Tag Archives: death

No Vacancy [repost]

No Vacancy

My daddy was no Elvis, but he sure liked singing along to the King’s music as he wandered from town to town, hitching rides on boxcars, destination Bangor, Maine. Sometimes he’d do a couple hours labor and make enough to buy a cheap motel room, no phone, no pool, no pets, but he had enough for a pack of cigarettes and a bottle of cheap whiskey.

That’s how he met my mom. She worked in the liquor store across the street from that motel in Bangor, and it was the end of her shift. They chatted for a while outside and ended up back in his room.

“You do this a lot?” he asked.

“Only a time or two,” she said.

They had their rendezvous, and he hopped a train the next day. Six weeks later, my mom discovered he had left her a present and tracked him down. She found him at the end of Lonely Street, called her daddy to meet her, and they knocked on his door.

“You’ll marry my daughter or else,” my grandpa said as he waved his gun at my daddy.

“Yes sir,” my daddy said. “Go find a minister and I’ll get dressed.”

But instead of getting dressed, my daddy jumped off the roof, which is why they call it the Heartbreak Hotel.

My mom went back home to her parents, and that’s where I was born, but she was never happy in Maine again. We began to wander like my daddy had, staying for a time in various small towns while Mom found a little work, and then moving on again.

We traveled around the midwest and back; by the time I was in high school we were living off aid because employers didn’t care for my mom’s perfume: eau de booze. That winter of my junior year we were staying at a crappy motel halfway between Erie and Pittsburgh, when one Tuesday I got home from school and couldn’t wake her up. She’d mixed a bottle of sleeping pills with her gin. She was my mother and I loved her, but she put me through hell. I grabbed my things and got out of there before the authorities could take me from the Bittersweet Motel.

Then I began my own journey and some of it’s a bit hazy in my mind right now. I know I headed west; the East Coast had nothing for me but heartache and pain. I can’t remember exactly how long it took me to end up on that desert highway, cool wind in my hair, but the important thing is that I got here. I knew when I saw her in the doorway as the mission bell rang that I had found my way home again.

There’s plenty of room at the Hotel California. They have a nice courtyard where we dance every night. There are mirrors on the ceiling and pink champagne on ice… honestly, it’s pretty fancy, and I’ve never received a bill. I’m not sure where my car is though, since I can’t find a door to the outside, but I’ll look again tomorrow. I’m tired now.


This post was inspired by Jim @ Mindlovemisery along with the following songs:

“King of the Road” by Roger Miller.
“Third Rate Romance” by Sammy Kershaw.
“Heartbreak Hotel” by Elvis Presley.
“Bittersweet Motel” by Phish.
“Hotel California” by the Eagles.

Image from Pexels.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Apple [repost]


Witch, they named her, shamed her, and banished her from the kingdom. It was the King’s plot, so he could wed another.

From the forest people she learned of the wicked plague that would soon strike down all in the land, servant and noble child alike. The fairies saw the disgraced queen crying and gave her the magic antidote, hidden in an apple.

She disguised herself as a beggar and traveled back to the castle, where she enticed her darling daughter to bite. The little healers took the girl away and kept her safe until the plague had passed.


Written for the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge [99 words].

Image source unknown.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

No Name Kitty [repost]

Rainbow in the clouds

[Please note that I wrote this in 2016 and I have since moved.]

There was a kitty who lived in our parking lot. A nice neighbor, Christine, provided food, water, and shelter for him. He had a cozy bed and a covered bed too. I kept a bag of treats in my car and gave him a handful a few times a week. Sometimes he disappeared for a few days, but just when I thought he was gone for good, the next morning I’d see him snoozing under a car as I left for work.

He wasn’t a pretty cat ~ small and sturdy, black and white, but mostly dirty. I often said, “Hi kitty, you need a baff!” He wasn’t amused, nor did he ever come close enough to be touched. And he didn’t meow; I’ve read that ferals don’t. Meowing is something that tame cats learn to do to get attention from people. (Gatsby is a champion meower.) But he did know me and would stare at me sometimes as if to say, ahem, you haven’t given me any treats in a few days… whassup with that?

Last night there was a note on the main door: Christine had called animal control that morning to have the kitty put down. He had been attacked by a raccoon in the night and was severely injured. She asked us to please close the trash bin lids to discourage the raccoons from coming around since other cats prowl around the back of our apartment complex. I didn’t even know we had raccoons! Sometimes I hear horrid shrieky noises in the middle of the night, but I just assume that’s people having sex.

Poor kitty. I cried for him. I imagined him trying to defend the parking lot from a herd of vicious raccoons. They’re so huge and nasty! What was he even thinking? He should have just stayed under a car. And now I’m worried about the 2-3 little black cats back there ~ how could they possibly deal with raccoons? I hope they have sense enough to run away. I also know that people are simply not going to close the trash bin lids when they get full. That’s just how people are. We probably need another bin anyway, since the two we have get overstuffed.

