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Dorothy A Feb 2015
She yelled out her back porch and into the alley as if one calling home the hogs. “Johnny! Johnny! You get home for supper! John—nyyy! You spend all day in that godforsaken tree that you’re gonna grow branches! Johnny, get home now!”

Up in his friend’s tree house, Johnny slammed his card down from his good hand that he was planning to win from. “****! She always does that to me”, he complained. “Just when I’m right in the middle of—“

Zack laughed. “Your ma’s voice carries down the whole neighborhood—practically to China!”

Everyone laughed. Iris’s daughter, Violet, said to her mom. “Grandma and Dad always butted heads.” She loved when her mom told stories of her childhood, especially when it was amusing.  

Iris’s good friend and neighbor, Bree, asked Iris, “I bet you never thought in a million years that she’d eventually be your mother-in-law”

“No, I sure didn’t”, Iris answered. “I am just glad that she liked me!”

Everyone laughed. Telling that small tale took her back to 1961 when her and her twin brother Isaac—known as Zack to most everyone—would hang out together with his best friend, Johnny Lindstrom. Because Iris was like one of the boys, she fit perfectly in the mix. Zach and she were fifteen and were referred to in good humor by their father as “double trouble”. It was that summer that they lost their dear dad, Ray Collier, and memories of him became as precious as gold. If it wasn’t for her brother and his friend, Iris be lost. Hanging out all day—from dawn til dusk—with Zack and Johnny was her saving grace.  Her mother was glad to have them out of her hair, not enforcing their chores very much.

“I was a tomboy to the fullest”, Iris told everyone. “I had long, beautiful blonde hair that I put back in a pony tail, and the cutest bangs, but I didn’t want to be seen as girly. I wore rolled up jeans and boat shoes with bobby socks, tied the bottom of my boyish shirt in a knot—but I guess I could still get the boys to whistle at me. I think it was my blonde hair that did it.”

“Oh, Mom”, Violet said, “You were beautiful and you know it! Such a gorgeous face!” She’d seen plenty of pictures of her mother when she was younger. Both Iris and Zack were tall and blonde. Zack’s hair could almost turn white in the summertime.

“Were beautiful?” Iris asked, giving Violet a concerned look, her hands on her hips in a playful display of alarm at her daughter’s use of the past tense. She may have been an older woman now, but she didn’t think she has aged too badly.

“Are beautiful”, Violet corrected herself. She leaned over and kissed her mom on the cheek. Iris was nearly seventy, and she aged pretty gracefully, and she was content with herself.  

They all sat in the living room sipping wine or tea and eating finger food. It was a celebration, after all—or just an excuse to get together and have a ladies night out. Not only had Iris had invited her daughter and friend, she had her sister-in-law—Zach’s wife, Franci—and her daughter-in-law, Rowan, married to her youngest son, Adam.

“Weren’t you going to marry someone else?” Bree asked Iris.

“Yes”, Iris responded. “We all wouldn’t be sitting here right now if I did. My life would have been very different.”

“A guy named Frank”, Violet stated. “I used to joke that he was almost my dad.”

Iris said to Violet, “Ha…ha. You know it took both your father and I to make you you. Everyone laughed at how cute that this mother-daughter duo talked. Iris went on, “I actually went on a couple of dates with your dad when I was seventeen. I was starting to get used skirts and dresses and went out of my way to look really nice for guys, but it was just high school stuff. After I graduated, I met a guy named Frank Hautmann, and we were engaged within several months.”

“What happened to him?” Rowan asked.

Iris sipped her tea and seemed a bit melancholy. “We did love each other, but it just didn’t work out. I know he eventually married and moved out of state. I ran into John about two or three years later, and everything just clicked. His family moved several miles away once we all graduated, so being best friends with Zack kind of faded away for him. But once I saw him again, we were really into each other. We took off in our dating as if no time ever lapsed. Soon we were married, and that was that.” There was an expression of “aww” going around the room in unison.  

Bree stood up and raised her wine glass. She announced, “Here’s to true love!” Everyone lifted their glass or cup in response.

Franci stood up next to have her own toast. She said, “Here’s to my husband and father of my three, handsome sons being declared officially cancer free, to Violet’s little bun in the oven soon to be born and also to my *****-in-law, Iris, for finally finding that pink pearl necklace that she thought was hopelessly gone forever! Cheers!”

“Cheers” everyone echoed and sipped on their wine or tea. “That’s some toast and makes this get together even more meaningful”, Iris complemented Franci.

Almost eight months pregnant, Violet restricted her drinking to tea. Her mother was so thrilled that she found out Violet was having a girl. It was equally wonderful that Iris’s beloved brother had recovered from his prostrate cancer, for throat cancer had taken their father’s life when they were young. So really finding the necklace that her mother gave her many years ago—that was misplaced while moving seven years ago—was just the icing on the cake to all the other news.    

