Hope (Sequel)

Welcome back, my wonderful readers!

For those of you who have been waiting for the conclusion of Hope, the time has come! For those of you who haven’t had a chance to read it yet, just scroll on down to the previous post:)

But be forewarned, this might be a tear-jerker;)

 

Hope

Hope

(Sequel)

By

Rico Lamoureux

All Rights Reserved.

2017

 

From an all-encompassing bright light came a sign of life in the form of tree branches stretching far and wide, so thick with leaves that one could only wonder of nature’s community which lived inside.

Throughout the canopy hung round balls of delight, for within these husks lived the deliciously versatile walnut.

Beneath this massive display of Mother Nature’s beauty stood a thick trunk, holding it all up with such dignified strength.

“Mom, where are we?”

“I don’t know, Hope.”

All of a sudden, with what seemed like the same amount of force as the impact which had brought them here, the razor-sharp blade of a whizzing axe on the downswing came slicing through the trunk’s bark, imbedding about a half foot into it.

The shock from such a violet action shook Hope to her core, but what core? As she felt the imposing energy reverberate she wondered if they were indeed dead.

The only thing she did know for sure was the pain she felt for the beautiful walnut tree, the wondrous structure losing its majestic towering presence with every swing of the axe.

Or was such a feeling just empathy?

The more she thought about it, felt about it, the clearer a new perspective began to emerge. Despite being chopped down it still seemed to have a purpose, perhaps a new purpose. A sense that would prove true within a moment of the grand tree timbering over and hitting the ground at their feet.

The ripple of energy echoing throughout their beings held the ability to transport the two ahead in time, to a montage of sorts, the massive trunk being stripped of its bark, cut into sections and reassembled in a way that began to form a rectangular box.

The more the new purpose of this splendid tree took on its new shape the more familiar it became to both mother and daughter, and by the time the details were being put into place­—the motif, the etchings, the pearls—such intricacies were accompanied by the sound of innocence, the purest form of humankind…

The cry of a newborn baby.

Both Hope and Denise stood from their positions of observation as a father guided his wife and their precious newborn in her arms towards the chest. The chest of Hope and Denise’s family history, its origins beginning here with this young couple.

Then returned the ripples of time, through its montage of story aging the parents as the child grew into a young woman, a few siblings now by her side.

She was soon joined by a partner, a baby of their own coming into being not long thereafter.

With another generation came the passing of the first, still there in spirit, there to bear witness, along with Denise and Hope, as the chest was passed down to each first daughter, the leaves and branches of this family tree growing ever so much more as surroundings changed, as time passed.

Time that brought about inevitable change, descendants experiencing both great triumphs and great sorrows throughout the ages, all centered around this heirloom, this chest.

From poverty to riches, peace to wars, the hope chest withstanding all, although at times coming very close to being destroyed.

Barely escaping house fires…

Being buried among rubble as air raids come thundering down from above…

Nearly being sold as it came into the dire times of the destitute…

Barely slipping away from the massive grasps of mighty ocean waves as the family weathered the journey to the New World…

Through Ellis Island and under the torch of Lady Liberty the chest entered New York to start its next hundred years, Great Mama the first to inherit it on American soil. To see her at such a tender age, to watch her grow, to enter womanhood like those who had come before her, with the hope chest at the foot of her bed, was special indeed for Hope and Denise, the two now holding hands.

Then came Hope’s grandmother, Denise with such a serene look on her face at the sight of her young nursing mother, before she too grew up to find someone to keep the family going.

Especially touching was when it was Denise’s turn to come into being, Hope looking over at her mother every now and then with a smile as they watched her go through the stages of childhood and adolescence.

By the time they reached the moment on the bridge, the meeting that would lead to the companionship of bringing Hope into existence, mother and daughter were shaking. Other than pictures, it was the first time Hope had ever seen her father, and as for Denise, the vision of once again seeing her dearly departed nearly sent her falling over to her knees. But the two held each other up in their arms, watching with such longing, wishing they could just step out into that past and make it their present.

They had never been so close, so united in emotion.

Watching her father work on the chest, tears began to well up in Hope’s eyes. It was all she could do not to turn away, for she knew what must be coming next.

Or at least she thought she did…

But instead of the tragedy of 9/11 the storyline, the timeline, was now showcasing a mother’s pregnant belly, her hands holding another pair of hands as the arms embraced her from the back.

Like a powerful movie moment the montage tilted up to the mother’s face, to reveal her to be a future Hope, her love, the father of her baby lowering his head down to the side of hers to where they were now cheek-to-cheek, both looking down at baby-to-be.

It wasn’t the kid who hadn’t had her back back at his house, the one she had nearly given her innocence to. No, this was a real man. One whose face expressed sincerity and loyalty.

Hope looked to her mother, now understanding all, but Denise had changed, now as transparent as the ancestors at their back.

Hope looked out to them all, the number having grown overwhelmingly since she last noticed them. Thousands, maybe tens of thousands, all having lived as a result of that first couple.

Why was she still solid but her mother as translucent as the others…?

Just as it occurred to her the welled up tears in her eyes burst out, looking back at her mother with such fear…

“No mom, please, don’t leave me.

“I’m so sorry.

“I didn’t understand…”

Although now unable to wipe away her daughter’s tears, it didn’t stop Denise from trying. “My precious baby, don’t blame yourself. Please, whatever you do, don’t blame yourself. I’ll be with daddy now. I’ll be with those who have come before us.

“It’s up to you now, to keep it going, to make sure the chest continues to have purpose. It needs your strength, we all need your strength. We’re all within it.

“Live, experience, create. Pass what you learn on to the next.”

Through the tears Hope lunged forward to embrace her mother, to hold her one last time, but just when she should have made contact the all-encompassing bright light once again engulfed…

Hope waking to find herself in a hospital bed, her eyes struggling to find focus before beginning to make out a figure at the foot of the bed.

The clearer her vision became the more she could see him…

An ER resident, his face unmistakable.

That expression of true sincerity. The man of her future, the father of the child who would inherit the chest.

Another story to add to its rich history, another display of the human condition.

~

You can show support for The Flash Fiction Ponder by liking, sharing, leaving positive comments & following the blog:)

Hope

Hello my wonderful readers:)

Today we explore the human condition of being hurt by a loved one, and how it is so much more painful than experiencing it from a stranger.

