Monday, June 7, 2010

magpie tales: silent scream

he found her on the porch, scribbling furiously into a notebook. over her shoulder he watched as she would draw a date and then, as if suddenly discontent, scrawl thick black lines through it.

bewildered, he asked, "what are you doing?"

clapping the book closed, her face shot pale, though he wondered if it was fright or guilt that stole her color. with a few quick breathes, she regained her composure.

"oh, nothing."

this, of course, was the moment he had to make a decision. if he pressed further, she would tell him, she always did, not one to keep her mind or he could leave well enough alone and leave her to whatever she had found to stick her nose into this time.

briefly, the old twinkle played in her eyes, when he smiled and said, "no, really. i want to know."

"well, if you must know, i was trying to determine the last time that we made love."

a twitch started in his left cheek, contorting his face, though all that he could push from his throat was "what?"

"making love.", she nearly whispered, as she could see it was not confusion but something much deeper that twisted in his stomach, threatening to erupt.

"just last week...", he started.

"no, richard. I am not talking about you weekly grunt and sigh before you serenade me with snores over your shoulder..."

crimson became purple, in his cheeks, as he stammered, huffing and whistling, before turning back into the house, retracing his original path.

"where are you going?", she called to his retreating back.

"if you must know," mocking her now, " i am going back to watch the game again, because i can sure as hell can understand that."

letting out a soft breath, her eyes wander around the porch, flitting across the array of flowers that had recently come into bloom. their beauty was a rich reward for the time and diligence she showed in their care.

finally her gaze, settled on the statue that sits in the corner. she had bought it at an estate sale, thrilled at the look of awe and wonder on the face of the girl. things are not always as they seem, and today the bust looked more like a silent scream, captured for all eternity, tight in the cold stone.

finding her place in her journal, she began once more to work her way back through the days, pausing briefly at their wedding date, before scratching through that as well, but that one, just that one, she thought, was done out of spite.

This is a Magpie Tale.

112 comments:

TechnoBabe said...

That truly sucks. You wrote that so well, I could see the prickly dude feeling threatened and not liking where that was heading at all. There are probably lots of couples like that, how sad for them. I so like the emphasis on making love. Right on.

Paul C said...

Yes, there is the element of the stone angel. Someone worth a whole lot more love.

Daniel said...

The continuous scream that went unheard. Unfortunately, I know something about this.

Lorenzo — Alchemist's Pillow said...

Good stuff, Brian, but don't leave us hanging in suspense and tell us -- how did the game turn out?

Sorry for the facetiousness, but this one cuts too close to home with most guys...

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

I am left speechless. How do you keep surpassing yourself?!!!

Gillian said...

thats a sad one.

sheri... said...

...ouch, complete with grimace and obvious pain! i know this woman all to well...but what i am totally curious about is how you have pegged this one perfectly?? it has to be all the years of listening intently...
brian, your magpie is brilliantly written and i am going to guess that you will be endeared, even more than ever before, because you have captured this dilemna and its pain, and you dared to write about it..

Birdie said...

Brian! and here you come with your magpie tale ... you are a master of it! beautiful reading, thanks :-)

Mr. Stupid said...

Wow. Your Magpie is brilliantly written. Loved it. Troubled thoughts could be seen in both of them.

Vicki Lane said...

Love that last sentence!(And Lorenzo's comment.)

järnebrand said...

Brian, this is so good. You do this so well, the way you describe the people, like you are able to see inside their heads. Thank you so much for sharing. Well done.
Hugs/ Jo.

jinksy said...

Definitely written from a woman's viewpoint - clever of you.

natalee said...

holy crap...i felt bad for the guy...i felt that the stone statue was representational of her heart..whew a woman scorned

Nessa said...

Men and women sure are different sometimes.

AmyLK said...

There are probably so many people in the world like this couple. I used to be one. But never again! Very good story Brian!

Sam!! said...

Nice piece of reading..great job!!

Take care

Bossy Betty said...

Very moving! Great writing!

TALON said...

Oh oh...this is a relationship where the romance is definitely on life support.

Brian Miller said...

the conundrum for me in this is who do you feel sorry for...the woman that is a flower herself no longer tended, or the man whose neglect comes at a reason...or perhaps both for having lost their way...

Ocean Girl said...

Haunting. I feel scared looking at the statue. Can someone help her?

steviewren said...

