Posts Tagged Love
Andrea’s garden was by no means remarkable. In fact, it fell short of the standards when compared to the gardens cultivated by most of her neighbors. Gardening was the in-thing for the households of Lilac Lane. That there was a competition between the some of the families regarding who accomplished the most impressive botanical feat each spring was no secret. Some neighborhoods competed over the best Christmas decorations, some regarding the greenest grass on their lawns, some challenged each other over throwing the best BBQ shindigs; the people of Lilac Lane eyeballed each other over their gardens. Read the rest of this entry »
Via: Daily Prompt – Clean
Antonia Santos had taken great care to dress for this date. After all, it had been ages since she allowed herself such luxury – allowed a man to take her out. But Lorenzo had been persistent. If he wasn’t so kind to Isabella, Antonia may not have relented. Even if he was the most handsome man she met in a while. The most handsome man she met since her ex-husband had walked out on their young family.
She bit the bottom of her Rubina lips, her pearly teeth smearing with berry red lipstick that a pink tongue quickly darted out to lick clean. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. Lorenzo’s good looks made her uncomfortable. Not only had her ex-husband made her wary of attractive men but Antonia also felt indubitably dowdy next to them. Living on an art teacher’s salary, constantly worrying about footing the bills and managing the expenses of rearing a two-year-old child could suck the glamor out of any person. What if he decided after their date that they did not suit? She would hate for things to get awkward between them and for her to lose such a great pediatrician. Read the rest of this entry »
Via: Daily Prompt – Replacement
I’ll be honest. The first thing I thought about when I saw today’s prompt was a certain new leader of a certain superpower. But I wasn’t in the mood to discuss partisan tyrants so I’m going with the second thing that came to my mind, which allows me to hope that all living things are indeed interconnected by the smallest unit of our organic structure regardless of how some wish to keep us divided. I’m talking about organ transplants and cellular memory phenomenon.
Did you ever see the movie Return To Me? Well, I thought about heart transplant, then that movie popped into my head and voilà. Return To Me tells the story of a woman who receives the heart of a man’s wife and then falls in love with him and vice versa. Of course, it’s a romantic dramedy so it only depicts the idea that receiving someone’s organ can change you through the most elemental of human emotions – love. But a little research will tell you that there have been numerous incidents recorded in medical science where people who underwent organ transplants experienced remarkable personality changes, eventually coming to learn that their new traits were shared by the persons whose organs they had received.
A woman who was never much of a reader forms a sudden affinity for classic literature after receiving her kidney. A man who had always been a go-getter alpha before his heart transplant listens to a British singer on the radio for the first time and breaks down into tears only to find out that it was his heart donor’s favorite song. Though scientists have yet to give cell memory phenomenon their full endorsement, studies now show more evidence that combinatorial memories stored in the neurons of the donor organs may be the cause of emotional and behavioral changes in recipients. Moreover, parallels between donor and recipient unknown to each other are most often found in physiological, cultural and social preferences apart from responses to name associations and sensory experiences.
That is how science explains it. Me? I think it’s just the fact that broken down to our very basics, we are all really related to one another and I, for one, take heart in that. It is a miracle of nature that should be cherished. So be more kind to each other, folks.
We were never pet people. Ours was a family compassionate to animals when the situation dictated but never imagined that one day we would have a set among our ranks. However, in the spring of 2009, three little surprise visitors forever changed the scheme of our household as they crept into our hearts and buried their claws deep.
It all started in the month of May when a giant ginger tom kept sneaking into our guest room. Mom had been insisting there was a cat living under the guest bed but, having searched the premises and finding no four-legged critter, we dismissed it as a random incident. But the cat sightings continued and with increasing frequency. Read the rest of this entry »
Via: Daily Prompt – Ten
When Alvin was born, the doctor counted, “Ten toes, eleven fingers.” A unilateral preaxial polydactyly affecting the right thumb, the nurse was instructed to fill in on his birth certificate form.
Alvin’s father wanted to have the extra thumb removed. The doctor confirmed it could be done without damage to the nerves. His mother opposed. She felt blessed that Alvin was born healthy. For any surface imperfections, they would battle negative discrimination together.
At home, Alvin felt none of the sting that came with being a human anomaly. His parents and elder sister showered him with all the love that was due a child. As he grew older, however, he started noticing disparities in the attention he received from people outside his family. Once, at the grocer’s, a boy had pointed his finger at Alvin and shouted, “Freak!” over and over again until the boy’s mother intervened. Alvin was too young to understand what freak meant but his mom explained it meant superhuman.
