Home from Home?? ~~ by Christine Larsen

Home from Home?? ~~ by Christine Larsen

The first raindrops hadn’t registered in her ears or mind; so light and far between were they. Little more than a soft breeze drove them… at first.

Rachel peered out the window – even opened it slightly, hopeful of a welcome freshness. A cleansing, she thought. God knows how much we need that. And she imagined luxuriating in a hot shower instead of that hated yet strangely welcome ‘basin bath’. OK for Josh, with his typical young boy aversion to soap or anything that smelled clean! But not Penny. At this age, she’d take a contrary stance to Josh on anything and everything… and to most other boys as well.

The surrounding gloom dragged Rachel’s heart and soul down, deepened by the earliest light of day remaining hidden behind a vast, solid-looking wall of clouds. A quick glance at her old, trusty watch confirmed daylight was near. She smiled. You never let me down old friend.

A deafening clap of thunder drove all else from mind as the gentle thrumming abruptly changed tempo. Impossible to tell whether huge raindrops or hailstones were battering the bitumen stretching emptily away. Rachel’s mental meanderings washed away as cleanly as layers of dust from her family car.

I’ve always loved hearing rain on a roof, she thought. Always. But  I never thought we’d be hearing it quite like this.

 Her sadness and despair deepened. He’d threatened to take everything many times but she found herself refusing to accept a Liam so cruel, a break so brutal. This was not the man she’d married; the life they’d planned to build and share.

“And the children?” she’d asked, and heard her voice wearing an unfamiliar cloak of desperation. Surely parental love would sway him? But this stranger with Liam’s face refused to acknowledge feelings, reasoning, logic. Nothing moved him. He simply didn’t care.  His rejection was just as final for these children he’d fathered.

“They’ll be fine,” he continued as if having an everyday chat about shopping, or taking Josh to football practice, Penny to ballet class. “You’ll see to that. You always do.” Now his voice held an unexpected venom, as he grabbed her chin and shook it threateningly. An unpleasant, coppery taste filled her mouth, nearly quenching that newly found determination. You won’t hit me again… not now, not EVER again.

“You’re so bloody good at EVERYTHING, right?” But she wasn’t.  Especially when she discovered all their important documents bore only his name. Everything except clothing. Hers and their children’s.  Only a fraction of their possessions could come along to their gypsy-like existence – sleeping in the car, night after endless night as they waited… and waited for that  ‘emergency’ housing. Hmmph… some emergency! Tears of anger threatened the iron reserve of her public face. Alone whilst Penny and Josh slept through restlessness and an odd moan breaking through, she could drop her guard.

Abruptly, beads of sweat pearled Rachel’s lip as a shadow loomed outside the fogged up windows. Previously she’d left back windows open only inches to avoid giveaway signs of occupancy within their darkened car; a forlorn hope to not alert security guards. Last time, they were kind enough, but it was their job to move squatters on – even in the middle of a lonely night.

Now, Rachel dared not wipe the smallest peephole for fear of what she might discover only inches away. Elbows pressing into her sides, she tried making her body even smaller in a desperate attempt at concealment. Her grip tightened on the knife beneath her pillow, never slackening even when that shadow melted away. Had he really gone?  A major distrust of men now haunted her.

At last, Rachel’s eyes were forced into a kind of lockdown, after tearing up once too often from strained staring at elusive shapes that were mostly her imaginings. Her rest was never complete, always grabbed in fits and starts until the next foreign sound set off her personal alarm. Like little Josh’s beloved teddy bear, she figured –

‘Someone’s got to keep their eyes open all the time.’


OMP Admin Note:  Christine Larsen is a writer, farmer, wife, mother, and grandmother from Australia. She has never been homeless or had significant cancer – yet – but has had exposure to both – creating a great sense of empathy and desire IMG_7208to help in any way she can. She is humbled by the opportunity to give one of her stories to the sincerely worthwhile causes of Cancer research and Homelessness.

To find out more about Christine and her work:

ceedee moodling  (Christine’s website)

Christine Larsen, Author

 – on Wattpad

–  on Facebook

– on Tablo

– on Amazon

Old McLarsen had some Farms (farming memoirs)

ceedee4kids (Christine’s children’s book site)


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Stop Saying It’s About Feminism

Written by Melissa Volker

Fandoms are passionate. Some more than others. It might seem odd to pen a piece about a fandom’s reaction to casting, because, well…it’s a TV show! But I am a fan and the cultural response is worth looking at.

The bruhaha over the new choice for Doctor Who has stirred the fandom pot with Traditionalists simply crossing their arms with a firm, simple, “No”, Change-Avoiders having panic attacks, hugging themselves and whimpering, “No no no no”, Haters (who aren’t true members of the fandom, in my opinion) who will hate no matter what, and yes, Sexists who simply state that a woman has no business playing that role.

