Anyone for Tennis?

It was a lovely day for tennis. I climbed up the three steps and shimmied my butt into the Official’s chair with the steering wheel in hand. I waited while my mother walked my Grandmother onto her side of the court and closed the door. She made her way to the other side of the net.

“So,” I said. “Where to now?”

My mother lobbed the ball into the air above her head. “Home,” she said. Her racket connected with the yellow rubber sphere with a light THOCK. It bounced neatly over into my Grandmother’s side of the court.

Granny swung her racket and returned the ball. “Well, why don’t I take yous out tah eat?” Granny replied. “We could go to Ginny’s.”

“That’s fine,” my mother said. The ball hit the court near the edge of the line. They both looked up at me.

“Wait a minute,” Granny said. “What about Rachel? Do you have time to stop with us?”

I motioned that the ball was in bounds. “I have time. So is that where I’m driving to?”

My Grandmother shrugged before serving the ball over the net. “Well, ask your mother dear.”

My mother skipped back a step and grunted as she returned. “I don’t care.”

Granny dodged to the right. Lovely backhand. “Well, I’d like to treat yous.”

Mom ran up to the net. “That’s fine.”

My Grandmother ran back to catch the ball. “Well, where do yous want to eat?”

“Just pick somewhere close. Ginny’s or Napoli’s is fine.”

I began to laugh. The ball froze midair over the net. Granny looked at me. “What are you laughing at?”

I shrugged. “Nothing. You’ll find out later.”

“Okay.” The ball fell straight to the ground and merrily bounced its way off the court. Silence came next. I drove down the street blindly for about another mile before I dared to ask again.

“So where am I going?”

Granny’s serve again apparently. “Ask your mother.”

My mother easily lobbed it back. “I don’t care.”

THOCK “Well what do yous feel like eating?”

THOCK “Whatever.”

THOCK “Because I’ll take you wherever yous want to go.”

THOCK “I don’t have a preference.”

Granny ran to the net and heaved herself up. Her racket sliced through the air with terrific force as she spiked the ball at the ground. My mother didn’t reach it in time. It rolled out of the court.

“Well, why don’t we just go to Ginny’s,” Granny said.

“Game. Set. Match.” I said aloud. My Grandmother, in the passenger seat, and my mother, in the back, both cocked their heads curiously. I put on my blinker, turned the wheel, and glided the car into the parking-lot.


Thanksgiving Carnage: A Sonnet

I see you laying there flat on your back,
Your limbs splayed out against a metal slab.
Unclothed, exposed, cold skin and muscles slack,
Hands poke and pull and nip and tuck and grab.
Your innards are removed and in their place,
Some cruel heart replaces them with fluff.
With brush in hand they paint your pallid face,
I look away and groan, “Please stop! Enough!”
My wife now rolls her eyes and shakes her head.
“This kitchen is not big enough for two!”
I’m sent away to wait alone in bed,
Then later have to watch your corpse be chewed.

poor turkey

I wish we had not raised you as a pet,
It greys this year’s Thanksgiving with regret…

© Rachel Svendsen 2014

Home is…

Home is…

Home is a cup of chamomile tea
a fuzzy blanket
a classic novel
oversized sweat pants
your t-shirt

Home is fresh homemade bread
eggs, sunny side up, in bed
Champions League Football
Mythbusters reruns
Lord of the Rings Legos

Home is waking up beside you
a warm embrace
a goodnight kiss
two-day stubble on your cheek
your lips on my neck

Home is…

Home is you.

© Rachel Svendsen 2014

Burned, Torn, Broken

All I had to give
All that I am now

Your touch
Once the rich food of my eager heart
No longer
Now your fingers leave behind venom filled cuts
I heave
My throat burns with tears

The heart you once possessed
The me you left behind

© Rachel Svendsen 2014


In quiet moments you will cross my mind.
I sometimes feel like you have never left.
Just when I think I’ve left the past behind,
Your shadow chokes my heart and steals my breath.
Allured by kindness to captivity,
Your harsh demeaning words broke down my will.
Blinded by love and my naivety,
I grew to fear the hands that once could thrill.
My bleeding pulp of broken heart in hand,
I woke up in the carnage of your lust.
You left unscathed. I limped away to stand,
Against the world who blames my misplaced trust.

Molested by the hands I once would kiss,
The judging world says I’m to blame for this?

© Rachel Svendsen 2014

Grocery Shopping on Mt. Doom

The story you are about to read is almost fiction. Any similarities to persons, places, or things, living or dead, is, more than likely, a nearly coincidence-like occurrence.

Grocery shopping is hard. Really! It usually begins with that rainbow framed, glisteningly perfect parking spot that you try to pull into, only to find that some lazy sluggard left a shopping cart in it, even though the cart return was two slots over. It’s all downhill from there…

The Shoprite complex in my town is the gateway to Tartarus. Twice a day, and increasingly around holidays and potential snowstorms, the most festering species of demonic humanity are birthed from the molten fires of this, New Jersey’s Mount Doom. Smiles melt from faces as they succumb to the grey cloud of oppression that hangs around the belfry of this seemingly innocuous grocery store. I’m a fairly chipper gal but even I often leave there tense, covered in sweat, and in dire need of a Xanax.

It always starts in the parking lot. I once applied for a job at the hair salon next door and the manager there boasted to me that this strip mall had the second highest traffic of any in New Jersey. I didn’t believe him. I still don’t, but sometimes when I step out of my car, look both ways, and still nearly meet my maker trying to approach to the door of the shop, I wonder if the half bald, nasal voiced man spoke the truth.

