LOST

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To an outsider we would have looked like any normal family going on a weekend hike, but each of us, mum, dad, sister Kit and I, knew it was not. We had no choice but to pack up and head west. Away from our once shimmering, pulsating city now gasping for breath with only the stench of fear and rotten garbage its only reminder of modern civilization.

We headed out with a sense of excited relief and quiet despair, dad trying to keep the mood light and mum’s brown eyes smiling behind her mask covered in silent tears. We had all worn masks outside for months. Most had. But still most had died. Or left like us. Disappeared without a trace.

Dad drove our old Toyota Hilux till it ran out of petrol just on the other side of the mountain range. Then we had to walk carrying our gear through the steep descent into the valley of thick bushland. Dad was on a mission to the get there by nightfall to set up camp. ‘Keep walking. We will be safe there’ he kept saying. I limped along; pain shooting from throbbing blisters on my heels. Kit was crying and dad picked her up and carried both her and the heaviest backpack with our water supply. Mum stumbled, and I grabbed her hand. It felt warm and comforting. We continued for what seemed hours, Kit on Dad’s back and mum and I behind.

‘This is it!’ Dad smiled. ‘Let’s set up camp here.’

It was nothing like our home, but the small grassed clearing with the freshwater creek nearby and dense tall gumtrees all around that night was heaven. Mum soon had the fire burning with the smell of garlic and dried vegetables wafting through the place. We feasted and told funny stories, we laughed and we shed a few quiet tears in the dark. Life almost felt good and normal again; as if we were just on another camping trip.

But it wasn’t. We left the city, but the city came with us. It stalked us through the bushes, and safety was only a momentary illusion. We knew as soon as we lost Kit. We knew it was with us. We stopped hugging and sharing utensils. But we stayed together. Like robots without souls, we walked the bush further and further inland. But it stayed with us. One by one, first mum, then dad, then…..for the first time in my 17 years I was all alone. Totally and utterly alone. Not alone in a house, not alone in my room. No, I was totally alone in the outback. God only knows where. I didn’t. I sat for hours in the thick bush surrounded by an abundance of wildlife that had no idea what was happening in the world, in my world.  I yelled into the empty vastness and finally cried myself to sleep.

That was 75 days ago. I have kept tally of the days in my notebook just to keep my mind sane. Somehow knowing what day it is makes me feel normal. I have a routine now. Every day I walk till the sun is highest in the sky, then I find a camp site and spend the rest of the day catching and preparing my dinner. My slingshot it great for getting little birds, a perfect size meal.  Sometimes I go for days with just water and berries. I have gone for 75 days without human contact. Not sure which hunger is the worst. The rumbles of my stomach can be quietened by  a descent feast, but the rumbles of my soul are always there. The longing for human touch, for a connection, the need to ease the anxiety, the fear of being alone, is always there beneath the surface of toughness.

Today my routine changed. It was cold, and I kept walking to stay warm. The breeze cut right through my worn jacket and dirty jeans in spite of the extra layers of shirts underneath. I was still searching for a protected campsite or a small cabin, if lucky, when the sun was starting to set. I felt a sense of panic as I heard my dad’s voice in my head ‘Always set up camp and a fire before dark.’

That’s when I smelt the smoke and saw the glow from a distant fire. Another hiker. Another human being. My heart raced. From fear and from excitement and the thought of maybe a warm meal. Could I risk it? I circled closer. In the dark, I could make out only one person. A slight build. I felt braver. I could win a fight if I had to. I was only metres away from the camp fire, and could feel the inviting glow on my body melting away any last bit of resistance. I stumbled, the person turned and pointed a gun at me.

‘Don’t come closer or I shoot you,’ the voice yelled.

Big blue eyes looked into mine, full of fear. A girl my age, her face dirty and streaked from days in the bush.

‘You look worse than me’ I tried to joke and smiled.

Her look softened and her gun lowered just for a moment.

‘You don’t need that’ I pointed to the gun. ‘Im not going to hurt you.’

‘How do I know you’re not sick like everyone else?’  her voice trembled.

‘Im not. I have been by myself for over 75 days. No contact with anyone else since my whole family passed. Im clean.’

She looked into my eyes, the frown on her forehead disappeared, and in that moment we both felt it. That overwhelming need to hold someone.

