The Outsiders

Daily Prompt: The Outsiders

Tell us about the experience of being outside, looking in — however you’d like to interpret that.


Well, this hits close to home, Sally mused as she listened to her niece, Manda, tearfully explain how she’d not been invited to a sleepover with her supposed friends … again.

“I don’t understand it, auntie, what did I do? Why don’t they like me? Why do I always feel like I’m on the outside looking in?” Manda snorted through heavy tears and a stuffed up nose. She snatched at the tissue proffered by her aunt and blew hard into it. Nothing moved.

Sally sat beside Manda on the soft two-seater sofa and put an arm around her distraught niece. What could she say? It was a feeling all too familiar, but one with which she had learned to live while finding strength in her own solitude.

“Now, now, my sweet girl, don’t you worry,” she gave her niece’s shoulders a squeeze and then moved away slightly. “Look at me … please …”

Reluctantly, Manda turned to look at her beloved aunt and wiped a shaking hand across tear-tracked cheeks. She sniffed.

“Listen, Manda my love, you’re a strong girl, born into a strong family. We’ve learned to stand on our own two feet, and while that can feel lonely at times it is, in the end, the better way because we learn to be our own best friend. To take care of our needs without constantly needing the validation of others.” Sally reached for one of Manda’s hands and held it gently.

“What’s validation?” 12-year-old Manda asked with a sniff.

“Well,” Sally began, “it’s when people need other people to tell them how great they are all the time to feel good about themselves. Instead of finding that confirmation from within, they demand it of others. The only problem is that people can change their minds all the time about how they feel about someone. One day they think you’re great and the next you’re yesterday’s news. That can be really hurtful. These friends of yours, if they were true friends, would include you and not hurt you this way.”

“And it hurts so much!” Manda howled while doubling over into her knees and rocking back and forth. “I don’t want to be alone!!!”

Sally rubbed her niece’s back and gulped back her own sob. Oh, how she wished this lovely girl didn’t have to feel the pain of exclusion.  And how long the journey would be until she found contentment in her own company.

They sat in silence for a few minutes.

Finally, Sally spoke.

“Manda, I know this feels horrible now, and believe me I totally understand what …”

“No you don’t!” Manda sat bolt upright and looked straight in her aunt’s eyes, still shaking. “How could you possibly know how I feel?”

Sally sighed.

“Of course, sweetie, you’re right. I am not you and cannot possibly understand how you feel. But, I’ve had my own experiences with this, and even now I struggle with it at times. But I would rather be alone, and happy in my own company, than with fickle friends who blow hot and cold. That is too painful. … You may have noticed that I don’t have many close friends,” she continued. “It’s not that I don’t want any, it’s just that I … ” How could she say it without sounding like a snob? ” … that I’ve learned to be selective. To only welcome people into my life I know want to be there. Life is too short to waste precious energy on people you have to chase to like you all the time. Believe me, sweetie, pretending to be someone you aren’t for the sake of being on the inside is exhausting, and debilitating, in so many ways you won’t understand right now. But one day …”

” … one day I can look forward to being lonely like you?” Manda wailed. “No thank you …” and she stood up sharply and stormed outside to drown in her tormented sea of self-pity.

Sally reached into her apron for another tissue and dabbed at salty tears.

Now she felt on the outside.


©Dorothy Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2015

Where The Path Leads

Daily Prompt: Que Sera Sera

Do you believe in fate or do you believe you can control your own destiny?


Can we possibly know the end from the beginning?

Sally gazed thoughtfully at her 12-year-old niece, Manda, who was thumbing through old family photo albums at the kitchen table. She sighed. Who knows what will happen to this lovely girl as she gets older, Sally mused. It all depends on the choices she makes. And even then, nothing is certain.

“Aunt Sally …”

Sally drifted back to the moment at the sound of her name.

“Yes Manda, sweetie …”

“Did you and Uncle Tim plan not to have any children?”

Trust a child to get straight to the point.

“Why do you ask that, love?”

“Well,” began Manda, “you would have made a great mother. I just don’t understand why I don’t have any cousins … why I have you all to myself.”

Sally walked toward the small pine harvest table and sat on one of its companion chairs. She reached for a photo album and gazed at the page that had prompted Manda’s question. There it was … a family reunion photo of several years before, with all the cousins and their children, including Manda as a toddler, and no one under her and Tim’s wing. She pushed the album away and turned her attention to her niece who was patiently waiting for an answer. She’d have to have an answer or Sally would get no peace.

