The Iron Writer Weekend Quickie #231

The Iron Writer Weekend Quickie #231

Saturday, May 20, 2017

One Image, One Prompt, One Emotion

200 Words

the Duchenne smile

a nursery rhyme

4 thoughts on “The Iron Writer Weekend Quickie #231

  1. After the storm

    She pulled her jacket closer and backed away from a small wave. The lake was always cold this season, but this year seemed worse than ever. The dock was beyond repair. Half of it was under water, the rest was rotting on its pikes. The deck house would be gone with the next gale, if not sooner.

    He came up behind her. “What do you think?”

    “Maybe we should just sell the place.”

    He shrugged, “It’s your cabin. Whatever you want. It’s going to be a fortune to fix all this.”

    “Maybe we should just take the insurance money and let it go.” She whirled, “We’ve been wanting to go to Fiji. Let’s do it!”

    He eyed her carefully, and snorted, “There’s a word for a facial expression like that: it’s called a Duchenne smile.”

    She shook her head, “All the kings horses and all the kings men.”

    He pulled her close, “It’s not like that. We can rebuild. Sure we can.”

    She swiped her face, “We can never put this place together again.” She kicked some debris where the barbeque pit had been. “It’s over.” She squared her shoulders, “Fiji.”

    A wave hit her foot, but she didn’t notice.

  2. “A sailor went to sea, sea, sea…”
    His smile always brought me back every day, every week. It wasn’t some concocted fake smile of someone trying to please you, it wasn’t a big joking smile to impress you, it was a real ‘Duchenne’ smile, with crow’s feet around his eyes and the corners of his mouth raised in complete and utter pure happiness.
    “…to see what he could see, see, see…”
    And it was for me, I knew it, I always caught a glimpse of his face before reaching him on the broken dock as he looked out into the smooth clear surface of the water before him. Contemplation, his face.
    “…but all that he could see, see, see…”
    But with me, he looked happy, so happy, the happy you just want to hold, to grab onto and never let go, the happy that reminds you of a warm summer afternoon and a wild blazing wind rushing through your hair.
    “…was the bottom of the deep blue sea, sea, sea…”
    So every day I came, to sing the nursery rhyme he chose, clap with him in his time and watch his face, watch his smile fill my heart with love.

  3. 231 wq

    Drowning without water…

    Her life was falling apart and everyone around her was oblivious. Her sunken eyes, loss of weight, the constant mood swings – all discreet calls for help. But no one heard them. No one saw them. Her genuine duchene smile was replaced with a fake one – her eyes didn’t smile with he anymore. But no one noticed.
    Everyday became a new torment as she forced herself to the monotonous duties of the day. The pleasures of living no longer brought her joy. Usually lighting up to decadent desserts and flavourful fast-foods, her appetite had vanished, joining her will to live. She felt trapped in this nursery rhyme called life.
    Her family drifted away without trying to help. They just saw a fussy, naggy, compulsive lady.
    “You’ve changed for the worse, get your act together.”
    Nobody cared to find out the cause of her behaviour. As she sank deeper into the blackness that sapped the light from her existence, there was not a single soul that reached out to support her. Everybody was fighting their own battles, busy with their own lives, perhaps sinking into their own abyss.
    Standing on the broken bridge that led to this point of her life, she realised that she caused more harm to her loved ones than intended – maybe it was time to leave it all behind.

  4. Going home

    Anxiously, I pressed through the wood toward the lake. The old path had overgrown since I was a kid, and was nearly indiscernible. Recalling the days of my youth, I remembered riding our bikes down this trail, but that would be impossible today. We used to live in a little two bed room shack just up the hill from a beautiful lake, and all us kids would play and fish off the dock my father had built. As it is in life, we all grew up, go off in different directions, and became preoccupied with other things. But as my life became more and more complicated, I began to long for those days when life was a wonderment, when time seemed to move at a slower pace, and the weight on one’s shoulders was lighter and easier to bear. In my desire to return to those earlier days and leave my troubles behind, I pressed on in hope of reliving those fond memories.

    Pushing through one last thicket of briers, I stepped out onto the shore. My heart sank to discover the dock had fallen to ruin. The coldness of reality stared back at me like a nursery rhyme gone sour; those childhood times were past and gone. You can never “go home”.

    As I turned to leave, I noticed a small boat tied to the shore. There was a note attached that read, “Come to me and I will give you rest” A duchenne smile spread across my face as I looked around to see if someone was playing a joke. No one was there. I looked at the note again and then at the boat. It was sturdy, clean, and new. It couldn’t have been there very long. Interpreting the note as an invitation, I climbed in and shoved off. Ripples danced across the mirrored surface as a duck quacked off near the far shore. After several minutes of sublime drifting through the quiet murmurings of a calm evening, I lay back, and rested in the “strong arms” of my conveyance. As I relinquished the anxieties I had brought with me, I fell asleep, and found the peace I had been seeking.

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