Story Seeds – Day 22: Seen

Alice only dated from a distance. Not long distance, they were all girls who lived in town, or at least close enough to frequent the local cafes. She was drawn to the girls who were second in their crowd. They were slightly plain and probably brighter than the leaders, but they were closest to the leader.  And they were also very aware of all the other girls in the group.  

Alice was quiet and unnoticeable, completely and literally invisible.  Even though her mother told her, warned her it might take her longer than the others to come into view, she was anxious to get there, to be seen by one of those girls.

Other than her family, no one noticed her.  Though she had gotten good at dodging other pedestrians, some still bumped into her and tried to pretend they hadn’t run into anything. Not even her brother would tell her how to make herself seen.  He just shook his head and said, No Way, Alice, No one gets to be seen just because they’re here. We all have to earn it.

~ Megan M. Codera

Story Seeds – Day 21: Pull Over

A red bike slowed the morning traffic on the corner of Harrison and 12th.  It looked like an old Schwinn, with an empty basket behind the seat.  Clearly, it was left in haste, thrown down partially on the street and the curb.  Even without a body or an apparent accident, the commuters slowed to avoid it, slowed to get a look at the scene.  But no one stopped at first to just move the bike, so the cars backed up for miles.  By the time Garrett approached the area, he caught sight of the bike and turned onto 12th.  The nearest neighborhood was at least a couple of miles up the hill and no one seemed to be around.  He pulled the bike off the road and leaned it against the street sign.  As he walked back to his car, he realized his hands were wet from where he’d grabbed the handles, but it wasn’t water.

~ Megan M. Codera

Story Seeds – Day 20: Tomorrow

Due to lack of interest, tomorrow is cancelled.  With all the whining about Monday, she is finally giving up the stage and just letting Tuesday try the show.  Everything that was scheduled to happen will be delayed by a day, or may not happen at all.  Some of you may have waited months or years for tomorrow – a birth, a wedding, a promotion, a transplant.  Well, you can thank the whiners, all the Negative Nancies out there, for shunning Monday offstage and ruining your life.  Clearly your joy wasn’t shared enough to keep up the good spirits.  No one would have done this to Friday or Saturday.  And why does Tuesday get to step up?  It’s just a day to get something done to get you one step closer to the rest of the week.  And as much as everyone scoffs at Wednesday, its “Hump Day” motto gave it a new face, a new hope with the half-way mark.  Thursday is so close to Friday that it’s easily forgiven as part of the week.  But poor Monday, just trying to lead the week, give a boost in sales and kick off another batch of seven days to fill with life.  And you all bullied her away…    

~ Megan M. Codera

Story Seeds – Day 19: Sundays

The Sanders never went to church on Sundays, but they were always gone by the time we piled into the wagon for the first service.  Wherever they went, they didn’t have to wear slacks or skirts or uncomfortable shoes.  Mom suggested I should invite Rachel to come along with us, trying to hold back from telling us how she prays for that family everyday.  With both parents working and the music that came from the brothers’ windows, Mom said they needed someone to grab the Lord’s attention to keep an eye on sweet Rachel.  

In the summer, they often came home late in the afternoon, and showed us coolers filled with clams or crabs and pockets full of shells.  It was one of the rare sightings we caught of the brothers too, who hardly ever came out of their rooms.  They only ever appeared when there was food.  And therefore they were just as interesting as a cooler of clams.  

One Saturday before summer really dove into the heat, Rachel and I played all day in the woods that we had been kidnapped.  When we finally escaped our captors, we ran to her house, famished.  Her mom was reading on the porch and looked up like she was actually grateful to see us.

I was just about to come find you, she said.  

Not a chance, said Rachel, those guys were were quite clever this round and covered all their tracks.

 Well, obviously they’re no match for you two.  And thank goodness for that.  How about a snack?  

We followed her into the house.  All of the windows were open and it smelled like outside.  She cut string cheese into stips and wrapped it with salami.  Then sliced up an apple for us to share.  She ate a few pieces as she watched us eat.

We’re going to the beach tomorrow for clams, Tina, want to come along?

Tomorrow’s Sunday, I have church.

Ah yes, she said, and then she paused to keep from saying all the others things she might have said.  

Well, maybe I can convince your Mom to let you miss a day?

Doubtful, I said.

~ Megan M. Codera

Story Seeds – Day 18: Facing

Edith watches the sea from a small table in front of the sliding glass door to the tiny balcony.  She finishes a puzzle by the end of each day, between glances and gazes at the sky and the horizon.  The uneven stacks of puzzles lean in towers against the wood-paneled walls on either side of the door.  If her father were still here, he would turn on the light overhead.  Instead, she takes only the light offered from the door, from the sky.  

She has come here to heal, though she would avoid ever saying such a thing.  Her family, much to their dismay, knows where to find her but cannot reach her.  She has no electricity, just a gas for the stove and plenty of wood from back home for the fireplace.  She has turned off her cell phone and never hooked up the internet.  She never even installed a telephone landline because of the chance it would ring.  When Randy came to fix the kitchen faucet’s perpetual drip, he lectured her about the electricity, but seemed to understand the rest.  

We’ve got the best lines on the coast, he said.  They spent years diggin’ ‘em into the ground to protect them from the winds.  And when those winds hit something fierce and you’re getting nothing but noise from the sky, you will want a little light and maybe something in the oven.

