Friday, April 29, 2011


Kathy’s brown eyes stung and her stomach clenched. She quietly hung up the kitchen phone. She had always heard that slamming the receiver only made an abusive caller even more abusive. Wasn’t it enough that Dad was in the hospital nearly a hundred miles away? That she and Mom were also caring for Nana and Grandpa 24 hours every day, and that Kathy was in the middle of college midterms? 

Then cleansing, hot tears flowed as Kathy mentally replayed the caustic monologue:

Mom and Kathy had waited all morning to hear the outcome of Daddy’s eye surgery. When the phone finally rang at around noon, Mom answered, and after an apparently friendly exchange said, “Oh, we’re holding up okay. Kathy? Sure, she’s right here.” Something didn’t feel right as Kathy took the phone. “It’s Denise,” Mom explained. Denise was Dad’s daughter from his first marriage.

“Hello?” Kathy said cautiously.  

“Kathy, this is Denise. I‘m addressing this to you because I don’t want to be disrespectful to your mother...” Oh, boy, that didn’t sound good. Kathy’s head felt detached from the rest of her body as Denise pressed on.

“…But since you are my half-sister, I want you to know that I’m totally pissed off with both of you. My father…” In spite of the earthquake in her core, Kathy replaced the receiver as gently as she could. 

Within thirty seconds, she was sitting at her makeshift kitchen-table desk, absently reading term paper notes. In the living room, her petite Nana sat in her overstuffed chair with her hands folded. Grandpa had dozed off in his recliner across from Nana, next to the picture window. In spite of the warm spring breeze, the furnace was running. Grandpa instinctively knew when the indoor temperature dropped below 81 degrees. 

Mom didn’t have to ask about the phone conversation. A few minutes later, another call. They stared at each other – what now – before Mom answered the phone. From several feet away, Kathy recognized Dad’s resonant voice at the other end. The surgery had been delayed, he explained, and by the way Denise couldn’t understand why Kathy had hung up on her. Denise was worried sick about him and felt very hurt. 

That was too much for Mom.

“Whatever is going on, I want it to stop,” Mom said. Surprised silence from the other end. “Denise was very rude, and anyway, you said you’d help me...” Mom’s voice trembled to a halt as she recalled Daddy’s faint promises from fourteen years earlier, when Nana’s dementia, and later Grandpa’s blindness and cancer, ate a hole in the family. 

The next evening, Denise drove Dad home. She stayed in her car as Mom and Kathy helped Dad out of the car. He held his eye patch in place with one hand as he handed Kathy his bag with the other hand.  Without acknowledging anyone else’s presence, Denise stared out the driver side window.

As soon as Denise drove away without a word, Dad stumbled into the house, put his hand to his forehead, and began to cry. Mom wrapped her arms around him. In her room down the hall, Nana quietly sat up in bed, even tinier than the day before, not understanding why her dinner had been interrupted. Grandpa sat next to Nana and patted her hand. 

Kathy stood alone in the darkened hallway, haunted by the image of Denise’s solitary silhouette in the car.  

Written for Red Writing Hood prompt: Write about a fight -- the reasons behind it, the repercussions, etc. Show us. Use descriptions.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Small stone #6: Books

Our town library is small, musty,
and underfunded,
but I am at home
in this country of books.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Small Stone #5: Wildfires / A Cinquain: Texas Burns


Wildfires scorch Texas.
Where next? No one dares ask.
Too busy, we shrug.

Texas Burns

Red Dots
On the fire map
Do not bode well for us.
Brush country creeks are cracked and dry.
Please pray.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Small Stone #4: Lydia

To my gold plush stuffed bear:
I was just thinking about the afternoon we met. 
My mother named you Lydia, 
I wrapped you in a purple shawl, 
And you saved the day.

"Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshipped God." Acts 16:14a (NKJV)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Small Stone #3: Marriage


We can't bear to close the day.
Our writers' hearts and lives entwine -- he at his notebook, I at my computer:
Shared solitudes.

100 Word Challenge: Bathed

Join us at this week's 100 Word Challenge prompt: BATHED

Cat in the Window

Our cat sat in the living room window, as he did every early morning, squinting at the pink sunrise. As the blackbirds scolded, he chattered back with a bizarre bird call he had taught himself. He pressed his forehead against the screen, closed his eyes, and dreamed of the hunt. Eventually he bathed unconcerned--first his face, then his paws--as a mother bird frantically, furiously darted toward the screen. 

I left our cat there for my computer and freelance writer workday. That evening, as always, he bathed--ears, tail--and listened with one ear as I worried out loud.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Small Stone #2: Easter Afternoon

Texas brush country, hot Easter afternoon.
Clouds hint at a long-awaited cool front.
Shadows play tag on the shimmering lace curtains:
Spring revives.


On this Resurrection Day, I would like to share a poem of hope that I wrote for my husband two years ago.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good:
The honey of an encouraging word,
The salt of tears, confessed and released.
Heaven's fire consumes all bitter regret,
Refining our hearts,
Producing an aroma sweet to the Lord.
As you and I step forward, listening, into angelic light,
The humble perfume of the Lily of the Valley 
Heralds resurrected joy,
As the spring proclaims the return 
Of our hope.

(c) Judith C Evans 2011

Join us at Poetry Pantry

Saturday, April 23, 2011