Monday November 28th, 2016

The exercise:

Write something which takes place: under the bridge.

I am dangerously close to catching up on comments. Like, completely. Yeah, I know - hard to believe.

Amazing what forced recuperation time can do. Although I'm heading into dangerous territory now - whenever I rest for long enough I tend to forget that I'm still hurting. So far little tweaks have served as reminders, but I better be careful before I do something too strenuous without thinking about it.

Took Max to the park after lunch to get him some outside time, as well as give the house some quiet while Miles was napping. I brought him back home before soccer and let Kat and Miles go with him while I rested at home, which felt very different.

I was very pleased to hear that he did really well, and that he did most of it while Kat sat with Miles in the stands. He is willing to take steps toward independence, it's just that sometimes he needs a solid shove to get there.


"How's business today?"

It was a joke as old as their blankets, but the two men still laughed.

"Oh, you know. Not bad, not bad. You?"

"Could be worse."

"No, it couldn't."

Same old jokes, same old laughs.

"Hey, you hear about Billy?"

"Billy? Which one?"

"The littlest one. You know, always looked like he was about to keel over if the wind blew too hard?"

"Right, right. What about 'im?"

"I guess that windstorm last night musta carried him away."

"Away where?"

"Away somewheres else. He's missing."

"Well, I hope he landed in greener pastures."

"Guess we'll never know."

"Not 'less that wind carries him back our way someday."

"What, you a poet now?"

"You know it. Come on, buy my book and I'll sign your copy for ya."

"Nah, I'm good for toilet paper for at least a few more days."

Different joke. Same old laughs.


morganna said...

Caught between two lives

Below, the river flows
Above, everyday life passes over the bridge

Here on the bank
Beneath the bridge
Life pauses and I take stock.

Dana said...

Marc: bittersweet.
Morganna: I love the pause notion, as though the bridge punctuates life.

Under the Bridge

She was out running. It was early, the sun was just rising. She always ran early - to beat the crowds, the traffic and the urge to give in and stay home in front of the TV.
Apathy was her nemesis. It hovered always in the darkest shadows of the mind - if you gave into it once, you'd never achieve your goal - and achieve, she did, pecking away steadily over the years at her "personal best" until she could make a whole marathon in under 3 (hours, that is, with not a bad ranking amongst the world's female elite).
You couldn't hope to become the best if you gave the enemy even one chance at quashing your goals.
She had 6 weeks left of training before the big one in NYC. She had to keep up the pace - regular training days, the right foods, supplemental training at the gym and more aerobics in the pool - it was all part of the system. It's what you did if you ran.

This morning was different The air was crisp in the early autumn hours. She had to battle what the frosty breath could do to her throat or her lungs. Pacing - it was all about pacing, she said once - but also about the mindset, I guess. The weather had looked threatening moments before and she wondered if she'd get caught out in a downpour, but, just then, as she ran along the riverbank, she approached the overhead footbridge made of hand-made bricks, the kind you'd see made by convicts in the Colonies, once upon a time. As she approached, the clouds parted in a gap just wide enough to let a stream of golden beams pour through, reflecting sharply off the water and lighting up the semi-circular cavern under the bridge from the other side with rays of pure gold

It was like a blessing from heaven. She snapped off a picture using her 'phone to put in her album later. It'd be a reminder when she grew old of the effort she put into reaching that gold standard at which she aimed, day in, day out, right now.

Greg said...

@Morganna: I always appreciate your spare, thoughtful writing, and this is no exception. I like the two worlds notion, though for me I think I see the two sides of the bridge being that, so your point of view is a nice resetting :)

@Dana: sounds like you're writing from experience! And your marathon runner must be elite if she can pause to take photographs without worrying about her times :)

@Marc: Well it sounds like you're giving Max the shove towards independence that he may need; no doubt Miles will go the other way and you'll be negotiating with him at this age for him to not move out and live by himself ;-) Heh, I like how you need to know the title of your piece to really understand what's going on today: without it it could be a very different scene. But the camaraderie shines through and it seems like this could be a pleasant bridge to walk by.

