A new begining

He stepped onto the wooden walkway that wound it’s way through the marshland, eventually leading to the viewing point and the sailing lake. He had made this walk several times recently, it gave him time and the quiet surroundings to collect his thoughts.

The latest thoughts on his mind where about his pregnant teenage daughter. How would she cope with a baby on her own? She had him of course, and her mother who she currently lived with but even so, bringing up a child was not easy for a couple to do let alone a teenage mother on her own.

Would she be ready? To late to be asking himself that question. She had made up her mind that she was ready to take on this life changing and life giving role.

What would his role be? That was a question that played on him. Where would he stand in this childs life? He knew that his daughter loved him and would want and perhaps need his help but he was divorced from her mother and they lived two seperate lives, it was not like they could offer a joint support package to her. It would be two seperate packages of love and support, both with differeing views and points of view.

The sun broke through the early morning mist surrounding him, it would be another warm day, maybe even warmer than previous days. He could not see the sky properly but he knew it would be cloudless above the mist.

What would his daughter want from him? Would he be just a babysitter for when she wanted to go out into the city where he lived? Would he get to know his grandchild in the way he always hoped he would? He had hoped that his daughter would have seen a bit more of life, been places, experienced different things but she had chosen her own path. He was not upset by her choices, he just wished she had taken her time.

His daughter had been for her twenty one week scan and had hoped to have baby sexed. Against all expectations baby did not want to be sexed and covered itself with it’s feet. He was hoping for a grandson but he would have to wait another eight weeks, maybe then the baby would allow itself to be sexed otherwise the day of birth bring an extra edge of excitement. If he was honest with himself, he did not really care about the sex of his grandchild, so long as it was healthy, who really cares?

He had reached the viewing point. A few benches had been built into the walkway to offer a good vantage point whilst you watched the action on the sailing lake. This morning there was just one rower out on the lake, taking things easy by the look of it. The sun had cleared most of the mist from the lake so he had a clear view across it but the mist clung on in the marshland around him.

He thought about the father of his grandchild. He had left his daughter soon after she had announced that she was pregnant. From his point of view he could not understand this, how could you just dump the mother of your child? He had been elated when he had found out he was going to be a father, both times in fact! He knew he had been in a solid relationship at the time though, they had been together for four years, teenage romances seem to last no time at all or if they do there always seems to be fights and fallings out. Coming to terms with the fact that his daughter was not going to get any real support from the father bothered him more than his daughter being pregnant.

He wondered what the father of the child was thinking now? How does he feel knowing that he is going to be the father of a child he will barely know? He knows he would have hated to be in that situation himself.

He stood up ready to return the way he had come. He had been through much in his life and overall he felt quite lucky to be living the life he was living. He had had caring parents and family. He had two children he was extremely proud of. His life now was in the main good and he had someone in his life that cared about him. All he had to do now was wait for this new adventure to arrive and become a part of his life.

©2014 Trevor Litchfield

The Frame

In response to Indigo Spider’s Sunday Picture Press

Visual Prompt 2 -- Portal by Stephen Shulz (http://fracturedphrases.blogspot.com/)

Green tea nestling on the bottom of the teapot. A vegetable steamer waits empty on the hob. Both require hot, steamy water to make the most use of them.

He pours boiling water into the teapot, replacing the lid and then covering the plain white teapot in a flowered tea cosy. Then Llanal, for that is his name, leaned towards the mug tree on the worktop and took the only delicate china cup hanging among the coffee mugs that hung from the other branches on the mug tree. He loved his green tea in a china cup. He had no saucer for the cup but enjoyed the way the tea swirled into the cup as he poured it.

Llanal waited for the tea to stew a while.

Once poured he added no other additives, green tea was meant to be drunk with nothing added except on the odd occasion when he added a spoonful of honey. He left the kitchen, turning out the lights as he passed the switch, then headed towards the darkened living room for an evening of quiet contemplation. Atmospheric, ambient music played quietly, providing a background to his thoughts as Llanal relaxed on his oversized and very comfortable sofa. He had lit several candles around the room and now sat in the subtle light enjoying his tea and solitude.

