Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Timeless

"Get rid of it" 

"Nope."

"It's ugly."

"Not to me."

"It smells"

"I'll wash it"

"It's ancient"

"It's timeless"

"It's laughable"

"It will come back in style.  You wait."

"Please."

"No."

"Please?"

Silence.  Argument lost.  He turned, smiled and kissed her.  Yep, it was over.  Again.  
"It's just a jacket...." she prodded hopefully.

"MY jacket." he laughed into her hair while hugging her.  He rocked back and forth knowing she hated this.  

She sighed and hugged him back gently patting his back knowing HE hated this.  They laughed at each other and he went out.

In his jacket.

"Be safe.  Love you." she added over her shoulder as always.

"Love you back"  he returned just before the back door clanked shut.

And so went this not-so-big argument every so often and she always lost -good naturedly.  She jokingly told him he'd die under a mound of his own stuff- a true hoarder to which he always claimed a happy sentimentality.  She would put up her hands and surrender, leaving him to be with his memories.  Once in a great while, she sewed a patch or button on the thing; even getting to sneak in a good scrubbing here and there but she kept it.  She had even tried to surprise him with new versions, updated colors or styles, similar fabrics and he had dutifully worn each one once.  He was always faithful to the "one".  She smiled at his devotion in more ways than one.  It truly didn't bother her that much.  She'd simply preferred him to look as amazing as she knew he was. He'd worked so hard all his life.  He deserved only the best.  But he was a simple up-front man.  Liked what he liked.  Did what was right and worked for what he wanted.  In the thirty-four years of marriage they had done their share and now at last they could slow, take it easy and enjoy things and she just guessed that he enjoyed that damn jacket.

So really there was no fight.  He deserved what he wanted - not just what she wanted for him.  

She heard the car door and stepped out on the porch, drying her hands on a towel.

"Where to?" she hollered.

"Hardware!" and he raised the latest sale mailer giving her a childish thumbs up and cheesy grin. He sat in the seat and started up his truck knowing he would return with something silly.

She laughed and waved the towel.  "In time for supper?"

"What're we havin?"

"Grilled ham, corn and beans- and cobbler."

"Oooo with crumblies?" his eyebrows went up.

"You know it big daddy."

He revved the engine and gripped the wheel as if he were driving 90 miles an hour.

She laughed at him and waved the towel like a street car race.  Turning, she headed back in and began to cook for the next couple of days since they would be busy with visits and friends and their meetings and … how were they just as busy or busier than when they worked every day?  This caused her to stop and think about it while watching the birds at the feeder.  After what felt like a few seconds she redirected herself to her chores and cooking.  She didn't realize how late it was until the sun dipped down into the trees and shone in her eyes through the kitchen.  Dinner was done.  It had been done.  He was late.  She walked to the doorway and flipped on the porch light.  She screamed realizing two men were standing on the porch about to ring the bell.  She quickly reached to lock the screen.

"Now we don't want to buy anything and you better git before my husband..."

"Ma'am. Mrs. McKinney?"

"May I help you?" her voice was icy and tight.  She didn't realize she had wound the towel in her hand like she intended to rat tail them.

"Mrs. McKinney?"

"yes." she was going numb. Her voice was barely audible.

"Your husband...
accident....
come with us…
hospital.."

so many details she missed in that instant because her heart flooded, her knees buckled as she gasped for air.

"Is he..." she choked through her fingers that tried to keep those awful words from seeping out.

"Please come." 

And she was suddenly there.  Like a dream.  A nightmare actually.

He was wired for sound.  He was bruised and bloody.  There were bandages and blankets and just so many...things and people around him she wondered how she would reach him.  She thought of those scary movies where the hallway gets longer as you try to reach the end.  She was afraid to go to him for that very reason.  He might go away from her.  There were beeping machines and strangers in comfy scrubs all around and everywhere.  Words were spoken but they sounded like they were coming through cotton.  She couldn't hear or understand.  She needed to sit near him.  She needed to talk with him and get a game plan.  That is what they did.  That is what they always did.

"No."

She turned slowly as if the word were foreign.

"Get better?" 


"No."


"Can't come home?"

"We don't think he's strong enough for the trip."

Each word was a punch to her chest.  She closed her eyes and chewed her lip.

"You will need to call family..."

And they came.  She gave them all time to say goodbye.  Privately.  There were jokes and stories remembered of their lives that were marvelous because he touched their hearts.  She fought the screaming in her head.  She struggled not to punch everyone who got to walk out of that room and return to their loves, their families and friends.  

At last, she approached his bed and slipped her hand in his.  She called the tubes that tried to wrap around her finger a bunch of fuckers and wanted to rip them all out, cut them to shreds and  light them afire.  She hated this place.

"It's not time." she said softly and she stayed asking him for help he couldn't give.  She scolded him for this.  For missing cobbler with crumblies.  She told him she was very angry that he was leaving this way and that she thought he was being cowardly.  She fell asleep leaning into his bed, her head against his.  She pretended the soft wheeze of the machines that were breathing for him was his adorable snore she slept with every night.  At first, she thought it was a dream.  His hand jerked a bit and he groaned.  She sat bolt upright and looked into his handsome but battered face.

