The Little Things

They say you miss the little things
when love leaves you behind.

They say you hear a voice, a laugh
an echo of a smile.

They say you feel an emptiness
where warm-tight arms would hold.

They say you wake a night or two
in bed, alone and cold.

What they don’t say is just how long
the little things are missed.

What they don’t know is is just how much
your everything persists.

What they don’t feel is where you were
before we came apart.

What they don’t live is half a life
with empty soul and heart.

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Photo Credit: Stefan Spassov

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Have You Any Guilty Pleasures?

I find guilty pleasures amusing.

Yes, I know those secret sins could involve someone with a very serious addiction, ruining his life behind the back alley of the strip club while his family suffers starvation at home. Obviously I do not find that situation funny.

What I do snicker about is the idea that a person sneaks around for a mild pleasure. You know, something like “Encounter in the Alley,” a story I wrote based off Stephen’s prompt last August.

All right; I may be alone in this.

But humorous or not, guilty pleasures are indulgences we can understand. Maybe we can even relate to them because we have a few of our own…

I have. Most of mine involve food. Like, that one time I purchased a char-grilled hamburger and french fries for just myself and enjoyed every dip of fry sauce while the kids were in school. Or the night I ran to the store for groceries and treated myself to a Reese’s Sticks candy bar. Or when I recently added a $1 frozen pizza to our groceries whilst on bed rest and savored all the crispy badness.

The non-food indulgences are still related to being alone: reading the last dregs of a novel in the closet, writing a blog post in the safety of my car, or snickering quietly over a clever quip I read online.

By myself. Just me. Alone.

So, maybe that’s the secret. Maybe a guilty pleasure is one we feel we ought not to enjoy but do, and therefore indulge in when others are not around to judge.

What do you think? Have you any guilty pleasures or know others who do? Besides the …more disgusting ones, are you willing to share?

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I’m about 16 days behind on reading all my favorite bloggers and have 10 extra house guests this week, but here’s what I accomplished so far:

Wednesday, June 19: Wondered: “Are Food Cravings Always Specific?

Thursday, June 20: Entered Anisha’s raw poetry contest.

Friday, June 21: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Nitin!

Saturday, June 22: Announced the 31st Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is the political views of rodents. PLEASE ENTER!

Celebrated the second birthday of this here blog!

Sunday, June 23: “Adult Swim,” in response to Carrot Ranch’s prompt.

Monday, June 24: Shared a quote I read over at C.S. Boyack‘s site about blogging compared to writing a book.

Tuesday, June 25: Nothing.

And, posted “How to Break the Cycle of Abuse Within Your Own Mind” over at The Bipolar Writer Collaborative Mental Health Blog.

Wednesday, June 26: Today.

I also sort-of posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote “No One Likes the Dentist, But Some Kids Have Special Needs,” “Where Do We Sleep on a Road Trip with Kids??,” and “The Most Loving Sight.”

 

Photo Credit:
Thomas Kelley

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Raw Ramblings

My mouth says I’m fine as my pain twists the tone and you hear it in the release sometimes you ask no really what’s wrong but I can only say

Nothing that’s all I feel by choice empty my mind my feelings most especially my soul anything that might be there has been bled dry and I am a skin of a person fluttering in the wind of others’

Change never for me every day the same drudgery-papered walls never the front of the parade nor even the front of the convoy but always the crew walking just behind to scoop the waste of others’

Happiness a dream or conciliatory statement I say to defer inquiry but I can only be happy if you are because I am the receiver of broadcast emotions buffeting my over-sensitive antennae and I really just say I am so you’ll stop asking because

It’s easier this way you’ll leave me alone and that’s where I want to be I think and yet I do not because thinking would mean I am alive and I try and try to not be alive and thinking and feeling and

Hurting so much hurting but soon I will sleep after not sleeping because here in limbo I can handle it until I can’t but the between is best and where I can numb and look up at you and say

I’m fine.

Hallowe’en Serial, 5th Night

Continued from #4.

Like any sane woman with a few self-defense classes under her belt, Carol panicked. “Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” she screamed and flailed around helplessly. Fortunately for her, her left elbow bumped the Door Lock button mid-flail.

She heard the lock engage in the driver’s door just as the owner of the glowing eyes suddenly threw itself at her window. “Eeeeeeeeeeaaaaaahg!” she screamed again, and fell over the middle console to get away. Teeth, tongue, dark fur, manic red eyes, and long, long claws scrabbled at the window. The claws were the worst; each *Screeeee!* leaving a line behind and surely weakening the surface.

Carol looked around her small car, wishing for anything that might help her. The most lethal object she saw was a pen. She didn’t keep so much as a snow scraper handy in the front seat, believing all tools belonged in the trunk.

*Critch* went the window-glass, just as she spotted the garage door opener. A hasty getaway was her only chance, storm or no. She stretched up and pressed it, a brief relief touching her panic as the door to outside lifted.

Her attacker paused, distracted. She was surprised to notice he appeared to have remains of clothing on his …person. Carol squinted and could make out a few torn, striped strips, buttons, a cuff; maybe what once was a pair of khakis. The feral animal turned back to look at her; its brow lowered into a scowl. Carol could hear it growling as she saw its lip curl up in a malicious grin.

