Buying Time

 

fwfprompt

~*~

“Matyas, what are you doing?”

“Playing Liszt on a sad, old piano,” replied Matyas as he fumbled over the bass clef of an abandoned, battle-bruised upright.

“But, we are in the midst of battle.”

“I play anyway.” He culled from memory the patterns of finger play for the opening bars of the Hungarian Rhapsody. His lately unpracticed, nerve-frayed hands poking at the ivories with determination.

“You will alert the enemy.”

“Yes, to my humanity. I am not a killing machine. I am a man with a heart trained to do the unthinkable.” Matyas pursued the lilting, heart-felt movements with the passion of a man buying time, the tinny sounds of the broken piano resounding plaintively throughout the barren wood. A tear pooled in the corner of his eye. He wiped it away with the back of a dirty sleeve. “I must remind myself I am human. I must show the enemy I am more than a man in uniform.”

“But they will kill you.”

“Then let my last breath be the last note I play. Let me die in the rapture of the music I love.”

“You are a romantic fool, Matyas.”

“I know. Let that be written on my stone.”

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2016

 

Free Write Friday

 

 

 

The Hard Question

goodbye.jpg

~*~

“Which, of all the goodbyes in your life has been the hardest so far?” Manda, my inquisitive 12-year-old niece, has asked the impossible.

Good grief. How do you tell a child, albeit an old soul, about the painful goodbye to lost youth?

How do you get the young to understand that all that lies between youth and old age is time? Time well spent, or time squandered or lost, it’s the same. One way or another getting from point A to point B involves the loss of youth along the ever-flowing river of time ~ until it opens into the vast ocean of death that awaits us all.

For saying goodbye to my youth has been the hardest goodbye … so far. The transit to middle age a shock like none other as I realize that what time lies ahead is undoubtedly less than the length of life I’ve already lived.

Jeepers!

Sure, I’ve said my farewells to the living and the dead; to a bad marriage (good riddance), to a self-absorbed parent and to those who’ve used and abused my trust and good faith. Many more glad goodbyes, than sad ones, to be honest. Nevertheless, all painful in the moment.

Still, the transition that has proved most troublesome; the goodbye that’s taken the longest and still haunts, is that bade to lost youth.

Where did it go?

I look in the mirror. When did the crevices deepen; the hair lighten; the skin get loose and lumpy?

As my outer aspect fades and the bones and sinews and flesh succumb to the ravages of gravity and wear and tear it is, at times, poor compensation to witness the joyous expansion of my inner landscape as it learns to embrace the new reality. As it endeavours to pull together the threads of my life into a woven tapestry that celebrates the path and not just the now ebbed youthful vitality of the mortal coil that walked it.

Why can’t I have both? And not through cosmetic surgery which proves a desperation to which I cannot cleave. No! Why can’t we have youthful beauty and mature wisdom at the same time, and by-pass the carping, and griping, and complaining about creaky joints,  hair loss and exhaustion that plagues those of us who make it to the golden years? The years when society least appreciates our contributions and the wisdom we have gained through hard work and experience.

Youth forgets they will, one day, be one of us. Rejecting our wisdom, they must stumble into middle age and beyond like the rest of us who thought that day would never come. Eyes wide shut and feet wandering in an overwhelming wilderness of aging unknowns.

Youth forgets you cannot run from the past. That it is recorded in the deepest space of our inner knowing. And not just our past … that of those who have gone before. The corrupted lives that were not healed and passed their pain on down the generations. Youth forgets. Until they, too, are old.

The advantage of saying goodbye to lost youth is, of course, that we are not so easily manipulated. We do not bend, as before, to the will of those who abuse, so they no longer look to bend us. At best, they ignore us. At worst, they will try to break us.

As well, since as we grow older we tend to recognize more readily, and reject, the narcissists amongst us, we can gather to our bosom the will to heal the wounds they so selfishly inflicted.

“Goodbye, lost youth, goodbye,” she said with a sigh.

And though it has been the hardest goodbye, I would not go back there. I would not want to face the fears and trepidations of early life again; feel I am never good enough and must yield to a commercial standard of perfection which none can meet without the selling of their soul. The pain of being corrupted by lies is, perhaps, one of the greatest of all.

