It’s obvious: Murder

via Daily Prompt: Obvious

 

“It’s obvious!” She shouted as she walked away, swinging her arm up in the air in a gesture of angry dismissal.

He was left standing in the middle of the room dumbfounded. He did not expect such a reaction. She had always been impulsive, and he had witnessed, and experienced her anger, or fury, in the past. But this?! He had to go. It was obvious to him, but he had asked her to come with him. She somehow came to the conclusion that he wanted to go alone. That he wanted to leave her.

With his hands on his hips, his eyes fixed on the floor, he shook his head and swung around on his heels. He slowly walked towards the small fridge under the kitchen bench. It was almost 3 months since they moved in here. A small granny flat; one bedroom, a living area just big enough for a couch, a TV and a small table. The kitchen bench was just big enough to house the fridge undeneath. A stove and a sink made up the inventory. It got rediculously hot most of the time. The fan was on all the time, windows open right through, and still hot. He opened the fridge and reached for a beer.

“Ooohhhh, what now?” He exhaled and contemplated his future. He was presented with a great opportunity. It would be an awesome adventure and possibly a life changing experience. He had made up his mind, but what about Jo? Is that it?

He walked out onto the little porch. It was still hot outside. After a forty-degree day, the sun was coming down, but slowly. It would be hot for some time yet. The grass was a yellow-brown in colour; no evidence of green grass anywhere to be seen. In fact there was no green anywhere, yellow-brown dominated in the delirious hue of the heat. It was a quiet afternoon, those who were not at work were at the beach or at the pub.

The hours went by slowly. The unbearable lightness now subsided, as did the heat. There were finally some signs of life – children riding bikes amidst the cheering and yelling of a cricket game being played a few houses down the street, someone watering the dead grass and the scent of sausages being cooked on a BBQ.

It had been hours. She had not come back.

***

He settled himself in the seat. Streched his legs forward as far as he could. It was dark outside, humid and warm. The bus was mostly full, the driver had just shut the door and began pulling out of the bus station. He was on his way.

The events of those few days started coming back to him as the bus drove through the night. The long wait. She had been away for days. No word. No one knew where she was. He had fallen asleep on the couch. Woke up just as the day was breaking and saw that she had not come back. He made a few calls about eight. Her friends had not heard from her. No one in town had seen her. By the afternoon he was worried. That night he went to the Police station, he told them she had not come back and she had nowhere else to go.

“What happened between you and your girlfriend that afternoon? they asked. The neighbours heard yelling. They did not see anyone come out of the house. The cops thought that she may still be in the house. They searched the granny flat the next morning. They looked dissapointed having found nothing inside the flat. Yet he still remained the number one suspect. Somehow everyone in town qickly saw him as a killer. It became obvious to all onlookers that she was dead, and he was the one who killed her.

***

He was finally falling asleep. It had been days since he slept, and despite the memories flashing before his eyes, his body had enough.

Possibly in a dream, he saw her. She was wearing the same dress as the day when she stormed out, furious and convinced that he wanted to go without her. His dream somehow took him to happier times; times separated by just days from the terrible events that followed their fight.

As if to remind him that only sleep will bring him comfort, but sleep is at a premium his memory will not afford him, he woke up again. Back to reality. Back to the darkness of the bus. Now he saw her again, dressed in dirty jeans and an old shirt. A man’s shirt. That is what she was wearing when she finally came back. Unaware of the shit storm she had caused, she just turned up in an old, beaten up Ford, to get her things. Her new flame sat in the car, watching and making sure no harm came her way.

They had exchanged a few angry words, but he was crushed, he felt nothing. The last few days had been a nightmare. Accused of his girlfriend’s murder, tortured for days by the gossip, the stares and guilt. Yes, he felt guilty – maybe he was too selfish, maybe the news of his great new job and the impending move hit her too hard? It was all a blur, a delirium; he simply did not know what was happening. The final blow crushed him – it took just a few hours for her to forget all about him and their fight; while he was going through a nightmare she was oblivious to the world around her, shacked up with some bloke she met at the pub.

He packed up the next day, and waited for his flight out. But it would be sometime before he was himself again.