Iris said, “My brother being in good health and my daughter having her baby girl is music to my ears. It trumps finding that necklace that I never thought I’d ever see again—even though it was the most precious gift my mother ever gave me.”  

At age thirty-five, Violet had suffered two miscarriages, so having a full-term baby in her womb was such a relief. It would be the first child to her and her husband, Paul, and the first granddaughter to her parents. Iris had three children altogether. Ray was named after her father, and then there was Adam and Violet. Only Adam and Rowan had any children—two sons, Adam Jr. and Jimmy. Ray and his wife, Lorene, lived abroad in London because of his job, and they had never wanted any children.  

“What name have you decided on?” Rowan asked Violet.

All eyes were on Violet who had quite a full belly. “Paul and I have agreed on a few names, but we still aren’t sure.” She turned to her mom and said, “Sorry, Mom, we won’t be keeping up the tradition.”

Iris was puzzled. “What tradition?” she asked.

Violet smiled. “I know it’s not really a tradition”, she admitted, “but didn’t you realize that your mother, you and I all have flower names?”

Everyone laughed at that observation. “That’s hysterical!” Bree noted. “Flower names?”

“That’s news to me” Iris said, not getting it.

“Me, too”, Franci agreed.

“Okay”, Violet explained to her mother “Grandma was Aster, you are Iris and I am Violet. Get my drift?”

The others started laughing, but Iris never even thought of this connection. She responded, “Well, my dad’s nickname out of Aster for my mom was Star.  I never thought of her name as something flowery but more heavenly…I guess. And I never thought of Iris as the flower—more like the colored part of the eye comes to mind. And Violet was my favorite name for a girl and also my favorite color—purple—but you can’t really name your daughter, Purple.”

The others laughed again. Everyone began to get more to eat, mingling by the food.  The gathering lasted for almost two hours, and eventually lost its momentum. Meanwhile, everyone took turns passing around the strand of beautiful, light pink pearls that Iris displayed so proudly in its rediscovery. It was a wedding gift from her mother in 1971, and Iris was painstakingly careful with it, swearing she’d never lose it again. She’d make sure of it. She prized it above anything else she owned, for she had no other special possession from her mother. Her sister got all of their mother’s items of jewelry, for Aster always felt it was the oldest girl’s right to it and this other sister gladly agreed.  Aster was never flashy or showy, and didn’t desire much. Her mother’s wedding ring, silver pendant necklace and an antique emerald ring from generations ago in England was all she wanted. Anything else was up for the grabbing by her two younger sisters.  

Iris learned the hard way to be mindful and not careless about her jewelry. An occasional earring would fall off and be lost, but any other woman could say the same thing. There was only one other incident that happened when she was a teenager that she never shared with anyone other than Zack. If she would confide in anyone, it would be him. Not even her husband knew, and she wasn’t going to tell anyone now. It was too embarrassing to share in the group, especially after tale of the pink pearl necklace that went missing.  

Bree told her, “Keep that in a safe or a safety deposit box—somewhere you know it won’t form legs and walk away.”

“Oh, ha, ha”, Iris remarked, flatly. “I don’t know how it ended up boxed up in the attic with my wedding dress. I sewed that dress myself, by the way. I guess too many hands were involved packing up things, and I am sure I did not put it in that box. Tore this house apart while it was stuck in the attic. Tore that apart, too.”
  
“And yet you didn’t find it until now”, Rowan stated. “It is as if it was hiding on you”.

“Well, I wasn’t even really looking for it when I found it, Iris said. “I was just trying to gather things for my garage sale, and thought of storing my old dress back in the closet. Luck was on my side. It’s odd that I didn’t find it earlier… but it sure did a good job of hiding on me.”

“Like it had a mind of its own”, Franci said, winking, “and didn’t want to be found.”

“Yeah”, Iris agreed. “It was just pure torture for me thinking I may never lay eyes on it ever again. All I had were a few pictures of me wearing it. I was convinced it was gone. ”

After a while, Iris’s friend, sister-in-law and daughter-in-law left one by one, but Violet remained with her mom.  They went in her bedroom to put the necklace back in its original case and in a dresser drawer —or at least that is what Violet had thought.

Iris placed the necklace into the case and handed it to her daughter. She told her, “I’m sure you’ll take good care of it.”

Violet’s jaw dropped as she sat on her parent’s king-sized bed. “Oh, Mom—no!” she exclaimed. “You can’t do that! You just found it, so why? Grandma gave it to you!”