“You know sometimes, Manda, you can make all the plans you want about achieving a certain thing, but …” she hesitated, truth was a hard thing, ” … but unless you have a true understanding of yourself and the support you need you will rarely achieve it.”

Manda tilted her head toward her right shoulder in wonderment. “Hmmm … I’m not sure I know what you mean.”

Sally took a deep breath.

“Well,” she began, “I always wanted children. When I wasn’t much older than you I had dreams of having a large family. Wanted six children, you know.”

“Six!!!” Manda’s eyes burst open wide.

“Yes, six,” Sally repeated with a sigh. “Within a couple of years of getting married we started trying to have a baby mostly, I think, because all of our friends were having babies and we wanted to keep up. For some reason I couldn’t get pregnant. Your uncle went back to school for his Masters and upon his return we tried in earnest to create that first child. Even went for fertility treatment a couple of times.” Sally stopped, checking to see if she’d lost Manda, but her niece seemed fully committed. She took a deep breath. The memories were almost too painful to share, but perhaps in the sharing some of the pain would release.

“What happened?” Manda whispered, intent to know but somehow understanding the sensitivity of the story being shared.

“Nothing. Nothing happened. There was no baby. When I found out we’d failed the second time I was devastated; heartbroken, and my emotions got the better of me. I cried so much and your uncle was not at all supportive or empathetic. In fact, it was as if the whole episode had not touched him at all. Instead of offering me any comfort he told me I belonged in a nut house,” Sally paused seeing the shocked expression on her niece’s face. “I’m sorry, but you need to know this because it explains what I did next.”

“And what was that?”

“I was so shocked by his lack of empathy and the emotional gulf which seemed to divide us that I told him that I would never go for fertility treatment again. That a pregnancy had to occur naturally or not at all.” Sally sighed. “And, of course, it happened not at all.”

Manda shrugged her shoulders in sadness. “Is that why you left Uncle Tim in the end?”

Sally looked down at her hands and played with her wedding ring from the new man in her life who was everything Tim was not. “It was the beginning of the slippery slope as I realized I could not trust him to be there for me. It took a few years, but yes, it was the first step toward divorce.” She looked up at Manda and smiled, “By the time I met your uncle Bob the biological clock had wound down and my chances for bearing a child were gone.”

“Are you sad about that?” Manda wiped a tear from the corner of her eye.

“Come now, Manda, you must not be sad. I’m not. I learned years later after meeting with a hormone specialist and having tests done that my body chemistry could never have supported a baby. My hormones were so out of whack for so many reasons. This, at least, gave me some peace. I could stop thinking of myself as unworthy of being a mother and focus on taking care of my body which my experiences with early life trauma had somehow compromised. You won’t understand all of this now. I simply share it to illustrate that we must really know ourselves to find our real dreams. And we must have support around us to help them come to life. I had neither.”

Manda sighed and smiled. “Do you believe it was your fate not to have children then?”

Sally thought before answering.

“I believe life unfolds the way it should, sweetie. Set a path and see where it takes you. Don’t be fixed to ideas or goals. Use them as guidelines. Perhaps they will lead to even greater things than you can imagine.”

“Is that what happened to you?” Manda asked, hopefully.

Sally pushed the family album aside and reached for her niece’s hand. “Well, I have you, don’t I?”


Thanks for visiting …


©Dorothy Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2015

Reminiscing Revisited

Daily Prompt: From You to You

Write a letter to your 14-year-old self.


Sally gazed thoughtfully through the kitchen window toward the hammock strung between maples where her 12-year-old niece, Manda, was once again happily swinging. The sweet tones of the young girl’s voice reverberated into the summer stillness, singing the tune to Reminiscing even though she’d only heard it for the first time a few minutes earlier. What a remarkable ear for music the young girl had, her aunt mused. A chip off the old family block, that’s for sure.

Sally smiled as Manda stopped to take a breath and inhaled chocolate ice cream. Oh, to be young again.

She returned to sit at the kitchen table with her glass of iced tea and sighed, remembering how much less idyllic her life had been at that age. And then her thoughts shifted to that favourite song and being 14 years old, and she sighed some more. Fourteen. What a torturous year that had been.

