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Dec. 27th, 2007 | 04:15 pm
posted by: natertatersmom in the_open_gutter

Yes, Amy. I do realize I didn't use the line. They wouldn't cooperate.

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Oct. 25th, 2007 | 08:40 am
location: hellhole
mood: creativecreative
music: Morning Clouds- Michael Dulin
posted by: harrysmom in the_open_gutter

This is a teaser and a set up for Marc and/or Angela to play with. I got them here. Have at it.

Chris holds my hand as we climb up the side of the hill. In the week that we’ve been here, this is the first time that he’s spent any time with me, alone. Sara has always been around or his father-in-law and while I loved spending time with them, I started to question why he brought me along. I feel as though I am just a buffer between the three of them.

I’m not sure what to think any more. I don’t know what we are. When Sara asked me if we were lovers, I wanted to say yes but the truth is, I really don’t know what we are right now. Not quite friends, not quite lovers. It’s like a holding pattern. Holding for what, I don’t know. I ache with unsaid thoughts and unanswered questions. When Chris asked me if I wanted to go for a walk, I jumped at the chance. I felt like a high school girl asked out on her first date.

He’s been unreadable. His eyes have given nothing away although I have noticed that he hasn’t looked at me directly since we’ve been here.

I wonder if old ghosts are haunting him. I wouldn’t be surprised; I know what it’s like.

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Sweet water.

Oct. 23rd, 2007 | 07:07 am
posted by: alloy_ in the_open_gutter

It’s hard to distinguish individuals from the top of the hill. From here it looks like a scab in the valley. Packing cases, rusted corrugated iron, panels of dull alluminium and the occasion flash of something shiny.

Dark plumes rise from coal stoves hanging over Billy Mashane informal settlement like a vengeful god.

“They’re not squatters anymore.” The old man said. “Oom Jaco gave up and sold to the government.”

Like the old man’s going to do.

Oom Jaco’s winter grazing under a seething mass of humanity.

A water tanker winds it’s way into the valley followed by the closed delivery trucks of the entrepreneurial.

“They promised them electricity two years ago, and running water.” He shakes his head, cursing under his breath.

“Their ‘kak’ is effecting the ground water.” He leads me up the side of the reservoir, the one where his granddaughter was conceived. “You don’t want to swim in that.”

A thin layer of dark speckled scum lies on the surface.

“It’s from the coal smoke and the tyres.” He coughs rasping.

“A mens sal nie eens in dar die water wil fok nie.”
(Afrikaans : A person wouldn’t even want to fuck in that water.)

He grins and slaps me on the shoulder. “I thought you might want to bring Georgie out here.”

“Not now.” I reply.

“Still want to talk me out of selling?”

“No now.”

“Are you taking Sarah back with you?”

“I hadn’t thought about it.”

“You have to.”

My head jerks up. He’s asking me to take his most prized possession. Eight years ago he had bitten my head off for simply suggesting a holiday.

“Ek’s ‘n ou man Chris. Dit maak nie meet saak wat met my gebeur nie. Die meisiekind hoef nie vir my sonde te betaal nie.” (Afrikaans: I’m an old man Chris, it doesn’t matter what happens to me. The girl doesn’t have to pay for my sins.)

“I’ll make sure she phones.”

He nods.

“Make sure we visit.”

The look in his eyes tells me it’s a promise I have to keep. On impulse I crouch down and plunge my hand beneath the surface scum of the icy cold water. I cup my palm, my hand and arm feel greasy. Hesitantly I bring the liquid to my lips.

The sweet water of my youth has turned vile.

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Dec. 26th, 2006 | 07:49 pm
mood: creativecreative
posted by: natertatersmom in the_open_gutter

I sit by her on a blanket as we make flower chains.

I haven't done this in years. When I was a girl, we used daisies. I don't know what these little bluish purple flowers are, but they work beautifully.

There's a slight breeze, and I watch her long, straight blond hair wisp around her head. Her eyes are Chris' eyes. And they seem to see right through me the same way his do. I was so nervous about meeting her. Scared of what the reception would be. Scared she'd be angry I came.

But we walked out of the terminal at the airport in Johannesburg, and she hugged me immediately. Before she even hugged her dad.

She's been open and warm and eager to include me in everything. It almost feels as if she is making me a girlfriend. Almost as if she doesn't have any others. I don't know.

Today Chris and his father-in-law (that's who he still is, isn't it?) have gone to do some business. There are papers to be signed and arrangements to be made. He expects to be settled somewhere else by midyear. I can tell Sarah is sad about it, but she has been nothing but supportive of her dad and her grandfather.