Llanal, a forty something male now divorced and coming to terms with his new single status, enjoyed these quiet evenings to himself. He worked in a very loud factory, operating a machine that made parts for chairs. They were metal parts that looked to Llanal like they would be of no use in the manufacture of chairs.

Not that he cared much, he earned enough money to pay his way and enjoy the odd evening out with some new friends he had met one evening whilst out with an old friend whilst they ‘celebrated’ his divorce. They had decided to go ten pin bowling and a mixed group on the next lane had included them in their evening and they had all soon become quite friendly. Now they invited both Llanal and his old friend out to regular evenings but as often as not, Llanal would go on his own as his old friend was still happily ensconced in his marriage.

Now he relaxed further into the sofa, staring at the frame set in the wall opposite. At first glance the frame looked like a window but once night fell it was obviously a picture set in the wall to look as if it were a window. On evenings like the one he was about to enjoy, Llanal hit the switch that would offer light into the frame, making the picture within come alive and for all the world, look like a window into another day-lit world in the darkness of the room.

Although the frame looked like it housed a picture of a mountain in daylight hours, after dark and with the carefully placed lighting switched on, it took on a life of it’s own. Sometimes Llanal could see a hillside village and almost make out the old villagers as they scratched a living from the meagre land. Other times it looked as if he were looking in on other worlds, odd shaped buildings, strange creatures and very strange landscapes. Totally alien!

He never saw the same landscape twice, every time it was a different hillside village or alien landscape.

The frame itself was quite large, measuring 24 inches wide by 48 inches tall. He could have hung it width ways but he felt it looked more at home as a window frame rather than a picture frame. It was an old wooden frame that Llanal had found on his meandering walks that he sometimes took around the estate late at night when he couldn’t sleep. It had been dumped in a skip and he had salvaged it in the hope of finding a picture big enough to put in it. The desire to see it hanging on his wall had overtaken him as soon as he had arrived back home that late night and within an hour he had mounted it on his wall opposite his sofa.

The mountain appeared within the frame and the frame took on the appearance of settling into the wall as soon as it was hung. The following days saw odd, hazy apparitions appear within the frame but Llanal could not make them out. That was when the idea of some carefully placed lighting came to Llanal. He had no idea where the idea came from and even less idea of where he should place the lights, they seemed to choose their placing themselves.

That evening he sat back in the sofa and new worlds started to appear in the frame. He had tried walking up to the frame one evening but the worlds disappeared and the image of the mountain returned. Now, on quiet, solitary evenings Llanal would make his green tea and settle back letting the old frame take him to places he could barely dream of, see sights unseen by humans before or since.

©2012 Trevor Litchfield

That night!

This story is fiction but is based on a real event.

The pills are on the table, all popped out of the foil packets and ready for me. Over the last couple of weeks I have gathered quite a collection, I have my blood pressure pills, three sorts, then I managed to get some prescription sleeping pills and painkillers, two months worth are now on the table as well. I also went down the shop today and bought a bottle of my favourite whiskey and some cheese nibbles to help pass the evening.

This may look like a premeditated evening but what sits in front of me now is a bit surprising! I have felt low for quite some time, my life has been crap even longer but I’m here, on my own in this tiny studio flat with what appears to me, nothing left worth living for. I’m not brave enough to sit in a hot bath with some razor blades, I hate heights so I’m not going to be jumping any time soon. To me this feels like a safe way of ending it all, take the pills, go to sleep and hope I don’t puke it all up ending up in hospital with half my vital organs dead but my mind still able to regret the coming events.