Iris sat down beside her daughter. “I can give it to you, and I just did”, she insisted. “Anyway, it is a tradition to pass down jewelry from a mother to her firstborn daughter. And since you’re my only one, it goes to you. Someday, it can go to your daughter.”

Violet had tears in her eyes. She opened the box and smoothed her fingers over the pearls.
“Mom, you won’t lose it again. I am sure you won’t!”

“Because I’m giving it to you, dear. I know I can see it again so don’t look so guilty!” Violet gave her mom a huge hug, her growing belly pressing against her. The deed was done, for Violet knew that she couldn’t talk her mother out of things once her mind was set.

Iris shared with her, “You know that when I was born—Uncle Zack, too—my parents thought they were done with having children. My sister and brother were about the same level to each other as me and Zack were. It was like two, different families.”

Iris’s sister, Miriam, known to everyone as Mimi, was fifteen years older than the twins, and Ray Jr. was almost thirteen years older. Being nearly grown, Mimi and Ray were out on their own in a few years after the twins were born. Mimi married at nineteen and had three sons and two daughters, very much content in her role as a homemaker. Ray went into the army and remained a bachelor for the rest of his life.

“I never knew I was any different from Mimi or Ray until I overheard my Aunt Gerty talking to my mother”, she told Violet. “I mean I knew they were much older, but that was normal to me.”

“What did she say?” Violet had wondered.

“Well”, Iris explained, “I was going into the kitchen when I stopped to listen to something I had a feeling that I shouldn’t be hearing.”

Her mother was washing dishes, and Aunt Gerty was drying them with a towel and putting them away. Gerty said in her judgmental tone, “You’ve ended up just like Mother. You entered your forties and got stuck with more children to care for. How you got yourself in this mess…well…nothing you can do about it now. Those children are going to wear you down!”

Gerty was two years younger than Aster, and considered the family old maid, never walking down the aisle, herself.  She prided having her own freedom, unrestricted from a husband’s demands or the constant needs of crying or whiny children.

Aster replied to her sister, with defensive sternness, “Yes, I’ve made my bed and I’m lying in it! Do you have to be so high and mighty about it?”

“I couldn’t even move”, Iris told Violet. “I was frozen in my tracks. Probably was about eight or nine—no older than ten. I heard it loud and clear. For the first time in my life, I felt unwanted. It just never occurred to me before that my mother ever felt this way. Now I heard her admit to it. She didn’t say to my aunt that she was dead wrong.”

Iris’s mother came from a big family—the third of eight children and the oldest daughter—so she saw her mother having to bring up children well into her forties and older, and it wasn’t very appealing. Her mother never acted burdened by it, but Aster probably viewed her mother as stuck.

“That’s terrible. I don’t have to ask if that hurt.  I can see how hurt you are just in telling me”, Violet told her with sadness and compassion. “I don’t remember Aunt Gerty. I barely remember Grandma. She wasn’t ever mean to me, but she seemed like a very strict, no-nonsense woman.”  

“Oh, she was, Iris admitted. “I don’t even know how her and my father ever connected—complete opposites. Unless she changed from a young, happy lady to hard, bitter one. I don’t know. You would have loved your grandfather, though, Violet. He liked to crack jokes and was fun to be around. My mother was so stern that she never knew how to tell a joke or a funny story. Dutiful—that’s how I’d describe her. She was dutiful in her role—she did her job right—but I began to realize that she wasn’t affectionate. Except for your Aunt Mimi—their bond was there and wished I had it. Mimi was more ladylike and more like a mother’s shadow. Their personalities suited each other, I suppose.”  

Iris pulled out an old photo album out of a drawer. There was a black and white, head and shoulders portrait of her mother in her most typical look in Iris’s childhood. She had a short, stiff 1950s style bob of silvery gray hair and wore cat eye glasses. Not a hint of a smile was upon her lips—like she never knew how.

“Do you really think Grandma resented you and Uncle Zack?” Violet asked.

Iris responded, “Well, I’m sure my mother preferred having one child of each and didn’t wake up one day and say, ‘I’d like to have twins now’. I mean, she had a perfect set and my mom liked perfection. That’s all it was going to be—at least she thought. Nobody waits over a dozen years to have more. If my mother really resented getting pregnant again, now she had to deal with two screaming babies instead of one.  Must have come as quite a shock and she was about to turn forty.”

“It’s a shame, but woman have children past that age”, Violet pointed out.

“Sure, and some wait to start families until they have done some of the things they always wanted to do. But if I was to ask my mother if she wanted children that time in her life—which I never dared to—I think she’d have wanted to say, ‘not at all.’”