Superhuman. That was the word Alvin’s mom always used to explain away any prejudice measured at him. Though it did not keep him from noticing when the school sent his sister home for fighting with her classmates. His sister had whispered to their parents that she only fought because the other kids made fun of his thumb, but Alvin heard her anyway. By then he had come to ascertain there was something gravely wrong with his right hand. Yet when he approached his parents where they stood huddled with his sister to ask why the kids insisted on making fun of his thumb, his mother had confidently claimed it was because his thumb gave him superpowers and people always feared what they did not understand.
For awhile, Alvin believed he truly had superhuman abilities. He assumed it was still dormant and would be activated when the time was right. He waited and waited for that time to come. He did not mind waiting even though it meant he was not yet ready to go out and play with the neighborhood children without being bullied but he hoped he received his power before school started. Of course, it did not. Read the rest of this entry »
Title The Book of Love (originally titled The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea)
Starring Jason Sudeikis, Maisie Williams, Jessica Biel
Director Bill Purple
Written By Robbie Pickering and Bill Purple
Release Date January 13, 2017
Parental Guidance PG-13 for thematic content, language and drug materials
IMDB Rating 5.5
Synopsis: Henry is your average joe, his creativity only peeking out when he is off designing architecture for his real estate developer company, which is what he is brilliant at. The only thing that keeps his life from fading into the mundane is his oddball wife, Penny, whom he monikers hurricane. Penny tries to stamp her mark on Henry’s life by pushing him to do the eccentric things she lays out and simply “be bold!” Penny is expecting to deliver their first born in the coming month and he just gets an offer to be made partner at his office when Penny has a fatal road accident and Henry’s life is turned upside down. Recovery comes in the form of Millie, a homeless girl rummaging through his garbage. They interact over a cabinet he is ready to dispose of that she could use and she comments that the magenta sneakers he is wearing with his suit “is the shits”, which is what Penny had said to convince him to put them on the morning before she died, and he suddenly remembers that the last promise he had made to Penny was to help out the homeless girl who goes through their garbage. After a bit of harmless stalking, Henry discovers Millie is trying to build a raft to cross the Atlantic Ocean and he decides to dedicate all his time in helping her and in the process rediscovering his reason to go on.
Experience: Given the number of book-turned-movies playing at the cinemas these days, amazingly The Book of Love is not a book turned into movie. I walked into this movie without having seen the trailers or reading the synopsis, which in itself is very unusual for me. But I have always loved that Peter Gabriel song “The Book of Love” and find Jason Sudeikis one of the more versatile but underrated actors of Hollywood so it wasn’t difficult to hit the play button with so little nod to movie prerequisites. It turned out to be one of those uncalculated risks that provide the exact morale your life needs at the time.
While the plot was not something I would call riveting, the script has been very well written. Despite the lack of brief on its premise, I could pick up on the cues of what was about to come early on. The director cut straight to laying out who the lead characters are, that something was about to happen to render upheaval into this young couple’s lives. In fact, I could tell Penny (Jessica Biel) would die soon as she made Henry (Sudeikis) promise he would take care of the homeless girl if he meets her. I could also tell how much Henry doted on Penny by the way he gave in to her every whimsy regardless of the level of contrast they drew to his personality as well as work life (wearing the magenta sneakers with his suit to a major career altering meeting). I could smell the devastation brewing but not in the way that the end was given away. I did not feel like, oh! It’s just another movie about a guy getting over his wife’s death, I was intrigued by the idea of how… how will Millie (Maisie Williams) the homeless girl help him get over her death, how did he come to love her even? Obviously Millie is too young to be of romantic interest, which would have been just abhorrent so soon after Penny’s death.
The cinematography of the movie also sets the mood. The color scheme, mostly muted tones to set the atmosphere of loss with the only contrast allowed in the spaces of the house where Penny, who was also an artist, spent most of her time, like the kitchen or the bedroom. There is a lot of clutter everywhere that Henry goes, as though he needs to find a way to draw himself out of the rubble. The director used a lot of montages in the movie to pace the travel through time, both in flashbacks as well as how Henry’s life progresses. There are two junctures of the movie portraying the moments of changes in Henry’s life that really resonated with me. First, at the wake at the house, where everyone moves in slow motion, discussing the death matter-of-factly while Henry sits ignored until he really attempts to isolate himself. The other is when Julia (Mary Steenburgen), Penny’s mother triggers him into a panic attack when she pushes him into realizing that he might be having a breakdown as he risks his career to build a homeless girl build a raft to cross the Atlantics. Pivotal moments when Henry is both at his worst and his best because after each panic attack, he works out a puzzle, somehow left behind by Penny.
