Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is to write about wondering what “future archaeologists, whether human or from an alien civilization, will make of us . . . exploring a particular object or place from the point of view of some far-off, future scientist.” Thanks to Michael of last week’s Tale Weavers from MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie who provided a prompt about the moon. As well for A to Z Challenge for a GoodRead’s quote the letter today is the letter W.
” . . . All that is now / [a]ll that is gone/ [a]ll that’s to come / and everything under the sun is in tune/ but the sun is eclipsed by the moon.
“There is no dark side of the moon really. Matter of fact it’s all dark.” — Roger Waters
Gazing into the future, ‘neath a pale moon gleaming bright,
Hard to believe, people who were, saw the same moon’s shining light.
They had houses, electricity.
So many ethnicities.
It’s different now, the gene pool changed,
Those who look unique all estranged.
All look like us, all brown eyes, dark hair, and medium skin too.
I can scarce picture blond, red-haired, green eyes, or eyes so blue.
Genetic defects they called them, so now we’re all plain, the same,
It’s weird to think, they dyed their hair, all colors, none went gray.
How was it to be individual,
Not for the whole good — sacrificial.
What makes a person now is,
Incredibly different knowing this —
Society of people who fell as those before left their cities,
Frames of what once was, rusted metal, not all that pretty.
Their language full of slang, we cannot pin down lingiustics,
Cannot find words, spoken globally, their lyrics I sing.
But their music is strange, listened —
To some and our technology it fits.
Technology they had weird, but we —
Discover strange things, sound gleaned.
Words not understandable but melodies clear and bright,
Music is forbidden, I sing in secrecy to ancient tunes light.
Some days we watch their stories, their films, when the moon is round.
My favorite days, those brilliant plays, words with lovely sound.
And we find little toys, scrapbooks, phones,
While in the distance the guns drone.
Each man, each woman a soldier,
Controlled by who knows? With no souls.
No hope as those gone far ago had, of a war ending soon,
Gazing into the future, we lived under the same moon.
Kathy walked into TheCorkScrew. During the day it had masqueraded as a cafe with coffee, tea, hot chocolate, soft drinks, and any alcohol you felt like adding. At night the old place truly came alive as the beloved town bar where everyone met to have fun and catch up.
However, the building no longer met fire code regulations. It hadn’t when she started working here as a bartender when she was sixteen, having procured a fake ID. But twenty-five years later the place was so terrible it had to be torn down; even renovations couldn’t save The CorkScrew.
At the front of the bar were bottles from years gone by. For some reason one could still get an ancient bottle of 7Up to mix with lime juice and Vodka. There was original Coca Cola and original Pepsi, whatever you preferred to have with your Rye or Rum.
Kathy along with neighbors, patrons, and friends — some she’d known all her life — had come to the bar one last time to watch as The CorkScrew was boarded-up. Oddly enough, even the rats seemed to be leaving the building, which only made Kathy cry harder.
Alice was excited to be eighteen and have her coming-out party in society. The young girl who talked nonsense about Wonderland was gone — the adult had almost swallowed her fantastical self completely.
She participated in garden parties, having tea in different settings such as fashionable tea rooms with her mother and girl friends. Alice went out with friends on picnics and sometimes on a double-date with a girl friend, two gentlemen with potential, and of course a chaperone.
Part of Alice always had a difficult time letting go of Wonderland. She knew it as a world infinantly crazy. At the same time, it was a place where she felt at home and life even though hidden beneath words and rhymes, made the most sense out of any place she had visited.
Alice had been around the world. Her father and mother had taken her to Europe. She had seen art and buildings thousands of years-old. She studied countless kings, queens, poets, philisophers, and clergymen as she travelled with a tutor. She had even been to the Orient, stocking up on silk and tea for he friends. Something about having tea, always appealed to her. It wasn’t merely Victorian society’s obsession with the past-time.
Throughout her travels, Alice found herself thinking about her days in Wonderland. She would consider if her two grand adventures actually occurred. If the dreams she still had of people and creatures in Wonderland — new and old, throughout her life –were true?
Alice could picture her Wonderland friends drinking tea, eating cookies, and talking nonsense; it had all felt real. She missed her childhood, but at the same time thought she had indeed been bonkers. Her friends at school had quickly shown her how odd little girls were treated and mocked, until Alice ceased talking about Wonderland at all.
As she grew-up, she believed she caught glimpses of a furry white rabbit in a vest following her, keeping watch. The White Rabbit would turn his head and smile at Alice, purposefully checking his pocket watch and then waving it at her. She didn’t know what the White Rabbit wanted from her and she was never quite sure if he was real. Alice began to ignore the White Rabbit, but he was persistent, even invading her sleep. Her dreams became increasingly vivid and she felt wherever she went, traces of Wonderland and its inhabitants, grasped her with dreamy tendrils.