Hope

All Rights Reserved

2017

It was a chest that brought about instant curiosity, over two hundred years of history, holding the innermost personal stories of nine generations of women. Many of its features symbolized the innocence it stood for, including its color of purity white and its two vertical rows of pearls on either side of its front. Some even saw chaste in its motif, certain perspectives seeing the image of a nun, her arms outstretched to her sides, the keyhole, the window to her soul, her veil spreading out as the design leading to those precious, priceless pearls.

The chest had seen better days, better generations for that matter. For the past sixteen years it had sat in a basement, the struggles and tribulations of a single mother and her daughter pouring down through the wooden floorboards over the years and coating it in dust.

In truth, Denise couldn’t stand the sight of the old chest, although it had not always been that way. She had been the last inheritor of it, receiving the heirloom on her sixteenth birthday in a special ceremony that involved her mother and grandmother. A tradition that had been passed down for two centuries, with origins going all the way back to the family’s motherland of Italy.

Like those who had come before her, Denise cherished the chest that would help her prepare for her future, the three generations of women filling it with things she would need once she started her own family. At the foot of her bed was where the keepsake sat, loyally waiting while Denise went out into the world to find herself and her future husband.

As if written in the stars it didn’t take long for her dream to come to fruition, the man she saw herself spending the rest of her life with finding her on a cool fall day atop Central Park’s famous Bow Bridge.

Before long the couple were expecting, and how delighted Denise was when she learned that she would be having a girl. So overjoyed in fact that the child would not only receive the chest, but its name as well.

And so Hope was born.

From the moment Hope entered the world both mother and father were head-over-heels in love, Daddy setting out right away to fulfil his job as restorer of the chest. You see, the mothers and daughters in this timeless ritual weren’t the only ones who had a role, the fathers expected to take it upon themselves to learn enough carpentry basics to restore the chest before it was to be bequeathed to their daughter.

Hope’s father had taken it quite a bit further, signing up for woodwork classes at a local community college and taking a whole semester to immerse himself in the craft. Such dedication took a toll on his schedule, as he would commute to the city via subway to his job at The World Trade Center, then divide his evenings between his family and wood classes. Taking everything into consideration, he had decided he needed a change, preferring life with his wife and daughter over the nine-to-five skyscraper hustle and bustle. He would trade in suits and briefcases for diapers and baby bottles, high-rise meetings for becoming an artist of wood.

His last day at the office would be on September 11, 2001.

The same day that the world would change forever, the life he envisioned as a stay-at-home daddy dissipating along with the twin towers of the iconic New York skyline.

And just like that Denise had lost her husband, her best friend, her soul mate, left alone to care for a newborn. Well, not totally alone, for there were family from both sides, there with their unconditional helping hands. But despite the love showered upon her, the many shoulders to cry on, she still felt abandoned and lost. And as far as that chest, just thinking about it sent her bursting into tears, not daring to actually lay eyes on it. It was the first thing Denise had requested when taking the family up on their offer to help in any way. To get the chest out, away, her poor hubby’s work never to be completed.

As the years passed life became a little easier for Denise to cope with, the growing of her dear daughter Hope keeping her strong enough to face each day as it came along. But life as a single parent is hardly ever easy, constantly performing the juggling act of breadwinning and child-rearing.

What helped was the saying her and husband used to use when facing any obstacle: us against the world, the us now being her and Hope.

What didn’t help was the dark side of Hope that began to show itself at the tender age of seven. At times it was like the little girl would change entirely, becoming very hurtful when not getting what she wanted. Denise would try to rationalize the situation, attributing it to the absence of a father figure, but she had friends who were single mothers, and none of their children acted out as Hope did.

The more time passed, the more it felt like ‘me against the world.’

By thirteen Hope was sneaking out of the house to meet with friends, Denise finding it impossible to keep an eye on her while at the same time providing for the two of them. She tried to create a good environment, attempting to steer Hope in the direction of good kids, of those who actually respected their parents and understood boundaries, but such efforts would always end in the same result: Hope quickly losing interest and finding her way back to the bad influencers.

Denise would imagine the worst when not being able to contact Hope, tormenting thoughts of her daughter out there doing who knows what with who knows who, with discussions on daytime TV talk shows of how the new up and coming generation was becoming more sexually advanced than those who had ever came before them sending her to her wits end.

What if Hope had already given up her innocence? Carelessly throwing away the one thing she could never get back?

Then the thought of the chest would come up, the pain of the past colliding with the pain of the present, making it so overwhelming that at times Denise just wanted to end it all. But was it her husband’s spirit that would embrace during these most darkest of hours, there to let her know that all would be alright if she just persevered?

Whatever the reassuring energy was it would get Denise back to the place of hope, of the possibility that her and Hope still had a chance to have a real mother/daughter relationship. With such aspiration came the realization that she would have to face her sorrowful past if she were to move on to a better future. And so she began to tell Hope about her father.

The new revelations appeared to have some effect on the teen, at least to begin with, Hope even insisting that the two go down to the basement to have a look at the chest. Until then the young one hadn’t really understood anything about her mother, but when she saw what became of the woman who raised her when standing before that chest, her perspective shifted a bit, a seed of empathy being planted as her mother broke down in tears and shared her story, shared their story.

It was the closest the two had been since Hope was a little girl, holding each other in tears, us against the world once again becoming a possibility.

“I haven’t done anything yet, mom.”

“What?”

“My innocence… I still have it.”

Such relief, such happiness, with promises of taking over for daddy to prepare for Hope’s sweet sixteen. After all, it was just over two years away, and what better project for the two to reconnect?

But then came reality. The reality of any relationship. Parent/child, brother/sister, husband/wife. That sooner or later one would let the other down.

In Hope’s case, it came about a lot sooner than Denise would have liked, the barrier that had appeared to have been broken down between the two reappearing within a week, and growing taller, stronger, wider the more time passed.

Before she knew it Denise was looking into the matured face of her dear daughter, Hope just days away from celebrating her sweet sixteen.

“I’m not asking you to do anything for me. If not for yourself, if not for your grandmother, do it for Great Mama. You know how old she’s getting. This could very well be her last year.”