“Can I hug you?’ I asked, taking a step towards her.

She put down the gun and slowly moved into my outstretched arms, and for a long time all I heard was the beat of our hearts and the quiet sighs escaping from us both. We instantly knew from that day on we would begin our new normal. Together.

 

BREATHING

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We are now halfway through 2020; a year of turmoil and change, but also a year of hope for a better life. Hope because the events that have unfolded this year has made us all appreciate what matters; love, family, human contact, freedom, time to reflect, our health and waking up every morning still BREATHING.

In fact, BREATHING seems to have been a common thread through the chaos we have experienced in 2020.

First the bushfires that ravaged such a vast part of Australia in our summer season and continued into the start of this year. Smoke filled the air even in places far from the burning bush. It blanketed Sydney for months and many stayed indoors because of the worst air quality experienced in our normally bright and clean city. Our BREATHING was restricted, and we felt it in our lungs when venturing outdoors on bad days.

Then Covid-19 started surfacing in China, a virus affecting the respiratory system and in worst cases requiring ventilators to assist with BREATHING. By March Australia saw a surge in cases and we went into lockdown. We needed to contain the virus as our hospitals and medical supplies were not ready to deal with mass infections. Mass production of both masks and respirators commenced in the anticipation of hospitals potentially filling with people not being able to BREATHE by themselves.

The restrictions has helped Australia manage Covid-19 so far, and we are seeing very few cases emerge now apart from travellers returning or cluster cases. We are in a new phase of easing up on the restrictions, though many businesses continue to work from home. Some are going back to what they used to do, as if everything is back to normal, but we are far from it. Right now we are in ‘holding our BREATH’ mode to see what happens next.

To top it off amidst all the turmoil an American police officer arrested and killed George Floyd. His last words ‘I can’t BREATHE’ was captured on video and plastered on headlines online everywhere. This gross injustice lead to a massive protest movement across not only America but the world. Amidst the dangers of Covid-19 people gathered in peaceful protests wearing masks to voice their opinion about the injustice against people of colour. It escalated and within days America was in chaos.

George Floyd’s last words echoes what has been the issue for many all of 2020. For people of restricted freedom and privileges, it has been an issue for a lot longer.

What are we being told? What is it we need to learn before we can move forward to a new normal?

BREATHING is our life force. Not just for us humans. It’s the basis of all existence. Animals breathe, plants breathe. We all breathe in coexistence and codependence. Our breath brings us back to a balanced life, it grounds us, it sustains us, it nurtures our bodies. We must breathe to exist.

A new normal must make BREATHING a top priority on all levels, from daily interactions to top corporate visions. It’s that simple. And also that complex.

Writing When Not Writing

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Can a writer write when not actually writing?

Of course we can. In fact, ‘non writing’ activities take up a huge chunk of our time. Many of us fill with guilt when not sitting in front of laptop writing, but to be honest so much of our writing ideas and skills come to life when we are not busy writing. These activities may ‘take us away’ from our writing, but I believe they also enrich our writing by providing ideas and additional knowledge and invaluable connections in the writing community.

Here are the top five activities that I have enjoyed ‘taking me away’ from my actual writing time this year.

Writing Groups

I am part of both a writers’ group (FAW) and a writers critique group. We meet 3 Saturday afternoons every month. The writers’ group have some excellent speakers and workshops, and the critique group provides me with valuable feedback on my writing.

Festivals

Attended the Sydney Writers festival and Writers Unleashed in the Shire. Some regional festivals sound awesome and on the radar for next year.

Participated on the committee for our own local Writers Unleashed festival this August. I learnt so much during this on how much is involved in organising an event like this, and connected with a huge number of fantastic writers.

Newsletters & Social Media

Sourcing materials on educational and informative news on all things writing for the monthly newsletter for FAW Sutherland has been fun and increased my own knowledge on what goes on out there in the writers world.

As Social Media officer for the Writers Unleashed I have put together a large number of posts to promote our festival and its many fantastic speakers. This has provided me with new skills and knowledge that I can now use on my own social media updates.

