Ashen Valentine

Their love surprised,
Then suppressed;
They were forced to separate,
Their hearts wept as if to suppurate.
They surrendered,
Resigned to be suspended
In a state of suffering.

But knowing it’s temporary was sufficient
To help them survive
Their severe
Mortal sentence
Because their souls know the silence
Does not mean they are still,
For their love will always be here to stay.

Door Phase

Part 2 of 3; see Part 1

restaurant

Ron couldn’t believe how long he’d been seeing Ronnie. Three weeks, two days, one hour, and 45 seconds, as he looked at the time change on his smartphone, the screen looking good as new. He had never had a real girlfriend to speak of so he wasn’t sure what stage he’s in now that it appears to be continuing.

After pondering this a bit, he determined he’s in the “door phase,” which means to him he has yet to get past the door after taking her back to her place. At least he’s not getting it slammed in his face. That’s progress. Another forward move is that she seems to have gotten over her ex, although he wasn’t quite sure in what way he was an ex. He thought about their date last night.

“I’m so happy we ran into each other,” said Ronnie as she looked deeply into Ron’s eyes. Then they both burst out laughing because that was exactly how they met.

Now settled down and seated with Ronnie at his favorite Italian restaurant, Ron said, “I don’t know if this is too soon to ask, but I often wonder if you’re still thinking about your ex-boyfriend.”

“Oh, he’s just an ex, but I don’t know if I would call him my boyfriend. We dated only a couple of times and then he would text me. But, he never asked me out again. He just kept texting almost every day, letting me know about his day and saying we should get together again. And then, that day the two of us met in the park, he simply said he wasn’t interested in me anymore. I don’t know now why I cried so hard. I guess I was afraid I’d never meet anyone again.”

“I was thinking the very same thing, actually. It was fate that brought us together. To be honest with you, I’ve never been with a woman this long.” Ron’s revelation made him think about his secret.

Ronnie gasped and replied, “First of all, I always thought that since we have almost the same nicknames, I felt we were meant to meet and . . . I also have never been with anyone this long.”

Suddenly overcome with emotion, Ron said, “Roses are red, violets are blue, I’m so glad I got to know you.”

“How sweet . . .”

“I’ve never felt moved to write a poem before until I met you . . . my moose, you inspire me.”

“Uh, I think it’s pronounced muse,” she whispered.

“Oh, all this time I thought it . . . no wonder it seemed kind of odd. Anyway, this is so new to me, writing poems and all that’s involved with it.”  Ronnie smiled.

As they both held hands and savored the moment, their server suddenly appeared and presented the check. The distraction ruined the mood and Ron soon took her home shortly after paying for a dinner that set him back nearly half a paycheck. But he felt it was about time to spring for a good meal. Going out to coffee shops didn’t give them enough time to talk as much as they did during dinner. He almost confided in her, but perhaps he can wait until Valentine’s Day that’s coming up soon.

To be continued . . .

The Yellow Handkerchief (a movie blurt)

At once a mystery and a love story, this road trip movie shows how three unlikely people come together to eventually trust and help one another in more ways than one. The three travelers are played by William Hurt, a newly released, middle-aged ex-convict; Kristen Stewart, a lonely young woman with insight beyond her years; and Eddie Redmayne, an awkward but earnest young man wanting to see more of the country in his big old American car. Together they travel the backroads of the southern bayou, unloading their emotional baggage and gradually finding hope. Prepare for a tear or two at the end.

Criminal (a movie blurt)

Although flawed in different areas, the movie is still entertaining with action and an interesting concept—to transfer a dying man’s memory to a live person. Plus, the movie has an all-star cast: Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Costner , Gary Oldman, Tommy Lee Jones, Michael Pitt, Alice Eve, and Gal Gadot. To keep the action going, the story consists of a number of spy vs. spy vs. international gangster scenes, with always the possibility of mutually assured destruction (MAD). High level, the movie is about a poignant love story mixed in with the U.S. government held hostage by a hacker who has found the means to trigger powerful weapons.

