The Coffee Date

It was a nippy 35 degrees when I finally woke up at the not so early hour of 9:15 am. I know I’m a lazy one, but in my defense I did wake up at 3:00 am to add another blanket to my bed. Believe me, it was all I could do to crawl out from under the semi warmth of my zebra print comforter to fish around in my closet for another blanket and then scurry back into bed. The effort was well worth it though. Of course then the night sweats started, but that’s another story all together. Such are the joys of being 46 and in pre-menopause. Good Lord, but do I digress!

As I stated in my first sentence I finally woke up at 9:15 am. Cinders, my cranky yellow eyed black cat sang me the song of her hunger as I hopped on one foot into my wheelchair. Clad in a purple tank shirt and yellow boy shorts I expertly turned my chair around and headed out of my bedroom to turn up the thermostat. With Cinders following close behind I headed to my sliding glass door and opened the blinds. The sunlight poured over and warmed me while I waited for the heat to kick on. Cinders got hit with it too and rolled over on her belly, her hungry talk silenced for a moment or two by sweet sunshine.

Seated in my wheelchair, I watched as a black Ford Focus pulled up and stopped behind the cars in the parking lot. A woman carrying a cup of Joe from Starbucks stepped from the car and closed the door. As she began to walk to her apartment door entrance, the gentleman she was with stepped from his door and asked her to stop. He walked to her as she turned around, and he gave her a warm hug. His face was lit with a smile so genuine it made my heart skip a little faster. I could hear her laughter as they hugged each other. He leaned his head in and he kissed her. She wrapped her arms around his shoulders and held him tighter before they kissed again.

Their parting conversation wasn’t clear but you could tell it was jovial and warm, even as they stood outside in the cold morning. As he drove away, and she entered her apartment building, I knew that’s what I wanted someday, a coffee date, a kiss from a nice man, and a smile from him to light up my otherwise ordinary Sunday. I’m hopeful that in time it will happen.

 

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Blessings from my Sister

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Sometimes I feel like there’s a hole inside of me, an emptiness that at times seems to burn. I think if you lifted my heart to your ear, you could probably hear the ocean. The moon tonight, there’s a circle around it. Sign of trouble not far behind. I have this dream of being whole. Of not going to sleep each night, wanting. But still sometimes, when the wind is warm or the crickets sing… I dream of a love that even time will lie down and be still for. I just want someone to love me. I want to be seen. I don’t know. Maybe I had my happiness. I don’t want to believe it but, there is no man, Gilly. Only that moon. –Practical Magic

Sis and I were never close, but it wasn’t from my lack of trying. We were just too different, she and I. I was the Black Sheep, and she was the perfect one. Sure, I was smart, but she had the drive to get good grades. I was in school for the social aspect of it. Sis ran with the right crowd, but I ran with the wild crowd. I drank, smoked cigarettes and weed. Hell, she was even a cheerleader.

Our weddings were within three months of each other. They were over 25 years ago, so I don’t remember much. However, I do recall spilled champagne on my bridesmaids dress, dancing with my future husband and dirty dancing to the song, “Time of my Life”. I remember that Sis looked beautiful, like she always did. Where I was curvy, and what I perceived as ugly,  she was neither of those things. To me she was perfect; athletic, smart, popular, beautiful, driven, and the list goes on and on.

She and I raised our kids differently. I was the free spirited mom that gave my children room, but reigned them in when necessary. She was the stricter mom, that enforced rules and gave lectures. Our children turned out to be pretty damn great adults, so who’s to say which of our parenting skills was better.

Throughout the years, she divorced and remarried. She had a couple more kids while her older two were teenagers. Our oldest ones were all born within a few years of each other and it was fun to watch them all grow and change, and achieve. Sis and I were blood, but we never crossed over to being friends. Then I decided after 24 years of marriage to divorce Roger Darling, and she became my strongest supporter.

I finally let go of what I perceived were our differences, and let her in. Sis has been there for me when I’ve been at my lowest. She has gotten my groceries and run my errands while I was laid up from a major car accident last March. She has on more than one occasion yelled at me and told me to get my head on straight now that I’m walking again. We’ve learned we can lean on each other, no matter how different we are.

She’s my sister and now my friend. I don’t know if we’d ever be able to live together, but I’m proud to say she’s one of my loudest cheerleaders. Who knew those skills of hers would come in handy all these years later?