Sally reached for a notepad in the middle of the circular pine table, kept there for random thoughts, and dug for the fountain pen she always carried in her apron pocket. Perhaps it was time she wrote her 14-year-old self a letter. For some reason she felt prompted. Taking another sip of iced tea she set to work.


Dear 14-year-old Sally,

(She hesitated, not knowing where to start and then decided it was best to free write and see what happened … )

Oh, I remember you so well. Does that please you? To have not been forgotten? I hope so, because there are so many other periods of my life that have disappeared from memory liked clouds in the ether. But I remember you, and I wish it was for completely happy reasons.

(Sally took another sip of iced tea and peeked out the window. Manda was still happy. Returning to her missive, Sally continued to write … )

Having said that, I remember only part of that year ~ a time where you ought to have been most happy and were, instead, most traumatized. I know how you loved to visit your grandmother; to be in the small town where she lived, so close to the countryside where you and she and your brother would take long drives up to the old family homestead and stop for ice cream at the greasy spoon. I know you loved that. It helped you to feel rooted to hear the family stories of homesteading and hardship and ultimately, family success.

However, I also remember the terror you felt of  …

(Sally stopped. Was it too painful a memory? She took a deep breath and continued …)

Oh, if not for that dreadful man your whole life might have been different. If only people had known how despicable he was. If only gran had understood she would never have continued to let him visit knowing what he’d done and how much you feared him. Did she just not see? I know you were never able to tell her about what had happened eight years before ~ he’d made you promise. And you, being the good girl you were, kept your promises. But at such a cost! No wonder you ran away to your friend’s farm for weeks at a time to escape the prospect of him dropping by unexpectedly for tea.

Such terrible arguments you and gran had about your absence, but she never understood why.

If only you’d been able to tell her. 

(A deep swelling sigh freed itself from the depths of Sally’s chest. If only … )

I know you did what was necessary to protect yourself. Made yourself invisible; escaped however you could. It was no way to live. You missed so much, and I am sorry for that. What ought to have been the most care-free time of your life was made complicated by the sins of a nefarious heart. I’m so sorry.

(She wiped a tear as it trickled down her left cheek.)

All the trauma you felt lingered for years, and though I did as well in life as my invisible self would allow, I had to get help eventually. Your pain, I’m sad to say, crippled me emotionally. Still, the worst is behind us.

(Sally smiled to herself. Of course her 14-year-old self should know this!)

While your tenacity and sense of self-preservation served as a form of protection it also put obstacles in the way. I’ve been clearing those obstacles so we can both be free of suffering. I say “we” because you will always be a part of me. “We” are free to experience life fully and completely, now. It is such a wonderful gift. And I want to help Manda to do the same.

Thank you for taking such good care of yourself the best way you knew how. Perhaps now we can start to reminisce about more of the good ol’ days … like being on the track team at school, or spending time with the horses, or those lovely drives in the country with gran. You know, she did her best, too, with the limited understanding she had. We must always remember this.

With much love,

Your Self as a woman-of-a-certain-age,



Sally put the pen down and read over her letter. She smiled and pressed it to her heart. Somehow the exercise had been healing. Lovingly, she folded the piece of paper into quarters and slipped it into her apron pocket along with her lidded fountain pen. She would save the letter in her journal later. But now it was time to give that vivacious 12-year-old girl with those big, brown, sparkly eyes and the innocence of youth a big hug. Manda would always know who she could trust.


Thanks for visiting,


©Dorothy Chiotti 2015


Daily Prompt: Always Something There to Remind Me

A song comes on the radio and instantly, you’re transported to a different time and place. Which song(s) bring back memories for you and why? Be sure to mention the song, and describe the memory it evokes.


“It’s impossible to pick just one song, Manda. My life is a play list.” Aunt Sally dove into her memories to think of a song that transported her to time and place and came up empty. “It’s like asking me which is my favourite cheese. There are too many.”

Twelve-year-old Manda jumped from her chair at the kitchen table to turn on the old transistor radio accommodating her aunt’s window sill.

“First song that comes up I want you to share a memory … please … I love your stories.” Manda returned to her seat as the commercials wound down and the DJ introduced the next song on the 70s radio station.

As the first cheerful chords of an old familiar tune played Sally caught her breath.

“What? … What do you remember?”

Friday night it was late I was walking you home we got down to the gate and I was dreaming of the night …

The Little River Band. 1978. Sally’s thoughts returned to her 14th summer, spent at her grandmother’s in a small town in northern Alberta.