Author Book Launches

Many writers are introverts and public speaking does not always come easy. Attending book launches not only is a way to network and meet likeminded people, but also a way to learn what an audience enjoy and want to hear at book launches. What works and what doesn’t. Small gatherings of close friends and publishing supporters at book stores or libraries seem a winner. Even better with a bit of champagne to relax everyone! I frequently visit our local bookstore Anna’s Shop Around the Corner in Cronulla for some amazing talks. A true gem for writers!

Books & Podcasts

I love Podcasts. They make commuting a breeze! My favourites are @So You Want to be a Writer and Talking Aussie Boooks.

Reading as many books across a varied number of genres is essential. It hones our own craft and supports other writers.

To get as many into my busy days I use different media. My Kindle when travelling light. My audio when driving/exercising or doing housework. And a real book, the best, when I do find time to sit and enjoy the read. Which unfortunately is not always easy working full time as a planner and trying to fit in my writing in my spare time left.

Courses

Any writing course will hone your craft even if not in the genre you’re currently writing in. My MS is a romance suspense novel, but I write short stories across various genres.

My most recent course was on publishing children’s books and was fantastic. Learning expands your mind and never wasted. The AWC have so many great courses both in class and online. Check them out and build up your writer’s tool-kit.

Of course in the end actually sitting down to write is the only thing that will get your MS finished. But all of above still assist when you do sit in front of your laptop.

At least by writing about what gets me away from writing I actually got some writing done!

What do you find gets you away from writing , but also helps you in your writing?

I miss……

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I miss being a Mum!

I’m still very much a mum, you never stop being a mum. But I miss the part of being a mum where your family is still living with you. The part that is​ often the hardest when you are a single mum. But so beautiful as well. Probably more so when looking back :-). A bit like childbirth. You forget the horror and pain as soon as you see your baby’s face.

My firstborn took 3 long days to arrive. She was due on 20th June and she arrived on 20th June , but started her struggle​ to enter the world on the 17th June. Not sure if waiting to arrive on the due date was me being stubborn or her! Lots of pain, lots of stress. Too much to write about here without starting a bigger than the bible novel. But enough to say, when I finally saw her little red face and jet black eyes staring sleepily up at me from my bare chest, an enormous​ love came over me.  I had never ever experienced such a strong emotion.  It was different to way I loved her dad. Obviously, as him and I are now long divorced, but my love for my baby has never ever stopped. And never will. Even writing about it now has me in tears and the letters on my screen are blurring…………

But back to forgetting the bad and only remember​ing the good. You so do that in life. I was ready to have a second baby as soon as I saw my first born’s face. And I did. But not straight away. Took me a couple of years and I was pregnant again. Another beautiful time. Lots of the usual morning sickness and being “fat”. But surprisingly my pregnancy also resulted in the sexiest emotions. Kind of funny as you really do not need to be sexy purely from a biological point of view. You have already attracted a mate and are with a baby. But I did. Super sexy. Perhaps sexy comes from being content. It is the one time in our female lives we can be a little cuddly and not have to worry about it. In fact, ​we can embrace looking womanly. Should be more of it in our society if you ask me.

My second baby, another beautiful girl, produced exactly the same emotions. I wanted more. Seconds after giving birth I was ready to go for another twelve! Well, perhaps another two, but the euphoria really does make you reach for the stars. She was an easy birth, only a few hours. My body and I knew what to do.

But the enthusiasm for another little one didn’t go any further. A crumbling marriage put a stop to that. Divorced their father when my second girl was only 5. Of course we didn’t go one day from being in love to out of love. It was gradual. We had many good years, but also many soul destroying times. But he did give me 2 beautiful daughters that I love more than anything on this earth. More than myself. Not saying I don’t love myself. But I would give up my life if it meant they would live. The protective motherhood feelings are indeed as strong as the superglue. Ever binding.

Of course my girls are not angels. But I love them for who they are. I love how they have now grown up into  beautiful, caring , smart and independent young women. I am so proud my heart could burst sometimes. And I am proud of my achievements as a mum. My stumbling, fumbling attempts at doing the right thing as a parent, has somehow worked. They survived with me as their mum!

