When we were little girls we were told to be ladylike. Don’t talk too loud. Don’t draw attention to yourself. Let the boy come to you. When we were grown, we were told to find a man to take care of you. Be a delicate flower. Be thin. Be anything but yourself. Don’t eat on a date. Don’t drink too much. Blend in. Be the wallflower. Be demure. Be, be, be, but don’t be you.
I was never the quiet girl. I was never the one to follow the crowd. I was the unicorn. The girl with the big boobs that weighed 150 lbs. and was thought of as fat. The one that decided rebellion was a good thing. I laughed too loud. I swore a lot. I drank, smoked cigarettes and weed, but I was the good girl too. And did I LOVE boys! I wore clothes to reflect my mood for the day. I didn’t belong to any group or clique. Just flitted from clique to clique like a butterfly lighting on the blooms in a garden. I belonged everywhere and nowhere, and that was okay.
As I get older, the butterfly that flitted from group to group is tired and looking for a home. I still belong everywhere and nowhere. I think part of it is because I was adopted and might still be feeling lost from that. It’s not healthy to be feeling abandoned at this age. I know that this thought is of my own making, and I have to be the one that steps away from that sorry and into the light.
So today I say fuck the fuckers, and use my loud voice. I’m the girl with the big boobs. I’m the girl that is not the typical beauty. I’m not a delicate flower, nor do I want to be. I want to be the girl that rages against the dying of the light. It’s time for me to be, be, be and to the real me. I am a goddess rising, a butterfly and a unicorn. I’m not just a manic pixie dream girl, hell bent on being the sidekick.
I’m the dreamer and the dream, in charge of my own destiny. So what if I say fuck, a lot!?
I spoke to my sister for a few minutes this morning. She brought me a light bulb that she’d bought me months ago and wine corks that I’m going to do some kind of crafty thing with. We talked about being lonely vs. being alone, and I told her that I’ve finally learned the difference. I’m an extrovert but I’m happy with the quiet and the solitude. I’m happy with ruffling the scruff and scratching the ears of my dog, than spending time with people that talk to much. I’ve let go of toxic people and I’ve let go of the toxicity within myself.
2014 has royally sucked but as it draws to a close, I’m thankful for what I experienced during it. I mean, at least I’m alive to tell the tale. But now it’s time to write the final words and close this chapter.
My friend Bette said in 2015 we deserve to find George Clooney’s twin and have him whisk us away to the Caribbean. He could feed us grapes while we tanned our pale bodies on the deck of his yacht. I told her I wouldn’t care if I had to draw his bathwater and wash his dishes. Hell, I’d swab the poop deck if necessary!
So this morning I will enjoy the coffee cup, the knife, the spoon, things in themselves, and myself in myself.
‘She didn’t belong anywhere and she never really belonged to anyone. And everyone else belonged somewhere and to someone. People thought she was too wonderful. But she only wanted to belong to someone. People always thought she was too wonderful to belong to them or that something too wonderful would hurt too much to lose. And that’s why she liked him–because he just thought she was crazy.’
It wasn’t long after I’d graduated from high school and broken things off with my first fiancé that I began to run a little wild. I met up with G. at a party but I’d known him since he was a freshman in high school. He was a senior and a jock so we really didn’t run in the same circles. That’s not entirely true, I ran in any circle I wanted to, seeing as I was a chameleon and all.
G. brought me a drink, a cheap brand of beer most likely. We sat and chatted while other party goers took turns doing lines of cocaine off a huge mirror that had been placed on a dining room table. I’m not sure if G. was into coke or not, but that drug scared the hell out of me. Our poison of the evening was alcohol, though we didn’t begrudge anyone else for choosing to snort lines off a mirror for five bucks a pop.
One beer turned into three and our tongues loosened. The conversation turned dirty and I saw a glimmer of mischief in his eyes. I gladly returned a devilish look and answered yes to his request to take me to bed. Walking hand in hand we quietly retreated to a friend’s apartment just a few doors away. We wasted no more time with pleasantries and innuendo. He produced a condom and I grinned from ear to ear. I’m pretty sure I rolled that condom onto his cock with my mouth.
