fiction / Poetry / stories / Uncategorized

Ruby’s Story

Ruby sits in a chair on the 2nd floor landing

peering over the edge

waiting out her next

social security check

joining the gossip girls turned grannies

She group talks

through days that crawl

along the hands of a clock

Ruby wonders upon the comings and goings

of tenants and guests

offers unsolicited advice

her dark eyes darting

considering life before Hospice meetings

and AARP

There was another era

another place

with Joe

way before they were old

in the time of swing skirts

and bobby socks

They would take the Chevy

up to the bluff

and listen to

In the Still of the Night

I held you

Held you tight…”

That time of youth and beauty

romance bloomed purple

like the lavender bush

outside her window

Before Joe’s hands became calloused

with wear

before her heart became stone heavy…

there were malt shops

and charm filled nights

before Dak To and Ong Thanh

instead of Medicare

it was Jitterbug

and late nights with Sherlene

and not Ilene

comatose there in the corner

asking where Eddie Fisher was

No grand-kids hiding beer in the fridge

Ruby prefers those little bottles of cola

to bottles of pills

She wore Joe’s ring around her neck

closes her eyes and sees

the aqua booth and pink counters

Elvis on the jukebox

Joe’s black shoes shined up like new money

Years twirled

Joe succumbed to limitations

of his well-worn heart

leaving her heart solo

her eyes searching

for those familiar nights…


32 thoughts on “Ruby’s Story

  1. You very skillfully took me to an era I’m (far) too young to have experienced, LT. Another, yet another, excellent piece to add to your growing library of such efforts. 🙂
    Confessional time again… Never heard this song before either. What have I been doing these last fifty years!!!

    • My goodness, Phil, I don’t know what you have been listening too all this time, but stick with me, and I’ll introduce you to all sorts of music. I’m a huge fan of 50s through 80s music. That particular song is one of my favorites. Thank you for the lovely compliment!

  2. Poignant memories. Yes those are mine too. I grew up in the same era but I marvel at how the world changed and at my children and grandchildren and their dreams and ideas. The memories are wonderful and mine to keep forever but the future is an adventure and I will relish it for as long as possible and hopefully be able to add it to my memories.
    Well done.

    • Thank you so much. I missed the fifties, but I have always been enchanted by that decade and the music. In the Still of the Night is one of my favorite songs. I say you are right, we should enjoy all stages of life and add it to our library of life. My mother is convalescing in a rehabilitation center at the moment. I meet a lot of older folks. Some of them are a bit melancholy at loosing their spouses. I put myself into their shoes and try to imagine their life on a particular day. Thank you.

  3. This is beautiful and melancholy. The passage of youth into old age isn’t easy. Lots of losses with those wonderful memories. If we are lucky enough to live so long, we will have these moments too. ❤

    • Thank you, Diana. The passage is not easy, but yet there are many pros and cons of getting older. I think it is very difficult for folks who have had that one special love for a long time, then to loose that person. I put myself in their shoes to imagine a day in their life. I’m sure they have happier days too. xo

  4. Ruby’s memories are so real and vivid… beautiful writing, love the flashing between the present and the past, how her memories appeal to ALL of the senses. Well done, Lana! 🙂

    • Ah Joan, my lovely poet friend. I so enjoy your thoughtful comments on my work. I am working to engage all or almost all the senses with my poetry. I feel like I have come a long way since I’ve been keeping my WP blog. I still have miles to go before I sleep 😀 Thank you!

    • Thank you, Annika. I have always been infatuated with the 1950s, the music, fsshion, cars, and just that crisp feeling of living in a time without wars when families seemed to be stronger and things, in general, seemed much more simple.

      • Well, the ’50’ weren’t a time without war. The Korean war, 1950-53 was immediately followed by the Vietnam war, 1954-73. Behind that but very much in evidence everywhere was the Cold War, and of course let’s not forget the McCathy era of communist witch hunts that destroyed thousands of innocent lives in the US. Since WWI, America has actually never been in a state of non-war, although most were carefully hidden from the American public in order to keep up an image of America as a great country of peace and democracy. Americans bought it, the rest of the world didn’t. The other side of the 50’s was the huge surge in consumerism and the rise of deadly pesticides and herbicides that led to the writing of “Silent Sprint” by Rachel Carson and the partial destruction of the ozone layer by fluorocarbons, or refrigerants used in aerosol cans as propellant for, well, everything. Sorry, but the 50’s was a glitzy and dirty era that set the world on the irrevocable path of environmental degradation and global wars. That’s the side of the coin that has the mushroom cloud on it, not Elvis’ effigy. The Fifties was also the decade of the Edsel, and maybe that says it best. OK, so I’m old enough to have lived the Fifties, and I drove two 50’s monsters: a Buick Special and a Chev Biscayne… though that was in the Sixties… Well, you couldn’t go to high school and not have a car in those days.

      • I always forget about the Korean War as I was not alive in the 50s. The Vietnam War was far worse in the 60s. The first modern day superpower was Hitler’s Germany and the Cold War was the race to see who would inherit that title. Not that it was a good thing at all, but that’s the way I see it. Other countries have also shared in some less than sterling practices including slavery, persecution, labor horrors, pollution, human rights. America is far from perfect and the only people who thing it is are wearing Make America Great Again hats. If you thing the past is bad, then brace yourself as we begin this new era. Truly there are both good and bad things inherent in any time period. Some of the better was the invention of rock n roll, women had the option of working and people who built houses could afford to live in them. As far as superpowers go, guess we would have had the choice of Russia, China, America or the Third Reich.

  5. Some of the better was the invention of rock n roll, women had the option of working and people who built houses could afford to live in them. OK, so I’m old enough to have lived the Fifties, and I drove two 50’s monsters: a Buick Special and a Chev Biscayne… though that was in the Sixties… Well, you couldn’t go to high school and not have a car in those days.

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