“Books are a uniquely portable magic.” ― Stephen King
I saw her across the street, walking briskly past the empty store. She seemed familiar. Although she had large sunglasses on I could swear I knew her. Her hair, her gait and the way she held herself strongly upright, no hint of a slouch. So familiar yet so hard to place. As she turned the corner I finally made the connection. Or so I thought.
When I moved to Norway from Canada I expected to have to get used to things being a bit different. Shopping at stores that didn’t have quite the exact items I wanted. Feeling a bit disoriented while walking about in a new (to me) town. Sounding clumsy when attempting a new language.
What I didn’t expect was to occasionally feel a brief instant of not being able to pin down where I knew someone from.
Not in the sense of were they someone I actually knew versus someone who only looked like someone I knew. I mean in the sense of what continent did I know them from.
It can be a bit harrowing at the best of times when you’re approaching someone on the street and you’re wondering if you should give them a quick wave or will they think you’re a bit batty. Who is this stranger waving at me?
It’s a completely different feeling when you can’t even place which country you may or may not know this person from.
I wonder if there’s a an actual word for that feeling.
Anybody else experience this? It can’t just be me, can it?
You know you should reply to the text or the message on your answering machine but the more you put it off the harder it is to do. It’s not that you don’t want to reconnect or that you have nothing to say but you’re not sure if anyone will be there to listen once you do reach out. That’s kind of what’s happened here, sadly.
When I signed up for December’s Blogging 201 I hadn’t quite realized how thoroughly I had been neglecting this place. I’m sure all my devoted readers have been wondering where I’ve been, anxious to read about the latest happenings here in this little corner of Norway. Right?
Anyhoo… as an early New Year’s resolution I’ve decided to buckle down and not let the dust and cobwebs set up around here anymore. So brace yourselves for random bits of my brain’s musings and the meandering strings of my thoughts coming your way once again. Which reminds me…
In keeping with the season I’ve scattered Yuletide decorations about the house. A Santa here, a nutcracker there, some cut evergreen branches plopped into a couple of vases. And though I’ve accepted that my husband and his family open presents on Christmas Eve (the 24th) there are some traditions I can’t get behind. The light in the window in the pic above is the closest I come to having the requisite triangular Advent lights which seem mandated by tradition in almost every house here. And it’s in the window only because it was gift and I’d feel bad hiding it away in its box in some dusty corner. The fact that it’s a bit more modern looking than others is also keeping it out of the basement. Walking around town at this time of year it’s a bit spooky to see how many houses have the exact same lights, shining warmly from all the windows. I wrote about this phenomenon briefly before.
But regardless of what lights are in the window or when the gifts get opened, the feeling of Christmas is the same whether here in Norway or back in Canada.
He was sitting on the bench as he did every afternoon in autumn enjoying the sun and the quiet of the park. Today, as it did every Wednesday, the air smelled of freshly cut grass. A flash of bright red caught his eye. A young boy was chasing his ball, his face lit up with a smile. His grandson would be about the boy’s age now. He wondered what he looked like after all this time. The last time he saw him he was still an infant huddled in his mother’s arms as they said their goodbyes at the airport.
The boy ran across her path with the single-mindedness of the very young. She heard someone shout to him to be careful and she smiled faintly. She wondered if she was having a boy. Neither of them had wanted to know the sex of their baby at the last doctor’s appointment saying they wanted it to be a surprise. Telling Jack that she desperately wanted a little girl didn’t seem like the right thing to do. She had never told him about the little girl she had given up for adoption all those years ago and she never intended to.
He tried to catch his breath as he rushed back to work after the surprisingly productive lunch meeting. Thank god they had come around to seeing the situation his way. If not it would have meant another two week delay and thousands of dollars. The sound of childish laughter made him turn his head. A little boy was triumphantly holding a ball above his head, his cheeks flushed red. He made a mental note to call his ex-wife that evening and let her know he’d have to skip this weekend. Birthday or not he had details to finalize before Monday.
She did well most days. She could put the thought out of her mind and go on with her day not giving it a second thought. Other times it would only take a picture posted on Facebook by a distant acquaintance to bring her world crashing down once again. The happy announcement, the congratulations pouring in, the grainy sonogram picture proudly posted. Today it was the sight of a little boy, eagerly sprinting after his ball across the grass. The unfairness of it all surrounded her like a sodden blanket, at times making it hard to even catch her breath.
She cursed under her breath as she waited for Max to show up. He knew she hated waiting and sometimes wondered if he was late on purpose. Neither of them could afford to miss class again. She happened to glance at the little boy playing just meters away and thoughts of Max vanished from her mind. He was the spitting image of her brother minus the black hair. The years since his death had mellowed the pain enough for her to just enjoy the delight with which this other little boy played in the park on a sunny fall day.
(I decided to combine two prompts from Writing 101 for today’s post. Five different vignettes with a common element but keeping each one at 100 words.)
I’m not a writer. I marvel at writing. I am sometimes absolutely astounded when I read something and I think how in the world did that man or that woman sit down at a typewriter, a computer or a pen and an ink well, and seemingly have nothing come between their heart and that pen.
— Kevin Spacey
When I’m not writing I’m doing boring stuff around the house. Clothes don’t launder themselves and dust doesn’t obediently vanish into some other dimension.
When I’m not writing I’m trying to keep on track with my new eat better, move more plan.
When I’m not writing I’m thinking about what I would do if (or indeed when) the zombie apocalypse finally hits. What weapons to procure, where to hole up, do I go it alone or am I more of a group person?
When I’m not writing I’m watching some kind of documentary. I’ve been on a Mafia kick lately as I find that whole world and the players in it fascinating though I hope that doesn’t point to some kind of personality deficiency on my part.
When I’m not writing I’m losing untold hours browsing about on the internet. While I may start off my day searching for the best chocolate cake recipe I somehow end up, hours later, reading up on the mating habits of the Argentine lake duck.
When I’m not writing I’m gaming and losing myself in a whole other world where I can be the assassin, the gunslinger, the gangster, or the vigilante.
When I’m not writing I’m reading although I don’t seem to make enough time for it.
When I’m not writing I’m making mental notes of what I at some point may write about.