Saying goodbye to my youth has been the hardest, yet I cannot linger in that space now dead. I embrace the new path. Not all make it this far … and who knows how much farther this path will take me.

Manda would not understand these things. She, who still has her whole life ahead of her does not need to hear about this hard goodbye.

“Manda, sweetie,” I ply her with a homemade chocolate chip cookie and wrap my arm lovingly around her shoulder. “Ask me another question. That one’s too hard for me today.”

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2016

 

 

 

 

Alfie

remember-from-we-heart-it
Credit: We Heart It

#FWF Memory Prompt:

Write about your earliest memory. Good, bad, happy or sad. Before you begin, take time to dwell in that memory. Absorb everything you can about it. What you see, what you smell, what you hear and mostly, how you feel. Let it resonate. Marinate your mind in that one moment. Then begin.

~*~

“You want to know about my earliest memory,” I confirm with my 12-year-old niece, Manda, before travelling down that perilous road.

Manda, covered in a warm throw, slouches in the leather recliner across from me, my 20lb black cat, Indy, sprawled without apology across her lap. “Sure, if you want to share. I mean, it’s another school assignment ~ you know, interview an adult about their earliest memory and write about it.” She pauses, trying to act nonchalant, like it doesn’t really matter, but I know it does. Somehow she has the idea that I have the best stories. I don’t know why she doesn’t ask her parents these questions. “You know,” she continues, “like, do you remember what it was like before the telephone, that sort of thing.”

I throw her a sharp look. “I’m not that old,” I bark, playfully.

“I know,” Manda teases while scratching Indy under the chin, “I’m just trying to get you going. So, what is your earliest memory.”

“Give me a moment to think about it.”

“Okay.”

While Manda continues to cuddle the cat I’m abandoned to the past. I’ve been on the planet a half century and complex-PTSD has buried my memories beneath layers of trauma I’ve been working to heal. I don’t want to share something that might hurt her tender heart, notwithstanding it may be my earliest memory.

“Excuse me, sweetie, I’ll be right back.”

“No problem,” Manda responds absently.

I get up from my rocker and head to the kitchen to stare out the window at the horses quietly grazing in the paddock beside the house. It’s early spring and the grass is greening up. Soon, my equine friends will need to be on limited turnout to prevent them from getting sick with the high sugar content. Horses love sugar, and the grass is rich here in the spring. Old Molly horse is cranky, lifting a leg as if to strike the rambunctious yearling who keeps pushing her boundaries. Boundaries, yes, boundaries. My earliest memories reflect crossed boundaries. Not going there with Manda.

Ol’ Moll buries her nose in the round bale. Junior has moved on to pester someone else. In the massive maple the robins flit and flee. Birds. Charlie. Charlie the canary. My first pet. A bird cage. Newspaper lining the bottom. Bird seed all over the place. I’d rather muck stalls than change tray paper. Still, it’s not the memory I want to share with Manda.

Max, the ginger and white barn cat, perches patiently on the fence post, his eyes half closed as he basks in the early season sun. He’s my fourth orange and white cat. They just seem to gravitate to me, for some reason. Such characters, those red-headed boys. My first one, Alfie, could catch a pigeon before it touched ground and …

“Aunt Sal, where are you?”

“I’m in the … “

“I know you’re in the kitchen,” Manda notes with a hint of impatience, “I mean, where are you? Can I be there, too?”

I turn to face my lovely niece who’s standing in the doorway looking a little worried. She’s still unspoiled by the world and growing more mindful by the day, and I like to think I’ve had something to do with that. I’m the de facto baby sitter while her parents earn their bread and butter. They’re good people, too, but children can always benefit from the loving attention of an objective third-party. I love to pick her up after school and bring her here ~ her home away from home.

“Aunt Sal?”

“Yes, okay … sorry …” I reach for the biscuit tin filled with chocolate digestives and offer her one. Manda helps herself.

“So?”

“So, what?”

“Where were you?”

“With Alfie.”

“Who’s Alfie?” Manda gives me that quizzical look with which she’s always so generous when something doesn’t make sense. Her eyes half closed, head tilted, lips slightly pinched.

“Alfie was my first red-head,” I say pointing at Max.

“You mean you had another cat like Max?” She asks between nibbles of biscuit. “You’ve had more than one red-head?”

