Unearth your Spirit of Altruism

Give a little and Gain So Much More

You may be the one jumping in to help out at work with tasks beyond your normal scope of duties because of a fast approaching deadline or the parent teachers appreciate. because you help out at the school, be it in the child’s classroom, the library or taking the day off to chaperon the school day trip.

How about where there is no direct or indirect, tangible or otherwise benefit to the giver; that is, service essentially done out of sheer altruism.

Research shows that amongst the many advantages of volunteering is that it shifts the focus from the individual to others.  Although the focus of this article is on traditional face to face volunteering it is worth mentioning that there are remote volunteering opportunities which offer the added convenience of making that difference sometimes from the comfort of wherever you have internet access.

Continue reading Unearth your Spirit of Altruism

Flash Fiction – Forever Hold your Peace or Pace or Pain

“Tiffany, I am confused or is this some sort of twisted joke?”

“Blaine it is in both our interests to end this thing between us.  I have accepted Roy’s proposal.  We get married a week from today, next Saturday.  I cannot do this anymore… not knowing for certain how much longer you will be away is emotionally draining…”

Only a few hours earlier he had gone over how he was going to surprise Tiffany with the good news of his early release from deployment.  His assignment was officially over on Sunday.

“I guess the surprise is on me”

There was silence and then continued.

“Tiffany, hold off on the wedding plans.  I will be back in about three days”

All seemed to working against him, beginning with the cancellation of his connecting flight after a two hour delay due to inclement weather, but Blaine arrived town in the wee hours of Saturday; just enough time to make it to the combined wedding ceremony and reception venue.

“Tiffany don’t do this to us”.  Tiffany recognized the voice and rushed over.   The sudden commotion in the back interrupted the ceremony. On the cold concrete floor, Blaine lay in a fetal position clutching onto the ipecac bottle.

A few minutes, earlier upon arrival, Blaine had helped himself to some of the punch at the beverage table.  Desperate as it was, he was left with little or no choice.  The timing had to be executed with laser precision.

At that moment, the retching began.

The original response to a Flash Fiction writing prompt has been modified.

The Conclusion – Have Something to Say

Meeting at Zuby’s Café at 4pm

As the hour drew closer, the knots in her stomach seemed to expand by the minute.   It did not help that she was running a bit late.  As she stepped over the wood threshold, she quickly skimmed the sitting area of the cafe.  Just then Mezu sidled up to her.

“Oh my you are just getting here as well”.  Bisi was grateful for his relaxed attitude which eased her anxiety.

“Pardon me for being late.  I sent you a text.  There was an accident on the highway.”

Within a couple of minutes of being seated, their server had taken their drink orders.

“Since there is really no pretty way to go about this, I am going to jump in right away.”

Mezu recalled:

“I must admit I was already in somewhat of a funk but it got worse after our breakup.  I felt rejected and inadequate. I needed to clear my head so once I was done with a series of interviews, I travelled home to visit my parents for the holidays.  My fortune seemed to have taken on a new dimension or so I thought that day at the village fundraiser with Idara my cousin.  That was when I first spotted Akunna.”  

Idara pulled a chair next to his cousin’s who appeared preoccupied.  He followed Mezu’s line of sight which rested on the young lady.  There was a young girl by her side. 

“Cuz some flower seems to have caught your attention” Idara’s  gentle elbowing interrupted his concentration.

On occasion, Mezu had to remind himself that he was the older of the two because of Idara’s special way with words.  That sounded like something his grandmother would say.   He construed Idara’s reference to a “flower” as the young lady in the distance.  Continue reading The Conclusion – Have Something to Say

Potent – Flash Fiction

Her ears perked up with the alacrity of a response to a drill sergeant’s orders.  Home alone with a horror movie marathon session as her company of choice for the evening, she could never be too cautious.

The screams were more than a few decibels louder than the audio streaming from the TV.  The frenzied pitch was unnerving.  As she pressed on the volume down arrow of the remote, the screams seemed even more intense.

Barreling down the hallway towards the screams, she thought to herself even at Usain Bolt’s pace she could not get to her “baby” fast enough.  Its intensity escalating by the nanosecond.

Jason! Jason! Jason!.. All she received in response were more screams in the direction of his room.  She froze in her tracks…shreds of fabric, picture frames knocked over, feathers, and wallpaper strewn all over the floor.

He bolted towards her. Almost knocking her over, she managed to tip her weight,  shifting her right foot forward.  Latching onto her waist, the sobs and shivers could not be controlled.

His room looked like a tornado casualty but with the walls still standing.  With the ripped pieces of Jason’s best speller award around them, hands still resting on his shoulders she stooped to his eye-level, “Jason what happened here?”

Nedu followed his fingers as he pointed towards the wood floors.

Just then she noticed a dark tray with what looked like cracked egg shells.

Right on cue, one, two, three, six, after ten, she lost count; egg yolk yellow chicks, with streaks of green and blue feathers around their protruding bellies, each about the size of her fist, come traipsing out from under his bed.  Small but mighty.

 

This original entry in response to a flash fiction writing prompt has been modified.

Have Something to Say (II)

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Two and a half years earlier

It was a longer than usual weekend for Mezu.

