The day was sunny and without clouds as I arrived at her new residence.
The setting was beautiful, quiet, and serene with the deep green grass, sugar maples and oaks offering canopies of shade against the ultraviolet brightness.
I sat on the ground next to her as if we were on a picnic and began my soliloquy…
There were so many times I could have said, should have said, these words to you, sweet Pamela, but my fragile ego got in the way and…no matter, the disclaimers I would add have no real relevance now.
Here is what I wish you to know…
“Our romance began when each of us had clinging vulnerabilities: you, finishing your university education, beginning your career in teaching; me, ending a marriage – and other baggage. Our meeting was not so subtle as I attempted my alcohol-induced pitch to you in the popular nautical-themed restaurant where you worked as a waitress while going through your course load at Wichita State. We were both bitten and smitten by the Love Dragon, delirious in its domination of our hearts and souls.
Then, when your full-time teaching in Iowa took you from me, I wallowed in my own self-pity. You called me. I called you. Finally, the last time we talked I muttered my insecurities, ‘you’re there, I’m here’, and told you we had to put our love on hold. It wasn’t fair to you or to me.
You met a younger man, a student studying Theology and he wanted to date you but you would not. You said you were desperate to see me, and I flew to Des Moines the next day. The ‘Love Dragon’ awoke from his nap and we again were delirious in our reunion and could not deny our love. We recommitted and would stay with our romance. I shall never forget the trips I made to Des Moines and to the memories I cherish.
The ‘war’ came to Iraq, then to Afghanistan, and my National Guard unit was called up to relieve other troops on duty there. Injured by enemy grenade shrapnel, I lost my left arm and was sent home.
You immediately came to me, and our love was brighter than ever. You would not allow self-pity and kept reminding me of comrades who did not make it home at all.
We planned a summer wedding, and it was a magical few weekIs we were together in our planning for the big event. Our love virtually glowed, and, in our hearts, we knew the flame would never go out of our union. We were like kids at a circus, the excitement of being in love and never being apart again…”
The tears came and I could not continue.
I placed the flowers on her glazed monument of stone, allowed the tears to drop on the grass in front of her heart-shaped grave marker.
With my good right arm, I embraced as much of the stone as I could. With my lips, I gently touched the inscription for a long moment and tearfully mumbled the words on the stone:
“My heart and soul are yours, sweet Pamela, to be rejoined with yours in eternity.”
As was my daily wont I sat again on the grass beside Pamela and waited for night to fall. My tears came with the bittersweet memories…
The drunk driver who killed my Pamela was himself killed in a fiery blaze as his car spun out of control, over sidewalk curbing, and into a wall of stucco.
Flash Fiction by: Billy Ray Chitwood
July 24, 2017
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Have you ever thought about what life was like without all the technological advances and the fast doubling and re-doubling of knowledge?
Have you considered how life events shape your attitude and emotions? Why you are upset much of your waking moments? Why good news reawakens your latent capacity for positive behavior?
Look, I know I’m begging questions here and crossing generational lines. Sure, the younger people born in today’s world notice no great shift in their lives. They are living it, breathing it, and many ignoring it. The young among us accept the new PC rules of conduct, or, the jarring news that assaults us daily, finding a subliminal home somewhere in our psyche, no doubt to be altered in the next news cycle.
What am I writing here?
Damned if I know!
Except… Might as well get it off my mind
What do I know, or, think I know? I stay informed about what is going on in the world – North Korea building their Nuke capabilities-Russia this, Russia that, Syria, Iran, two political parties relentlessly shoveling their agendas on us with each tick of the News clock, no matter that so much of it is absurd, petty and schoolyard antics… One political party does this much more so than the other because they ‘can’t handle the truth’…their hatred shows with each primetime news session. We have a country to protect and to serve, and these people who work for us spend their days with confounding foolery… Okay, perhaps Russia did some hacking. Don’t know for sure, but they’ve been known to do it many times before this election. The simple truth is there are so many important policies we need to be shaping, rather than one side whimpering constantly over a presidential election loss.