 

Cafe scene continued …

 

There is so much more to the day than going to work, Rich thought. It is really worth experiencing a day like this. The morning stretches so much further when you have no where to go, when you are not the one in a hurry but you watch the world unreval. A consistent flow of people headed past the cafe windows, some stopping for Jack’s coffee, some in a hurry. The cafe was busy now, there was a constant clinging of plates and glasses, the hiss of the coffee machine, Jack’s chatter with the regulars. And the smell – fresh brewed coffee and toast, that is the smell of morning.

His cup was now empty. He moved it to the side of the table and got his sketch book and pencils out of his bag. “Chatter” he wrote across the top of an empty page. He watched Jack talk to his customers, he knew their names, he new their stories. People were happy to talk to the barista. Rich sketched a few coffee cups and a couple of figures. He loved to draw, but he didn’t do it very often. It always seemed like something irrelevant, unnecessary and unproductive. Nothing to do with work, nothing to do with his goals. Just sometimes the need to get his notebook out came through.

“Can I get you anything else?” the waitress asked, standing next to his table and takin the empty cup.

“Another coffee? A flat white, please.” He answered looking up and smiling. She was pretty, with a nice, sincere smile. She looked happy.

“Sure. You draw?” She looked at my sketch book, and with a big smile she pointed to the page “Is that me?”

“Yeah, a little bit. I was just playing around. Just watching you guys mingle with the customers.” I answered somewhat embarrassed. She smiled and walked away towards the counter.

He watched the waitress and touched up his sketch. There. That’s more like her, he thought, happy with the result.

“What do you think now?” He showed her the page as she came over to his table. She put down his coffee and took his sketch book. Her smile became even broader. Her eyes laughed.

“That’s really cool. You are good!” She answered, “An artist”.

“I am glad you like it. Thanks. I just draw sometimes, when I feel the need.” He was happy that she liked it, “You are new here, right? I have not seen you here before.”

“Oh, you are a regulat. Cool. Yeah, I have been here for a week. Yeah, about that. Sorry, I better get back to it.” She hurried over to the counter where there were a few more people waiting to pay for their coffees.

Rich sipped his coffee. There morning rush was coming to an end. There was less people running to the train now.

“Rich, how was your coffee? Awake now?” Jack looked over from behind the coffee machine, his morning coffee making-run was coming to an end.

“Great, thanks mate. Awake. It’s quiet a rush you guys have here in the morning, I guess it gets you alert very quickly” He replied. Jack again turned his attention to a client at the counter.

Where is this going? Need to expand the three characters. And what is Rich’s plan for the day? 

A refreshing start

The cool air was refreshing. Like a mighty strong coffee – it went straight to your senses and you were awake. The vast blue sky lit up with the promise of a sunny day. For many the day had already started. In the car or with a brisk step, people where heading towards their morning destinations.

I take life too seriously. Why do I always analyze everything over and over? That is why it is so hard for me to write. I stay inside my head and come up with the same stuff. Thoughts, doubts, some deliberations. I need to lead my imagination to a different place, a different time. A time and a place that has nothing to do with me. 

The sun was shining through the fogged up window announcing the start of a new day. It was quiet, just a few birds, the humming of the fridge and the moving of the floor boards upstairs. He listened in to the silence for a moment. Sat down on the couch, just taking it all in. Then got up, grabbed his bag, put on his hat and walked out the door.

The cool air was refreshing. Like a mighty strong coffee – it went straight to your senses and you were awake. The vast blue sky lit up with the promise of a sunny day. For many the day had already started. In the car or with a brisk step, people where heading towards their morning destinations. Most in a hurry. Many with a sombre look on their face. For Rich, watching these people in their morning routine was enjoyable, he himself was not in a hurry, he did not have a destination. His was simply enjoying the start of a new day – because he wanted to, not because he had to. Big difference, one that made him smile.

The drycleaners, the barber shop, the bottleshop and the pizza place were all shut lifeless. It would be hours still until the oven would be fired up and someone’s taste buds called for a margarita. For the Vietnamese drycleaners these were probably the 4 hours in which they allowed themsleves a rest. The barber shop would be buzzing a little earlier with all the Lebanese boys coming in for a shave and a chat. Right at the end of the short strip of shops were the red window frames of the Rosebud. Few tables outside, visible from a distance told you that it was a cafe. Coming closer one had no doubts – coffee.

