Posted on December 1, 2013 by Patricia Ann McNair12.1.2013 Journal Prompt Image from Fantabulosa December 1, 2013: He lived alone. Share this:ShareClick to email a link to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading... Related
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Edouard tells stories, slow and unfolding, and all his words small as whispers. And some of the things he says are so fantastical they might not be believed: stories of birds that talk in rhyme, or cats that steal pennies from purses and keep them tucked into mouseholes, or dogs that are always drunk. ‘Mary,’ he says, ‘you must listen.’
And Edouard walks from one room to another, creeping like a thief, and his stories pulled after him. From study to kitchen and the kettle set to boil and two cups on two saucers and the music of a silver spoon ringing against china, for Mary takes sugar where he does not. And Edouard keeps on with his tales and he dances a soft shuffling step and he thinks Mary dances after him, and they are both of them breathless and laughing till the tea is poured.
Then to the table and Edouard pulls a chair out for Mary to sit at and he sets her cup and saucer down before her and a small plate with four chocolate digestives placed in a careful arrangement, two for Mary and two for himself. And he sits in the chair opposite, and he smiles, and he carries his stories forward.
And the birds are mocking birds and they make fun of men who are young and in silly love; and the cats have enough put by they can buy their own fishing tackle, rod and line and hook; and the dogs lie on their backs and they snore like pigs, and one there is who is sick as only a dog can be. And Edouard laughs and maybe Mary laughs too, though she feels sorry for the dogs.
Sometimes he writes the stories down so they can be told again. And the mocking bird rhymes he sets to music and he teaches Mary how they must be sung. And the cats cast their hooks into the river and are soon fat cats with all the fish that are caught. And the dogs wake to the sun in their eyes and a new thirst on them. And Mary asks that the dog story might have a happier end this time.
So, Edouard scratches his head and he bites at his bottom lip and he looks past Mary to the pattern in the wallpaper. Edouard is thinking, considering, and because Mary has asked, the stories take a new path. And the lovers have the last laugh, for the mocking birds are baked in a pie, a dainty dish to set before a king, or before Mary. And the fish are now wise and they do not bite and the penny pinching cats grow thin as cats must be, thin enough they can slip through the cracks of open doors. And the dogs are given saucers of water pulled from a well and the lap of a gentle lady to sleep in and she makes much of them and strokes their ears and pats their backs. And Mary can smile now.
And Edouard sets down his pen and he closes his book. He turns out the light and ascends the steep stairs to bed. He undresses in the near dark and slips quick as silver between the covers, and he is still talking: a new story he is making for Mary, the words turning over and over in his mouth, like pebbles rolling in a river and made smoother and smoother with each turning. And he says for Mary to listen and he says please and pretty please.
But there is no Mary. Not for years and years. And Edouard’s stories have no ear these days to hear them and no one to read them to when they are written. No laughter or dancing or song; Edouard lives alone, but that is not the story he tells himself.