Meanwhile, Back At The Internet Café

I wrote this at the height of the “Gaslighting” phase of my two-year relationship with a Narcissist Predator. It’s really strange to go back and read my poetry and short stories from the period. Such highs! Such lows… So much love and romance but also black despair and suicidal tendencies. Scrolling through my journals, I found this draft and smiled a little. It is a sarcastic satirical and black-humoured piece. I was trying to cope with the assemblage of hoydens he’d gathered by writing about them the way he talked about them – never could figure why they just kept on lurking despite his insistence that “they were stalkers, knew he was engaged, were jealous of me”… Anyywaayy…
What I see now is the inkling of my comprehension of the pattern, how Apaths of varying degrees fit in to my story, lending credence, alibis or window-dressing as he required. Truly amazing, the effort he expended to keep me fooled or manipulate me to do certain things (my favourite was “Baby, would you comment more on my blog? People love to see us as a real couple, not just our books”) The funniest part is that “The Ladies” written about here are indeed real people, unlike some of the ones he created. Bruce Jenner had nothing on my poet! And I can actually smile, if ruefully at that today.

~~~~~

When I look back on how it all went down, I see it as if I was in a horror movie, a very bad, B-grade horror movie.

You know the ones, where you’re in a normal place, doing regular things and you look up to see that everything has gone to black and white. What you thought were people have all morphed into scary doll creatures or zombies and they’ve all turned to stare at you. Meanwhile, bit players drop in and out, talking to the zombie vampire people, buying their coffees, talking and laughing and totally oblivious to the fact that we are now all in a Hammer Film production. You look at this and wonder, like I still do; how can they not see the evil intent? How can they not know that those smiling mouths are full of lies and those pious old gals, gardening grannies and wholesome looking farmers’ daughter types are all bent on messing with lives out of unbridled jealousy and hatred and for their own twisted amusement? You want to yell, “Don’t open the door!” to the protagonist but… it’s you.

All of that came later though. When I first stumbled across it, the cafe was a fun place to be, good eats, good coffee and the owner had a smile and a poem for everyone. It was easy to see that the regulars at the banquette table at the back were indulging in some pretty serious geriatric flirting with the Café owner. He took it good naturedly, and it was nice to see that even those who could barely spell; always received a kind word of encouragement. There were no signs of the undercurrents of crazy when everyone connected to this story first met. Actually, in a Stepford Wives way, the regulars welcomed newcomers in.
That’s how I first became acquainted with them. The Ladies. Or as I later came to think of them: The Post Menopausal & Poseur Poetaster Club, of the Internet Poetry Café.
I like alliteration. Deal with it.

You remember how it was, right? Lots of laughs, inspiration and folks coming and going at all hours, The Ladies gathered at their table; Hist’mina Munchhausen Fibthorne – “Wheezy” to her friends, Maia Witless Artesian, Guerensy Rime Mooerson and Cheri Del’Usional Aprils. All chatting it up with the cafe owner, smiles, moues, coy glances and “What do you think of my stories?” “Can you help me with this sonnet?”

Who ever would have guessed that such ordinary looking grannies, could harbour thoughts worthy of “Arsenic and Old Lace”, not to mention a healthy dose of “Fatal Attraction?” Fitting analogy that. A tale of sinister plots, deceptive old dolls and a plot twist: married and attached gals who would lie, cheat and write their own men out of the script for a chance to get into the handsome Café owner’s pants.

I never would have guessed, naive I suppose. I saw a nice place to stop in to, my battered journals in hand and to share some thoughts with the regulars, The Ladies of the Banquette. Mentors, right? That’s what I was thinking at first.

Monsters, more like.

More like indeed! Like attracts like doesn’t it? As the Café grew in popularity, newcomers joined the original self-appointed harem.  Des DoubledipmyBunn and Anglésa BlueWindyChapeau decided to write themselves in. Fortunately, the Café owner was more a fan of Albert Camus than Archie comics.

Then there was me. Quietly observing, scribbling away as I always had . How could I know that the Café owner would take an interest in my stories? Who ever would have thought that this would so stir the ire of The Ladies and later, their minions? Not me. That’s for damn sure. I walked in there like a lamb to slaughter, they had their poisoned pens aimed and the hot flashes got hotter.

But that’s another story for another day…

~ kei
2013 sometime…

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The Preface

I paused for a moment, watching the haze of condensation on the outside of my wine glass.

“Yes. It’s true that I made some bad decisions and telling myself that they were made with best of intentions… well, we can talk about that crap later. Bottom line is, I never pretended to be someone’s friend and then moved in on their husband the second that the wife was out of the picture.”

The interviewer leaned forward, setting down his glass of wine. This part of the story was off the record. He looked at me from under lowered brows, elbows on knees, hands loosely clasped. His phone was off, he’d kept his word.

All I wanted was for my side of the story to be heard. Too many people had formed opinions based on their own narrow little worlds, their own wants and needs. Not a fucking one of them ever stopped to consider that I loved my husband. Always had, always would.

Sometimes, there just has to be a bad guy and for whatever reason… some of my  so-called friends had decided to cast me in that role.

As if they’d been able to convince themselves that somehow, I deserved to be lied to. Deserved to be cheated on. Deserved the betrayal that they thought I’d committed.
I guess it’s how they justified their betrayal of me…

… to be continued

~ kei
6 February 2015