I put on the TV and search for something worth watching in what I have now decided are going to be my last few hours. I open the whiskey and pour a tumbler, I open the bag of nibbles and pour them into a large glass bowl I have beside my tablet cocktail on the table. I have also treated myself to twenty cigarettes, I normally roll my own with tobacco and papers but tonight I thought I deserved to smoke without having to fight with loose tobacco all over the place.

I have spent my day tidying up the place. I cleaned the bathroom, kitchenette and the main living space, hoovering and scouring everything within an inch of it’s gloss. I did my laundry and put all my clothes away neatly. I washed up all my pots, plates and eating implements. I intend for whoever finds me to think that I was a tidy, well kept person before they found me. I would hate to think of someone breaking in and finding the place a tip! Not that it would matter of course but I like things to be neat and tidy.

I take a sip of the whiskey, still searching for something to watch on TV. There seem to be no films on any channel tonight. I would prefer to watch a film. Perhaps I should put a DVD in and watch an old favourite instead. I decide this is going to be my best evenings entertainment and dig out the longest DVD I can find, it doesn’t really matter what it is because I know I will enjoy what I get to watch of it.

So, I’m set. Whiskey, pills, nibbles and something to watch as time passes.

My mind goes back to happier times, when I was young, laughing and messing about with friends that are no longer in my life and have not been in my life for many years. Friends like that only came into my life once, then in my wisdom I decided that I had to get away from them. Now, years later I find myself on my own in this tiny little studio thinking about putting an end to it all. Is my life really this bad?

Another sip of whiskey and a couple of the cheesy nibbles. I light a cigarette.

I have drifted through life, not really becoming attached to anyone, letting no one enter my life long enough to care for me. I have always moved on once it has become obvious that someone cares for me. Why this is I do not know! I like having people in my life, I love sharing my life with someone close to me, I even shared my life with a special person for a couple of years but in the end I walked out on them. Why would I do that? I feel I need a special person in my life but I never let anyone in!

My film starts, I settle back on the sofa.

I stare at the pills on the table. There must be nearly two hundred pills, if not more! I know I can take six or seven at a time, I have no problems swallowing pills. I remember a time when I hated taking medication but over the years this has changed. I take three twice a day for my blood pressure and I take them with just one sip of water. Six at a time should be no problem. Six into two hundred works that I will have to swallow thirty three times six pills with the odd pill left over by which time it should not matter anyway. The bottle of whiskey should be plenty to wash them all down with, I hope so anyway!

Another sip of whiskey as the film is in it’s first few scenes, more nibbles and I extinguish the remains of my cigarette in the glass ashtray on the coffee table.

My mind goes back to my childhood, playing with the kids from the village on the playground. Kiss chase with the girls, I always chased Tina, my pre-teen crush at the time. Football with the boys and then laughing afterwards as we all sit around one of the picnic tables telling jokes or stories, relaxing together in the rose tinted summer sun. I wonder where that freckly beauty from my youth is now? Does she even remember that fat kid who used to chase her around the park on those long summer evenings? How I could do with someone in my life worth chasing now!

Dusk finally turns to darkness. I can still see the trees through my window because of the street lighting but the sky is down black. The stars are not visible because of the street lights but I know they are there, looking down from their lofty position, bringing wonder to some small kids eyes.

My whiskey is not going down as I had hoped, it feels like it is choking me with every sip. Is this due to some subconscious thoughts about what is supposed to be going down with it. The pills lay untouched, scattered over the coffee table.

I had thought about writing a note for the finder of my body but I decided against it in the end. What is there to say apart from goodbye cruel world? I would be saying that anyway once I start to go through with this evenings meal.

The film goes on though I am taking little notice of the action on the screen, my mind is taking me back to happier times. Perhaps it is my minds way of saying it is not ready to die just yet, who knows? The thing is it is my mind that is also saying that it has had enough, or is that my heart saying it has had enough? My heart feels sick with loneliness. What is my heart though? When everything is considered it is simply a feeling from within, sensations converted by my mind telling me something is either right or wrong. My heart is simply another part of my mind telling me how my emotions are behaving, reacting to my current situation. My mind is what should really be in charge in this situation, the bit that reasons everything out, not my emotional part at all.