I may not always have liked their actions as little human beings. Mostly when they were teenagers. Oh boy was that a fun time! The constant worry that they were ok. The many fights about rights and what you can do at 15 when you truly believe you are 25! The new experimental times with boys and drugs. Boys, I can deal with. Drugs was a new territory for me. Yes, alcohol I knew about from my own teenage years. But drugs I never did myself apart from a few attempts with marijuana. A huge learning curve for me that sometimes came too late. Still we survived it.

But every struggle and challenge through those years, not only made what they are today, it also shaped me. I think I was probably a bit more tense and naïve. I have mellowed through it all and become more accepting. Don’t get me wrong, I still worry. Sometimes about stupid little things that I really shouldn’t worry about. But I’m much better than I used to be. Being a single mum was hard as I didn’t have another person to lean on or to take charge when I was beat. It was always me alone, both mother and father. It was a struggle, but a struggle I’m glad I had.

I miss all that. I miss having my family here living with me. Warts and all. Our love is as strong as ever, but these days it’s from afar. We no longer enjoy the daily interactions. I do miss having someone to care for, to have someone need me. I miss being a mum. Of course I am not wallowing in self pity. I am happy they are now young adults as it has given me a lot more ME time. Time to pursue my passions in writing and photography and time with friends. So there are positives in everything.

I will forever be grateful to my girls for providing me with a rich life and a chance to experience motherhood. They are indeed my biggest achievement in life.

How To Start and Keep On Writing

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2017 was an amazing year for me on a number of levels ​but in particular​​ my writing.

Looking back I can honestly say I am proud of what I achieved and really excited about where this will take me in 2018.

So what exactly did I achieve:

1. Entered 2 short stories into a competition and had them both published on Short Fiction Break, an online magazine
2. Started and finished the first draft of my 65000 word novel
3. Set up my online platform for both my writing and my photography
4. Started regular blogs
5. Joined a local writers group attending monthly meetings
6. Accepted the positions of Vice President and Writers Festival Social Media Coordinator for the local writers group
7. Participated in NaNoWrimo
8. Joined a number of online writers groups
9. Submitted 3000-word​ sample of my novel to UK publishing house

Thats quite a list for only one year. When I look back I wonder what made this year different to other years. I have had the desire to write for a long time. Why did it finally happen this year? I think its a number of events or decisions I made that finally got me writing and on track.



  • Set clear goals


In the beginning of 2017 I was once again announcing my desire to write a book. I think my daughter finally got sick of hearing about it and quite bluntly told me “just do it mum, stop talking about it and just do it” . It was probably the best advise I could have received. I realised how right she was. I could talk about it till the cows come home, but unless I started and set a clear goal I would be talking about it again the next year. So I set myself a goal to finish my book and told as many people about this goal to really cement it and make myself accountable.



  • Join writers groups


This is so important. Writing may be a solitary passion, but connecting with like minded writers has so many benefits. Not only do you learn from other writers but you also get an outlet for your writing. Often they have workshops and guest speakers in their meetings that expand you as a writer. Plus you start to see yourself as a writer which does wonders for your creativity.



  • Enter competitions and join online groups


I loved taking part in the The Write Practise competitions. It was my first attempt writing short stories that others would review. The interactions with other writers during the competition was hugely beneficial. Being reviewed and having to review posts from other writers was a real challenge that broadened my skills even further. I would highly recommend it to any new writers. I made a lot of online connections that I am still in touch with today. In general joining online activities either competitions or online groups is hugely beneficial. The support you receive from some groups is so important when you start out and even ongoing as we continue to learn. My favourite online groups at the moment are So You Want To Be A Writer run by Allison Tain and Valerie Khoo and a fairly new group called Authors in the News run by Kristin Spiers. Both provide valuable information in a down to earth professional way.



  • Participate in NaNoWriMo


This was an amazing experience and really got me over the line to finish my novel. The accountability of the word count, having supportive writing buddies and a number of workshops and local write-ins really kept you writing. Not only for November but has now set a good writing habit. I make regular time to write now. I know , if you really want to write , you have to sit down and start writing. If you wait till the stars are aligned and you are in the mood, it may never happen. It will most like not happen often enough. Regular writing and setting deadlines will get you there.



  • Share your writing


Don’t be shy. Dont wait till you feel its perfect. Share your writing journey. You will learn from the feedback from others and it will make you feel like a writer.
It took me a while to feel comfortable sharing my writing but the more I shared the more I found I enjoyed it. “Feel the fear and do it anyway” Allison Tait of SYWTBW Podcast.