It was a long time ago so I don’t remember all of the details, but I do remember having a lot of fun. I don’t ever remember laughing so much and feeling such comfort while completely naked. His body was beautiful, athletic and lithe. I lay underneath him enjoying the weight of his body on mine. The outstanding feeling of his hardness moving in and out of me. I arched my hips up to meet his thrusts when he stopped suddenly, and rolled off of me. There I was splayed before him, completely naked and vulnerable. My breasts and midriff were lit faintly by the moonlight streaming in a nearby window.
‘Fuck, you’re body is beautiful’, he said.
I was tongue-tied by his comment. No man had ever looked at my naked body with such reverence before. All I could manage was a smile that I hoped he could see in the moonlight of his friend’s bedroom. I pushed him onto his back and straddled his waist as I guided his cock back into me. Sweet Jesus, how he filled me completely.
Our bodies spent, we laid in bed and cracked jokes. I think we might have even shared another beer. As we dressed, we heard his friend S. come home. The poor boy was so drunk, I think he banged his arms and torso on every wall as he stumbled to his bathroom. S. threw up into his garbage can as G. and I walked out of the bedroom.
‘Hey Renee, how the fuck are you?’, he asked.
‘Better than you’, I giggled.
G. and I helped S. into bed, he whined incoherently about something and passed out almost as soon as his head hit the pillow. G. and I headed back to the party a few doors down. We didn’t exchange phone numbers and we never saw each other again. I can’t say I wasn’t a little disappointed, but sometimes sex is just that, sex. It was fulfilling and beautifully dirty.
I did see G. a few years later, at a little family restaurant in Saline. I walked in with my future husband and sat down in a booth. I looked up and there was G. grinning a devilish grin. The blood rushed to my cheeks and sex as I smiled back at him. I might have even said hello. I remember thinking what a delicious secret G. and I had.
I wonder, if I saw him now, would my body react the way it did 28 years ago? I’d like to think it would. I also wonder where he is now. I hope he’s happy. And I also hope he tells the woman he’s with now how beautiful she is.
Tom my new friend and taxi driver, dropped me off this morning at Domino’s Farms for my Pre-Op appointment. Once there, I checked in, completed forms. Next, I was poked and prodded. I sat in the lobby and waited for the physician’s assistant to explain the surgical process to me. In two weeks, hardware that held my ravaged then rebuilt ankle will be removed. Tendons will be unwrapped from freshly healed bone in hopes that it will alleviate some of my chronic pain. I am tough, but I am scared. I am scared, but I am strong. I pick up my phone and the heat from my fingertips bring it to life. As I begin to play a game I mutter in frustration, “I’m so fucking tired of this injury sucking the marrow out of my very existence.”
I’m an observational writer. Two and a half years ago I would have laughed if you’d said such a thing. Most of my young and adult life, with the help of ADHD, OCD, married life, parenting, and plain old rushing around, I couldn’t observe more than five things at once. Once I realized that my dream was to observe and write about it, I couldn’t stop. Life was a rush. I was constantly stimulated, and inspired. I say passionate, everyone else in my life said I was obsessed.
This morning, as the lives diminished in my game, I remembered who and what I was. Placing my phone in my purse, I began watching four little children. One boy and three girls ran wild up and down the hill outside in front of Lobby C. The girls, ranged in age from 8-11, and wore short skirts with little shirts. Their feet were clad in sandals and their long blonde hair whipped around their faces as they ran. The little boy, about 7 was clad in shorts, t-shirt and black flip flops. He ran up and down that hill, faster than his sisters did. He didn’t seem to care that he lost his shoes in the process.
The oldest girl walked away from her siblings to stand in the stone and ivy garden. The foliage and ceramic toadstools made her look a bit like Alice when she spoke to a hookah smoking caterpillar in Wonderland. Her young charges continued to run up that hill, around the tree at the top and back down. I’m sure if there wasn’t concrete at the bottom of that hill, they would have rolled down it. Staining their knees and elbows green, as their little brother lost his shoes again.
I sat in a comfy armchair inside, but I wanted to run with them. I wanted to walk on stick thin legs made tan by the summer sun. I wanted to be the young girl standing in the ivy garden that looked like Alice. I wouldn’t have even minded being the little boy that lost his shoes as I jumped to touch the arbor at the entrance of Lobby C.
