along
As drunk as could be
Didn’t know I was wrong
I just needed to pee

As drunk as could be
I pushed open the MENS door
I just needed to pee
A man! Accidentally, I saw!

I pushed open the MENS door
Didn’t see I was off course
A man! Accidentally, I saw!
Lost in my thoughts.

By Sarah ©2017


Image courtesy of Tuomas_Lehtinen at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Prompt: MLMM Saturday’s Mix 27/5/17, Theme: spying, unintentional witness


Stories by Sarah

Taken away

The Stenham house was an ancient locked thing and nothing returned there except for crows. Their angst driven ‘caw, caw’ echoed against the stone walls. A reverberation in blue melody.

She dared to peer out from behind the heavily draped windows. She couldn’t be sure, but she thought she’d seen them again. Darting around the periphery of her property. Watching the fence line closely, she finally saw them. Fleeting, but most certainly there.

She was scared. What did they want? Why wouldn’t they leave her alone? Leave her family alone? Lucille became more and more agitated, as she considered her fears. She watched from the window for what seemed like hours. It wasn’t the first time they’d tried to get in. To destroy her happy home. A home she had built from the ground up with her husband Walter. A home she had raised three children in. A home she had kept as pristine and proud as the first day she’d opened its doors.

Suddenly from behind her, she heard a voice, “Lucille? It’s me.”

She turned, furious. How had they gotten in? How DARE they?

She launched herself at the intruder, prepared to fight. Arms flailing and abuse spewing forth from her mouth, she was stunned to discover there was nobody there.

Confused and shaken, she retreated to the lounge room. Pouring herself a scotch, she perched herself in the arm chair opposite her husband.

“I don’t know Walter,” she began, “between the strangers in the yard and ghosts in the house, I just don’t know if I can stay here anymore.”

Walter smiled and winked reassuringly. “My daring wife, I am quite sure it’s all in your head. Don’t be scared. I will always be here to protect you.”

Somewhat comforted, she returned his smiled and listened instead for the sounds of her children. Straining, her brow furrowed, she heard nothing at first. But soon, a symphony of animated high pitched chatter, laughter, the squeaking and squealing of toy cars and thumping footsteps up and down the hallway, lulled her anxious heart.

“LUCILLE!”

This time, the voice was more urgent.

She whipped her head around, again seeing no one.

“What do you want?” she demanded. “Why won’t you leave me alone?”

Distressed, she began rocking. It was all too much. The voices, the strangers, the ghosts. What was happening to her?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“I’m afraid your grandmother’s dementia has become quite advanced,” the doctor explained kindly. “It’s likely she doesn’t recognise you or your family any longer. In fact, she may have retreated to the past, to a time when she was happy”.

“I don’t understand,” I protested. “She knew me yesterday.”

“That’s the strange thing about the mind”, the doctor continued, “we just have to keep sailing with it, wherever the person takes us. Even if it takes us out of that picture.”


By Sarah ©2017


Image credit: Tuomas_Lehtinen at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Prompt: Daily Post Daily Prompt, Word: launchsymphony, sailMLMM First Line Friday, 

Stories by Sarah

The Queue

Image credit: Bikurgurl

Right, left, right left. The two lads walked in unison, strutting a casual march. Their raised eyebrows, scornful as they looked at those still waiting in line. They’d had their go already. Suckers!

Intent on their feeling of superiority, the pair didn’t notice footsteps shuffling behind them. They felt a tap on their shoulder, turned and groaned. Giving each other a withering look.

‘Oi*, you right mate^? Why you following us? We can’t be seen with dorks.’

‘Um, er,’ the man stammered.

‘Alright then, spit it out’

‘You left the dunny^^ with toilet paper on your shoe.’ he said, smiling.


By Sarah ©2017


Australian colloquialisms defined below:
oi (interjection).  A cry used to attract attention, especially in an aggressive way
mate (noun). Australian Slang. Friend; buddy; pal
^^ dunny (noun). Australian Slang. An outside privy; outhouse.

Prompt: 100 Word Wednesday, Week 20 and Daily Post Daily Prompt, Word: paper, casual, strut

Daily Post Weekly Challenge, Photos by Sarah

Corryong Fog


Image credit: By Sarah ©, Corryong, Victoria.

This evanescent fog in a stunning landscape, made for a special stop at this roadside lookout. A cherished memory of one of the last road trips taken with a dear friend.

Prompt: Weekly Photo Challenge, Task: Show a moment in time that holds meaning for you – ev·a·nes·cent [evəˈnes(ə)nt] – adj. Soon passing out of sight, memory, or existence; quickly fading or disappearing.

foggy

Scribblings by Sarah

Days like these

I am very fortunate to have a number of volunteers who help out in my classroom. Today, I checked in with one who is relatively new to my class, to see how she is finding things. As a retired Occupational Therapist, she has been working with one of my students with Autism and helping him with some writing and fine motor skills. They appear to be a good match and getting along famously. So her reply, was somewhat unexpected!

Yes, she loves being in the class. 

Yes, she gets along well with her buddy student. 

But what she is enjoying about the class most is…me!? I was so flattered and happy to hear I had made such an impression on her as a teacher. If I could do that to an adult, hopefully the experience is ‘next level’ for my students. 😃

It’s not often I pump up my own tyres but at times, as teachers, the only feedback we get is all the things we are doing ‘wrong’. 

It’s days like these… *happy sigh*



Image courtesy of IdeaGo at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Prompt: Daily Post, Word: impression

Haibun, Poetry by Sarah

Animal Parade 

Take me to the clouds
Beyond the reach of this land
Spirit me away.

