15 Minutes

This was probably one of the hardest prompts I’ve ever had to do. The prompt asked for us to time ourselves for 15 minutes and write down every memory we could think of. The idea was to put ourselves in the shoes of the Hawaiian civilians who thought they only had 15 minutes left before the missile hit. What would we remember from our lives in 15 minutes?

I can honestly say I started out writing like complete sentences, but towards the end as I watched the clock tick down beside me I felt very panicked. There was no way I could get it all out. I literally started to just think of names, those people’s faces flashing in my mind. I couldn’t even place the memories, just that it was that person. I didn’t even realize I was crying while writing most of this until the end. If you have a chance to participate in this, please do. You can find the prompt here at The Beacon.


I had written “I love you” on an orange Easter egg and asked Mak to go find the orange egg in the fridge. There were too many orange ones and it took him forever to find it. It was the first time I’d told him I loved him.
When they finally handed me Dallas after her birth when they’d finally gotten her breathing straight.
I counted her fingers and rubbed her head.
She had a green and white and red knitted Christmas hat and dark hair.
When they laid Dude on my belly after birth and he was purple and quiet.
When he raised his head and looked around in the bath at the hospital.
When I held Tommy after my c-section and I was still shaking so hard I thought I would drop him
When Mak’s dad died and I saw him cry
When the hospice nurse told us my grandfather was dying and my dad cried
When we buried my grandfather and a woman gave me an old picture of his grandparents
When we buried my grandmother
I had to wash in the sink at the state park and my hair was bleached blond and I walked to her funeral
Dallas’ little blue dress that matched her eyes
My first date with Mak we met at Food Lion and got steaks
When I walked down the aisle to Papa Roach’s Not Strong Enough and could hear my dad crying
I danced with Mak at our wedding
I danced with my brother at my wedding and cried
When my brother came home from Afghanistan and I saw him get off the plane
When my dad put me on the school bus and he had a red truck and white shorts
Laying in the grass with Gary late into the morning and talking and smoking cigarettes
My dad making jokes when I was in labor with Dude
When Gary and I got back together and made love in the shower
Mak and I making love on the porch before he left for California
Mak making love to me for the first time after my surgery
When I miscarried at the hospital and Mak couldn’t get up from his chair
Giving birth to the twins
Holding baby girl before we left the hospital
Seeing Gloria in the hospital holding Tommy
Letting Uncle Eddie meet Tommy in the nursing home – he wore a white shirt and was sitting in the common room
Uncle Eddie taking Dallas to church on Sundays
Wrestling with Dude
Dallas and Harley in their Easter dresses
Mak and Dude in the window looking outside
Daddy and I at the flea market when I met a guy off some online site and he was teasing me about him
Meeting a guy named Creed online and thinking I was in love
Riding rollercoasters with Mak until we had headaches
Swimming with Mak when I was pregnant with the twins at the hotel
Walking away from my grandfather at the nursing home for the last time, he had on a white shirt and blue plaid pj pants
Eating peach ice cream with my Poppop and his Yorkie in the car
Sleeping in the bed with Shelby
Letting Dude sleep in our bed when Mak worked nights
Getting my ears pierced with mom – Justin teased her and said she was too old for two holes in her ears
Going dancing with Justin and laughing while he pulled over to pee on the wall of a bank
Hugging my brother when he left for the military
Seeing Matt in the casket
Daddy taking silly pictures with me before graduation
Mommom’s chocolate fudge and potato candy
Playing in my grandparent’s basement
Sitting on my grandmother’s bed late at night and talking
Mommon in her red recliner
The smell of my dad’s hands when he smoked
The way Mak smells when he gets back from a bike ride
The feel of Mak’s long hair
Dallas’ freckles
Tommy’s dimples
Tommy’s dark eyes
Dude’s eyes – just like mine
White Shoulders
Dude’s smile
Dallas’ birthmark
Tommy saying I’m gonna boop it
The day Mak adopted Dallas and Dude
Mak
Showering with Mak
Lying in his arms after sex
Yeah you’re cool and all
Mak
Mak

Left Behind

Gold_Chaika_Pocket_Watch_made_in_the_USSRYou have left behind a small bedroom, engulfed by the bulky hospital bed with its folding mattress and steely grey rails.

You have left behind an old red recliner, and I sit in it and remember that the wooden handle no longer works and the deep creak in its rock sounds like the background music to midnight conversations, whispered in the hushed stillness of a sleeping home.

You have left behind a closet full of blue dresses and a red cape, and I never would have known that your favorite color was pink, until you asked for a dress to be buried in and smiled when the rose colored sheath was unfurled from its bag, petals opening in front of a sunset.

You have left a trunk full of love letters and silk scarves and stories I was never old enough to ask you for, so that now I sit and wonder about the woman in the picture, legs propped up on the steps, her skirt sliding up to show off her slender calves.

I have days of work ahead of me, maneuvering the remnants of life from present to memory, and you have left your scent in the sheets, your powder on the bathroom sink, your gold pocket watch on the dresser, and me.

You have left behind me.


This has been a six sentence story. You can find out more about them and this week’s prompt, here.

