My grandmother Juanita “Nanny” encouraged me to publish my first creative writing project which I began in college in Vermont, USA. She passed away before I had the courage to finish it. It’s a far cry from my more primally driven, soul crushing TRUTH blog yet, here it is. Thank you Nanny for believing in me and sharing with me the True stories and laughter. The book may have character’s that remind Lm and Rock of people in her past however it is compiled from bits and pieces of memories and fictional. Here is the link.
I am right with you, aligned as Ursa major and minor as the whole universe continues pulling us towards Love. Keep sharing, keep the voices of women before us alive. Feel unheard? Say it louder. Shout from your guts, CRY. Stay vigilent, mindful of your own inner work. No one can take your powers away unless you hand them over. SHINE. MOURN. Support other women in their struggles, be a woman’s woman, a teacher, a student, carry TRUTH as your flame. Stand up for your beliefs, run from insipid gossip, protect our tribe. Contribute loyalty, sing and play. We are the givers of life, the arches that span like rainbows, we are the gem other’s seek, we dig our hands in the Earth’s soil from every land. When weariness takes us down, rest upon the lap of love, honor your emotions, they need not be sacrificed for anyone. Bleed, bleed , bleed. Breathe deep, call out to the silver stars, the full moon light. Kneel with gratitude as we harvest what we’ve sowed. Mabon is upon us, the cyclical switch is eternal. Place your hope on the table, feel the change within your seasoned soul. Give. Live. Sunbeams, dawn, redgold leafs lie upon your mantal, for tis nature that earns the highest of all awards for her sacred healing, her mysterious essence, her endless ability to keep the house in order, the home in our hearts beating. Blessed Be.
Listen….hold your loved ones tighter. Okay. Those who love tf out of you and stick around through the good, the bad, the ugly. Hold them close to your heart. Let them know you appreciate them. Reciprocate that love and support. There are a lot of people who cannot and will not be able to handle the baggage you carry but there are those that will. Even if it’s one person…that’s your fuxking person, man. Love them. Cherish them. Hold them tighter. Those connections are RARE. Don’t take it for granted. Don’t let them slip away.
Underneath my colorful quilt, a friendship lost, a friendship built
Stolen youth, years gone fast, I found someone though time has passed
Once running, laughing we did not share, our hurts or pains that brought us ner
Your big brown eyes, subtle composure, two hidden hearts with no disclosure
We both were hurting yet never shared what life we'd led nor truth or dare
We grew up, struggled through, found our way and lost it, too
Strong women now, we rebuild our bond, between us lies a salty pond
One day before my body breaks, I beg to see you; it's our fate
One more time to laugh with you, soon I'm sixty and so are you
In a foreign land I reach across to hold your hand
Life's been harsh with some good times too, May we meet again for I love you.
Lm has been down this road many times before; finding hope, losing hope, finding love, losing love, believing, not believing, passionate, passive, TRUSTING….Huge ENORMOUS SNAG! Truth has always been closeted, boxed up, stored away or tossed out. What is there to believe in when so many people hurt, hide their fears and keep running on ego, pretention and illusions? Rock has been placed near the old church door keeping an eye out for anyone who might see Lm in this vulnerable place. She is trying with all her might to pray, to feel truly heard, to heal; yet her leary, cynical self says, “Fuck you, how the hell am I to believe life gets better or people are capable of serious growth when those who squeezed my heart until it barely had a beat never called or wrote to say they were wrong or sorry?” This old church is barren of worshippers; cold and musty it remains a historical treasure embraced by uncertainty. Centuries old, desperate pleas from villagers long gone can still be heard. Savage Saviour, where art thou NOW? Lm screams her prayer pleading to be seen, her little girl voice echos, bouncing like a slobber covered tennis ball that belongs to a beloved family labrador that was left alone too long. From wall to an arched planked ceiling and back to the pulpit it lands with fury, causing the thin paned windows to rattle. Rock is ready. He knows this will be a bad experience; Lm will likely try to run, leaving him nebulously behind. There are no quick answers, advise or even faint clues as to how she can exorcise her miniature demons which usually leave her mute, squatting in the black, dank, drowning corners of her past. She is angry that her half-siblings are put on pedestals while she and the others are shunned. Nature has gouged into humankind to believe in more since the