Friday, August 27, 2010

My first magpie is Mag 29


[This work of fiction is my foray in joining the creative writing community of MAGPIE TALES
I am grateful for the opportunity.]

 ~~~

The last fight I had with Mom was about the hummingbird feeder in the hickory tree out front. All for show. Typical.

"All they need to attract them is a little red on the feeders. The dye is bad for them," I said for the hundredth time, and she screamed back that she had "heard that a hundred times." Then she said something else that really hurt.

We went a few verbal rounds about the pros and cons of additives in hummingbird nectar when, as she always argued, "it hasn't yet been proven-beyond-any-doubt that it's harmful." But there are lots of things that seem right or look good that actually hurt.

"And it's just totally wrong to spray that poison in the flower beds and on the cobblestones where other birds peck for worms....and for gravel to help digest their food. They eat that crap you spray. Remember the house finches with those creepy head deformities two summers ago? My God, don't you know there are garden products that do the job without the poison?" She's a bird lover, my ass, I thought, as she jerked around to face me, hissing that I'd damn well better not call her "a bird lover in a sarcastic tone."

People pass by this place that I'm saying goodbye to now and they're all: "Wow, what a charming home. Beautiful landscaping....does this place have curb appeal or what?" I've heard them when I'm outside in my favorite spot, sitting on the concrete-and-colored-tile bench beside the moss garden next to the potting shed. No one can see me from the path and when the cottage catches their eye I get to hear all sorts of ideas they have about what kind of perfect home it is.

Onlookers love the little windows and arches cut into the stucco walls, what they can see of them anyway, because most of the windows are covered by close-up shrubbery and trees. They think "cozy" and "charming" but if they only knew the secrets that I've shared with the birds.

Maybe some day I will close my eyes and not be able to even picture the wrought iron porch railing with fancy grill work that always looked like question marks to me, the railing my six-year-old bottom used as a slide long ago. Right now I still see myself there on the hard walkway crying for help. I still see her peering out from one of the small windows, faintly smiling as I "learned a good lesson." My blood on the cobblestones was as red as the concoction she puts out for the hummingbirds. It pooled at first, then found cracks that led away to the curb.

MLydiaM, September, 2010





29 comments:

Tumblewords: said...

Who knows what goes on inside. This piece is strong and thoughtful, poignant and tender. A wonderful read.

Fireblossom said...

I read somewhere that what people will remember about you is how you made them feel. I think it's true.

Spare me from this sort of know-it-all serves-you-right kind of cruelty. I know it well. The last paragraph is masterful. Bravo.

Julie Jordan Scott said...

Wow. Both beautifully crafted and poignant. Great to see you here at Magpie tales. I am still fairly new, too.

This week's magpie

anthonynorth said...

A great write and so poignant. A house is a house. A home is what people make it.

Brigid said...

That was a pretty powerful debut Magpie, the secrets that are hidden behind facades are intriguing,
great read.

madamebutterfly said...

What goes on Behind Closed Doors.

A great contribution to this weeks prompt.

Brian Miller said...

oh i love your close...as you can not jusdge a book by its cover neither can you a house...excellent magpie...

Lydia said...

Tumblewords~ (I was raised in tumbleweed country so am drawn to your name.) Thank you for your kind comments.

Fireblossom~ I think it is true, also. One of the confusing things in life is how those we love can make us feel good sometimes, horrible at other times. When they are gone sometimes what we remember is confusion. Your opinion about the last paragraph means a lot to me.

Julie Jordan Scott~ I so appreciate your appreciation, and it is good to meet another "newbie."

anthonynorth~ Yes, and pity the many children who never know a real home. I really appreciate your comments (and I like your name too because I have an older brother named Anthony).

Brigid~ Thank you for saying that! Your comment made me smile.

Teresa O said...

I'm so mad at this so-called mom and bird-lover! Well-penned, you grabbed me right off the bat and I couldn't wait to see where the story led me. Job well-done!

willow said...

Wow, you had me at hummingbird feeder. Which is exactly what the bit of red is, hanging from the tree. The photo is from last year, and funny, since then have learned the red dye is bad for them and have switched to making my own sugar water. Excellent bit of writing. Welcome, welcome to Magpie!!!

M Riyadh Sharif said...

Nicely written aunt. I can imagine the whole story right after my eyes when I'm seeing this picture after reading your post. Thinking of writing one.

Angie Muresan said...

Lydia, this is wonderful! You are so right. Who knows what goes on behind closed doors? Welcome to the Magpie Tales, friend.