Even Hope couldn’t deny this. Her great grandmother had lived a very full life. Daughter to those who had brought the family over to America, she had witnessed the world change many times over, the old woman nearly at total peace with the fact that she would be closing her eyes for the last time very soon. Nearly, the only thing left to be anxious about being the inheritance of the chest, making it a point to call at least a few times a week to inquire on the matter.

How sweet Grand Mama had always been to Hope, never visiting without a present to give, always offering a mint or piece of gum from her purse. These fond memories is what finally got the problem child to show a little focus for the upcoming ceremony, at least enough to sit down and listen a bit more about their history, along with going dress shopping for the occasion.

All seemed set for the sweet sixteen, the uncles having lugged the old chest up from the basement, the fine linen having been laid out, mother and daughter having negotiated the schedule for the special day. Hope would have the whole afternoon to hang out with her friends, needing to be home by 5:00 to prepare for the rite.

Despite Hope having promised just that, Denise was apprehensive all day, checking the time every few minutes while her mom and grandmother talked about the good ol’ days.

By 4:30 she had begun to send text messages.

Ur on ur way home, right? Rmbr, u nd to b here at *5*, not being on ur way at 5.       

5 mins til. Why aren’t u replying?!

Dammit Hope, u knw how important ths s to ur grandparents! Wher r u?!

30 mins past. I swear Hope, f u don’t walk thru that door n next 5 mins…!   

With all her messages being ignored, Denise did something she swore she would never do. She marched upstairs, burst into her daughter’s room, and began looking through things.

Under the mattress was a pamphlet on birth control pills. Her heart sank…

From the bedroom to her laptop Denise logged on to their cellular provider’s website, quickly striking in her password and changing the settings on their account, to where she could bring up the phone log and text messages of her daughter’s number.

From a sinking heart to one pounding throughout her whole body, Denise read the latest dozen or so texts to have been sent and received. Her baby girl had been planning the ultimate betrayal, promising her new boyfriend the sweetness to her sweet sixteen.

He would be finished with football practice at 5:00, home by 6:00, where the two would meet up and have the place to themselves for three hours, until his parents got home from work.

Denise was now wiping away tears as she quickly dialled Hope’s best friend.

“Alexis, it’s Denise, Hope’s mom. Do you know where she is?

‘So she left your house at five?

“Where did she go?

“Alexis, I know about Jeff. I know they’re planning to meet. You wanna know how I know? Just about every cell company has the option to not only track all numbers linked to the main account, but to read text messages too. What do you think will happen when I tell your parents about this feature, and how you helped Hope lie to her mother?!

“You need to tell me where this boy lives, now!”

As if Mother Nature could feel the fury emanating from Denise, a thunderstorm began to take shape just as she rushed for the front door.

“Everything alright?” Denise’s mother asked.

Be right back. Going to get Hope.”

5:50. Fifteen minutes away from Maple Drive. Despite the rain coming down harder, Denise stepped on the gas.

She got there at 6:00 sharp, but there was already a car in the drive way and a light on upstairs. She rang the doorbell…

No answer.

Dialed Hope’s cell…

No answer…

The front door was locked.

Denise could see a shadow behind the curtain upstairs, her motherly instinct telling her they were both up there, looking down in silence and waiting for her to go away.

She looked under the flower pots…

No spare key.

Picturing what her baby girl was about to do, the panic caused her to pick up one of the flower pots and send it crashing through the living room window.

Although she could only see the very bottom of the stairs, Denise could now hear commotion charging down, planting her feet firmly into place now that she had their undivided attention.

Jeff was shirtless, speechless for a moment as he processed the damage, then found the words to speak up.

“What the hell, lady?!”

Hope was right behind him, pulling down her blouse before looking up at her mom through the shattered window.

“Get your ass in the car, now!” Denise demanded.

Hope just stood there, refusing to move.

“My parents are gonna kill me…” was all Jeff could say now.

Denise picked up another flower pot, raised it up…

“Get in the car, Hope, or I’ll bust out every damn window in this house!”

Jeff didn’t wait a second longer, grabbing Hope and pushing her her mother’s way. “You gotta get out of here, now!”

Hope was shocked at such a betrayal from her boyfriend, Denise seeing it written all over her face.

“And you were going to give it away to this guy…” Denise said as her daughter headed for the front door.

It was now pouring rain, hurtful words being thrown in full force as soon as the car doors were slammed shut.

“How could you? He’s never gonna talk to me again. And what about school?! They’re all gonna be talking about this! You’ve ruined my life!”

Denise tried to calm herself as she pulled away from Jeff’s house and into the storm, above all, thankful that she had got to her daughter in time. “In time… In time, you’ll understand.”

“Understand what?! What a crazy bitch I have for a mother?! That’s what they’re gonna be calling you, you know! The whole school! The whole town!”

Calm. Stay calm. We’ll deal with everything when we get home.

“I hate you!” Hope shouted.

Why me? Have I not suffered enough? I give her everything, absolutely everything…

“I’ve never been able to understand why you can’t stop yourself from doing the wrong thing,” Denise said, doing her best to keep her composure, “while hardly ever being able to do the right thing.”

“Maybe because I was raised by the wrong parent!” Hope yelled back. “You should have died instead of dad! You’ve always been an awful mother! Why do you think I didn’t show up tonight? I could care less about your stupid chest!”

Denise fought to see through her tears, the pounding rain, the oncoming headlights…

Oncoming headlights-

No time to swerve, to hit the brakes, her only reaction, her natural reaction, to shoot an arm out in front of her daughter, to try and shield her before…

~

Don’t miss the sequel to this powerful story,

follow

 The Flash Fiction Ponder:)

The Flow

What would you do for genius?

The Flow Cover

By

Rico Lamoureux

All Rights Reserved

2017

Brandon and his three bandmates were baking, the hot ankle-high sand making it even more difficult to walk as they trekked through the vast open desert playing their instruments. From the two guitars flanking him, rhythm and bass, to the poor drummer at his back lugging a mobile set of drums strapped to his chest, his comrades followed with such loyalty as he led them with his vocals and lead guitar. Vocals that ached, boiled, gave voice to the suffocating torture they were all experiencing, his sleek beautiful Gibson Angus Young SG taking all the fire, all the fury of their journey through hell and helping express such through its electrified scorch.