“It’s a shame”, Violet repeated. “Grandma should never have treated you two any differently.” Iris wasn’t trying to knock her mother, but Violet felt the need to be very protective for her against this grandmother that she barely remembered. Aster has been dead since Violet was six-years-old, and she had a foggy memory of her in her coffin, cold to the touch and very matriarchal in her navy blue dress.

Iris admitted, “I knew Mimi was her favorite, and I was my father’s favorite because I was the youngest girl. Zack and I we
Ana S  Feb 2018
the heart
Ana S Feb 2018
Staring at the glass case,
A broken room, a broken memory,
Yet a beautiful little gold heart necklace.

Memories,
A girl once wore this,
Her sweet lover could have given it to her,
Or even maybe her grandmother.

Maybe her dad worked long hard hours to get this beautiful heart,
Maybe he came home one night,
Held behind his back,
Told her to close her eyes tight.

Maybe it was a gift to a young girl,
a young girl who was her mother’s princess,
a cherished baby with a beautiful name like Eeveenna,

Sadly in that case it is not the truth,
This necklace came from a very broken owner,
Given to her by a distant lover,
At times the lover would hold her close,
Other times shed come home to a closed fist.
Sometimes screaming voices surrounded the necklace as it was around her neck,
Other times it felt the tears the girl cried,

It followed her to the place where shed receive help,
Help from her past,
Help with how to cope with the trauma.

Dad had left,
The girl remembered all the assumptions that the necklace has been given to her,
A dead beat father,
A mom out of control.
A necklace that should be burned as the memories are forgotten
The memories this girl will never forget.

This is no necklace without a past.
A simple gift turned into something that would follow her to her grave,
This tiny gold heart,
Worn and old,
A necklace that would be kept till the day she decayed.

But as I look into this glass case,
A worn down necklace,
A necklace with a story,
A long dark story,
A story never to be told,
A story that die with the girl…
Kayla Kaml  May 2013
Sestina
Kayla Kaml May 2013
The shape of her necklace
Is mirrored in the clouds,
A moon like her smile.
She looks at his face
Glowing in the sun,
Then turns to veil her tears.

As she inconspicuously wipes her tears,
Her necklace
Gleams in the sun
Though the clouds
Partially shadow her face
Allowing her to drop the smile

He looks at her smile
But misses the tears,
Seeing her face
Framed by the necklace,
Ignoring the clouds
For the sun.

He lifts his face to the sun
Baring his smile
To the clouds,
Comprehending no tears,
No meaning to the necklace,
Seeing only a beautiful face

On her face
She feels the sun
And reaches up to touch the necklace.
His presence creates a real smile
Which conceals the tears,
But not the brooding clouds.

The laden clouds
Drop their burden to her face
Combining their load with her tears.
Chasing the healing spray, the sun
Reappears to coax back the smile
And dry the dripping necklace

One day he’ll see the tears falling from the sun,
The clouds hiding in the face,
And the importance of a smiling necklace.
My first attempt at a strict form... to learn the form of a sestina, see http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/5792
Wilted Seaweed Nov 2013
I remember walking home from school with you in eighth grade
being silly and naive as always
I told you I liked that necklace you wore
Not thinking much of anything
and you gave it to me
It smelled a little like grapes
which made me giggle
and a lot like you
which made me smile
I tried to return it
because it wasn't really mine
but you insisted I keep it
and thank God you did

I wore it every day
until we broke up
I thought of burning it
or simply throwing it away
But every time I tried
I couldn't bring myself to do it
So I shoved it in a blue box
hidden under my dresser
forgot it existed
forgot you existed.

I hadn't seen you in a year
when you told me you missed me
I missed you too.
I hadn't seen you in a year
when you told me you still loved me
I still love you too

I blew the dust off that blue box
picked up that simple beaded necklace
a little wooden turtle
it still smelled like grapes
and you

Three and a half years later
we talk on the phone for hours before going to sleep
I fiddle with that necklace while we talk
while I listen to your laugh
your stories
your voice
because it's all I have of you to hold
It doesn't smell like you anymore
because I wear it every single day
thats okay
because it reminds me
of everything we've been
of everything we will be
just because
this little turtle necklace
reminds me
how much I love you
and
how much
you love me.
yasaman johari Jan 2018
The blue necklace...
The sun
is laughing and shining
Oh God,
Why are you so powerless ?
I implant the fish in the sea
The whales implant the trees in the oceans
My golden earrings were lost
His eyes were not blue
My blue necklace is beautiful
My mother's eyes are more beautiful
for knowing Gandhi as a good leader
And ****** as a bad one
and I'm just scared of fame
The poet stacks on the words
in such a way
that even he himself
doesn't know what is he saying
The society is always colorful
But my eyes are black and white
I was praying for the death of
my mom,
my sister
or me ''Jasmine''
Mom!
Are The Clouds whiter up there in the sky?!