"Home." he whispered.

And she got up, went to the desk and demanded they unplug everything.  She informed them he was going home.  They huffed and puffed, shoved waivers and papers and AMAs up her nose until she thought she was going to have to judo chop each and every one of them.  But she took him home.  He DID make the trip.  In her hopeful heart, she thought he'd get better.  No one ever said yes.  

But she got him a bed and each day she sat next to him.  She talked and went about her chores.  She read to him and held his hand.  She went through the sale mailers and talked about the good and bad deals and found herself finding things he would buy that they didn't need.  He didn't leave her but he wouldn't come back.

One night she ordered pizza and went to him.

Scootch. she grumped, crawling in next to him.  She watched their favorite shows on the DVR and fell asleep curled around him.  Some time later, she thought she felt him shift in bed.  But that wasn't possible.  She told herself she was dreaming.

"Hon?" She thought she heard.

"How ya feelin? " she asked sleepily.  It was dark and she couldn't see him but knew where he was of course.

"Tired.  So very tired."

"Well, you look awful"

"Thanks."

"Why won't you get better?"

"Can't.  I just can't."

"But I want you here with me."

"I'm so tired Babe."

"Stay?" her tears were steady and hot. She was trembling in this dream. "I just want to love you a little longer.  This hurts too much.  Too deep." she explained.  Her body protectively shifted to hold him in the night.  She whispered all her love and greatest joys to him.  Her chest ached and her head pulsed from trying to cover up her breaking heart.  "I'm cold...hang on..." and she reached for her sweater.  Funny. She always kept it close to the bed.  After a little more groping, she finally found it, wrapping around herself and snuggling next to him.

"Can you wait for me at least?  Don't go shackin up with the first beautiful young angel you find up there..." This was accompanied by a scornful "hmph"

Silence.

The pain in her chest told her everything.  She had lost her better half. "ohhhh honey..." she cried.  It was too much to think about.  Too painful.  She winced against the headache.  A long sigh escaped her; one that was filled with a lifetime of love and laughter.  The aneurysm was massive and devastating.

At last she slept.

They were discovered the next morning when the comfort care nurse arrived. She was wearing his jacket.  His arms were around her. They were still together ~ their love was truly timeless.


And hello my friends.  This one was a real tear jerker for me.  I let it sit for a couple of days before I was happy enough to let it go.  I hope you like it.  Not for the sadness but more for the great love.  I'm all about them.  Great loves.  Hope you have one and hug them.  Until next time.  Thanks for stopping by.  It was a nice visit.



Saturday, March 2, 2019

Feathers in the wind

She toddled and got lost in the crispness, newness that was spring.  Cottonwood trees bloomed and fluttered as the wind pushed them through the sky like snow.  She laughed and tried to catch them calling them feathers.  She said it looked like Mother Nature and Old Man Winter had had a pillow fight over what season was really ending or beginning.    It also meant more time at the lake.  Her favorite place where she could play in the creek, chase frogs and newts or float in the sun as the water softly clapped against the shore for her arrival or cried tiny white caps when she left.  Crawdads were safe and turtles could rest on their logs undisturbed.  Her young years were spent laughing, squealing and loving everything shown to her. "But where do you go?" she asked the billowing cottonwood ~ there was a breezy laugh and that was all..

When her teen years arrived, feelings were very different.  Dread.  Boredom. There was no internet and she felt alone.  She missed her friends and hated getting muddy or hauling wood for the bonfires with a family that didn't know anything about her.  She jealously despised that her friends were out partying or dating or sneaking out and she was stuck on this porch while the cottonwood trees bloomed and blew all over, getting in her hair or coating the table and chairs, giving her ANOTHER thing to have to wipe down.  It was Hell on Earth. The lake retreated and sat quietly not understanding why her heart was so closed to it.  It wanted to play as before.  "How can I get out of here?" she begged the tiny feathers.  The lake sighed in the night, waiting and hoping for better days

And they came as she returned a young woman bringing a daughter of her own to share the "spring snow" and marvel over how things had changed yet remained the same.  She once again rolled up her jeans and caught frogs and newts, chased minnows or laid quietly while the feathers drifted lazily by, welcoming her back in more than one sense. Her daughter slept peacefully in the sun. She remembered how good life was ~ simply.

Slowly she moved, her old bones complaining for the car ride and the age that she couldn't outrun.  She no longer got in the lake but stayed on the porch and watched as her children and grandchildren swam, floated along in the boats or stirred the bonfire.  She laughed to hear the squealing after actually capturing a frog or a turtle that nipped a toe and had gotten away.  She blinked up into the sun as the cottonwood tickled her wrinkled face and whispered to her to come along.

Grey clouds.  Wet and raw.  The trees sagged sadly and the cottonwood seemed only to drop in messy globs.  The lake was like glass as if it were in shock.  She would no longer come.

Her soul had become like the cottonwood she loved ~ a feather in the wind.



