Another tale, way off the beaten track and far away into the dusty future. based very, very, very loosely on a character created by Marla at Marla’s World for which the link is (and yes, ma’am, I’m probably continuing to be naughty by including this): https://marladragon.wordpress.com/2023/02/01/passthebaton-challenge-for-february-2023/. In the same way as the first one in this series read the tale slowly, word by word because there will be some unusual word choices that could trip you up if you try to read it like a Mills & Boon.
Anyway, I thought she might know about why people do crazy stuff, being as she was half crazy herself dressed up, as she was, like a loon. I mean, there ain’t nothing wrong with loons and all, but you gotta admit that they have some weird ways of dressing sometimes, like they were raised in an attic filled with Grandma’s cast-offs. But, like Pa used to say, if you got an itch you gotta scratch it and I ain’t never been a woman what’s ever been averse to using my nails.
“You know why people do batch it crazy things sometimes?”
“Like what?” She looked up at me through them wire-rimmed spectacles that made her look twenty years older than she really was. Then she looked back down at her book as if I was going to take a while to reply, which I hardly ever do on account of my brain working as if it’s hopped up on strong coffee all the time (which it ain’t; it’s just wired that way).
“Doing things that they know are going to rip the happiness right outta your bones?”
She sighed and took off her glasses. Now it was just the way the wind had scoured sand against her face for years and years that made her look old. That and her pain. But I’ll tell you about that some other time. “What kinds of things?”
“Well, f’rinstance, the way that some people won’t let you settle down to read when you’ve got a hankering for it.”
“That’s a prime example of irony right there,” she said and kinda smiled. When I say kinda, it didn’t reach right through to her eyes; just partways in.
“Yeah, I know that. But not like this. I mean the times when you get down to doing something because you’re enjoying it and stopping it would break that feeling. You’re just reading ’cause you got a gap to fill before dinner. Anyways, why do people do that?”
She smiled the crinkles around her eyes a touch deeper and then I saw her go inside. I know she’s going to say something deep when she does that. The she came back out and said “well, lots of things can make that happen.”
“One is when a person is being vindictive. Another is when they’re trying to teach you something.”
I coulda woulda stopped her right there but it looked like she was on a roll.
“Another is when they don’t care what you want them to do because they think they are more important than you, like when they think their words and whatever should come before a book. It’s as if they’re putting themselves in competition with the book to see who wins, which is right but wrong at the same time because, yeah, people are more important than books per se, but books are like people too in that when you’re reading you’re listening to some person making a point in print and getting to the end of a sentence is as important to a reader as someone interrupting that sentence is; you know what I mean?”
“Yeah. Kinda.” I thought for a bit, but not enough to give her time to put her glasses back on to start reading again. “What if it’s whispering?”
“I mean, what if someone starts whispering in the library ’cause they think that it’s not as disturbing as talking out loud but, as anyone knows, it’s even more disturbing ’cause it makes you strain your ears to listen to it, especially if it’s a pretty girl what’s whispering ’cause pretty girl secrets are more intriguing than other secrets.”
“You been listening to pretty girl secrets?” Her face looked like I’d put a part of it out of joint.
“No, it’s just an example that came to me. What I mean is, she, the pretty girl that is, must know that she’s being disturbing and so why does she do it still?”
“P’raps she thinks what she’s doing is important.”
“And she’s too darned lazy to go outside and talk.”
“And, of course, she knows that you’re listening and that’s part of why she’s whispering. People like to be listened to. People like attention.” She paused and thought for a beat. “Except when they don’t.”
I stayed quiet. I knew she had more to say. She always had. The best way to get more out of her was to wait. I waited some more.
“… don’t like everyone’s attention. Just the ones they’ve taken a fancy to.”
“Like, for example, the person interrupting the person that’s reading. They’re only really doing it because they like them.”
“Well, you don’t bother talking to people you don’t like. Unless it’s to say ‘hello, nice day, goodbye’ and stuff like that.”
I smiled a little. She took this as encouragement; not that she really needed encouragement. Not from me. She knew and knows and will know that I love her like breathing and toothpaste. Anyway, it encouraged her to talk some more and then she stopped and then she put her glasses back on and started reading again.
Anyway, that was March and by the time April had come around, I’d started to …
But that’s a whole ‘nother story. Go to sleep now.
12 thoughts on “Bathed in lightness, bathed in heat”
Another fine addition to your loosely based stories! The line, ” I love her like breathing and toothpaste” made me think of the line from Steel Magnolias: “You know I love you more than my luggage.”
You’ve written a good continuation to your own story. It’s way better than anything I could’ve written. I pass the baton back to you Robert! You have a great grip over your characters.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks, Sadje – happy to oblige. 🙂
LikeLiked by 1 person
LikeLiked by 1 person
Pingback: All is well, as long as we keep spinning | Robert C Day
Pingback: Here and now, death still behind a wall | Robert C Day
Pingback: When the old songs and laughter we do | Robert C Day
Pingback: Are forgiven always and never been true | Robert C Day
Pingback: When I arrive, will you come and find me? | Robert C Day
Pingback: Or in a crowd, be one of them? | Robert C Day
Pingback: No tomorrow’s at peace | Robert C Day
Pingback: This is a waltz thinking about our bodies | Robert C Day