Can love really travel back in time and heal a broken heart? Was it our joined hands that finally lifted Maria’s curse? I’d like to think so. But there are some things I know for certain: always throw spilt salt over your left shoulder, keep rosemary by your garden gate, plant lavender for luck, and fall in love whenever you can.-Practical Magic


My Body Bathed in Moonlight

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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.

Four Little Children

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.

A Crack in the Pavement

Eddie Playing in Puddles

A dog is the only thing in the world that loves you more than he loves himself.-Josh Billings

Eddie, my five month old Rat Terrier played in the puddles as the storm clouds overhead broke open and poured down on him. He’s not one to enjoy the chaos of a late summer thunderstorm like I do, but that puddle had him entranced. There he stood, in at least two inches of water, and scooted a leaf across it with his nose. He then touched it gingerly with his right paw and watched with fascination as it dipped below the surface. Flecks of dirt floated across the yellow and waterlogged leaf as Eddie tried to get it to float back to the top. He snuffled water into his nostrils and sneezed. The velocity of that sneeze blew across the puddle, and caused a rippling effect. It drew my puppy’s attention away from the drowned leaf, and on to a stick that was caught in a weed growing out of a crack in the pavement.

I stood there, umbrella in hand, watching my little black and white monster, while I grinned like an idiot. I swear to you if the water had been deep enough, Eddie would have rolled over on his back and tried to shuck shells open like otters do. His fur was drenched, but he didn’t seem to mind. He dug around every square inch of that five foot wide puddle, searching for treasures only a dog could love. A leaf, stick, flecks of dirt, a piece of stone, or something else that he could chew on; or maybe he’d dance around his bounty. Why he feels the need to do a happy dance, I’ve no idea. But it sure is fun to watch!

The rain came down, as thunder rumbled above us. Eddie raised his head and his pointed ears soaked up the sound. For all of two seconds, he was on high alert for impending trouble. Then he bent over and stuck his nose into a small crater in the sidewalk. He lapped the water into his mouth, and I caught a glimpse of what it must have been like for him when he’d been abandoned. He probably had to survive on rain water, and whatever scraps of food he could find. A thimbleful of water from a drying puddle may have been all he’d been able to scrounge up while he sought shelter in an abandoned building.

How lucky I am he was rescued. How lucky we are to have each other! He keeps me motivated to keep walking, when the pain gets to be too much. Eddie nourishes me with unconditional love and is non-judgmental. I nourish him with food and water, far too many toys and a love that knows no bounds.

Next summer, I’m taking Eddie the Rat swimming. I really want to see if he’ll swim on his back and shuck shells like an otter. Wouldn’t that be a sight to see?!

 

I Don’t Want Comfort

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It’s been such a long time since I’ve posted anything. I don’t even know where to begin, or what stories to tell. Life continues, and with it so many changes. We’ll start with a quote, and see what develops from there. 

I don’t want comfort, and there is poetry, danger, freedom, goodness and sin all around me. All I need to do is find it. Or better yet, let it find me. My impulsive days are over. At least, I think they are anyway, we’ll see.

Happy Tuesday my loves, have a splendid day.

 

Love, 

A Sparkly Girl who’s shine is beginning to return

Communion, Forgiveness and Recovery

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This do in remembrance of Me

Last Sunday, I held the small piece of bread in my left hand, and the tiny plastic glass of ‘wine’ in my right. The pastor recited a prayer, and with my eyes closed, I recalled the last time I’d taken communion. It was at Linda’s funeral, in a Catholic church. No, I’m not Catholic, but I am a rebel. Therefore I’ll be damned if anyone will tell me whether or not I can partake of the body and blood of my Lord Jesus Christ. I grinned at the memory while I chewed and drank. I had to stay seated during communion because my newly mended right ankle was achy and stiff.

The pastor spoke of finding joy in our nearness to God. That happiness is fleeting, but joy is everlasting. As the lesson continued, I began to do my daily ankle exercises. I pointed my right toes as far forward as I could and held them there for ten seconds. I released the stretch and pulled my toes up toward the sky as far as I could. I held the stretch for another ten seconds, repeating each stretch 15 times. Then came the side to side stretches. The sermon progressed and I placed my right foot back on the floor. It didn’t ache nearly as much as it did before I stretched the Achilles tendon six ways from Sunday.

A particular bible verse struck a raw emotional nerve and I began to cry. Don’t ask me what it was about, because I can’t recall it. All I know is it had something to do with paying for indiscretions and mistakes. That once we are forgiven by God, we must learn to forgive ourselves. As I wiped my eyes, Laura asked if I was all right, and I assured her I was. That I was better than all right. That I was forgiven.

