"Strangers of the Moor, or Siduri's Care" by M.A.A.
Many were distressed, waiting for the rain to end, but I was patiently waiting for something else, as it did not matter how long we would be stuck, for soon Siduri would come, and bring all the luck. Long days went by, all the while outside got bleaker, fog crept into the tavern, while space got smaller, some played cards, and someone was writing a letter Siduri would come soon, and make it all better. During the night, most of us slept on the pine floor, all the rooms were taken by strangers of the moor, the letter man was still penning to someone dear, while I thought of Siduri, she was surely near. I saw the man's letter, it was for nobody, yet promptly he sent it, confusing me greatly, thinking, perhaps the nobody would come as well, yet Siduri was soon here, 'twas all I could tell. The man had no cards, but chose to play with his note, confident opponent, but miserably lost, I sat in the corner, saw there was more he wrote, Siduri would come with care, no matter the cost. A cat brought a letter, it went into the pile, don't know where it came from, it was another sign, I read the words carefully, and could not but smile, "Siduri will arrive soon, to end all the swine."
“The Year of Broken Stones” by Robert Beveridge
Summer came, hot and dry, and it was everything we needed it to be. We made love in the hallway, didn't want to wait long enough to cross the room to the bed. We held each other and kissed and watched the time pass. Autumn faded into winter, and the time came for nomads to move on. Christmas found us in a new place, and it, too, began to seem like home after that.
I mixed a palette of warm, fleshy colours and applied the paint liberally; imperfect and passionate. The black outline suggests a firm grip. The lovers quietly communicate their care through this language. – C.G.
“Caring too Much for Potted Plants” by S.J. Saighead
It's a Thursday or Friday but no one seems to care anymore and I've stayed up all night reading in a vague attempt not to completely regret life, despite the bus stop near me and the little plant in a little pot watching me toil at my desk against fatigue. And the sight of the petite plant tossed by sea winds against a backdrop of unwavering concrete moves me to tears. But surely I do not cry for a plant? I must be forgiven my eyes have been open for 30 hours and I no longer see, just observe potential poems to disservice and paintings I can't paint and songs I won't write and all the rest. I wonder why I care? (expect no answer)
"Other Self-Care Thrall Comes in Distant 2nd" by Gerard Sarnat
I suppose obvious -- but so important that we create a strong connection when discussing what’s missed most during COVID sequester. For this mid-septuagenarian, one somewhat compulsive plus quite prolific writer, it wouldn’t be a problem to never publish again, though each and every day don’t see my kids or grandkids is giving up nine good reasons I work to remain alive. All quirky, you choose own places where to put energy –- are hearts, heads, our bodies the top-most loves? One possible answer as to priority, None, makes me feel empty and sad.
Revolution of the Heart by Linda M. Crate
She had always been bad at knowing when to let go. Because she had never liked the thought of being let go, sometimes she had trouble letting go of people.
Even those who brought her more headaches than joy.
Caren had spent so much time caring for others, but she realized now that it was time to take care of herself. How many things had she neglected for the sake of the others? How often had she put her own dreams on the back burner just so she could help others shine? She was done lighting herself on fire so others could keep themselves warm.
She was going to take time for herself, she was going to make herself happy again.
Because Caren knew she was worthy to be loved for who and what she was without feeling guilty or intrusive simply for existing.
She knew Devon would never change, and it was time to let him go. She didn’t have to be subject to his emotional abuse and gaslighting, any longer. It was time to move on with her life. Just because she cared about him didn’t mean that he cared about her, in return.
He just wanted to control her, and Caren had her fill of being told who she was and what she was supposed to do.
She knew that he wouldn’t take kindly to her leaving, but she did not care. Her life was her own, as was her destiny. It was time to think about what she wanted, and to focus on her dreams. For far too long she had been numb to what she had desired from life, but what was the good in living if one was dead to their dreams and hope? She was a woman of ambition and drive who had forgotten to take control of her own life for far too long. Enough was enough.
“Where are you going?” Devon demanded, when she walked out with her rolling suitcase.
“To my mother’s.”
“Because I’m leaving you.”
“I’m done with being told who I am, and what I can and cannot do—.”
Before she could finish her sentence, Devon interrupted her. “That’s fine, just saves me from breaking up with you. I found someone I like better.”
“Good for you,” Caren said, coldly. Her eyes flashed as she slammed open the door, pulling her suitcase with her. She slammed the door behind her, feeling an odd sense of satisfaction whilst doing so. She told herself she ought to have left so much sooner.
It hurt that he didn’t even try to fight her choice or even fight for her, but it just confirmed she was right. So she was going to move on with her life, love herself, and make a beautiful future for herself. Because it was more than high time she cared about herself.
Caren was done people pleasing, she was done sacrificing her choicest parts to make others happy. If she had to water herself down for people to try to understand her, those weren’t her people, and she wasn’t going to force herself to stay.
Her heart was going to be a revolution and drive all those who were nightmares and poison to her soul away.
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