Once inside I take a deep breath, say a little prayer, and walk into the produce section.

I shop on a budget, therefore, I have three grocery stores on my checklist. I know that, unless on sale, lettuce, apples, and onions are cheapest at BJ’s. Eggs, sour cream, and bread are best bought at Walmart. I get the majority of my groceries at Shoprite, but I’m not going to buy carrots there if I can save the $2 I need to buy bread at Walmart by purchasing said carrots at BJ’s. “Swifty ‘n Thrifty” they call me! (Just kidding, nobody calls me that…)

Anyway, I put lettuce in my cart then remembered aloud, “Wait no. Lettuce is cheeper at BJ’s.” I carefully replaced the leafy vegetable.

“What did you say?” The voice snarled from behind a cart of celery. A cruel, bearded bloke leered at me through one open eye. “What did you say about the lettuce?”

Doing my best impression of Oliver Twist, I glanced down at my feet and whispered penitently, “Please sir, I said it was cheeper at BJ’s.”

The man snorted. “BJ’s eh? I would never shop at BJ’s. You could hardly call it a store. It’s dirty and smelly. Your feet sticks to the floor and their shopping carts are massive. Pugh! BJ’s.” He spat at the floor to get the taste of the name out of his mouth.

I muttered my thanks and ran for the meat section. BJ’s is a haven of rest and comfort compared to this place. This den. This wretched hive of scum and villainy. I threw some chicken into my cart, glided quickly through the spices, and rounded the corner to the frozens. There was nobody in the aisle except one thin, pale man, obviously sucked dry of joy and hope from employment at this place, stacking bags of frozen vegetables in one of the freezers. His eyes were wide and never stopped moving. Left. Right. Up. Down. His lips mouthed the inaudible mutterings of a fellow on the brink of madness.

I pulled out my cell and checked my shopping list. Let’s see. I got bananas…orange juice…milk… The florescent lights flickered. I looked up curiously. My eyes fell on a figure at the end of the aisle. A teenage boy, dressed in black from head to toe, with the hood of his sweatshirt pulled over his head. He skulked my way. I wet my lips with my tongue before looking back at my shopping list. Ummm…milk…did I need butter? I glanced up. Our eyes met. Awkward. Awkward and freaky. I could barely tear my gaze from his. His brown eyes bored into my soul with a sickening malice. What had I done? Why did he hate me? I couldn’t call on the half-mad employee for aide. He was too busy sucking his fingers and humming songs from “Frozen”.

An electric handicap cart came up behind me. A homeless man, with a open flask in one hand, drove drunkenly down the aisle giggling like a thirty-year-old with a case of silly string. “Wow this is fun!” he hiccuped at me. “Everyone should have one of these!” I couldn’t tell if he was referring to the flask or the cart.

That was the moment I truly began to wonder if I would ever see my husband again.

The shady boy stood abreast me. I did not turn my head, pretending instead that I had been staring at something else the entire time we spent gazing into each others eyes. He opened the door directly behind me and pulled out a frozen pizza. A pleasantly plump blonde woman spontaneously burst into being uncaused from nothing with a little pop.

“Don’t you want two?” she asked him. The boy made a noise, a sort of mix between grunt, snort, and snarl. He grabbed another pizza and dropped them both into the cart. She smiled at him and they shuffled away. I shuddered, ran through the checkout, played a real life version of Frogger, and dumped my groceries in the backseat of my car. All that remained was to dutifully return my cart.

A poor little white haired man was pulling out of his spot. He was nearly out when a redhead dashed into her drivers seat and threw it in reverse. The old man leaned on his horn but she paid him no heed. So desperate was her flight that he had to pull back in his spot in order to prevent her large black SUV smothering the life out of his little silver Toyota. She started a 16 point K turn. I watched this incident with another female pedestrian. I felt sorry for the guy but what could I do? I was just a helpless woman armed with naught but a shopping cart. My companion refused to let this oppression continued unpunished. She jumped in front of the SUV screaming and shaking her fist. The SUV tore out of the parking lot followed by the angry woman. The old man tried to back out again. A blue sedan tore through the ally at about 60 and leaned on their horn. The old man pressed his head against the steering wheel and cried quietly.

Has the entire world gone mad? It was like Midnight on Black Friday with four shots of Vodka and a case of Redbull.

I ditched my cart in the return, slammed my door shut, and held my breath until I was safely on my way home.


The Ol’ Sea Salt


I’m an ol’ sea salt, you can be your ARRR!
I spit into the wind as it blows through me hairrr.
You can’t tell me mate there’s a better, better life,
Than the sea and the sky and me trusty ol’ fife.

From starboard to port we be swabbin’ the deck,
And me language is worse than yer mother’s by heck.
By the patch on me eye, it’s a hard, hard life,
But I’d rather have it than yer witchy ol’ wife.

Ah, the rum keeps us warm by the silvery moon.
Me teeth are all rotten, me breath makes yah swoon.
I’m a dirty ol’ rat, you can bet yer bet yer life.
I eat out o’ me dish with the tip o’ me knife.

So, hard to port matey! Look off starboard bow!
If yah can’t hawk a loogie, I’ll soon learn ye how.
You’ll be better by far if yah spend yer, spend yer life,
On our boat ‘neath the sky far from land lubber’s strife.

© Rachel Svendsen 2014