I don’t wish to go back to that age, but I do wish I could let the wind whip my hair as I run. And to feel confident that when I run, there wouldn’t be pain. I want to suck the marrow out of life again. Maybe after this next surgery, I will.
“When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home.”-The Outsiders
The opening lines from The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, floated around my head while Meggie drove me to my follow up appointment with Dr. Perdue. The day wasn’t particularly sunny. In fact, the skies were threatening rain and the humidity slicked my skin with moisture. All I could think about was taking my first steps after a 95 day journey that changed my life.
Meg helped me with my last wheelchair ride, all the while calling me an ‘old lady’. We laughed together, me and my Chica. We checked in, had x-rays taken, and were guided to the surgeon’s cast room. I hopped up on the exam table like a pro, and removed my boot cast. I conversed with Meggie and the nurse while my vitals were taken.
“Is it hot in here?”, I inquired after the nurse left.
“No old lady, you’re anxious”, Meg chided. “Stop fidgeting.”
As we waited, I surfed through the pictures on my phone, until I landed on the ones I took at my two week check-up. There, in full color was my ankle, purple and swollen. The three incisions still angry and fiery red. Black sutures protruded from my skin looking like railroad tracks to hell. You would have thought I would be disgusted by the sight, but I was utterly fascinated. I grinned as I slid my finger across the smart phone screen and viewed the progress of my recuperation. I had come so far.
“Mom, you look weird.”
Dr. Perdue and Pete the PA joined us in the cast room. The surgeon smiled his teddy bear smile and shook my hand. We chatted about progress and recuperation. He said the Talus bone was turning white, meaning it was getting blood flow.
“I’ve never seen healing like this after such a traumatic injury,” Perdue said.
“Are you saying we are like Wolverine from X-Men?”, Meg asked.
I giggled anxiously, “I just did everything you told me to, I didn’t want to screw this up.”
“You’ve got good genetics.”
“And I had lots of people praying for me. I prayed a lot. I yelled at God too, but mostly I prayed.”
We talked about the future. That I wasn’t out of the woods yet, when it came to the Talus bone dying. For right now, we focused on walking. I got the go ahead to stop hopping on my left foot, and start walking on both feet. I laughed like a little kid and shook the doctor’s hand. After 95 days, I was going to learn to walk again. The busy doctor left the room and I secured my boot cast. I ruminated on the exam table.
“So…are you going to walk?”
“Gimme a minute, I’m trying to psyche myself up.”
Meggie aimed her smart phone at me and took video of me walking for seven seconds. Every tendon, ligament and muscle from my right knee to my foot screamed as I bore weight. Right foot first, then left foot. And so on. I…was…walking. Again…
We pushed the wheelchair out into the vestibule by the elevator. Meg carried my purse as I took my first walk outside in 95 days. Sure, I’d been outside, but it was not on my own. It was in a wheelchair or hopping with the support of a walker. No, this was different. I could walk on my own. In sunshine, moonlight, darkness or rain. I was free.
The rest of the afternoon was a blur. Lunch with Meggie and Adam Boy. My phone being blown up by friends and family asking if I was walking. A script filled and then home. For the first time in three months, I walked up the 13 steps to my apartment door. I unlocked the door and there in front of me was an old friend, my wheelchair. I burst into tears when I realized the magnitude of the change in my life. I had been reborn.
Last night rain poured down, and I craved to walk in it. I wanted it to wash me clean while I drew in the scent of clean earth. To baptize me. Though exuberant, I was too sore and tired go outside. My right knee hurt more than anything. I’m thankful for the pain, because it’s nothing like I’d felt three months ago. My body ached, but my spirit is soared. You know the next time it storms, this woman will be out in the middle of it. In a summer dress and barefoot, hopefully.
Walking back to the village, sheep meandered around Krista’s legs. One bleated, and the others followed suit. She inhaled car exhaust and lanolin. And dust.
She was so tired of feeling dirty. Her teeth were always gritty. She spat on the ground, careful not to knock the water container from her head.
This was it. Krista was done. She’d told Joey they could stay in Africa for a year. It had been three. She wanted her mother. And some semblance of a normal life.
Back at the village, she found Joey and cried, “I’m going back to Nebraska, without you.”
