Monthly Update – The month in which nothing happened

April flew by… or maybe it didn’t. I’m not entirely sure. It was a month, and that’s about the only true fact I can provide at this very moment in time. What happened in April? I have no idea.

To find out, I looked through the less-than-30 photos I took (half of which were of random things I wanted to show friends and thus provided no context for the events of this month). I also checked my day planner. Here’s what I’ve managed to suss out:

I worked. That’s a given. Did I work hard? Probably… ?

I read books. Specifically, the Dustlands Trilogy by Moira Young… who I JUST learned is a Canadian author… which is great because I love supporting Canadian authors.

The Dustlands trilogy is a well-written post-apocalyptic series that is pretty much on par with The Hunger Games when it comes to character development and plot movement. Aside from one character that irritated me (a brother of the main character who is The. Worst.), I loved all the characters and the story. 10/10 would recommend.

I video chatted. Easter was in April. Did anyone else forget that happened? I guess it just doesn’t have the same impact, memory-wise, when you’re all stuck in your respective homes trying to chat through a screen. Also chatted with some friends, so that was nice.

I puzzled. My jigsaw puzzle app got a lot of use this month. I may or may not be getting bored of puzzles. *gasp*

I worked on my novel. Yes, you read that right. I actually did some work on my novel. Exciting! My goal is to have all the planning and plotting done by Friday so I can spend the next two months writing the first draft. Will this happen? Who knows.

I watched The Walking Dead. A lot. To the point where I saw zombies every time I closed my eyes. Watching this show wasn’t my idea – it was my husband’s. We’ve just completed all of the episodes that are up on Netflix, and I think we started season 1 at the beginning of April… Only reason I didn’t insist we put something else on is that there really wasn’t anything else I wanted to watch. Hopefully that’ll change in May.

For the most part, it was a stuck-at-home-slowly-getting-more-bored kind of month. I’m glad it’s over. May looks like it’ll be brighter and better, and I really hope it will be.

I’m looking forward to going for a walk. And that’s coming from someone who hates pointless no-destination walks.

Short Story Time!

Last year, I wrote some short stories and submitted a few to competitions / contests. I didn’t win any of the competitions. In fact, I just found out the results of the last content I entered and I was not on the short list. Bummed me out 100% but hey, c’est la vie and all that. So, in honour of my bummed-out-ness, I decided to share that last short story with you!

This was a flash fiction contest (so 500 words or less). I took a longer short story (I think the original, first draft I wrote was closer to 5000 words) and cut it down. Then cut it down some more. To make this…. Enjoy!

My Favourite Painting

My favourite painting is “Nāve”. It shows three figures in a clearing: a woman, whose face asks “why” and screams “please, no” in the quiet way of a mother grieving; a pale-faced child with indistinct, unformed features; and a white-robed figure bent over them both, their sickle pointing to the ground. It poses no threat.

Not now, anyway; the moment of agony has passed.

A soft ding pulls me back to the present. Elevator doors slide open and a young man steps off. Greasy blond hair falls limp over his forehead. Puffy red skin rings his deep blue eyes. A five o’clock shadow crawls over his jawline. Creases line his shirt.

He passes through the room in a daze.

The hospital waiting room is familiar, in that universal way of hospitals. Disinfectant, masked by whichever aromatic scent the hospital chooses, tickles the nose. The oddly-weak-but-bright lighting compels a whisper at all times. Hushed conversation drifts through the halls. People move through the space, absorbed in their lives. I stay against the wall, out of the way.

Noise erupts down the hall. Worried shouting, a woman crying out.

Ah, I think, right on time.

People in scrubs, a small stretcher between them, dash down the hall. The man follows, running, a desperate look on his face. He comes to a stop outside the waiting room. He stands, bereft. Lost. Eyes fixed on the group disappearing into the operating rooms. A woman’s cries follow his gaze.

I have an appointment to keep.

It’s easy to slip past him… to slip through the swinging operating room doors. It’s easy to be overlooked in a corner, watching doctors and nurses attempt a miracle.

“I know you.” I look down at the girl by my side. Curled blonde hair frames soft features. Deep blue eyes hold mine, curious and calm.

“Do you?” I ask.

“Yes,” she replies. “We met last time.”

“When was that?”

“I was old then,” she turns to the center of the room where the nurses and doctors still work. Sadness creeps into her eyes. “I guess I wasn’t so lucky this time ‘round.”

“I’m sorry.” I think of the blonde man and the wailing woman, waiting, hoping for good news. For a miracle.

The child shrugs.

It’s over then. A nurse collapses against the wall, mouth wide, sinking to the floor as her legs give out. Others lean on each other, giving comfort where they couldn’t give life. Their grief fills the silence.

I step towards the child’s still, quiet earthly form.

There is no mother here, no forest clearing. Just me, in my white robe with my harmless sickle.

I bend over the child’s still form and kiss her forehead. A small hand slides into my empty one and squeezes.

“Thank you,” she says. I smile back, benediction given.

“Nāve” is my favourite… because it is a painting of me.

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