Which brings me to the overall theme of the movie. A bit of study online showed that the most highlighted quote from the movie is “Sometimes, things are better when they’re not perfect.” But I felt what defined the movie best was “Death ain’t about the people who died anyway. It’s about the ones who have the shit luck of having to go along without ‘em.” The central trope of the movie depicts how each character deals with Penny’s death. There is Henry, who after withdrawing into himself focuses his energy into fulfilling his last promise to Penny by helping Millie and thereby pushing further the moment when he must truly accept her absence in his life. There is Julia, who strives for control in Penny’s death just as she has during her life, and focuses on the minutest details involving the funeral, the obituary, charity, etc. as though it is just another responsibility she must take care of – clearly, her daughter leaving the world before her is a burden, especially given the guilt of never cherishing the time she had her. There’s Henry’s boss, Wendell (Paul Reiser) who lacks even the basic sense of empathy to put aside the company goals to allow Henry the time to grieve but you can also see how he is embarrassed by this lacking. There are even “Dumbass” (Orlando Jones) and Pascal (Richard Robichaux), the guys who were working on the renovation of the house and who were endeared by Penny who took care of them while they were around, who take it upon themselves to help Henry through his grief. Without revealing too much, in the end you get to see even Millie had a reason to deal with Penny’s death. But there is a likeness in the way both Henry (for Penny) and Millie (for her father) use fulfilling promises and the lost dreams to get over their own losses, which sort of answers the conundrum of the movie. I enjoyed how this theme remains consistently throughout the movie as each character’s arcs are developed.
When speaking of the characters, of course something must be said about the actors’ portrayals of them. First and foremost, I was thoroughly convinced by Sudeikis. Despite being a comic hero, he was able to invoke the tragedy Henry undergoes. In fact, I especially enjoyed the nuance he rendered the role with subtle moments of comic disaster he ends up in. Initially, I felt it a bit unbelievable that he could be propelled to fixate on the raft-building so soon after Penny’s death but his motivation came out to dispel that disbelief. Another actor I felt did a good job was Jones. He took what minimalist role he had and really bit into it. Williams, on the other hand, though played the other lead role, did not come into character until halfway through the movie. However, that might also be because her bayou drawl was a bit contrived and unnecessary even to the plot. Also, I could see how narration by Millie created bridges to allude to each segment of the movie, I did not really see why it had to be there. The only actor that really was the oddball was Biel’s. But while Penny the oddball was a necessary and endearing element, Biel was something the movie could have done without. Biel just did not have the ethereal quality that Penny needed to make her peculiarities blossom. In fact, Biel looked a bit haggard all through.
Recommendation: Again, if plots are dead important to you, I would suggest skip the movie. It is a bit whimsical yet ordinary, which the narrator warns of in the prologue of the movie. However, if you just like good character building, acting and enjoy a good script and direction, you will enjoy this movie like I did
Read Chapter 20 before you continue…
Matthew stared at the massive blank wall. He had it, along with all the other walls prepped for the exhibition, painted jet black with a finely grooved texture to make them appear as though it was suctioning the light out of the surrounding space. What little light he had left on, that is. Straying from the usual still exhibition format that displayed colorful arts on white surfaces in a brightly lit atmosphere, he had decided to showcase his series in a dimmed hall with strategically located accent lights. Soon photos developed in sepia hues would hang on black walls as though blossoming out of a void. Because that’s how the subject affected him these days.
Elaina had not relented to his plea. As promised, he had called her as soon as he returned to New York and numerous times in the week that followed, always with the same desperate reasoning to make her have faith in their relationship. While she received his calls, she had pointblank let him know that his return to Lainie’s Creek will not be welcome. She did not own a cell phone and it had costed him a bruised ego to so often call the ranch and ask for her only to have her tell him it was over between them – but he had done it nevertheless. He would have gone back to see her anyway if it were not for Hayden finally informing him during his call the night before his scheduled return flight that Elaina no longer wished to speak to him before hanging up sharply. After which, he had torn his air ticket and threw himself into his work.
