When I was little, I was the target of jokes of choice for my classmates, because I couldn’t speak properly Spanish. I had went to school not knowing a single word of the language, because we were immigrants and at home we spoke Croatian.
I was constantly making mistakes and messing words. I remember that even the teacher laughed on me once I made a mistake when I was trying to tell her that I wanted to leave because I was having a migraine and she provoke, with her answer, the laughter of the whole class. I was really desperate so I left and went home.
There was another little girl with problems with the Language. We didn’t know, but she had a neurological illness. She had trouble understanding the meaning of some words. Sometimes, the teacher asked us one by one about the correct use of some prepositions or adverbs and that girl always failed. The others laughed at her. Not me. I found it too cruel. I couldn’t but feel sorry for her.I wanted to help her but I didn’t know how .
Not too long after that, she died from her illness. That day all the jokes and laughs in the classroom became bewilderment and tears.
Ragtag Daily Prompt: Target
Over here we have many gastronomic societies. Some of them are simply that: a group of friends who get together to have a very good cooked meal in a nice environment.
But there are others that are organized to celebrate the wonders of a particular product: So we have The brotherhood of white asparagus, The brotherhood of olive oil, the brotherhood of the red pepper and many more. All of them, or almost all, with their medieval looking banner, its uniforms (hats with feathers and long cloaks) and its ancestral language to make public proclamations. They don’t have reunions or assemblies , they have “Chapters”. When they admit new members, usually among famous people they organize a ceremony imitating the order of ancient knights. And they finish with a nice banquet. Of course.
I’m sure they have a great time tasting their favourite meals doing those things. What I don’t understand is why a bunch of grown men have such a need to disguise themselves and play that way.
I have to say that most of their time, when they are not in Chapter or ordering new members, they spend it working to promote their product in the market, That is true.
Ragtag Daily Prompt: Atavism
My city keeps its ancient walls all around the old quarter, with its bastions, battlements, bulwarks, part of its moat, its beautiful citadel, even a gate with a wooden drawbridge which is still working.
Obviously, they no longer are used as a defence against the enemy, and around the city walls there are parks and green areas. When I was a kid I used to play knights and princesses over there with my brother and my sisters.
A stick as a sword and our imagination in such a scenery made wonders. We made up thousand of stories; each one more fantastic than the previous. We could play for hours and never get bored.
Now I don’t see so many children playing around the city walls the way we used to. Maybe knights and princesses and castles are not “cool” any more, or maybe is hard for kids to imagine adventures of the lost centuries outside a video game. Who knows!
Ragtag Daily Prompt: Bastion
Many years ago, I worked as an intern in a radio station making interviews and reporting about culture. I had to fill a space of three minutes with news about the music events in the city. One day I had prepared an interview with the conductor of an orchestra who was going to perform that evening the Brahms Symphony Number 3. But he failed me at the last moment. I was in a pickle! I had three minutes empty to fill with whatever.
I decided to search in the archive of the radio station the record of the Symphony and talk a little about it and about the orchestra, but the archive was very messy. Plus I have a kind of dyslexia, so instead of looking for the box with the label Brahms Symphony number 3, I was looking desperately for the label Symphony number 1.
The clock was ticking And I heard from the archive my boss on air saying: “…and in a few seconds our contributor Olga will tell us the lasts news about culture in our city”.
So I prayed with all my strength: dear God let me find the record! …And suddenly I saw it! The box with the label I was looking for: the Symphony Number 1.
I took it and went running to the studio, gave it to the technician and sit down next to my boss, ready to talk at the microphone. When I checked to my notes, I realized in dismay my mistake. But just then, the technician put on the record and the music that sounded was the Symphony number 3 . The one I needed. The record was inside the wrong box! . I had would never found it if I hadn’t made that mistake with the numbers.
I really think my prayers were heard that day.
Ragtag Daily Prompt: Pickle
I hate being negative, but purple reminds me to the dead, because is the colour of the funerals in the church.
I have too recent my mom’s funeral, with all the priests dressed in purple chasuble, singing songs about the everlasting life, in wich I firmly believe.
It was a very sad day, because is always hard to say good-bye. Above all when there is so much love involved.
Now her home is no longer a home, but a strange empty place. It was also a day of hope, because she went to a better life, stopped suffering and finally rested. And I’m sure she’s now with dad in heaven, wich was her biggest wish.
But we, down here, would like to have her more time, to hear her stories, laugh with her, feel her love for us, her children.
