Thank you so very much for acknowledging my sets in this contest! It really means a lot to me as those are two of my favorite poems! I so enjoy your contests and seeing how each person envisions what the words speak. Thanks for having them for us! Congratulations to all the winners! I loved each of your sets! xx
@wildcupcake Thank you for sharing that. I am glad you are now close to your mother, and I know it must be a comfort for her, even if she is not totally aware... I'm sure she knows she is loved, and I hope it helps you cope to know there are others thinking of you
@auntiehelen thank you so much and please excuse my delayed response. No excuses. I’m delighted you like my lil pome! I love thinking up rhymes and I love that you give us a forum to do do. Congrats to all the winners. I loved the poems you chose and enjoyed all your amazing sets too. I’m honored to be among you 🥰🤩
The man walked in. Tina sized him up. She could see his suit said he was worth some money, but it was crumpled and he looked as if he had 5 o'clock shadow two days ago. Perhaps his New Year's Eve started early. He made his way over to the counter and sat down.
''Hello, what can I get you?'' asked Tina.
''Just a cup of coffee.''
''How about a nice slice of pie, we have a special $1.75 a slice. The banana cream is to die for, the apple is really good too.''
''Just a cup of coffee, thank you.'' Justin took his coffee and moved to a booth to escape this chatter box. Her smile seemed forced. 'Maybe she doesn't like this waitress job,' he thought.
A girl came from the back, ''Thank you so much, Tina, for taking my shift tonight. It means a lot to me to celebrate the new year. I owe you one.''
''No problem, Esther, have fun."
Tina kept Justin's mug topped off without any further conversation.
It was 10 P.M. and Zeke, the cafe owner, was getting antsy to close so he had time to see the new year in.
''Go ahead Zeke, you know I'm capable of closing. Happy New Year!''
''Tina," he said in a whisper, "there is one customer left, maybe he's casing the place. I don't want you closing alone.''
''Zeke, if he was going to rob a place I doubt it would be this one. It would take you two or three days' work to pull in for what that suit cost. Please go and have a good time.''
Zeke took his leave. Tina put a fresh pot of coffee on.
As she was cleaning up, Justin saw the sadness in her eyes. At lease someone beside himself was down in the dumps. ''I'm sorry, I'm keeping you aren't I?''
''I'm in no hurry.'' Tina poured two fresh cups of coffee. ''Mind some company?'' she asked. Justin made a gesture with his hand for her to take a seat. ''So, what's a good looking fellow like you doing not out celebrating?''
''Not much to celebrate.'' Tina nodded in agreement. They sat in silence for a while, both lost in their thoughts of misery.
Two and a half weeks before Christmas a fellow delivered an unmarked packet. Justin opened it, Rose was seeking a divorce. It was as if he'd been sucker-punched in his gut.
''Rose I'm coming home. We will discuss this.'' Justin entered their home. "Rose, what is the meaning of this? You just want to toss twelve years of marriage away? What about the kids?''
''Look, Justin, I just don't want to be married any longer. I was a daughter, then a wife, and then a mother. I just want to be me and see where life takes me.''
''Rose, I thought we have had a good life together. Maybe try just a separation for a bit, give you time to think about it. I love you and the children with all my heart.'' Justin's pride kept him from asking if there was anyone else.
''Justin, please be out of the house by New Year's.''
''That's a little more than two weeks, Rose. It's Christmas, what about the kids? Come on!''
''New Year's, Justin''
Justin packed a few things and was headed out the door. ''Daddy, where are you going?''
He lied, "I'm going on a business trip honey."
"But it's Christmas, Daddy!''
''I know." Justin hugged his daughter walked out the door. The tears rolled down his face, 'Damn Rose, how could you do this, worse leaving me to explain and lie to our daughter?'
Tina had been married for seventeen years, divorced six months, then lost Scrappy, her and Joe's mixed terrier. He was fourteen years old and her best friend, the loyalty of a dog can never be matched.
She had wanted children, but found her body could not give her and Joe any. ''Joe, maybe we could try and adopt?"
''No Tina, we can't, you think I'm made of money?"
Tina dropped the conversation, Joe didn't really seem torn to not have a child around. Maybe to keep Tina quiet he suggested they go adopt a pet and so they did. One little bundle of fur, timid with down cast eyes, sat by itself. Tina made her way over to the forgotten puppy, he pepped up with life and happiness. Her father always told her, 'Let the dog choose you.' "Joe over here, isn't he the sweetest little fur ball?''
"I don't know Tina, he looks sickly and scrappy to me.''
''Look, Joe, he needs us, and we need him''.