Love the ending...too many things in a marriage are done out of spite when things are going badly. You captured this magpie right on.

Helen said...

A sad commentary on marriage ~ written very well and a must read for couples .... could even be used in couples therapy!

spacedlaw said...

Such a sad state of affairs.

Shari Sunday said...

Good job. I know that thing where you want him to ask what is wrong and he doesn't want to go there. I remember being in that place. You really write well about relationships.

brenda said...

Brian, I love the double meaning of silent scream....that title had me forget about the magpie bust until the pic came up. I kept expecting a termination. This piece is extremely engaging.

Exquisite Magpie!

Mama Wheaton said...

It's a shame it took her so long to say anything.

Magpie said...

You are able to do what all good writing should do...make people feel compassion and understanding for both sides of a situation. Excellent, Brian.

Mrsupole said...

Ah yes, well making love is special while just sex is well, just sex. And the man who can figure out the difference is a man who has a happy, satisfied wife. Most couples have both but the man who knows and learns the art of making love is a much sought after man. Really men should talk with each other about this.

Great story about it, it should make a man think.

God bless.

soundoffreedom said...

Just very thankful after reading this that my love understands well that it's never about the physical act but the intimacy I desire..we wasted a lot of years when neither one of us knew that! I actually feel for the guy.

Annie said...

Oh, ouch!!!

kathew said...

Brian- you captured that moment when couples realize neither one has been there for the other- the moment when they have arrived at a fateful fork in the road- you can either talk or walk away. Great Magpie !

suzicate said...

Your creative talent never cease to amaze me...again, superb!!!!

Mama Zen said...

Outstanding! And, that is a silent scream if I've ever seen one.

00dozo said...

Wow! I've been on the other end of that in one relationship so I can appreciate the huband's feelings. Great Magpie!

Monkey Man said...

Poor thing. A scene repeated across the globe.

The Crusty Crone said...

Aren't you clever! Another enjoyable read.

LadyFi said...

Wow - powerful and probably true for some. Great emotional piece!

Heartspell said...

So sad when we allow life to take over and fail to reach out with love for each other. Well said. Heartspell

signedbkm.com said...

great take on this Brian, and unfortunately very true in many relationships....hope they work it out in the future....I always like happy endings......enjoyed bkm

Eva Gallant said...

You leave me spellbound! Such an ability to capture feelings and portray them so rawly! (is that even a word?)
You are a master!

Luisa Doraz said...

SCREAM....I can relate. I love the way you got my attention on this one. Brilliant. :)

JRM said...

The silent scream... I thought so as well! Your story really says something...

C Hummel Kornell a/k/a C Hummel Wilson said...

Well done! You captured not only the man's inability to deal with emotions but also the woman's emotional search for true love (definitely not sex). Enjoyed your story and come away with a sadness for what they might have had if only a communication could be established between them.

drybottomgirl said...

You touch on a "touchy" subject, one that is often neglected due to lack of communication or willingness to communicate. After almost 17 years of marriage I know something about this. However once I let go of the fact that I expected love making to be like those first few earth shattering times, and accepted that it changes and grows, and becomes something deeper if you let it, things began to get better. I feel sorry for both, this is a vulnerable subject, and both sides have a valid arguement, perhaps if they both set aside their personal agendas and just let it happen, some new fireworks may appear....

Megan said...

Whew.

Caroline said...

this is such a reality. It is amazing how you captured this situation and gave it a voice.

kkrige said...

Oh, ouch.
Mama never said there'd be times like these...
damn.
I truly hope that this is just a work of fiction. Sex is necessary, but intimacy is a whole different ballgame. It looks like your friends tied with no winners in sight.

william said...

there is no doubt about it, u are very talented :)

Baino said...

Good point, I feel for both. There must be a reason why their communication has broken down to such a level that a) he doesn't even realise her issues and b) she has to write them down rather than discuss it with him. Not a relationship I'm familiar with thank goodness.

Little Ms Blogger said...

Unfortunately, for too many, this is a common story. If couples only heard that the party was expressing their need, not assuming every word is a personal attack many marriages would still be around.

Ronda Laveen said...

Both for having lost their way. But a way lost can be a way found. The way you wrote this, they each got the point.

willow said...

What a pitiful tale. And all too real for many, I'm afraid.

