Day 25: Write a story that includes: melted snow, a dead poet, and a betrayal . . .
With the trees fading like a fresh snow melt . . .
Lorenzo kissed his teeth in frustration as he crushed the sheet of paper he was scribbling on and set out to start again.
Green leaves fade with the winter’s snow melt
and the blind . . .
This is utter rubbish he chastised himself. What kind of crap is this?
He set out to start his poem again.
I long to see the days of winter’s snow melt
Where the springs spring to life
and life springs to . . .
Field? Death? Life? . . . Yield?
Lorenzo crushed that sheet of paper as well and threw it toward the waste basket, missing it completely. He slumped back into his swivel chair exasperated with his dying poetry of late.
Lorenzo was often considered a child prodigy, writing poetry so beautiful it made the locals cry to hear it, women flocked to listen to his sweet words and his young handsome voice. He wrote poetry for the guys trying to get the girls, for the husbands and their wives and their concubines. He was the talk of the town to be so young and so full of wonder that his poetry was even studied at the Church School of Abel Rocks. In those days, he and his cousin Maude were of an age, and with the commission Lorenzo got from his various purveyors, they drank out the entire town unmatched by the local drunk. Two peas in a pod they were, that was until, Lorenzo started loosing it, his talent, himself. He lost his words and try as he might he could never get them back.
“Enzo, open up.” Maude’s inaudible call from the front door brought Lorenzo out of his self loathing. When he opened the door Maude stood there with a box in his hands topped with a plate of bun and cheese, with one slice stuffed into his mouth already.
“Jeez Maude, you love your belly eh?” He took the box from Maude and closed the door behind them.
Maude walked over to the writing desk which stood by the window overlooking the nearby houses. It wasn’t much of a view but it was better than nothing, Lorenzo always said. As he sat at the guests’ seat, leaving the writer’s seat empty, Maude narrowed his eyes suspiciously at Lorenzo. Then he saw the basket full to overflowing with crumpled paper.
“What’s this?” Maude nodded toward the basket while he sat in the writers chair.
“I’m dying Maude, I can’t write any more.”
Maude kissed his teeth in disgust. “If I hear that nonsense one more time, I swear I’ll chop your right hand off.” Maude stared straight at Lorenzo before he bit into his bun and cheese.
“I’m serious Maude,” Lorenzo barrelled on ignoring Maude’s movement for his dirk. “I know you think I’m melodramatic and I probably am,” by this time Maude stood over Lorenzo with a chilling grimace. “But Maude, I’m dead. The Poet . . . he’s dead, Maude.” Maude grabbed Lorenzo’s right arm.
“Well since the Poet is dead, he wont mind if I take his right hand will he?” He slammed Lorenzo’s hand on the table and brought the dirk down against the flesh of his wrist. He didn’t flinch, which made Maude flinch. “I’ll do it you know Enzo, don’t push it, I will.”
Lorenzo grabbed his mug with his left hand and took one last gulp. “Do it!” He slammed the mug down and glared up at Maude, then looked away.
“Jeez! . . . Seriously Enzo?” Maude stood back placating, deeply concerned.
Lorenzo slowly looked toward Maude. “Its over Maude . . . all over.” He shook his head in dismay and sighed. “I have to find a real job now.” This sigh almost became a sob but he stifled it.
Maude took his seat again contemplatively. He glanced over at the basket, then at the piles of books and rolled up parchments on the desk and the book shelves, and the walls lined with unfinished poems and songs. Then he considered he cousin sulking with his head hung low.
“Arite then . . . first thing we do is clean up this room.” Maude clapped his hands to grab Lorenzo’s attention. “I’ll take all your books and paper and store them for you, in a safe place.” He sat up and faced Lorenzo, “You’ll get a fresh start, we’ll find you a job, and hopefully . . . the distraction will help your dead poet some. Whaddya say?” he smiled wryly at Lorenzo hoping the bait will catch. A smile crept across Lorenzo’s face and so Maude knew Lorenzo was ok, for now.
That night Maude cleared out as much of the books and paper work from Lorenzo’s room, along with the paper from the basket as he could carry. Lorenzo thanked Maude profusely and set to bed early that night.
In the morning, Lorenzo woke with a fresh start to life. He set out to find a job and settled for transcribing at the local library. He didn’t see Maude that day which was normal for the cousins as Maude lived clear across town by Abel River. But when Lorenzo hadn’t seen Maude in three weeks he became concerned. Then he began hearing about this new poet from Abel River whom many claim could rival Lorenzo’s former glory days and he wondered who they referred to. He decided he’d go pay his long-lost cousin a visit that Lunar Festival when the moon was full and bright and round and didn’t need help in lighting the paths at night. Lorenzo made his way over to Abel River and found Maude’s hut but he wasn’t there.
“Aye Enzo, what you doing in these parts?” Lorenzo’s uncle Steebe, Maude’s father, greeted Lorenzo as he stepped out of Maude’s hut. He grabbed Lorenzo and squeezed him tight against his chest.
“I’m good Unk. I’m looking for Maude?”
“Oh he’s down by O’Ferdinands” Steebe pointed down the road to a bar which was well-lit and overflowing with patrons.
“Thanks Unk” Lorenzo called back as he made his way to the bar.
Once inside the crammed tap-room it took him no time to spot Maude who sat in the far corner surrounded by the town’s prettiest women and their begrudging dates. Lorenzo also noticed Maude’s fine linen freshly laundered which was strange for a man who didn’t bathe unless someone, usually Lorenzo, told him to.
Lorenzo made his way over to Maude’s circle and signalled to his cousin, who after seeing him began to scowl as his mood soured.
“What’s the problem Lorenzo?” Maude asked without any preamble.
Lorenzo narrowed his eyes at him. “Lorenzo now is it? Where have you been man? I haven’t seen you since . . . well, that night.” Lorenzo asked deeply concerned about his cousin.
“Yeah well,” Maude ran his hand through his curly hair. “You needed to start over and so did I.”
“What does that mean?”
“Maude, come tell us about Hope Springs. I like that one.” A red-haired young woman sitting at Maude’s table called over the chatter in the room. Lorenzo furrowed his brows thinking that sounds familiar, and then realised the truth of the situation with one glance at Maude who was obviously dumbstruck.
“Is she talking about one of my poems Maude?” Lorenzo stepped close to Maude so they were face to face and only a couple inches apart.
“Well technically . . . it’s no longer your poem. Your Poet died long ago, remember?!”
“You stole my poems you thieving degenerate scum of a cousin!?” Lorenzo raised his voice in anger which was never really necessary, he had a naturally booming voice which was handsome at regular volume but frightening when raised. A hush fell over the room as Maude looked around nervously at the patrons who were all staring at the two now.
“You’re making a scene Enzo.” Maude tried to quell the situation.
“Dont call me Enzo you thief!” Lorenzo spat at Maude’s feet and stormed out of the tap-room yelling “You’re done, you hear me Maude. You are finished in this town!” And that was the end of Lorenzo and Maude.