Category Archives: Stories

Hear Us, Love Us, Rescue Me

America’s greatest holiday and he’s away. Away on vacation with a family of his own? Some may consider it as such others call it his duty and right.

Meanwhile, I lie awake at night tossing and turning. I haven’t heard from him and I don’t expect to not for the next few days at least. You see, we’re on a schedule. Only once a week am I graced with his scruffy quiet voice as he whispers into my ear. But that’s only through an earpiece.

Seeing each other would be catastrophic and not for us but for the family who depends on him. The weight of the world is on his shoulders and I wouldn’t wish that feeling on my worst of enemies. It destroys a being, makes them lose their self. The small glimpses I see of him, I see the struggle.

Secretly, he wants to run away to the coast or to the tippy top of a mountain far from the demands of another. But, his knapsack holds him back. It’s filled with the memories and keepsakes of thousands depending on him.

So, he can’t come at my beck and call. He can’t lay by my side at peace. But, together, on opposite sides of the world, we can stare into the sky looking at the same sun, the same moon where I will pray for the slightest ease of pain that he may feel from a blast only feet away. And he will pray for the silence that the world must beg for.

Maybe together, he’ll come home someday.

Until then, I keep the porch light on and the bed warm so that when he does return, he’s more than welcomed to rest his weary spirit.

© 2017 Jessica Santos

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Twinkling Twilight

“Are you ready?” he asked looking down at her.

She shook her head, “No.”

He looked away and back at the view. He breathed in deeply then moved to stand behind her. With his chest pressed against her back, he leaned into her and braced himself on the wooden rail. She rested her weight on the rail and touched his hands with hers.

The sun was setting which radiated the scene with a fairytale like air. They watched the koi swim ignorantly in their lush pond. A slight breeze blew through and rustled the tree tops knocking a few leaves from their home. They drifted down and disturbed the koi who nibbled them thinking it was food. Somewhere above birds chirped and somewhere below a frog croaked.

Hidden amongst them in a makeshift Japanese tea house, they witnessed this secret life. None bothered them. It almost seemed as if they belonged there.

He pressed his lips against the back of her head and kissed her gently. She smiled.

“It’s been awhile,” she said.

He didn’t answer at first but watched as another leaf fell through the canopy and into a rock garden not too far off.

“It has,” he agreed.

She shifted around and turned to face him. Wanting more of his attention, she nudged his chin with her nose. He looked down and she felt as if he peered into her very being seeing past everything around them.

Tilting her lips upward, she kissed his lips. He returned the act. Her eyes shut then and she was lost within his delicious coffee laced lips.

When the kiss ended, he gave her three extra delicate pecks on the lips. He knew she loved it when he did that. It had to be three, too. He didn’t know where she picked it up but he wanted her to be happy.

“Are you happy?” he asked already knowing the answer.

She kissed his cheek and wrapped her arms around his neck whispering, “Yes.”

A smile grew on her face as she said that and she sighed deeply knowing it was time anyways. He let go of the rail then and wrapped his arms around her.

She nuzzled his neck as a pair of butterflies flitted around them. They froze and watched as they circled before flying off to join the others.

Pulling away, he kissed her lips and said, “Come on.”

Sighing, she nodded her head as they turned away. He linked his arms with hers and together they followed a short trail to their backdoor.

They wiped their shoes off on a matt and stepped inside. He left her side to grab a bottle of red wine. He didn’t care for it too much but he cared about her.

He poured them both a glass as she changed and grabbed a blanket from the closet. Once he had changed into a soft pair of old sweats too, he walked into the living room where she was stacking some wood in their stone fireplace. He left their glasses on the coffee table then and went to help her start it.

Soon, the fire crackled to life and they sat back against the couch on the rug laid out. A tv sat not too far off but instead he turned on some music and they watched the colors of the sunset reflect on the walls of their home.

He leaned over and kissed her again. Instinctively, she curled up closer to him and placed her hand on his chest. She looked up into his eyes and watched as the flames danced within them. He felt her gaze and glanced down at her.

She kissed his lips once, twice, three times. But, she wasn’t done. Abandoning her glass of wine, she yearned for his touch and he was more than willing to make her happy.

© 2017 Jessica Santos

Tender is the Night

It was late like it was most nights. But he had just walked in the door. He heard the soft stream of music coming from their living room so he knew she was in one of her moods.

Dropping his things by the door, he took off his shoes and followed the music. He peered in the large room and found a glass of wine half drunk resting on the coffee table and Charles, their dog, sitting up on the rug begging to be carried.

She was swaying to and fro as each rhythmic beat throbbed into her chest. Her cheeks were slightly flushed and her eyes were bright and weary. A glow seemed to cascade around her as he dimmed the lights and joined her on the imaginary dance floor.

He took her hand and spun her slowly as the song gently changed. She pulled in close to him and he held her tight neither wanted to let the other go. But as they swayed and twirled into the night, the candle she lit earlier began to flicker.

They were no longer alone as their shadows danced along beside them. Still, they remained oblivious to the other couple as they began to pull apart and gaze into mirroring eyes.