~~~~~

Shelter me in love that’s shaped like the bay
Keep my heart safe from the storm and the waves

A Lifetime Ago Lake

A Lifetime Ago Lake ©Karin Bole Tupper

 

Le Retourné ~ Friday Fictioneers

Friday Fictioneers prompt for 31 October 2014.

What is Friday Fictioneers? Rochelle presents a challenge to write a one hundred word story that has a beginning, middle and end, based upon a picture that she provides on her blog.

Here is today’s picture prompt (below):

©Melanie Greenwood

©Melanie Greenwood

Le Retourné

Word Count: 101

We’d been meeting here for almost six weeks. Five since I arrived in Montreal. I didn’t know a soul, she wouldn’t ordinarily speak with a stranger but we’d struck up a friendship. I’d spent two nights sketching her portrait and hoped she’d like it.

I was sorry to see the modern renovations, sorrier that she never came after that. I inquired for her of the Manager, who paled a little to see my sketch.

“Mam’selle”, said the Manager, “That is Lucette, she waited tables here in the 1960’s. They just recovered her bones from the banks at Rapides du Cheval Blanc.”

Genre: Fiction

©kei
29 October 2014

Sunday Photo Fiction ~ Remember Me

Sunday Photo Fiction: October 26 2014

Here is a description of the challenge from the blog, Sunday Photo Fiction, hosted by Alastair Forbes:

“Every week on a Sunday, a new photo is used as a prompt for Flash Fiction challenge using around 200 words based on that image. Your story does not have to be exactly what the item in the photo is, you can make it anything you want, and enjoy what you write, and we will as well.”

Here is today’s photo challenge:

©A Mixed Bag

©A Mixed Bag

Remember Me

Genre: Fiction

Word Count: 203

~~~~~

I watch him, as he lies sleeping. Hidden in a shadow so I don’t disturb him.

The woman sleeping beside him yawns as I draw closer. She’s an older version of the woman who stands beside him in the framed photo at his bedside.

He stirs as I draw close, yawning and sitting up at the side of his bed. I’m surprised that his dark hair is silvered. He casts a glance at the woman then looks right at me smiling as he quietly opens a nightstand drawer and picks up another photograph.

I smile to see it. There is the dark hair and brilliant cerulean eyes I know. His arm is round my shoulders and he’s looking straight at the photographer, who’s captured us in a kiss. I smile and give his shoulder a little squeeze. That was a beautiful autumn day just like this one. I do wish that he didn’t seem sad; it’s our engagement photo. The date on it is today’s, the year though… Silly boy, he has my ring on a chain round his neck. Perhaps we’ll go out to the lake again, though I can’t remember the way there anymore.

My memories stop on the #309 highway.

~ kei
26 October 2014

~~~~~

Samhain is one of the major Wiccan Sabbats and is celebrated at the same time as Hallowe’en. At Samhain, the veil between the world of the living and of the dead is at its most thin. It is traditionally a time to honour and say goodbye to loved ones.

Sunday Photo Fiction ~ Elizabeth Again

Sunday Photo Fiction: October 19 2014

Here is a description of the challenge from the blog, Sunday Photo Fiction, hosted by Alastair Forbes:

“Every week on a Sunday, a new photo is used as a prompt for Flash Fiction challenge using around 200 words based on that image. Your story does not have to be exactly what the item in the photo is, you can make it anything you want, and enjoy what you write, and we will as well.”