Neanderthals rubbed two sticks together. Or did they? Shamans, organised religions, cults, even Oprah Winfrey, Ellen Degeneras, Queen Elizabeth II, Elvis and Jane Goodall have a strong following! Do Chimpanzees pray? Do elephants mourn or black crows truly attach? From Eve’s naked temptation to Eris the Goddess of all femme fatales, the feminine figure is the cause of all temptuous forces. Lm refuses to accept this. “Dear Goddess, Dear Female Lord, Dear Universe, Dear Whatever, hear my prayer. Please? Amen. Thank you. Ummm, I don’t even know what to say, and of course if you could save me from further self loathing I’d appreciate it.” Lm was ousted from BaDDaD’s life for she knew too much. (Period. New paragraph. She still has humor!) New Life. Forced unwillingly into a complex Witness Protection Program devised by elders she loved Lm has continued to feel threatened until recently; with one swift move using her handmade sharpened scythe she could exploit the Truth anytime. Escaping for her is simple. Whoever came up with the following and frequently misquoted advise was straight and as strong as well casked Kentucky bourbon. Southern wine. “Always tell the Truth then you don’t need to REMEMBER your lies”. BaDDaD once had eyes on her, little pipsqueak narks he puffed up like Vietnamese blowfish so they could feel higher, more significant to him than Lm; she was tortured with threats of going no contact if she spoke “poorly” of him. BOO, fucking HOO! Not anymore; Lm is very intelligent and knows he is the epitomy of fraudulence, the one who could gnaw through the twines of his Upper Up’s and unlike Martha Stewart, he never was nailed for his sins or intentional manipulation. From the womb of a good woman, he landed on both feet running; Crossville to Nashville, from here to there, D.C., Cannes, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Annapolis, Virgina and more he has always been fifty leaps ahead of the feds; sadly he remains on the run within himself, he wouldn’t know HONESTY if it hit him in the face with a piping hot iron skillet. Narcissistic parents brag because they want the kudos for being the world’s most perfect parents; “Look what we have created!” Lm’s achievements are never seen or known; she has jumped over thorns, with her alt persona she continues bravely through the tangled ivy, a jungle of lies to find peace. That’s gotta be worth a penny. Her brutal realness is feared by those who should sparkle and delight in TRUTH. Lm stands, looks back at Rock for reassurance, wipes her tears on her old jean jacket then together they return to safety in the hidden stairwell. Lm closes her eyes. Rock is vigilent, always alert, and steadfast. He double locks the door that leads to her heart. AMEN.
As soon as she could walk on her two tiny feet Kalthoom had been obedient; she listened well, always attentive, mindful to cause no strife as her older brothers had. She rubbed her father’s feet and served him sweet tea when he came home to their small two room apartment in their displaced country. She ran to him each night with bright warm eyes and a smile that reminded him of his wife; he would lift her high into the air and say, “my gift”. Muhamad was the father of four sons, Abdelkarim, Hussein, Salim and Omar; three were married to good women who stayed home cooking, cleaning and focusing on their husband’s needs while his sons were studying the new language in this culturally perplexing new homeland, at least for him. Muhamad for as long as he could recall was Baba, the provider and strong one who lived the life of a faithful Muslim. He wanted nothing more than his family to be happy, secure and feel loved. His youngest son and fourth child Omar was following in his father’s footsteps, this gave Muhamad much pride. His trade took expertise, patience and time; he would become an excellent mason with much to look forward to. He was not bright in the book knowledge sort of way, yet he was a master with his hands, his craft flawless. He longed for grandchildren and would often lean in with an unassuming manner trying to overhear his wife Amina speaking in low tones over tea with his son’s wives. Kalthoom was his little miracle as he was fifty-eight years old when his wife surprised him with the news that she was carrying his child once more. She had been a perfect companion, younger than he by eighteen years; she was angelic, never hurried or too tired of the children’s scattering about and noisy play, never once had she been ill. She did not deny him of pleasure nor raise her voice or undermine his decisions. It was an agreeable union meant to be. He was pleased that he could still create life with the grace of Allah and prayed for a healthy pregnancy. Honestly, he fully expected another son. Amina was his best friend, much more than she would ever know; he needed her easy way, her scent of life itself and her smooth skin touching his. Amina’s understanding