As the sweltering heat beat down on the four Brandon closed his eyes, trying hard to imagine the pouring sweat falling from his brows being that of cool cascades of water, but when that didn’t work he aimed towards another thought, keeping those lids closed tight and picturing an air conditioner.

No luck, reality painting the image as nothing more than an ol’ beat-down hunk of machinery with wires as fried as he felt.

One more try, just a slight breeze would mean the world…

A vintage fan, large metal blades locked behind a rusted cage. But they’re caked in dust, giving a sign that the ol’ 1950’s style cooling device probably hadn’t been functional since those good ol’ doo-wop days.

So on through the broil he trudged, wiping away, not all away, the sting in his eyes, that unrelenting perspiration soaking him from head to toe, drenching his clothes and making them heavier, coating both the mahogany of his Gibson and the magnetized strings that ran across it.

It took all they had for the band to stay their course, digging down deeper than ever before in hopes of reaching the promise land, where the infinite sands of the earth would finally give way to a body of water so refreshing, so clear and sublime that it would transform all who ingest into beings of enlightenment, gods of genius.

Or so they hoped…

But the more they fought on the more the roasting took its toll.

The devil’s breath, the grit between his teeth, the scalding of his seed as he attempts to rape their beings. But the one thing he cannot get to, their will…

And so they push on, continuing to create while being cooked to the brink as they use such anguish to forge, the power they wield through those Gibsons, that voice, that beat, creating a masterpiece that metamorphosizes from Gold to Platinum, Multi-Platinum to Diamond within its inception.

And oh how sweet it truly is, the oceans of sweat turning into floods of creative juice, the long suffering for their art paying off with such euphoric flow!

And with the outro Brandon and his bandmates are returned to their little box, their oven, their tin can of a garage amidst the hottest day of the summer, having completed the mega-hit that will serve as their ticket to rock god status, a journey they had set out for so many years ago.

~

G

http://www.gibson.com/

Movie Night

Is love stronger than pride…?

Welcome back my wonderful readers!

Today we visit the human condition of betrayal, and how it can affect someone. When reading this story of substance you might identify with it on some level. If not, consider yourself very fortunate!

Movie Night Cover

By

Rico Lamoureux

All Rights Reserved

2017

It was as much of a part of who they were as a couple as sleeping in the same bed or sharing a bite to eat. At least a few times a week, turn off the phones, turn down the lights, cuddle up cozy and take in a movie. Some were powerful and became instant favorites, while most were average and pretty much good for just one viewing.

They must have watched thousands over their many years together, one of the most special to them being What Dreams May Come. Not only because it was a moving story of substance, but also due to the fact that they shared the same names as the two main characters in the film. Neither Chris nor Annie ever forgot that night when they saw the trailer on TV during that fall of ’99. Their relationship barely six months new, they had just finished showering together (and a little more) and were starting to prepare dinner when the preview caught their eye.

A supernatural drama about soul mates, it indeed compelled. But it was when those two names came up, their names, when they dropped everything and got dressed to head out to the local theatre.

Two months later, it became the theme to their wedding, and every year thereafter, the way in which they ended celebrating their anniversary. Later this year would mark their nineteenth, but Chris felt like revisiting their cinematic treasure tonight, Annie having no idea until she had sat down next to him with a bowl of popcorn.

Normally she would cozy up right beside him, but as of late, for the past two months to be precise, she would sit near but not close, he having to coax her to close the distance. It was little subtle signs like this that he had missed at the beginning, really thinking nothing of it when she had decided she wanted to start working part time at her friend’s new flower shop. After all, he had always thought of himself as a supportive husband, so if she felt she could use a few hours out of the house, why not, late afternoons not really interrupting their dinner and movie time.

But a couple of weeks in and the signs had indeed began to show, whether he had noticed them or not. Looking back, he realized he had, but only on an instinctual level. When once their affection was pretty much fifty-fifty, he now found himself having to initiate their intimacy, both physically and emotionally.

Why so much time on the cellphone now? She had never been one to let such devices consume her, but now she was a screen queen, swiping every chance she got. And why the password? The two lived alone, having no need for such security measures.

“Sometimes at work I leave my cell on a counter or in a drawer. Never know when someone’s gonna pick it up.”

Like me…?

That’s when instinct had finally slapped Chris across the face, suspicion leading him to do something he had never done before, never even thought of doing before. He began to look through her messages. She still had her cell locked, but her facebook remained open on their shared laptop.

An oversight that would change everything.

Scrolling down messages from friends and family, he came upon one from a member with no photo, and as soon as he began to read, his heart not only fell, but plummeted down into his stomach, acid eating away at it…

Where are you babe? Miss you…

I miss you too, babe. Only been cpl dys, but seems lot longer.

The last two in a thread of deceit, betrayal, devastation…

Chris never felt so hurt in his life.

The next week or so was pure anguish. How many days and nights? He wasn’t quite sure, as they were all merging into one long state of torturous hell. Should he confront her, and risk her storming out only to never return? How about going out and trying to even the score? He just couldn’t stop thinking about it, shock never really settling in to become acceptance. How could she be so nonchalant, going about life as if nothing was going on?

“You had to work late again?”

“Yeah, we’re getting a lot of inventory now that it’s spring.”

How could she be so cold-blooded? And lie so blatantly to his face?!

It was at these times, when such pain began to boil into desired self-defense, that he would rack his brain with the thought of finding another. He had no idea how serious the affair was, and the thought of losing her, after devoting himself to her for nearly two decades, was killing him. He had never been one to have suicidal thoughts, but now this dangerous mindset was part of this black plague that had befallen him. At times, ending it all seemed like the only way to end the pain, but then the thought of finding someone to take her place would creep in…

If she could do it, why can’t I? I’ve got looks. Why should I stay in a one-sided relationship? There are plenty of women out there who would appreciate a guy like me.

That’s what he missed most. The intimacy, the willful affection he no longer received. And so he began to scroll the dating sites, contemplating the two famous sayings…

Once a cheater, always a cheater.

The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else.

Were they true? If so, didn’t it make perfect sense to find someone new?