She and the old man both have been calling me that. It's how Chris introduced me. I didn't even bother trying to correct them.


She's silent for a minute as she weaves more flower stalks together.

"I want to ask Dad about coming to the States."

This surprises me a bit. I know it will come as a surprise to Chris, too.

"Do you mean, when we return next week?"

She shrugs, not meeting my eye.

"Maybe not then, exactly, " she says. "Maybe once Grandpa gets settled. I think I might like to go to University there."

She looks at me then, hope and curiosity and something I don't recognize lurking in the depths of those brown orbs.

"I mean, I won't bother you and dad. I won't try to move in with you or anything. I just think it would be nice to be...closer...to him...for a change."

She looks down again. She touches my heart. Just like her dad does.

I reach my hand over to her, laying it on top of hers.

"Just talk to your dad, honey. He'll listen and tell you what he thinks and I'm sure that the two of you will figure it all out." I hesitate for a moment before continuing...wondering if this is territory best left untraveled. "And I don't live with your dad. I mean, he doesn't live with....We don't live together. It's not like that." I say it all in a bit of a rush and then feel my face heating up.

The truth is, it's even less like that than she could probably imagine. We've stayed in separate rooms here and he's not approached me at all. I sense feelings of protection from him...and there is a certain fondness there. But none of the urgency...none of the passion. It's got me a little confused and I'm not even sure if I should address it...much less how.

Sarah cocks her head to the side and regards me for a moment.

"You are lovers?"

It's a question she already knows the answer to. I feel as if she's trying to prove a point.

"Well, that's honestly hard to say, Sarah." I figure the truth, to an extent, is the best thing right now. "I don't know what we are. I care very much for your dad. It's really sort of complicated."

She is silent for a moment before she says, "He loves you. It seems pretty obvious."

I smile at her. It tires me and makes me feel like crying to think about trying to talk to her about all the ways "grown ups" mimic love.

I place my flower chain on her head in a circle.

"Beautiful," I pronounce.

She truly is.

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Nov. 6th, 2006 | 07:12 pm
posted by: natertatersmom in the_open_gutter

It's been three weeks.

Three weeks, 12 hours and some change, to be precise, since he touched me...took me...that night, on the deck.

Apart from the shower together after the reckoning and a few brief kisses, he's not put his hands on me at all.

Even that night, he sent me to bed and told me he'd be in after a bit. When I woke up the next morning, he was asleep on the couch. The pillow next to me still smelled of my detergent instead of him. He'd never been there.

He'd spoken with Leta who was more than happy, she said, to stay with me while he "attended to matters." Repairs of his flat. Many visits to the police station. David is locked away now, unable to make bail. His trial is in three months. At least there will be a reprieve for that long.

He comes over every day, eats dinner, talks with me like we are old friends. We laugh and learn what we didn't take time to know in the beginning, but I have found myself wondering if there is an elemental change that is taking place between us. With each day that I feel better, I ache more for his touch. I don't know how to tell him that. I'm afraid, somehow, that if I tell him, he will say he's not really interested anymore.

He's made plans for us to go to South Africa. He's talked about his home and all he wants me to see. And today, I am all packed and waiting for him to come pick me up. It feels almost as if I'm about to take a class field trip, rather than go away with a lover. Is he my lover still? How will he introduce me to his daughter? To his father in law?

He pulls up in the truck and helps me with my luggage. We go through the house together and make sure that everything is turned off and locked. Leta and Percy both have agreed to keep an eye on the place. I have found myself wandering through the rooms, wondering what it would be like to see his things here...belonging.

Somewhere on our flight between New York and London, I finally fall asleep. And at last, as the very soft edges of a dream begins to take me, I feel his hand reach for mine.

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In Silence

Oct. 22nd, 2006 | 06:30 pm
posted by: natertatersmom in the_open_gutter


Feels like I've been doing nothing but waiting my whole life.

Waiting to get away. Waiting to grow up. Waiting to love. Waiting to escape.

And now I'm waiting for Chris.

Sandy has made tea and graciously allowed me to lean here into the strength that is her husband. There are no words for any of us, now, as we wait.

Sandy asks Percy a couple of times if he needs to go after Chris...to help him. He's resolute in his answer. Chris has asked him to be here...with me. And so that is what he will do. He reminds her of Chris' ability to take care of himself. He also reminds her that Chris has never come out on the losing end of a fight between the two of them. And Percy is a black belt.

