Who am I?

Viola opens the cabin door and stands in the doorframe, listening to the water drip from the icicles.

"You knew this day would come." Viola's grandson joins her at the door.

"Flowers will be here soon" Viola says.

"Why bother?" Charles says.

Viola turns to her grandson. "If I don't bother who will?" She forces herself to unclench her fists. "This is my life Charles."

She returns her gaze outside, anticipating the arrival of the spring flowers that she will use to prepare her tinctures and salves. Her healing balms.

"He's a portly man, sure enough," Charles remarks and Viola laughs, despite her promise to herself. She watches the way he picks his way up the trail, lifting his legs up high and examining the path before he set a foot down again.

"Man isn't accustomed to walking among briars and scat."

"Why is he here, then?"

Viola shakes her head. "I have no idea, Charles. Perhaps he believes he's doing some good."

"Good, how?"

She turns to her grandson. "Some people have the idea that we're backwards up here; that we need something because they have it. Telephone. Computers. Gym memberships. They don't understand that this is the life we've chosen."

The man walks into Viola's snow-covered garden, boots slipping, arms flapping at the chickens.

Viola smiles. "Put on some coffee for the man, Charles. He's liable to need revitalization."

"He does look winded, doesn't he?" Charles chuckles and shakes his head.

The man reaches the cabin, grasps onto the doorframe for support. "You Viola Lewston?"

"Doctor Smythe," she says.

"You're messing with my patients."

Viola smiles, leans against the door. "Seems to me you're messing with mine, Doctor. I bin tending these people for fifty years, more or less. I probably delivered more babies than you'll ever see brought into this world."

The doctor removes a handkerchief from his back pocket, mops his brow. "I am an educated man."

"I'm as educated as you."

"I don't see how that's possible," he scoffs. "Word is you haven't set foot off this mountain in decades."

"That's the truth. I take my education here." She gestures to the land surrounding them. "I study the trees and the flowers. The..."

"Nature doesn't amount to much when you've got a sick patient."

"My patients don't get sick. I keep them healthy." She leans in, studies his skin. His face is ruddy, his nostrils are flared. "You could use a bit of my spring tonic."

"Hogwash."

"Suit yourself."

"Who do you think you are?" The doctor demands.

She smiles and draws herself up tall. "You asking who I am?"

"I'm asking who you think you are? Who you believe yourself to be?"

Viola nods. "For many people, doctor, who I am and who I believe myself to be would be diametrically opposed ideas." She enjoyed the look of astonishment that spread across the doctor's face. "Yes, I do know a bit of vocabulary other than ain't and ya'all."

Charles appears at the door, bearing a mug.

"Would you care for a hot drink?" Viola asks.

The doctor frowns, and Viola can tell he's working his mouth up and around the word no.

"That would be kind," he says finally. He accepts the mug and cups his hands around it.

"Many people, perhaps yourself included, want to believe in the person they project to the world," Viola says, watching the doctor sip his coffee." They hide their flaws and their fears behind masks of confidence."

"Everyone does that."

"I learned long ago that the person I project to the world and the person I am are one and the same. I don't hide behind some persona or who I think I ought to be."

"That's impossible," the doctor sneered. "Who are you, then?"

"I am a healer," Viola says. "I am also a murderer. That's tainted coffee ya'all are drinking."

Viola watches the color drain from the doctor's face. "You've poisoned me?"

"I got to protect my business," she says.

The doctor drops his mug in the snow and fumbles in his pockets.

"Ain't no cell service in these-here mountains," Viola says. She laughs as the doctor turns and makes his way back down the mountain, not taking care, this time, to watch his step.

"I am a healer," she says, watching his retreat. "I am also a liar. And sometimes," she adds, remembering her promise to be kind to the doctor, "...sometimes I am unkind."

"Flowers will be here soon," Charles says.

She nods. "I'll take some of that coffee, now." And she watches the coffee stain spread across the snow.



This was written in a response to a prompt from Ariana Browning at The Blogging Lounge.


Labels: ,

Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Who am I?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Who am I?

Viola opens the cabin door and stands in the doorframe, listening to the water drip from the icicles.

"You knew this day would come." Viola's grandson joins her at the door.

"Flowers will be here soon" Viola says.

"Why bother?" Charles says.

Viola turns to her grandson. "If I don't bother who will?" She forces herself to unclench her fists. "This is my life Charles."

She returns her gaze outside, anticipating the arrival of the spring flowers that she will use to prepare her tinctures and salves. Her healing balms.

"He's a portly man, sure enough," Charles remarks and Viola laughs, despite her promise to herself. She watches the way he picks his way up the trail, lifting his legs up high and examining the path before he set a foot down again.

"Man isn't accustomed to walking among briars and scat."

"Why is he here, then?"

Viola shakes her head. "I have no idea, Charles. Perhaps he believes he's doing some good."

"Good, how?"

She turns to her grandson. "Some people have the idea that we're backwards up here; that we need something because they have it. Telephone. Computers. Gym memberships. They don't understand that this is the life we've chosen."

The man walks into Viola's snow-covered garden, boots slipping, arms flapping at the chickens.

Viola smiles. "Put on some coffee for the man, Charles. He's liable to need revitalization."

"He does look winded, doesn't he?" Charles chuckles and shakes his head.

The man reaches the cabin, grasps onto the doorframe for support. "You Viola Lewston?"

"Doctor Smythe," she says.

"You're messing with my patients."

Viola smiles, leans against the door. "Seems to me you're messing with mine, Doctor. I bin tending these people for fifty years, more or less. I probably delivered more babies than you'll ever see brought into this world."

