Tag Archives: valentine’s day

LOVE AND DEATH ~ A story for @RBwood’s Word Count Podcast

The prompt for the latest episode of R.B. Wood’s Word Count Podcast asked that we use February in the setting AND the picture below:

red rose

My story inspiration

Given the prompts, it was almost too obvious to write something about Valentine’s Day, but I did so anyway. As my stories usually have a twist, (and I’m a bit twisted myself), “Love and Death” became the result.

You can also listen to me reading the story on episode 63 of R.B. Wood’s podcast.

Hope you enjoy. 😉

flourish

When February rolls around, I think of two things: love and death. They happened at the same time for me many years ago, and I cannot unlink their connection in my brain any more than I can sever my arm from my shoulder.

Actually, the latter would probably be easier to do.

How many years has it been? I’ve lost count. If it were not for the calendar hanging by my bed, I would not know what day it was.

It was supposed to happen on Valentine’s Day, going on a decade ago now. It was the day my love and I had planned to be together. After so many false starts, which included a death in his wife’s family, and my husband’s surgery, we finally saw nothing else to delay our union. We decided on Valentine’s Day as our official “coming out” day. It was perfect. How could it be any more romantic? Two people who had loved each other privately for years would now finally be together.

I don’t recall how we determined that I would tell my husband first. At the time, it wasn’t important for me who made the initial move. I just knew that by the week of February 14th, we would no longer have to keep our relationship a secret. After that critical step, we would separate and file for divorce. We would try to make it as painless as possible, even joked that maybe our respective spouses might not be too upset about it. After all, neither of our marriages had been on solid ground for some time.

We had decided not to reveal the affair to our spouses. What was the point? There was any number of reasons I could use to end my marriage. I ended up telling my husband I was tired, tired of his apathy. It was true. After so many years, his lack of affection had whittled away at my self-confidence. The kids were gone, and it seemed like he no longer needed me. At one point, I even thought that maybe he was having an affair, but he wasn’t the type. He was a workaholic and much too timid to seek out another relationship.

No, he had just gotten lazy. He took me for granted. It wasn’t a new problem. We’d gone for counseling for this very issue only a couple of years after we got married, but old patterns are hard to break. I know. I fell into them myself. We grew further and further apart until I became numb. Then Jack came into my life and everything changed.

I meant something to someone who appreciated me. And Jack was that someone, and he was so appreciative. God … he was amazing in every way—boyish and playful outside the bedroom, powerful and insatiable inside of it. I had never felt so alive than when I was with him.

* * * *

At Jack’s request, I saw him the day before Valentine’s day. It seemed odd that he had texted me instead of responding to my lengthy email from several nights earlier, an email in which I explained how happy I was that I had told my husband about us. I went into great detail about what I had said. Jack and I were always good in that way. We didn’t keep any secrets from each other. It did not alarm me that he didn’t respond immediately to my email. He and his wife had taken a weekend away to their cottage. It was there that he had planned to break the news about us to her.

When Jack and I met in the apartment I had secretly rented for our meetings, he appeared like he always did—happy to see me. He came with a bouquet of red roses in hand and kissed me. I felt loved by him, like I always did. I remember placing the flowers in a vase, taking my time to relish the moment of not having to hide anymore. We could finally live our relationship in the open, or so I thought.

My memory is fuzzy from the time Jack spoke that night. I don’t recall hearing the words, but I know he must have said them.

I can’t leave my wife.

She said she would kill herself if I did.

I’m sorry. I am so sorry.

His words hit me like a slap that resonated throughout the echoey apartment. I remember touching my cheek as heat rose to cover it. I picked up the shears I had used to cut the stems of the roses and then everything went black.

To this day, I have no recollection of what happened afterward that evening. They said I killed Jack in a fit of rage; I’ve accepted that I must have. I just wish I could remember it. It’s hard to imagine I could do such a thing, but perhaps love does crazy things to people.

flourish

Thank you for reading and/or listening. Feel free to leave a comment or question. Feedback, whether good or bad is always welcome.