Hello my friends.  This is a quickie but one I loved dashing out.  Growing up we had cottonwood trees on our property and I loved it when they bloomed and littered the grass.  Combined with my favorite place ~ Promises? ahhhh how could I not.... I hope you enjoyed our time, no matter how brief.  Come back again and sit a spell.  We get along so nicely.

until next time... 

Friday, February 8, 2019

Love's Religion

He looked at me.  I went weak.  He was beautiful to me; an Adonis  When his eyes bore into mine with that flash of mischief and he touched me, my skin ached; felt smothered by my clothes.  My throat burned to whisper his name.  I wanted to constantly find him in the dark, kiss his body and feel his heartbeat under the velvet of night.  When daylight came, I wanted only to watch him do... anything;  hang on every word he said. When he criticized my clothes, I changed them.  When he laughed at my stupidity or naivety (something he loved to point out in front of his pals) I educated myself to avoid that shame for him. When my butt took up too much room in his house of worship, I dieted. I wanted nothing more than to be his perfect angel.

Amen

For more than three years, his ideas and plans were gospel and I was the most devout.  I prayed he would always watch over me; the beautiful shepherd.  As quickly as he converted me he dispelled me; cast me aside for a newer, prettier apostle.  Hell hath no fury they say.  Scorned? Ohhh you bet.  I was angryshockedembarrassed ~ and they deserve to be written that way for they all came on that quickly. I cried ~ and not pretty, cherubic tears but the red-eyed, stuffy nose, leave-you-heaving sobs which made me look like love's heretic.  I moped, refused to wear make-up, swished with Listerine instead of truly brushing my teeth, didn't eat or sleep and repeated my new Novena. I ate food that made me feel worse than the hideous clothes I wore.  Nothing declared heartache (the cross I had to bear) like three bags worth of Frito grease(and hello, NOT the fun size because I didn't give a shit about fun) and stale bean dip boogers smeared across my fitness pants that had a hole up the thigh  (from over-stretching or moths rather than the wearing out of the workout- faithful - a different church altogether) covered over by the largest sweatshirt I could find that had old cookie dough and iced tea stains striped across it. Who's beautiful NOW? Yeah, I dared ANYONE to look twice.  I punished myself for failing; being less than perfect for him.  I was frozen by the sadness that my Adonis had rejected me. I felt worthless and pondered whether I should actually take up space on this earth.  My friends worried, called and tried to soothe me.  I didn't want to hear it.  I didn't want to feel better.  I wanted him to love me and call me back.  I wanted another chance to be  flawless and prove myself... 

It took another year before I could make it through the day without tears though I had to stop looking in the mirror and remarking all the flaws he must have seen; the mistakes that drove him away.  I ignored my over dry cow licked hair with roots that resembled an over zealous banyan tree root system.  I chose not to powder my nose, an ugly knob that resembled a car antennae with one of those ridiculous Mickey Mouse heads on it.  I cared not if my shoes matched ( I did actually go to work with a black one and a navy one) simply telling my coworkers that, like the kids nowadays who wore mis-matched socks...I was a trend setter. I got suspicious nods on that one.

Then one day I heard something; something I had refused to believe would ever be uttered in my company again: the words "You look nice"

I whirled around with a venomous retort perched on my lips "How DARE you ~ notice me. Find anything nice about me! Who the HELL are you to …" 
And I saw a wry smile.  I froze.  "Do I?" I asked smoothing my dingy white work shirt with a marinara stain on it … right above my boob. I felt classy ~ NOT.

He laughed a little. "Yes.  You do." but kept my gaze. 

"You're a liar" I declared.  Best to fight the demon when you call him out. I licked my lips and found a sandwich crumb on them.  I nibbled at it with my front teeth wondering if he would see it like a tribal declaration of war ~ Come at me bro.  I'll eat you.

"No.  I think you look nice." He said again and drank his coffee from a cheap Styrofoam cup that actually smelled like Styrofoam more than coffee.

I smiled back at him and he disarmed me with: "Now you look even nicer.  I'd ask you out for that smile alone."

My head screamed at me "And that is what you should be.  ALONE" but I felt a warmth in my cheeks and I looked down at the rug.  I noticed I had different shoes on and tucked one behind the other sheepishly.  "Well... I... think I would go...if asked...." I heard myself say.  

And so began a friendship and a soft romance.  It was kind and loving and I treasured every minute we shared.  He laughed with me; not at me.  He encouraged me and made light of himself.  We learned new things together and I felt amazing, strong and independent. I told him everything and cried, certain he would balk and leave me but he pulled me closer, held me; whispering how sorry he was that anyone could have ever hurt such a beautiful angel. His angel. I gulped at the healthy love which made me feel better ~ no it made me feel best.   We showed each other every day that we were good together and how we appreciated each other.  In fact, we didn't realize it was Valentine's Day when we made reservations at our favorite nook.  It simply didn't matter.  I was finished with work early, texted him to meet me at the bar when he was finished where we'd have a dinner and go to the museum to see the artist I loved whose exhibit was opening.  I had been smiling all day just thinking of it.

I stood there flicking one of my new, sexy heels on an off, sipping my favorite wine imagining the night; missing my best friend and favorite playmate.  I was wondering about his day. I couldn't wait to see...