I have spent my last five years taking care of her since she had a stroke. I still getting up in the morning thinking: I have to go to take care of mom… And then the harsh truth strikes my mind like a hammer. I have no longer where to go.
Well, I have found places to go and things to do, but without mom.
My life has changed completely.I miss her badly.
Ragtag Daily Prompt: Purple
Slippery and treacherous
Beautiful and wild
The river in all my dreams
Living your dreams, and your nightmares
Speaking about nightmares is dangerous. I don’t know if there are out there reading this , dream interpreters who can deduce things about my inner self I don’t want to reveal.
I’ll write though about a recurring nightmare I have had for a long time.
To explain it I have to describe a little one of the main streets of my city. It has two big roundabouts with a big fountain in the middle. When I was a kid, I couldn’t distinguish one from the other and I thought that there was only one fountain, so I couldn’t understand why sometimes there were certain buildings around and sometimes there were other buildings completely different. When I went for the first time for a walk with my parents all the way down that street and we passed by the two fountains, I understood and got somehow oriented.
In my nightmare I’m out doing some errands and arrive to one of the roundabouts. Suddenly I lose balance and fall down. I get completely dizzy, and when I open my eyes, all the buildings and the streets around the fountain are different. I get up and try to go home but the streets keep changing its place, so I get completely lost. I feel like in a labyrinth. Finally, when I think I recognise something near my home I end up in a cul-de-sac where there is only a dirty, black charcoal warehouse, guarded by a threatening dog growling and barking loud.
Then I wake up.
In the picture, one of the fountains of my confusion
Ragtag Daily Prompt: Nightmare
A seasoned journalist from my newsroom had had a harsh polemic with a politician, the secretary of education of the regional government. She basically called him a liar in a column. He was furious and he threatened with stopping the source of info about his department. I was then one of the youngest reporters of the newspaper, but my boss sent me to try to fix the problem by offering him a broad interview about his goals and projects.
Reluctantly, he accepted and told me to go see him right after lunch.
My first interview with a member of the government! I got ready with a battery of questions written in my notebook and my tape recorder.
Those days – it was my first year in the newsroom and I was the reporter for everything – I had been working non stop from early in the morning till very late at night and I was exhausted.
When I arrived to the office of the politician, I noticed, pretty surprised, that he was scared of me, a beginner. He awaited me ready with a stack of notes with all kind of data about all the questions I could possibly ask. I have never felt before like that the power of my profession.
It was summer, the day was very hot, the sun was shining and he had lowered the blinds to maintain the office fresh. I sat down in a very comfortable chair in front of him, turned on my tape recorder, asked my first question, began to take notes and the next thing I remember was an uneasy silence.
I opened my eyes and saw a descendant line in my notebook. I looked up and saw the man looking at me flummoxed. I just had fallen asleep! In the middle of the interview!
I looked at my list of questions, uttered the second one, and… yes. I did it again: another silence, another crazy line in my notebook…
– I’m sorry… I began to say
– Would you like a cup of coffee? he interrupted me
We managed to finish the interview and it was a good one.
(In the picture, me, as a reporter)
I used to follow the concerts backstage, because I had to work: report about the event and interview the artists. Once there was a concert by a duo of Cello and Contrabass.
The virtuosi musicians were Italians. The cello player was a short and vivacious man, with long curly grey hair and the Contrabass player was a silent tall and thin guy, with short black hair and somehow disturbing yellow eyes as I’ve never seen in my life.
The cello player was trying to give me an insight on how hard was the life of the artists: Many hours of practice, constant travels, no time for the family… Untill he made a dramatic move and took the left hand of his companion and extended also his own hands to show me the cracks and calluses in their fingers caused by the strings of their instruments. Impressive. I hadn’t doubt he was telling the truth, but his last gesture convinced me.
Ragtag Daily Prompt: Insight
Once a friend went to the Netherlands and brought a tulip bulb in a beautiful box. It was winter. She put the box on a shelf over a heater in her room because it was so decorative and forgot about it.
One day, I was talking with her – it was already Spring – and I noticed that the box was swollen. I asked her What was it and she suddenly remembered that it was time past to plant the tulip bulb.
We opened the box and saw that the tulip had grown screwed around the bulb, and the flower had opened but absolutely white, without any colour, because it hadn’t seen a ray of sun.
We planted the tulip in the garden and it survived, with a twisted stem and a flower pale orange instead of red.
The following year we did everything right and at the proper time, and the flower bloomed splendorous: tall and red, beautiful.
Ragtag Daily Prompt