Dreams Don’t Forget

A little while ago, my sister and I had lunch at a vintage style cafe. While we waited for our scrumptious lunches to arrive, we wandered throughout the cafe, admiring the eclectic knick knacks that filled almost every conceivable space.

And then we came across this suitcase display which I fell in love with. And it in turn inspired me to write the following story.

 

 

Dreams Don’t Forget

“I love those suitcases,” a woman said. “So vintage!”

Sara didn’t need to look up from the floor she was sweeping to know what the woman referred to – she’d arranged the display herself – but still her eyes lingered toward them.

Four suitcases, each tattered and worn from journeys past, were stacked strategically on top of each other in a sort of haphazard pyramid.

These vintage suitcases were one of the features she most loved in the shop. And the one she most hated.

She often wondered about the places those suitcases had seen. Had they travelled across the sea into distant lands where adventure and maybe even danger awaited them? Or had their purpose been closer to home, a vessel for pyjamas and gifts as they floated in and out of homes?

Sara had accumulated the suitcases gradually, one at time. Two at thrift stores, one at a market and the other in a garage sale. But if she were honest with herself, it was as though these suitcases had found her. Of course it was crazy. Stupid. But that’s how it felt. As if they were waiting for her, beckoning her. Urging her to partake in their adventures.

Sara sighed. If only life were that simple and she could just get up and go on a journey like these suitcases had been. But the dream of travelling had become like an aching muscle. An aching muscle that she tried hard to ignore, as though if she continued to refuse acknowledging it, nothing would need to be done. And then she wouldn’t need to resort to panadol or a doctor. Because the ache in the muscle would, eventually, disappear.

But some aches were pesky and stubborn and were in it for the long haul. Which made pretending to be happy with the same routine day in, day out, all the more harder.

The bell sounded at the door as the two women left the shop. Sara walked over to the suitcases, the dustpan still in her hand.

She got the sense that these suitcases didn’t much like being piled upon each other, with nothing to do but wait for dust to settle on them and absent-minded comments to float over them. In fact she had the feeling they were rather impatient, as though they were gritting their teeth and merely biding their time until another opportunity came along.

Sara had mentioned the idea of travelling to her boyfriend several times before. And while he hadn’t exactly been against the idea, he was just…indifferent. There were always more pressing matters to focus on. Which meant that the travel subject always landed in the Maybe pile. Maybe after the car is paid off. Maybe once I get that promotion.

Maybe, maybe.

Sara exhaled. She was getting fed up of Maybes. If something didn’t change now, when would it?

“We’re going to Amices for coffee.”

Sara spun around. Her coworker Annie stood at the door. “You coming? Earth to Sara….”

“What? Um…”

“Is everything okay?” Annie said.

“Oh, yes. Yes, of course!”

“So…do you want me to get you something?” Annie’s voice trailed off as a frown filled her forehead.

“No. I’ve got somewhere else I need to be.”

“Oh.”

Slowly, a smile began to spread on Sara’s face.

“Ohh,” Annie said. “A hot date, eh?”

“Nope. Better than that!”

“Really?! Well, do tell.”

Sara walked over to the bin and emptied the dustpan’s contents. “I’m off to the travel agency.” She grabbed her handbag. “I’ve got a trip to organise.”

 

 

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Why I’ve Been Going to Bed Too Late

I’m a bookworm from way back but I have to say I have a love hate relationship with books.

You see, I love to read a good book – who doesn’t?! But the trouble is when it comes to a good book, I have zero self-control.

One more page becomes one more chapter which becomes….well, you get the picture.

So before starting his night shift for work the other night, my husband – who doesn’t exactly share my same compulsion for books, but rather looks on with a sort of semi-amused bafflement at my bookish habits – said to me:

So I guess you’ll be staying up to midnight again reading that book?

Me (shaking head emphatically): Nope. No way. I’ve got to get in a good night’s sleep before work tomorrow.

Him (raised eyebrow): Uh huh.

The following morning. 

Him: So, did you get to bed early last night?

Me (pretending to look enamoured at porridge I’m stirring): Um, well….

Him: Midnight again?

Me: Ah…more or less.