"My oh my" I heard too close to my skin.  It went cold.  

I turned to see my Adonis.  He grinned at me and swooped in too close almost engulfing me in a waft of cologne that stung my nose.  He cocked his best and most devilish smile across his lips.  I noticed a cold sore starting at the corner of his mouth.  "You look delicious." he growled against my shoulder and gently kissed it.  I noticed a tiny bubble of spit on my skin, and wiped it off with the napkin from my wine, quickly trying to hide the look on my face as if he had just cut one.  I backed up and turned to face him. My brain was scurrying to find the words I had practiced when I was hating myself for him. I wanted to gouge out his eyes, vomit all the Frito's and bean dip consumed in his name.  I wanted to return the hurt he so easily served up to me.   He rushed on about how amazing I looked and how he had thought of me so often over these couple of years.  He tried several times to wrap his arm around my waist to whisper to me.  He asked me why we ever split up because we were so good together.  He said he missed my body and the way I was in bed.  He asked if I had panties on under my dress.  He told me he was dying to know.

My mouth went dry. My wine backed up into my throat.  My knees were weak but that was because a surge of energy was building in my chest and racing through my arm to my hand that was balling up into a fist. I was going to knock out a couple of cigar stained teeth when I felt my savior sail up behind me.  Michael rowed his boat ashore HaaaaalleLUUUUUUUUUjah!!! Kumbaya and all that.  I sighed deeply, turned and smiled with relief.  My back up had arrived.  For a moment, I fantasized we would take my ex lover outside and after a sound flogging, leave him in a dumpster where no one would care if they found him.  They might be able to tell he was a complete asshole and write that on his forehead.  Or maybe we'd buy him some drinks, get him loaded and haul him to a tattoo place and just have it put on there forever and save everyone the trouble of having to figure it out. I'm all about paying it forward.

"Hi Honey.  Our table is almost ready."  my sexy warrior kissed my other shoulder and nuzzled my ear "Is this him?" he whispered.

I stepped back and smiled.  My heart was about to fly down to my stomach, devour the butterflies that were bashing their heads against its walls then zoom out of my body to explode over us like a wired piƱata . I made intros and took the opportunity to snuggle under the protective arm of my Greatest Love who stood stiffly and listened while Adonis attempted to brag about our long-ago life. He poignantly yawned and blinked his eye as if dust was bombarding them.  I had never loved so much.  I felt his touch tighten and turn me slightly, signaling we were going to go.  He grinned devilishly and began to excuse us. I was mildly disappointed at the lack of bloodshed and permanent ink across Adonis' forehead.

Until my man tossed over his shoulder in the loudest voice I'd heard him use:

"Gotta go Sport.  But you might want to zip your pants..."

Love. It's amazing.


Monday, January 7, 2019

Monster

She was a born leader; strong willed, fearless and confident.  For a twelve year old that translated into bossy, scary and arrogant.  Few of her classmates challenged her; all wanted to please or be liked by her and she enjoyed holding court.  She picked and chose her friends and foes daily, weekly, whenever the wind blew and everyone just hoped to stay on her good side.

Did I mention she was beautiful?  Oh yes, hair so black it was almost steely blue and eyes to match; exotic and dark.  If you stared too long you might lose yourself in there.  All of that and a charming personality; disarmingly so.  You didn't stand a chance to not like; love her, until it was too late.

Of course she caught his attention.  He did a double take and that was it.  He knew what she was trying to do; trap him.  Get him caught for something he hadn't even done, yet.  After all, guys like him weren't allowed to linger near school yards but she had looked at him one day as he was heading home from the bakery.  Most days he made sure he wasn't anywhere near these little treats but today the line had been long and the bread had been slow to come out of the ovens.  She had looked at him with those deep, wanting eyes.  She had licked her lips and smiled at him.  She and her little whorish friends with their skirts too short and their jeans too tight which sometimes played a not so innocent game of peek-a-boo with their panties.  They wore their shirts tied up to show off their tight tummies  He had to stay strong though.  He couldn't take another vacation...He had promised he was a reformed man; one that could be trusted. He was mumbling warnings to himself, forbidding to look  her way again when the ball skittered through the grass and happily rested at his feet.  He picked it up and cocked his arm to throw it and she was there.  In front of him.  He froze, feeling his chest tighten.  His breath hitched and he had to scream inside his skull to close his mouth before he drooled.  She reached her hand out for the ball and he barely chucked it toward her.  She caught it, smiled, waved and trotted back to her friends. And that sealed her fate.  He needed her.

He began to watch for her, follow her, get her pattern down.  She was too young to really understand the dangers of not being aware of your surroundings but arrogant enough to think nobody knew she was sneaking out or going to places she shouldn't have been; the park to meet some boys and sneak sips of shitty beer or to smoke half of a cigarette behind the convenience store or hurriedly French kiss some sweaty boy whose lips were chapped and hands trembled at the thought of being near a girl.  He would be kinder, gentler.  At first.