“Good morning Rich” Came the greeting as soon as he walked through the door.

“Morning Jack” He answered, looking to his left, at a tall man wiping one of the small tables.

“You not going into work this morning? And you are out and about already?” The man finished wiping the table, stood up and with the wet cloth in his right hand moved closer to the counter, “What’s going on mate?”

“Got the day off, no work apparently. Yeah, I thought I would see what the world looked like in the morning when you don’t have to rush to work.” He explained. “Busy morning?”

“Not yet. It’s still early. But it will be soon. Coffee?” the man asked, now behind the coffee machine.

“Yes, please. I will have it here. Always wondered what it would feel like to sit at those windows and not have to go to work. I guess you get that everyday, right?” He smiled, moving towards the small table at the back, near the window. He took his bag off and sat down. Facing the cafe and the street on the other side of the window.

“Yeah mate, I get it everyday. And love it each time the sun comes up.” came a jolly reply, “So, you got anything in particular planned for the day? It’s going to be a nice one. Good morning.” The greeting was directed at a woman who had just come in.

“I am not sure yet. I just though I would wander about a little. I will get the train into the city and see where I end up” Rich replied. A few more people had come in since he arrived. He looked out the window not wanting to expand on his plans for the day. People were going past in more and more of a hurry. Laptop bags, few briefcases, couple of school bags, and of course handbags. Everyone was ready for the day’s tasks. Rushing towards the train.

“Thank you” he said looking up at a girl who put his coffee on the table. A new girl. Long black hair, not too tall, in the standard waitress black. She smiled and walked away towards the counter. He looked at Jack behind the coffee machine, now busy feeling a line of paper cups with the coffee and milk. He looked up at him and smiled.

Jack owned the Rosebud Cafe. He made the coffee and did some cooking. He usually had a waitress to help him out with serving the customers, make toasts and plate muffins and the like. Rosebud did not have too much of a menu, but it was a great place for a coffee and a chat.

Ok, that may not be moving too far away from my time and my place, but it’s a start. Little to do with thoughts, more about simple tasks, a few different characters and a few places – one in a totally different place and time. Let’s come back to this, ok? 

walk to the store

 

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Daily Prompt: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/desert/

The store was about 400 metres away. In the town centre. Precisley centre, as the entry to the store faced the centre of the intersection. The only intersection in town, where two wide slabs of asphalt met to form a cross on an otherwise endless desert, unmarked by the human hand, nor by natures immagination.

The road was so wide, that looking at it, one straight away made a comparison to a football field – almost like a football field. Everything out here inspired a feeling of infinite, endless space. Whatever we, people put up, always seemed small, insignificant and fragile. The desert would eventually swallow up everything, leaving only the bigger, sturdier buildings standing, ghost-like in the middle of nowhere, beaten by the sun and sand.

The side of the road cracked, and crumbled, blended with dusty gravel, and the omnipresent orange dirt. He walked slowly. The sun was now spread across the entire sky. The brightness and the heat made walking unbearable. He was used to it, but it still made him tired. He had an old straw hat on his head, a thin and loose, cotton shirt, wide open on the chest, and a pair of  red, rag pants. Old worn sandals protected his feet from the frypan that was the ground.

There was no one in the street. The shades were drawn in the diner. He did not look towards the pub, it was too long a walk, and besides he had different plans for the afternoon. He pushed the door to the store open, and was ushered in by the welcoming sound of the bell. The store was hot, stuffy and dark, but offered some respite from the tortorous sun.

 “G’day Bill” he said as he made his way to the counter “No one around I see? Anyone come in here?”.

“G’day” the store keeper replied “Nah, it’s been a quiet morning. I don’t blame them with this heat. What are you after mate?”

“I will get some ginger beer and a few of them apples you had the other day” he replied.

“We got bread and rolls delivered about an hour ago. Want some?” the store keeper asked in reply moving towards the drinks shelf.

“Fresh hah? Yeah, I may as well grab few of those white rolls.” he replied thinking to him self – “we have to eat something”.

He paid the man, picked up his bag and walked back out into the scorching heat. Nothing had changed out there, no one around. Nothing happening. He shook his head, and smiled at the same time. “Why am I still here?” he thought to himself. And started walking towards the house, towards the outskirts of town.

forbidden to be yourself?

