Archive for Romance
IN LINE • by T.C. Powell 14 Comments
Steve watched Ron kiss Anni goodbye. He acknowledged Steve with a nod, pulled his white jacket tight, then navigated through the throng swarming Hollywood Boulevard. It was cool in the Southland for a day so near summer, even in the midst of the crowd, though Ron could have helped himself by buttoning his shirt. He had a man’s chest and wanted the world to know it.
Pointless peacocking. Already had the girl, after all.
“Hey, Steve,” Anni said. She flashed a smile as radiant as Farrah’s in her poster. “Guess we should’ve gotten tickets ahead of time?”
Steve grimaced. “I had no idea it would be this popular.” The Star Wars line stretched down the street until it turned into the Chinese Theater complex; Steve had arrived an hour early and still was barely past the towering Ionic columns of the Masonic Temple. Steve continued: “Someone came out ten minutes ago — said we’d make the next show. What do you think? Stay here? Or see what’s playing at the Paramount?”
“No,” she said. “This is fine. This is what we planned on, after all.” She looked down at the black sidewalk, covered in glittering red stars and flattened chewing gum. Steve knew what she felt — today was goodbye, and soon she and Ron would move upstate to Salinas. Five hundred miles gulfing wide between the long-time friends.
“Don’t be that way,” Steve said. “I’ll visit, all the time.”
Anni laughed. “How? You sold your van, boy genius, and anyways gas might be getting cheaper but it’s still out of your price range.”
“Well, I’ve been thinking… maybe I’ll move up there myself. Set up shop around San Jose. That wouldn’t be so far.”
“Right. The business.” Anni didn’t believe much in Steve’s entrepreneurial dreams. She thought him too flighty, too unstable. Not that he could blame …Inspirational, Romance, Stories
THE DINER • by Wayne Scheer 22 Comments
Adrienne’s name is stitched to the pocket of her white blouse, which is tucked into her short black skirt. Standing behind the counter at Drakeville Diner, she winks at Arthur Coleman and fills his coffee cup. He nods. She tries making conversation, but he looks away in silence. Poor man, she thinks. He barely speaks since his mother passed away.
Adrienne wipes the counter, trying to keep herself busy. Tom Blaylock calls for another slice of blueberry pie.
“Sure thing, honey.” She serves him, trying not to look at his bulging belly. He’s doubled his weight since his high school football days. They had dated a few times. He was obnoxious then, more so now.
“How’s Grace doing?” she asks. “I haven’t seen her in a while.”
“Still as ornery as ever.”
“Has to be, to put up with the likes of you.” Adrienne smiles, wondering how many times they’ve had this same exchange.
Through the large front window, she watches a familiar dark blue Buick LeSabre pull into the handicapped spot near the restaurant’s front door. Checking her watch, Adrienne notes that it’s a little past five.
Rufus Birdsell eases his elderly, lanky frame out of the automobile and shuffles to the passenger side. He opens the car’s back door and pulls out a collapsed walker which he springs to life with a surprisingly quick flick of his wrist. Opening the passenger door, he attends to his wife as purposefully as a doctor preparing for surgery. Together, they inch their way into the diner and to a table by the window.
“Good evening,” Adrienne says to them. Arthur turns to see the couple, but says nothing. Tom stays focused on his pie.
Mrs. Birdsell smiles. Mr. Birdsell is too intent on helping his wife move from the walker to the booth to acknowledge the greeting. Once Mrs. Birdsell …Romance, Stories
THE CAVERN • by K. Esta 6 Comments
The sun peeked out over the south-east horizon and cast its golden hue across the frozen expanse. Maria stopped to pull the insulated canteen from the side pouch of her backpack. She took three generous swallows, chasing the granola bar that had served as her breakfast.
She continued her brisk pace. With each step, the snow complained, emitting a deep squeak as it was compressed under her boots. She had been walking for over an hour and had another three hours to go, at least, but it would be worth it. She hoped.