The doctor removes a handkerchief from his back pocket, mops his brow. "I am an educated man."

"I'm as educated as you."

"I don't see how that's possible," he scoffs. "Word is you haven't set foot off this mountain in decades."

"That's the truth. I take my education here." She gestures to the land surrounding them. "I study the trees and the flowers. The..."

"Nature doesn't amount to much when you've got a sick patient."

"My patients don't get sick. I keep them healthy." She leans in, studies his skin. His face is ruddy, his nostrils are flared. "You could use a bit of my spring tonic."

"Hogwash."

"Suit yourself."

"Who do you think you are?" The doctor demands.

She smiles and draws herself up tall. "You asking who I am?"

"I'm asking who you think you are? Who you believe yourself to be?"

Viola nods. "For many people, doctor, who I am and who I believe myself to be would be diametrically opposed ideas." She enjoyed the look of astonishment that spread across the doctor's face. "Yes, I do know a bit of vocabulary other than ain't and ya'all."

Charles appears at the door, bearing a mug.

"Would you care for a hot drink?" Viola asks.

The doctor frowns, and Viola can tell he's working his mouth up and around the word no.

"That would be kind," he says finally. He accepts the mug and cups his hands around it.

"Many people, perhaps yourself included, want to believe in the person they project to the world," Viola says, watching the doctor sip his coffee." They hide their flaws and their fears behind masks of confidence."

"Everyone does that."

"I learned long ago that the person I project to the world and the person I am are one and the same. I don't hide behind some persona or who I think I ought to be."

"That's impossible," the doctor sneered. "Who are you, then?"

"I am a healer," Viola says. "I am also a murderer. That's tainted coffee ya'all are drinking."

Viola watches the color drain from the doctor's face. "You've poisoned me?"

"I got to protect my business," she says.

The doctor drops his mug in the snow and fumbles in his pockets.

"Ain't no cell service in these-here mountains," Viola says. She laughs as the doctor turns and makes his way back down the mountain, not taking care, this time, to watch his step.

"I am a healer," she says, watching his retreat. "I am also a liar. And sometimes," she adds, remembering her promise to be kind to the doctor, "...sometimes I am unkind."

"Flowers will be here soon," Charles says.

She nods. "I'll take some of that coffee, now." And she watches the coffee stain spread across the snow.



This was written in a response to a prompt from Ariana Browning at The Blogging Lounge.


Labels: ,

24 Comments:

At January 8, 2014 at 2:09 PM , Blogger Ariana Browning said...

Now that was a great read. I like Viola. :) Good job.

 
At January 8, 2014 at 3:47 PM , Blogger Joyce Lansky said...

I could use a healer. My arm feels weird.

http://joycelansky.blogspot.com

 
At January 8, 2014 at 4:29 PM , Blogger Michelle Stanley said...

This is an amusing story. The natural remedies can be very effective for ailments, and spunky Viola seems capable of admistering them.

 
At January 8, 2014 at 4:56 PM , Blogger Amy Morgan said...

Viola's action was totally believable - nice piece.

 
At January 8, 2014 at 6:26 PM , Blogger KAT said...

What a great take on the prompt. I love this story. I hope we will hear more from Viola.

 
At January 8, 2014 at 8:12 PM , Blogger Jo said...

I am loving Viola! Please let us hear more of her adventures on the mountain.
Skillfully constructed and admirably written. Great take on the prompt. So look forward to more.

 
At January 8, 2014 at 8:19 PM , OpenID k~ said...

Another wonderful trek into the mind of a person who knows how to twist a phrase. The doc had it coming - Viola knew that. If he had known a little bit about her, he might have started that conversation a bit differently.

Much enjoyed Kelly.

 
At January 9, 2014 at 5:40 AM , Blogger E.W. Storch said...

Ha! Very cool. Viola's got her stuff together, eh?

 
At January 9, 2014 at 5:59 AM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks so much, Eric. I've missed reading your work. Looking forward to reading your sub this afternoon.

 
At January 9, 2014 at 5:59 AM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

I really appreciate your introducing me to this site - Am looking forward to reading everyone's work!

 
At January 9, 2014 at 6:00 AM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks so much, Jo! I like Viola too - Wish I had some of her spunk...

 
At January 9, 2014 at 6:00 AM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

I hope so, too, Kat. Appreciate your reading!

 
At January 9, 2014 at 6:00 AM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks so much, Amy - I appreciate your reading.

 
At January 9, 2014 at 6:01 AM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks Michelle!

 
At January 9, 2014 at 6:01 AM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks for reading, Joyce!

 
At January 9, 2014 at 6:02 AM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks, Ariana - Happy to be part of this site.

 
At January 9, 2014 at 4:16 PM , Blogger Paula Martin said...

Interesting take on the prompt, with a great truth cleverly held within it.

 
At January 11, 2014 at 1:34 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always respected a good liar

TM

 
At January 11, 2014 at 2:17 PM , OpenID chickeewrites said...

Oh wow! Love this. =) I wonder how the good doctor healed himself.

 
At January 11, 2014 at 8:05 PM , Blogger daphne romero said...

very nice!

 
At January 12, 2014 at 5:26 PM , Blogger Kelly Louise said...

Never cross a competent woman.

 
At January 13, 2014 at 8:47 AM , Blogger Leigh Young said...

I truly enjoyed this! I am looking forward to many more of your shorts! Thank you.

 
At January 14, 2014 at 7:24 PM , Blogger Steven said...

It was actually just the spring tonic in the coffee, right? ;) Very nice story.

 
At January 18, 2014 at 5:45 PM , Blogger Tai said...

Nice writing! I like Viola! Enjoyed this very much!

 

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