~eden

**

15 Comments

Filed under Short Stories & Poetry

THE LETTER ~ A story for @RBwood’s #WordCountPodcast

You can also hear me read this story on: Episode #54 of R.B. Wood’s “The Word Count” podcast.

The prompt asked that we write a story based on three words:

Chocolate | Lust | Thorns

Since it was around Valentine’s Day when we received the prompt, my story touches on love … sort of. 😉

*  *  *  *

Dear Adam,

I want to offer you an apology for my behavior the past two weeks. I know most women would’ve jumped at the chance to go with you to some romantic spot for Valentine’s Day. Your invitation caught me off guard.

I panicked.

Instead of graciously accepting your gift, I stopped accepting anything from you, including your calls and texts.

Let me start by saying, you’ve been patient. You’ve followed my lead, and from our first date more than six months ago, I’ve led you to my door but never through it. It must have crossed your mind why a thirty-year-old woman would seem so … puritan. Yet, you never asked, so I never felt the need to explain.

I care about you, Adam, very much, and you have a right to know why I ended our relationship so abruptly. This letter is further evidence that I lack the courage to even pick up the phone and call you. I’m taking the coward’s way out, but I hope you will understand.

Valentine’s Day is a dreaded day for me, but by design or by coincidence, I’ve managed to avoid the holiday for years. When I couldn’t avoid it with you, I had to retreat.

I celebrated Valentine’s Day for the last time seven years ago. He was much older than me, unlike anyone I’d ever met—well traveled, confident, a little dangerous. He excited me, and I looked forward to how we would spend Valentine’s together.

On that day, he made a special request of me—a gesture that would show my love for him, he said. I was reluctant at first. I didn’t know him all that well, but he had showered me with champagne, chocolates, and a dozen of the most amazing long stem red roses I’d ever seen. I thought it only fair to give him what he wanted, so I allowed him to tie me up.

Not long after, I discovered his true intentions, but it was too late. The more I screamed and begged him to stop, the more I fueled his lust. The cost of love, he said, was not the price of candies and flowers. True love had to be measured by different commodities—commitment, strength, sacrifice. How else could I value him if there was no risk involved?

I told him I wasn’t willing to pay the price for him, but it didn’t matter. He was determined I would learn to enjoy the pain.

I did not. I passed out from it.

By the time I awoke, he was gone, but not before he left his mark. I never saw him again. I assume it was because I failed his test.

You did me a favor, Adam. You forced me to confront the scars of my past. The problem is my scars are real, not just metaphorical. I am, forever, damaged goods.

I have enjoyed every moment with you. I wish it could have ended differently.

With affection,

Brenda

* * * *

 

“How does that feel?”

She sighed, “It feels good, like a feather. I love how gently you touch me.”

I stared at Brenda’s well-formed back as she sprawled on her stomach, naked but for the white sheet that wrapped around one of her calves. Her loose, chestnut hair framed her face, which was turned away from me.

I continued to kiss below her neck and felt the ridges against my lips. She stiffened and then relaxed. I brushed my lips over the raised, carved letter on her back—the letter S.

He had taken his time cutting into Brenda’s flesh, the letter etched from the thorns of the roses he had bought her that Valentine’s Day. The cuts were deep, the design ornate. The pain must have been excruciating.

I closed my eyes to suppress my anger.

“Adam?” Brenda turned to her side and propped her head on her elbow facing me.

“Yes, my love.”

“Thank you for being so persistent, for not giving up on me.” She dropped her gaze and picked at imaginary lint.

I tilted my head and forced her to look at me. “What that monster did to you was not your fault. You didn’t ask for the scar on your back.”

Brenda stared at me with glassy eyes. “It’s been two months since you walked back into my life, and I can’t believe how lucky I am to have you. It’s just that …” Her face, hidden in shadow, turned a deeper shade of pink.

“What?” I asked. “You can tell me anything, you know that.”