It was a typical night when she crawled out her window and headed down the street to pick up her partners in crime.  He smirked understanding that even her parents had been taken in. That naughty girl.  He had to act quickly and get her before she met up with the others.  He passed her once and knowing she would round the corner at Wingate Street, he waited for her in the Johnson's hedgerow.
Nobody should have a hedgerow.  It was simple to get up behind her and slip the cloth under her nose.  She was so tiny and frail that she melted back into his arms and he whisked her away.  To his play house.

He put her in her own room with some clothes from the others.  They no longer needed them.  They were with the angels now anyway or maybe devils.  If God had not forgiven them for their wickedness they might be burning in Hell.  He paused and thought on this for a moment, then continued watching her through the peep hole in the door as he had done so many times before.  She woke and stirred, confused and cautious.  He felt his groin tighten with her fear and curiosity as she tried to understand what had happened.  He smiled at his cleverness. All the little girls had this look and he treasured it.  He waited for the rest of it to unfold.

She cried and kicked; spunkier than most.  There were even fits of anger that brought him incredible joy.  She might get to live a little longer; this tender morsel he'd found.  He always covered his face when he brought her food, bathed or used her.  She was instructed to wear a blindfold.  He loved it when she wandered over his hands to take dishes from him to eat or bumped into things.  He often had to stifle his laugh when she crawled around and scurried like a tiny church mouse. As the days marched on, he noticed her trying to connect with him.  She wanted to talk to him; make a friend or connection.  This was a sign that she had overstayed her welcome.  Because she was so beautiful and he wanted her so much, he might give in and that could lead to feelings or an incident or worse, escape.  He knew he would have to cover her lovely face forever.  What a shame to lose this precious work of art.  He allowed himself to be drawn in to light conversation and asked her what food she missed most from home.

She paused sadly and thought for a moment.  He wanted to kiss her angelic pout.  He knew she wanted him to.  "Pork chops" she said quietly.  He nodded and headed for the store.  The night of her farewell, he had given her clean clothes and a bath.  He had brushed her hair and permitted her to sit at the table while he spoke of her release.  He of course made her promise she wouldn't tell.  He of course told her she would be going home.  he of course was lying through his teeth all the while chopping vegetables.  He asked her to set the table as he generously sprinkled his favorite poison into the gravy he would not eat. He hummed softly to himself.

"Biscuits too?" she asked marveling at the feast he was preparing for her.  She smiled and clapped lightly when he rolled his eyes and stalked past her to the pantry where he rooted around and found some.  He turned to see her standing next to her chair and for a moment a knot of panic pinched up inside his gut. He stopped and glowered at her.

"Sit down" he commanded through his dry chapped lips.  He'd been licking them incessantly in these days leading to her farewell.  It was a nervous habit. Too much excitement and anticipation.

"I was setting the table." she said but did as told. "It smells delicious.  I am so very hungry." she said demurely, resting her hand along the arm of the chair.  She let her fingers play with it, drumming and scratching.  He imagined his own body at her tender little hands and smiled forgiving her for her naughtiness and attempt to seduce him.

"It should be done..." he brushed by her and pulled open the oven to remove the chops.  He barely noticed the first sting as she stabbed him with the knife she'd snatched from the counter.  He hadn't noticed in time.  It was too late.  She childishly slashed at him again; giggling as he slipped and fell to the floor, forced to look at his prisoner.

"You monster. she laughed.  "Took you long enough.  After I found you on WatchDog" and viewed your page...even had to throw the fucking ball to you.  You pitch like a bitch" she said continuing to cut and carve him.  She backed away and brushed her hair from her cheek leaving a dark red smudge.  He realized for the first time it was his blood.  "No more monsters." she smiled sweetly.

He was defeated and weak.  He felt cheated and sad as his last breaths bubbled from his mouth.

"Wicked" he said to no one for she had turned away and began fixing her plate.  She was always so hungry after such a strenuous hunt and this poor chap had proven to be a wee bit of a challenge.  She began to look around for a place to dump him.  He had, she noticed already begun to dig out in some dead of the wood.  She would need to make the hole bigger or maybe cut him up.  Didn't matter.  She'd think about it.  All she had was time.  She dragged her fork around and drew a heart in her potatoes and gravy before shoveling it into her mouth.  She laughed and licked her lips as the droplets trickled down her chin.

"Delicious." she said aloud.


Hello there strangers! 
It's nice to see you again.  I hope you all had a safe and wonderful holiday.  We did.  It's hard to believe it's over so soon but at some level, I'm okay with that and more than a little tired.  I am glad you came to sit with me a bit and hope you've enjoyed my story.  Let's do it again soon, shall we? 

Until next time....

                                                                             

Friday, November 9, 2018

The Water

She is waiting for me.  I am too nervous to go up to her; speak to her.  She is still as a stone at the edge of the water.  The sunlight and breeze wistfully comb her hair; playfully tug at her tee shirt.  She looks fragile; beautiful.  I bet she laughs behind a coy hand unless with her friends.  Then she hee-haws maybe even snorts.

She grew up here just like me.  I've seen her all my life, recognize her shadow as the sun plays hide and seek with the moon on long summer days.  I know that giggle; innocent yet mischievous as she and her friends plan their futures ~ so far away... the weekend.  I have fewer friends than she.  My friends.  Her friends.  we don't meld, never touch and rarely speak except through tight smiles, batted eyelashes and glances around but never directly on each other.

