SoCS: The Next Big Win

He had booked the last flight home and it was intentional. “That way, they won’t be expecting me. The element of surprise will be on my side,” he thought with satisfaction.  The plane’s wheels hit the tarmac rudely jostling the passengers and then it sped toward the gate before the pilot applied the brakes. The aircraft then coasted the remaining part of the way until it nosed its way to the gate.

“Right, showtime,” he said to himself as he hefted his carry-on bag from the overhead bin.  He knew his family would not be overjoyed to see him. His father, in particular, had muttered “Get out of my sight,” in disgust and frustration the last time they saw each other. His mother would be his saving grace. He was her weak spot, her Achilles heel. He felt a pang of guilt when he thought about how he would play to that to get her to loosen her purse strings yet again. But not enough to deter him. After all, there was a great Casino in his hometown and he felt his next big win coming on.

Written for Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday. This week’s prompt is “ght.” Find a word that contains the letters “ght” in that order, and use it any way you’d like. Bonus points if you use three or more different words containing those letters. Have fun!

Bus Ticket to Nowhere

Written for Linda G. Hill’s Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday. The prompt for August 10th is “where.” Start your post with the word “where” and write whatever comes to you. Bonus points if you end your post with “where” too.

Where did I get the idea? That’s a good question. If I had to pinpoint a time when the seed was planted in my brain, I guess it would be when I lost my job. Well, I didn’t lose it exactly; the powers that be took it away from me. I wasn’t needed anymore, they said. They wish there was another way, but the economy and downsizing were to blame, they said. They couldn’t look me in the eye the entire time of that exit interview. “But you didn’t let everybody go. How did you choose who stayed and who left?” I asked. They didn’t answer, just kept repeating about the need to downsize.

That’s the first time I remember thinking: “I wish I were someone else.”  But it was just a harmless seed, planted deep within my brain. I mean, who hasn’t wished that at one time or another?

Then came the breakup with Joe. You spend two years with a man and he kicks you to the curb like a rabid dog. I’d changed, he said. I wasn’t the same woman I was when we met. I used to be fun, loving and ambitious. But since I lost my job last year, I spend my days moping around the house and haven’t even tried to find a new one. If you ask me, he just wanted someone to pay half the bills.

So there I was,  a grown woman with no job and no home. Who wouldn’t want to be someone or somewhere else? And then I found that wallet. I had every intention of returning it but that little seed began to grow and blossom.  And it was so much easier than I thought!

I took it step-by-step:  New birth certificate and driver’s licence first, then credit cards.  I was anxious, and each day wondered if this was the day police would track me down and question my requests for these documents. But it never happened. And before I knew it, the seed was a flower in full bloom. (It’s ironic that the woman who owned the wallet’s name was Rose. I guess it was a sign.) So I bought a bus ticket to nowhere and now Rose is on the move and Linda can’t be found anywhere.

NOTE:
I don’t usually write fiction, but this is where the prompt took me!

The Most Beautiful Calm After the Storm

Photo by Damir Spanic on Unsplash

A stiff breeze blew a strand of hair across my cheek. I tried to ignore it and recapture the calm I’d been feeling by burrowing deeper into the warm sand.  It had been a near-perfect morning spent with my teen-age son. These moments of synchronicity between a boy journeying from childhood to manhood and his mother dipping her toes into the water of middle-age were rare. But today our paths had crossed and fused in a few, sun-kissed hours at the beach.

After a picnic lunch, he’d hauled his wind surfer from the roof of the car and hit the lake.  I’d hit the beach blanket with a good book. Within minutes, with the sun high in a clear, blue sky, my eyes began to close. I’m not sure how much time had passed when I awoke to the wind whipping sand around, wreaking havoc with beach umbrellas and sending beach goers scurrying to gather their belongings and run to their cars.

I scanned the lake, looking for Robbie. The gentle waves lapping shore a few hours ago were now choppy, foaming waves bullying their way to land. A few surfers were struggling to make it to shore, but I couldn’t see Robbie’s familiar orange and black sail anywhere.

The wind kicked it up another notch and, on cue, rain began to fall in hard, diagonal sheets. One last surfer dragged his board up onto the sand and I rushed to his side. My hair now stuck to my skull and my cotton T-shirt and Bermuda shorts were plastered to my skin by the rain. “Did you see another surfer out there?” I asked. “His sail is orange and black. He’s my son and he’s only 16,” the words tumbled out of my mouth. The man shook his head and said kindly but unconvincingly, “No, but I’m sure he’s fine.”

Lightening suddenly sliced the sky followed by a loud clap of thunder. I pictured my son clinging to the metal mast in the middle of the year’s worst thunder storm and I lost all semblance of control. Panic took a firm grip of me and squeezed hard. I dropped to my knees, sobbing and imagining the worst. I tried to organize my thoughts and figure out what to do next, but couldn’t get a hold of myself. When my kids were little, I’d always feared losing them in a shopping centre or other public area.  I thought those fears were behind me now. Tears turned to an anxiety-fueled laugh as the irony of the word “lose” struck me. I’d been using it in the sense of “misplaced” but I now realized that today it could mean something much worse.

Then, over the sound of the wind and waves, I heard someone shout “Mom!” I turned to see Robbie pounding across the wet sand. I rose and ran to him, grabbed him and hugged him hard to me. “Are you OK?” I asked.  “Yeah, I’m fine but I had to leave the board under a clump of trees farther down the beach. Do you think we could go back for it?”

Almost as suddenly as it had come up, the storm abated and calm was restored.  We walked toward the car and I kept my arm around Robbie’s shoulder. I needed to keep a physical connection between us. I had to be sure he wasn’t a mirage conjured up by my mind. I couldn’t help but notice that he let my arm rest around him. Usually, he would have been uncomfortable with any display of affection and shrugged away from my touch. I didn’t want to break the magic of the moment by pointing this out, but I like to think in some ways he still needed his mother as much as she needed him in her life.