gaze into his eyes at night by candlelight when he spoke of their earliest days together illuminated their faces, setting a melancholy atmosphere for his nostalgic recollections. He spoke of the chill in his skin when sitting nervously waiting to meet his soon to be wife, an arranged bride with their parent’s blessings. They laughed, remembering his shaking hands causing an obvious rattling clank of his teacup on its saucer. Her father asked him to stand when she came into the family room where they received visitors. He had spilled his tea on the carpet beneath his feet and his eyes widened and looked away quickly after his first glance. She had been escorted by her eldest brother and eventual first son’s namesake, Abdelkarim and seated with her mother on a burnt ochre settee. She never spoke directly; her mother and father spoke for her. Next, they welcomed Muhamad’s father and Aunt. His mother had died when he was sixteen from a stroke. The elders spoke while they had smiled, sneaking glances eye to eye. Her dress was like the desert sky, a perfect shade of blue. It had handsewn golden sequins around the high neck, her hair although mostly covered by her matching hijab, was a rich auburn, carefully dyed with henna. He would recall their first meeting often and Amina never grew bored with his repetitive memories. She knew that memories were important to savour for they both knew they could not return to where they had met. Kalthoom began to cook when her mother was ill with a sickness that no one talked about openly; her father was once a comforting man, reassuring her that everything will be fine if you believe in Allah’s plan. This was long before the dark shadows of sadness caused the family to simply appease their elders. The Imam came to pray with Muhamad by his wife’s bed some mornings when Amina was alert. She would thank him for his grace, then ask in her small voice for Kalthoom to serve tea, and whispered, “please serve the best of our sweet cookies, the one’s with dates carefully pressed into the middle.” Kalthoom obliged. She bowed to the Imam, careful not to catch his eyes and placed the silver serving tray on the low round table where his father sat on decorative cushions across from the Imam. Her father excused her, sending her off to sit by her mother and read poetry in Arabic, the only language her mother would ever know. Some nights and days passed quickly when Kalthoom would be awakened by painful moans and Baba crying in gasps, echoing was his broken heart throughout their otherwise silent surroundings. Kalthoom was frozen, unable to express her sorrow. The brothers and wives came with trays of food which filled the long table, yet no one dared to eat other than Hussein’s wife who was due soon with their first baby. Omar stayed over on the floor next to Baba ready to clasp his father’s hands into his own should he begin to quiver. A year passed and Baba relied heavily on Kalthoom. She learned from Omar how to take the bus to the pharmacy for Baba’s new medicines prescribed to calm his agitation, to walk without an escort into the enormous supermarket and her list of things to do grew longer and more stressful. One evening as Baba sat squatting on his haunches smoking his pipe on the balcony Omar called and said he needed her to listen to his guidance. “My dear sister, I cherish you for all that you do for Baba without complaint however, he is nearing the end of this life and you must learn the language spoken here. How will you survive when Baba should pass?” Kalthoom had never thought about her own future, not even once in a late-night dream state had she known what she longed for. Omar had finally bought a van for his business which was growing and said he would speak to Baba about her learning the new language. Surprisingly to Kalthoom Baba gave her permission to study. Class after class she attended regularly and the stares at her from all the blue eyes was unnerving. One morning a young woman replaced her usual teacher, her eyes were dark as Kalthoom’s. After each class they smiled at one another in a way Kalthoom did not understand; she only knew that the teacher’s smile made her heart thump faster and her palms to sweat. Weeks turned to months when one day the teacher asked her to have tea after class; Kalthoom jumped for joy for the very first time. A friend! She had a friend. For the first time she sat without one of her brothers supervision in a cafe sipping her tea and enjoying what the new land called, “fika”. Her teacher’s parents came from Iran, yet she had been born in Sweden; she shared each time they met a little bit more about the Swedish culture. Kalthoom silently studied how other women dressed as if flipping through a foreign fashion magazine. “Have you learned how to speak yet?” Baba asked the same question everyday. Kalthoom explained the new letters which made unique sounds, Ä, Ö, Å. She had a goal now. She continued to