Hang In There.

This is my entry into the 2017 Flash Fiction contest.  My Genre was suspense, the location had to be a balcony and at some point in the story a spotlight needed to appear.


Hang In There

I look between my feet and see her standing below me.  I stay still as she calls to me, using a spotlight to look around the darkened yard. I keep quiet.  I love her and I want to be with her, but I’m annoyed, and reluctant to give away my location right now. The balcony provides just the right amount of cover and of course she doesn’t expect me to be up here.  I don’t know why I feel like I need to be away from her, but I do.  She treats me horribly – ignoring me for the most part, then lavishing attention on me when she feels needy. I have some pride.

I crouch lower as she starts to look around a little more earnestly. ‘Gina!’ she calls, her voice a little exasperated.  I shift my weight and the small Juliette balcony groans – but she doesn’t hear.  She turns the spotlight off and jams her left fist into her hip, arm akimbo.       

‘She’s got her Bitch-wings on’ I think to myself with a sigh.

‘Fine!’ she says in a loud voice ‘you’re being an idiot.  Stay out here all night then!’  She turns and marches back into the house, closing the patio door with a decisive click. I hear the lock slide into place.

I stand up again.  I got here by shimmying up the tree that stands just beside the door and I’m not really sure I want to get down the same way.  I look behind me – the window that looks out onto this balcony from our bedroom is locked so there’s no way I can get in there.  I look back at the tree.  Seriously? What was I thinking?  Well, I wasn’t thinking.

I was so upset with her – we had company and she tried introducing me but I am not something to be trotted out for everyone’s entertainment. It’s humiliating. I’ve never been an equal in this relationship and that is a hard thing for me to look at:  I’ve always been fiercely independent and provided for myself. When we met I was living in reduced circumstances – but I was happy.  Once we spent some time together though, we realized it was love at first sight. I had never felt as connected to another person as I did to her. So yes, it was quick, we moved in together that afternoon – but when it’s right, it’s right.  At least it seemed right.

I look at the tree again and resign myself to the fact that I’m only going to be able to get down from here the same way I got up.  I climb up onto the balcony railing and get my balance, teetering just a moment before I jump for the branch. Before I can properly launch myself,  my foot slips off the railing. I manage to grab one of the spindles just as I fall. The railing acts as a pivot and I crash against the building, slamming into the wall. I look down, heart pounding, breath coming in quick gasps.  I look up at the railing – my grip is firm. For now.  I look down again. No, it is just too far to drop.  I scan the house and see the flicker from the TV screen. She must be watching TV without a care in the world about me.  A pang of annoyance breaks through the rising panic.

I look up again as I feel my grip slide. All the hair stands up on the back of my neck. I try to pull myself up, but I don’t have enough strength and my muscles are stressed to the max.  I try swinging my feet, trying to get my body swinging, hoping that I can get a leg over the part I’m hanging on to.  Nope.  And my grip slides a bit more.  I scream, hoping someone will hear me.  I look frantically at the house again, screaming as loud as I can.  The flicker of the TV mocks me.   

My grip slides even further.  I am almost at the point of no return.  I try to lift myself and give myself enough slack to get a better grip but it just causes me to lose purchase. I’m very close to losing my grip. Now I change my tactic: I try not to kick with my feet as swinging makes it harder to hold on. But frankly, the only thing that has a firm hold is panic.

I scream again, as loud as I can – hoping above hope that she can hear me over the television. I am absolutely regretting climbing up here – it seemed like such a good idea when I was annoyed.

Suddenly I slip and I am no longer holding onto the railing.  I fall twisting and turning, reaching out as far as I can, desperately hoping that something will save me.

I hit the ground hard, all the air leaves my lungs in a giant Whoosh! I look around quickly to see if anyone has witnessed my denouement. No one. Of course I landed on my feet. I sit and give myself a soothing wash and when my nerves are settled I go and call as loudly as I can at the door.  After a second the door opens and there she is, her face wreathed in smiles.

‘Gina you silly cat, where have you been?’  I am scooped up into her soft arms. She nuzzles my neck and I start to purr.  I can’t help it.  I love her.

The adventures of Linda & Chris continue!