But here at the lake, the water, things can be different; more neutral.  There is no territory.  The waves are indifferent to our social caste, tickling our feet and slapping our knees.  The water washes all the stickiness of stigmas away- clean.  I love it.  I breathe deeply when I swim here, gulping at the equality and freedom; kicking away criticism and dirty looks for being different or considered less.  And then the waters turned dark.

The kind of dark that never ends and always needs feeding.   The kind of dark that makes you whisper and pray it never finds you.   She wasn't afraid of that dark like me.  I heard her giggling in it, running in it - to it.  Many nights I watcher her dash down the street toward the lake.  I listened to her shoes slap away the warnings of the street as it begged her to go back, go inside and be safe.  Sometimes she even stopped at my drive and I knew she was looking for me.  I would duck behind my drapes and hug my pillow.  I would wish her to be gone into the night, into the dark water.

Others began to disappear into that void but never her.  Fear scurried across our town and scratched at each door.  Curfews were set and sidewalks rolled up as if the adults could somehow shield us.  Protect.  But they could not.  The bodies of the skeptical, rebellious and (not-so) invincible were found at the edge of the lake; bloated and marred by curious slashes, bruised necks, bulging eyes that saw it all while mouths stuffed wilt and leaves prevented ever speaking of the horrors and pain.  The town thought the water was bad but it wasn't.  Not really.  Now I know it was trying to clean away the fear, the murder, the death.  Each day it tried to wash out the blood and tears it's little white caps desperately crashing into screams of those who went.  Who disappeared.

And she just kept going each night down there to the water; stopping at my house while I hid and she waited.  I began to hear her calling my name, coming closer to my window.  I hugged my pillow more tightly, letting it smother me in fear and common sense "don't go don't go don't go" the wind pushed through the screen and I would scream into my protective down warrior "I know I won't."  My tears promised I wouldn't but then one night, she tapped on the glass.  Her little manicured nails clicked out a beckoning.  My eyes darted to the window and couldn't look away.

She smiled.  Waved.

I did too.  There was nothing to be afraid of  She said.  Rumors.  It was fun to sneak out  Better not to get caught.  exciting.  And I believed her.  I wanted to go.  I needed to know what it was like to be her friend even if under the cover of night where no once would see; no one would tell that our groups converged and didn't care.

"It doesn't matter" she said. "C'mon.  It'll be fine.  Fun."

I pretended to ignore her.  She drifted off.  And I waited until my parents thought they'd watched over me long enough.  They fell asleep.  I went.  More cautiously than she.  I tread lightly, avoiding the light and made my way to the dark water.  There she was but with another.  They splashed and hollered. I remember thinking that it DID look like fun.  But the night wind blew me a kiss smelling of warm metal and struggle.  When the silence came, it brought truth and death.  I crouched and shamefully watched. Now she was the only one splashing.  The lake smacked at her, pleading with her to stop. The waves tugged at the body trying in vain to pull it from her, wash it away and wash it clean but she just laughed and splashed back like it was a game of tug of war.  The knife she raised caught the moonlight and as she struck, I gasped giving away my presence.  Handing her my life.

She stopped and waited for me; still as a stone.

"Don't hide.  I know you're there.  Did you piss yourself? C'mere.  she panted and sat down on the shore.

I stood and did what she asked; as she had asked all of them.  I looked blankly at the body floating in the water.  The lake nudging me, warning me.  She poked it with her knife carelessly; stirring, almost writing in the bloody water mixture.  She confessed and giggled.  She sighed wistfully.  I sat there numbly and mindlessly pulled at the mud while my brain screamed behind my eyes.  every nerve was burning.  Tears ran down my cheeks as she politely whispered my fate to me.

I will always be grateful to the water for giving me the small log.  It softly brushed my fingertips and I understood.  It wanted me to end this.

I swung and heard her nose break.  She gasped, shocked and covered her face dropping the blade.  I swung again and her body fell back.  The waves clapped softly for my heroism.  I heard her groan and straddled her quickly.  The moon peeked from behind the clouds and seemed relieved.  IT shown brighter so I could see where the lake wanted to hide her.  Bury her.  It pulled at her and like a tiny boat, she went out beyond me.  The lake would end this and I did as it whispered.  I laid down in it and allowed it  wash me and calm my shaking body.

In the morning, only one body was found.  The last victim.  The adults mourned and asked why.  They begged God to keep us safe and to end this horror.

But I knew better and at night I went to the water's edge and thanked it.  I laid with it and let it tell me the stories and promises of the ending.  Which it did; until just a few nights ago.  It began calling to me. telling me of its hunger and reminding me of the role I played in a very dirty story, one that could be washed away if I just brought down a child....


Friday, October 19, 2018

Pearly White

Gather my little darlings and let me whisper to you a story, a warning if you will that began as every parent's nightmare ending in indescribable anger and ultimate fear.  Hold your smirks and giggles, reserve your eye rolling and "Oh brother"s until you know all...

