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May 2017 Writers' Challenge

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  • 13 Jun 2017 8:15 AM
    Reply # 4898092 on 4789090
    Sherri Hollister (Administrator)

    Alison, I really enjoyed Salt House, a testament of the human spirit. I look forward to meeting you. Have you tried the June challenge? 

  • 12 Jun 2017 5:29 PM
    Reply # 4897337 on 4789090
    Alison Lord Stuart

    SALT HOUSE

    I go back to this house perched in the memory of my childhood. It was our

    halfway house listing between what we could sometimes be and what we too often were. I

    was the child sentry, ready for the salt-soaked air to blow in the ill winds. Summer after

    summer, never knowing what could come my way through the sea grass or my father's

    mouth.

    I look at the weathered boards and the wrinkled skin on my hands and wonder if I

    was ever young. Never young like the baby osprey carelessly roosting in their nest,

    bobbing their heads in anticipation of their parents' safe return. Mine was a different

    calling, the pins and needles of adults in trouble, the perpetrator and the victim and a house

    almost too tiny to have ever been a home.

    Right by that screened window, with the sound of lapping water, I kept my heart

    quiet, but ready for the piercing sound of ice hitting the lip of a glass. The air was

    billowing heat, but what I remember is a certain chill that curved my spine and froze me in

    place.

    My mom would often try to give herself to the tranquility of the ebbing tide in the

    billowing sea grass. With her sunglasses on, she would lean back on a deck air and let the

    breeze fill her lungs with sea air, and pick up her crossword and pencil. I was close by her

    always, like a little ferret sniffling for the rattling sounds of crab pots on the pier or more

    often kitchen cocktails made for one. Made for and by my father.

    Then it would uncoil like a snake, fang ready. He would loosen up, lose his grip

    and set lose all the joy our little house was made to hold. From the quiet of a morning not

    yet spoken, to the fire of the afternoon sun, my dad would ride the rocket alcohol with a

    stunning display of all that I could possibly hate.

    Mom and I knew the lay of the land as well as we knew the pull of the undertow

    almost stealing our breath. I could taste fear like sand pebbles caught in my throat. With

    the fierceness of an unexpected squall, Dad would rail at us, rail at us, rail at us until his

    anger was done. Then his shame would come like a toy boat cresting a wave, course

    unknown.

    The three of us were spent. The nothing left filling the sky like the glow from the

    setting sun. The mighty warrior, now the broken child he always was,walks to the boat

    tied to the pier. He looks at my mom, her beauty framed in the salty mist and whispers,

    “I'm sorry, Jane, I really am.” He unties the line, casts off to the quiet of the storm passed.

    So alone, set adrift from us.

    My mom takes my hand and we walk the shore. We watch the hop and skip of the

    sand pipers and look at the shells. She tells me it will be alright, “After Daddy is done

    yelling this much, he remembers to try harder and that we will be ok. I wonder if she hates

    him. I worry what will happen to us.

    Today I unlock the door of this house that still belongs to me and holds so much

    of whom I am. I remember that little girl who when not afraid of her father, or afraid for

    her father adored him. That little girl who like the tide looks to the shore, looked to her

    mother for reassurance. I am that little girl now brought to the Carolina shore on the first

    day of June. I will stitch and weave all that once was to the seams and edges of the

    present. I will listen to the jump of the fish, the calling of the gulls, the old boat pitching to

    and fro. I will also listen to the turn of car wheels on a pebbled path. Family here, fun

    begins, not to worry. Its been a long time since I had to worry in the little house that lists,

    in beauty, to the sound of change.

    Alison Lord Stuart

    June 1, 2017

  • 31 May 2017 8:32 AM
    Reply # 4862207 on 4789090
    Sherri Hollister (Administrator)

    Enjoyed the surprise ending, Kay! Great job!

  • 30 May 2017 2:36 PM
    Reply # 4860240 on 4789090
    Sandra Wynne

    Sandra, it was an inspirational story of perservision and faith. Thank you for sharing it.

    K

  • 30 May 2017 2:31 PM
    Reply # 4860219 on 4789090
    Ted Harrison

    Ted, I enjoyed reading your story and seeing it through your characters eyes. You left us looking at what happened to imagine how ourselves. I really liked it. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  • 30 May 2017 2:20 PM
    Reply # 4860168 on 4789090
    Katirie Leach

    I loved reading your story and feeling the nostalgia it evoked. I could imagine him in my minds eye and watch him with his creaky bones and joints climb and decend the stairs. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    K

  • 30 May 2017 2:04 PM
    Reply # 4860145 on 4789090
    Kate

    Whoaaaa... That was totally not what I expected. You never see it coming.

    You held me until the end and I loved her head talk. Good spooky story. Thanks.

    K

  • 30 May 2017 1:49 PM
    Reply # 4860098 on 4789090
    Michael Worthington

    WOW, what can I say? This was a spooky story, but you told it very well. I could see it all playing out before my eyes. Thank you Michael.

  • 30 May 2017 1:39 PM
    Reply # 4860074 on 4789090
    Sherri Hollister

    Very powerful, had me crying at the end. Good emotion and pace, kept us wanting to know more.

    Thanks,

    K

  • 30 May 2017 1:30 PM
    Reply # 4860051 on 4789090
    E.M. Satterly

    I really enjoyed reading this story and didn't see what was coming. The dynamics between the couple is so on point whether it be male or female counterparts. Good story, thanks for sharing it with us.

    K

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