Even with such logic he struggled with the thought of placing his own ad. What if they turned out to be liars too? What if it didn’t work out and he lost Annie forever? It was during these bouts of mental anguish when Chris hated being on these sites, wanting nothing more to do with such desperate searches. He already loved a woman, and had only ever thought of her when envisioning growing old with someone.

Oh Annie, why?! I’ve given you nothing but my everything. Why was I not enough?

Then the sickening thought would reappear. Of her and him, of them, together.

Chris and Annie… What happened to them being soul mates, like in the movie? They were supposed to be exclusive, as any married couple was expected to be, knowing each other on an intimate level like no one else. Advanced lovers that would do anything for the other’s pleasure.

The thought of her taking him inside of her disgusted Chris. He had helped coach her in developing the talent of taking him all the way down her throat, and once there to suckle until bliss exploded into euphoria, and how he loved how she would remain there until consuming every last drop, making him feel beyond special.

To take such a carnal bond that represented such a long commitment and so casually do it with another?!

Yes, it was not only the physical giving that hurt Chris so badly, but the emotional as well. Maybe even more so.

Annie was quite surprised when the movie started, not expecting it to be their movie, but she put on a pretty good poker face, choosing to cuddle up a little closer, like back when things were pure between them.

How would Chris tell her he knew? Of the facebook messages, the texts and late night calls, the secret meetings between him and her…

Fuck facebook! He hated it. Knew many would say it was like hating guns, when in reality people kill people, not guns. But Chris wasn’t so sure. The asshole who had come between he and his love had been from her past, and unlike the ‘ol days, when it wasn’t so easy to find/reconnect with someone from one’s past, nowadays a few clicks could end up destroying a marriage. Yeah, facebook could kill!

How would he tell her he knew about it all, yet had still decided to fight for her? How, like in the movie, he would battle the sorrows of hell for her, that he had been battling the sorrows of hell! How he felt she was still his precious Annie, and he her Chris, just like those movie characters, only real. How he had even secretly already started saving for a trip of a lifetime, months ago, for them to take for their big twenty-year wedding anniversary next year. They would jet off to Switzerland, the place where their movie characters had met, and have the time of their lives.

A trip that he now saw as part of their new beginning.

Would she be on board? Would she regret her recent actions and take the necessary steps to right her wrong?

How would he tell her he knew…?   

By now Annie’s head was lying on his lap, and Chris got his answer when a tear fell down from his eye and onto her cheek…

~

The Start Over: Resetting The Future

If you could have a second chance at reliving your past, would you take it…?

My wonderful readers, here’s the epic conclusion to The Start Over trilogy!

If you missed the first two, just scroll on down, as they’re in order.

Happy reading:)

The Start Over Resetting the Future Cover

By

Rico Lamoureux

All Rights Reserved

2017

The pleasant sound of children playing is truly universal. Go anywhere in the world and to hear such joy represents a community at peace, its future symbolized by these little versions of ourselves. How priceless they are, reminding us of where we’ve come from, the love and devotion we show them our way of trying to secure where we’re going.

Maybe I should have went farther back I wondered as I watched these young innocents play in their school yard. Look how they truly live in the moment, not giving any thought to what has led up to it or what will come after. Not having any prejudice of race, sex, status. The purity of just being.

Is it really too much to want to return to such a state?

But I had proven it was possible. At least until fear took over. Was there some sort of lesson in this?

I watched as a little boy’s face lit up when a tricycle became available. Oh how he ran towards it with such happiness, my own faded memories identifying with his excitement.

As he slid into that small seat, placed his feet against the pedals and grabbed onto those handlebars my ponder took me to the gates of realization, the answer I was so seeking beginning to formulate in my head as the boy used mind, body and space to not really think about taking off for a joy ride throughout the playground, but just doing it.

Perhaps this had been my problem. Instead of just doing it I had placed too much energy into trying, with mind creating fear that I would fail. But again, there could be a large distance to travel between knowing and doing, the old adage Mind Over Matter hovering over me like an authoritative school teacher.

The little boy was having the time of his young life, swerving around jump-roping girls and boys playing dodge ball. How was he able to be so precise yet not really think about it? Eyes signaling to the brain, brain to body, how much energy to apply/not apply, and at such a tender age?

It was beginning to make sense. I would have to steer my being, but not force it. Disable the fear factor yet not immobilize the entirety of my conscious mind. And so I began to plan…

Who would have ever thought I would be so excited to get back to the dentist?! I was about to play a dangerous game with the universe, not really knowing any rules on how to play but fully aware that it could cost me everything if I were to make a wrong move.

Given the estimated time frame, I decided to schedule three fillings, the forty-five minute procedure hopefully being enough time to put my theory into effect. When the receptionist called my name I made a quick trip to the bathroom, downing a cap full of Nyquil and following that up with a swig of Listerine.

Lying back in the dentist’s chair, I went through the common pleasantries before plugging my ears with my headphones, a suggestion made to patients to help try to put them at ease. But my playlist had been specifically made for this date with destiny; a recording of that priceless gift of children at play, to be played on a loop.

Through my mind’s eye I could see every detail of the playground, a universe within itself as the celestial merged with the matter that made up the children at play and all that surrounded them, each and every sound my awareness focused on reverberated by the dentist’s drill.

The rope skipping on green pavement…

The high pitch of a golden whistle being blown…

The red of a rubber ball bouncing from one direction to the next…

Everything was so colorful, so bright, the laughter of fun bringing all together for a melodic palette of youth.

Then the most peculiar of things happened. As the Nyquil began to snake itself around all, my wise ‘ol friend nitrous oxide rose an eyebrow, as if to question what my awareness was up to.

A moment later and I started to feel my heart in my chest. Actually it was the heart of a little boy in my universal playground, me not realizing it was me until I sank down from birds-eye-view and into self.

The heartbeat was becoming overwhelming, too big, too much for my little body. Had I went too far back? Through will of thought I tried to dislodge myself, but the mud was too thick, the rate at which my heart was working to pump blood extending way beyond what it could handle.

Was it the blood that was thickening into mud?

I next felt a free fall, falling back into a wormhole and unable to grasp onto anything, vision turning into a periscope of tunnel vision, which brought into view two separate scenes, alternating with each blink of the eye.