Under the bridge
The space around them lightened slightly and above them stars seemed to come out, gradually at first and then faster. After a few minutes there was plenty of silvery light to see by and the stars above them formed a huge bridge from one side to the other, a clustering of other suns some unimaginable distance away.
"The Milky Way," said David. "Perhaps this is not so much a pocket universe as a pocket within our own. I really do not recognise this way of expressing the Will though, it's most peculiar."
"The Milky Way as it will be one hundred and fifty thousand years from now," said the encompassing voice. "Or then, since now is now really."
"We've shifted both spatially and temporally? Are we at the birth of something then or just living through it?"
"Both." A patch of darkness occluded some of the stars, swirled for a moment like ink caught in warm water and solidified into the shape of a man. Lord Vileburn's eyes twinkled as brightly as the stars and he walked towards them, his feet not quite touching the ground at any point. "In fact this place is a construct from all three Lords-Theurgical and all of aspects are represented here. Your study of it does you credit, Dr. Suture, but it is really not the purpose of your visit here. We are here because I am sure of our security here. Ernest, you are not freed from the King's Principles while you are here."
Ernest nodded. He was looking around him slowly and carefully, noting how little there was and where the things that were present were.
"I think you can trust Ernest," said David. "The King does."
"The entire Magical College trusted Lady Whitehaven," said Lord Vileburn, his voice cracking oddly. "I believe that led to nearly one hundred and thirty years of war."
"Well!" David took two steps back, and Ernest's hand shot out to grab his elbow. "Careful," he murmured. David looked behind him and realised that he was only two more steps away from an edge that dropped off into darkness. "Well," he repeated. "Everyone makes mistakes."
"That is Andy's point, I think," said Ernest.
"Memneth," said Lord Vileburn. "Or maybe just Vile."

Greg said...

"Memneth if you wish," said Ernest. "I am sure there's a joke I'm missing there though."
"If there is I'm missing it too," said Lord Vileburn. "Still. Ernest, tell me about Lord Campion's death."
There was a moment of silence, and Ernest raised a finger to his lips, laying it across them as though imploring the silence to continue. Slowly he pulled it away and started to speak.
"There are so many inconsistencies and oddities," he said. "I have heard the report, and deduced from it what I can, and now I think that things were set up specifically to get me to draw those conclusions. On the surface they are plausible, but underneath they make no sense. The priest-"
There was a sudden chime and Ernest froze. Lord Vileburn laid a hand on Ernest's shoulder and the star above whirled as though they were both horribly drunk and regretting it. A moment later Ernest continued speaking. "- seems to be an innocent pawn in all this, but Lord Campion should have had an immediate reaction to blessed food; he couldn't have eaten enough of it to kill him. Holy Water in his whiskey would have still been my approach: more subtle and more effective. So she's being used to obscure something more devious, and the inaction that was taken -- rather, the action that wasn't taken -- is something else as well. I think I need to talk to her, and I am curious as to why Father Ignatz was waiting for her this morning. There are riddles within riddles And- Memneth. And what have you done with David?"
"We are merely one hundred and thirty years distant from him," said Memneth. "We'll return to the point at which we left and you'll talk about something slightly different."
"I don't think David is a spy."
"Would you have me be less cautious to appease your wounded pride?"
"Hah! When you put it like that, I suppose not."
"You said oddities."
"Yes. On the train ride up here I was supplied with information about Lady Campion and Arthur's Seat that I would dismiss as coincidental but now I'm unsure. And a man was attacked while our train stopped for lunch, and the likely culprit has disappeared. There is much at play here, from what the King has said, and I think that assumptions might be the most dangerous things in the world for me right now."
Lord Vileburn sighed and looked up at the bridge of stars. "If I can help, Ernest," he said, "you have only to ask."

Marc said...

Morganna - a moment and a scene, perfectly captured. Love the atmosphere in this one.

Dana - I love how you convey the runner's personality so well here. And all the little details you use to bring it all to life. Very nicely done.

Greg - yeah, I'm sure Miles will be his own challenge. And Max will be a new challenge by that point as well. Yay, challenges :P

I do so enjoy this world you've created, as much as I enjoy the tale you're telling in it. It's good to have a bit of a review of things, for the reader's benefit as much as the characters themselves. A reminder of how far we've already come... and perhaps a sign of how much further we have to go.

Also: bloody hell, caught up on comments at last. Honestly can't remember the last time that was the case.

Drinks on me!

Dana said...

Greg: aye - the pause for the photo was worth the sacrifice of some PB timing - a "once in a lifetime" moment (hm, maybe I should do that post now...)
Marc: cheers!