گردنبند آبی
خورشید
می خندد و می درخشد
...خدایا
تو چرا هیچ قدرتی نداری!؟
من ماهی ها را در دریا می کارم
نهنگ ها در اقیانوس درخت می کارند
گوشواره های طلایی من گم شد
چشمان او آبی نبود
گردنبند آبی من زیباست
چشم های مادر من زیبا تر است
که گاندی را
رهبری خوب می دانند
و هیتلر را بد
و من فقط از شهرت می ترسم
شاعر
آنقدر کلمات را
روی هم می چیند
که حتی خودش هم نمی داند چی می گوید
جامعه همیشه رنگارنگ است
و چشم های من سیاه و سفید
دعا می کردم
کاش مادرم مرده بود
یا خواهرم
خودم
''یاسمن''
!مامان
اون بالا
تو آسمون
ابرها سفید تراند!؟
J M Surgent Nov 2015
When I was a child,
I was given a silver necklace by my father,
Told the stories of how it was there when he met my mother
And cherished it dearly.
But as childhood would have it,
I lost the necklace,
In a full contact game of two-hand touch football,
In the backyard of my frenemy neighbor.
I searched for hours in the grass,
Coming across spiders, quarters
The remnants of dog’s passed,
But never again saw the silver chain
With the little cross
That was the closest thing I ever held to God.
Now I look back,
To the necklace, the touch football games
The neighborhood loving brawls,
And realize youth is an object,
It’s something we hold close
But never realize the importance of
Until years later,
When we miss it
Around our necks,
And we regret
Never truly
Falling in love
With what we had
Before it was gone.
Torin  Sep 2018
she moves to me
Torin Sep 2018
she moves to me
whether in a picture or sat against the sea
as a cloud she floats gently above me
the currents and the streams
her neck where sections sit
the way her necklace rests ever so delicately
her soft brown skin
through all this land
she moves to me

she is
gold
sunshine on a crystal morning
and pearls
silk
nothing
everything

she moves to me
whether its a mirror or stood against the sky
as the music the cosmos makes in our silence
the stars and the planets
her neck where moons beam
the way her necklace follows her collorbone
through all this space
she moves to me
whether its gravity or we as entangled particles
and we are in every moment as we are together
our quantum dancing
her neck where time begins
the way her necklace falls so gracefully into place
through all this time
she moves to me

I kiss her just below her right ear
and I know now is everywhere
and everytime is now
the sun and the moon
the spiral galaxy
the walls that hold in time
I kiss her just below her right ear

she moves to me
whether its the wind or impossible odds
as the dreams we hold dear and our hope that keeps us strong
our faith and love
her neck which i caress gently
the way her necklace seems to retire when she does
I kiss her on the eyelids
she moves to me
Emma Chatonoir  Jul 2014
Necklace
Emma Chatonoir Jul 2014
That used to be my favorite necklace
The gray one, shaped like a guitar pic
With hard rock written all over it
I spent money on a new chain for it
And wore it every day for almost six months
But now, I can't stand to look at it
Why?

It makes me think
Of the friends I once had
That I threw away
Simply because
I liked others more

R was a lot like me
We looked a bit alike too
Honestly, we could talk about anything
Anytime
And we were so close
Till I stupidly dated her ex
And got farther with him than she did
If it was just one kiss that would cause us to fall apart
I never would have kissed him
For her friendship was beautiful

Her ex, C, was very nice
He was nothing but nice to me when we first met
I made the mistake of going too far with him
And then abandoning him
Once  I realized how far I was from my old friends
I couldn't go back to where I was
It was too late

M was C's closest friend
He was one of the funniest people ever
I lost him when I lost C
And while I have talked to him since
C always finds out about it
Knowing C hated the communication
I stopped

E was and is wonderful
She just was upset I dated so young
I am too, but not cause of the person C was
I just was upset because I wanted to be innocent
Just a while longer
I don't think E likes me anymore
I deserve that

D was my closest guy friend for three years
And I lost him when I distanced myself
He had such a pure heart and spirit
And introduced me to all these people
I'm sorry I ran so far away from him
Even to this day

P was one of a kind
He accepted me when I was at my worse
And cheered me up a lot
I got upset with him when he liked R
And that's why he hasn't really spoken to me
I should accept that I left him behind last year
And I can't go back and be the same

S was someone special too
She let me adopt her as a freshman
And teach her my ways
Her life was so much different
Because mine was filled with disabilities
I think she was only my friend
Cause she felt bad

And J, J I know I ruined
I was a monster to him and bullied him
Trying to keep him from being happy
Every time I think of him
I want to tear myself up and apologize
For being so mean to him
For almost seven years

All those people invade my thoughts
When I look at that necklace
And I remember all of the mistakes I made
In hurting them
That necklace represents the fact
That I abandoned everyone I once loved
For someone else
But still kept one thing
To remember them all by

Oh, the memories
I wish I could go back.
I'm sorry for blaming you for everything I just couldn't do.  I hurt myself by hurting you.