The first, my adult self, now flat on the floor beside the dentist chair, the doctor performing chest compressions over my heart, an assistant blowing air into my lungs.

The second, that little boy on the playground, a couple of teachers working to save his life too, while others cleared the area

Not only could I see both existences, I could feel them too, the compressions to my smaller frame pounding me like a sledgehammer. Naturally, this was the one I was most averse to, but as I began to favor the other my being somehow knew that it was the wrong way to go if I were to accomplish the reset. Not only the obvious, that if the boy were to die, there would probably be no future self, but also a determination that acted as a guide. And so I willed myself to be absorbed by the worst of the two, the more I let it become me the more painful it became, the more real, until I completely let go of my middle-aged self, letting him pass and in turn allowing my full energy to inhabit the five-year-old body, along with the physical trauma it was experiencing.

This scary moment would serve as my first memory for the next nine years, with me having no recollection of what preceded it. Only a natural calling to embrace entrepreneurship. Lemonade stands, newspaper routes, door-to-door sales of mom’s freshly baked cookies. An unexplained instinct to strive, strive, strive.

Unexplained until fourteen years of age, that is. Then fate took me to that dentist’s chair, once again to the embrace of my wise ol’ friend, nitrous oxide. It was then that all memory came flooding back, and with it the knowledge to rip that mask the hell off my face and never go near it again.

Well, maybe not ever…

Maybe I’ll go for another go-round come  mid-life again.

~

The Start Over: Into the Journey

Welcome back, my wonderful readers!

Ready for the sequel in ‘The Start Over’ trilogy?!

(If you missed the first part, just scroll on down:)

Get ready for quite the trip…!

bl

 

By

Rico Lamoureux

All Rights Reserved.

2017

 

It was like being in one of those supernovas, celestial vision of space, color, being…

Each star within it a moment I had experienced, looking at it from a whole bringing me realization that it was my inner space, my past, my present, and dare I say my future? But my awareness knew which area I had to focus on in order to achieve what I had set out to reach. That bright cluster which represented the time and space of that first glimpse at the age of fourteen.

And so I delved into it…

Like a wormhole, the speed of thought somehow fueling the travel. It’s not my intention to use space imagery to describe this journey, but I simply know no better examples to give to try and explain this miraculous event, this extraordinary happening that I’m not sure anyone else has ever experienced.

Then I began to return to my conscious state, the increase in oxygen and decrease in nitrous oxide drawing me out from the bright colored energy of the all-knowing and back into my physical state.

Now it was like water being transferred from one host to another, the water, my soul, going from one vehicle to another, none everlasting, all impermanent. Perhaps once in a cup, now absorbed by a sponge, to then be squeezed out over dirt, the effect creating the substance of mud. Yes, this was a feeling of sticking into a self that was new, yet not really. Lighter, smaller, more condensed, but indeed a home I had inhabited before.

Or was it just what I wanted to believe? Opening my eyes to see the bright overhead light go out, I tried focusing on the ceiling above, if it had changed along with what I perceived to be my change. If it was the same as a few minutes ago it would mean I had failed, my mom being right all those years ago, with me having fallen victim so deep to delusion.

But then I felt the arms of the chair I was laying back in. I distinctly remembered gripping the ends with my fingers, my arms being about the same length as the rests. Now my hands found no ends to grip, my arms being too short to reach the ends. A feeling I had not felt for so very long.

My heart began to race. I had to sit up to confirm it had really happened…

I was wearing my ol’ blue Nikes, the ones I had begged my mom not to throw out…

My acid wash jeans…

My shirt with the little alligator on the upper left side…

All articles of clothing from when I was fourteen years old!

The dentist, his assistant, the two I remembered from back in the day!

But I still had to see my own reflection to be totally convinced. The mirrors on the dentist’s tools were too small, the surrounding stainless steel not clear enough. I took off for the bathroom.

It was like looking at an old picture of myself, yet the reflection was present, the faces I made with that youthful face simultaneously staring right back at me…

I was really back!

I ran all the way back home, enjoying the burn in my lungs and sides as my underdeveloped body fought to replenish the oxygen it was being depleted of, running through the streets of my ol’ stomping grounds as if I were in a dream.

But I knew it wasn’t, because unlike a dream, during which at some point you realize just that, with the thought then giving you no choice but to return to reality, I did not wake, as this was reality!

Into the two-bedroom apartment I had grown up in, everything in place like it had been decades before. There mom was, cooking dinner on the stove like she had done countless times before. A few inches taller than me, than this teen body I was back in, she looked so young, so healthy compared to the last time I saw her, when she was on her deathbed being taken away by cancer.

I wrapped my arms around her and held her tight.

“What in the world?! What has gotten into you, son?”

“I just love you, mom.”

“I love you too. You’re right in time for dinner, wash up.”

I did as told, then sat down for a homemade meal. Heaven compared to the microwave meals my adult-self had grown accustomed to.

“Now remember,” my mom said, “no dessert until you finish those green-”

She turned around to see my plate clean, the last of the green beans being shoveled into my mouth.

“Can I have some more, Ma?”

Not recognizing the healthy appetite of her own son, she said the only thing she could while preparing my second helping of everything.

“That nitrous oxide must have done wonders!”

You have no idea!

 

I was reluctant to fall asleep that night, afraid I would wake up as an adult again, but this growing body had had a full day and was exhausted, and so I had no choice but to surrender to sleep, hoping to wake in my room of Michael Jackson and Debbie Gibson posters.

 

The following morning I couldn’t wait to get to school, being taken from déjà vu to surrealism the moment I stepped onto the school bus. From the kids to the route, the driver to the late 80’s world outside my window.

Amazing…!

From homeroom to every period that followed my mental map of the past took me to every class, the lessons being taught more like refresher courses, with teachers and peers alike not knowing what to make of my new active participation.

I would take everything seriously now and get a head start in what I wanted to accomplish in life, now knowing full-well this second time around that doing so would ensure a successful future.

When lunch time came around I was back sitting among my ol’ clique of friends, popping tater tots into my mouth while they discussed the latest Nintendo games and CD players. We had always been an average group, somewhere between nerds and the cool kids, admiring the latter every now and then and not really paying attention to the former. It was a social class that just about every school had, my matured mind now laughing at such a ludicrous way of life.