“Oh, Manda … this is one of my favourite songs from when I was just a couple of years older than you are now.” Sally took a breath. Her body started swaying to the beat and she began to hum along. She stretched out her hands to her niece and invited her to dance in the middle of the kitchen with her. The mid day sun flared shafts of memory through the window as the two girls sashayed around the floor.

The song was too soon over and Sally flopped into her chair and sipped at her lemonade. It was another hot, sticky day. The exertion almost too much, even with air conditioning.

“That’s a nice song, auntie,” Manda hummed what she could remember. “I can see why you like it. What memory did it drum up?”

Sally took a deep breath and wondered whether to make something up or be truthful. It wasn’t much of a debate.

“Oh, you know, that wasn’t a very happy summer for me. Too many hormones. Too little parental attention of the kind I needed. Terrified of life and trusting no one. I was really raising myself, at the time, and doing a poor job of it.” She sighed. “Gran was there, but I never felt I could trust her. Wasn’t her fault, I suppose. Oh, it’s complicated. … Anyway, this song,” Sally closed her eyes and hummed the opening before continuing, “this song always made me happy. It still makes me happy. I love the rhythm. There’s a promise in the song about never leaving someone alone, and I suppose, at some level, that’s what I wanted. To know I would never be alone …”

Sally’s voice trailed off as she saw herself lying on her bed at Gran’s scribbling in her journal, the radio her consoling companion at a time when nothing, or no one, else could be.

Manda waited, a gentle tear pooled in the corner of her eye. She walked around the table and gave her aunt a big hug. “You never need to worry, Aunt Sally. As long as I am here you will never be alone.” Manda squeezed hard and planted a kiss on her aunt’s cheek.

“Well, Manda, you are a dear,” Sally responded. “I am not alone anymore and haven’t been for a long time. I enjoy my own company now and you know it’s amazing …”

“What is?” interrupted Manda, curious.

“It’s amazing how the people you really need in your life gravitate to you the more you enjoy your own company. Perhaps you are too young to understand this now, but one day you will.”

“So you don’t need me?” Manda gasped, frightened by the prospect.

“Of course, I need you, Manda my dear,” Aunt Sally reassured, “but from a place of  love, not from a place of neediness. There’s a difference. Do you understand?”

“I think so …”

Sally released her niece and gave her a big smile. “One thing you need never question is my love for you and that great big heart of yours. How could I ever feel alone when you fill my heart with such joy?”

Manda smiled back and wiped the pool from the corner of her eye.

“C’mon, sweetie, let’s get ice cream. Chocolate or vanilla.”

“Oh … chocolate. Definitely!”


Reminiscing …

Thanks for visiting,


©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2015

Beware The Wolf

Daily Prompt: Brilliant Disguise

Tell us about a time when someone had you completely fooled, where the wool was pulled right over your eyes and you got hoodwinked, but good. Was it a humorous experience or one you’d rather forget? What was the outcome?


“Lots of people puff themselves up to be more than they are, Manda,” cautioned aunt Sally to her young niece, “it’s born of a deep insecurity; a need to be noticed. You want to watch out for those.”

Twelve-year-old Manda nestled deeper into her hammock and stared blankly into the spectral light that filtered through the rustling leaves of two adjoining maples. It was her favourite thinking place, and she loved it even more when her beloved aunt Sally sat in the rocking Muskoka chair close by and shared her stories.

“Do you have a story you can share to show me, aunt Sally?” Manda asked as she sat up and rested on her elbow, hope beaming from her eyes.

Her aunt thought for a moment. There were too many stories; too many wounded souls who’d pulled the wool over her all-too-trusting eyes. So much hurt. So much pain. Which of these stories could she share without overwhelming the innocence of her beautiful niece?

“Well?” Manda was getting impatient.

Sally smiled weakly. “Well, indeed,” she chided. “You need to understand, Manda, that the world is full of wolves in sheep’s clothing. People who are not what they seem and hide their pain under a clever, often unconscious, disguise. You must learn,” she warned, “never to allow another person’s pain to become your truth. Promise me?”

“I promise,” confirmed Manda, “but do tell me a story, if you have one.”

Sally took a sip of lemony iced tea, so cooling on a hot and sticky summer day, and settled more deeply into her rocker. The rhythm of its gentle sway bringing comfort as she wondered what to share.