A Bridge No More

Image by Blogetta

Image by Blogetta

A chance meeting at an acquaintance’s party led to them becoming significant to each other. The words “I love you” had been exchanged. Just as Alison thought their relationship was going to be more than a flash romance, Brian blindsided her by breaking up at a time when she needed someone most. Alison wept until she felt empty and numb.

After three months, she still felt melancholy so she called him. “I miss you. I miss our walks along the bridge.  Our weekends together.  Please come over. I need to talk to you.”

“What took so long for you to call? I missed you too,” Brian admitted. He went to see her. They talked into the night, sleeping platonically with each other. As she began to doze off, Alison couldn’t help but feel they weren’t so compatible after all.

The next day Alison felt resolved and accepted the breakup. They parted ways amicably. Weeks later, Brian started texting Alison, making overtures to meet with her again.  At first, Alison felt upset for she thought she had put things to rest, but he managed to engage her. They communicated almost daily via their smartphones. A reconciliation appeared to be in the making.

One night, a slightly intoxicated Alison called Brian to pick her up from a party. Upon reaching her apartment, her tongue gave way to a stream of words that produced tears from both of them. Phrases such as “This will never work” were tossed several times at a decibel level meant to cause pain. Suddenly, Alison collapsed in bed, partially from exhaustion and partially from alcohol she had consumed earlier at the party.

Once more they bade each other farewell. This time it looked to be final.

After You by Jojo Moyes (a book blurt)

This is the sequel to Me Before You, which is about an ordinary young woman who goes through an extraordinary transformation after caring for a paraplegic young man with whom she falls in love. At first, After You feels almost anticlimactic because the first book was so intensely emotional; here we’re left to pick up the pieces. But then the plot begins to unfold into another love story. With humor interspersed with some serious themes like loss, separation, and abuse, the book makes for an interesting read. The movie, Me Before You, is now out, featuring Emilia Clarke, who plays the ordinary girl, Louisa Clark.  (I haven’t seen the movie, although I’ve heard it leaves out a serious theme that a movie understandably cannot cover well in a short time.)

[To read a review of Me Before You, check out Bookidote’s review.]

’70s Flashback Romance

Image: Pixabay

Image: Pixabay

[Story told with Song Titles from the ’70s top hits]

Freddy adjusts his hospital bed so he can recline. Seventy years old and ailing with sarcoma, his only comfort are the memories of when he first met the love of his life. He closes his eyes to recall those times . . .

Over 40 years ago . . .

“Ooh, Candy Man.” Freddy stares at the muscle man centerfold.

No one is around the apartment courtyard to pay attention to him leafing through Billy’s Bi-Cycle World, an underground magazine his former partner used to bring home. Now no one is bringing home anything to him because He’s Alone Again (Naturally). He hasn’t had anyone stay long enough with him through the Seasons in the Sun. He suspects it’s because he dresses like a Rhinestone Cowboy. An eternal optimist, Freddy decides to Get Down Tonight and drop by the club Convoy, where he can be himself as a Dancing Queen.

Tucked in MacArthur Park, the bar looks unassuming from the outside. In contrast, the inside is Hot Stuff, with a strobe light dominating the ceiling and glittering the burgundy and black plush interior. Freddy glides over to the bar.

Knock on Wood.” Freddy raps his knuckles on the oaken counter, as he hails his favorite bartender, Tony. Tony waves at Freddy from the end of the counter, calling out, “I’ll Be There.

Freddy gives him a thumbs up and swivels his chair to the other side to check out the crowd. He sees the regulars and winks at one or two he’s had trysts with. He feels a tap on his shoulder. Someone whispers in his ear, “(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty.”

Recognizing the voice, Freddy laughs as he turns around. “If it ain’t the New Kid in Town. Hey, Daniel, what . . . .” His voice trails as he’s Blinded by the Light that appears to outline the Adonis that stands next to Dan, his friend.

“Freddy, meet Michel. He’s moving here from New York and looking for a place to stay. Since I still live with my parents who aren’t quite open to . . . you know . . .”