Since Alice had first returned from Wonderland as a small girl of six, a pair of intense green-eyes and an attractive smile, had haunted her dreams. She knew this man, knew he’d always been watching out for her in the stickiest of situations as she grew up, keeping her safe. Alice had never had the chance to meet this young man, only knew that he lingered in her presence often, and that when he she felt him, she was at peace.
Alice’s eigteenth birthday was a grand affair. Several young men and women attended with their families. Last night had been an opulent coming-out ball but tonight was a private affair for Alice and her closest girl friends. The best potential suitors for Alice and her friends were also invited.
She was sipping her tea when her eyes caught the eyes of a man she thought to be about five years her senior. His green-eyes were familiar and glinted knowingly at Alice. She stared at him enthralled; he seemed to know she was drawn to him. His smile was devastatingly familiar, but only in her dreams. Alice wasn’t sure she believedher dreams were genuine. Could magic still be real?
The young man was a strange creature to her, as strange as those creatures she’d met in Wonderland long ago. Perhaps more so, if the sins of the flesh the Abbot talked about were as terrible as he said they were. But Alice didn’t much care about the Abbot’s warnings. She was intrigued and had always been a curious girl; she peered at the green-eyed man considering him.
His suit was finely-made and he smiled at her boldly. He moved towards her, but Alice hid amongst her friends, not yet ready to meet him. Her heart fluttered when her eyes met the young man’s mysterious green-eyes again; he was laughing at her shyness.
Alice perturbed by his making fun of her, left her own party and went outside to ponder. She sat on a bench in the garden behind her house. She still tended the roses in the garden but had forgotten the unique song of all flowers, she had sung as a child. Her roses were wilting and dry. She stood up and bent to pick a lone surviving rose. Hearing odd noises she looked up.
She was unsure of where she was at first, the garden had disappeared and Alice stood on a large slippery brown rock in the middle of an ocean. A young man in a boat rowed towards her and the noises she heard was the water lapping against the stone.
“Oh, do hurry, this rock is so small and I think the water is rising,” Alice yelled to the man. She waved her arms until the boat was next to the rock and piercing green-eyes met her shocked blue ones. Strong hands gently held her steady as she stepped into the row boat.
Alice was grateful to the man, but then she recognized his face from the party. He pushed his short dark-brown waves from his forehead. His green-eyes knowingly studied Alice. She felt as a if she were a child again, under a teacher’s gaze, but the young man was not upset at her; he seemed curious and careful with her instead.
“Alice,” the young man said, “Please take a seat so I can row us to safer waters and neither one of us falls in the ocean.” Alice obeyed, sitting opposite of the man with her mouth gaping. The man gently closed her mouth, smoothing her skin with the back of his hand.
Alice’s face heated and she blushed,”Who are you? And why are you here with me in Wonderland? I didn’t think you were real, real enough to attend my party.”
The young man’s eyes twinkled cheerfully, “I’m Wren, Alice, and I’m here and yourhere because Wonderland needs us. It was time for you to return and time I met you in person — not only in your dreams.” Alice flushed red.
Wren chuckled, “You didn’t go easy on our friend the White Rabbit. He’s a bit peeved at you for ignoring him so long. He kept waving his prized watch at you. I’m surprised you weren’t curious enough to follow him, darling.”
“Wren, are you from Wonderland or did you come here as a child too, like me? You’ve been with me before a great deal. I remember your green-eyes and smile; you keep me safe, but you never say hello. I’ve never seen how you actually look before.”
“Dearest, I’ve always lived in Wonderland and you’re correct, I’ve been with you when you’ve visited and I take care you are safe in the outside world. I have a Cheshire Cat who watches you closely, along with my friend the White Rabbit. I haven’t always been able to be with you, but when I cannot you can be sure the Cheshire Cat or the White Rabbit are there.”
“Why do you keep me safe Wren and why do you call me dearest? I always thought you lived only in my dreams. It’s been so long since I visited through the looking glass; do you stand with the Red Queen or the White Queen?”
Wren smiled softly as he rowed the boat effortlessly, Alice peppering him with questions; he listened contentedly as he rowed. “I’m supported by the White Queen Alice, but my influence is greater than hers and so yourinfluence will be greater than any queen as well.”
Alice studied Wren. She had been staring her boots shyly, for far too long. It wasn’t like her to be shy, when she bubbled with questions. Yet, she could feel herself blush anytime she looked at Wren; his smile brightened when he caught Alice staring.