I don’t know how old no name kitty was or what kind of life he had overall. But for the 3+ years I’ve lived here, I suppose he’s had it pretty good for an outside cat, until now. The lifespan for an outside cat is only 4 years. Nature is cruel and savage, always has been. Cats, eagles, snakes, raccoons… I’ve seen/read a lot about nature last few days. Can’t get these images out of my head now. Only the thinnest of walls separates us from savagery at any moment.

Thank you for patrolling our parking lot, no name kitty. RIP.


Image source unknown.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

FPQ: Since You’re Gone

walking moonlight umbrella

Today Fandango provocatively asks…

Do you think that these two sayings are two sides of the same coin and that “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” is just a nice way of saying that “Familiarity breeds contempt”? Or do you believe that these two expressions have polar opposite meanings?

In the abstract, I do believe the two sayings are making a similar point, which is that we often take the people in our daily lives for granted, but we miss them when they aren’t there.

But “contempt” is a harsh word, going beyond taking someone for granted. In my case, I enjoy familiar faces and things around me, and while I may not always express my appreciation directly, that does not mean I view them negatively or completely disregard them. The lockdown gives a good example of this for me. I missed seeing my coworkers and friends! And I hadn’t realized how much I would miss social invitations, if only to turn most of them down. That didn’t mean I viewed my friends with contempt; it merely meant that I treasured my alone time too and couldn’t accept every invite that popped up. The same will happen now that normal life has resumed ~ I still need my alone time.

The saying about absence is more interesting to me, since I have to split it in half, so to speak. If I think about my parents, it’s definitely true that I have focused almost exclusively on my good memories of them since they’ve been gone. In this way, my heart has grown fonder. I no longer have to stress/worry about them, or deal with any of the annoyances they used to cause. I have loads of wonderful memories about both of them, and it’s great to wander through those.

But what about exes? In their case, it’s the total opposite! My heart has not grown fonder toward any of them, but in fact has hardened against them all. Not only don’t I miss them, but I have decided that I dislike them (as romantic partners, not necessarily as friends)… and I wonder what I ever saw in any of them in the first place. I am so grateful I am free of all that dating garbage and can live my life in peace.

I try not to get too annoyed with Gatsby when he barfs on my yoga mat or yowls at 2am because I know I’ll miss him when he’s gone. He is 10 years old now and perfectly healthy (afaik), but still. It’s good to keep this in mind with pets and other loved ones, even if they’re occasionally irritating. If we outlive them, we’ll be sad when they have to go. Of course, I am assuming I will outlive Gatsby, but he’s safe inside while I have to drive on the 405…

I hope people will miss me too and remember the good things we shared.


Image from Pixabay.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Happy Father’s Day! [repost]


Support(ive) is the best way to describe my relationship with my dad, before he faded from dementia. He was an encouraging, upbeat guy, with a salesman’s type of personality. He’d get angry, but it was gone in a flash, and he generally stayed within the range of mellow to happy. Though he had definite opinions about politics (card-carrying liberal from NYC), among other things, he’d bounce back after a discussion or debate, no hard feelings.

Daddy wasn’t a griller or a BBQ dude or any sort of handyman guy. Mom actually did all that stuff (RIP). Dad believed in going out to dinner. Mostly though he just read books and of course his beloved NYT. That’s what he’d be doing today, if he were still around and able. I’d likely bake some fudgy brownies for him. Those were his favorite.

He was always up for a conversation with me. Always supportive of my endeavors. Always encouraging of my dreams and goals, though he would express his ideas if he thought I might be making a mistake. He was a good father and I was lucky to have him.

Dad and me, at his 80th birthday, 2010 (RIP).

Love you, Dad.


Image is mine.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.



She thought she’d obliterated all traces of him. Every photo, every gift, every text, every tee shirt had been painstakingly destroyed. But she forgot to check the attic, and tears began anew when they showed her the envelope. His words, bold and unmistakable, were addressed to her. Just that one remnant brought back all the heartbreak he’d put her through.

And then, of course, they dug up the yard…


Image from Pexels.

Written for Six Sentence Story.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Wishing & Hoping

dandelion fluff

Fandango’s provocative question today flings me into the dreaded realm of Overthink. Basically, I can’t come up with three wishes without going down the rabbit hole into Crazyland. Read at your own risk…

It seems like a no-brainer: just wish for good health and happiness for my family, right? But would that include my daughters, their husbands, and my grands, or would I need separate wishes for each person? And what if good health and happiness are distinct in Wishingville? Then I’d need 12 wishes… 6 happies and 6 healthies. And what if there are more grands eventually…

But how about my own health? I’d like to be free from chronic pain. Yet what if this pain actually protects me from something worse, like resuming dating? One of the reasons I’ve stopped (besides the whole thing being horrible) is because I’m in too much pain to be fun anymore. Maybe my pain is a blessing. I still have a nice life filled with my wonderful family and good friends, and I’m able to work, read, and write (knock wood), but being intimate with someone? Ugh, forget it. Plus, I often have issues with doing normal stuff like walking a few miles.

