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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tea with the Neighbors

“Today it’s four years since Bertha died.”
“Well. More or less,” said Dan.
“Oh, Dan, don’t start.”
“I’m sorry, but the truth is implacable,” Dan said, looking at Sacha but glancing at Sally in quick, lizard-like flashes of acknowledgement. “Today we remember Bertha,” he said. “But the truth is this is the anniversary of her funeral, not her death.”
“Dan, cut it out.” Elaine turned from the stove and crossed her arms over her chest. Sally stared wide-eyed at her.
“What?” she asked. “Was she murdered?”
“Oh, no,” said Sacha, putting her arm across Sally’s shoulders. “Nothing like that. It’s just so sad. We never found out how long she’d been dead when they found her.”
“They. A neighbor,” Joanne said softly.
“Sometimes she just disappeared, you know? She was private that way. We never thought...” Sacha gave Sally’s shoulders a squeeze and let her go.
“Are you going to her grave?” Sally asked.
“No. Her family...”
“This year we’re making flowers,” said Joanne. “Elaine took a course on napkin folding.”
“I’m pretty good at it,” said Elaine with a wry smile. She tossed a weight of dirty blond hair off her shoulder. “I figured out how to make dahlias, Bertha’s favorite.”
 “What are you gonna do with them?” Sally asked.
“We haven’t decided,” said Elaine. “We could decorate the restaurant.”
“Oh, sure, pulling for the home team, huh, Lainy?”
“We could take them down to the beach and let them loose in the surf.”
“Dan, she never went near the sea.” Sacha poured tea into small hand-made raku cups. “We could take them over to the hospital…”
“If we’re going to honor Bertha,” Joanne broke in, “what we should do is go up to the train station and hand them out to random travellers. Whoever strikes our fancy. Some good-looking guy…”
“Good luck with that!” said Cora. Everyone turned to look at her in surprise. They burst out laughing.
“I love that idea,” said Dan. “Something special and unusual. Quirky. Like Bertha.”


 333 words for , on their 2nd Anniversary Challenge. Using Remember (verb): 3 a : to keep in mind for attention or consideration b :  REWARD

32 comments:

  1. I love the title and I love the dialogue - it takes quite a skill to narrate a character and story just with dialogues and you have nailed it, Kymm! As always, whenever I read your posts, I know it is going to be different (in a good way, of course) . Well done.

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    1. Oh, I'm happy to hear that. All those characters had me a bit nervous.
      Thanks so much for the love, TIZ, and for the vote of confidence! I appreciate it.

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  2. I loved the path your dialogue took me on. Sometimes the tried true ways of remembrance seem a little formal for those that were anything but when they were alive. Love your style!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it. Yeah, I'm not big on tried and true ways...
      Thanks for the love, Kathy!

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  3. Quirky... I like that.

    hand-made raku cups... That reminds me, I have to start putting more description in my stories. Thanks, Kymm.

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    1. Why am I not surprised you like quirky, Ted???
      You are quite welcome, btw, and I love seeing you here.

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  4. sometimes the quirky ways are the best. it helps us remember the personalities that made the ones we loved so unique and special to us.

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    1. I'm a firm advocate of quirky. Well, as firm as anyone can be about quirkiness.
      Great to have you read and comment, Renada!

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  5. Elaine took a course on napkin folding.. that is hilarious. Among many others I like the phrase - weight of dirty blonde hair. What a cast of characters... 'quirky' and original. I love it - as I always do.

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    1. Haha, glad you are amused. Believe it or not, I know more than one person like Elaine (give them a napkin folding class, they make roses). Glad you mentioned the hair, I was tempted to take it out.
      Thanks for the love, Steph, and your encouragement!

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  6. Perfect Kymm!! I was hooked from the first few sentences, relishing your wonderful sense of humor. When it comes to your writing-always more, and never less! Bertha would agree, if she could;)

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    1. Oh, you are a sweetheart! So nice to say that about Bertha.
      Glad you enjoy my sense of humor - it always feels like it could go either way...
      Thanks so much, Valerie!

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  7. I like the interaction of these characters and chuckled several times at the banter. I think Bertha would be touched to know they cared so much to remember her.

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    1. Oh, it's nice to hear it called banter. And I love to elicit a chuckle or two.
      Sweet of you to say that about Bertha. Thanks Janna!

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  8. That detail about the anniversary of the funeral instead of the death is a great one -- just terrible to think about. The napkin folding thing is charming, though -- balances it out!

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    1. Just one of those things that kicks around in your head for years... Glad you found the balance with the fabric origami!
      Thanks, Annabelle!

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  9. The way you formed the character of Bertha was more interesting than the characters speaking the dialog. So interesting.

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    1. I'm so pleased with that observation. Thank you, Munchkin!

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  10. I find myself sorry that Bertha passed. She and I would have been fast friends!

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    1. Cool. That means she's real to you.
      I hope this doesn't mean people need to go bang on your door every day, just in case!
      Thanks, Tina!

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  11. This line: “This year we’re making flowers,” said Joanne. “Elaine took a course on napkin folding.” Love.

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    1. So glad.
      Thanks for the love, Kelly!

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  12. Interesting piece. It's generally hard to keep track of so many characters in such a short space, but you did a nice job of it. It felt quirky but real.

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    1. It seemed iffy to me, so I'm very pleased it seems to have worked.
      Thanks, Margit!

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  13. I really like this, Kymm. I love the way the story comes out through the tidbits of conversation between all of them. Fun and lively and entertaining. Yay!

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    1. It's so nice to hear such a cacophony works. And that you liked it.
      Thanks for the love, and the yay, momo!

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  14. I liked the light-hearted banter between the family members. A quirky character, that Bertha! If she can make people laugh at her remembrance, I say good for her. :)

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    1. So good to hear that you liked it. Thank you, Pratibha!

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  15. Loved this "quirky" piece with bits of black humour in it,Kymm:-)Yes,remembering a long gone loved one need not always be treated like a ritual ,full of sobriety and formal to-do's:-)

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    1. That's never the way I remember them.
      Thanks for the quirky black love, Atreyee!

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  16. Killer dialogue. I worry about my mom going out that way and no one knowing for days. I should probably go and call her right now.

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    1. You do that, Tri.
      And thanks for the gangsta love.

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