But then again, this was all so innocent compared to the future. Not a cellphone in sight, I wanted to warn them all now of what was to come.

Then I saw her. Claudia. One of the cool kids, who also happened to be my present self’s crush. Her boyfriend was the coolest kid in school. Mario, always walking around like Don Johnson in Miami Vice, changing in the blazer for a pair of suspenders that always hung below the waist, never over the shoulders to serve their original purpose.

I couldn’t help but laugh out loud this time, teen inhibition no longer being an illusion in my now wiser eyes.

“What’s so funny?” one of my friends asked.

“Mario. He doesn’t know what a fool he looks like! He’s gonna be nothing but a laughable memory to everyone around here.”

“Oh yeah, why don’t you go tell him that to his face?!”

They all laughed, but I felt nothing, my attention now turning to Claudia.

“Damn, she’s still as cute as I’ve always remembered. I should go over there and change her world.”

“Yeah Mr. Badass, you do that. We’ll come visit you in the hospital.”

More laughter.

Claudia got up to go buy her guy a soda.

“Watch and learn, boys” I said as I got up to make my move.

It was just her and I alone at the vending machine, something I had fantasized about a million times before.

“Hey Claudia, can I buy you a soda?”

She looked both surprised and a little flattered. Kids were starting to stare.

“Thanks, but I’m just getting this for Mario. You know, my boyfriend…?”

A cheerleader now had his attention, the dumbass not even trying to hide his lust as his eyes followed her long legs up to her short skirt and beyond.

“Yeah, I heard you guys were going out, but I guess it’s not exclusive, right?”

I gestured his way so she could see the obvious, a look of embarrassment coming over her when she spotted his ogling.

With a soft touch I placed my hand over hers and took the can of soda, wiping the top off with my shirt before opening it up and offering it back to her.

“You deserve this a lot more than he does.”

My hand was back around hers as she held the can, her eyes locked in on mine as I guided her to bring it up to her mouth.

It was a hot day so I knew that cool lid must have felt good when I slowly ran it across her bottom lip, then tilting the can up a little so she could take a sip.

“What the fuck?!”

Our intimate encounter was shattered, Mario wasting no time in getting up in my face.

“What the fuck are you doing with my girlfriend?! And who said you could open my soda?”

Another laughable moment of how bullies would show their dominance back in the day, pushing in face-to-face and leaving less than an inch as they showboated their testosterone for all to see. Not a wise decision, to get so close to someone who’ll actually fight back.

I gently slid the can of soda out of Claudia’s hand and back into mine, the full twelve ounces of it minus the sweet little sip still giving a good weight to it.

Without saying a thing I brought it up fast and hard, slamming it into the side of Mario’s face.

He went down crying like a baby.

By now we had absolutely everyone’s attention, and they were about to become even more shocked…

As I turned around back to Claudia I slid my hand around her neck and drew her in for a kiss. And no, not one of those punk-ass one’s Mario would give her. This one was full-on passion, full-on French.

Her knees buckled and I caught her, entrancing the pretty young thing a little more before bringing her back up to her feet.

Everyone, including my little clique was speechless. There was only one thing left to do, walk away, let ‘em all soak it in.

Damn, I love do-overs!

 

For the next week I was the big man on campus, my middle-aged know-how in my fourteen-year-old body leaving everyone in awe, Claudia at my side leaving me soaring above Cloud 9!

But I still had to stay focused, not willing to throw away this true opportunity of a lifetime for some teenage bliss. At this stage I had a big head start on all those who would later be my competition in life. What company would not want to hire someone who had been honing their skills since such an early age? What bank would not give a sizable loan to someone who had such experience under their belt by the time they reached early adulthood?

And yes, this included a bright healthy smile, so I had to get back to that dentist. The only problem was, although I had youth on my side again, my personal fears were still within me. Scared as shit to sit back in that dentist chair and get tortured again.

Yes, the nitrous oxide really helped in taking me out of the pain and into nirvana, but what if I lost control and was taken back to the future? This was the last thing I wanted to happen, and so I tried to brave it…

But as soon as that long thin piece of steel pierced my gum to inject novocaine I was like a cat in water again, clinging on to that dentist chair drenched in sweat.

I had to have the nitrous oxide.

Back into the vastness of space, both inner and outer, as within the grand scheme of things each is one in the same.

The colors, the clusters, the infinite knowledge just a reach away. But with such wisdom comes the unavoidable. The knowledge of self, including all its deepest fears. At this moment I realized why it takes most human beings a lifetime to reach full understanding. They need those decades to overcome those fears, to be truly centered and balanced. The farthest I had went, I had lived, was less than a half century, with me even having dove my complete being into desire so as to become young again.

Alright, that’s enough!

Pull back, wake up!

But I couldn’t, truth wouldn’t let me, flooding into my being more and more no matter how hard I tried to fight it.

‘Your forty-two year old self is still where you left it. Still waiting for you down in that chair.’

But I was back, I was really fourteen again! I felt every moment, for a whole week!

‘Do you feel time now? Yes, rhetorical, no, you don’t. In this state of all-knowing you must know time is relative. One week at fourteen could have been one hour at forty-two. It was what you wanted, what you desired.

‘But what is true is unavoidable at this level of understanding, and so you can’t hide from the fact that you are an adult, still lying in that chair. Still…’

No, please… I don’t want to go back.

But I couldn’t stop the wormhole from consuming me, the speed of thought, of truthful thoughts, thrusting me back into my middle-aged body.

The mask was removed, my awareness returned, my fingers digging into the ends of the chair’s arm rests.

I wanted to cry.

 

To Be Continued…

Don’t miss the exciting  conclusion to

‘The Start Over’,

follow The Flash Fiction Ponder:)

You’ll be notified when it’s posted, and receive a free book as well!

Details to the left of your screen…

 

 

The Start Over: Opening the Door

Hello my wonderful readers!

Have something special for you on this first post of the New Year…

A time-travelling trilogy!

Enjoy the first part, with the sequel to follow very soon…!

the-start-over

By

Rico Lamoureux

All Rights Reserved.