cook, clean and sit with Baba when he stared blankly at the television, not understanding anything he watched; it no longer mattered. His mind was tired, his appetite less and other than Omar picking him up to go to mosque he lay on a mattress near balcony window, drifting in and out of sleep. Her other brother’s wives were all expecting babies now and she looked forward to being an aunt again. When the first baby was born to Hussein’s wife, it was a girl and although it was a delight for the entire family, there was an unspoken knowing a son was longed for. Hussein and his wife Bouchera gave their daughter her grandmother’s name, Amina. Baba was joyful when they visited with the baby. A grandchild finally; he carefully cradled the swaddled bundle and held her close to his heart. Baba would die before the next grandchild was born. For weeks Kalthoom missed her classes and sat crying in the now empty apartment; her sisters-in-law took turns staying with her and they cooked for her, she was grateful yet hopeless now. The teacher rang her, understood her mourning and said she could return when she was ready. She told her in order to continue to the next level she needed to submit her identification number. What was that? Kalthoom wondered. One night the entire family gathered and spoke about necessary things, how to pay bills, how to avoid Swedes who asked too many questions and the brothers agreed that they would all pay a bit toward the rent. Omar would move in to supervise her, and she would need to stay home more. Kalthoom slipped into a depression when she was told she had been brought here with her parents illegally. Her oldest brother Abdelkarim had come with special papers and was able to study and work, but she and the rest of the family had come when she was small through channels worked carefully by other refugees. How could this be? Baba worked, Omar worked, and they had a happy life before. How could this number be so necessary? The wives suggested they meet a nice Muslim man at the mosque who was here legally and perhaps they could arrange a marriage to avoid any complications. Everyone agreed except Kalthoom. This is how it would unfold; she would be placed like a dog in a kennel with some man she never met. She was given handsewn dresses, typical formals to greet her unknown suitors. She was primped and stuffed into a yellow and white satin dress, her hair was dyed by Abdelkarim’s wife for the first time with henna and she had her eyebrows plucked and had eyeliner carefully applied. The teacher rang again and asked to meet Kalthoom, hesitantly she said she could no longer continue to meet or study the language. The language that gave her freedom was the entrance into a gated inner world of silenced women who could not be left to sip tea and sit in cafes with new friends from other places. The dreaded day came when a gentleman twice her age came to meet her. He looked directly at her and chatted and laughed with her brothers. She felt encroached upon, an item up for sale like the plums in the market where she shopped. Baba had left some money and a letter to give to the husband to be which Kalthoom never had known of. Unlike her obedient, attentive and congenial persona she stood up and ran into the bathroom slamming the door and locking it. Everyone could hear her sobbing. The gentleman agreed to leave and was given apologies on her behalf. Once he was gone Omar beat hard on the door, “Kalthoom! What on earth are you doing? We are trying to help you, please, I beg you to come out.” She refused and sat sobbing in a haze of desolation. The rest of the family left, and Omar let her be, easily drifting off to sleep on the sofa after an exhausting day. When all was quiet, Kalthoom opened the door and ripped off the sticky dress and put on one of her mother’s old tunics, a big coat with a hood and took cash from the safe inside the closet which once was her parent’s bedroom. She took a large bag of her mother’s and stuffed it with photos of her family, her bus card and a notebook of memoirs her mother had kept. She took a long look at her most loved brother and snuck out the door, unsure of her intentions. She walked to the bus stop and boarded with no plan. She arbitrarily pressed the button somewhere in the city and stepped out and saw light’s on in windowsills, snowflakes under streetlamps and heard laughter and passers-by enjoying each other’s company. It was not late, perhaps seven at night, but it was black outside, and she felt freedom in absence of her family. She saw a pizzeria open, and she went inside to warm up. She used the new language to order coffee and sat reading her mother’s journal.”Yesterday was the happiest day of my life, I gave birth to a baby girl. I finally am not alone in my femininity. I look forward to teaching her to sew, to cook, and share funny stories of our family’s past. Her eyes, like mine, are rich and warm, her tiny lips are pink as my cheeks. My daughter, my dream.”Kalthoom’s throat thickened, the sorrow she had locked inside when her mother died was rising to the surface and soon without control, she began to cry while seated in a corner table of a busy pizzeria. She knew she had no where to run, nowhere to hide and had to face her future willingly as her mother had accepted her own. She went into a small store about to close and bought a hand carved cedar box. Inside it was lined with red velvet; she bought bright kitchen towels with a floral print, an apron to match and a scented candle ina glass jar. When she arrived home Omar was beside himself with worry. “Kalthoom, where have you been?”