The first couple of days were absolute bliss but after three days of being cooped up in his condo, Mezu was certain he either get out and get some fresh air or let Mr. Cabin Fever have a field day with whatever was left of him.

Sprawled on his royal blue tufted chaise lounge, at the foot was a copy of the Thursday edition of the C-Metro express paper perched on the lattice side paneled wood end tables. Mezu had been staring at the paper for the last few minutes, which only seemed to stare back at him. The center fold advertisement in the metro express had the event for Sunday at 4pm. Shifting his gaze from the muted TV, he settled on the pendant light hanging above him for a few seconds before zoning in on the time display on the TV. It was on the TV guide station. It was 2.45pm.

An hour later, he walked past the stained glass mural next to entry way leading into the “Sub Sahara Africa on Display” art exhibition and reception. In the short walk from the parking lot to the gallery, Mezu could already feel the bounce in his step and his dulled senses beginning to wake up from their slumber as the fresh, cool air ever so slightly brushed his face. The warmth of the sun on his neck and back was invigorating. For Mezu, It appeared to be shaping up to be a pleasant evening.

As he turned around the corner, he could not help but notice a small group of viewers gathered around one of the docents.  They had their backs to him, facing a piece with an interesting blend of colors done on canvas.  Just as he made his way to the group, he was stopped in his tracks.  First struck by her beauty, but it was her name tag that piqued his interest even more.  She seemed preoccupied so Mezu walked up to her side and said “Bisi Dumebi, that is different. This may come across as presumptuous, but let me guess you are Nigerian?”.

Resting his finger on his temple he continued “Based on your name, one parent is Yoruba, your mother perhaps and your father is Ibo right?”

Bisi was taken aback by the young man’s forwardness. Even more disconcerting, was his voice. It reminded her so much of her dad. As she turned slightly in the direction of the voice, she gave a mirthless smile. Continue reading Have Something to Say (II)

Begin Where?

Friday Fictioneers: Begin Where?

 begin-the-route

Where do I begin?

It is all here.  The big, the small and even the tall; the old and even the brand new.  It may be intimidating for some and exciting for others.  Exciting for me, because I thrive on chaos, albeit organized but I am sure the obsessive compulsive may disagree.

Wrapped in his story or and her, there is a richness and there is grimness.

Whatever the case you will agree, it’s a medley and that mix is what piques my interest.

For starters, Historic Route 66, does it really begin here?

 

 

 

Friday Fictioneers  Friday Fictioneers provides an opportunity to write flash fiction once a week.  This week’s photo prompt is from Jean Hays and copyrighted to her.  Other stories are linked by clicking on the this hyperlink.

 

Have Something to Say (I)

Things seemed to be moving along in their relationship so the last thing on her mind when Mezu called to cancel their date was his proposal.  At first, she could not make out everything he was saying because his voice kept on breaking up due to the poor phone connection.  But in no time, Bisi heard him loud and clear.

Mezu proposed they take a break from each other to think about what they each want in a long term relationship because he had been doing some serious thinking about them and he had his reservations. The fact that she no longer spent the weekends at his place suggested to him they were drifting apart.

Bisi was shocked because when they had that discussion he seemed to be ok with it.   Continue reading Have Something to Say (I)

Have Something to Say

This was the second time within the hour that Bisi’s phone had vibrated since they arrived the restaurant. She had ignored the earlier buzzing because she was famished.  By the time their two hour photography workshop was over, Bisi and Eva had worked up an appetite and without hesitation settled on a lunch spot known for their mouth-watering cornbread.

Eva was Bisi’s closest friend from church. They hit it off after she participated in her first women’s ministry prayer challenge. Eva was her partner. She was already familiar with Eva’s work and could only gush with praise at their first meeting about the brilliant job Eva had done with the mother’s day collage video. Eva in her modest way was quick to state her gratitude to God. “My prayer is that I use that talent to serve others and honor my Heavenly Father”.

Feeling around her bag, she looked up from her meal “Eva, thanks again for letting me in on the class. It has definitely reignited my interest in photography.”

Eva seemed to be taking in the elegant 1950’s glamour themed ambiance of the bank-turned-restaurant. The dimmed lighting added to the relaxed and cozy feel. The music selection alternated between classics by Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong.

Bisi’s dry cough jolted Eva and quickly realizing her blunder, she said “Bisi, I am sorry. I can’t help it. This place is exquisite.”

Bisi had missed three calls; one from her mother, another from her sister and the third number was Unknown.   As she listened to her messages she made a note to text her sister the information on the travel agent. With the time difference back to five hours, she had an extra hour to call her mother in Nigeria.

Bisi looked up at her while tucking her phone into the front pocket of her crossbody. “if I want to catch the next train, I need to get going”.

“I can give you a ride.

Half hour later standing in her foyer, she felt a vibration. It was an Unknown Number. She swiped the green icon on her phone display with her thumb.

“Hello….   Hello…”. No response. Just as she was about to hang up.

“Hi Bisi, its Mezu”

Bisi glanced at her phone screen again as if to confirm this was not all her imagination.

“I am sure, I am the last person you were expecting to hear from.”

Continue reading Have Something to Say