I’m not a political pundit. I just want my country to stay free, to work as our great constitution provided. The American people elected a business man to be president of the United States, a brash, politically ineloquent man with his words, but an indefatigable mover and shaker, a man who seems to thrive on controversy and following through on his campaign promises of more jobs, better economy, defeating Islamic Terrorists, protecting our borders against illegal aliens crossing with their drugs, restructuring trade policies, cutting wasteful government programs, improving our infrastructure, re-shaping our foreign policy, enhancing our education system, and repealing Obama Care…
In my humble opinion, Donald Trump is a pragmatic, no-nonsense kind of man, plus, a workaholic. The president has already come through on many of his campaign pledges, including putting a new face on our foreign policies, meeting with Heads of State across the globe and establishing what seems to be promising and refreshing relationships. Job growth is up. New businesses are anchoring down in America. A great wall is to be built along our southern border – perhaps a solar panel gem.
I am not an Ideologue, not even close, but I do have a healthy dose of common sense. Born into Appalachian poverty, I’ve used plenty of outhouses and kerosene lamps in my day, and I can remember wanting more in life, but never envying someone who had more than I. Mistakes, bad judgements, I’ve made a plenty, and, wow, I’ve made it to twilight with a good wife, good home, wonderful children, and grandchildren I adore. So, please, understand, there are plenty of views to have about our political landscape, and I try hard to understand the reasoning of a few people who bleed just like I do. In fact, I’m amazed at times that folks can’t come together on something that seems to this old country boy a ‘slam dunk’!
When Barack Obama won the presidency, I was really impressed with his eloquent oratory and wanted him to succeed in making our nation a country finally at a point in history where bigotry and hatred would begin to recede faster and further back in history’s recording. Instead, he was on the world stage apologizing for America. At home, he was creating what seemed to me a socialistic structure of Political Correctness, welfare programs that would redistribute the wealth of hard-working Americans and Entrepreneurs to further entrench people, many without inclination to work or to find work. Obama steered his administration toward a massive Health program that is today holding many of our citizens hostage.
Having come into office with modest earnings, President Obama today is worth millions, working on becoming a billionaire, making $400,000 for each speaking engagement. I certainly have no resentment for the man making some serious bucks, but, really, this much money for a guy that once said he didn’t become president to work for the ‘fat cats’, a guy that was always on the stump preaching about financial inequality, only to become after leaving office an elite one-percenter.
The most ominous and visceral truth for me is that this man left the country in financial and societal disarray, the likes of which I’ve never seen in my lifetime… His glib and magical words seem now to me ominous omens. While I’m at it, I shall apologize to those who still think the man is all ‘peaches and cream’.
To finish up this little tirade, what I hope and pray will happen is that the disappointed people who have hatred for President Donald Trump will step back, relax, and give this non-political Commander-in-Chief a chance to, yes, Make America Great Again!
Billy Ray Chitwood - July 14. 2017
ATLANTA TO PHOENIX - FIRST CLASS
Posted on a 'Re-visit' July 7, 2017 by http://billyraychitwood.com - My Website under Flash Fiction
Atlanta to Phoenix - First Class
“Would you like a drink before takeoff, Mr. Bryson?” asked the lovely blond flight attendant with blue eyes and conquettish smile.
“Do we have time?” flicking my eyes a few times in answer to the smile.
“Sure. We have a bunch of planes lined up for takeoff. I figure you for Vodka, stirred, her sexy voice just above a whisper. You do look a lot like James Bond, you know?”
“Which one?” playing the game.
“Pierce Brosnan, of course. The others couldn’t come close… Be right back with your drink,” and she turned and dipped her hips in walking away.
Ah, could be an interesting flight. Guess I’ll just leave the laptop in the overhead compartment.
I’m Travis Bryson and I now only fly first class since my company accomodates my heavy travel schedule. It likely sounds phony, but I’m an Executive V-P for CCC, a facilitator of sorts, bringing our national branches up to date on some new software for Webinars… Hey, it’s only exciting stuff for geeks like me and my comrades in the field. You’ve met our types. We really love what we do.
Now, don’t get me wrong about the flirting – I’m not married (anymore) so I’m not a bad guy and I’m legal. I’ve got a thick crop of black hair. I’m six-feet tall, work out each day and so far keep that middle paunch non-existent. I’m forty-two years old – that’s the new thirty-two, I’m told – and work out of my hometown in Phoenix, Arizona… That’s where this plane is heading, and, hopefully, after I finish that Vodka Martini... (Speaking of which, here it comes, but, confession time, my eyes are really on the ‘Stew’, that face and body with the small tray in her hand, her swaying hips, and...). Again, don’t get me wrong… Oh, hell, you’ve got me right. There is nothing in life more beautiful than a woman, that is, a woman who has it all together. The guys know of what I speak, and one of those beautiful women just arrived at my seat with a ‘James Bond Special’. I’m not sexist. I’m not any of those annoying PC words or phrases. I just appreciate beauty in all its forms.