“Yes, in fact Max is number four.”

“Four!!!” Manda exclaims, amazed.

“Yes … Alfie, Gus, Oskar and Max,” I affirm. “But let’s focus on Alfie.”

“Why was he named Alfie?”

“Actually,” I grin as memory recalls, “his full name was Alfredo Raffaello di Verdi ~ Alfie for short. Your grandma named him after operatic characters. And a character he was. He used to follow me and the dog when we went for walks around the neighbourhood. He invaded the vicar’s summer garden party once and helped himself to the salmon. He slept on the kitchen table beside my pile of books when I was doing my homework. He … “

“How old were you when you had Alfie?” Manda asks, confused.

“Hmmm … we got him when I was seven years old and he died when I was … 21?” I have to think about it.

“You were seven?” Manda asks, disbelieving. “And this is your earliest memory?”

“It’s the earliest memory I’m going to share with you,” I wink while offering her another biscuit.

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2016

The Stranger

 

Night Light

~*~

“There’s a gentleman I’d like you to meet,” announces my dear friend, Sara Bartholomew-McCreedy with a rustle of silk and wink of an eye.

I’m a young, childless widow, thanks to the Battle of Vittorio Veneto, and this outing is a rare treat after a year of mourning. They say “Missing in Action” is as good as dead, and since my William has been missing in action since that dreadful battle, he may as well be dead.

“Crystal Barton-Lane, listen to me!” Now Sara’s most emphatic. “He’s an officer of our age and station recently back from the war. Most pleasing to the eye, in fact. A friend of a friend of a friend. You know how it is. Not my type, but you’d like him. He owns horses and goes to the opera.”

Is she having me on? I roll my eyes. Sara’s at it again, trying to matchmake me out of social purgatory. The war has taken so many men of our age and social rank it’s hard to know where one stands. And those who have come back are often so traumatized I’ve all but given up any idea of finding a man to fill my dear husband’s shoes. Sara knows this, and still she persists.

We alight from the shiny motor carriage owned by Sara’s wealthy uncle who has offered both of us refuge in his sumptuous Bartholomew Hall until we find our feet, and make our way through the thickening London fog to the Savoy entrance. It’s 4 p.m. of a late fall afternoon. Darkness is setting in and we’re meeting this man ~ and one of these friend’s of which Sara has spoken ~ for tea at the Palm Court.

“Really, Sara, I wish you wouldn’t meddle in my affairs,” I turn to her, my annoyance on my sleeve. “I’m not quite at your level of joie de vivre yet. It’s only been a year and I still miss my William.”

Sara sends me a disarming smile.

“Crystal, darling,” she stops me before we enter the fine hotel and looks me straight in the eye, “it’s time to lift that dreary veil of tears and live. Live now! I don’t think William would want you to be moping around for him. You know how he loved life ~ the next adventure. I’m sure he’d want that for you.”

A vision of my handsome husband all decked out in top hat and tails that last night at Covent Garden and enjoying a fine performance of La Bohème makes me shiver. How excited he was about soldiering and leading a troop of his own to battle victory.

“Crystal! Snap out of it!” Sara’s voice brings me back to the present. “There he is …”

Through the amber vapours of a flickering gas light and beneath the lamppost a stranger emerges.

But he’s not a stranger at all … he’s my husband.

~*~

1477384_696513200380722_443439577_nMy response to Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday

This is the word bank prompt:

Fog – Lamp post – Veil – Top hat – Carriage

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

 

 

Lost and Found … Part III

gypsy

~*~

The gentle gypsy gestures for me to stand beside her. I move over yet keep my distance, still feeling my uncertainty.

“Good,” Erzebet’s voice is comforting. “Just a few things I would say before you enter the Sacred Circle of Hidden Wisdom.” She smiles reassuringly, noting my discomfiture. “Don’t worry, you are perfectly safe as long as you follow my instruction.”

I offer a loose smile, my thoughts wandering to wondering what on earth I’m doing here.

“Grace, please … your attention.”

I bring myself back, embarrassed.