  • Make time


Of course that is a no brainer, but you really need to take it serious and make your writing a priority. That means cutting down on other leisure time activities or getting up earlier to fit it in. Prioritise your time and ensure you fit it what is really important to you. It’s good to sit down and write your activities over a week and then work out what you can eliminate or where you can find time. It’s amazing how much time we really do “waste” where we could be writing instead.

Above is what got me to finally achieve what I had wanted for a long time and plus some. It worked for me and it may work for you too. We are all individuals and need to find our own way to write.

Hope this helps new writers.

What helped you? How did you find your writing groove? Would love your feedback.

Liebster Award

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Wow! What a way to start 2018.
With an award. I am stoked as I only started this blog a few months ago. I am honestly still fumbling my way through this blogging world, but having a ton of fun writing and reading everyone’s posts.

So huge thanks to sweet Britt @ A Little Sunshine for nominating me for the Liebster Award

So exactly what is this award I hear you ask? I really had no idea when I received it myself. It may seem like nothing to some, but I think it’s​ a great idea to promote and pat each other on the back, as well as get us all connected with more bloggers. Isn’t​ that why we are here; to connect?

What’s the LIEBSTER AWARD?:

It’s an award in which bloggers nominate other bloggers for showing respect to their works and their dedication. It’s an appreciation and recognition for all the fellow bloggers out there in the blogosphere..!!

Rules For Accepting It:

Write about it on your blog and thank the person who nominated you,​ write about their blog too.

  • Display the award on your blog.
  • Nominate 5 or 10 blogs which you feel deserve it

  • Let the nominees know that you nominated them.
    “Don’t forget to create 10 questions for them to answer. Notify your nominees and provide a link to your post so that they’ll know what to do. Once you’re done, come back here and comment with the link to your post so I can check out your answers.”

    My 10 questions from Britt and my answers

    What is your favorite food?

  • I LOVE Danish Hot dogs! Yes I know it sounds crazy, but they are so damn good and no other country can match them. Which really doesn’t​ take much as most hot dogs are pretty ordinary. But not the Danish ones. Give them a go next time you visit this country.

    What’s your favourite​ dessert​?

  • It would have to be Tiramisu, the scrumptious​ Italian dessert. Come to think of I love most Italian food, even better when eaten in Italy 🙂

    Something Silly that always makes you smile?

  • Seeing someone trip! I know it is so mean, but what is it about tripping that makes most of us smile or laugh out loud.

    IPhone or Android preference?

  • IPhone all the way. I’m an Apple girl. Well maybe girl is not the right tag for me anymore, except in my head

    Why did you create your blog?

  • Simple. I love writing and I love connecting with other writers. A way to keep me on track and not get lazy. So easy to do.

    If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? and why?

  • It would have to be around​ the world trip as I would want to go to Europe and visit my family and to the US to visit my daughter. For just pure pleasure I would love to see the Maldives.

    How often do you add a new post to your blog?

  • I post daily with my Positive Thoughts. Only short notes on what I see as positive each day. Such a great way to make us appreciate each day and focus on the good things in our lives. Also post every 1 or 2 weeks with a larger journal post on what I feel like talking about.

    What is your greatest goal in life?

  • Right now. To become a successful published Author

    What is your highest achievement?

  • Without a doubt, bringing my girls up to be beautiful independent women. My heart grows when I think of either of them and I am a super proud mum.

    If you had the ability to change one thing on​ this crazy planet, what would it be and why?

  • Make human beings realise we only have one shot at this thing called life and to treat everyone and everything with love and respect

    Now I would like to nominate the following awesome people

    Justsophandriley
    Living
    I Think I Say I do
    Lithium Fiction
    Cathy Powell
    Sketches From Berlin
    Writing Ward
    TJ Edwards
    Dasha Maiorova
    WREADITOR

    My 10 questions to the Nominees are:

    1. If you could have a ​superpower​ what would it be and why?
    2. What is your favourite movie?
    3. When and why did you start blogging?
    4. Paperbook or Kindle?
    5. Do you now live in the country you were born in?
    6. If money was no object what would you do this weekend?
    7. Who do you respect and look up to?
    8. Do you listen to music when youwrite,​, if yes what is your preference?
    9. What really makes your heart sing?
    10. What is your main goal for this year?