. She took off the heavy coat and put her large bag and purchases down, her fingers numb from the biting icy weather. “I have been shopping dear brother; I am so sorry to frighten you.” He asked what she had bought. She pulled out the scented candle that smelled like cinnamon and he took the lid off and took a sniff. She pulled out new kitchen towels and he smiled, she tried on the new apron, and he smiled even more, finally she pulled out the cedar box with red velvet inside. “What is this for?” She walked to the kitchen, Omar right behind her and began to make dinner. She waited to answer and asked him to sit down and to stop talking so much so that she could concentrate on her mother’s lamb stew recipe she read in her journal. The aroma was familiar, one she recalled from a childhood somewhere else. The essence of Amina engulfed her, she felt safe and warm inside. She served the stew with cous-cous on the low table and watched Omar eat as if he had never eaten in his life. “How do you know how to recreate Mother’s secrets?”, Kalthoom simply smiled. She put the wooden box on the table after she had cleared the table and washed up for evening prayers. “Kalthoom, what is this beautiful box for”? Omar pushed for an answer before they went to sleep. “It’s nothing special”. Omar continued to ask her annoying questions and she felt the thickness in her throat again, the rise of her emotions and her mother’s love. “It’s for my unopened dreams that have been denied”. Omar had a blank look on his face. He shrugged his shoulders and went back to the sofa., happy she had filled his belly with such wonderful food. Kalthoom lay in her parent’s bed and read more of her mother’s thick journal. “I never admitted to anyone that I felt nothing for Muhamad in the early years, it has always been a seal between me and Allah. When Kalthoom was born I felt a reawakening and was full of love for everyone. Her devotion to us has opened the door to dreams I never saw come true.”She then placed the book and money back in the safe and lit the candle that smelled of cinnamon. She let some more tear’s flow and drip into the cedar box. She kissed it and put it inside the safe also. There she would share her dreams along with her mothers and perhaps, if she were lucky a suitable gentleman would call on her again soon and her brothers would be happy, and they all could laugh and live in the light of all that remained unspoken.
Veritus. Lack of respect for what a loved one or friend has experienced or is living in the NOW is a selfish play. There are rules to abide by to live an honest life. Sound dysfunctional? Perhaps you too are on your path to freedom from illusions and the superficial world. The key to acceptance is TRUTH; keep your integrity in the pocket nearest to your heart. Lm is tired of holding her painful memories inside because they may disrupt other’s delicate worlds. Five of seven half siblings from BadDad have made it very clear that Lm’s truth is to be put neatly into a shoebox for eternity. ROCK is so damn tired of covering up her pain so others can feel better. Today she sat near him and felt his rough, brazen surface and gave him her list of Truths to be unfiltered, unpolished and he is sorting through her pile of letters, forming words, spelling out her emotions into sentences and organising her memoirs. Truth will set her free. Free from lies, from trying too hard to hold her past together and release her into the wind like a dancing butterfly. Yesterday, Lm crawled out from her hiding place with her best friend AP on her shoulder in angelic form. She pointed to all the wild flowers left to grow freely and together they hugged honey bees, chunky bumbles in their yellow and black suits and hundreds of butterflies swooned around them. Golden light fell upon their lifelong friendship, finely tuned and real. Coltsfoot mixed with red full roses, dandelions and clover lifted Lm off her feet with AP; laughing like children they flew through the tall grassy meadow, into the realm of Goodness. ROCK saw Lm’s eyes shining with delight and decided not to bring up the unnecessary, the dirt or grit. At the bottom of her stairwell she will inevitably return for he knows AP is only a temporary unfettered moment of liberatio.