“Good … thank you,” Erzebet says without the least bit of impatience or reprimand in her voice. She shows me a long twig the end of which is held firmly in her hand. “With this wand you have the power to establish a protective boundary through which Chiron may not pass.” She demonstrates how to use it by forcefully drawing an arc in the dirt in front of her. “You stand your ground, creating a space for Chiron to respect. Only when you invite him may he enter. You understand?”

I nod my head. She gives me the twig. “You try.”

With the end of the wand firmly in my grasp I sweep the tip of it through the dirt to make an impressive arc. It feels good. Empowering. I sigh and smile. Erzebet smiles back and shares more.

“The safest spot for you is in the centre ~ the heart ~ of the Circle. From here you can see wherever Chiron moves. You can follow him simply by turning your body wherever he goes. You hold this space. Move if you wish but return here for grounding. Do not get trapped between him and the edge of the Circle where there is no escape. There is danger there. You understand?”

I nod my head again. She hasn’t finished.

“When you feel secure, place the wand on the ground beside you. It will be there if you need it. Time slows in this reflective space; it is on your side. From the heart of the Circle, and when you feel ready, grounded, you express your heart’s desire to Chiron. The same desire you expressed to me. Through your breathing seek a heart connection. He is waiting for it. When the connection is made … and you will sense it … you may begin your dialogue.”

I nod my head in understanding, sort of. Even though I have spent a life time with horses this is all so new; so unfamiliar. Still, I am here, drawn into this moment by something I know not. When the student is ready the teacher will appear, comes to mind. Something my mother used to say. Regardless, somehow I am unworried. It feels right. And besides, I don’t want to leave.

“Oh, and another thing,” notes Erzebet firmly, “No judgement; no agenda. Be in the moment and allow it to unfold. The ego has no place here. It will sabotage the true nature of your experience, your true Self. Do you understand?”

Turn off my tornado thoughts? Wow! There’s a notion. Still, I nod my head, and sigh.

“And lastly,” she adds with utmost importance, “thank Chiron before you leave the Circle, which you may do at any time.” She smiles a broad, comforting smile. “Are you ready?”

“Yes.” The word comes out choked. “Yes.” I repeat more firmly.

The beautiful gypsy ushers me into the Sacred Circle of Hidden Wisdom and, taking a deep breath, I walk alone to the heart of it. Chiron stands at the far edge, quiet and attentive. For a moment I close my eyes; take a deep cleansing breath remembering the odd pressure in my jaw. Finally, I place the wand on the ground beside me and wait. After several minutes Chiron has still made no attempt to acknowledge my presence.

I feel sad. Still, I continue to breathe into what I believe to be a heart connection and without speaking make a misguided attempt to convey my heart’s desire by some weird sense of osmosis ~ as if Chiron should be able to read my mind. Erzebet hovers quietly in the background, observing.

Chiron ignores me and ambles over to the spot where I entered the Circle. He paws at the ground, the sound of crackling twigs and sticks and leaves shredding the air. I don’t understand. Not knowing what else to do, I walk over to him and stop a few feet away. His pawing stops but beyond that he doesn’t acknowledge my presence.

The judge in me brings down the hammer of disappointment. Confused, I start to walk around the Circle away from Chiron, hoping he’ll follow. I clutch at my lucky labradorite pendant, an intuitive stone, hanging on a white gold chain around my neck and wonder what the heck I’m doing.

When my walk around the Sacred Circle is complete I return to its heart and wait, wishing, hoping for something, some sign of acknowledgment from Chiron. But he has not moved. I feel numb; a verdict of failure delivered by that inner, unwelcome judge.

Dejected, I collect the wand from the ground and walk over to Chiron again. When I reach out a hand to touch his silken mane he walks away. I thank him anyway and leave the Sacred Circle with a singular feeling of unworthiness. A nearby fallen tree trunk invites me to sit.

Erzebet takes a seat beside me. “When you are ready, tell me of your experience,” she says plainly.

For a moment I have no words. That lump in my throat is back, my jaw tighter than ever. The beautiful gypsy waits patiently for a few moments and then asks a question.

“Why did you not speak openly with Chiron?”

I sigh. I don’t know.

“I see it is difficult for you. Have courage. Feel the heart connection; express your heart’s desire,” she says with a firm kindness that buoys me a little. “Chiron reads your body, not your mind. Speak. He hears your words and reads your intent. As you are closed so he too closes. It is up to you.”

