Mommy used to sing this song to me when I was a child. There were so many nights when I couldn’t sleep,because I was scared of the dark, and I was scared of the quiet. I was scared of the next day at school, and the struggles I would face there. Mom did her best to ease my fears with singing before we’d go to sleep. Of course I didn’t go to sleep. I sweated about sharks, and things that go bump in the night. I sweated over bullies and the fact that I couldn’t do math. Mom had no idea how scared I was because I was never able to tell her. So instead we sang to each other.
I hated that everything scared me and would continue to until I was in my late 20’s. I hated that I was afraid of the dark and used a nightlight until I was 30. I hate that now that I live alone, I’m afraid of the dark again, even though I live in an apartment building that is relatively safe. I hate being afraid and I hate who I am. But then I think about Mom and the way we sang to each other when I was a child. I remember the comfort I felt for those few moments in time, and how safe I was.
When I was young Mommy and I sang together, and even when we do now I continue to feel safe. She did the best she could to help me and continues to do so to this day. She doesn’t understand me but that’s okay, I know now she does the best she can for me.
Hands tied and pulled above me. My back freshly shredded from 100 lashes. Cicadas sang their summer song while blood seeped from my wounds. Fireflies burnished the fields where I would never toil again. Soaked in blood, sweat and piss, I quietly prayed for the peace of impending death.
From the Big House, my Master finally came. His sharp knife slid across my jugular and it was done. I slipped into darkness, taking with me the name my mother gave me. His task complete, Master strolled back to his porch. By gaslight he poured his whiskey, and enjoyed a hand-rolled smoke.
Thank you Lance Burson for hosting the 100 word song prompt. You rock my friend! You really, really, really do. I’m honored you asked me to contribute the song for this week.
“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.
She remembered their reunion kisses well. Moist lips meeting, and the bristling of his whiskered chin on her smooth one. How his tongue invaded her mouth, and the way it tasted. Like hot sex on a summer night when she was 16. Oh God, the way he smelled.
The mere presence of him left her breathless. His hands cupped her breasts through her clothing. She moaned into his mouth, and sucked his perfect tongue.
As they said goodbye, she knew she’d never see him again. Their lives continued to be complicated, and no amount of passionate kisses could mend them.
Thank you Lance Burson for hosting the 100 Word Song. I’m honored to write stories with all of you.
We carry scraps of paper with us wherever we go. In our purses, pockets, and wallets. The receipts, notebooks or envelopes capture the cascade of thoughts before they can escape our psyche and fade into oblivion. They become our sacred scrolls, and chronicle every day life. A bit of chicken scratch could become a novel. Or something even more profound. The solving of a philosophical argument that has been brewing for thousands of years.
Maybe it’s a bit of poetry that strikes us. An errant rain drop, a spider building its web or the sound of a distant train whistle could leave us breathless. Grappling for a cocktail napkin and the bartender’s pen in a crowded bar during Happy Hour on Friday night.
We catch these blips of the mind and put pen to paper. Sometimes, the words that come never cease. What we thought would take us a few moments to pen, takes us hours to complete. By the time we are finished we are shaking with emotion and usually exhausted.
Sometimes, the story can be summed up in a sentence. Or 100 words. It doesn’t really matter the word count though does it? As long as one person is affected by the piece, the effort to catch that thought was worth it.
Inspiration has hit me at a Starbucks. A wedding. A funeral. On my drive home. Hell, even in my car waiting at a toll booth on I-76 while watching a couple argue in the car behind me. I’ve even trapped ideas in the notes app on my iPhone.
I like that the mundane inspires me. And I also dig that first draft of this post was written on the back of my grocery list this morning. I was waiting on my Adam Boy to finish his shift at Starbucks. I heard him bantering with his work mates. It made me smile. And made me write my thoughts down.
About writing. About inspiration. And ultimately about my love of chicken scratch on a scrap of paper.
Ha!!! Hahahahahahaha!! Hah huh, ha huh, ha huh, ha huh! Huh, huh, huh, huh! Ha!!!!!!!!
On Monday morning I planned on writing a journal entry, after my work was finished of course. Hell, I planned to follow the format that I’ve been trying to follow for about three months. But something always seems to fuck it up.
Catching up on email at work on Monday morning, I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. Cliche I know, but it’s how I felt. The sentence that squeezed my heart stated that two staff members would be directly affected by an Administrative Services Transition. I knew it was my job that would be eliminated. It was surreal to think after almost 25 years, my job might be gone. After speaking with a colleague I decided to talk to my director and tell her that I thought it was me that was going to get laid off. She confirmed my fears and waited for my response. We’ve worked together for 18 years, and she knows me. My initial reaction usually is to cry. This time, I didn’t. I sat in the blue canvas chair across from her, and felt strangely at peace.
I’m not sure if it’s the latest changes in my life. Alcoholic’s Anonymous and being sober for over four months. Being newly single. Or learning to let go and let God. But I was composed while I sat in my mentor’s office. Resigned to the fact that my job would be eliminated as of April 1, 2014. With the news came opportunity. A chance to interview for new leadership positions with Shared Services. To start a whole new career. It’s not something that a 45 year old, newly single and sober woman looks forward to. I’m kind of a weirdo though, so I say, bring it on.
At the end of our meeting, my director and cherished friend hugged me fiercely. I’m not sure how I’ll handle not seeing her smiling face every morning. When I leave, she’ll be the one that I miss the most. Her guidance over the years has made me a good employee. Her faith in me has been unwavering. For all the times that I’ve stumbled, she has picked me up and encouraged me to set my feet on the right path. I love her. Without her support and tough love, I don’t know where I’d be.
Now I’m updating my resume, creating a professional profile, writing a cover letter, perusing job postings and buying a new business suit. Fuck, I haven’t worn one of those things in years. I was hoping I’d never have to again. The one constant in my life is being ripped from me, and all I can think is, it could be worse.
Maybe next week I’ll get to follow my blog format. Maybe next week I’ll write every day. Maybe next week life won’t turn on a dime. Maybe, maybe, maybe. Maybe not.
Want you to know, that should I go, I always loved you, held you high above too.-Eddie Vedder
Hear the sirens, hear the siren
Hear the siren, hear the circus all go found
I hear the sirens more and more in this here town
Let me catch my breath to breathe then reach across the bend
Just to know were safe, I am a grateful man
This light is pit, alive and I can see you clear
I could take your hand, and feel your breath
For feel that someday this will be over
I pull you close, so much to lose
Knowing that, nothing lasts forever
I didn’t care, before you were here
A distant laughter, with the everafter
But, all things change, let this remain
Hear the sirens covering distance in the night
The sound, echoing closer, will they come for me, next time?
For every choice, mistake I made, is not my plan
To see you in the arms of another man
And if you choose to stay, I’ll wait, I’ll understand
Oh, it’s a fragile thing, this life we lead, if I think too much, I can’t get over
When by the graces, by which we live our lives with death over our shoulders
Want you to know, that should I go, I always loved you, held you high above too
I studied your face, the fear goes away.
Its a fragile thing, this life we lead, if I think too much, I can’t get over
When by the graves, by which we live our lives with death over our shoulders
Want you to know, that should I go, I always loved you, held you high above too
I studied your face, the fear goes away, the fear goes away, the fear goes away.
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