Edith only smiled.

~ Megan M. Codera

Story Seeds – Day 17: The Hole by the Sea

Thomas had searched the Atlantic coast over the years, certain that rock had to be along there somewhere, the one that kept coming back to him.  And surely, he thought, he would have remembered if there was a journey across the country, to another coast.  But there was never anyone to ask, no one to verify these snips of that sparkling rock by the sea that kept slipping in.  His parents were long gone and his sister stopped speaking to him years ago, just before their parents passed.  And it sounded so ridiculous, he never dared to mention it to his wife or his grown children.

Caroline had a friend from college she visited in Portland every few years and this year, she suggested Thomas come out toward the end of the visit so they could take a road trip down the coast.  She’d been trying to get him out there for years.  And now that he’d retired for the third time, she thought if she got him across the country for a month or two, it would be a little more difficult for them to pull him back in.  

He searched up pictures of Hwy 101 while she watched her shows and asked her about Haystack Rock.  Wasn’t that in that movie the kids…Yes, Goonies.  

~ Megan M. Codera

Story Seeds – Day 16: Upstairs

Each story has pockets full of alternate stories, sometimes hidden and sometimes only partially revealed, like the corner of a handkerchief.  The stories may overlap and tangle and even if they overlap it can often be difficult to tell where it really begins and where it ends.  And everyone who hears that story only grabs a small part of the story.  So when it’s shared again, it becomes a different story.  The missing parts mean just as much as the shared parts.  So it’s true when they say no one really knows what happened to Anna in the tower. And why she refuses to leave.

This is what we do know.  Several girls told the story of how Holly lured her up there in confidence, pretending to be her new best friend. Several girls know this because she did it to them too.  And everyone was always too afraid to say anything.  This time, it went too far.  Holly brought Anna up there as a secret getaway for just the two of them.  Then, in the middle of the night, she locked her up there and left and told no one.  Holly was one of the first to join the search for Anna, leading her own team.  Some say, it’s possible she snuck up to the tower and somehow convinced Anna to stay there.   Because when they found her there several days later, hidden in the wall, the door wasn’t even locked.  

~ Megan M. Codera

Story Seeds – Day 15: Soft Bones

It might be common to find bones in the woods, but not here. These woods are surrounded by houses, defined by houses.  So when Rhoney found a skeleton just off the trail, she was sure it was a deer.  But the form was smaller and more slender.  It had been there long enough that the bones were clean and soft with the damp, with the insurmountable amount of rain from the winter.  And when she determined it could be a dog, she covered it up with fallen branches.  It laid there as if he had gone out there to die and no one noticed.  

Here, everyone has a dog and none have gone missing.  Not having a dog would be like not having a front door.  Everyone would notice.  And since there weren’t any other houses for miles, the remains of a dog that never existed would raise questions.    

~ Megan M. Codera

Story Seeds – Day 14: Hindsight

Janey was the kind of mom everyone simultaneously avoided and envied. She was so exceptionally capable and bright and just an absolute pleasure to be around. She made things happen – fundraisers, parent meetings, gifts and awards for all the deserving contributors.  Her husband, Ron, was gorgeous and made it obvious how much he adored his wife – giving her all the credit for the events they sponsored, for always “keeping him in line.” Their kids, Jason and Ally, were only slightly above average.  Jason made varsity soccer as a sophomore and was so obsessed with the Robotics club that he struggled to relate to humans.  Ally played the trumpet in Jazz Band and wrote plain poems she gave herself liberty, as editor, to print too frequently in the school flyer.

Janey and Ron never missed a concert, never missed a meeting or deadline.  They always showed up together early and were the last to leave, after everything had been put away.  So when neither of them appeared at the biggest event of the year, the Spring Fling, everyone was certain there had been an accident, that someone must have died.  But none of us would have guessed that Ron had been  terrorizing them for the past few years.

~ Megan M. Codera

Story Seeds – Day 13: Flood Warnings

The rain claimed the courtyard that night, but stopped at the narrow doors of the guest house, only three steps up from the bricks.  We had one last, full day in that little city, and we refused to let a bit of flooding dissuade the day.  Without even realizing it, in the short time we’d been there, we had completely succumbed to the air of New Orleans – enjoying all that is, rather than what isn’t.  So we ignored our kind host’s warnings and climbed out the back bedroom window to take the dry path behind the courtyard.  

The gutters drummed along with the beats of drizzle and downpour.  Drum and drizzle, drum, drum, drum and drizzle – as if waiting for the horns to join the line.  Laurel was already a shallow stream, but the sidewalks rolled high enough over old oak roots to avoid the current.  Still the cars crept and crammed along those narrow streets.  I stopped to get a shot of one of the yards where the long leaves dripped, then took a right on Arabella.  I expected to see you heading toward Magazine, where we planned to catch the bus, but there was no one else walking.  It was possible you’d turned one street sooner, while I was taking pictures.  I thought you would be waiting at the bus stop, but you weren’t.  We had ten minutes at least, if the lines were running on schedule, which was doubtful in such weather.  I tried to call your cell, but you didn’t answer,  I assumed you’d gone into the drugstore for gum or hard candies because you could never just wait.  And then the bus came and left without us.    

~ Megan M. Codera