A tear springs to my eye. Erzebet continues:

“When Chiron was standing at the entrance and pawing at the ground making all that noise he was inviting you to a new way of being. To me he was telling you to ‘make noise.’ And yet the entire time you spent with him you said nothing.” She admonishes me gently, “If you want to be able to speak freely and without judgement you must first speak. Yes?”

I nod my head, acutely aware of the fact that even now I am afraid to share how I feel and what I am thinking.

“Grace, would you be willing to visit with Chiron again and speak to him?”

I smile weakly and manage a “Yes …” and, with a deep breath, draw myself up from the tree trunk and walk once again to the edge of the Sacred Circle.

“Enter when you are ready. Remember what I have told you. Speak your heart, freely and without judgement. Where’s your wand?”

I retrieve it from the ground where I’m standing and wave it at her.

“Good … now proceed.”

Taking a deep, cleansing breath I move to the heart of the Circle. As I ground I notice Chiron is standing where he was the last time I entered, however this time he moves to the entrance almost immediately, and waits. A second chance. I drop the wand at my feet. Gather myself. Here goes …

“Chiron …” His name comes out garbled. I clear my throat, say it again and continue, “Chiron … you are such a beautiful boy … It is such an honour to stand in this Circle with you today.” He begins to chew.

“A good sign,” calls the gypsy gently. “He is acknowledging your authenticity. Continue … ”

“Chiron,” I continue, “You are named after the Wounded Healer. I don’t know what your wounds are but I’m here to ask for your help with mine.” I hesitate. “My heart’s desire, Chiron, is … ” I struggle with the words ” … is to be able to express myself freely and without judgement.” I take a breath, a knot in my stomach seems to release as I forget I’m being watched. My throat clears. “The problem is really old and I’m weary with it.”

A tear of weariness masks my vision. With the back of a hand I wipe it away and then focus my eyes on the gleaming black and white of his beautiful piebald colouring for a moment. “The dark patches of your coat remind me of the shadow I’ve been dwelling in all my life and how so desperately I wish to move into the light; to shine … to be heard.”

There is movement in the noble one. From his position by the entrance where he has been standing so quietly licking and chewing affirmations of peace, he turns to face me, as if to acknowledge some kind of understanding. My heart leaps. Has it been heard? He starts lumbering calmly toward me. The sobs of my soul begin to rise from deep within until I can contain them no longer. I double over in the most exquisite emotional pain as the tension of my self-enforced silence is finally released.

Chiron stands still beside me, his head lowered, his body relaxed, as if to honour this moment with me. His quiet manner soon calms me.

“Be the light you are,” he seems to say to me. “Speak and be heard by those who would listen.”

A profound feeling of peace fills me. Somehow in this quiet place, in these quiet but intense moments, something has changed. I seek his permission to stroke his neck. He stands quietly, waiting. Gently I run my hand along the smooth white hair that runs almost the full length of his muscled neck before it turns dark at his shoulder. It is soft and warm, glistening in the last light of the day’s dying sun. We stand like this for a couple of minutes, basking in an open exchange of heart and soul and then, as if to signal his work is done, Chiron walks away quietly, leaving me to stand alone and strong in this healed emotional space we have created together.

In awe of the gentle power of this moment, I turn to thank him as he rests once again at the edge of the Sacred Circle. I leave feeling lighter and somehow more present. My tears dried. The pressure in my jaw gone. My lost voice found; my heart heard.

Erzebet joins me at the tree trunk and we sit quietly for a moment.

“You are okay?” she asks.

“I feel marvellous,” I answer.

Erzebet smiles. “Tea?”

“Yes, please,” I respond, and then stop, overwhelmed by her generosity of spirit. “How can I ever repay you for how you have helped me today?”

“You must remember first that is it I who repaid you for bringing home my wandering Chiron,” she reminds me, smiling and patting the handsome horse. “You have the soul of the Wounded Healer also. Now your voice is free use it wisely and to good purpose. It is a great gift.”

Chiron snorts in agreement.

“Extra carrots for you, my darling boy.”

THE END

~*~

The final instalment of Lost and Found ~ my response to a free writing exercise prompted by Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday two weeks ago. If you’re interested in reading the first two parts, click on the links below.