    Thank you so much. I cant wait to see your posts.

    Sal

  • My Last Love

    My second short story published first on Short Fiction Break in September 2017

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    He was not my first love. But he ended up my biggest and my last love.

    It was a short love affair, but the fall was intense. We both knew it would not be an easy road yet it was a road we both desired and had to travel. Almost like there was no other option.

    I saw it in his eyes across the breakfast table in the hotel cafe busy with people enjoying a last weekend away before fall. We seemed to be the only people by ourselves.  I was wondering if he had a partner. But he remained on his own. Our eyes locked and we both smiled. I think that was the moment I fell. Something in his face, the way his smile seemed to not only make his lips move. His whole face and body smiled. I felt instantly warm, secure and immensely content. My whole body felt alive. Longing raised to the surface so overpowering I could only go with what my soul urged me to do. Both feeling the pressure of time and a need to let go once more and just dive in for the fall.  Dive into falling in love.

    We had both given up on finding love again. Settled for life as it was. Content with friendships and family catch-ups. Life was good. But the longing was always there. The longing to connect and to love again. The longing to have another human being to share life’s little moments with. To rid you of the loneliness that would creep in at night like a silent thief robbing you of your contentment and leaving you with sadness wondering if that was all there was left.  But you kept going each day suppressing the loneliness and focussing on all the positives in your life.

    We were both at that point in our lives. I saw the reflection of my life in his eyes when we smiled across the tables. The instant attraction was deep. I normally would never do what I did next, but it felt so natural. I got up and walked over to his table.

    “Can I join you?” I uttered cheerfully. His grin said more than yes. That was the start and the end for both of us. No return.

    We spent the rest of the weekend enjoying the sights together. We laughed and smiled a lot. And we talked. We talked for hours. It was like we both knew we had limited time together. We wanted every minute to count and to be the best we could.

    We spoke about our lives and realised how close we had been to crossing paths on a number of occasions. Our travels throughout Vietnam in our twenties, staying at the same hostels only days apart. Our children attending the same universities and graduating the same year. We would have been in the crowds cheering for them. Both with partners then. Both unhappy staying in miserable marriages for the sake of our children. Both finally divorcing and starting our new lives in our late 50’s. Settling into single life only a few suburbs apart. Eventually, both settling for life as it was. Single and content, but always longing.

    The weekend ended too soon, but we exchanged numbers. His hug enveloped my whole body and reached beneath my core into my soul. It penetrated the loneliness and brought feelings to the surface that overwhelmed and surprised me. I felt like crying. A need to shed the loneliness I had suppressed for an eternity. Even with partners, I had always felt lonely. With him, I felt complete. I felt joyful. I felt love.

    “Let’s catch up again soon” he whispered in my ear. I nodded and saw my own reflection in his moist eyes when we said our goodbyes.

    We spoke every day after that and started our love affair. We kept it a secret to avoid trouble and the inevitable backlash. Our families would not approve easily, but we were committed to making this work and would tackle any issues together.

    Our time was filled with romantic dinners, drives to new places and movies. Always talking, always laughing, always exploring new activities together. We loved with such intensity it sometimes didn’t seem real. Like being the main characters in a romance novel. Yet it was extremely real. Our feelings raw and real. Intense and beautiful.

    We loved with no limitations, we read each other like open books. We didn’t always agree, but we never quarreled. We accepted each other with no questions as to who was right or wrong. Our families and friends eventually accepted us being together. Except for my daughter. “It’s just wrong” she yelled and slammed the phone down when we last spoke. “She will come around in her own time” he reassured me in his kind loving way.

    We had six months of pure bliss. Pure unadulterated bliss feeling like nothing could stop this love or change our lives. But something did.

    I saw it in his eyes as soon as he walked in the door. I had prepared an easy meal for a movie night at my place. Outside was windy and rain had started to set in. A perfect night for snuggling on the couch. We hugged, but I felt his tenseness. Then his body shook. He held me tight, his tears quietly rolling down my neck. His body told me he was holding back the sobs. I held him till he relaxed. Then he looked into my eyes.  I saw the reflection of the end, I felt his intense pain. I took his hand and led him to my bed and we just laid there in each other’s arms. I knew he would tell me when he was ready.