“For sure, I Can Help.” Freddy extends his hand to shake Michel’s. “With a Little Luck, we’ll find you a Hotel California.” Freddy squeezes Michel’s hand and adds, “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing.” Freddy turns to Dan and says, “You mind?”

“Go right ahead. I’m looking for my Brown Sugar.” Dan goes toward a large group that swallows him.

Just before Freddy and Michel head to the dance floor, Tony comes up to them from behind the counter, “Freddy, you want your usual?” Freddy looks questioningly at Michel, who says, “I’ll have a Manhattan.”

“Ooh, make that two.”

As Tony makes their drinks, Freddy and Michel sit at the bar, facing each other, knee-to-knee.

“I want to Make it with You,” Freddy says to Michel.

Let’s Get it On.

Soon after they get their drinks, they swig them and hurry over to Freddy’s place, where they do Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds and pretend to do some Kung Fu Fighting. As they reach the peak of their high, Freddy starts to strip dance and says to Michel, “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.”

That’s the Way (I Like It).

After that fateful evening, Freddy and Michel became inseparable. Although they had their fair share of War with each other, they always hopped back on the Love Train. Once, Michel left and took a Midnight Train to Georgia. It was a sad period of 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover for Freddy. But, Michel came back The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia. On their 10th anniversary of being together, Michel found out he had AIDS. Freddy went through a Love Rollercoaster, but Michel said to him, “Don’t Leave Me this Way, When I Need You. Don’t Give Up on Us.” When he buried Michel, Freddy knew then that his heart would always have a void no one can fill. It felt like The Night Chicago Died.

His thought of Michel at peace brings him back to his present condition. He will soon be Reunited with him. It won’t be long now. He imagines Michel saying, “Too Much Heaven, but I’ll Take You There.” Freddy feels his eyes misting and thinks The Tears of a Clown. As his consciousness starts drifting, his last thought is being with Michel again and saying to him, “Looks Like We Made It.”

Song titles in the order they appear

Candy Man – Sammy Davis Jr.
Alone Again (Naturally) – Gilbert O’Sullivan
Seasons in the Sun – Terry Jacks
Rhinestone Cowboy – Glen Campbell
Get Down Tonight – KC and the Sunshine Band
Convoy – C.W. McCall
Dancing Queen – Abba
MacArthur Park – Donna Summer
Hot Stuff – Donna Summer
Knock on Wood – Amii Stewart
I’ll Be There – The Jackson 5
(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty – KC and the Sunshine Band
New Kid in Town – Eagles
Daniel – Elton John
Blinded by the Light – Manfred Mann’s Earth Band
I Can Help – Billy Swan
With a Little Luck – Wings
Hotel California – Eagles
You Make Me Feel Like Dancing – Leo Sayer
Brown Sugar – The Rolling Stones
Make it with You – Bread
Let’s Get it On – Marvin Gaye
Sky with Diamonds – Elton John
Kung Fu Fighting – Carl Douglas
You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet – Bachman-Turner Overdrive
That’s the Way (I Like It) – KC and the Sunshine Band
War – Edwin Starr
Love Train – The O’Jays
Midnight Train to Georgia – Gladys Knight & the Pips
50 Ways to Leave Your Lover – Paul Simon
The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia – Vicki Lawrence
Love Rollercoaster – Ohio Players
Don’t Leave Me this Way – Thelma Houston
When I Need You – Leo Sayer
Don’t Give Up on Us – David Soul
The Night Chicago Died – Paper Lace
Reunited – Peaches & Herb
Too Much Heaven – Bee Gees
I’ll Take You There – The Staple Singers
The Tears of a Clown – Smokey Robinson & the Miracles
Looks Like We Made It – Barry Manilow

Ripe Romance

anniversary
On the center of the long oak dining table sits a rectangular cake with silver-tinted words that read, “60th Anniversary.” Pam runs from the kitchen to the table to put the finishing touches to the already overflowing spread. The doorbell is ringing and someone is also knocking on the front door. Her mother, Mabel, calls out, “I’ll get the door, honey. Hurry and get your father so we can quickly sing and put him back to his room.”
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