Sam Liu said...

I am in awe. Your writing...it has this beautiful aspect: in only a few words, I can see the images you are painting, I can feel the character's emotions, hear them speak every word - and honestly believe that they are theirs and theirs alone. This is a wonderful Magpie Tale, you are a great, great writer, Brian.

Vodka Logic said...

So well written and so often true...

Bernie said...

Ah men, nothing changes, to them every woman should be satisfied with what they get and when they get it.....LOL I am sure there are women the same and both have felt uncomfortable at times about this very subject.....like how you have addressed it......:-) Hug

Patience said...

well that was super sad! You did a great job though, playing the two characters against each other. Just a question...why did they get married?! Great writing, I always love reading your magpies.

Menina said...

hmmm... i remember feeling like this. 'a cracked smile and a silent shout'

The Retired One said...

How tragically sad, Brian...
but for you to look at a statue's face and with your imagination capture the agony of the woman in the tale and the truth of which it speaks for some, is truly amazing, especially since you are a man.....!
So many (too many) of my girlfriends have confessed the same pain to me about their lovers or husbands....and you nailed it in this short piece that you wrote. You never fail to amaze me with the depth of your insight or talent.

Mighty M said...

You are a great writer Brian.

That is all. :)

rel said...

Briaan,
I've been at this game for a long time and I'm at a loss much of the time as to how they think, but you got it right, if only just this once. ;)
Well done my friend a delightful magpie.
rel

Queenmothermamaw said...

You oughta be in books. I am singing that to the tune of "You oughta be in pictures." Very professional writing I would say. Not a writer myself but sure love to try. This was amazing. Great job.
QMM

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Wow, and written from a male perspective - you capture the male and female both so well.

Katherine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Katherine said...

There is much more behind a story like this. Learning to communicate ones needs (not in the heat of the moment) is crucial in any relationship.
To know what one another needs in both in body & soul is so, so integral in making it all work because of course the 2 are intrinsically linked.
Making Love is like art...it is an expression of ones feelings for the other. It is not an ACT as is described in your magpie!
I feel for both of the people in this story ... for her & for him! They are both participants in this conundrum ... and the answer is COMMUNICATION!

Katherine said...

Sorry Brian I got lost in my reaction to what you wrote...Great Magpie!!

Alexis said...

Ouch. This was clever and I like it!

Jen said...

I don't know who I feel sorry for. I just know I'm happy not to be her any more.

Emmanuel Ibok said...

Hi Brian,
I am so grateful for the friendship and love I have come to find from you and others in this community. I really do appreciate. I am very much better now and trying to add up all the lost weight. Thank you very much...Cheers!!!

Jaime said...

boy, that sucks... poor woman.

Lyn said...

Why..why do the likes of these stay together?He'll always have his"game", and she can go on scratching out her words(life) forever.
You really captured a silent scream..well done.

Betsy said...

perfectly written...again! :)

gayle said...

How do you know these things!!! You captured a lot of womens feeling perfectly!!!

Ed Pilolla said...

tough situation for that couple. nice job.

Ms. Gibson said...

omg.
eeek!
ish...
That hurt.
I think we can all find something here to relate. And that's a sad fact of life.
*applause*

Velvet Over Steel said...

That was so good & original! I've never read that subject, in that way before. Wow! ~ Coreen

Suz said...

I think the use of the word "scribbling" is very telling about how he feels toward her
I had to reread it to make sure it wasn't a lttle girl he was referring to
just a comment
interesting and unusual take on this prompt

Alice Audrey said...

Makes you wonder what else has gone wrong in the relationship, because it's never just the sex.

Tumblewords: said...

Superb writing. The characters are so ordinary and yet so extraordinary. The conversation is open and yet not. Wonderful read.

~ Tabitha ~ said...

This was excellent Brian !!

The Empress said...

I especially enjoyed how the truth cut to his soul.

Yes, he was embarrassed b/c she was right.

I love the unguarded moment and how it knocked him speechless.

Excellent
Pulled me in from the beginning.

I can tell how much you love to write.

Alan Burnett said...

I gave a lot of thought about how I could approach this Magpie before ducking the challenge. You have found a unique and an enthralling approach. Congratulations

Zuzana said...

Yo again eloquently brought to light the reality many out there recognize. And only sensitive you can retell it with such an ease...
xo

ethelmaepotter! said...