She tentatively reached up and touched his unshaven cheek. He smiled and watched her eyes begin to droop heavily. He knew that she didn’t want to end their moment, so he turned the music down then bent to pick her up.

He cradled her against his chest and rocked her in his arms then carried her off to bed when her eyes fluttered shut. Charles followed close behind and when she was placed under the covers, he snuck under the comforter and curled up in her arms.

Instinctively, she wrapped her arms around the precious dog and pulled him closer. But before she drifted asleep, she whimpered softly begging for her lover’s arms too.

With the music still playing in the background, he undressed and slipped under the covers. He heaved a satisfactory sigh and slid closer to her warmth.

Comforted by his presence, she pushed herself against his chest to further intoxicate her senses and in response, he kissed her neck and stroked Charles’ sleepily heaving sides.

Back in the living room, the sweet smell of the wine infused with the warm quiet air. The other couple danced their last dance and soon the candle flickered out. The music continued to play gently through the night and somewhere in a dream the first couple continued their night.

© 2017 Jessica Santos

A Mother Knows

It was the day before her tenth birthday and all the women sat around an old oak table. She listened closely around the corner as they began to mingle and gossip. The oldest talked about the past and hopes for the youth. The youngest shared their pain and hopes for the old.

Story after story was brought up until Mama finally spoke. Her ears strained to listen but she didn’t have to wait long.

“My baby is turning ten tomorrow and it only feels like yesterday I was rocking her to sleep,” Mama said.

“Come now. She’s still your little one,” assured Mama’s sister.

“Yes, but it isn’t long before she goes off to college,” Mama answered with worry in her voice.

“Sshh…child. She takes after her mother and is already following in your foot steps,” Grandmother said softly.

She pulled her ear away and tilted her head. She looked behind her and down at her feet. How did they know she was following Mama’s footsteps? How was that a good thing?

Curious to know the answer, she ran out from her hiding place and into Great Grandmother’s lap.

The little girl looked into each of the women’s eyes and asked, “Why is it a good thing I’m following Mama’s footsteps?”

Great Grandmother chuckled, “Because your mother is a hard worker and has come a long way. She’s doing well for herself. Don’t you want to do well too?”

Squirming under the watch of the women, the little girl nodded her head shyly and probed, “But, why must I follow her footsteps? Why can’t I create my own?”

Shaking her head in good humor, her mother stretched out her hand for her baby. The little girl walked over to her and Mama kissed her atop the head before saying, “She doesn’t mean that you won’t make your own footsteps. You can zig and zag as much as you want. Just don’t forget to come home to these arms, okay?”

The little girl’s eyes shone bright as she nodded her head and kissed Mama on the cheek. But before she ran off, Mama caught a glimpse of the many generations of women in their family and she knew that her baby would be just fine for the years to come.

© 2016 Jessica Santos

Her Little Secret

“Sshh,” she whispered.

Behind her, he paused in the doorway and watched as she bent over her overnight bag whispering softly to it.

He stood there for a bit but eventually shuffled his feet causing the wooden floor boards to creek alerting her to his presence. She hurriedly shut her bag and stowed it away beside his dresser drawer then spun around.

Innocently, she plastered a smile on her face and went to sit on the bed. But, her attempts to draw his attention away failed as he curiously walked over to her things.

He bent down and picked up her bag. He was about to unzip it when she rushed over and took it from him.

With worried eyes, she looked up at him and shook her head hugging her bag close to her heart. He didn’t say anything and instead crawled into bed leaving her to put it back.

When she did, she unzipped it and peered into its contents shaking her head and mumbling under her breath, “No…not tonight, not yet.”

Deciding to give her some privacy and a little bit of trust, he flipped over on his back and shut his eyes. She soon joined him on the bed and shut the light signaling for him to roll over and hold her close.

But, when he did, he felt something small and soft within her arms.

He kissed the back of her neck and whispered softly into the night, “Whose your friend?”

Instantly, he felt her instinctively squeeze whatever it was that she held closer to her. She didn’t say anything and he didn’t push her.

In the morning though, she had flipped over and was resting her head upon his chest with an old stained worn out plush dog resting in her arms. He smiled and chuckled softly to himself before kissing her awake.

She had forgotten about the toy but was soon reminded when he lifted his hand and patted the dog on the head.

Blushing, she hid her face behind her old best friend. But, he gently picked the toy up in his hands and turned it to face her.

Then, softly, he brushed the tip of Snow’s nose along her cheek much like any other dog would.

Years later, as she left the same bedroom one morning with their hungry four year old mutt, he picked up Snow from a chair sitting just within reach. He remembered how she once couldn’t bare to sleep without her and always reminded him of how she always wanted a dog for her own. It was then that she came back into the room and saw her in his hands.

She smiled at her childhood toy and sat beside him on the bed. He instinctively turned Snow to face her and just as he had done the very first day, he brushed her nose along her cheek only this time it was to wipe the tears away.

© 2016 Jessica Santos