Rebecca, Chris, Matt, Ellen, Donald, Philip, Sohee, and Jenkins, I am so sorry.  I don't deserve your forgiveness
Keith J Collard Jun 2013
The Quest for the Damsel Fish  by Keith Collard

Author's  Atmosphere

On the bow of the boat, with the cold cloud of the dismal day brushing your back conjuring goose bumped flesh you hold an anchor.  For the first time, you can pick this silver anchor up with only one hand and hold it over your head. It resembles the Morning Star, a brutal medieval weapon that bludgeons and impales its victims.  Drop it into the dark world beyond the security of your boat--watch the anchor descend.
        Watch this silver anchor--this Morning Star--descend away from the boat and you, it becomes swarmed over with darkness.  It forms a ******-metallic grin at first as it sinks, then the sinking silver anchor takes its last shape at its last visible glimpse.  It is so small now as if it could be hung from a necklace.  It is a silver sword.  
Peering over the side of the boat, the depths collectively look like the mouth of a Cannibalistic Crab, throwing the shadows of its mandibles over everything that sinks down into it--black mandibles that have joints with the same angle of a Reaper's Scythe.  

I am scared looking at this sinking phantasm.  I see something from my youth down there in this dark cold Atlantic.  I see the silver Morning Star again, now in golden armor.  I remember a magnificent kingdom, in a saltwater fish tank I had once and never had again.  A tropical paradise that I see again as I stare down into the depths.  This fish tank was so beautiful with the most beautiful inhabitants who I miss.  Before I could lift the silver anchor--the Morning Star--over my head with only one hand, turning gold in that morning sun-- I was a boy who sat indian style, cross legged--peering into this brilliant spectacle of light I thought awesome.  I thought all the darkness of home and the world was kept at bay by this kingdom of light...

Chapter  1 Begins the Story

The Grey Skies of Mass is the Name of This Chapter.

                                                      ­­                        
    
 Air, in bubbles--it was a world beauty of darkness revealed in slashes of light from dashing fluorescent bulbs overhead this fish tank.
Silver swords of fluorescent energy daring to the bottom, every slash revealing every color of the zodiac--from the Gold of Scorpio to the purple of Libra combining into the jade of the Gemini. 
In the center, like a dark Stonehenge were rocks. The exterior rocks had tropical colors like that of cotton candy, but the interior shadows of the rocks that was the Stonehenge, did not possess one photon of light. The silver messengers of the florescent energy from above would tire and die at their base.  The shadows of the Stonehenge rocks would stand over them as they died.

 
          When the boy named Sake climbed the rickety wood stairs of the house, he did so in fear of making noise, as if to not wake each step.
   Until he could see the glowing aura of his fish tank then he would start down that eerie hall, With pictures of ghosts and ghosts of pictures staring down at him as he walked down that rickety hallway of this towering old colonial home.  He hurried to the glowing tank to escape the black and white gazing picture frames.
                    The faint gurgling, bubbling of the saltwater tank became stronger in his ear, and that sound guided him from the last haunt of the hallway-- the empty room that was perpendicular to  his room.   He only looked to his bright tank as soon as he entered the hallway from the creaky wooden steps.  Then he proceeded to sit in front of this great tropical fish tank in Indian style with his legs folded over one another as children so often would sit.
  The sun was setting.  The reflections from the tank were beginning to send ripples down the dark walls. Increasing  wave after wave reflecting down his dark walls.  He thought they to be seagulls flapping into the darkness until they were overcome as he was listening to the bubbling water of his tank.
                " Hello my fish, hello Angel, hello Tang, hello  Hoomah, hello Clown and hello Damsel … and hello to you Crab...even though I do not like you," he said in half jest not looking at the crab in the entrance of the rocks.  The rocks were the color of cotton candy, but the interior shadows did not possess a photon of luminescence.  All other shadows not caused by the rocks--but by bright swaying ornament--were like the glaze on a candy apple--dark but delicious.  Besides the crab's layer in the rock jumble at the center of the tank which was a Stonehenge within a Stonehenge--the tank was a world of bright inviting light.
                The crab was in its routine,  motionless in the entrance to his foyer, with his scythe-like claws in the air, in expectation of catching one of the bright fish someday.  For that reason the boy tried to remove the crab in the past, but even though the boy was fast with his hand, the optical illusion of the tank would always send his hand where the crab no longer was.  He did not know how to use two hands to rid the crab in the future by trapping and destroying the Cannibal Crab ;  his father, on a weekend visit, gave the Crab to the boy to put into the bright world of the saltwater tank, which Sake quickly regretted.  His father promised him that the Crab would not be able to catch any of the fish he said " ...***** only eat anything that has fallen to the bottom or each other..."