She cleared her throat. “Okay … why haven’t you asked me what the S stands for? You must be curious.”

Brenda was right. I was curious. I had almost asked her the first time I saw the well-formed letter. It spanned the entirety of her back from the base of her neck to her tailbone. What once must have been a blood-red scar had now faded to purplish-pink, several shades darker than her skin. Brenda said she could not remember how long he cut into her before she fainted. I suspect she must have struggled for the top half of the S. Parts of it had healed as jagged clutters and bumps, contrasting the smoother curve at the bottom.

My guess was the letter stood for the initial of the man who did this to her. A narcissist—Steve or Sam or some other shitty name. Or maybe it was the symbol of a serpent or something else, who knows? The man was a sadist, a psychopath. Would I even be able to make sense of it if I knew?

“Adam, are you okay?”

Brenda’s voice snapped me out of my thoughts, and just like that, I found my answer. “I know what the S stands for,” I said.

She took a quick breath and her eyes widened. “You do?”

“Yes,” I said, in a confident manner. I cupped her cheeks in my hands. “It stands for … sweetheart … which is what you are to me.”

A look of relief washed over Brenda’s face. It confirmed I had made the right decision. She had never wanted to tell me what the letter stood for, and I, never needed to know. 

Do you have any scars you wish to share? Feel free to leave a comment or question. I’d love to hear from you.

~eden

**

13 Comments

Filed under Short Stories & Poetry

Music Monday and Modern Love ~ #DavidBowie

It was Valentine’s Day yesterday for those who celebrate, and really … who doesn’t celebrate love?

Whether you did so with your significant other, family, friends, pets or on your own, I hope you found some time for love.

“Modern Love” was my introduction to David Bowie. Released in a year of discovery for me (1983), I immediately fell for Bowie’s look and energy.

And each time I hear this song, I can’t help but fall in love with it all over again.

Hope you enjoy it too and have a great week,

~eden

8 Comments

Filed under Musical Mondays

I Just Want to Be Your Everything ~ A story for @RBwood’s #WordCountPodcast

You can also hear me read this story on: Episode #53 of R.B. Wood’s “The Word Count” podcast.

The prompt asked that we write a story based on:

Celebrity Death, a Fan’s Perspective

Here is a story about a celebrity from my past. I hope you enjoy. 

*  *  *  *

When I was twelve, I stuck his poster on the ceiling above my bed. There was no place for it anywhere else in my room. Pictures of other teen idols already plastered every inch of the walls.

I sent for his poster via mail, no Internet in those days. I remember slipping twenty dollars into the envelope with the order form. I even wrapped construction paper around the bill so it wouldn’t be visible through the envelope. As a member of this musician’s exclusive fan club, I was one of the few given a chance to buy his limited edition poster. That’s how it was sold to me anyway. When I look back, twenty dollars was a lot to spend on something so trivial, but I had wanted it—badly.

The poster took exactly fourteen days to arrive. I remember this because it was the first of February when I mailed away for it. For two weeks, I must have listened to his album a hundred times while kissing his face on the cover even more times than that.

When I came home that Valentine’s Day from school, my mother both informed and chided me. She had a skill for doing that.

“I put some parcels in your room,” she said, as she paused while stir-frying beef and bok choy in the wok. The entire apartment smelled of garlic. “I hope you’re not wasting money on silly things.”

I made a face. “No, Mom. I’m ordering books and records, that’s all.”

I subscribed to both Columbia House Records and Columbia House Books. Membership consisted of paying a penny for a dozen albums and books, followed by a two-year contract to buy more books and albums at regular prices. I can’t remember how many more I had to buy, but it was worth it in the end. I loved getting mail, and Columbia House ensured I received something regularly.

Mom shook her head and returned to her cooking. “Oh … and there was a cardboard tube that came too. Your brother wanted to play with it, so I gave it to him.”

I don’t remember what else she said after that, if anything. I ran to my brother’s room and found the door closed. Unusual, since he didn’t normally close the door.