What about wishing for a f*ckton of money? That sounds like a good idea, and it would solve other problems too, plus enable me to help peeps, but I have to think about those stories where money either comes from a tragedy or results in one. It’s too scary to be greedy. Best to be satisfied with what I already have.

Going back in time to change things we regret doing or failing to do or even to say something different to someone is too fraught with issues as we have seen many times in science fiction, so I can’t get aboard that train of thought.

How about stepping outside my selfish bubble and wishing for something that benefits the entire world? Well geez, so many possibilities! Eliminating cancer is a popular wish. But at what hidden price? This seems like the start of a horror novel. A scientist finds the cure because of my wish, but the side effect is that survivors turn into cannibals or something.

But peace on earth seems safe enough. No more wars, no more fighting, just everyone blissfully sharing everything and having babies until we run out of space. And then what? I know! For my second wish, I could wish for a second earth so half of these happy non-warring earthlings could go there. And maybe my third wish should be one more earth, just in case. Idk where they would exist though, in order to be exactly like this earth, but surely there’s enough room in all the vastness for three earths to get the same amount of sun, etc.

But those aren’t really fun wishes. They’re noble, but meh. It’s more enjoyable to contemplate the selfish scenarios. How about three small wishes to generate immediate pleasure for ME without disrupting the fabric of the universe? Like how about giving me more painting talent? Surely that wouldn’t require taking something from another person or place. For my other two, one each to my daughters for optimal health. There, done.

The great thing about wishing & hoping & dreaming & praying is that it accomplishes nothing. Oh sure, maybe you feel good while engaging in one or more of these activities, but they have no effect whatsoever on actual events. Feel free to disagree, but no one can prove that praying causes anything, else my mother would still be alive. But that’s OK. We like to believe that our intense emotions get “out there,” somehow, and are powerful enough to have a physical effect. And maybe it’s good in some cases that people pray as opposed to taking action. Like isn’t it better for a rejected lover to wish and hope and dream than to go out and stalk the object of their desire like a deranged maniac?

That’s what the men in the white coats try to tell me anyway…


Image from Pexels.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

A Day at the Aquarium


”Dad!” yelled Toby, his voice echoing around the cavernous room. “This is just like that movie!”

“What movie?” his mom Tina asked.

“The one where the James Bond saw the hand of a dead person in the shark tank!”

“Shh,” his dad said, getting cross. “Toby, you’re much too loud.”

“It’s your fault, Tom,” Tina said. “I told you a five year old shouldn’t be watching a movie like that. You could easily click to something more age-appropriate. Now his imagination is going wild.”

“But Dad!” Toby insisted.

Tom ignored him. “Tina, I thought Bond was a good choice. It’s part of our culture.”

Tina rolled her eyes. “Let’s just move on to the jellyfish exhibit, shall we?”

Suddenly, everyone around them started screaming. “Oh my soul!” an old lady shouted, “there’s a dead body in the shark tank!”

“Excuse me!” a man said, pushing Tina out of the way. “I’m taking video here.”

A teenage girl shoved between Tom and his son. “Sorry! I have to get a selfie with the dead guy!”

“Ouch, my foot!” Tina exclaimed. “These people are nuts. Call security, Tom.”

“I told you, Dad,” Toby said.


Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge.
Image from Reddit.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Cocoa [repost]

Cocoa the cat

Cocoa showed up in my life in the fall of 2004, just when I needed her. She was a stray and my neighbor had been feeding her, but she had 3 other cats. Cocoa strolled into our garage and then on into the kitchen… deciding, hey, nice place ya got here, would be a shame if it didn’t have a cat living in it. Now it does. Boom.

Cocoa was a large and lovely lady kitty, lots to love, and we all loved her a lot. We had a group meeting regarding her name (my neighbor had been calling her Spreckles, which we didn’t like). After much discussion, we decided upon Cocoa with the caveat from my youngest that it be spelled Cocoa not Coco. “Coco looks like a stripper name,” she said. Cocoa had a super sweet and interesting personality, and soon we adopted a little sister for her because I liked having two of everything. Cocoa was probably 6-8 years old when she arrived in our lives and unfortunately already had a limp from arthritis.

By 2011, the arthritis had progressed to the point that she could no longer walk without pain. Also, I had moved and the stress of new surroundings didn’t jibe well with her. We tried some medications, but they had no effect. After she stopped going to her food dish, she lost a bunch of weight, and we said a peaceful, medicated goodbye.

I like to believe Cocoa was happy with us for those 7 years. We were lucky to have her.


Image is mine.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Misty Mountain Meadow

mountain meadow

Memory is a funny thing,
Like the misty mountain meadow
Where you kissed me that one spring.
Were the mountains soft magenta
As they appear now in my dreams?
Did the flowers glitter with dewdrops
Fresh from a fluttering rain?
Or was it a patch of blackened grass
In a dirty city park,
Where my ears rang forever
After a lucky shot?
I just don’t know what to believe;
It’s hard to be objective.
I wish you were still around
To compare our recollections.


Image from Lovethispic.
Poetry form: free verse.
Written for Eugi’s Weekly Prompt.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.