The creature squatted, then leapt. She heard a *thump* above her and watched its back legs and bushy tail thrashing through the driver’s side window a half-second before she realized what it was doing. “Eeek!” she squeaked out as the horrific face appeared in the passenger side, upside-down. She watched the whole of its body fall across the window, then was treated to the same desperate scrabbling on the starboard side. The attacks were more forced, more rapid this time. The car rocked on its suspensions; the glass creaked and cracked.

Before she had time to talk herself out of it, Carol slid back into the driver’s seat and started the engine. ♪ *…they don’t know -When / its coming,  / oh when / but its coming* ♫… crooned the radio. She put the car into Reverse and gunned it as she never had in her entire life.

♫ *Keep the car running* ♫

The poor sedan lurched and whined, hopping down the driveway in short, lame bursts. She smelt burning. The car was old, but hadn’t shown any signs of failure recently. She looked up and saw the hairy creature rising from where it had fallen in her hasty escape. Why couldn’t she go?! And then she saw the parking brake.

Without hesitation, she released it with a *Clunk*. The car shot backwards and collided into and up the opposite curb before she eased off the accelerator. Switching to Drive, she tore away down the street. She dared not look back, even to see if the garage door was still open.

♪ *And they don’t know / When it’s coming, oh when is it coming? / Keep the car running / Keep the car running / Keep the car running* ♫

The storm was closer; lightning illuminated the houses just a block away from her street and rain and wind buffeted her battered car. Just as she thought to slow down for the approaching stop sign, she heard a long, loud, Owooooooooooo!

Her eyes found the rearview mirror against her will. A flash of lightning showed a dark shape running down the street after her; hunger glinting in its red eyes and white fangs.

Traffic laws would have to wait. Quickly checking for oncoming cars as she drove, she ignored the stop and squealed a turn out onto the main road. Her sole thought was to get as far away from the man-creature as possible. She hoped no police were out, and not because she worried for her spotless driving record.

Continued at #6.

Hallowe’en Serial, 4th Night

Continued from #3.

Memories of uneasy feelings, eerie desk décor, and an empty car were amplified in the yawning, open, Carl-less garage. Carol put her car into Park and pushed the Door Lock button, too worried to even enter.

Any other day, she would have gone into the house alone. She would have eaten leftovers, watched some television, taken a shower, cleaned her teeth, climbed into her twin-sized bed in her own bedroom, and slept with the contentment of an overworked, underhappy 50-year-old woman.

Today was not any other day. Tonight had not been another other night. The radio station began playing Thriller.

At the opening wolf howl -Owooooooooo! ♪-, the moon released itself from graying cloud cover and shone a beam or two within Carol’s car. One reflected a glowing outline round a small, plastic-cased device resting on the passenger seat: her cell phone. She picked it up and checked for updates. Surely Carl had texted her, or left a voice mail; perhaps something was scheduled and he’d not put it on her calendar.

But, like with the orderly garage, there was nothing. “Carl C. Carter,” she said, “Of all the times to be gone….”

The night once again shrouded itself in dark mystery as the glowing moon moved aside for rapidly-approaching storm clouds. One minute Carol was sitting in her driveway contemplating her husband’s absence; and the next, bright lightning streaks and thunderous sky shouts seemed to come from just half a mile away. Surely her immature fears were not worth driving somewhere else in torrential rain, nor walking in it if she refused to park inside the garage.

What was so bad about her house, anyway? She and Carl had lived there for fifteen of the twenty-two years they’d been married. She knew the rooms, the light switches, the location of her mace. She’d be fine.

Where was Carl, though? She’d text him first, and see how late he expected to be.

*Hi, Honey. Just checking when you’ll be home. Let me know.

She stared at the cheerful message and thought to add a smiling face from her Extras menu. Thinking on Carl’s usual preferences of succinctness, she refrained. If she included one, he was also liable to suspect her phone had been hacked. She sent it off as-was, adding a silent wish for a quick response.

After ten minutes of nothing but Halloween songs to interrupt the silence, she conceded defeat. Though not a religious woman, she bowed her head and uttered a quick and direct prayer: “Whoever might be listening, tell Carl to call me; and keep me safe tonight.”

Finally, she pulled forward. Automatic lights warmed the empty space. She turned off the engine and pushed the remote to close the garage door.

Just before opening the driver’s door to exit, however, she caught an image in her rearview mirror. For the fourth time that day, her heart leapt and her breath grew rapid. No excuse like ‘too short a driver, surely,’ or ‘must have been seeing things’ could explain what she saw this time.

From just inside the recently-closed garage door, a pair of glowing, hungry eyes stared right into her own.

Continued at #5.

Late-Night Limericks

A writer once sought to amuse
But her laptop, to function, refused.
She’d turn it on late
Just to catch an “update.”
-Thus, the fate of a tool that is used.

There once was a man named McGill
Whose life was devoid of a thrill.
He therefore applied
For a mail-order bride.
Now, married, awaits a thrill, still.

Young Charlie perpet’ally moaned
For, he hated to be left alone.
“I’m scared,” he’d complain,
Till his parents remained,
Wond’ring if they could get him a clone.

There once was an eager young tot
Who asked for a working robot.
It arrived, as he wished
Babbl’ng perfect Engrish.
Now the tot’s lexicon’s about shot.