Yet, try as he may to keep his mind and time occupied with teaching photography to college students or supervising the existing exhibition at the gallery or even shooting hoops with his friends, memories of Elaina was never far from his mind. He particularly missed her when developing the images for the Fall exhibition when even the photos without her in them brought on a wave of nostalgia of their shared experiences those summer days. Moreover, as he had sifted further and further through the photos, he soon realized that she occupied over sixty percent of the shots he had taken in Lainie’s Creek and most of the rest forty percent shots were also in some way linked to the story of this striking woman he had now pieced together. He had eventually embraced the inevitable and built the story of his series around her. Now with only two more weeks before “The Cowgirl” showcased, his mind was swimming with thoughts of the protagonist of his pictorial narrative more than ever, as though he had not last seen her two months, ten days and twenty-two hours ago.
“You should really turn on some more lights in here.” Read the rest of this entry »
Read Chapter 15 before you continue…
Madam Esmeralda truly appeared bewildered as she met Matthew’s gaze. “Hayden?”
Elaina was not fooled. She had visited Madam’s tent every year since she was a little girl with her friends to hear the old woman’s wild predictions. Esmeralda was not even her real name. When she was not moonlighting as a fortune-teller, the population of the county knew this old woman as the eccentric Widow Warren of Triple Axel, the adjacent town to Lainie’s Creek. It was true Widow Warren, née Mary Esme Smith, born and brought up in Lainie’s Creek, now lived in her deceased husband’s family home all by herself in the neighboring town, but she returned numerous times each year to take on her position as the county fair fortune-teller. Without any children of her own, the job afforded her an outlet to be around children and youths in the form of entertainment. She had seen all of Elaina’s friends and siblings grow up over the years and if she remembered Lainie Corey’s romantic misfortunes so clearly, she certainly was not going to forget the current Corey siblings in a hurry.
“Please don’t insult my intelligence by pretending not to know who Hayden is, Mrs. Warren,” retorted Elaina, dropping all pretense to the illusion of the role played by the older lady. “You know very well he is my brother just as I know you are no fortune-teller. Now fess up if he put you up to this.” Read the rest of this entry »
Read Chapter 13 before you continue…
In the end, Elaina and Matthew got less than an hour’s sleep before she had to sneak back to her room. The departure was reluctantly conceded by both and hindered by frequent kisses and playfulness and repeated promises to meet later in the day. But when they heard the sounds of breakfast being prepared in the kitchen, they agreed that it was indeed time for Elaina to head back to her room if they did not wish to create an awkward scene for everyone in the household.
Elaina felt different. It was perhaps clichéd but she did. She had breezed through her bedroom into her attached bath for a quick shower but when she returned, the place looked different. It was a room she had lived in all her life but suddenly the white filigree vine motif crisscrossing across her faded yellow wallpapers did not look like they belonged. She needed new wallpapers, perhaps in a more vibrant color. She knew she was being ridiculous the moment the idea popped into her head – she was setting too much store by one night. Granted it was a glorious night but not enough to change the wallpapers of her room, which have been hanging there for over two decades.
So she waited a half hour longer than it took to get herself dressed before she went down for breakfast. She figured it was long enough for Matthew to have his breakfast and take his leave. She was still not sure how she would feel about seeing him in the morning light now that she had been with him fully naked in moonlight. As expected, when she entered the kitchen, she only found her mother occupying it. Read the rest of this entry »
Read Chapter 12 before you continue…
He did not sound gratified as she had hoped. He did not even sound happy. Mostly confused. Elaina mentally rolled her eyes. She had been all but dancing naked before his eyes since he had arrived, he was staying over, and everyone was asleep. What did he think she was going to do with this opportunity – be a good girl?
“Surprise?” she ventured for airy but anxiety laced her voice nevertheless.
“I wasn’t expecting you,” he admitted the obvious sheepishly.
Sheepishly? She was standing in only one tiny piece of underwear beneath her oldest, flimsiest, most formfitting shirt and he was feeling sheepish? Part of her was losing her nerves – the part that was not busy feeling embarrassed and more than slightly resentful that he was not overcome with passion.
“I just thought,” she began and then stopped. She obviously thought too much. She was not the kind to inflame the senses of men; she was good old Elaina, one of the boys. Those stolen kisses in the stables, in the middle of the lake, etc. – those must have been about the moments. What red blooded American male could resist a soaked bedraggled cowgirl in the middle of the lake?
Elaina fumbled behind her back reaching for the doorknob, ready to make a hasty retreat, her proverbial tail between her legs since obviously nothing else was getting between them tonight. “Never mind what I thought. You go back to sleep.”
Matthew was on her before she managed to turn the knob, his palm firmly keeping the door pressed shut. “Where do you think you’re going?”