If you gaze into the cavern, as the sun reaches its apex, what you’ve lost will be returned to you — or so the myth said. It was also said that it had to be done today, when the noon sun was closest to the horizon.
The legend was mostly built on tales passed down through the families of the miners whose descendants still lived in the area. Though they claimed its origins went back much farther than that. Most of the locals dismissed the stories as the ravings of men who had spent too long in isolation.
Maria had never put much stock in myth or legend either, but something had sparked in her when she heard the story of the cavern. She had to see for herself if it were true, if he could really be returned to her.
She and her guide had left the city hours before sunrise to make their way through the mountains’ foothills. There were few people still familiar with the old access roads left behind after the mine had closed almost a century ago, but she had managed to find someone willing to take her as far as the edge of the flats and wait for her to return.
Lost love. She scorned herself for …Romance, Stories
THE RELUCTANT POET • by Clint Wastling 11 Comments
He had once posed naked for a charity calendar. He was April with a bunch of pink tulips strategically placed. I wondered if there was any significance in the colour. The tattoos I was already familiar with because I’d previously met Mark in the gym. I’d stumbled over his note book and sent it spinning under the treadmill.
“How clumsy of me.” I bent down and placed my hand under the rubber conveyor. I felt strands of fluff before meeting the hard cover. I pulled this out and blew off the dust.
“Thanks. It’s my fault for leaving it lying around,” he said, removing a headphone and taking possession of the object. “I can’t go anywhere without a note book and pen.” He smiled and was about to get onto the rowing machine.
“I’m Julie,” I said. He regained his balance.
“Mark.” He held out his hand. That’s when I noticed the treble clef and musical notes dancing across his wrist.
“Nice to meet someone who speaks. They’re not the friendliest.” I looked around the room at the backs of people engrossed in their cardio-vascular regimes. “Are you a musician?”
“No,” he looked down. “Oh! I see. No, I’m a musician of words.”
I must have looked blank because he continued.
“I’m a poet.”
“I thought they all died in the First World War.” My black humour missing its mark.
“Another victim of school poetry?”
“I never enjoyed English lessons; they were dull, delivered by this lady with puckered lips and too much cologne. All I can remember are iambic pentameters and War Poets.”
“At least you remembered them!”
It was something in his eyes which stopped me leaving at that point. Their hazel colouring was lit by an enthusiasm I hadn’t seen before. They shone with passion.
“I must get on.” I pointed at the free cross trainer.
“And me.” Mark sat …Humour/Satire, Romance, Stories
ASHY EYES • by Leonard Owens III 13 Comments
Mary liked the song. It was slow and brooding, like something Clapton might’ve done in the sixties, before cocaine became his master.
Outside the hip little bar, people were sipping wine under big umbrellas even though it was dark out. Inside, there was no haze of cigarette smoke, and Mary didn’t like that. She had seen all the old Bogart movies where the bars billowed with gray clouds.
Mary sat at a table near the small stage, alone, drinking. Nothing girly for her: tall glass of scotch, no ice. She fidgeted with her black, curly hair, but made sure not to touch the green bandana she had very carefully woven in to make her hair look messy. Before leaving the house that night, she’d looked in the mirror. Low-cut black shirt, skin-tight jeans, a touch of eyeliner, a dab of lip gloss, and cowgirl boots from a trendy thrift store where the clothes cost more than new ones. The word that came to mind when she looked at herself was “compromise,” but she wasn’t sure anymore what she had changed for.
Her purse, from the same trendy thrift store, had a cell phone in it, turned off.
Not silent or vibrate, but off.
She looked around, all those punks and preps and princesses with their phones, chatting and texting endlessly, looking like masturbating monkeys. If she were onstage, she would tally up the people on their phones and call them out between songs: “There are currently 27 disrespectful assholes on the phone. This next one is called ‘Digital Communication is Overrated.’”
She was there to meet someone, but found something else in the music.
The band was new. The Layovers. Three guys: drums, bass, and lead guitar. No keyboards. No synthesizers. Just music, the way it used to be. It was obvious they would never make it …Humour/Satire, Literary, Romance, Stories