Tuesday, March 09, 2010

MAGPIE TALES: The Gaze of Ralphie

(Our contribution to Magpie Tales, Week Four)

Mitchell held Ralphie in his palm and said, "The only loved one that has never failed me."

He could not remember a day without him, fitting since Ralphie was the present his father brought his mother the day she learned she was expecting Mitchell. His mother had little use for this "trinket" as she called it, and had hidden it in an obscure drawer to avoid choking hazards until Mitchell was five. It became his favorite companion that he talked to when he heard his parents' shouting voices from behind the closed doors of the house.

Looking at Ralphie, Mitchell's mother grabbed his hand, smiling as she said, "Well, I guess you'll have no one left to blame now, will you?"

"No one but myself, as usual..." he replied, but she had already weakened and her hand dropped to the floor.

"What a horrible way to say goodbye," his Aunt Arlene scolded from the other side of the ICU as the monitors began squaking and Mitchell ran from the room, feeling it was the only way to have a farewell with his mother since it summed up their entire relationship. He rushed to the small break room where he stuck Ralphie in a microwave for 35 seconds. Taking Ralphie out, he held his beloved friend in his hand, taking in the ivory warmth of his closest companion.

All these years later, Mitchell stood by the sink reading the letter from the latest beloved to abandon him. The words had been written in different arrangements by a series of previous authors through the years. "I really wanted it to work out, thought it would work out, but we both know this is what is best. You always turn left, when I want you to turn right."

Mitchell crumpled the letter and then unfolded it, wondering if he should iron it before filing it away somewhere. Before tacking that task, he held Ralphie in his hand, admiring his shining ivory hues and almond shaped eyes staring up at him with neither sympathy nor judgment, only the blankness to give him the strength to write a new chapter.

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17 Comments:

At 2:38 AM, Blogger Brian Miller said...

intriguing tale...maybe ralphie is not such good luck?

 
At 5:24 AM, Blogger willow said...

You spin a great tale, Mr. Thief. I had to laugh, since our dearly departed yellow lab's name was Ralphie!

 
At 7:04 AM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Brian - Oh, so maybe Ralphie was the root of all his troubles?

Willow - Synchronicity, perhaps.

 
At 7:37 AM, Blogger Vicki Lane said...

An ivory obsession? Creepily told!

 
At 7:52 AM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Vicki - Creepily told? Just when I said I would write somethings sweet about flowers and fawns. Maybe next time.

 
At 11:00 AM, Blogger Peter Goulding said...

Hi Ladron,
Its strange how many people still retain the comforters they had as young children. Probably something to do with certainty and uncertainty. You touch on this very cleverly.

 
At 11:29 AM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Peter - It's ironic that just after writing and posting this I saw the PBS series "This Emotional Life" and clips of the Harry Harlowe experiments on baby monkeys with surrogate mothers. It was disturbing and a reminder that surrogates are never equal to the real thing.

 
At 2:25 PM, Blogger rel said...

Microwaving life into one's inanimate friends; what a cool, err warm concept. I've got a merscham pipe I think I'll try this on. Come to think of it, when I used to smoke tobacco in it his eyes did seem to light up.
rel

 
At 2:42 PM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

rel - I don't know if you've seen the "microwavable cats". They are not real cats, mind you, but stuffed toys, and the idea is that you can throw it in the oven and put it in your lap to keep you warm. A bit icky if you ask me.

 
At 5:00 PM, Blogger steviewren said...

Poor Mitchell...I think he might need some counseling for people addicted to bad relationships. But his problems add up to a great Magpie.

 
At 5:30 PM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Stevie - Mitchell may need more than that, but we'll refrain from giving professional advice online for free.

 
At 7:54 PM, Blogger joanny said...

A good read --but a disturbing tale!

It is interesting how certain phrases or sentences trigger a memory -- Wild Strawberries one of the masterpieces of world cinema directed by (Ernst) Ingmar Bergman, there was a scene well several but one then reminds me of the arguing in front of children in your story -- I do not want to go into too many details except to say -- you both made that point in a very powerful way.
Joanny

 
At 9:02 PM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Joanny - I don't know if I should be honored or disturbed. But it's not every day that I get compared to Bergman.

 
At 2:43 AM, Anonymous rob kistner said...

Your work is bold your spirit is awesome, and you are courageous and free -- come visit me…

…rob
http://image-verse.com

 
At 7:40 AM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Rob - I'm not sure I live up to the description, but I'll drop by for a visit.

 
At 7:37 PM, Blogger Suz said...

that was a ride
thanks
I am glad Mitchels
have ralphies

 
At 10:19 PM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Suz - Thanks for dropping by for the ride. We all need our Ralphies.

 

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