    I could feel he was relaxing as I caressed his face. I looked at him, my eyes full of questions, my heart full of fear, but I was ready to hear what he had to say. I needed to hear it. His voice was filled with sorrow and despair when he uttered the six words that changed everything “I have cancer. I am dying”

    My world stopped then. I struggled to take in the words at first. I don’t think I wanted to take them in. I cried. Then I kissed him intensely. We tried to make love, but we both just cried. We gave up and just hugged. Dinner stayed in the oven and burned to a crisp. We stayed in bed all night, just hugging, kissing and talking.

    A routine checkup had revealed the headaches were not mere headaches. A large brain tumour had been growing inside his skull while we had enjoyed our love affair. Silently sneaking into our lives with malicious intent to rob us of our last chance of happiness and love. At our age, the fall season of life, it does not come easily or often.

    The days following was a rollercoaster. He pushed me away at first saying he didn’t want me on this journey. He wanted to spare me the sadness, he wanted me to leave and find a new love. I shouted at him for the first time in our time together. I screamed and used words I didn’t know I knew. The result of my sickening fear, sadness, and despair came out in my yelling. Through it all, we both ended up accepting our needs to be with each other no matter what. Till the end. I could see that he wanted me there deep down. My eyes and emotions showed him I wanted to be there too.

    We accepted our limited time. Our lovemaking returned. It was as deep as before but tinged with a sadness that we couldn’t escape. As the visits to the hospital increased and he grew weaker we mostly just held each other quietly throughout the long nights. Or we cried till we both slept. In each other’s arms, savoring every moment we had left. I would wake often. More than him. I would watch his face and listen to his breathing. Capturing the image for my memory bank to keep forever.

    I laid in his arms, in the hospital bed, on his last night. Just listening to his breathing and taking in his beautiful face. His family had left for the night, vowing to return in the morning. I wished my daughter would accept us like his family had.

    He woke up briefly at 4 am. His eyes were clear and looked deeply into mine when he whispered “I love you, Sam. Thank you for loving me”

    He never woke again. He took his last breath shortly after in my arms. I stayed in his arms for a while longer then I called my daughter. Still with my head on his chest, I looked up as she walked in. She came over, hugged me and whispered. “Dad, I am so so sorry”

    <rdf:RDF xmlns:rdf=”http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#&#8221; xmlns:dc=”http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/&#8221; xmlns:trackback=”http://madskills.com/public/xml/rss/module/trackback/”&gt; <rdf:Description rdf:about=”https://shortfictionbreak.com/my-last-love/&#8221; dc:identifier=”https://shortfictionbreak.com/my-last-love/&#8221; dc:title=”My Last Love” trackback:ping=”https://shortfictionbreak.com/my-last-love/trackback/&#8221; /> </rdf:RDF>

    Filed Under: Fall Writing Contest 2017

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    COMMENTS

    1

    2 Kavitha says
    September 6, 2017 at 11:20 pm

    Touching

    REPLY

    ◦ Sal says
    September 11, 2017 at 5:36 am

    Thank you Kavitha

    REPLY

    3 #comment-##

    4 .children

    5 #comment-##

    6

    7 Karen says
    September 9, 2017 at 1:57 am

    Poignant and beautiful.

    REPLY

    ◦ Sal says
    September 11, 2017 at 5:37 am

    Thank you Karen!

    REPLY

    8 #comment-##

    9 .children

    10 #comment-##

    11

    12 Sally says
    September 10, 2017 at 5:37 am

    I can totally recognize this story – so beautiful and touching.

    REPLY

    ◦ Sal says
    September 11, 2017 at 5:37 am

    Thank you Sally!

    REPLY

    13 #comment-##

    14 .children

    15 #comment-##

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    Positive Thought 18/1/2018

    Podcasts and audible books – a blessing on a longer than normal commute.

    Caught up on podcast episode 218 of So You Want To Be A Writer on my way to work this morning. Allison Tait and Valerie Khoo always make me smile.

    Brene Brown’s Braving The Wilderness entertained me on the way home with her wisdom and beautiful view of the world.