“Well, I had one friend … and I use the term loosely … who, well,” Sally felt tongue-tied. She had no wish to lay bare old emotions caught up in past pain. “Look,” she changed tack, “the people you want to watch out for are narcissists.”

“What’s a narciss … whatever that is?” Manda asked, confused

“Narcissist, sweetie …” corrected Sally.

“Narciss … ist …” repeated Manda, still uncertain.

“Narcissists are people who make the world revolve around them at the expense of others. Every conversation; every activity; every experience you have with them will be about them, and if it doesn’t start out that way it will most certainly end up there. They make big gestures based on fantasy; they make promises they never keep; they take what they need without asking at the expense of others and give no thought to its impact on those they offend. They don the mask of perfection so that no one will see the unpleasant truth and they always appear better than everyone else in some way. They take up so much room, and take up so much light you dwell constantly in their shadow and are barely able to see yourself … .” Sally gasped for breath, memories of unveiled wolves suffocating the moment.

Manda jumped from her happy place and knelt beside her aunt’s chair.  “Aunt Sally, please don’t be upset,” she pleaded.

Sally gathered herself. “Ah, you’re a good girl, Manda, but even in your concern for me don’t make my pain yours. You will have enough to contend with in your life.” She paused, “Just remember, Manda, that the surest way to protect yourself from these people is to have a strong sense of self grounded in reality. By all means, have your self-esteem, but never at the expense of others because then you rob them of theirs.” She ushered Manda back to her happy place in the hammock and continued. “This is what narcissists do to you, Manda,” she counselled, “they grab all the attention in the room and take you for all you’re worth and then, when you no longer serve their purpose or they see that you are wise to their ways, they dump you in a heap of pain … their pain. They can never own it, or deal with it, so they spread it around to make themselves feel better … and others feel worse.”

Sally remembered a supposed mentor, an equestrian coach who, when it came down to it, had no one’s interest in mind but her own. Not even the horses’. She cringed at the memory of too-tight side reins the coach had put on her young horse during a training session. At the time Sally had trusted this person to know what they were doing. However, it soon became all too clear that her coach was nothing more than a blow hard when the distressed horse sat down, with Sally on him, and fell over within a few steps of the equipment having been adjusted. Her coach took no ownership of her mistake, solidly pointing the finger at Sally and the “stupid horse.”

The humiliation of not recognizing then what an energy-sucking vampire her coach had been, and the fact she’d allowed herself to be victimized by her for a further four years still hurt in far off places in Sally’s psyche.

“Aunt Sally … where are you?” Manda called her aunt back to the present.

With a shudder Sally returned and smiled awkwardly. She took another sip of her almost-finished iced tea. “Oh, I am sorry,” she offered. “I don’t know if I’m being helpful at all, but let me offer one more thought on the matter.”

“What’s that, aunt Sally?”

“As long you are true to yourself and pay attention to how people make you feel when you are with them you can never go wrong. Some people are only happy when those around them are miserable. If you feel miserable in someone’s company; if they bring out the worst in you; if they abuse your friendship or must be the centre of attention all the time, don’t walk … run! For sure as I’m sitting in front of you today they won’t care if you’re unhappy as long as you make them feel better … in whatever meaning that has for them.” Sally paused for effect. “Always pay attention to how you feel in the presence of another. Understand what your body is saying to you when you feel a pit in your stomach, or your bowels start to churn or …” she stopped. “Goodness me, dear, too much information. … Let’s put it this way. How do you feel when you’re with me?”

“I feel excellent! Happy! Loved!” Manda responded with the exuberance of youth.

“Good,” Sally responded, “let this be your guide wherever you are and whoever you’re with. If you feel anything less than this, leave them to their misery. Will you do that for me?”

“Oh, yes, aunt Sally … for you anything.”

“Lovely … now let’s get some more iced tea.”


Thanks for visiting …


©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2015

Nectar to Hummingbirds

Daily Prompt: The Kindness of Strangers


“It was such a long time ago,” Sally mumbled sadly to herself as she gazed through the window to a hummingbird hovering by a feeder which hung there.

“What was, Aunt Sally? What was so long ago?”

Young Amanda flopped down on the sofa next to her favourite, albeit only, aunt, and wrapped her arm around hers. She was pretty astute for a 12-year-old. Some thing, some memory, had loomed in her beautiful aunt’s expression that she just had to understand.

“Why are you sad, Aunt Sally? I don’t like it when you’re sad.”

