Thursday, March 26, 2015

Week in Seven Words #250

clear-eyed
They prefer being spoken to sincerely, not smothered in pats and hugs and baby talk - a tone-deaf sort of love.

inconsistent
He's wearing a seatbelt, driving at speed limit, and taking his eyes off the road to check sports news on his mobile device.

jarring
He murders an otherwise good presentation with jokes about mental illness. The laughter that ripples through the room is faint and disbelieving.

projectiles
His parents are too polite to discuss the issue publicly, but he's overheard them hash it out at home. He doesn't understand everything they say, but he knows enough to know they'd be embarrassed. He knows how to make the next family get-together more entertaining.

stashed
She's brought paper shopping bags full of winter clothes and toiletries to an elegant restaurant. The waiters pretend not to see any of it poking out from under the tablecloth.

tickling
His small feet thrumming on the back of my car seat.

what-ifs
To what extent would my life have been different had I grown up next door to him? I consider this as we sit on opposite benches and pick at our salads. He might have been an advisor or advocate. Or maybe still too much removed from what was going on. I might not have listened anyway.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Ides of March Hike: Tarrytown to Van Cortlandt Park

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This past Sunday, I went on a group hike from Tarrytown, NY to Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. The hike more or less followed a segment of the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail.

It wound up being 18.5 miles (the hike leader had initially estimated 16).

It also should have been scheduled a month from now. The trail was in terrible condition - a sludgy mix of snow, ice, and mud that the hike leader hadn't anticipated (at least not to that extent). And I wore boots that were only casually waterproof; they'd keep your feet dry on a walk home from work in the snow, but not on a messy trail for miles, so my feet got soaked early on.

Had I wanted to (and it was very tempting!), I could have dropped off at a few points before the end. We passed through towns with Metro North train stations that can take you back to NYC. But every time I got to one of those towns, I thought, "I've come this far… so…" And admittedly, had I known the hike would be 2.5 miles longer with the same kind of nasty trail conditions to almost the very end, I maybe would have bailed out at the last drop-off (which was around mile 11). Ignorance can help courage along.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Week in Seven Words #249

bruised
Even when discussing happier memories, her eyes have a wounded look. Much of what she's seen, she can't explain and doesn't want to think about.

busied
Pouring tea is her escape from uncomfortable conversation.

grotto
The cobwebbed elegance of the small café. Bats soar among ruby-red plants. A prim little cheesecake bathes in golden light.

land mine
It's startling when during a conversation with a mild-mannered person you stumble on the one topic that brings a savage light to their eyes.

lettered
Confounded by 'which' - is it 'which' or 'wich'?

measured
A slow swirl of his spoon in the coffee, the way planets revolve around the sun.

scapegoat
He screams at the supermarket cashier because the store closed two minutes ago, and now he can't get his groceries. He hollers into the night. The cashier could be a parent, a boss, a lover who's just walked out on him. He stalks away, after promising a harsh review on Yelp.

Friday, March 13, 2015

13 short stories for Friday the 13th

I don't believe in the Friday the 13th superstition or that 13 is an unlucky number, but I thought I'd have some fun with today's date (especially because this weekend it's the Ides of March too!).

So here are a bunch of stories that are dark, disturbing, or otherwise strange, exploring fears and tragedies. The characters might be unlucky. They might also work to make themselves unlucky.

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Week in Seven Words #248

conniption
The wind, fierce and fretful, throws a tantrum among the trees.

expose
The trail overlooks people's backyards. What do they think about the strange hikers who can peer into their windows at any time of day?

glinting
There is sweat on her upper lip, and her smile is blinding. She would prefer if you look at her smile and not at her eyes.

gold-leaf
Leaves and loose rock underfoot. Gold spreading gloriously overhead.

osseous
All that's left of a home: two stone walls, roof tiles littering the ground, a chimney decaying like a tooth.

splashed
The river throws the sunlight off its back and into our eyes.

thoroughfare
Learning the contours of a river from a train, a forest ridge, and two bridges.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Week in Seven Words #247

assuaged
The restaurant feels impersonal, all the furniture spare and made of metal, but they serve rich comfort food.

barred
When I see the number of missed calls that have accumulated in my cell phone, I'm glad I kept it on 'silent.' Otherwise, I wouldn't have had the morning to myself, to explore as I like.

enchanting
Plum-colored houses with white picket fences. Cobbled lanes and sunken gardens.

gratifying
Tourists licking ice cream in the salt-flavored air.

singular
A lonely giant on a charcoal ledge looks away from the moon.

soaped
Back-to-back episodes of Shark Tank, the TV flickering in a dark room. My mind gently wiped clean of the day's emotions.

tenacious
His wife strikes me as hard and bright, a woman who's difficult to get to know but worth knowing.