         A scream from the living room downstairs ran up the rickety wood and down the long hall and startled the boy.  His mother sent her shrieks out to grab the boy, allowing her to not have to waste any time nor calorie on her son; for she would tire from the stairs, but her screams would not, allowing her to stay curled up on the couch.  If she was not screaming for Sake, she was talking as loud as screams on the phone with her girlfriends.  The decibels from her laugh was torture for all in the silent house.   A haughty laugh in a gossipy conversation, that overpowered the sound of the bright tropical fish tank in Sake's room that was above and far opposite her in the living room.
               " Sake you have to get a paper-route to pay for the tank, the electricity bill is outrageous," she said while not taking her eyes off the TV and her legs curled up beside her.  He would glad fully get a paper-route even if it was for a made up reason.  He turned to go, and looked back at his mother, and a shudder ran through him with a new thought:  someday her appearance will match her voice.  

              Upon reaching his tank,  Hoomah was trying to get his attention as always.  Taking up pebbles in his big pouty pursed lips and spitting them out of his lips like a weak musket.  The Hoomah was a very silly fish, it looked like one of Sake’s aunts, with too much make up on, slightly overweight, and hovering on two little fins that looked incapable of keeping it afloat, but they did.  The fins reminded him of the legs of his aunt--skinny under not so skinny.’

               The Tang was doing his usual aquanautics , darting and sailing was his trick.  He was fast, the fastest with his bright yellow triangular sail cutting the water.  Next was the aggressive Clown fish, the boy thought she was always aggresive because she didn't have an anemone to sleep on.  The Clown was strong and sleek with an orange jaw and body that was built like a tigress.
  Sake thought something tragic about the body if the  orange Clown and the three silver traces that clawed her body as decoration -they reminded him of the incandescent orange glow of a street lamp being viewed through the rainy back windshield of a car.   The Clown fish was a distraction that craved attention.
The Clown would chase around some of the other fish and jump out of the water to catch the boy's eye. 
                 Next is the Queen Angel fish, she is the queen of the tank, she sits in back all alone, waving like a marvelous banner, iridescent purple and golden jade.  Her forehead slopes back in a French braid style that streams over her back like a kings standard waving before battle, but her standard is of a house of beauty, and that of royal purple.

                    Lastly is the Damsel Fish, the smallest and most vulnerable in the tank.  She has royal purple also, rivaling the queen. Her eyes are lashed but not lidded like the Hoomah.  Her eyes are elliptical, and perhaps the most human, or in the boy’s opinion, she is the most lady like, the Hoomah and the Queen Angel come to her defence if she is chased around by the Clown.  Her eyes penetrate the boys, to the point of him looking away.  

                      Before the tank, in its place in the corner was a painting, an oil painting of another type of Clown donning a hat with orange partial make-up on his face (only around eyes nose and mouth there was ghost white paint) and it  had two tears coming down from its right eye.  The Clown painting was given to him by his mother, it seems he could not be rid of them, but Sake at first was taken in by the brightness of the Clown, and the smooth salacious wet look of the painting. it looked dripping, or submerged, like another alternate reality.  The wet surreal glaze of the painting seemed a portal, especially the orange glow of the Clown's skin without make-up.  .  If he tried to remember of times  before the Clown painting that preceded the Clown fish, he thought of the orange saffron twilight of sunset, and watching it from the high window from his room in the towering house.  How that light changed everything that it touched, from the tree tops and the clouds, to even the dark hallway leading up to his room.  The painting and the Clown fish did not feel the same as those distant memories of sunset, especially the summer sunset when his mother would put him to bed long before the sun had set.  
Sake did not voice opposition to the Clown.
Then he was once again trapped by the Clown.  
            The boy was extremely afraid of this painting that replaced the sunsets , being confined alone with it by all those early bedtimes.
Sake once asked his mother if he could take it down, whereas she said " No."  That clown would follow him into his dreams, always he would be down the hill from the tall house on the hill, trying to walk back to the house, but to walk away or run in a dream was like walking underwater or in black space, and he would make no distance as the ground opened up and the clown came out of the ground hugging him with the pryless grip of eight arms.  He would then wake up amid screams and a tearful hatted clown staring somberly down at him from the wall where it was hung.  Night made him fear the Clown painting more;  that ghost white make-up decorating around the eyes and mouth seeming to form another painting in entirety.  He could only look at the painting after a while when the lights were on, and the wet looking painting was mostly orange from the skin, neck, and forearms of the hat wearing clown.  But the painting is gone now, and the magnificent light display of the tank is there now.  