So here’s that book I devoured:

 

 

Philippa Gregory’s tale of the relatively untold story of Elizabeth Woodville, the grandmother of Henry VIII, is rather incredible to say the least.

All the ingredients for a good story – drama, intrigue, romance, betrayal, mystery – are there in the bucket loads. As well as the leadership squables between  King Edward IV and his two brothers.

One moment Edward and his brother George are best friends. The next moment George is trying to kill Edward. And then George murders his sister-in-law’s father and brother. And then Edward and George are friends again. But not for long…

Reading The White Queen brings a whole new dimension to sibling rivalry.

But frankly, as an Australian, I found this aspect of the story rather refreshing. It made the recent leadership sagas in government here appear almost trivial in comparison.

There’s nothing like a bit of historical fiction to give you some perspective in modern day life.

And then upon finishing reading this, I discovered Gregory’s next book in the series, The White Princesshad just been released.

Which I’m trying very hard to put off buying because, well you know, I have work and responsibilities and things. I can’t just drop everything for the sake of a book. Right?

Right??

Hmmm.

Well, I’m just going to have myself a little browse on Amazon for a certain book…but just a browse!

What’s the last book that you read that you couldn’t put down?

 

 

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A Moment More

Clock for the railway at Whipsnade Zoo by Martin Pettitt

 

Aren’t weekends wonderful?

I’ve  just had the most beautiful weekend. For me, I would put it in the ideal weekend category. I got to relax and spend time with my husband, family and friends. And one of the best parts? I got to write.

But as wonderful as weekends like this are, I really struggle with accepting the weekend’s close drawing near. And so it was this idea that has inspired me to write this short story, just for you!

I hope you enjoy it. :)

 

A Moment More

Time is a funny thing. Not funny as in ha ha, but funny as in ironic. And at times, nasty.

This is what crosses through Ella’s mind as she awakens to the feel of sunlight showering its warmth over her and Justin, her newlywed husband, on a Sunday afternoon.  She squints an eye open and shifts her head slightly – only slightly, so as not to awaken him – to escape a piercing ray from blinding her.

There. Ella breathes deeply, feeling her muscles relax even more into the mattress and watches Justin. She loves watching him sleep. In his slumber, he takes on a transparency that barely exists in his waking hours.  In fact, in everyday life, she still struggles to read him, to move beyond his long perfected skill of hiding his emotions. But here, asleep, she feels she could almost guess his dreams.

She steals a glance at the bedside clock and then looks away at once, as though the clock is made of some poisonous substance. If only he didn’t have to leave so soon. If only they could each find a job in the same town. If only. If only.

‘Life is not built on ‘if only’s’,’ her grandfather would say.

Ella sighs and lays her head back on the pillow. Thankfully there doesn’t seem to be much movement beyond the bedroom walls. No doubt her parents are still having their siesta and her grandparents would definitely still be having their siesta. Most likely everyone over the age of twelve are reveling in the chance to sleep off the monumental Sunday lunch. Even the sounds of children playing outside are muted by the hazy afternoon.

For now, the weekly ritual of sharing food and tales has given way to gentle snores and tired murmurs. The chaos of children running to and fro, of getting into trouble by women laden with bowls of food while scuttling in and out of the kitchen, while men talk and drink, seemingly oblivious to the happenings around them – all this now seems like a distant dream.

Just like the quiet bliss of lying together in this sunlit cocooned room will soon seem like a dream when she and Justin steal another last kiss before he boards the train, amidst the announcements of arrivals and departures blaring through loudspeakers, while countless other workers, students and relatives hustle across the platform.

Ella edges closer to him, determined to imprint this moment firmly in her mind. Something for her to draw upon during the week, like insurance, for a moment which will require it; a difficult customer or demanding boss or the treachery of an alarm clock’s early morning wake-up call.

She turns her head slowly so to the bedside clock. The red numbers glare back at her, the time an unwelcome intrusion, like unexpected guests who arrive at the messiest and most chaotic of times.

Because unexpected guests never arrive when life is presentable; when tablecloths are freshly cleaned and drape the table showcasing a beautiful vase of flowers. No, they arrive when tablecloth ends droop haphazardly in every direction, when crumbs mingle with wilted petals fallen from their place of glory.