Sally grabbed her niece’s hand and held it tight. She loved her Manda; an old soul full of youthful vitality. Such a gift … and such a burden.

“Don’t grow up too fast, sweetie.” Sally released Manda’s hand and attempted a smile. “And enjoy every blesséd moment, because they go by so fast.”

“Are you thinking of any moment in particular, auntie?” Manda asked, curious.

Sally sighed. “Yes, yes I am.” She turned to face her niece, and smiled. She should share it.

“When I was 21,” she began, “I was engaged to be married. It wasn’t a particularly happy engagement. I cried a lot. He was a good man, but not good for me. So, two weeks before the wedding after a particularly angry series of telephone conversations, I called it off and fled to Toronto.”

“You were a runaway bride?” Manda interrupted wide-eyed, her imagination running away with her.

“Yes, I was a runaway bride,” Sally confirmed with a wry smile. “I left everyone, everything I knew behind. Your aunt Ruby, my mother, was left to tell everyone what had happened and to send all the gifts back. Return the dress. Cancel the cake. What a mess. But I didn’t know any of this so absorbed, was I, in my pain and loss and suffering. I’d run far away to escape; to search for something, somewhere, else where I might be happy. Truthfully,” she paused and sighed, “I was probably searching for my self, at the time, but I just didn’t know it.”

Manda gave her aunt a quizzical and concerned look.

“Don’t worry …” Sally reassured and patted her niece’s hand. “It was a terrible time in my life. I stayed with my father, your uncle Joe, with whom I had no relationship at all, as you already know. He lived in a 20th floor apartment in the suburbs. I hated it but had nowhere else to go. He offered me a sort of safe haven until I could get my feet back on the ground, something I couldn’t do fast enough. It took me two weeks just to find my bearings. It was the dead of winter and colder than I’d ever experienced. I rarely left the apartment. My diet was Edam cheese and hot pickles. I watched a lot of Young and the Restless. I was not myself.”

Sally turned again to gaze beyond the bay window looking out to the pretty pond surrounded by willows. Manda sidled closer and rested her head on her aunt’s shoulder. She loved listening to her stories.

“Eventually I found work downtown as a secretary in a brokerage. Dreary really, but it gave me the income I needed to start saving for a place of my own. Then one day,” Sally’s expression brightened a little, “I was walking north on Yonge Street from King, on my way to the bank to deposit my pay cheque. I wasn’t that happy. The amount was less than usual because some extra deduction had been taken. Woeful thoughts of living the rest of my life in my father’s second bedroom haunted me. Anyway, as I walked a sporty red convertible with a couple of cute guys in it drove by. I noticed it only because it was quite different to all the other cars … okay, yes, those two young men sort of caught my eye, too.” She giggled at the memory and Manda giggled with her. “But they drove on their way and I continued sadly on to the bank to make my deposit, and that was that … or so I thought.”

Manda hugged her aunt’s arm tight. “Then what happened?” she asked, eagerly.

“Well,” her aunt continued blank faced, “I was walking along the busy street back to the office, still feeling pretty low. Lonely. Unloved. Sorry for myself, I guess,” she sighed, “when that red convertible pulled up beside me. The two young men were trying to get my attention. I thought they needed directions … not that I could have helped them, of course, being so new to the city myself.”

Manda released her aunt’s arm and pulled herself out of the sofa to rest on its edge. Her eyes were bright with query. “What happened? What happened?”

A big, beaming smile curved across Sally’s lips as a tear of happy remembering pooled in the corner of her right eye.

“I wandered over to the car and asked the fellow in the passenger seat, who’d been trying to get my attention, if I could help.”

“And?” Manda could hardly contain her excitement.

“He gave me flowers.”

“He what? Really? He gave you flowers?” Manda asked, astonished.

“He gave me a flowers … a variety, if I remember correctly,” Sally mused.

“Did he say anything?”

“Yes he did, actually,” Sally became thoughtful. “He said, ‘You are the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen and I want to give you these flowers.'”

“Really? He said that?” Manda shrieked with such enthusiasm she almost fell off the sofa.

“Yes, he did,” Sally assured while grabbing Manda’s arm and pulling her back into the sofa. “Really, Manda, you must be more careful.”

“I’m fine, auntie.  … Then what happened?”