I smile at his attempt at comfort, but I know that he's never been up against anything as crazy as my ex-husband.

Minutes stretch into infinity and Percy rubs small circles against my shoulder. The clock ticks louder than I've ever heard it, clicking precious seconds away...marking time with the beating of my heart. If I were not about to throw up, I could probably sleep quite peacefully against this strong man, who doesn't really know me but who guards me with his life, just because his best friend has asked him to.

And then, there is the snick of the door sliding open.

And there he is.

As one, we rise and walk to him. He's bloody. His mouth...his eye. There is blood on his shirt and on his jeans. I think there's blood in his hair. The trembling begins in my knees and it takes everything I have to keep it from knocking me over.

His eyes are boring into my soul, but I can't move an inch towards him. I'm frozen into place.

He speaks, "Thanks Perce...Sandy." But his eyes never leave me.

I am aware of them moving to the door, a hand brushing over my back.

Chris turns and locks the door behind them. He hits the light switch, flooding the room in semi darkness. Light from my bedroom down the hall filters through, and Chris takes my hand.

In silence he leads me down the hall, through the bedroom, into the bath.

In silence he reaches into the shower and turns the water on.

In silence he toes off his shoes, removes his shirt and his jeans. I am frightened by the cuts and the blood and the bruising on his body. I mean to question him...to insist that we go to the hospital. But his fingers on my mouth stop me.

In Silence I allow him to pull my tank over my head. Tears burn my eyes and I let them fall. Pajama bottoms and panties slide down and he is once more holding my hand, pulling me into the shower.

Here, where water and tears wash away the blood and heat soothes the aches of our bodies....here, he enfolds me....not in an erotic embrace, but in an embrace of belonging.

In silence we stand.

In silence we hold.

In silence we are washed.

In silence.

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All The Time In The World

Oct. 20th, 2006 | 10:49 am
mood: accomplishedaccomplished
music: Time Is On My Side
posted by: alloy_ in the_open_gutter

All The Time In The World

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Love Is...

Oct. 7th, 2006 | 03:02 pm
posted by: natertatersmom in the_open_gutter

Posting this for the gorgeous, sexy, brilliant Mr. Sparks...give him some love, because THIS is intense...

Marc wrote it. I just copied and pasted. :-) Collapse )

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Finding the Way

Sep. 28th, 2006 | 08:25 pm
mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
posted by: natertatersmom in the_open_gutter

"I'm afraid, Mama."


"I'm afraid, Mama."

Silence still.

She always talks back. Sometimes it's just a nudge. Sometimes it's a whisper on the breeze. Sometimes her voice is so loud that I'm sure I will see her if I turn my head just so.

But she's not talking today.

The grass is prickly under my feet. I can feel dampness soaking through the bottom of my jeans.

I want to pray, but I don't remember how.

Mama always helps. Not today.

"Mama, please. I'm so afraid for him. He's so damned headstrong and cocky and sure of himself. He doesn't know what he's up against. He doesn't know what I know. He doesn't appreciate how crazy David is."

The sun is beginning to set in the sky. I know I'm going to hurt when I try to get up off the ground.

A hand touches. My shoulder...a warm body beside me.


I see clearly the concern on his face. It's that concern that opens the floodgates and I lean into his strong chest and release the tears.

He gently strokes my hair; his voice deep, carries on the breeze.

"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound..."

Mama has spoken after all. She just knows it's time I listened to other voices.

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Live by the sword

Sep. 28th, 2006 | 05:12 pm
posted by: alloy_ in the_open_gutter

The gap on the wall tells it’s own story. At least the idiot didn’t take the Katana, it’s 300 hundred years old and a little fragile.

Oh it will kill you, in the hands of a master it will cut through steel, in the hands of a fool it will shatter.

If he had taken that I would have had to kill him with it.

Still a claymore is not to be sneezed at; it can still take your head off.

I duck as I enter my apartment.

The sword passes overhead, through the door and buries itself in the doorframe.

David tugs at the sword, but it refuses to release.

“Motherfucker!” he says, but I’m not sure if he’s addressing the sword or me.

He tugs again, all the while leaving his torso exposed.

My shin finds something hard, which it buries into his ribs.

The gun falls to the floor.

I kick him again, harder lifting his frame and expelling breath from body.

A rib gives way and he finally releases the sword, staggering back into the wall.

A hand reaches under his jacket, but not to support his ribs.

I kick the gun backward out the door.

It was time to see what David Spears was made of.

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