Daylight Saving #BlogBattle

Here is my second story for the BlogBattle, enjoy reading and check out all the other wonderful stories! Read my last story hereGenre: Contemporary

Delaware ParkToday is another day, they tell me. The sun has risen yet again, despite my efforts to keep it down. Now, in mockery of my desire for eternal night, it is blasting as if it were still August. But don’t you worry, sun – daylight saving is today. That’ll show you.

But for now, the nurse comes barging in, asking me for the 137th time whether I would like to join the others for breakfast. For the 137th time, I decline politely. No. I have the intention of declining politely, but politeness and I are not on the same team in the early morning, especially not when the sun is this motivated. Why can’t the clouds do their job today?

I get my tray and sit on my bed. For the 137th time, I wonder who decided that breakfast in bed was luxurious and wonderful. Every night, I battle the crumbs of bread that was already stale and decidedly non-luxurious in the morning. Another item to add to the List of Things I Do Not Understand.

Now it is time for rumination. The only thing I do here, since I refuse to partake in group activities and my therapist refuses to see me more than once a week. Some bullshit about limited budgets.

Maybe I’ll be ready to leave this place at some point. When I control the sun. Then, controlling my life will be a piece of cake. People will finally treat me the way I deserve to be treated. Things will no longer go wrong. I’ll be functional, just like everyone else. And who knows what will happen outside?

Maybe there is love lurking in the corner. Who says it always has to be danger, the mad ax men, and statistically improbable rapists? Maybe, as I turn this corner on my path of life, the darkness will recede and finally, someone will let in the light. Open those black velvet curtains in front of my eyes and let me see this life that I have been hearing so much about from my friends. And I’ll no longer be alone.

Maybe I’ll remember my thoughts for my next appointment. Unless tomorrow’s ruminations are more interesting.

Today is daylight saving. For the next six months, I get to steal an hour from the sun.

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Cooking Lessons #BlogBattle

This is the first time I participate in the #BlogBattle, I hope you enjoy reading my story!

Genre: Magical Realism

People usually haven’t heard of the town where my grandmother lived. Unless the read their Mars wrappers very closely: in the corner, it says “Masterfoods, Viersen.” Of course no one but me thinks about Viersen while not eating candy. I’m not even sure if the Masterfoods factory still exists. But neither does my grandmother, so what does it matter.

She used to call us children Schafchen, “little sheep.” Not as a descriptor, but as a collective nickname, for all her grandchildren, or maybe for children in general. We probably were a lot like sheep, first walking around carefully as if born only yesterday, then running across the street without looking left or right.

I stopped being a sheep when she taught me how to make her special pumpkin compote. When I was seven, she woke me at midnight during the October full moon and took me to the garden. I was to harvest my first pumpkin, precisely as the shadow the moonlight created was the smallest. The pumpkin was heavy and the stalk was woody, so I had difficulty cutting it fast enough. But I finished just before a lonely cloud obscured the moon. “Pumpkins harvested without moonlight don’t work, Schafchen,” she told me and helped me carry it inside.

A drop of sweat fell on the pumpkin while I tried to cut and carve it. “It adds your essence, Schafchen.” I had to cut the pumpkin by myself, she told me, because that was when its soul escaped and only one person could come in contact with it, just like only one person could add her essence to the fruit. Cutting and carving was akin to slaughter, and slaughter – my grandmother was very adamant about this – was a solitary activity. The meeting of two souls where only one could triumph. I cut my thumb, and four drops of blood joined the sweat. More essence.

“Small pieces, Schafchen. Like a dice. And think about what you’d like to accomplish while you cut. Who you’d like to help.”

Then she gave me the spices to add. Some I recognized from her regular cooking, others from her Christmas baking. But most I had never seen and have not encountered since. The smells of cinnamon, cloves, pepper, comfort, and a time long gone wafted through the kitchen. My grandmother closed the window, lest the essence escape. She steadied my hand above the pot – not a cauldron, as it had been in my imagination. “Just let your hand hover. The pumpkin knows how many spices it needs. It will take them.”

The last and most important part was the stirring. This was where the magic happened. “Now think about the people you wish to serve the compote. Let your thoughts tell the pumpkin your good wishes for them. But remember: no dark thoughts. The pumpkin will turn black and the magic will work against you.”

I thought about my friends. Susanna, who should never lose her beauty. John, who should always remain the fastest runner in school. Marie, who would keep her infectious laugh forever. Jill, whose success in school would continue throughout her life. My parents, who would always remain together. My sister, whose nightmares would stop.

But I was young, I hadn’t considered my grandmother’s mortality. As her brain cells died one by one, faster and faster, the pumpkin seeds turned black and rotten. The pumpkins she planted the next year didn’t grow. The year after that, she no longer remembered who I was, and my mom forbade me to ask for the seeds so I could sow them myself. When we cleared out the house after the funeral, we found supplies sufficient for decades. But not a single seed was viable, I checked them, one by one. They were all black and deteriorated right in front of me. Without knowing, I had cooked and distributed the last of the magical pumpkin compote. It is for the receivers to judge the efficacy of the magic.