                Sake pulled out the fish food, all the fish bestirred in anticipation of being fed.  The only time they would all come together; and that was to mumble the bits of falling flakes: a chomp from the Clown, a pucker from the Hoomah, the fast mumble of the Tang, and the dainty chew of the Damsel.  The Queen Angelfish would stay near the bottom, and kiss a flake over and over.   She would not deign herself to go into a friendly frenzy like the other fish; she stayed calm, yet alluring like a flag dancing rhythmically in the breeze, but never repeating the same move as the wind never repeats the same breeze.  She is the only fish to change colors.  When the grey skies of Mass emit through every portal in the house at the height of its bleakness, her colors would turn more fantastic, perhaps why she is queen.

                 He put his finger in the top of the watery world; the warmth was felt all the way up his arm.  After feeding, his favorite thing to do was to trace his finger on the top of the warm water and have the Damsel follow it. She loved it, it was her only time to dance, for the Clown would descend down in somewhat fear ( or annoyance) of the boys finger, and the Damsel and he would dance.  The boy, thought that extraordinary.

                     Sake bedded down that night, to his usual watery world of his room.  The reflective waves running down the walls like seagulls of light, with the rhythmic gurgling sound and it's occasional splash of the Clown, or the Hoomah swooping into the pebbly bottom to scoop up some pebbles for spitting making the sound "ccchhhhh" --cachinging  like a distant underwater register.  The tank’s nocturne sound was therapeutic to the boy.

                      Among waking up, and being greeted by his sparkling treasure tank--that was always of the faintest light in the morning due to the grey skies of Mass coming through every portal to lessen the tropical spectrum-- the boy would render his salutations " Good morning my Hoomah.....good morning Tang, my Damsel, and your majesty Queen Angel.....and so forth.  Until the scream would come to get him, and he would walk briskly past the empty room and the looming family pictures of strangers.  His mother put him to work that day, to "pay for the fish tank" but really to buy her a new cocktail dress for her nightly forays.  The boy did not care, the tank was his sun, emitting through the bleak skies of Mass, and even if the tank was reduced to a haze by the overcast of his life, it only added a log to the fire that was the tropical world at night, in turn making him welcome the dismal day.
                  On a day, when the overcast was so thick, he felt he could not picture his rectangular orb waiting for him at night. He had trouble remembering what houses to deliver the paper.  He delivered to the same house three times.  Newspapers seemed to disappear in his hands, due to their color relation to the sky.   Leaves were falling from the trees—butterfly like—he went to catch one, he missed--a first. For Sake could walk through dense thorned brambles and avoid every barb, as a knight in combat or someone’s whose heart felt the painful sting of the barb before.  He would stand under a tree in late fall, and roll around to avoid every falling leaf, and pierce them to the ground deftly with a stick fashioned as a sword.  He could slither between snow flakes, almost like a fish nimbly avoiding small flakes.  
                  After he finished his paper-route , he went to his usual spot under an oak tree to fence with falling leaves.  As the other boys walked by and poked fun he would stall his imagination, and look to the brown landscape of the dry fall.  The crisp brown leaves of the trees were sword shapes to him.  He held the battle ax shape of the oak leaf over his eye held up by the stick it was pierced through, and spied the woodline through the sinus of the oak leaf lobe.  The brown white speckled scenery, were all trying to hide behind eachother by blending in bleakfully; he pretended the leaf was Hector’s helmet from the Illiad—donned over his eyes.
“ Whatchya doing Sake?” asked a young girl named Summer.  Sake only mumbled something nervously and stood there.  And a pretty Summer passed on after Sake once again denied himself of her pretty company.  He looked to the woodline again, a mist was now concealing the tall apical trees.  It now looked like the brown woodland was not trying to retreat behind eachother in fall concealment, but trying to emerge forth out of the greyness to say "save us."

“ Damgf” he uttered, and could not even grasp a word correctly.  His head lifted to the sky repeatedly, there was no orb, and the shadows were looming larger than ever; fractioned shadows from tree branches were forming scythes all over the ground.
             He entered the large shadow that was his front door, into the house that rose high into the sky, with the simplicity of Stonehenge.  He climbed the rickety petrified stairs and went down the hall.  Grey light had spotlighted every frame on the wall.  He looked into the empty room, nothingness, then his room, the tank seemed at its faintest, and it was nearing twilight.  He walked past the tank to look out the w

— The End —