She was a beautiful queen who naturally had a beautiful son.  They were adored in the kingdom by all; except the king.  He was a narcissist, an arrogant soul; wanting all things for himself, whether it was love or gold.   But the queen and the prince were kind and caring for those less fortunate creating a loving name for themselves across the land.  They fed the hungry, gave to the poor all of which infuriated the pompous, greedy lord.  And so on the day that the darling prince with the beautiful smile and warm heart wandered off to play in the wood instead of studying his lessons, this wretched king sent his henchman in to destroy the baby royal.  

The boy did not join them for tea.  Nor did he return to sup.  Night fell as did his mother's heart.  She begged for help to search for him. Many in her kingdom scoured the forest but to no avail.  After several mornings void of the joyful child's giggling, along came a note demanding money for the valuable prince.  The queen begged her husband to pay, stating that nothing was worth more than their angelic son's toothy grin. The king nodded, feigned concern and fatherly fear, even declared he would give his last coin but he did nothing.  He lied when he said he sent his best men to search near and far.  He put back all the money and gold he ostentatiously displayed for payment.  Nothing more was heard.  After a fortnight,  the crumpled body of the lost was found.  He was beaten and bloody; his beautiful smile ruined as all his teeth had been harshly yanked.  The queen fell into an inconsolable despair.  She wandered restlessly day and night, calling out to her angel child.  She would stop at cottages, asking if they had seen her son, the prince.  One day, she found a small girl sitting by the water's edge.  She wept softly to herself.  The queen approached and sat next to her.  

"Why tears little one?" 

"My mouth is broken." she looked up through teary eyes and held out a tiny white pearl; her baby tooth.  A small ember glowed inside the Royal's chest as she reached out and touched it.  

"May I have it?" she queried. 

The baby girl began to close her fist, hesitant to give up something of her own, a part of her, but the queen quickly reached in her purse and pulled out a coin.  

"Here.  For your trouble." she eagerly rushed quivering at the thought holding the gleaming treasure. 

The child glanced at the shiny gold and rejoiced.  She snatched  it up and curtsied to her queen thanking her.  Her majesty plopped it victoriously it in her pocket and hurried back to the castle where she put the ivory gem in a small velvet purse.  There was peace in her heart but it was not so easily satisfied.  She needed more of them ~ all of them.  So began her travels far and wide~ checking with any and all children for loose, lost teeth for which she would gladly pay to restore the smile of her son, bringing him back. 

Her husband saw the gold she was taking away and grew furious.  He plotted to kill her thinking only of the riches he would preserve. One night, when he could take no more, he demanded she be poisoned; telling the staff to bring it in her drink after her favorite meal had been laid before her.  But the servants had seen enough of his cruelty and known too much deceit, choosing instead to give  their horrendous lord the deadly drink.  He discovered all too late he had been fooled.  As he lie dying in his bed with his loving wife soothing him and unaware of all that had taken place around her, he confessed;  begging forgiveness and leaving her ears ringing from the life of lies and murder.  In a blind rage, she pulled all of his teeth and left him; bleeding and alone, retreating to her private chamber where she fell into madness.  She spent the remainder of her days sauntering the land, visiting children and collecting their teeth, dispelling her fortune and searching in vain for her son.  Even after her body gave out, she did not cease.  She continued on... searching... dubbed the tooth fairy.  But this has taken its toll on the once generous and loving queen.

Her soul is restless and her need so great, a despair so immense that her spirit has begun to search not just for the lost and loose.  She has begun to peer jealously inside those innocent, dozing mouths where even more teeth hide ~ and if only she could have them, take them, she might have her greatest treasure restored;  her son's twinkle.  She bitterly questions why these children should be allowed to laugh and grin; to enjoy what her baby could not.  Her anger has changed her and changed what those ivory jewels mean.  She no longer believes she should pay for what is cast aside and taken for granted~ she thinks she is owed for her suffering and that of her lost boy.  She hates you; your pearly barking and polished beaming and she will find you and it is now you who owe ~ for her loss, for her dead son's gaping and bloody mouth and her cheated sad life.

Sleep tight my little darlings.

Happy Halloween.  This is for my daughter who gave me the idea.  "Write it.  I know you can."  I hope my little girl gets a squeal of laughter and a shiver from this and you as well.  Thanks for coming over.  I hope we can do it again soon.


Sunday, June 3, 2018

Warriors and Heroes

The day was rushed.  We are getting ready for my baby's graduation (and subsequent celebratory festival) and I am super busy making lists of lists of lists.  There is the important stuff, the hot topics, the Uber important and then there's brushing the toilet, spraying Febreeze, hoping it lasts, and praying for sunshine.

The toddlers (my three fuzzikids) were giddy and bothersome doing what they do best; interpreting Mommy's mood and nibble at it.  I needed to get chores done.  I needed to make calls.  I needed... needed... needed.

