“Ojos Verdes”

For a time, he saw her only peripherally, blended within the landscape of neighbors and the congregation.

But then he saw her in her garden, kneeling over a patch of earth, pressing the black soil into little mounds, promising the bulbs they would bloom. She sat back on her heels and arched her body into an S – face, breasts and buttocks worshipping the sun.

She looked at him as she always had, with sea glass eyes into which he fell completely.

Thirty years passed. His world became gray and cold. Except for her eyes, they were always spring.

And whenever there was music, he asked the band to play “Ojos Verdes.” He held her close and thought of how similar “verde” and “verdad” sounded, which made perfect sense, because she was his truth.

That’s a short story I wrote for a monthly contest for which “Green Things” was the prompt. The problem? I got distracted and didn’t submit the story before the deadline. So, now you all get to read it instead.

This story was inspired by my grandmother, whose green eyes continue to prompt many a band to play “Ojos Verdes.”


Photo Prompt Two

Who lives in the mansion on the corner?

Galveston, Texas 2007

Ms. Wilson hobbles from room to room, remembering the days of glittering gowns, crisp tuxedos, brass bands and flowing champagne. They called her Miss Amelia back then, and she had her choice of any one of them. Her father liked the banker because he came from a suitable family and would properly manage their wealth. Her mother preferred the actor, who was handsome and sure to be a star. Her best friend since childhood, poor, plain Mariam, said to choose her heart’s desire.

Nobody could understand how Amelia Wilson, THE Amelia Wilson, ended up alone. They knew that Mrs. Wilson ran off with the actor and Mr. Wilson drank himself to death. They knew that Miss Amelia, that generous, grieving soul, offered poor Mariam Fairchild a living within the residence. Years passed. Amelia and Mariam became Ms. Wilson and Ms. Fairchild, the spinsters in the mansion on the corner.

Amelia hobbles to the kitchen table where Mariam is pouring tea with a shaky hand. Amelia sits by the window that overlooks the terrace. Sometimes a few of the folks from those days come by. They point to the mansion and remember everything they knew. What they never knew never crossed their minds. What they never knew was that all those years ago, Amelia chose Mariam.

Making mandalas; The Hot Dog Story

This weekend my sister and I went to our Aunt Laila’s house to draw mandalas. (Thanks to Uncle Val for grilling. It was delish!) Laila is the one who first introduced me to mandalas back in the summer of 2008 during our family’s annual beach vacation. She learned about them through an art course. Then she found this book:

Original edition. Revised looks different.

The book interprets colors, symbols, numbers, placement and themes and the result is usually some kind of revelation. For example, last night I confessed I don’t like the color blue. The book says that blue suggest calmness, serenity and peace. It says that the brain’s response to blue is relaxation, which is why most people like it. What does my resistance say about me? Am I too uptight and tense? Am I desperate for what blue is supposed to offer? Am I secretly jealous of Beyonce and Jay-Z’s new baby? 😉

L-R: Nat (sister), Christiane (cousin) and Laila making mandalas

Making mandalas is a fun way to get the creative juices flowing. Give it a shot! Trace the outline of a dinner plate onto a blank piece of paper and see what you come up with. You’ll end up surprising yourself, I promise.

The evening's work. That blue one on top is one of mine. See? I tried to shake my aversion.

The Hot Dog Story

When I was in college I worked at the AMC Huebner Oaks 24 (RIP) movie theater. This is probably true of every job, but you really don’t know what kind of crazy things the public will do at a movie theater until you work at one. Here is the strange but true – and everyone’s favorite – Hot Dog Story:

A middle-age man comes up to the concession stand and orders a hot dog. The person working the register gives him one from the warmer. He opens the container, touches the hot dog, says it’s not hot enough and asks for another.

The cashier tells the supervisor, who tries to tell the man that they’re all going to be the same (to no avail, because then she calls for me). I go over and tell him what they’ve already told him. He asks if it can at least be microwaved. I tell the supervisor to get the microwave from the back and zap it. She’s carrying the microwave to plug it in and drops it on the ground. Of course it doesn’t work after that.

I go back to the customer and tell him the microwave is busted but there’s a batch of hot dogs coming off of the grill and would he like one of those? He says yes. I make it myself and do it so he can see me. I get a fresh bun, get the hot dog directly off the grill and assemble it. I hand it to him. He opens the container and feels it. He says it’s not hot enough.

THEN HE GRABS MY HAND AND PUTS IT ON THE HOT DOG! “Does that feel hot to you?”

So. Much. Ew.

I was so mad, I made a fist and ruined the hot dog. Pieces of it squeezed through my clenched fingers. I raised my voice and told him that was the hottest hot dog he could get and if that wasn’t good enough he could have his money back.

I have so many stories about my time there, and almost all of them feature ridiculous customers like that. But dude, seriously. Don’t touch me. And don’t make me touch your hot dog!

Your turn: Tell me a hilarious/crazy/awkward on-the-job story. I don’t think any of you will be able to top mine.