She brushed the blond hair out of her eyes and in her frilly white dress, balled her hands together on her lap, determined to have a long look at Wren. She was assured she’d seen him before in some form and felt his presence keeping her from harm. Wren was beautiful to Alice; he was handsome and lithely muscled beneath his clothes. He was from Wonderland so she was pleased not to have to hide nonsensicallogic from him; he already would understand what Wonderland was like.
She noticed his eyes peruse her and Alice blushed again. Wren reached for her small hand and squeezed it gently, as he stopped rowing the boat. “Alice, you’re beautiful. As a girl, I thought you a fascinating girl, defeating the Red Queen and deftly dealing with Time. You had such a tousled head of blond hair and you still do. You’ve the same inquisitive blue-eyes and you’ve grown into a stunning woman,” Wren told her squeezing her hand again. He seemed genuine and the compliments made Alice flustered.
“Your beauty is also an asset when one has been tasked to guard Wonderland as we have,” Wren continued.”Beauty can attract and fool people and often, at the same time,” Wren said, absently stroking circles on Alice’s hand. “It’s hard for me to explain. Especially since I’ve much more experience than you’ve in life. Humans ageslowly in Wonderland –most creatures here do. But as in any land, we have ourownways to protect and our own tyrants to fight. You have proven yourself twice against our foes.”
Wren held both her hands firmly, appearing serious, “We have always had two guardians at a time, for a thousand Wonderland years each pair, ensuring Wonderland’s survival. Our guardians are a couple; a couple is stronger than one being. I am one guardian, born in Wonderland and familiar with its ways,” Wren said.
“The second guardian is you, Alice, born of the outside world. You have learned and come to love Wonderland — though lately you pretend otherwise. You are the second guardian Alice and I’ve waited forever for you, my other half. You know forever can be a very long time.”
Alice blushed and then upon realizing the great responsibility she now had, her face went white, “Why me? Is this why I have never been able to forget Wonderland all these years ? Am I to marry you, a man I don’t really know?
Wren grinned at Alice tugging gently on her hands as she tried to free herself from his touch; he chuckled, playfully. Alice began to smile too and as she peered up from their joined hands, she saw the row boat resting on a beach. They stepped over the side of the boat and the vivacity and colour of Wonderland surrounded her as they walked into the forest. The flowers greeted Alice immediately, so happy she had returned.
Wren stopped walking a moment, turning to face Alice. He was heads above her and tilted her chin up to look at him. “My Alice,” he began, “Magic is a curious thing. It can find the right people and draw them together. It has always driven me to you. I have loved you since I first saw you.”
“That makes no sense.”
“But it does Alice. You believe in magic, yes?” Alice nodded.
“Then you know. If you want magical things to happen, you must believe in them. We must believe in each other. And what’s knowing? People are together fifty-years in your world and they don’t know each other. Often, they’ve forgotten the magic — the love, between them. Here the world is magic and I will not forget you or our love.”
“Wren, I’m particularly fond of you. I’ve never felt this way, except about you, ever — only in dreams when you visited, when I felt you near somehow. Is that love and is it enough? And I’m only eighteen-years-old, how can I guard Wonderland?
Wren smiled and he gently pecked Alice’s lips.”We have forever. Forever is a thousand Wonderland years. All your old friends are here. Not those girls who were cruel to you for being you at school. Wonderland needs us both and you will soon know me as I know you. We will even know each other better than most people ever know each other. What you feel for me, I’m so thankful for. And yes it is enough, it is the beginning of love.”
“I’m not sure couples should always know each other better. Sometimes secrets are better kept,” Alice said thoughtfully.
“Dearest, we cannot have secrets. We have a responsibility but we have a haven in each other and perhaps much later, a child to carry on as guardian with another girl or boy from your world, when forever comes,” Wren stated stroking Alice’s cheek.
“I can trust you, Wren? I’d rather have the truth in a nonsensical way than an outright lie,” Alice said firmly staring at Wren.
He blushed this time, “I will be truthful to you —nonsensically and sensically.”
Alice smiled and kissed Wren’s cheek before saying,”You never said Wren, who do we guard Wonderland from?”
“From reality, Alice. From those who do not believe in magic. For those who would tell people love is not real and everything has to be logical and makesense. Though our world is much nonsense, we make moresense than the real world. There are always monsters in the midst and as you know, timehimself is often one of them. So are Queens and many tyrants, there is always a badguy somewhere I’m afraid,” Wren said a bit tiredly.
