Guest writer Anthony R. Cardno – “Rosemary Smiled”

It’s 11:00 pm

I met my friend,writer Anthony Cardno,through a fellow writer/poet named Brad Beneke.  We have talked for a long time about Anthony doing a guest writer entry for the blog. But between traveling all over the country for his job plus being a professional writer comes first.
But as they say,slow and steady wins the guest writer and so after a year and a half,I finally got a wonderful and touching short story from Anthony. After you read it,I’m sure you’ll agree.



Rosemary Smiled

By Anthony R. Cardno



The sun rose again outside the cabin she’d secluded herself in for her last days, but she felt no different.

She worried her hands together. Dead skin and dust motes danced in the sharp slanted morning light, reminding her that everything tears loose and floats free, eventually to be forgotten, to be gathered up as part of the unwanted detritus of a previous existence.

Reminding her that she, too, was about to tear free and dance in the open spaces of the universe. That, seen in a certain light, she was about to fulfill her childhood dream of being an astronaut.

Part of her had already torn free of all commitments, was already skipping across the gaps between galaxies she’d always dreamed of seeing. But part of her was still rooted here, taking in the morning light from the bed she’d consigned herself to after her terminal diagnosis.

Her spouse long gone to dust, she had snuck away from her children and grandchildren, leaving them to the lives they would have to lead without her. Leaving them without an indication of where she was disappearing to, where they might find what was left of her after she was gone.

She could imagine her great-grandchildren telling the story of how she took her leave from the family. She might be the beloved altruist who shuttled herself off to ease the financial and emotional burden on her heirs. Or perhaps she’d be the neglectful hag who placed her own hatred of goodbyes over their need for closure.

It hardly mattered because they would go to dust someday as well. As would their children, and theirs. Whatever generations would come to inhabit the Earth, if anyone did, would be as unaware of her existence as she was of what lay ahead of her.

She had found this corner of the universe for her body to settle into and be forgotten: a small cabin her parents had owned but her children had never visited, on the shore of a small lake. Water lapped against the dock out back, waves caused by the same breeze that made her dust dance.

Soon her spirit would skip across the galactic spaces erratically, unpredictably. Like those motes: buffeted by outside forces, seeking a place to rest.

She let her fingers dance a familiar pattern from her piano-playing days. As long as part of her was in movement, she was not yet detritus.


She had dreamed of being an astronaut from the youngest age she could remember. She had been encouraged by parents who were neither forceful nor unsupportive. She was smart enough, adept enough, strong and agile enough, to pursue it. They’d not have been disappointed for her to become an astronaut, nor were they disappointed when instead she became a stay-at-home parent. They loved her regardless of her choice of career, of where she settled down, of who she chose to raise her children with.

There were no regrets in her life, no roads she wished she’d taken. No opportunities missed or chances denied.

So why this disquiet, this sudden obsession with being nothing more than dead cells floating in an uncaring universe? Why was she starting her last day rubbing her hands together, pondering thoughts of being forgotten, of being at the whim of the universe?

Why did the morning sun slanting through her window the way she’d always loved now evoke something that teetered between despair and listlessness?

No, this would not do. Her destination might be unknown, her final port of call a mystery not only to herself but also to those she was leaving behind. That did not mean she had to sit here wringing her hands like some useless old lady. As spouse, mother, grandmother, teacher, coach, she had never been useless. So why should she be now as spiritual astronaut, as explorer, as discover of old mysteries?

The mode of travel, the timing of her departure, her destination … none of these were of her choosing. But her attitude about the voyage, her strength of self even with so much unknowable around her … these were under her control. She would not allow the dust of her existence to make her feel insignificant, no matter how pretty the patterns it made as it danced in the light, no matter how quickly it passed out of the light and into the dim corners of the room around her.

She chose instead to consider her dead skin as voyagers. She was sending them off, as Earth was releasing her. They would explore the places, both vast and infinitesimal, that she herself could not explore, just as she would soon explore places her family, friends, and peers could not explore with the limited reach of their Earth-bound bodies.

The sun continued to rise, changing the angle of the light crossing the room. Soon it would reach her face, warming her skin but temporarily blinding her. It would be time to close her eyes again, but not for sleep this time.

She had mailed a final letter yesterday. They would know where to find her body, even if they failed to understand why she’d left. Further communication would be impossible across the distances she’d be traversing. She would make discoveries those she’d left behind would only equal when they’d slipped the bonds of Earth themselves.

The gentle sunlight struck her face, and she closed her eyes. To absorb the warmth on her face, to add it to the memories of sunny days with her children and grandchildren. To be content in the knowledge that her journey was almost over.

As brilliant patterns danced behind her eyelids, Rosemary relaxed into herself, took a last breath, and smiled: Earth now far behind her as she skipped her way across the darkness.


To keep up with what Anthony is doing,you can find him on his blog by clicking here

You can follow Anthony on Twitter by by clicking here

Thank you very much Anthony!

If you wish to contribute a guest blog entry,go to the Contact page and email me.

Let’s talk about it and see if we can’t work together.

Comments are always welcome.

39 thoughts on “Guest writer Anthony R. Cardno – “Rosemary Smiled”

    1. I thought how Anthony framed the story…a woman knowing her life is over but curious about the next step. I think as we all get a little older,we feel a little of that.


  1. She says she has no regrets but she keeps going back to the ones she’s leaving behind… A final tether to her former existence? a stumbling block she must let go of to move on? Perhaps this is where another would have turned to religion for the confidence and peace to move into a realm they can’t control- she did not, instead she is self reliant and finds the peace she needs. I find her zen hard to fathom as I am not that way but the line says she goes “skipping across the darkness” so I must accept it.
    Well written, Anthony, as always. The imagery, the character, all accessible and brilliant. Now I wonder about the next chapter- the one unwritten where the selfish and loud son bursts into the cabin screaming at the emptiness for answers, the money obsessed grandkids who wonder what’s in it for them, the loving daughter who didn’t get to say goodbye- the shit-storm of emotions and personalities she left behind and how they each deal with what she came to grips with so peacefully- the next journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The writing is surely captivating and the line of the story keeps you interested, wanting to know more about what’s gonna happen next. There’s a lot of talent in this short story, I enjoyed it so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I forget how much I like short stories sometimes, then I read something like this and instantly want to go read more! Lovely writing, lovely ending x

    Liked by 1 person

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