I light another cigarette and sit up. I feel uncomfortable laying down and I’m not going to be able to swallow those pills if I am laying down!

So, this is my emotions telling me to do this. I can feel it deep within me that this is what I want to do, I want to start swallowing the pills. My throat tightens as if my mind is telling it to close. I sip some whiskey and it chokes me. My throat is closing! My mind is finally taking control of the situation. It is like my mind has let my emotions go this far but will not let them go any further. I feel like crying!

I get up, going to the window to look out at the world. Tears start to creep out of my eyes. Would it really have been that simple? Could I have really swallowed all those pills? Probably!

I open the window, breathing deeply on the fresh night air.

I go to bed and sleep sounder than I have in months to wake to the reminder of my previous evening. The TV is still on, the DVD still in the player but all are simply displaying their logos as is the way with modern electronic gadgets.

A new day begins as I hide yesterdays thoughts in small bottles I have around the place, remembering to take my three blood pressure pills before I put them all back in the bathroom cabinet.

©2011 Trevor Litchfield

Derelict

Derelict

image ©2009 Trevor Litchfield

We all pass derelict buildings from time to time in our lives but this one I pass every day on my way to work. Every day it gives me the creeps!

Oh, it feels OK on a nice sunny day, blue sky’s, fluffy clouds and it looks like any other old derelict building but walk past it on a misty morning, or a dank twilight evening and it takes on a different demeanour altogether! The windows appear alive, yet they are boarded up. You get the feeling that someone is behind those boards, watching you pass. They know you’re worst fears and nightmares, they know all there is to know about you and how to scare the living crap out of you the minute your back is turned.

Remembering all this makes it not so nice even on a sunny day, fluffy white clouds scudding across the blue sky.

Then there are the stories the locals tell, probably to scare each other in the pub on a Sunday night when nothing else is getting their attention. I am not a local and the first time I heard these stories was about eight months after I moved into my house less than fifty yards from the derelict building. Until then I had taken no real notice of the place apart from thinking what a shame it was that such a lovely old building lay derelict.

According to the local tales the old building was used for anything from an old workhouse to a school. Every time a story is told it seems to add to the air of mystery surrounding the place. I’m sure it was used for something sensible once but the stories!

One story tells when it was a workhouse over a hundred years ago, it was for women and children only. If fathers were involved they lived in an unnamed else where. The stories tell of depraved rites and rituals brought on these women and children by the all male founded charity that was supposed to fund the workhouse. Things like devil worship and human sacrifices! This charity still exists today in the town, they are a secret order and no one really knows who is involved but the rumours abound about it’s rituals even today. The charity owns a very expansive plot of land which is surrounded by high brick walls with the most beautiful house built on the plot. Not that anyone can see this house, the walls are too high and inside the boundary it is tree lined to about fifty or sixty feet deep. The only entrance in a big gate that never seems to get opened yet the track is freshly cut and tidy.

Then there are the stories about the old building being some sort of sanatorium. Mad people doing crazy things within the grounds. These days they are not called crazy people but when you hear the stories, they were crazy people in this place. Deformed, malnourished, non human like appearances, the sort of stuff you hear about extra terrestrials these days. I think about these stories knowing that they cannot be anything other than fiction. I mean the fences just are not strong enough, even now in it’s dereliction, the fences are only old rusty wire fences, nothing to hold in the crazy at all!

Finally, and most disturbingly, there are the stories about it being an old school. Domineering teachers, wicked and cruel headmasters. Brutal beatings for the kids that attended this place yet no one telling the stories ever knew anyone that attended it as a school. One tale tells of a child locked in a cupboard for some trivial misdemeaner, weeks later his decomposed body was found in the cupboard by a builder doing some repairs inside the school. Come on, I’m gullible but not that gullible!