Alice stared at Wren, standing on her tippy-toes, and stroking his stumbled cheeks in comfort. She felt drawn to Wren, as if she were in a pleasant fog. Gently her lips met Wren’s for a kiss. He kissed her back more intensely and she could feel what she knew was passion between them; it was Alice’s first real kiss. They lingered a while, walking and teasing each other, stealing more kisses which were more difficult for Alice to step away from each time.
A stray thought occurrred to her as they walked, “Won’t my mother miss me?” Alice asked, “How can I leave her alone?”
“She will believe you married a wealthy heir and will be pleased, as that will be the truth; we can visit her often, though she will be gone for most of your lifetime.”
Alice nodded feeling sad, but realizing her duty with Wren. She wasn’t afraid, knowing he was with her. She knew their relationship was blossoming and would flourish, perhaps, with ‘ups’ and ‘downs’ as couples had — but perhaps, better. Their connection had been built her entire life.
Taking Wren’s hand, Alice walked off into Wonderland. How curious her home would be here with Wren and his green–eyes gazing at her with love, and the White Rabbit out of no where, jumping beside them.
Thank you to K.L. Caley of new2writing for hosting #Maydays prompts. Today’s theme is a transforming friendship, someone you or a character didn’t like, but now do.
Ever since Cale started staring at me with his aqua-blue eyes and short blond hair, my pulse speeds up and I think I’m going to faint.
“Hi, ” Cale says to me as I pass him in the cafeteria.
“Hi, how are you?” I say trembling
“Yeah and you’re Cale. How’d you know my name?”
“Oh, I asked a couple of girls who I’m friends with from one of your classes, Marissa and Jackie.” I nodded.
Marissa and Jackie both hated me. They talked behind my back and gave me dirty looks. I knew exactly who they were. But I was interested in knowing Cale better, despite his choice of friends.
“How did you know my name?” Cale asked me smiling,
“I go and watch the hockey games. You guys are doing awesome this year. You’re a left winger right? I remember you score a lot of goals.” There’s a silly grin on my face.
“Sit down with me Jane,” Cale says. “Can I get you anything to eat or drink, it doesn’t look like you’ve had lunch yet?”
“No, really.” Cale says.
“Ok, I’ll have a bottle of water and a yogurt, granola, and fruit parfait.” I say.
Cale chuckles. “Such a healthy eater. I’m buying us some French fries to share too and you better eat some.”
Cale comes back with more food than we can both eat. It makes me smile and feel warm inside.
“Tell me about yourself?” Cale says staring at me with his aqua-blue eyes.
I blush. I’m so shy. I don’t know why he likes me.”I, uh um, I’m an English and Film Studies major. I’m taking five classes, I’m in my second year of university, and I like to swim. I go out with my friends on the weekend to dance and that’s pretty much it.” I say stumbling over my words.
Cale chuckles. “Busy life Jane. Do you work too?”
“Yeah, I waitress at Moxie’s on the northside. What about you?” I’m beginning to feel less nervous.
“Well I can only manage three classes at once. I’m taking business, majoring in finance. I play hockey as you know and practice takes up a lot of time. I work a great deal at an accounting company in the West end. They help pay for my education and I want to get my CMA eventually. I have fun on the weekends with my friends like you. Maybe your friends and mine could meet up on Friday night? The Lucky Fox sound good to you?”
I’m chewing a French fry and almost choke. I drink some water and as well as I can manage, I say: “That sounds like fun. Let me talk to my friends and I’ll get back to you.”
Cale is grinning at me and brushes a stray lock of pink hued blond hair behind my ear. Pulling out his cellphone he asks for my number then texts me so I have his cell number as well. We continue to talk and when my next class starts, we talk through it too.
Eventually, Cale has to go to work. He kisses me on my cheek before he leaves.
“Where is this guy anyways, Jane?” My friend Rebecca asks. “He said to meet him at the Lucky Fox at 11:30 pm and it’s 1:30 am?”
” Yeah, I don’t think he’s a good guy Jane,” Samantha says agreeing with Rebecca. A couple other girls who came along with Rebecca, Samantha, and I, chime in with their unflatterring views of Cale, trying to be supportive of me.
“Stuff happens when you’re out at a bar,” I say. “Maybe something happened with his friends and he couldn’t make it out.”
I text Cale: Where are you, Cale? You said you’d meet here two-hours ago?
I don’t expect a reply. I’ve texted Cale four or five times with no response.
Who’s this? His text message says. I jump.
It’s Jane from school remember? We had lunch together and talked all afternoon? We made plans for our friends to all meet tonight at the Lucky Fox?
He texts: Sorry too much to drink. . .
What? I text back.
I don’t get a response and I’m fuming.
Monday at school I pass Cale on the way to my second class.
Cale touches my shoulder and I spin around to glare at him.
