This is the first post of the year for the WEP - aka Write..Edit..Publish. And look, I managed to make this my first real post of the year 2020. Writing progress, lol.
I don't have a lot of time for intro - gotta get to work and make that money. So here's the copy/paste details from the WEP linkz post. Hurry hurry to create your own submission.
1. SUBMIT your name to the list below on publication of your entry. Add DL after your name. (DirectLink) We will no longer add your Direct Link.
2. POST your edited entry, making sure 'WEP' is in the TITLE along with the CAFE TERRACE badge within your entry.
3. STATE feedback preferences and word count at the end of your entry.
4. READ other entries, giving feedback if requested.
5. SHARE THE CHALLENGE on social media. Tweets are ready on the WEP blog.
PLEASE NOTE: ENTRIES CLOSE FEBRUARY 21 (NY Time - check WEP blog clock)
ALL GENRES WELCOME except erotica - 1,000 words maximum
Sonia coughed and spit a wad of bloody mucus into a sodden rag. The rag had once been her favorite kerchief, the one Carlos had liked so well. Now it was thread bare, colorless, nothing left to hold onto except the memories of love and life and laughter. Sonia missed his laughter more than anything.
She was a large dirty bundle tucked into a deep doorway, though she was thin, scraggly woman of 70 years. Everything she owned was piled under and around her; keeping her warm and well hidden. More than the foggy night creeped in the dark alleys of the abandoned old city center. Her tattered scarf itched and moved, and she dusted a fevered and mittened hand against the knitting, hoping it was wind and not bugs burrowing into her thin hair.
This doorway had been her permanent night home for more years than she could remember. Across the street was a long wooden porch that had seen better years, but somehow had not fallen completely apart. She thought it once must have been home to an outdoor market, and reminded her of the Café she and Carlos met at. Before the war, and death, and so many failures left her just as abandoned and bereft as the city she streets she haunted. Not the same city, not even the same country.
Between the remnants of the farmers market, and the old school like building down the street that resembled the orphanage where she initially made her simple vows. Sonia’s hand fell limply to her side, her breathing slowed, and her mind slipped into a memory of the day she met Carlos. The clatter of broken glass shifting in the wind became the sighing tink of a tambourine.
Carlos was known as The Gypsy Boy, even though everyone knew he was no Gypsy. Tall and lean, in too small, patched breeches and a woolen shirt several sizes to large, Carlos frequently entertained the lost ones and Nuns who ran the orphanage. Sonia’s family just sent her Convent Dowery, assuring another year’s comfortable existence as an initiate, but already the Reverend Mother was expressing doubts about Sonia’s suitability to the religious community. She loved people too much to be effectively cloistered, but the church needed the income, and Sonia had a gift with the children’s education.
“Dance with me pretty Sonia,” Carlos begged, waving his tambourine in front of himself.
The tinkling symbols made her giggle. The warmth of his hand made her heart skip a beat. He took her bread basket and set it on the grass, then bowed.
But no, that wasn’t quite right. Not on that day. That day the Café was just opening, the owner was washing tables and setting out flower vases. Now it was busy with smiling patrons, women and children were dashing across the street to laugh and talk with each other, and Carlos was dressed in the Khaki’s she’d last seen him in. She grinned at him as she had that day, only now trying not to remember he’d been shot as a deserter.
“I don’t think I shall,” she said, now as she had then. “The Reverend Mother is watching.”
He looked around, as he had on that day, and smugly replied, “But we are alone. And the day is fine, and you have inspired a song in my heart.” He danced around her, singing something non-sensical about love and undying devotion.
Her heart leaped with him, and she felt the years of toil and despair fall away. But that was wrong too; she was young, only 17, lush and fully developed beneath her habit. Her tunic was new, her grey veil had been freshly cleaned. She spun around as she watched him circling her, her bare feet relishing the feel warm grass.
“I should be wearing shoes,” she thought. Before her first initiation rites she was the family disappointment, always shucking her expensive shoes and tramping barefoot through the freshly cut grass with the servant’s children. It was hoped life as a Religious Sister would calm her wildness, give her life purpose since she had shunned all the arranged marriage proposals. Unexpectedly, Sonia had agreed to the terms of service with enthusiasm.
Until Carlos. It had taken months of mischievous meetings for her to succumb to his charms. A bouquet of wild flowers appeared in his hand. She took them, inhaled deeply, absorbing the colors and fragrance. He frequently offered her gifts of flowers, bites of pilfered chocolate, pebbles that shinned like crystals, if only in his eyes. Once he wove a ring out of fine twigs and asked her to marry him.
She looked at her left finger, and there was the woven ring. “Not on our first meeting,” she reminded herself, but still smiled at the inaccuracy of her memory.
Except, it didn’t feel like a memory anymore. It felt like a new meeting, in a familiar setting. Everything about their affair was mixed up, but fresh and new. He laughed again, a sound that she loved and craved. More years fell away.
Sonia let them go easily.
“This day will never end,” Carlos promised, pulling the veil from her hair. He’d said that often, and meant it every time.
Stars burst overhead in brilliant rainbow streams, the cloudless day not dampening their brightness. Sonia remembered the New Years celebration before he left to fight a war he didn’t believe in. The promises, the night of romance. She didn’t believe any of it then.
Sonia believed now. She stepped into his arms, swayed with the shimmering tambourine and the sweetness of his voice.
“Yes,” she agreed. Willing it to be THAT day, everyday.
word count: 949
full critique acceptable