Now I know it sounds like I was panicking but I was not.  I was simply suiting up for the American Ninja Warrior- Mom edition.  I had to dodge the growing laundry pile, try to make it down the deadly dog steps (this is an obstacle where my guffaw of a dog, Mulligan, shoves his nose into my back or up my butt and encourages me to trip, stumble or fall down the stairs while bubbling out dirty words ~ it's his favorite game.  I am not a fan and not just because I suck at it. THAT would make me a bitter loser) and conquer the dishwasher drop (THIS obstacle is where the dishwasher lid comes open and all fuzzikids feel compelled to attempt to get inside and feast like it's Golden Corral on Surf n Turf night~ again, not a fan but I am a WARRIOR dammit) and the coup de gras, the trash bag toss.  Oh I was in rare form and was feeling the burn of determination and success.  I was gonna hit that button (the garage door button) get outside and GO OUT ~ 

What's that saying about best laid plans?

Well, I had it until the trash bag hit the can in the garage.  It cracked the side and popped open, dumping papers and coffee filters and yucky, dirty trash at my feet.  (insert dramatic sigh and eye roll if you feel so inclined.  I did.) But I stepped down and angrily plucked the now empty bag and hit my knees.  Oh I was gonna pray alright.  Pray I could get this junk done and just move on.  I wanted to GO OUT.  

I don't know where it came from, the bent dog food lid, or should I call it the evil shiv of pain and slicing?  Because that is what it did.  It sliced me.  Deep.  It bit me so fast that all I could do was hiss and then hold my breath while my brain tried to catch up screaming in my ears "WHAT HAPPENED? I FELT SOMETHING ~ CUT! ARE WE CUT?" but my body was in warrior mode so it kept picking up trash and papers.  It ignored the growing change in color of those papers from white to red. In fact, it shouted at my brain to move faster!   So I did.  Ignoring now that it looked like I was trying to pick up liquid with my hands and put it in the bag.  Then the smell hit me, copper.  I began to see speckles dancing around laughing at me.  I felt a little ... confused.  

"Get inside Stupid YOU'RE BLEEDING!" I got up (the trash was picked up so my body allowed it.) and stepped inside.  How do I stop the bleeding?   Paper towels of course but not just ANY ... no... Viva.  I grabbed a little sheet and wrapped my finger.  It instantly turned red.  Ooops better get another... and another... and another.. huh... a little worse than I thought.  I applied pressure. Then a little more and some more until my pulse could be felt in my teeth and heard next door.  I put my hand on top of my head.  Raise it right?  You betcha.  I walked around and wiggled my fingers so it looked like a deranged Halloween party hat.  More towels please.  Yes, just give me the roll.  

I made my way upstairs to where the band aids are.  No issue there. (another towel or four please ~ hand on head- wiggle fingers.) I think it might be a good idea to rinse off.  This is untrue.  The minute water hits my finger, a flap of skin swishes to the side.  I see a flash of white.  Bone? oops. More towels please.  Direct pressure.  Hand on head. I pace around my bathroom and wonder if I will get in trouble if Cheech...

"What are you doing?"

(insert that "uh-oh" theme song.  It's appropriate)

"Nothing"

"Yeah?" 

The phrase in our house: If I'm asking, I already know.  For a brief moment I wonder how but considering the fact that I have two rolls of Viva around my finger that are as red as bricks... 

"I... think I cut myself."

"I think so too. Let me see"

"NO!"  I pinch harder, put it on my head and close my eyes.  If I can't see him... he can't see me... right? Didn't we all try that  when we were uhhhh FOUR???? (sigh ~ go ahead. I'm a wussy)

"Let's go get stitches."
 

"NOOOOOO. No No No... Uh-uh. Nope."

"Why are you being like this?" 

"They won't numb me. Just sew it like it was a sweater!" I hiss tears welling up.

"Honey, I bet they will.  They'll use..."

"A NEEDLE! DOUBLE NO. I'D RATHER EAT HOT GLASS!" (for those of you who don't know already, I have a phobia of needles, bees... sharp pointy things.... and being chased but we can revisit that)


"You're being silly.  Give it. Now let me see...."

And childishly I do.  My own loving warrior, bandages me.  He never asks again and helps me.  My finger is throbbing and I am in so much pain I want to cry but I don't because I don't want to go get stitches.  He never questions or scolds me.  He goes downstairs and we make dinner.  I really just watch as this hero of heroes makes a king's feast for a cowardly jester.   

He gives me Tylenol and kisses my head.  He smiles softly and tells me the house looks great... aside from some stray blood splatter.  I warn him that the police will question him if I disappear.  Luminal will not be his friend.  He makes me dessert.  I ask him why it tastes like bitter almonds and he takes a bite of mine and says ~ always together.

He gets ready for work and I am sad because I want to simply sit and worship my hero.  I want to fall asleep in his safe, first-aid ready arms.

"Have a good day Hon." I say as he heads out the door.

"Will do.  Could you put paper towels on the grocery list?  We're very low on Viva."

Warriors til the end.

Hello there.  It seems weird that we are here together again.  I said I would try and I will... again and again missing my friend and mentor all the while.  I can't tell you the number of times I started and threw out my work.  I am still a little shaky but I always feel better sharing family stories; good and bad.  Thanks for visiting.  I have another on the way in a week or so (gotta get through graduation first) but it will be a fiction piece.  It's been too long since I've done what I love, write.  

Thank you for visiting.  You're good company.
See you soon.