And just like now, as Ella relishes Justin’s slumbered, warm breaths floating over her shoulder, his skin beneath her fingers which she feathers across his chest, the unforgiving numbers continue moving ahead like a speeding train.

This is how time moves in the most precious of moments. Ella knows this well. Just as she also knows that when faced with a dreary workday, of endless routine chores and errands, time will move at a slumberous pace.

Because that is how time works.

 

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How Far is Too Far?

iphone 4s by Gonzalo Baeza

 

One of the things I’ve been reminded of late is how easy it is to find out about something at virtually any time. Thanks to technology, a massive amount of information is available at our fingertips.

Not sure if it’ll be warm enough for that short sleeved top you’ve been dying to wear? Just check your weather app.

Trying to fix a tractor?

What?

Just last week my father-in-law needed to know what part to use to fix his tractor.

Or something like that. I wasn’t exactly paying that much attention to the technical sides of the story when my husband Shawn retold it to me. But what stuck out to me was this:

“Just google in on your phone,” Shawn had said to his Dad.

“You mean I can do that?”

“Sure you can!”

But sometimes the wonders of the Internet aren’t enough to yield for us the answers we seek. And we have to go beyond Google for our desired results and roll up our sleeves.

And at times it can get messy. And confusing. As though you’re stumbling through a forest on a pitch black night and your flashlight’s battery is dead.

In my novel I’m writing, my main character, Isabelle, has questions of her own and lots of them.

And her search brings her to the decision to learn Latin.

“Latin?” you say. And I know what you’re probably thinking.

Why?

But here’s the thing – my character is living in the Medieval period and questions are beginning to churn inside her about what she – and basically everyone she knows – is being told by the church.

So her first plan of action is to somehow find out what is actually in the bible, since it’s the bible that the Roman Catholic church is apparently basing their faith upon. I say ‘somehow’ because during the medieval period it was illegal for anyone who wasn’t in the clergy to read the bible. But that’s another dilemma for another day.

One obstacle at a time, I say.

For now, the biggest obstacles in Isabelle’s eyes is being able to read the bible. And it’s in Latin. And this presents a further obstacle.

Generally in medieval England, the only people – other than those in the church – who learnt Latin were noblemen.

And Isabelle is a woman.

Obviously.

But my Isabelle is a tenacious one and she doesn’t give up easily (I could really learn a lot from her…).

And so she searches for a way to learn Latin. And after she has gotten the Latin language under her belt (which I’m sure you’ll agree, learning any foreign language is never a walk in the park), she plans on reading the bible.

That is if she manages to find a way to read the bible without being sent to prison.

Life’s never meant to be simple, right?!

Have you ever been in a situation where you had to search long and hard to find the answers you were looking for? What did you find?

 

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That Special ‘Go To’ Book

 

I’ve been having a bit of a Siri Mitchell fix lately.

Siri Mitchell is one of my favourite authors and I know that when I pick up one of her novels, much-needed housework will remain unattended. My to-do list won’t be tackled. And some serious sleep deprivation will ensue.

But it’s always worth it!

My two latest Mitchell reads have been Unrivaled and A Heart Most Worthy - great books! But reading these caused me to ponder on the first book by Mitchell I ever read, Kissing Adrien.

Set in Paris, the story is centred around an American no nonsense, professional woman named Claire and a charismatic, flirtatious and very French Adrien. This is one of those stories that I keep going back to, time and again, because it is just so fun to read.

But the story isn’t all beer and skittles. Mitchell cleverly tackles a few controversial topics pertaining to politics, faith and cultural differences.

And relationships.

Such as when, to Claire’s horror, she discovers her great aunt was a mistress to a wealthy French man.  Which, unlike Claire, Adrien doesn’t seem to find shocking at all.

Mitchell apparently wrote Kissing Adrien in response to a publisher asking her to turn her non-fiction manuscript – which looked at Christianity versus culture – into a novel.

As much as I love Kissing Adrien,  I would’ve loved to have read her non-fiction version also! Why couldn’t the publisher have just agreed to print the non-fiction manuscript as well as persuading Mitchell to write Kissing Adrien?!

I mean, really!

Have you read Kissing Adrien? If so, did you enjoy the story?

Or do you have a favourite book that you come back to time and time again?

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