''All right Tina, I guess.'' On the drive home Tina decided to name him Scrappy. He curled up in her lap and fell asleep. Joe tolerated the dog, but never bonded with him .
One morning before the lunch rush, Tina's friend Dee Dee came in and pulled her to the side. ''Tina, we need to talk.''
''Dee Dee, I really haven't got the time.''
''Tina, this is important, please.''
''All right. Well, go on, DeeDee.''
''You know the saying about not shooting the messenger. I'm sorry, I really am, but when I went to grab my boss' lunch at that diner on Boston Street, Joe was near the back sitting alongside a girl. She was feeding him off a fork. Sorry, I have to get going."
Tina walked over to Zeke. ''Zeke, I need to leave, it's a family matter.''
"All right Tina, I know it must be important for you to ask. If I can help in any way, let me know.''
''Thank you, Zeke.''
Tina made her way to the diner. Joe was there all right. Tina kept her cool, although she was dying inside, then anger, hurt, anger, then back again.
''Hello, Joe, aren't you going to introduce us?'' The girl looked sheepish. Joe stammered, saying he had to get back to work. Tina was calm. "Well now, wasn't this cozy? Typical man, runs off with his tail tucked between his legs." Tina turned her back, then turned back around, "A little piece of advice, Darling, if he would do this to me, he will sure as hell do it to you."
Tina left, but Joe lingered outside to talk to her. ''Tina, she means nothing to me, just having a little fun is all."
''Well, well, you can have all the fun you want. You are out, Joe!''
Tina made her way back to Zeke's. ''Zeke, are those empty cardboard boxes still in the back?''
''Yeah, take all you want.''
Tina opened the door to her and Joe's apartment, then broke down. Scrappy knew something was wrong, he licked the tears off her face, trying to console her. Tina went to the bedroom and ripped clothes from hangers then opened the chest of drawers and tossed more clothes in boxes. Tina shoved the boxes to the outer hallway. The door across the hallway opened, ''Tina, I hope you are not moving."
"No Mrs. Birch, I'm not moving." The boxes were full so Tina threw the rest of Joe's belongings in a pile out in the hallway.
''Tina, I already explained, she means nothing to me.''
"Too bad, Joe. Guess you were hoping she would do your cooking and dirty laundry for you, but I'm sure you can find a replacement.
The sound of fireworks in the distance brought Tina and Justin out of the their thoughts. ''Are you all right, ma'am?" He gestured with a wave of the hand toward the table. A pile of sugar packets littered the table.
Sometimes life gets in the way of happiness. Life is full of up and downs, sadness, loss, sorrow, and regret come in different forms just like happiness, love, and good times.
Tina and Justin sat in silence lost in their own thoughts, but they shared the bond of the human condition.
Thank you @auntiehelen for the first place win and helping share Lauren Smith-Fields light with this community. I have taken a sabbatical but it was nice to return for the moment and find this in my inbox. Continue to encourage others to share their words...their stories. Always love and congratulations to all the winners. xoxo Beautiful poems!
I can't thank you enough for Second Place in the 17th Poetry contest. This poem means so much to me, records such an important part of my life. It is good to know that some of that comes through to others. I read and viewed all the other winners and congratulate them on the wonder of their entries.
@auntiehelen Thank you everyone. I really didn't think I had a chance in h.e. double hockey sticks LOL. I wanted to try out this style of writing that I had just read in a book. It was fun. Congrats everyone.
Thank you so much for the First and Third places awarded me! I am deeply honored and so touched at this recognition of my efforts and reminiscences. I read all the other winning entries and am so delighted and impressed with their beauty and creativity.
@auntiehelen Thank you so much for second place. I'm sorry it took me 11 days to get here and see that I was among the winners. Congratulations to everyone who placed I miss you all and I'm hoping I can get something like normal life back soon Shelley
@kleasterling The arrows appeared when I refreshed the page. But while I was trying to work out what to I tried logging in on Safari and it wouldn't let me sign in. I am signed in on Chrome, but I just leave it signed in so I don't know what would happen if I signed out and tried to get back in !!!
@auntiehelen Thanks for that. I always save this Contest for when I'm feeling the muse, as @acciohermione said. Sometimes, ya have to give that use a good kick in the ass! I'm going to work on something to submit.
@auntiehelen Thrilled to take 4th Place and collect another of your amazing Award Sets! Loving this group and the Story Corner -- which I am way behind on. You are WONDERFU for having this contests and the entries are so impressive and exciting!
@auntiehelen thank you so much darling for my places, and especially for FIRST. Iam beyond thrilled! My writing has been a solace...way more engaging than passively watching tv. Thanks again for being my motivation. And congratulations everyone. I’m loving all your stories