“Ha, ho, ha, ho, hiiii yah!” Sounds came from inside his bedroom, my brother’s voice.

I swung open the door to see my ten-year brother, clad in an undershirt and shorts, jumping on his bed with the tube.

He stopped in the middle of a kick and stood firm on the bed. Blood rushed to my face when I met his eyes.

“Give me that!” I lunged for him, but he leapt back like a Ninja.

“No!” he said and jerked the tube behind his back. “Mom said I could have it.”

“Mom!” I screamed as loudly as I could. “Jimmy won’t give me back my tube. It’s mine!”

We breathed hard staring at one another while we waited for her answer.

“Work it out,” she said finally, “or I’ll confiscate it.”

I had to get the cylinder out of my brother’s hands before he destroyed what was inside. Even as I fumed, I knew I had to remain calm. Jimmy jumped off the bed with the three-foot tube in hand.

“Who are you supposed to be anyway?” I asked.

“Fu Sheng,” he said, rubbing his nose as he offered a disdainful snort.

Fu Sheng was my brother’s hero—a martial arts film star.

“I see.” I slanted my head and squinted at him. “I don’t think Fu Sheng ever used a sword.”

“I don’t care,” he said. He eyed me with defiance and a firm grip on the makeshift weapon.

I took a deep breath as I envisioned grabbing the tube from him and whacking him on the head with it. I didn’t do it though, knowing the consequences would not be worth it. Instead, I had to do some heavy bargaining. My brother, to this day, is a steely negotiator, and he doesn’t compromise.

By the time I left his room with the poster, he had the tube, half my weekly allowance, and my word to do his share of the dishes for the remainder of the month.

It didn’t matter though. All was forgotten once I was inside my room. I knelt down and placed the poster on the floor. Two hardcover books secured the top corners as I gingerly unrolled the paper toward me. Made of shiny silver foil, I knew this would be my most prized poster yet. Etched into the surface was a black outline of my teen idol.

In black marker, he wrote “To my biggest fan. With love.” He signed his name in an illegible scrawl. My heart thumped. Though no colour reflected in the mirror-like surface of the poster, I knew I was blushing.

* * *

Ten years later, my teenage crush, Andy Gibb, died at the age of thirty. He was a talented musician and songwriter whose debut album, Flowing Rivers, spawned two number one hits:  “I Just Want to Be Your Everything” and “(Love Is) Thicker Than Water.”

Andy was the youngest of the Gibb brothers, better known as the Bee Gees.

I don’t know what became of that poster of Andy Gibb, but for as long as I was in that room until I moved away for University, he had a place on the ceiling above my bed and in my heart.

Do you remember a celebrity death that affected you? Feel free to leave a comment or question.

Thank you so much for reading.

~eden

17 Comments

Filed under Short Stories & Poetry

I Dare to Wear Love to benefit AIDS research for @daretowearlove

dtwl 2014 challenge

Love is in the air.

It’s Valentine’s Day and I’m participating for the second year in a row in the Dare to Wear Love Challenge to raise money for the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

My challenge is to wear Canadian from today until the 21st, and post pictures of what I wear on my social networks. 

The money I raise supports the inspiring transformation in sub-Saharan Africa to turn the tide of HIV & AIDS.

I set my initial goal at a modest $500, but with the help of some generous donors, I reached 80% of it in one day! Since I have one more week to raise money, I’ve doubled my target to $1000.

Why not? It’s for a wonderful cause, and I like stretch goals. 😉

If you want to donate, visit my fundraising page or the icon on the upper left of my blog. You can see my progress from there too. 

passportAs always, thank you so much for your generosity.

If you are unable to donate, sharing about this cause would be greatly appreciated.

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter to see me wear Canadian until Feb 21st.

In the meantime, here’s a picture of me with something uniquely Canadian.

~ eden

 
♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

Learn more about:

 Dare to Wear Love and The Stephen Lewis Foundation

2 Comments

Filed under Dare to Wear Love, Important Announcements