kj said...

lydia....

i came here this morning and i did not expect this. i agree with fireblossom: the last paragraph is masterful. i can feel the emotion and abandonment and coldness as if i am sitting on that walkway. and the way you tie the red 'metaphors' together--the bird feeder and the blood: wow, lydia, what a great read.

what a tragic story. i hope this little girl will now be mothered lovingly, if only by her adult self.

keep writing, dear friend. very very good.

love
kj

Freda said...

Just for a moment I was left gasping at the revelation and the fight...... then I realised. What a beautifully crafted piece of fiction. Fiction? It sounds so real!

signed...bkm said...

Nice write and so many people protray an image that is not ture to their real character - sometimes unfortunately they live in the same house...bkm

Lydia said...

Teresa O~ Thanks for disliking her as much as I did when she popped out of my mind. :)

willow~ Thank you for your comments and warm welcome. You have made a marvelous forum!
Funny, if I'd have known it was your home and not one from somewhere else I am not sure I'd have "gone there" about the feeder. Guess it's a lesson about writing honestly no matter the circumstances...

Riyadh~ Thanks; glad you enjoyed it and I really hope you click over to Magpie Tales to find out about how it works. Write one, yes!

Angie~ Aw, thank you so much. I bet everyone will be really envious when I say: I met Angie at a blogger meet-up last weekend and she is marvelous. :)

kj~ But you gush...and I am honored by your comments. There should be free courses offered at hospitals or other safe places that teach troubled people how to care for their inner child. I really don't think it comes naturally, do you?

Freda~ Thank you. :) It surprised me too. I had no idea where I was going to go with describing this cottage. It's proof that Willow gives wonderful writing prompts at Magpie Tales.

signed...bkm~ I just love your blogger moniker! You are right; when the economy first went sour there was a report that perhaps one family in every square block was going without adequate food. It made me look at my neighborhood differently, and we donate monthly to our local food bank. (Sorry to get off track but your comment made me think...)

Fragrant Liar said...

I like how you put yourself into the picture and carried us with you. Well done.

Hattie said...

That looks like Mr. Blanding's dream house. And where was Dad?

Stafford Ray said...

Yes, I would fight with her over the same issues... well told story had me nodding all the way. I don't think I like your mom a lot! :-)

Lydia said...

Fragrant Liar~ Thank you for visiting and commenting. I enjoyed my visit to your blog as a consequence.

Hattie~ That was a great movie!
A dad just didn't seem to fit the picture. :[

Stafford Ray~ I appreciate your kind comments. This was fiction and not at all autobiographical...thanks for feeling protective of the girl in the story. :)

bfk said...

I'm giving it an A+.

It's about time you got around to doing this.

kathew said...

wait til "Mom" gets yellow #7 in her food at the nursing home.
Well written this painful memory...

Lydia said...

bfk~ A+ - wow; I made the grade! (You have seen the new edition of Rolling Stone, right?)

kathew~ Ha! That was great! Thanks much for your visit and comment.

secret, fragile skies said...

Lydia,
Powerful and beautifully written. Thank you. Made me think of this:

"You can't show anyone anything he hasn't seen already, on some level - any more than you can tell anyone anything he doesn't already know. It is the function of the artist to evoke the experience of surprised recognition: to show the viewer what he knows but does not know that he knows." William Burroughs.




re: Glenn-http://www.thedailybeast.com/video/item/glenn-beck-in-lederhosen/

Patience said...

great story, the flow was great, really held me right to the end. welcome to magpie tales, hope to read more of your work.

Dick said...

Wow, strikingly original! Off and running from the start. So intense and truthful, it read like an extract from some much larger work. I'll be interested to see what the next prompt might produce.

Lydia said...

secretfragileskies~ That my piece brought to mind the (unfamiliar to me) Burroughs quote?...well, thank you for that!
Thanks too for the link to the ridiculous video of Glenn Beck. The guy is just a total jerk.

Patience~ I appreciate your visit to my blog and thank you for your welcoming comments!

Dick~ Your words meant a lot to me. Thank you for the encouragement.

susan said...

As an only child I remember one of my favorite games to play on long drives was to look into other cars and imagine what kind of lives those people lead. Although frequently frustrated about my own trapped condition, I never wanted to trade seats with anyone else. Each journey is unique and precious.

Lydia said...

susan~ How beautifully expressed are these impressions of your child self! I would have like to know you as a kid, and am glad to know you now.

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