Poem | Short or Flash Fiction | Include (5) words | pressure | diverse | fragrance | clarity | shock
Weekly Writing Prompt #3
Short Fiction – Short Story
My parents applied pressure on me, they clarified, if I wanted to be with her, Issie, they would disinherit me. “Our daughter is not going to be a ‘disgusting lesbian.’” No matter, my grandmother set me up with a secret trust. Never trusted her daughter to do right by me, and loathed her son-in-law. “A real worm, just wanted the inheritance. No other reason.”
Isadora and I were from diverse worlds. My world was soul crushing. Issie’s filled with encouragement and passion. I floundered on what was inspiring. Composing music lasted for a while. My parents complained about the noise. I wasn’t trained but my music sounded good. Nothingness was their response. A Non-response. Mostly, they just rudely walked away.
Issie’s world was a complete reverse. Her parents gave full support to her work as a painter. She started as a child; studied with the best artists, lasted the longest with Angela Toscani, an artist of international fame. Issie spent time at Angela’s studio in Tuscany. This was before we met. Angela saw the talent burning in her. When Issie would paint, the visions of a genius flowed onto the canvas. The ones’ that didn’t work were saved to remind her the Muse didn’t always show up.
Issie and I finally met during our college days at Smith. All women. Seated on the ground, leaning up against a red maple tree, I was writing a poem in my notebook when a sweet fragrance came filtering through the air. Deep feelings awakened within me. I turned toward the pathway of the scent. A beautiful woman, of my age, sat so close, I felt the hairs on her arms. Yet, she was at least 3 feet away, sketching silently, intently absorbed. I wanted to interrupt. Instead I watched as she worked unaware of my interest.
I heard her sigh as she raised her head; noticing me sitting near. “Hello.” She spoke softly, her eyes caught mine directly. “I’m Isadora. Call me Issie.” She began putting things in her bag, preparing to leave. I was speechless, but she spoke for me. “Would you like to come back to my room for some wine or smoke?” The clarity in her words echoed her intention without question. We were almost always together after that moment. Our relationship lasted. As we aged, we grew closer. Understanding never stopped. We talked about everything.
One day, I was wandering around the attic searching for certain letters. As I went through trunks, boxes and drawers, I found a collection of letters addressed to Isadora. Return address was Angela Toscani. Suddenly, the pack of letters was grabbed from my hands. Shocked, I was literally lifted off the floorboards. Letters being thrown in every direction like the North wind had been picked off by a tornado. A chill filled the air. My breathing frosted over. I had no idea what was happening. Just as quickly, the letters fell to the floor, laid open. The words were visible to my eyes; they carried the same fragrance from the first day I met Isadora.
“Read them,” a whisper sounded in my ear. “You need to know the truth.”
“Who’s speaking?” My heart pounded; pain started pressing into my chest, down the front of my body.
“It is your lover.”
“My lover? Issie, is that you?”
“NO,” the whisper grew louder. “Have you forgotten me already? I died for you. All these years I have been watching over you. I have loved you; watching you love her. Read the letters. Find out the truth about your Issie.”
I picked up one of the letters and read aloud:
I miss you. Our love-making was so sweet. Now you love another. She will never give you what I am able. She does not see you. Incapable. Leave her. Come back to me. You are mine. I am yours. You can only paint with me. She holds back your genius. I hate your rejections. How could you love her. Love only me. I will wait until forever.
Angela @>-;— ‘
Fury wanted me to burn the words from the page. The shock had numbed my mind. The voice spoke again, “I died for you. The death was yours. Now it is time to come with me.”
I screamed. It was so loud, Issie came running into the attic. She saw all her letters spread over the floor. “What happened here?”
“A ghost tore your love letters from Angela out of my hands. A windstorm scattered them everywhere. I wasn’t going to read them. The ghost insisted. If I am not mistaken, I was looking for the letters from that self-same ghost. She has been haunting me for a long time. I wanted to read her words to remember. I found these instead. Angela said you were lovers. Just how long have you been writing?”
“Calm down. I haven’t been writing to her. We had a professional relationship only. She wanted more. I didn’t so I left and started at Smith. A short time later I met you. I swear, I have loved only you. She was just obsessed with me.” Issie paused, “So what about this ghost?”
“A long story. I will write about it sometime for you to read. For the present, and from the past, she has watched out for me. She thought she was doing that by making this mess.”
“Let’s leave all this,” Issie took my hand and pulled me up from the floor. “How about something to smoke. I want to get the munchies. But first I have two questions, ‘How long has your ghost been around? And, how come I never noticed her before?”
“She really only appears to me. A particular ghost.”
“As long as she knows you love me and I love you.”
“Fair enough. Let’s get out of here. Somewhere less dusty and not so filled with crazy memories.”
© jk 2015