When I first opened my eyes, I saw glittering stars. A black abyss surrounding the diamonds in my mind. But as my cloudy eyes began to focus, I realised I was lying on the grass; a witness to the drifting white cumulus in a pale winter sky. As a young girl, I would often lie this way. Constructing a parade of elephants, dragons, birds and other creatures, slowly morphing from one to the next.  I tried to smile at the memory, but it hurt too much. That last hit had been hard; rattling my teeth and wobbling my brain. I had to leave him.

Take me to the clouds
Beyond the reach of his hands
My spirit now free.

By Sarah ©2017

Prompts:

MLMM Heeding Haiku With Chèvrefeuille, May 24th 2017, Word: clouds

Daily Post Daily Prompt, Word: creaturecreate (used synonym ‘constructing’)

Author’s note: This is my first attempt at Haibun (it’s a day of firsts today!). Thanks to Margaret Chula for her Guidelines for Writing Haibun in English. My haibun today follows the Haiku/Prose/Haiku structure and was inspired by Australia’s ongoing battle with violence against women/ family violence. I myself have been a victim and as a teacher, witness daily, the trauma of children living with family violence. We must do better. 

Pantoum, Poetry by Sarah

Askew

Something is off.
I’m feeling askew.
My optimism rough.
Confused what to do.

I’m feeling askew.
Stuck in my mind.
Confused what to do.
Thoughts so unkind.

Stuck in my mind.
My soul in despair.
Thoughts so unkind.
Catapult me out of there.

My soul in despair
My optimism rough.
Catapult me out of there.
Something is off.

By Sarah ©2017


Image courtesy of Boaz Yiftach at FreeDigitalImages.net

Author’s note: Thanks Miriam Hurdle for inspiring me to try this new (to me!) form of poetry. This is my first attempt at Pantoum in response to the Daily Post’s Daily Prompt for 24/5/17, ‘catapult’.

Please visit Miriam’s site and pantoum ‘Letter in the bottle’ .

Prompt: Daily Post Daily Prompt, Word: catapult

Pantoum Poem:
There are four stanzas in the line patterns of
Stanza 1 – 1, 2, 3, 4.
Stanza 2 – 2, 5, 4, 6.
Stanza 3 – 5, 7, 6, 8.
Stanza 4 – 7, 3, 8, 1.
Reference: https://www.youngwriters.co.uk/types-pantoum

Scribblings by Sarah

The Ride



Image courtesy of NEKNEERAJ © at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie

The girl on the Vespa shouted, “Ciao Bella! Come for a ride?”

So she stood up from her depressing dinner and climbed aboard.

“Viva Italia!” she cried, as they headed toward the rolling hills of Tuscany, the winding canals of Venice, serene Italian Lakes and the ancient city of Rome.

Anywhere was better than sitting here just thinking about it.

By Sarah ©2017


Prompt: MLMM Photo Challenge #166

Haiku / Senryu, Poetry by Sarah

Bloodline

Trigger warning – graphic content, sensitive topic (miscarriage)

Image courtesy of ben schonewille at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Blood slips through fingers
No saving the foetus now
My miracle, gone.

By Sarah @2017



Prompt courtesy of RonovanWrites 

Task#Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt #Challenge #150 

WordsMiracle & Save 

Scribblings by Sarah

In the disconnect 

Image courtesy of samarttiw at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It is in the disconnect,
that your possibility and your history
are finally divided.
Two separate entities with the power to dictate your course.
Being adrift doesn’t always mean you’re lost.

By Sarah ©2017

Prompt: Daily Post Daily Prompt   Word: adrift

Scribblings by Sarah

Frazzled

Every strand of my hair felt frazzled. My vertebra, compacting and crunching, under the weight of my world; ready to collapse. Catching a glimpse of my oscitant* mouth in the window’s reflection, I decided reform was in order. Syncretism** must prevail (The rabbit warren of my mind has an uncanny propensity for optimism).

As I reached for the handle and opened the door, I stared down the barrel of the gun.

Lunch was over and my class began trickling back in.

I won’t lie. It would be tough. But I had this.

After all, they were only five years old…

(and I have a tendency to exaggerate)

By Sarah ©2017

Prompt Source: Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie, Wordle #156
Words used: tough, strand, vertebra, collapse, catch (ing), oscitant, reform, syncretism, warren, uncanny, barrel, tendency

Image by foto76 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
* Oscitant (adj.) yawning, as with drowsiness; gaping. drowsy or inattentive. dull, lazy, or negligent.

** Syncretism (n.) the attempted reconciliation or union of different or opposing principles, practices, or parties, as in philosophy or religion.

Stories by Sarah

Slipped

Before I knew it, the rope had slipped from my grasp.

I cursed as I watched it slither beneath the surface of the rippling water. Not again! I thought helplessly. The boat slowly drifted away from the dock. How long til I can get back this time? I wondered.

I was sure I’d fastened it properly. I’d been practising the rope knots, just like they’d shown me. Oh, well. There was nothing to do now but wait.

The boat bobbed rhythmically with the ebb and flow of the tide, lulling me into a light sleep. Five, ten, fifteen minutes passed and when I opened my eyes, I was alarmed to see the distance I’d drifted from the shore. The land was nothing more than a speck. I looked around at the horizon of unrelenting flat blue; my silent companion.

I began to wonder if I’d deliberately unmoored myself.

Losing your mind is like that.

By Sarah ©2017


Image by bigjom at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Daily Post prompt: unmoored