The Neighbors

Putting My Feet in the Dirt December Writing Prompt#3- Just Neighbors

They lived two doors down from us- I think at one point they were a family of five but the kids grew up and left home and that left the woman and her husband.

Their last name was Trowbridge- I think her name was Gillian and his name was Simon.

Sometimes we heard the two of them yelling at each other and sometimes we saw them outside working in their yard and their dog used to run around in circles chasing it’s tail.

It could do that for five or ten minutes, it  used to make me dizzy just watching it.

One winter I was looking out the living room window and saw Gillian slip in the driveway and then I saw her call someone on her phone.

About 15 minutes later I  was leaving through my front door to check the mail and saw Simon helping her up. She walked behind him slowly and when he turned around I heard him say,  ” I was on the other line. Sorry. Alright? I’m sorry.”

Two years ago I saw a moving van pull up and the movers took out boxes and some furniture. One of the grown children came for the dog. The last time I saw  Gillian she was standing in the doorway and then she turned around and went inside.

An hour later the lights went off and I never saw anyone go in or out of the house. The yard grew wild and one day we came home from work and the landscapers were just leaving.

That night the Police came and a little while after that the coroner’s light gray van pulled up and we saw them take someone out on a stretcher.

After all of the cars had gone from Gillian’s driveway,  Mr Phipps who lived across the street from the Trowbridges  saw us standing in our yard and he walked over to give us the skinny.

Mr Phipps told us that Simon had left Gillian a few years ago and she kept the house- he had assumed that meant she still owned it, he had no idea she had been living in it all that time.

Then Mr Phipps looked at Gillian’s dark house and he said, ” I heard she hung herself in the attic.”

Her attic window faces my loft window- we use the loft as a rec room- and we do spend a lot of time up there.

Mr Phipps cleared his throat and I suppose he was wondering if I had absorbed the fact that Gillian  hung herself in front of a window that I could see easily from my house.

The thing is  I  never noticed anything out of the ordinary or strange..  I’m not sure what Mr. Phipps wanted me to say.

” I honestly never saw anything- I mean. We were just neighbors.”


Word of the Day Challenge: Desperation

Dear Mr Dickens,

As you know I spend the fall an winter months reading your books and short stories.

I read them slowly because I love to savor each word, I want to let the images come together in my mind’s eye bit by bit, and I have to admit I spend more time with your darker characters then I do with your more noble creations.

So this year, Mr Dickens I am wondering what sort of stories would you write if you could see the world I am living in today.

It’s almost Christmas, there is a Plague burning it’s way across the United States and a percentage of our population has no problem with risking other people’s lives so that they can go out and get drunk, hang out at the mall or get their nails done.

I hope I don’t turn into Miss Havisham- but at this point in time I totally get her.

But I digress.

I do wonder what kinds of stories you would tell- would you find endearing characters? Would you be able to recall the places, the way they were lit what they felt like and smelled of?

Would you want to?

I can’t do that Mr Dickens, my eyes are shut so tight against the world and what I see everyday that I don’t know if I will be able to open them again.

I am in a desperate situation and I’m not sure what to do.

So when I go out and walk my dog, when I ride the train home, when I have to interact with my neighbors or people at work, I asked myself –

What would Charles Dickens Do? Would he absorb this grim gray world and then write about it? Would you want the decay and hatred to worm it’s way into your skull on purpose?

Would you do that for a story  Mr Dickens?

I wonder.

Photo A.M. Moscoso




Hogamadogs and Snow Blossoms

Word of the Day Challenge: Hogamadog

I used to sled through a cemetery

down the street from where I lived

the rone and snow beneath the runners

sped me through life not death.


 Aquabobs,  and snow blossoms

dressed the trees and shrubs

Hogamadogs  and snowbones

decorated and lined our path

through the rows of forgotten sleepers

dreaming of winters past.


( If you are curious, yes I really did used to sled through a cemetery )

19 Old Cold Weather Words to Get You Through Winter