Yet every time I walk past the place, all the stories from the pub on a Sunday night come alive. I do see satanists dancing in the gardens. I do see crazies walking around with two heads, I do see poor beaten children lounging by the door. My imagination takes flight on those misty, foggy days when I walk past the derelict building. I wish I could find a different route to work!

©2011 Trevor Litchfield

The Café

In response to Indigo Spiders The Last Sunday Picture Press

Visual Prompt 2 -- Frittes by Danny Dutch

Visual Prompt 2 -- Frittes by Danny Dutch

“Just look at all that metal” thought the old man as he sat waiting for his meal. He sat and thought most of the time now that his beloved wife had departed this world two years ago this week. He came to the same café, sat at the same table, ordered the same meal, the same coffee, everything was the same as yesterday and the day before. Nothing changed apart from the thoughts in his head, though just lately even they had been on only two or three topics,

He could remember a time when traffic on this road was a rare event, maybe once or twice a week a car would travel up the street. Horse and cart being the main transport back then. Now it was clogged with cars, buses and lorries from early morning to late evening.

He had come in this café the day of the funeral. He had been on his own at the funeral apart from a couple of nurses who had attended his wife in the final weeks. When it was all over he had walked into this café and ordered a meal, this was her wake and he attended it on his own. They had had friends in their early days but as those friends had kids and growing families, he and his wife had slowly been ostracised for not having the normal family, in the end it had been just the two of them. They walked together, they talked about everything under the sun, they read the same books and lived in total harmony, without the need for outside entertainment or friends to live their lives.

Ever since they had been married they had come to this café every Sunday to have a cooked breakfast. He loved being able to treat her to this one day off from looking after the house and the gardens she was so proud of. After breakfast they would walk the mile or so to the river, sometimes walking alongside the river, sometimes getting on the river boat that went down stream on a day trip. Sundays were special to both of them, a time to get away from the work that had to be done. Time to talk about everything other than housework, the plants or his work as a solicitor.

So now he sat here at this table every day, waiting for his meal and coffee. Other regulars to the café would nod or smile at him. Staff would ask him how he was and go through the motions of giving him the menu yet they all knew what he wanted. In return he would politely look at the menu without reading it then place his order.

It was the same meal he had had on the day of the funeral, roast beef with all the trimmings and black coffee. He cannot even remember why he had ordered it on that day. He didn’t really enjoy beef or black coffee but he had become accustomed to it these last two years and felt that it would be wrong to change his order now. Some days he actually did look at the menu, there were several fish dishes that he really liked the look of but he always ordered the beef. One day perhaps he would change his order and surprise them all, but not today.

He looked out of the window once again, watching all humanity pass by. This area had once been a small town on the outskirts of the city, now it felt like it was the heart of the city. High office blocks blotted out the sun, vehicles of all sorts filled the air with their fumes and people rushed everywhere never taking a moment to look at the monstrosity the small town had become a part of. He could not even walk the river banks anymore! Smart flats and offices had been built on the open fields that were once the playground of youth. The land now being classed as private property where once footpaths had led for miles alongside the river. The riverboat had gone never to be replaced so now he never went down to the river, it had become just another trading artery within the big city. There was little pleasure left by the river now.

He ate his meal, not really enjoying it, tipping the waitress his usual ten percent and left the café. Even though a café had stood on this piece of ground all his life it had changed beyond recognition from the first Sunday he and his wife had entered for Sunday breakfast. Then it was just a small, single story building housing the café and not much else. Now it was a tall office block with shops either side of the café which itself was a new building and not the small beautiful little café he once knew. It was still owned and run by the same family though, nowadays it was the grandchildren that ran it but he felt he knew them all and was happy to bring his custom to them after all this time.

Standing on the footpath, he looked down the street towards where the river had once run freely, sighed and then turned to walk the other way, back home to tend the beautiful gardens his wife had worked so hard on all her life.

©2011 Trevor Litchfield

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