2017

Funny how certain things can take you back in time. A smell, a song, a taste, an object. It’s like you can just close your eyes and be taken right back to where your  mind wrapped around the experience, no matter how many years ago it was.

Such bouts of nostalgia have been hitting me quite often lately. I don’t know if it’s that transitional stage of mid-life crisis people tend to face at my age, or if it’s the reality that I feel I’ve been fighting to get my head back above water since my mid-twenties, a few wrong turns/not-so-bright decisions taking me off the path to a proper future and having me constantly try to catch up and get things back on track ever since. Amazing how just a few choices can spin you in an entirely different direction than what you ever imagined for yourself, and even more mind-boggling, how extremely hard it is to right the wrong, the world being very unforgiving.

One of these things that simply got away before I really realized it was my dental care. Like most, I’ve never been a fan of sitting in a chair and opening wide while needles stab my gums, drills dig deep into my teeth, raw nerves being scraped to produce the most intense pain in one’s life. These excruciating factors can be very persuasive in convincing a timid soul like myself to avoid the whole experience, the reward of a bright healthy smile seeming not to be at all worth the torture it takes to reach it. And so when I had hit my rebellious stage of adolescence I simply refused to go back to the dentist, and as the years flew by, as I began to develop a more common sense mind set, I still found ways to avoid the issue, the traumatic memories keeping me out of that dentist chair with excuse after excuse to keep putting it off.

Next thing I knew I was already a couple of years into my fourth decade of life, trying to play catch up with just about everything, doing my best to keep that not-so-bright smile hidden from view. A visual metaphor for how I was feeling pretty much inside and out.

Maybe if I see about fixing my teeth, it can be a start to fixing my life.

The thought was encouraging, so I made the appointment, the decision putting a temporary pep in my step in the days leading up to my doctor visit.

But thoughts are just that, thoughts. It’s easy to be brave when it’s just in your head, the fantasy of visualizing having no real repercussions. But when reality sets in…?

Oh, shit!

Stepping into that dental office had me stepping back into my childhood, the furnace of my stomach setting fear ablaze, the heat of it travelling throughout my body. Filling out the paperwork I kept telling myself, you’re an adult now, grow up! People do this everyday. It’s part of life. It’s part of getting your life back on track. For real this time!

But that other side of my brain was trying to dig in its own reason. Yes, I was an adult now, which meant I didn’t have to put up with this nonsense. I could just get up and walk out that door.

Yeah, we see how well it worked for us before. No structure, no discipline, has made us a nobody when others our age have great lives, great careers…

I was just about finished filling out the form when I saw the option for Nitrous Oxide. Ah, yes, I remembered it very well. My mom had taken me to that special dentist across town who used it on patients who were nervous wrecks like myself, in an attempt to keep me on the straight and narrow path to a bright healthy smile.

It had been a one-time occurrence though, as our insurance didn’t cover the so-called laughing gas.

Laughing gas? No, despite what mom told me leading up to the experience, that I would have a funny good time in that dentist chair, such a thing did not happen. Far from it.

I had sat down with sweaty palms, sat back and put my legs up, that dreaded dentist ceiling meaning another trip through hell.

But then the dentist had reached up above my head and brought down over my nose that long skinny mask, telling me to breathe deep.

The smell… A bit rubbery? Wasn’t sure. But I was starting to feel a little odd, a slight balance between numb and tingle. Just slightly, nothing overwhelming.

By the time the dentist had turned on the overhead light and asked me to open wide I was already beginning to see, to know things, from a different perspective. The voices of he and his assistant were becoming distant, and as he began his work I found myself rising from fear, from panic, a more enlightening state taking hold of me.

I could feel pain a little if I focused my awareness towards it, but all I had to do to put it aside, to place it off in the distance, was to redirect my mind to something else.

The two working on me began to converse among themselves, talking about a later appointment, a conference, other office-related chatter. All superficial compared to what I was heading towards.

Truth. I started to feel my consciousness rise a bit, above the drilling, the chatter, the bright light, getting closer and closer to realization the more I rose from this illusion. Yes, in a way, just an illusion. The conversation they were having, the life I had lived so far… Everything. This wasn’t really real, not when compared to the truth I was headed towards. The grand scheme of things was so much more! And all I had to do to get there was keep rising.

But something inside was cautioning me not to go too far, because if I did I wouldn’t come back. But why should I? Real life was beyond this façade.

And yet I decided to not cross that line, to just hover near this state of enlightenment, but not be totally absorbed by it, until the mask was removed from my nose and my mind returned to this existence that was just superficial.

I spent the rest of the day contemplating, refusing to believe my mom when she just laughed at my new discovery, telling me it was just my personal reaction to the gas. That it was my mind playing tricks on me.

But I was just a kid, fourteen years old, not really having the sense to follow my new interest, to research it, and so after a few days it began to just gradually fall away, so-called reality taking me further and further away from the truth I had discovered in that dentist’s office.

Now, nearly thirty years later, I checked the box for the Nitrous Oxide before handing the clipboard over to the receptionist. I then nervously flipped through the Reader’s Digests and Highlights magazines until my name was called.

Just like my ol’ fourteen-year-old self I sat down with sweaty palms, my guts on fire as I sat back into that scary chair, only this time I was also embarrassed, for what the dentist would find when he got into my mouth. Evidence that my life had gotten away from me.

The mask was brought over my head and positioned over my nose. I watched as his hand turned the knob to the gas tank. Was it me or was he turning it quite a bit? Maybe because I was an adult now, needing more for it to take affect? Whatever the case…

Yeah, keep turning, the more the better!

And then it hit me, the ol’ wise friend who had been waiting for my return. The path leading toward the state of enlightenment, as I rose above the voices, the drilling, into the bright light of all-knowing.

This time, with a hell-of-a-lot more so-called real-life experiences attached to my being, I found myself merging with truth, with the fact that I was indeed the same soul that I had been the last time I visited, and that it was within my power to be in that time and space again. It was simply a matter of focusing my awareness, my mind, in knowing I was there.

To truly be able to start over, to have my whole life ahead of me again. Youth, opportunity, everything!

I let it absorb me…

~

To Be Continued…

Don’t miss the sequel in this thought-provoking trilogy,

follow The Flash Fiction Ponder!