 

The Daily Post: Forbidden

“You act as if it is forbidden to be yourself. To think about what you want” he looked at me with a careful, measured gaze.

“Forbidden? I don’t think it is forbidden. How did you get there?” I replied, suprised at his provoking suggestion. We’ve been talking about some decisions I had been grappling with in recent weeks, and the ideas of reality and choice came up.

“Well, you are saying that you have some free time on your hands. And straight away you start getting yourself into choices, need to focus and doing things which you describe as …meaningful.” he said, “It seems that with a little more space and time, you become scared?”

“Scared? Come on, scared of what? I am just saying that I have a few choices, but I need to get back to reality. I don’t always want to be in-between things. Always playing catch up. Thats fair isn’t it?” I smiled at his suggestion, now sure that the old man was taking me on one his philosophical ponderings.

“But ‘reality’?” was his questioning reply.

“Yeah, you are not familiar with the concept?” I laughed.

“I am not sure what is ‘reality’. Who shapes your reality? And how do you know that you need to ‘get back to it’? What you are doing now is not reality?” again answering with a question. He looked amused and ready for a long discussion.

The sun was now high above the tin roof. ‘Hot’ was no longer an adequate term. It was scorching. The air filled with ferocious, still, lifeless heat. It will be this way until late afternoon. We had plenty of time. The shade of the tin verandah roof was still gentler than the furnace a few steps away.

old-corrugated-iron

“You know what I mean. I can’t sit on this verandah forever. I need to sink my teeth into something. Something meaningful.Why is that acting like it is forbidden to be yourself?” I was curious to hear what he was actually getting at.

“It seems you are so quick to abandon your freedom to choose, to shape yourself and that ‘reality’ you keep on talking about” he replied sitting up in his armchair, “It is as if it is forbidden to walk your own path. You are free to choose your own way. To break with old habits, and move away from the roles society has put onto you. A great thinker said that we are condemned to be free.”

“Condemned? Why condemned? We are talking about being free, but saying there is condemnation involved?” I looked at him with curiosity.

“Condemned, because it is something we have to deal with. It is a responsibility to actually do something with your freedom. In a moment of uncertainty, or when we are really unsure about ourselves, we revert back to what we already know, to other people’s expectations of us. Sometimes it is easier to believe that something we have really hated in the past, is now the only safe option for us.” He was launching into a monologue, but it was food for thought.

“Okay, I think I see what you are saying. So I hated being stuck in the city, in the same building day in, day out. But now that I am really struggling to find a new path, I am actually thinking that it would be a good place to be in again,” I was now reflecting on some of my thoughts which did come to mind over the last week or so.

“There you go. And most people do this. Why? Is it forbidden to be yourself? To shape your own life?” he said in an excited voice, “You know what? This verandah is just as hot as it is in the open sun. I might go for a short walk to the store. What do you say we pick up where we left off in a few hours?”.

I nodded, and watched him walk down the steps. The man is as lonely and unhappy as he is free. Life has thrown him around the place. Yet he still is ready to impart wisdom.

Who is it?

It was always a serious face, a stern face. The forehead warped by couple of deep wrinkles, which seemed to gain a more serious dimension when he looked up at the world. At that same moment, of looking up, the bushy eyebrows seemed to follow the forehead’s lead, bending upwards.

He didn’t smile. At least not at those moments when he was sitting observing, when he though he was being observed, and when he was deep in thought. Without a smile on his face, his eyes seemed colder, piercing, and distant. Distance, that is probably the best way to describe that face. Distant in terms of the absolute immersion in thought, and distant as a form of a shield. A smile on that face would seem too naive, it would make him vulnerable. That is something he could never afford himself.

When he did smile one could tell it was honest, wholehearted, full of hope, with a child like goodness. It seemed to prove that open, warm and happy side of the man. A side which fought hard to come to the surface from under the layers of thought, worry, anxiety and reserve. That side took its reflection in the forehead and the jaw. The jaw was the epicenter of the great tensions. At moments it seemed to tighten so much as if about to pop out of its sockets.

 He seemed uninviting, but as with all things – they are not what they first seem. Everything has a ‘good’ side, and every thing has various shades of grey. The readers of this blog like wise.