“Well, needless to say I was totally overwhelmed. The thing I needed perhaps more than anything at that time ~ some positive assurance that I wasn’t invisible ~ had happened out of the blue at the hand of a stranger. It was such a wonderful moment.” Sally sighed. “I could barely say thank you before the flower fella and his co-conspirator had driven off never to be seen again.” Sally paused and reflected, her eyes closed, her hands gently resting on her lap. “I was on Cloud Nine that whole afternoon. I felt seen. Felt alive; lighthearted; wonderful. For a little while life felt good again. And I felt beautiful.”

“Oh auntie, what a lovely story! But how did they know to find you when you were walking back from the bank?”

“Honestly, Manda, I don’t know,” Sally puzzled. “I have no idea how the timing of that worked and believe me I have thought about it often. How did they know I was going back that way? How did they know? I still don’t know, but I’ll tell you one thing …”

“What’s that, aunt Sally?”

“Life is full of little miracles if we will only pay attention to what’s going on around us. Even in our really dark moments someone somewhere … and maybe even a complete stranger … will do something randomly kind like that, something that will bring sunshine into our lives when all around us feels cloudy.”

“Are there many people like that out there, auntie?”

Sally thought for a moment. “Be a kind spirit, my Manda, and like nectar to hummingbirds you will attract kind spirits in turn.”

“Is that why you were given the flowers?”

Sally reflected, “Who can say, darling? Who can say? Now, come on … let’s make some of tea.”


Thanks for visiting …


©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2015

Something Normal

Daily Prompt: A Dog Named Bob
You have 20 minutes to write a post that includes the words mailbox, bluejay, plate, syrup, and ink.
And one more detail… the story must include a dog named Bob


“You have no idea what you’re talking about,” Abby growled as she grabbed a clean plate from the dishwasher for her freshly toasted waffle. “Pass me the syrup, will you … please?”

Martin sighed and hobbled to the fridge to take out the maple syrup. “What do you mean? It’s all a matter of opinion … or taste,” he winced. “I simply don’t like cold syrup on my waffles. It tastes horrible.” He handed her the sticky bottle and heaved himself back on the bar stool upon which he’d been perched.

“Well, I’m afraid you’ll just have to warm it up yourself,” she said forgetting how wobbly he was. “I’ve just realized I need to pick something up from the mailbox. A notice was left at the door yesterday that the package I’ve been waiting for has finally arrived.” Abby showed Martin the notice. “Will you look at that? You’d think the post office could afford to use indelible ink. It’s so faint as to be almost illegible!”

Her fiancé gave the piece a once-over and growled. Not about the running ink, but about the fact he had to warm up his own syrup.

“Are you going, then?” he asked Abby who’d become distracted by a bluejay flitting and flying around the bubble rock in the back garden.


“Are you going to the mailbox or can I live in hope you’ll look beyond yourself long enough to be able to heat up some maple syrup for me? You know I can barely move with this torn calf muscle.”

Abby rolled her eyes and smiled apologetically. “Well, that’ll teach you for trying to play a shot you have no business making after years away from the game. Why take up tennis now? Can’t you do something normal … like dog walking? That’s great exercise at our age.”

“You know I don’t have time for a dog of my own right now.”

“But your older neighbour, Mr. Samuels,” she defended, “has a dog … you know the one … a mutt named Bob, of all things, … and needs help walking him occasionally. You could do that … on the weekends. I’d even come with you. I love dogs!”

“Then why don’t you walk him?”

“We’re not talking about me. I have plenty to be getting on with. You, on the other hand, need more exercise that doesn’t involve you throwing yourself across a grass court and getting injured in the process.” Abby paused in an effort to appear thoughtful rather than nagging. “Once you’re walking better you might approach Mr. Samuels to see if you can help him with Bob. He’d probably appreciate that.”

“Who? Mr. Samuels, or Bob?”

“Both, I dare say …” Abby grinned and made a beeline for the front door.

Without thinking Martin poured cold syrup onto his hot waffle and reluctantly admitted to himself that Abby was probably right ~ that he had overextended himself. At 51 he was no longer a spring chicken and should probably limit himself to more casual physical pursuits. Golf wasn’t so bad as an option. Neither was walking the neighbour’s dog.

“Abby, where are you going?”

Abby stopped, sighed and turned to look with affection at her deflated fiancé.

“To quote the great Gloria Pritchett ~ and I thought we still had a few years until the mind started to go.” She smiled, “Here … let me make you a fresh waffle and heat up your maple syrup first before I pick up my package.”


Thanks for visiting …


©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2015