“I can explain about Friday,” he says hands up in apology. “I’m so sorry those girls who told me your name . . .” Cale stops, eyes wide at the anger in my expression.
“Marissa and Jackie?” I say with bitterness.
” Yeah, they got us real drunk. We were playing a card game and pretty much passed-out by midnight. I’m sorry. We did mean to meet you at the Lucky Fox and I was excited to see you and meet your friends.”
I scoffed. “Whatever, you made your choice. You chose to play games and get drunk with your friends, Marissa, and Jackie.”
“Please Jane, I like you a lot. I’ll do better next time.” I ignore Cale stepping around him and I don’t talk to him again, this semester or the next.
He always smiles and waves when I pass by him, but I ignore him. The hurt look on his face every time I pretend not to see him, causes an ache I didn’t know existed inside me.
It’s the beginning of my third year and I know the courses are more advanced and will be harder this year. I’m done class for the first day when I bump into Cale, not watching where I’m going.
Cale puts his hands on my shoulders to stabilize me. “Jane? How are you? I haven’t seen you in forever. How was your summer?”
“It was good Cale. I waitressed and I make great tips in the patio season. I also went away with my best friends Rebecca and Samantha and we went to San Francisco for a week. How about you?”
“Ah, a lot of work at the company.” Cale says shaking his head sadly. “I went to Cancun, Mexico though in Spring with my buddies. It was awesome.”
I’m amazed I’m desperately curious about Cale’s life still. I’m not mad at him for that one night where he didn’t show up to bar. I think I was over reacting and I’m happy to see Cale because I’ve thought of him often, wishing for a do-over. Here’s my chance.
Cale’s hands are still on my shoulders his thumbs gently brushing the bare skin beside my scooped necked blue t-shirt.
“Listen,” I admit, “I’m sorry I was so mad at you before. Things happen when alcohol is involved I know, but I was hurt. I wanted to spend the night with you and you spent it with those other girls Marissa and Jackie. Those girls hate me. They talk behind my back about me.”
Cale frowns, “I’ll talk to Marissa and Jackie. They won’t be doing that to you anymore if they want to stay friends with me.” I feel hopeful about what Cale has said.
“You had a right to be mad about that night.” He adds, “I was being stupid. But you didn’t have to ignore me for a year. I had given up hope you’d ever talk to me again until well, right now.”
“I’m sorry Cale. I was being mean. I shouldn’t have ignored you for so long. Just because you didn’t show up one night doesn’t give me the right to treat you like you don’t exist. I hated ignoring you, I felt guilty every time I did it.” I said peering up at Cale’s aqua-blue eyes.
” Jane are you seeing anyone right now?”
I blush and smile at Cale. “No, not for months. Are you?”
“No same as you. I’d like to take you out and only us this time. We can meet each other’s friends another time. I’ve missed you and I want to get to know you better. Can I pick you up for dinner some night this week?”
“Yes, you may,” I say. Cale grins, looking relieved.
“Tuesday is a good night for me, how about you?” I ask him.
“Tuesday at 7:00 pm it is.”
Cale is noticeably exstatic and I think he’s about the hottest guy I’ve ever seen in his happiness. I absently run my hand through his short blond hair which is so soft, as I gaze up at him.
I barely realize his mouth is on mine until it is and his kiss and searching lips make me forget all the bad things that happened between us. I feel a warm hum of energy trickling from Cale’s lips into me.
Cale pulls away from me, breathing hard. “I’ve been wanting to do that for over a year, Jane.”
I take his hand shyly. “I’m glad you finally did.”
” So what do you think?” Paul asked his husband. “It’s a print of a famous painting and the ocean and sky is calm and relaxing. You don’t like it?”
Trevor looked at the print hung over their bed: “Paul, it’s a print. I think if you’re going to buy a copy of a painting, you should at least buy a copy which is actually painted. This is a poster, how much did you pay for it?” Paul smiled with strain.
“Oh, it was only a cheap print framed. Maybe, we can go find an actual painting soon. I only thought this was a serene piece of art perfect for a bedroom.” Paul said sounding hurt.
Trevor sighed deeply; he hated it when Paul made him feel guilty.
“The ocean and the sky are serene but we could go down Whyte Ave this week during Art Walk and find an original actual painting, while supporting local artists. I’m sure a peaceful ocean and sky will be a common theme.” Trevor remarked, trying to convince Paul’s high taste.
Paul grinned.”That sounds fantastic! There is this great restaurant where they have real Italian food on Whyte and…”
Trevor tuned Paul out and flicked on the TV opposite the ocean print. An NFL game was on; true art, Trevor thought with a grin.