Part I

Part II

Your comments are welcome. This last part became a bit of a marathon.

Thank you for visiting,

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

Lost and Found … Part II

The pathMy heart leaps. What could this exotic woodland gypsy possibly mean?

She doesn’t stop to explain, but continues her slow march through an archway of Sumac and into the thicket with the noble Chiron by her side.

This twist in our encounter intrigues me. My power to resist squelched. Chiron has shot his golden arrow into my heart and hit a bullseye. I am hooked. Whatever medicine the Wounded Healer has to offer is worth my curiosity.

So, I follow.

The walk becomes a meditation. I don’t know where we are going. I lose all track of time becoming acutely and, perhaps, even primitively aware of my surroundings. Not in a fearful flight and fight way, but with a feeling of wonder. Shards of late afternoon sunlight flash warmly through the trees. Leaves and twigs crunch underfoot along the grassy trail leading I don’t know where. Squirrels scurry in the branches overhead while crows caw their eerie cries somewhere off in the distance.

And still I follow deeper into the woods, the legion of maples and ash and pines standing sentry-like, protective and true.  Finally, we enter a large circular clearing ~ a small meadow, perhaps ~ which appears almost as if carved out for a purpose. The gypsy and her noble companion stop in the centre of the circle and turn to face me. I stand my ground some 20 feet away. A shaft of light illuminates her countenance in an ethereal, angelic way I find astonishing. I sense empathy there. Tears well. I dam them.

Chiron stands quietly beside her, his tail relaxed and brushing away the flies that dare to alight upon his muscled rump. He, too, is aglow with an energy which, though it comforts me I find difficult to comprehend. I feel a lump in my throat, and then hear the gypsy speak.

“I am Erzebet. This is Chiron. What is your name?”

I hesitate. Confused. Why is she talking to me as if we’ve never spoken before?

She repeats.

“I am Erzebet. This is Chiron. What is your name?”

Still I hesitate.

She sees my confusion and responds.

“We are now in the Sacred Circle of Chiron, the Place of Hidden Wisdom. Out of respect it is customary to introduce ourselves to each other, and thus this sacred place, before we begin. Please … ” she repeats again, ” … I am Erzebet. This is Chiron. What is your name?”

I swallow once in an attempt to clear the lump from my throat. “Grace,” I finally choke out with a degree of reluctance and then repeat for clarity … “Grace.”

Erzebet nods.

“Greetings, beautiful Grace. You are welcome in this Sacred Circle where the healing powers of love and truth are gifted to you inasmuch as you are able to receive them.”

“Whose love? Whose truth?” I ask, confused.

Erzebet looks at me quizzically.

“Why yours … of course.”

She smiles and nods her head gently in my direction to acknowledge our connection and steps away from Chiron toward the edge of the circle.

For a moment confusion continues to reign. While the horse stands quietly but for the occasional toss of his head to disarm the flies my heart beats profoundly against my rib cage as though it might burst through. I gasp for breath.

“Breathe, dear Grace,” the beautiful gypsy bids as she glides calmly toward me in a cloud of lavender perfume. “You must breathe, deeply. In through your nose to the full capacity of your lungs and out through your mouth to a complete exhale. It is the first step to healing. Come … breathe with me.”

Erzebet stops a few feet away and begins to breathe in a way that compels me to follow her lead. Her intonation is that of a soothing chant. “In … through … your … nose … breathe … into … your … heart … release …” And as we proceed and after a few of these deep, clarifying breaths my body begins to fill with an unfamiliar warmth. My feet feel heavy and glued to Mother Earth. I am grounded. My eyes closed. Feeling.

“Send your awareness to your feeling,” the gypsy directs. “Where do you feel? What do you feel? What is it telling you?”

For a moment I’m unsure what she means. I hesitate and then offer, “My jaw feels tight for some reason.”

“Good. Now,” she continues, “this tightness in your jaw … it brings with it a message, yes?”

I shrug.

“Focus gently … this pressure in your jaw has a message. It is your heart’s desire for you, in this moment. Speak it … please.”

The notion of listening to my heart through my jaw seems strange at first. How is such a thing possible?

“Do not judge, dear Grace. Let the mind go so your heart may speak freely.”