100 words/Genre: Domestic Fiction
I saw this photo and was immediately reminded of the book, The Poisonwood Bible. The character I most identified with was the wife/mother. She stayed with a husband that had clearly gone off his rocker while they were doing mission work in Africa. I wondered how I would react to a partner that continued living in a place that wasn’t home. That wasn’t safe. Where I wouldn’t want to have a family in. I’d be so afraid of losing who I was while trying to help people and be faithful to a partner that kept changing his damn mind. The rebel in me would eventually say, I’m done. That’s exactly what Krista did, she went home.
I attended a training session on how to make myself marketable for a new job venture at the university that I’ve worked at for the last 25 years. Basically, the ‘instructor’ wanted me to market myself as a product. Like a gym shoe made by Nike. A car for Motor Company. Or a new formula type of soda made by Coca Cola. I was shocked. Here I am, a human, being told to liken myself to an object. As you all know, that’s not me. I am very flawed individual. I’ve shared that fact with all of you on many, many occasions.
One of the things they told us to do was change our privacy settings on Facebook. Basically hide who and what we really are. In my mind, I stomped my feet like the insolent child I am, and adamantly opposed doing so. It didn’t matter that no one in the room knew of my rebellion. I did, and that was all that mattered. I’m an author, and I have to write. I want my words read. And felt. And shared. So the setting stayed public.
At our break, I met a fellow employee that I had corresponded with over email and the phone. We hugged and laughed. And talked way too loud. We were then shushed by the ‘instructor’. I nearly lost my ever loving mind. I wanted to say ‘fuck you’, I’m talking to a human being and I don’t have to take your shit. My colleague and I stared at each other in disbelief. She shrugged her shoulders. Everything was changing around us. How we ‘marketed’ ourselves. Our jobs. Our lives. Even the interview process was going to be sterilized for us.
In retaliation to the shushing, I hugged my colleague again. Once seated, I jokingly told the ‘instructor’ we were colleagues that had never met. She looked at me coolly and said, ‘isn’t that nice.’ No smile. No warmth. Barely an acknowledgement that we were all going through incredible changes. She was a consultant and clearly didn’t give a shit. All she was focused on was getting through the workbook that we were working on.
I sat through the rest of the ‘workshop’. At the end, I silently left the conference room. Never looked up at the ‘instructor. I just kept my head down and walked out. And vowed that I would not attend another ‘class’. I did jump through the hoops of the resume and interview process. I waited patiently to find out if I’d been promoted. I guess 25 years of experience and supervising employees for 15 years results in a lateral move. I wouldn’t be supervising anyone. I couldn’t believe it! After a week of knowing my fate, I’m still struggling with the decision they made.
Now, I’m on extended sick leave until at least the middle of June. A major car accident and lengthy recovery reminded me that impulsiveness is a very, very bad thing. I know I have a job when I return. I’ll be back at my beloved faculty and staff at the SSW. For how long, I’m unsure. I’ve rediscovered yet again, that change is the only constant in our lives.
If I have to move to a new location that’s fine. It’s closer to where I live. I’ll walk to work. I can’t wait to see my colleague from the ‘workshop’ we attended. I’ll give her tons of hugs, and talk too loud. You see, these folks at my new place of employment have no idea what they’re in for when I finally settle in. No idea at all. I’m a leader, not a follower. I have big plans, and they don’t include sitting in a cubicle till I retire. I’ll do it, for the pay.
But my heart, ah yes, my heart, it will be living for another place altogether. It will be in the country on a blanket spread out in the backyard. French Bulldog lying in my lap. Pen and notebook in my hand. Flowers in my hair. And dirty bare feet. Yep, that’s where my heart will be….
Miranda had been promising herself a solo trip. Her mother worried she’d get lonely, or worse, mugged. What mother failed to realize was Miranda savored her time alone.
Wandering the winding streets of cobblestone, she found a coffee shop and purchased a cup. Greeted with sounds of the village coming alive, she continued her stroll.
It took forever to get here. A debilitating accident. A slow recovery. Now there was chronic pain.
In the village square she was surrounded by tinsel glimmering in the sun. It lit her blonde hair and warmed her skin.
Finally, she was a soul at peace.
100 words/Genre: general fiction
Thank you Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting Friday Fictioneers. It is an honor and a privilege to have Ms. Rochelle critique my work. Please be sure to go to her page and read their stories too. We are a rather eclectic group and the genres run the gamut.
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