I’m intrigued by all of these negative reactions. I understand some of them. I agree with none of them.

But what is most bothersome to me, to be honest, is the slew of women coming out swinging with a feminist rant. Accusing opposers of the choice of wanting to keep women in the shadows, oppressed, that by their thinking women should still be barefoot and pregnant and in the kitchen.

I’m sorry, WHAT? No. Just no. Please, ladies, everything is not a feminist dig and making it so diminishes the things that are.

Doctor Who has progressed with female characters throughout its run. Rose Tyler was no wallflower or pushover. Donna Noble pushed the Doctor around and saved the world. River Song – excuse me…but if ever there was a character that was most like The Doctor but female…there she is.

That’s not what this casting choice is about. It’s about more. It’s about less.

Casting a woman as Doctor Who is on one hand a choice to move the show overall in a different direction, to stir the pot, keep it new, create challenges that will keep the show interesting and save it from growing staid and stale.

Cries of ‘mythology foul’ because a child was sired in the past doesn’t make sense on many fronts, not the least of which is that if the show stayed true to original mythology then it would be over, as Matt Smith’s Doctor had run out of regenerations.

Mythologies can be creatively tinkered with.

Foul that ‘he’ has “always been a man” rings about as valid to me as “it’s always been done this way”. Both arguments, used alone as a reason, are almost always certain to lead to doom.  What’s more The Master had been a man as well, but recently regenerated into Missy but the same uproar wasn’t heard. Why? And if anyone needed proof that a canonically male character could be played by woman, she was it.

But back to the feminism thing. Here’s why it’s not about feminism…

The entire last season dropped hints and laid seeds on something else: gender. The first openly gay character became The Doctor’s companion. That openly gay character ended up flying off into the sunset with an alien who had kept its human form — a female. The end of the series dropped all sort of hints:

 

DOCTOR: She was my first friend, always so brilliant, from the first day at the Academy. So fast, so funny. She was my man crush.

BILL: I’m sorry?

DOCTOR: Yeah, I think she was a man back then. I’m fairly certain I was, too. It was a long time ago, though.

BILL: So, the Time Lords, bit flexible on the whole man-woman thing, yeah?

DOCTOR: We’re the most civilized civilization in the universe. We’re billions of years beyond your petty human obsession with gender and its associated stereotypes.

 

And near the end:

MASTER: Do as she says… Is the future going to be all girls?

DOCTOR: We can only hope.

 

This is not about feminism. It’s about gender. About what gender means. The Doctor can be in a female body (just like Missy), but still must be The Doctor — with the same memories, the same personality traits, the same struggles and approach to her role in the universe. She will move in a female form but Who she is must remain constant. It speaks to what gender really means and how little an impact it could (perhaps should) have. Gender fluid, non-binaries already get this. It’s Who they are. This could very well illustrate it for the rest of us.

It also offers tremendous story opportunities in reconciling a new female body with his/her past. River Song, for instance. Which again, ties back to gender identity/fluidity.

And simple humanity.

I’m not with the show. I have no idea of intention. But if you look at dialogue, off-hand remarks given by Capaldi’s Doctor this whole last season, I do think the show has chosen to walk the path of gender being unimportant. It is the character that matters. The spirit, the mind, the intention. What body that travels in is irrelevant.

Art has always been a mirror for the world. Doctor Who has been around for so long that in order to survive and stay fresh, to speak to each new generation and build on the fanbase, it must evolve. This is Who we are now. Who we are becoming. This generation is more tolerant, accepting and has more people identifying as gay or, more importantly, in fluid ways than ever before. They are saying that gender is irrelevant. It’s not the focus.

If that’s Who we are becoming, why not Doctor Who.

I will bet that for every angry, petulant and disappointed “No”, there will be a handful of, “Well…duh.”

But beyond all that…it’s just damned cool, it’s a big yay for female cosplayers, and I, for one, cannot wait to see where this Doctor takes us.

It’s a wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey adventure! Enjoy the ride!

But please, stop saying it’s about feminism.


ABOUT ME:

Daughter of a playwright/novelist and a poet, Melissa Volker’s debut novel, Delilah of Sunhats Swans was praised by Alice Fulton, Guggenheim Fellow Poet, who said, “Delilah…is a charmer, a being blessed with a charisma as mysterious as it is luminous. You won’t soon forget her.”  It was followed by a collection of short stories and a novella, ‘a life undone’ and in total she has published six novels that include a YA scifi/paranormal and a middle-grade fantasy adventure.

A member of The Straw Dog Writer’s Guild , she recently won Words and Brushes third Collaborative Competition with her short story, ‘Truths’, which can be found on their website.

She is a total geekgrrl, Marvel fanatic and Wonder Woman wannabe (Thor would be cool, too). She cries at commercials and is a proud and loyal Huffelpuff.

 

You can find out more at her website: http://www.melissavolker.