With another deep breath I make the conscious effort to clear my head and focus on this tightness in my jaw. I am impatient, I can feel that too, but again, that is my mind getting in the way. Another breath, the prison of thought cleared, a moment of peace and then … dare I speak it?

“Go on, Grace … you have something to say, I think. Please, you are safe in this place. With me. With Chiron.”

Chiron is close behind me now. I feel the warmth of his breath against the back of my neck, comforting somehow, as I exhale deeply. “I want to be able to speak freely and without judgement … that is self-judgement.” Tears mist my eyes. I choke them back. Not even these are free.

“Thank you, Grace,” assures Erzebet. “Now … we meet with Chiron. He waits.”

~*~

You asked, I delivered … here is Part II of a free writing piece started last week courtesy of Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday.

For Part I click here.

Yes, it seems there will be a Part III.

Thanks for stopping by … and a sincere thank you to those of you who encouraged a next step in the story. I hope you have enjoyed it.

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

 

 

Lost and Found

gypsy

Prompt: Late summer. You’re wandering, lost in the woods. You come across a gypsy wagon, and you call out…”hello?”

~*~

“Hello! Is anyone there?”

The Gypsy Vanner stands quietly beside me. Such a docile giant I’ve just found wandering lost in the woods. I give him a gentle pat on his strong yet soft piebald neck, his thick mane tickling my fingers. He followed me willing, as if grateful for the company. Surely his people must miss him.

I call out again.

“Hello! Hello! Hello!”

The handsome horse tosses his flowing mane and let’s out a powerful whinny.

Then, a woman’s voice.

“Chiron?”

Finally, from between the curtains of the brightly coloured wagon she appears. Middle-aged and quite beautiful, her dark hair knotted in a nest on top of her head with tendrils of its brunette silk dusting the sides of rosy cheeks. Dark brown eyes dart while acclimating to the daylight. She sees me holding onto my belt which is loosely tied around the horse’s massive neck. It was how I was able to lead him here. The gypsy’s eyes widen in horror.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing with my Chiron?”

She jumps down from the wagon, skirts flying, and rushes over to where we’re standing some 20 feet away. Immediately she grabs the belt from my hand and releases it from around her horse’s neck, throwing it then to the ground where it withers into the grass like a dead snake.

“Answer me,” she yells to my face, “what are you doing with my Chiron?”

For a moment I am taken aback. I watch as she runs her practiced hands over her horse to make sure he’s okay. She plants a gentle kiss on the end of his muzzle and turns to me again, her expression not so tender.

“So?”

I don’t feel like defending myself. It was she who allowed her horse to wander and I who found him and brought him back.

“Next time I find your horse wandering in the woods,” I answer in a tone every bit as strident as the gypsy’s, “I’m taking him home with me. He’s too beautiful to be left to the wolves.”

I lean down to retrieve my leather belt from the grass and turn to walk away. To hell with her.

“Stop!”

And I do because I’m unhappy with the way this has resolved. I turn back. There’s a tear in the woman’s repentant eyes, her arms are wrapped around Chiron’s massive neck. I walk closer.

“I’m sorry,” she says haltingly in a thick Hungarian accent I didn’t recognize before. “It was unfair of me to take my anger out on you. Chiron means the world to me and I am angry at myself for not securing him properly so he wouldn’t wander off. Thank you for bringing him home.” She brushes the tears from her cheek and stands once again upright. “I am Erzebet. Except for my cat and my horse I travel alone. I am a fortune teller. Please, let me speak yours in gratitude for the return of Chiron.”

Now I’m uncomfortable in a whole other way.

“Really, it’s fine,” I say. “I’m just happy to have been able to restore him to you. The woods are a lonely place for the lost ones.”

Erzebet’s eyes seem to deepen in colour; almost mesmerizing. She turns to Chiron.

“What do you think, my beauty?”

Chiron puts his muzzle against Erzebet’s chest and sighs.

“Come … what is your name?” she asks me.

“Grace.”

“Come Grace … let Chiron, my wounded healer, be your guide.”

As the two of them walk away, bidding me follow, I feel their heart connection.

Erzebet calls back to me …

“You think you found Chiron in the woods today,” she stops, turns and smiles knowingly, “when, in fact, it is he that found you.”

~*~

1477384_696513200380722_443439577_nMy response to Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014