Here is today’s photo challenge:

©A Mixed Bag 2014

©A Mixed Bag 2014

Elizabeth Again

Genre: Fictionalized History

Word Count: 199

~~~~~

I couldn’t contain my excitement, gazing for at least the tenth time through the lens trying to catch sight of the steamer.

After several years of hopes, prayers and endless disappointments; a ray of hope had come my way at a quilting bee last spring. The first of the “Home Children” would be looking for families here in Ontario. I couldn’t contain a little rush of tears when John and I received the letter confirming, a girl would be coming to us from Maerdy. My dearest John, how we’d looked forward to children in the early years! Alas, we were still childless and a home without the laughter and dreams of little ones seemed a bleak future.

Here at the docks of the St. Lawrence, we waited patiently for the steamer to come in. At least John was patient! One last peek through the glass…

I knew her immediately. Tall for her eight years, wavy auburn hair, cut short in the Institution’s fashion, white dress and pinafore over dark stockings that all the Home girls wore. It was her eyes that I knew. Deepest blue and finding mine through the lens, straight to a mother’s no longer lonely heart.

~ kei
19 October 2014

Note: My Great Gran is Elizabeth and one of Dr. Barnardo’s Children (British Home Child). She came to Canada with her older sister. There are many sad tales of this program but my Gran’s is one of the success stories. She obtained a degree from the Toronto Ladies University, returned to Wales to marry and begin her family, my Grandmother being one of those. The Thomas family later made their home in Ottawa, Canada, embracing their chosen country fully. Great Grandpa Thomas is honoured in the Book of Remebrance on Parliament Hill for his military service at Passchendaele in World War I. Gran was an involved pillar of the community and a huge part of my life in ways immeasurable.
Rwyf wrth fy modd i chi Gran.

My Brother’s Keeper ~ Friday Fictioneers

Friday Fictioneers prompt for 17 October 2014.

What is Friday Fictioneers? Rochelle presents a challenge to write a one hundred word story that has a beginning, middle and end, based upon a picture that she provides on her blog.

Here is today’s picture prompt (below):

FF Photo Prompt ©Douglas M. MacIlroy

FF Photo Prompt ©Douglas M. MacIlroy

My Brother’s Keeper

Word Count: 99

Genre: Fiction

I knew he’d been planning to leave. That he did it so suddenly, without warning is what threw me off. It’s a year later and nothing’s changed in the room that was his prison. The ladder is still at the window and the shell compass. “Use it to come find me”, he said, the day before he jumped off the ladder into another dimension.

One where school gym teachers didn’t tell you that it was okay or that they’d hurt your little brother too if you ever told anyone.

I wonder if these shells point in the right direction…?

©KbT
15 October 2014

Sunday Photo Fiction ~ Razing The Dead

Sunday Photo Fiction: October 12 2014

Here is a description of the challenge from the blog, Sunday Photo Fiction, hosted by Alastair Forbes:

“Every week on a Sunday, a new photo is used as a prompt for Flash Fiction challenge using around 200 words based on that image. Your story does not have to be exactly what the item in the photo is, you can make it anything you want, and enjoy what you write, and we will as well.”

Here is today’s photo challenge:

Demolition of an old building. ©Alastair Forbes

Demolition of an old building.
©Alastair Forbes

Razing The Dead

Genre: Fiction

Word Count: 224 (WAY over! Hopefully, none “wasted”)

~~~~~

When I first noticed the sign and  construction fencing, my first thought was “They should have done that years ago and salted the ground.”

A conglomerate had purchased the land where various versions of a pub, dance club and restaurant had stood on Robertson Road since our town had been incorporated.

“The Whistle”, as my friends and I knew it, had been a place where I’d spent some fun, hazy Saturday nights in our flaming youth.
We didn’t speak often of the last night it was open, the night when a man none of us knew, confronted Jordie Thiessen and stabbed him to death over a girl. The strange part was, Jordie hadn’t brought a date.

My student experience at Archives turned up a history of similar events at “The Whistle”; 1950’s murder of James Thornton, 1920’s of John Taylor. Discovering a very old microfiche detailing an 1890’s record of public hanging revealed the origin of the pattern. A logger, back from a long stay up north, killed a man in front of the inn that once stood on Robertson’s Farm. The victim, Jedson Toomey, had been courting the logger’s fiancée. The logger’s name is lost but it seems that even in death, he never forgets.

Frankly, I’m relieved. My nephew Jackson is old enough to visit the local pubs when home from university.

~ kei
12 October 2014

Note: “Razing The Dead” is a play on the term “raising the dead” and the place in Bells Corners that Al’s photo reminded me of did exist, much as I described. I truly did feel it haunted, though I’ve based my theory on fictionalized bits of local history. Ottawa was a logging and military town, it was wild ‘n wooly. I should mention, where the pub stood is as yet a barren field. Still fenced, and only a smattering of weeds is brave enough to grow there.