The River

I don’t remember the way I loved you,
but it is seared in my mind,
that image of you at the edge of the water,
long strands of river algae curled around your legs
and clung like sticky tentacles on the muscle of your calf
water rolled in languid drops down the swell of your breast
dangled teasingly from the arched tip and fell,
a dramatic end to catch the sun’s glint.
I watched my reflection scatter and break in the droplets on your skin.
I think that’s where the problem was.
I think I saw myself too much in us.

© Laura A. Lord 2015

White Shoulders

tradewithtonyThis morning my children are dressed in their Christmas best.

They are ready for Sunday School and in all the hectic chaos of such mornings, my son asked for cologne.

So, I ran into the room, apologized to the sleeping bear that is the husband and grabbed his cologne, patting it on my fingers and dabbing the smelly stuff on my son’s pale little neck.

My daughter wanted smelly stuff, too.

My mother went and got perfume and it hit me, the second she lifted the cap on the bottle.

Even over the smell of the Polo on my fingers, I could smell the White Shoulders, tears filled my eyes, and for a moment I skipped back.

*This is a piece from my first book, Wake Up a Woman.

White Shoulders

White Shoulders

Have you ever noticed that there are places in this world that at certain times, and this is only every once in a while, time skips? It’s like life is a record player, and in our little record are a few cracks. Oh they are nothing major, and the music still comes through, but at times, just certain times, the needle catches. It pauses there, and the music stops. Then, within seconds, it jumps over the crack and starts anew. Who knows how long those seconds are? I mean, what does time mean to God? An eternity for us is but a blink of the eye to Him.

Of course by this point my grandmother had stopped my explanation of cracks and records skipping. She had one of the sighs, the kind that let me know she was ready to come out of her silence. We were sitting there on that park bench, the kind with the curved metal back, that looks uncomfortable, but you end up melded right into it like you belong with the scrolls and dips and dives. Leaves floated around us in the colors of flaming ash, all reds, oranges and yellows. My Grandmother’s cape was red. Not the red of the leaves, or a sunset over tired skies. No, her cape was the color of a fire engine. As if she should be putting out all those little flames that fell around us, and she could have too. She’d been putting out fires all of my life.

“Now stop this nonsense, and tell me what’s really going on.”

Her voice was one of soft strength, and as she spoke, one small, wrinkled, beautiful hand slipped out from under that cape and grasped mine. I couldn’t just settle for her hand though, and instead I curled myself into her, like I’d done since I was a child. My grandmother was no twig of a woman. She was the kind of woman you hugged and instead of being afraid you might break her, you knew she was the one holding you together. She was comfortable, and as I hugged her the scent of White Shoulders chased away everything else.

It was easier to talk now, so I told her of school and how well it was going. I talked about my professors and how much support they have given me in my writing. I spoke of work and the fun I have with the girls there in our efforts to make everyone fall as much in love with their writer’s voice, as we are. I told her of my children, and how we made gingerbread cookies, even though it wasn’t nearly Christmas yet, simply because the kids wanted to cut out cookie shapes. She laughed at that, and reminded me of her old recipe for cookies, one my mother and I don’t make nearly enough.

“Remember you have to roll them flat. Real flat. You want them really thin. Your mother and you never quite get them thin enough.”

And she was right, we didn’t. My mother and I didn’t come ingrained with that same ever-flowing font of patience that my grandmother had, and is. We’d get that cookie dough as flat as we felt like, even though we could hear her in our mind saying that they weren’t ready yet, and roll them flatter. I started to laugh then, and she laughed along with me, the sound filling the empty silence around us. It rose and fell over us, slowly twinkling out, stuck on the breeze and drifting away.

I sat there on that bench and turned to the empty place beside me. My fingers brushed the dead, brown leaves from the seat. Music played again, sweeping through the trees and shaking everything up at the roots, and the world spun around. I laughed again, loud enough to drown out the music. It was laughter laced with tears, and they fell and darkened the wood where my grandmother had sat.

“I miss you Mommom, so much.”

Perhaps I’ll stay here for a bit. Perhaps I’ll make this my home for a time. What is time anyway? It may only be another breath, another heartbeat, and the needle will catch again, and silence will fill a world scented by White Shoulders.

His Gift

The husband and I have been butting heads all Christmas season it seems. He wants to do more and more and more than I think is even necessary. So when my mother and I discussed whether we were going to do stockings for the adults this year (something the husband and I normally take care of), we figured we’d save some money and not bother with them. It isn’t as if they are full of things we all desperately need, or even that stockings are that important for the adults. It’s just something we normally do, and didn’t think we needed to continue to do.

I told the husband we were going to skip stockings for the adults this year.

And he flipped. Now, when I say “flipped” for the husband’s reactions, it means he gave me Eyebrow of Doom, growled a bit, and informed me that the foot was down and the stockings were happening.

Fine. The stockings are happening.

And then I spoke to a friend, who informed me in the nicest way possible that I was basically being an inconsiderate biatch.

You took a man with none of this. No real family life. No traditions. None of it, and you gave him all of that. You don’t get to take it back.

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It made me stop and think. All these little things we do during the holidays that have become just a thing to me, mean something to him. They mean something, because we took him in. We made him part of our family. We drug him through our little traditions, and now he is defending them. He’s defending them because he’s got the caveman personality. This is his family, his Christmas. He’s the defender on the wall of our little one-story castle.

And here I’ve been, poking holes at it with my dull little javelin.

We didn’t make him part of this.

No. The gift my husband gave me is that he made all this something that was finally whole.