I am completely blown away by the depth of emotion in this sad tale.

Like others, I know all too well how the woman feels, and wonder how you, a man, convey those feelings so perfectly.

In just a few short paragraphs, we have come to know this couple intimately, for you have woven a story with background details - she found the statue at an estate sale; he was adept at playing her game and she was equally adept at hiding; and she was fully capable of, and desperate for love, as shown in the flowers she had planted with care, but could find no love in their sexual relationship.

OMG, she even had to scratch out their WEDDING NIGHT.

Silent scream indeed. And the saddest part is that he will give it a bit of thought, "make love" to her, and then go right back to the old ways - he may not be totally fulfilled, but he will be satisfied. While she will go on screaming, unnoticed.

Lorraine said...

Poor man, so hasn't learned yet all he has to do is Love...dirty word ;)
Love this Brian!

blueviolet said...

I suspect there are more than a few couples in that situation. Sad.

Words A Day said...

"serenade me with snores over your shoulder" - thats just brilliant. And the scream - captured tight in the cold stone. Also great tension through out. Enjoyed reading this piece. I loved your interpretation.

Just Be Real said...

Oh no! Oooo la la. Great writing Brian.

Eternally Distracted said...

Proof that sometimes it's better to just not ask ;0)

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

The depths of your creative mind know no bounds!

I'm with TechnoBabe - I like the emphasis on making love. :)

Shadow said...

oh my... silent scream indeed.

Sarah Knight said...

Excellent dichotomy of human relationships in an exchange.

Creativity!! said...

Excellent Write Up!! Thanks A Lot for your kind visit.

Bachelor said...

and sometimes the silent scream is not even portraid on one's face...so true to life!
:) The Bach

Mitr Friend - Bhushavali said...

Uh oh!!!

My Best Friend's Engagement
My Outfit at My Best Friend's Engagement

Jessie said...

so much is not said here, unless you look for it. only the brave will take that path...

well written, like life itself.

Lena said...

Been there, had that..... but a beautifully written piece on one of life's true happenings.

ps.....will you have time to reply to all these comments...???

chiccoreal said...

Dear Brian: Very indepth observations of a marriage through a prosaic approach. The emotional interaction shows strain; maybe from their lack of intimacy. However; the fact the woman had chose to "x" out their wedding day in her journal is disconcerting. Maybe the marriage counsellor could save this marriage. Maybe it is just a case of low "t". That'd be much easier to resolve than more complicated indepth issues. Great take on the prompt; the lac of intimacy sounds like a causal of much more serious issues. Professional work ~ Excellent!

Tammy said...

All I can say is ... wow!

Maureen Newman said...

And may I add, it is very hard communicating with a stone, even if it breathes.

Maureen's Scribblings

Uma said...

I love your take on this prompt, Brian.

Selma said...

Ouch and double ouch. You have highlighted how tough it is to broach certain issues. I know many people who would rather walk away than deal with them. A very true-to-life tale.

secret agent woman said...

"this, of course, was the moment he had to make a decision. if he pressed further, she would tell him, she always did, not one to keep her mind or he could leave well enough alone and leave her to whatever she had found to stick her nose into this time."

There's a big load of condescension there and it helps explain her sadness.

Syd said...

Rote sex isn't really sex or love or anything but a hormonal drive. Most of us need an overhauling in that area.

island of peace said...

very interesting story. some screams go unheard.

Goofball said...

I'd blame her for not speaking about her frustrations sooner...for not taking steps to a solution

Jingle said...

ttp://jingleyanqiu.wordpress.com/2010/06/04/thursday-poets-rally-week-21-the-perfect-poet-award/

week 21 the perfect poet award reminder,
also,
we require a minimum visits to 18 poets to be done for Rally from week 22 to week 42.
Thank you in advance!
;)

Jingle said...

In reality, many couples end up like this...there is differences between love making and intimacy, some are routine...It is difficult to carry a passionate heart after many years of marriage.

I assume that you are an exception...
Hot topic,
Stunning writing skills!

C.M. Jackson said...

once again your writing works its way into the heart and soul and makes the reader think and feel --great magpie

Pat said...

So, so sad....and so realistic. Wow!

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Very perceptive......

@ said...

niceeeeee

Marla said...

Oh, how sad.....