Scene 1, Take 1000 – ROCK Leans Against Lm’s walls of pain and reminds us all that she may crumble but she is one tough cookie.
As many of #RealStuffbyRealMe readers know Lm has been a bit unhinged lately; ROCK has been trying to take a breather and sighs as he remembers with unbridled compassion her earlier feisty days. Okay, you are right, stones don’t need air. Rock is more like a highly trained navy seal and would fight from the bottom of the big, blue sea for Lm. She has sunken on dry land however and he can only protect her from selfish indulgences she turns to when masking her pain. He shares in his best Cagney impression a memory he hasn’t thought of in years. There is so much about Lm that others don’t know. At nineteen, or was it eighteen?… she sailed with two licensed sailors in their early twenties from the well known Annapolis, Maryland, USA yearly boat show to Fort Lauderdale, Florida! There was TJ, with light brown, sea-salty hair, soft blue eyes and a reputation for knowing everything one is to know about sailing; he was a ladie’s man of sorts, one who knew the ropes of the sea but had a deficient vocabulary and well, Lm found him simple. The captain was sly, short, and had quite the interesting nose; he was boastful with a big mouth, pushy and an extremely mysoginistic character that Moby Dick would have spat upon. He learned quickly that Lm would not comply to some unspoken norms that went with the gig. Lm being completely daft and desperate to escape her home life jumped for the opportunity to go along. Apparently, many galley gals were expected to entertain the captain at sea with more than just their singing. She ducked his sexual advances, refused to laugh at his flirtatious nature he called “joking” and was on guard fully after the forty foot Nordic left the Chesapeake Bay and entered the Atlantic. The boat had been bought by a wealthy Floridian and the crew was to be paid very well (except Lm, another story, another day). In many ways she was running away from BaD Dad and Elle’s impending divorce and the non stop crying and yelling, yet she was also running away from a broken heart. Her first major boyfriend who damaged her trust as much as her father in all future relationships had called and advised against her going. This only gave her more incentive as he doubted her ability to handle life at sea. He was a jerk and in all facets of the definition of a decent human, he failed. Lm will most likely go on and on about him to you later. Now caught at sea with the creepy captain and his side-kick, she was in a storm that they were warned about by the radio weather monitor; it was approaching fast with wild winds and waves from four directions. On a sail boat with no way out she had to brace herself and go through it and believe in someone she despised. Storms are nothing to scoff about at sea. Harnessed in at the stern and both hands tightly on the helm she did exactly what captain said, “stay on this precise course and don’t let go.” The winds were steadily building while the guys worked the sails. She ducked as the boom swung from side to side and despite the captain being a very conceited man she was literally praying to God she would never sail again if he just guided these two sailors safely inland. After the storm they took an unplanned pause at the port in Beaufort, North Carolina. She and the guys got off the boat speechless and ran straight to a bar full of fellow wild water sailors. Drunk and scared she met a curly dark haired girl named Tilly with ankle bracelets and a big heart. Tilly was not afraid of anything and was as free as the winds which Lm believed could have killed them all. TJ and Tilly were seasoned and tanned by their multiple yachty-ness experiences and hooked up that first night; they were in full crush mode and she was welcomed to finish the journey with him and the captain. The captain was even more cocky toward Lm now that TJ had a pretty girl in one night and grew more and more agitated over the slightest things. In a snarky voice he barked at Lm to bring him a sandwich. Lm had been hiding out below in an aft bunk for as long as she could. Frightened yet angry at his savage ways she took two pieces of bread and peeled plastic away from the fake processed cheese food, then slapped some ham on it. She was not happy about his behavior toward her although she was grateful he chose to listen to TJ and take the intracoastal waterway and navigate toward St. Augustne, Florida. She looked at the sandwich and took a bite off the corner and spit it out as she was a strict vegetarian. Nextly, she took a squirt bottle of French’s mustard and wrote RAT on his sandwich in bright yellow and orange. She stepped up from the cabin, handed him the sandwich on a paper plate and quickly went to sit with Tilly who was dangling her legs over the side starboard. The captain had one hand on the helm when Lm gave him the plate and he didn’t notice it’s appearance or say thanks as usual. Both girls giggled. Then they heard “Bitch!” and watched a ham and cheese sandwich fly over there heads and into the salty waters and float away. Lm was not asked to make any food for him again. Believe ROCK when he tells you that when Lm says she smells a “RAT“, she is spot on. She does adore all other rodents however.
