MLMM Tale Weaver — On Being Alone

85276352-8F69-404F-B1FB-8CB081B2449D“Aren’t you lonely?” Diane asked her mother. “Ever since Dad died, you’re always alone. It’s not healthy, Mom.”

“First of all, sweetie,” Jennifer said, “I’m not ‘always alone.’ You’re here and we’re having lunch together.”

“Mom, you know that’s not what I meant.”

“Second of all,” Jennifer continued, ignoring her daughter’s interruption. “Being alone and being lonely are two very different things. Before your father died, I was almost never alone, but I was almost always lonely.”

“I don’t understand,” Diane said.

“Being alone is a state of being, honey, while being lonely is a state of mind. Your father and I lived in the same house, slept in the same bed, and were physically together almost constantly. But to be honest with you, I felt smothered by him.”

“But you loved each other, didn’t you?”

“Of course we loved each other,” Jennifer said, “but there’s an old saying, ‘familiarity breeds contempt.’ So while we were always together, we barely communicated and ultimately grew apart.”

“Oh, Mom, I had no idea.”

“Yes, we hid it well,” Jennifer admitted. “But being alone, Diane, isn’t just doing things by yourself, it’s also doing things for yourself. I started a blog and I have hundreds of followers from all around the world, people that I call my friends. I have started writing poetry again for the first time since college, and I’ve even begun doing some sketching and painting.

Mom, that’s amazing. I’m so incredibly happy for you.”

“Yes, being alone is not necessarily being lonely,” Jennifer said. “In fact, I think that being alone can be the most empowering experience of your life.”


Written for this week’s Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver prompt.

Murder He Wrote — Part Two

7EA72AEF-4548-4769-98D3-9D05EBB29BB8This is part two of a story about a crime of passion. It stands alone, but if you care to, you can read part one here.


As soon as the shock of Brian’s threat to kill her passed, Emily began laughing hysterically. “Emily, please stop laughing at me,” he pleaded. But she didn’t stop.

With tears streaming from his eyes, Brian ran from the living room into the bedroom, slamming the door behind him. Even with the door closed, he could still hear Emily laughing.

Brian braced his back against the door waiting for her mocking laughter to stop, which it finally did. After a few minutes of silence, Brian sat down on the edge of the bed, barely breathing, wishing he could just disappear. Then he heard her heavy footsteps as she walked by the bedroom toward the kitchen. He held his breath.

The refrigerator door opened and closed. Pressure was released as another bottle of Pepsi was opened. He heard her walking back to the living room, where she planted herself down onto the couch.

“You bastard,” Emily called out. “I missed the first half of my soap.”

Brian knew he didn’t have it in him to kill Emily. He couldn’t even kill a cockroach or spider. He’d trap them and then open up a window and toss them outside. He took a deep breath, gathered himself, and marched from the bedroom to the living room and positioned himself between Emily and the TV.

“What do you want now?” Emily asked.

The tone of her voice knocked some of the confidence from Brian, but he cleared his throat and said as calmly as he could, “I want a divorce.”

Once again, Emily burst into laughter. Brian looked at her sprawled out on the couch like a beached whale. What was left of his confidence was replaced by raw hatred.

“You want a divorce?” Emily said when she finally stopped laughing. “First he wants to kill me and now he wants a divorce,” she said as if addressing some imaginary third party in the room. “The impotent little mouse gets fired, comes home, and announces that he wants to kill me. But he doesn’t have the balls, so now he wants a divorce. What a brave little mouse he is.” Glaring at Brian, Emily demanded, “Now get out of my way so I can watch my soap.”

“Emily, listen to me,” Brian pleaded. “I’m serious.”

Emily looked up at Brian. “And what is my brave little mouse going to do if I refuse? Threaten to kill me again? Now move so I can watch my damn soap.”

Deep down inside Brian knew that Emily wouldn’t agree to a divorce. Why would she? She pretty much controlled everything in their lives. Emily repositioned herself so that she could see the TV.

Feeling nothing but contempt, Brian’s eyes darted frantically around the room, unable to focus on anything in particular. He was looking for something, but he had no idea for what. He was having trouble deciphering the noises swirling around his head.

Unable to organize his thoughts in any rational way, he turned away from Emily and almost mechanically started walking toward the kitchen.

As if in a trance, Brian went to the cabinet with the pots and pans. He searched until he found a heavy skillet, which he picked up and held in both of his hands, not sure why he’d reached for it.

“Brian, what are you going to do now?” Emily appeared in the kitchen door, her shrill voice breaking his trance. “Are you going to cook something?” she said mockingly.

“I, I, I’m going to, um, make some pancakes,” Brian stammered.

“Give me that, you idiot! What do you know about making pancakes?” Emily said as she reached for the skillet. “First you get fired, then threaten to kill me, then ask for a divorce, and now you want to make pancakes.”

“I’m warning you, Emily,” Brian said as Emily moved to take the skillet from him. “Keep away from me.” His voice was cracking and he began sweating profusely.

A grin came to Emily’s face and her smile evolved into a subdued chuckle. “Is this another death threat, mouse?”

“Damn you, Emily. Quit calling me that”

“Well stop acting like one,” Emily snapped back.

“Shut your mouth you over-stuffed cow!” Brian’s tone surprised even him.

“How dare you speak to me like….”

“Shut your goddam mouth, Emily.”

The sting of Emily’s hand striking against Brian’s face was fiery. Without thinking about what he was doing, Brian raised the skillet and started swinging it in a wide arc toward Emily’s head.

“Brian, what? Brian, NO! Bri….”

The skillet hit the left side of Emily’s face with crushing force. Her body went limp and she fell back across the kitchen table. Brian lifted the skillet over his head and brought it down on his target a second time. And a third. And then a few more times. Until his rage subsided.

Covered in blood splatter and brain matter, he dropped the heavy skillet, walked over to the kitchen sink, and puked his guts out.

A Simple Question

6A42CD9F-1A4F-43F8-AE8E-A37E493B0BE8“It’s a ‘yes or no’ question, Mr. Avery,” the lawyer said.

Beads of perspiration were forming on Tom Avery’s forehead. He looked helplessly at the judge, who was sitting at the large desk on his right.

Having run out of patience, the attorney also looked up at the judge and said, “A little help, your honor.”

“Answer the question, Mr. Avery,” the judge said sternly.

Tom sighed. “It’s not a simple question.”

“Yes, Mr. Avery,” the attorney chided, “It is that simple. Yes or no?”

Tom cleared his throat, looked up at the judge, then over at the jury, and finally at the lawyer. “It’s not just black or white. There are gray areas. It’s complicated.”

The lawyer threw both of his arms up in the air out of frustration. He didn’t want the members of the jury to think he was badgering the witness, but he needed an answer. “Your honor,” he said, pleading with the judge.

“Answer the question, Mr. Avery,” the judge warned, “or I will hold you in contempt.”

Tom was now sweating profusely. He weighed his options carefully. Finally, he looked past the attorney at the plaintiff sitting at the table behind the lawyer.

“Okay, fine,” Tom said. Focusing his eyes directly on the plaintiff, he said, “Yes. My answer is yes.” A murmur ran through the courtroom. “Yes, Amanda, those jeans do make you look fat.”


Written for today’s one-word prompt, “black.”