“Hope this is as you like it, Mr. Bryson. If it isn’t I won’t charge you for it…” This, followed by one more coy flash of the eyes and a snicker. “Oh, by the way, what does CCC stand for?”
“’Command Centers Conglomerate’… Okay, look, I know you’ve got another drink there to deliver, but is it okay if I call you Paula, as in Paula Jinx? We are going to be talking, and it’s a long flight from Atlanta to Phoenix. My name is Travis Bryson, as you already know, so call me by my surname, or, Trav…off you go now to deliver your next drink order.”
She spoke as she headed toward the back of the first-class cabin. “I’m impressed you noticed my name tag, Travis.”
Okay, it’s Friday, I’ve been on the road for two weeks, and I have no one waiting for me in the valley of the sun. I was going to get some laptop work done for Monday’s Executive Meeting at the office, but it can wait. I’m feeling frisky and I’m betting Paula just might be staying over in Phoenix…why, she might be home-based in Phoenix. This flight ends in Phoenix so, at the very least, she will be staying overnight.
The flight is filled and no ‘stand-by’ made it on the plane. The seat next to me is occupied by a stout bespectacled gentleman in his sixties, earplugs in, listening to music, and reading A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. My seat row partner has impeccable reading tastes – I did read and love Hosseini’s The Kite Runner. The man is a superb storyteller, and I am eager to read the other aforementioned book. Anyway, the gentleman next to me by the window is lost in his book and couldn’t care less about my flirting ability.
During the flight Paula served me three ‘stirred martinis’ and I turned down the fourth, making some silly rejoinder, ‘I have three of those and I can feel it. If I have four, anybody can feel it!’
After meals were served and all plates, silverware were picked up, the cabin passengers were reading, sleeping, or using the facilities. Paula and I traded playful quips for awhile. Then, as Phoenix got nearer, I thought I should make my move.
“You based in Phoenix by any chance, Paula?” The three martinis wired me for this conversation. I was ready for action. Two weeks on the road and planes can make you that way. ‘All work, no play’ kind of thing.
“Yes, I am. Is Phoenix your home base as well?” It seemed that same smile did not leave her face during the entire flight.
“It is, and I’m thinking maybe we should get together this evening, or, soon. Now, I notice you wearing no wedding ring, so I’m brazen enough to ask.” I paused, waited for her to respond.
“That’s sweet, Travis, So sweet! But I can’t.” She touched me softly on the shoulder.
“So, you’re married and don’t wear your rings, right?”
“Not quite, Trav, but you’re close.”
“You’re separated or getting a divorce and want to wait. Is that it?”
“Not divorced. Not getting a divorce. There’s another reason…”
Not giving her a chance to go on, I suggested, “You and your boyfriend are broken up and you want some space. I can understand that. I’ve been there, done that!” I smiled inanely. This lovely creature was turning me down, and I’m ready to ‘bet the store’ we will be in a few hours warm and cozy in my apartment.
“No, Travis, it’s not like that. You’re a handsome man and most girls would be happy to connect with you. It’s just – well, someone is picking me up at Sky Harbor Airport, and you and I are not a possibility, tonight or ever…”
“Ah, no break-up! You have a steady boyfriend. Well, I can tell you this, Paula, the airline trains you well because I really thought we had something going.”
“No, Travis, you still have it wrong – well, mostly, the airline does train us to be nice and friendly with our flying customers. But there is no boyfriend…”
She looked down at the aisle and sadly smiled.
Then, like a middle linebacker laying me flat out on the football field, it hit me. “You’re…”
“Yes, Travis, I’m gay!”
“Pretty, lovely Paula, will you please bring me one more ‘James Bond Special’? And, will you alert the airline to bring me a wheelchair to the arrival gate?”
Flash Fiction by Billy Ray Chitwood – A Revisit! - July 7, 2017
NOTE: A 'disclaimer' of sorts - the lady in the picture above is having a birthday today...hopefully, she will still speak to me after reading this 'flash fiction! She's happily married and the mother of my wonderful grandkids - and, if she doesn't hate me, or sue me, after reading this little piece of memory flash from years past, she won't hang-up on me when I call her tonight to wish her a 'HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! She must know that, to me, she is most definitely, and, always, FIRST CLASS!
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