To our surprise and delight, we have found a completely secluded, calm anchorage just off the Strait of Canso, the busy shipping channel between the Nova Scotia mainland and Cape Breton Island. After passing through the lock at Port Hastings we dodged big ships and tugboats pushing huge barges for a while before the waterway […]

via Make and mend day — Liveaboard

Would we call this spring?

Shared from my sisters blog. Please follow her and read about their adventures as they cross the sea on their sail boat. 


When does spring arrive in Gaspé anyway? We thought the middle of June was a safe bet, but last night, the temperature dropped to five degrees, and this morning it’s cold and rainy and wind is howling through the rigging.

A week ago we were sitting on the deck of our other boat, Meadowlark, on our farm north of Durham, sipping coffee and watching a pair of bluebirds tending their young. They take turns bringing tasty (I can only assume) bugs and juicy-looking caterpillars to the nesting box. Bluebird TV. We could watch it all day. Shorts. We were wearing shorts. I’m sure of it.

Today we’re wearing jeans and T-shirts and thick fleecies as we huddle by the little woodburning stove on MonArk, which is still on the hard in the boatyard in Gaspé. There are still a couple of critical repairs to make, and we are waiting for our…

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Adventures of the Heart

Yesterday my second oldest sister and her heart twin left for another adventure at sea.

These sailors were the ones who scooped me up in Idaho Falls when my own heart twin died. Linda held me and let me fall apart, tempted me with bits of food and things to drink, helped me decide what to wear when I was unable to even look at the clothes Warren and I had bought on vacation.  Chris took on the practical and necessary as well as comforting a broken sister-in-law: dealing with the funeral home, packing the truck, dealing with the hotel. They both made me walk (‘Walking is life’ I hear Warren say), and listened to me talk, and encouraged me to cry when the grief was still so acute.

Sailors are the best people to have around when things go wrong.  Although they always have a plan – I mean, it would be silly to hop on a boat without planning the food and water and route – they are prepared to change direction at any moment.  I guess that’s what happens when you agree to live a life that is based, literally, on where the wind takes you.

I spent a week or so up at the cabin with Linda and Chris, just hanging out and healing.  Although things are getting… better? I have a finite capacity to be sociable – interacting with people is exhausting right now. Linda has a warm and generous heart and let me just be in silence or chatter on when I needed to. Chris, a quiet man, also has a warm and generous heart. He listens to my endless chatter, always with an interesting perspective and often excellent advice: ‘You have a million tears to shed for Warren,’ Chris told me when we were in Idaho Falls, ‘that’s your job right now. You need to get at it’.  And I did.

I arrived to pick them up yesterday around 11:30 and take them to the hotel in Toronto where they would spend their last night as land lubbers before a ridiculously early flight to Quebec. They were zipping around attending to final details at the house, packing and discussing what needed to be done. They were excited and happy to be on their way to their next adventure together and the love they have for each other was clearly evident. It made me think of when Warren and I were waiting impatiently for him to finish his last job so he could come get me and we could head out on our Epic Road Trip.

A brief grief squall – Then gratitude for the memory.

We got on the road and wended our way through the traffic to Toronto. When I dropped them off at the airport we hugged and they told me to be strong and I’d see them in December. Well, Chris said he hoped he WOULDN’T see me in December but he just says that to hide his warm and generous heart. Also he’s a little bit of an ass. But I love that about him too 🙂  As I headed back to Guelph I had another brief grief squall – these sailors bring all kinds of unpredictable emotional weather when they leave.

And now it’s time for my own adventure.  I’m waiting for the results of two job interviews – I may end up in Alberta again, or I might stay in Ontario. One of the gifts I got from Warren was the gift of travel – I can go anywhere now – and I don’t fear anything anymore. So now where I land is less important than where I can go. I do miss those blue eyes and that hand to hold as I travel though.

I got a text from Linda this morning, saying they made it to Gaspé just fine and soon will be reunited with their beloved MonArk.  If you would like to follow their adventures, Linda also has a blog called liveaboard four seasons on a sailboat.  If you follow that link you can watch as she and Chris sail across the sea again.

It’s amazing where life can take us.