ROCK’s narrative is completely different than Lm’s; same team with different stories. His voice is gravelly, hoarse and deep. He looks stern and yet if he became human, he would be an interesting type of handsome. He would favor perhaps a weathered and a rugged actor such as Sam Elliot or Morgon Freeman. He thrives on being surrounded by nature, fresh air and cool, wet moss. Most Rocks do prefer to be kept outside but by now you know he is a very special kind of stone. Lm is refusing to leave the little red house. She favors her mother in mannerisms when angry, furrowing her brows and wincing, yet she has BadDad’s freckled red complexion with a crooked smile and his light blue eyes that squint in the sunlight. Overall, Lm asks “Why do I have to look like the one who hurt me most, left me over and over again and snapped my trust in LOVE into the ground so hard that I continue to fight and dig myself out of this pain to this very day, meaning NOW?” Lm reminds ROCK of a young Hemingway descendant or Sissy Spacek in the horror film Carrie and when she is tender, she has a bit of Lindsey Lohan. As a child, she began using her empathetic nature to sniff out trouble, find reasons to help others, meaning humans, dogs, dead birds who needed burying and had a list of ways to make people smile. She knew her babysitter loved her hair combed and despite it’s oily smell she would sit on the sofa behind her sitter and comb her hair and watch Gilligan’s Island. Her step-father irritated her and yet he could also make her laugh. He had told her mother that she was to hard on Lm and she wished her mother had listened. Her moods are always whipping all around like a cyclone of anxiety, or as if one is walking on a dusty trail in the Arizona desert behind an Appalosa but not riding it. Whimpers come from under the bed and ROCK tries to pull her out and coax her with some fun memories. Remember when you and your grandparents were driving to your great-grandparents farm in Georgia and “Nanny” wanted to get out in the eastern hills of Tennessee and look for UFO’s? Remember you lying in the back seat with the windows cracked and the smell of Paw-Paw’s pipe filled with cherry tobacco and how he claimed you as his special girl? Why can’t you focus on “AP” dancing and giving you your first Tom Robbins book “Still Life With Woodpecker”? Think, think, dig for the good stuff and remember how much your beloved friend still is here for you! She is in your heart on call and she has guided you through life like an angel from heaven? She is the sister, the mother, the leader and the one who taught you to try and keep going. Think how she would be if she were here right now. “AP” has not been introduced to readers until today. She lives far away near where Lm was born; Lm lives in Scandanvia. Lm lashes out at ROCK, “she would not be like you pushy face!” then, “she would crawl under this bed with me!”. Pouting and picking at old wounds Lm has resolved to be mute today. Her bad memories of unexpected slaps by her mother’s hand stinging her face, her mother’s pinching on her skin and under her breath words, angry stares, and mostly the belt with holes blazing across her raw pale buttocks. The criticism and strict rules all are puffing up and causing Lm tears. Lm stopped talking, eating and trying to be seen as a teen and still falls back into the hole, rewatching the reel to reel of memories that made her who she is. Meeting “AP” was by far good timing; they both were on dates seated closely together at a cabaret with music and cigarette girls. That fateful night in 1981 they shared champagne. Lm was eighteen and lost like a kitten on the side of the road. “AP” would become, even to this day her most trusted, loyal friend, the strong, older sister she never had and when she laughs she makes a very special giggly sound, when she talks she goes from subject to subject and Lm understands “AP” as she bounces her thoughts around. ROCK decides to go out and guard the door; Lm stays under the bed pretending her best friend is with her and pulls out her pastels, her old photos, thinks of camping under the stars with “AP”, reading Thoreau, identifying flowers and plants and is soothed for now. Lm is so tired and he is worried she will not pull herself through this blockage of physical and emotional pain without “AP”. There are no magic wands or fairies yet he does not argue with Lm about her whims and silly beliefs because they make her happy. ROCK is outside and she has locked him out in the rain. He will let her draw, escape, cry and believe in all the magic love can bestow upon her. This vacation is not for Lm, it’s for ROCK. She will feel raw, scalded and lonely and sink deeper and deeper, down into her traumatic past and drag each memory up. She will sob, lose all the progress she has been working on and he will have to go back to ground zero with her. There are never enough minutes in the day, enough room for perfect dreams in the night or enough hands to hold when she slips and falls into the scattered past that swallows her heartbeat and hope.
