Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores
Photographer Patricia Gulick

Writings from Loraine

Christmas Presence
By Loraine Paige 12/9/15

“What magic have you found?” father scowled, crossing his arms. 

The youngest sprite, a female, squeaked, “The grass grew tall from last night’s rain, reaching for the sky. Bright green, new blades squeezed into places where it seemed none could fit. And when the wind came, their tips bent easy and waived at the whole world.”

A glimmer of tenderness shown in his eyes as he turned to an older male sprite, “And you, what magic have you found today?”

The youngster shoved his hands in his pockets and thought hard. “The mountainside far eastward reflected the sun, and in the sun’s rays it carried all sound and all light all at once in unison.”

“Very good. Very good. You have learned well, sought well, and carried the magic to me intact and whole, for I see it in you now.” His serious face formed the gentlest of smiles.

The eldest cleared his throat, “And you? Did you find magic today?”

In a flash the serious look returned. If he was to keep them charmed, he needed to do his part, to teach them that the magic can still be carried on into age.

“I did.” He looked up to remember. “Today a family of five gathered around a decorated tree and each gave the other the gift of their presence.”

A Matter of Choice
By Loraine Paige

If I were braver, would we be together now?
If I were kinder, would you have been kinder to others?
If I were smarter, would the water have flown freer, the energy be everlasting?
If I were wiser, would I have cared more?

If I had learned your ways, instead of forcing mine upon you, would we have been friends?
If I had worshiped life more than any religion, would we have lived in peace?

I demanded.
I fought.
I retaliated.
I destroyed my neighbors, my earth, my soul.

Thankless World

By Loraine Paige 11/2/15

“Thank you.” He bowed slightly, hoping the two words would be accepted. His short brown hair lifted by a breeze, gave a brief wave.

“What’s the matter with you?” Her face crinkled in disgust at the odd guy. So his hair was clean and his head unshaven. She had seen clean hair before, even if most remaining guys his age were ragers that rarely bathed, although almost everyone shaved their heads to keep critters away. No one had water to spare for washing hair anymore.

“Nothing. I appreciate the strawberries, that’s all.” He glanced over his shoulder as if he were about to leave, but his feet remained planted where they were.

A car sped by with squealing tires. The occupants yelled slurs up to the sky through open windows. The horn honked a long, sad sound, announcing they had gas and speed at their disposal. Not a common boast any more. The car disappeared down the road and silence filled the emptiness.

“Just don’t go telling anyone I gave you any. You hear?” She turned to stomp away in her oversized old boots.

He ate one delicious strawberry, not quite ripe, but he couldn’t wait. It had been months since he ate anything fresh, maybe years.

She paused and barked over her shoulder. “And if you do, tell them you gave me something good for those. They are worth a lot you know.”

He trotted up alongside her. “Oh, I know. Believe me, I know.” He swallowed. “What are they worth? What would I have given you? You know. In case someone asks.”

She stopped and squinted at him. “What?”

“If they ask,” he looked down at the three remaining pink, seed speckled strawberries in his hand and opened it up towards her, “What would you ask for these?”

She snorted, “A million dollars.”

He laughed. “Money’s not worth anything now, so be serious, what would you ask for them?” His smile revealed sincerity, a lost quality.

The smirk faded from her face. Her plan was to leave the strawberries for him in a place that he would find them, the odd young man that smiled and whistled when he walked. She didn’t expect for him to return and find her near his ramshackle tent up against the shell of an old 7-11 store.  When he caught her there, he seemed normal, yelling “What the hell are you doing with my stuff?”

She pushed the fruit in his hand and said “Here. Take them.”

She walked away, but he followed, comprehending what she had given him. That’s when he spoke those ancient words, “Thank you.”

By Loraine Paige 10/10/15  

She sat contemplating her surroundings, the stacks of books, the disorderly order of it all, item upon item of somethings acquired here and there, waiting. Everything and everyone waits for the thing that will happen next. Whether patiently quiet or keeping busy until it arrives, squeezing in whatever can be done until time runs out, there is always a next thing coming, an anticipated moment or expected event.

Wishing now that this could be scheduled, yet despising schedules in general, she waited. It was getting late, days and months were passing swiftly. With barely an appearance made, it touched only rare moments.

There were years before, years of knowing and waiting. But then, she was taken in a whirl of emotion and words that flowed with abandon.

Others say that if you sit to write each day, the words will come, some better than others and the process of it opens the door for the best to appear. Like riding a bike, first you must fall, crash a few times, or skid to a sideways tumble now and then.

When you reach a comfortable stride, you tackle steeper trails, pumping pedals hard, maintaining enough speed and balance to climb them, or holding tight while maneuvering attentively to glide downward, as any semblance of control is swept away by speed and gravity. 

So today, words written may not be the best, but they are the wobbly wheels that lead to future treasure.

By Loraine Paige on 10/4/15

Dawn’s first light streamed through the attic window, dowsing the effect of the small lamp’s glow. Swirls of microscopic dust danced and twinkled in the light. Her typewriter waited silently. A pencil balanced between two fingers rocked methodically. Heels tapped the floor. Her pacing steps matched the clock’s second hand journey as it circled the numbers. A ruffled mess of brown fur spoke when she passed by for the third time. “Ruff.”

She stopped to address the source of the sound, “I’m working on it. The pictures must come before the words you know.”

His head rested back down atop two paws with a “humph”. The typing preceded his walk to the park. The pacing preceded the typing. His futile attempt to rush the process, earned him a scowl.

She stilled. The interruption sparked an idea. She scurried into her seat and began typing.

“The train was traveling east…”

The liberated pencil rolled four inches across the wooden table and bumped into the stack of this month’s writings, soon to join the binder on the bookcase. Two shaggy eyebrows raised at the sound of clicking keys. The park was getting closer, one letter at a time, one click, two clicks, more clicks.

Soon the two emerged, a brown blur sped ahead down the stairs and then circled back up to her. Triumphantly she exhaled and grinned as he wiggled and panted in anticipation. “Next stop, the park. All aboard?”

A sign on the door swayed to the beat of their descent, “STORYLAND”.

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