Photo by Andrea Polla
Sunlight filters in through Lm’s drawn shades; she can’t sleep and watches as it changes shapes on the ceiling from her bed. None of these studied details will come again, like each diamond, every piece of sea glass and snowflakes the sun continues to provide a different light show everyday. It was a tiny slice at first, narrow and pointy. It widened, lengthening and flickering until it became so engaging going back to sleep was ruled out. Like a deck of cards well shuffled one rarely gets the same hand twice, we never know what we will be dealt and what will happen as the game is played. Life is rarely a royal flush but with curiosity and perhaps hope we continue to play loosely mindful of the whole picture. No one wins more time no matter how many clever tricks they can do. Magical potions, merciful angels, or the great mystery known as God might let us exchange a bad card for a little more time before we finally reach the end of our game. How do we finesse our individual house of cards to spend more time with those we love. How do we prolong our own reflections, our unique light that we project throughout our own lives? The light on the ceiling is no longer visible yet I know another morning design will wake me up, or do I ? The smallest parts of our intricate selves are never fully seen by anyone, yet we continue to try to show our imprint, our colorful feathers and deeply desire understanding with a need for others to believe in us. Will you have lived your life knowing you never cheated yourself or anyone into seeing all that you have to share? How can we take risks, pull out a card from our own hand and use it to justify our dreams. Procrastination is never going to be the winning deal, one must act, take a chance and live as if we all must fold our hands tomorrow. “Someday I want to go on a train to Prague, Croatia, the Adriatic Sea. Someday I want to return to the most northern isles of Norway. Someday I want to see “The Scream” in Oslo. When I turn sixty, I want to be with my best friend anywhere. When I turn sixty I will get a baby piglet and name her Opal or Pearl. When one of my best friends comes to Sweden we will go to Stockholm together and have girl time and catch up eating chocolate croissants and coffee in bed, opening champagne at lunch, see the small galleries and by each other pretty scarves and pretend we are sisters. Someday my siblings will see my Truth, I won’t be the Black sheep but a herder of my flock. When my daughter’s are home together we will take them on a surprise trip to ski again, just like when they were eight and eat pizza and start over again. One day I will sell my ArT work and I will be free from pain, and when that happens I will fly like a strong Canadian goose to see my family far, far away. All will be perfect, we have good genes. Letting Go is a long time away, we don’t need to hurry or be afraid. Our children are safe, they will have good lives and even more good things will come. In the autumn, in the spring, next winter or?
UP, in the light, beyond all of eyesight is where our love lives. It is a beacon, a safe place where we retreat and are one. Each night you breathe in and out, the sound of your heart beating holds me, your warm flesh near mine soothes me, the smell of us is a new constellation. I am awakened and driven to tell the whole Universe our story yet I am insecure and hold onto us like I will never find you again. I want to hide you in a special place, a beautiful space with all your favorite things. I want to live and be strong and keep us, our starlit passion and dreams alive. Am I failing or falling as I lose part of me to pain, past afflictions, and a mirage of memories? Please don’t forget me if I spin off into a black hole, remember how I adore you and believe in more than me. Behind this galactic beauty is another world where we will be released from the boundaries of humankind; we shall be the stars of our own Odyssey, the dancers waltzing to a song we have composed whimsically and we will shine, oh how we will shine. Our love is our faith in one another, our destiny is enraptured without haste, we come together to be. To be. Be. A Lover’s concerto, a newly formed star that sparkles into the eyes of those still searching for truth. Our love will surpass earthly constrictions, lifting us to heights we do not fear. Don’t be afraid my Love; you are my wings.