After the sermon ended, we made our way to the back of the church. My ankle was stiff as I began to walk, but I noticed that I no longer had any pain. The familiar ache had disappeared! A smile spread across my face and was lit by the morning sun. I walked with almost an entirely normal gait. I felt free for the first time since March 11, 2014. I. Was. Free!

It’s Wednesday night and the pain has not returned. I’ve had a few twinges here and there, but that’s because I had a very intense physical therapy session on Tuesday afternoon. On March 12, 2014 after 5.5 hours or reconstructive surgery on my right ankle, my life changed. I know it will never be the same, but I am assured with God’s grace and love I have recovered.

 

Living a Full Life

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“You will find that it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason that they are heavy. So let them go, let go of them. I tie no weights to my ankles.
C. JoyBell C.

A few years ago I went through a major weight loss transformation and I became addicted to working out. I found that it didn’t bring the world to my feet and it most certainly didn’t bring me happiness. Sure, I liked the looks I got from men and women. I loved the highs of working out. But I was still looking for something to make me complete.

Since my injury, I’ve gained weight because I haven’t been able to move much. I hated being sedentary. It felt like prison. I ate a lot, but found that it didn’t bring me happiness. It didn’t stave off the desperation I felt, and the extreme loneliness. I’ve been trying my very best not to beat myself about it. I won’t.

I have begun eating healthier and the weight is coming off. I place my feet in gym shoes and set about walking the sidewalks of my apartment complex at least five times a day. I’m building stamina so that I can walk to the bus stop to get myself back to work in early August. Physical therapy is grueling but worth it.

I’ve decided I will not become addicted to food or the gym again. I will not worry about every piece of food that goes into my mouth. I will be mindful of my eating, but I will not beat myself up about having a piece of cake. A full life for me means walking outside in the fresh air, biting into a ripe nectarine, or watching my dog carry a stick that’s bigger than him. Yes, that’s a full life.

And…We Have Touch Down

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“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.”

“I’m…Just…Happy.”

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.

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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.

Two Days Til Touch Down

Pushing Forward

‘You look so pretty’, I told Lo as she walked up the stairs.

‘You do too’, she replied. ‘Why are you wearing a dress?’

‘Because none of my shorts fit.’

‘They will again, ya dork.’

I gave her a tiny smile while I put the brakes on my chair and lifted it over the threshold of my apartment door. I have to admit, I feel pretty bad ass when I do that. Who knew I’d be able to lift a wheelchair while standing on one leg? I stood at the top of the stairs as Lo walked past me and took my chair down the stairs. I laughed as she banged the damn thing down every step. She laughed as I hopped on one leg down those same steps. I’m sure my neighbors hate all the noise I make. When I run into The Old Lady that lives beside me, she often gives me the stink eye for absolutely no reason. Bitch! I digress.

Lo waited for me at the bottom of the steps. I hopped and fell into the chair.

‘I’m so damn sick of this shit!’

‘Think about how I feel’,  Lo exclaimed. ‘I have to carry that damn chair of yours everywhere.’

We laughed as I hopped yet again and maneuvered into the passenger seat of her car. As we traveled to Saline, we caught up on the events of the night before. She went to visit a mutual friend of ours and I hung out with Bette. I tried not to cry while she told me of her happiness. I sat next to her and smiled, but behind my sunglasses the tears flowed.

‘I often think it would be easier on everyone if I died in the accident.’

‘Nae, God saved you for a reason.’

‘What is that reason though?!’

I for reasons I can not fathom think it would have been easier if I’d died. My family and friends would have grieved, and I wouldn’t have felt any more pain or loneliness. I would have stopped incessantly crying, or the constant wishing for things that are never going to come to me.

‘Lo, I feel so broken.’

‘Honey, we are all broken, in our own way.’

‘At least you have the prospect of someone to love you.’

God saved you in that accident. He hasn’t shown you the reason you were saved, because you’re not open to Him.

Our conversation died when her phone rang. I sat with my hands crossed in my lap and tried to compose myself. Rolling down the window, I let the fresh air dry my tears. I inhaled the scent of summer and freedom. All of a sudden, I was slammed with the urge to tuck and roll out of Lo’s car and find a pool to jump into. Wheelchair and advisement from my surgeon be damned! How I’ve missed my rebel spirit.

Before grocery shopping we met T at Cancun for lunch. I was so glad I’d done my hair and makeup. I felt pretty, even though I was sitting in a chair, and had gained so much weight while I’ve been recuperating. T’s daughter joined us and Lo and I made sure to talk about inappropriate things while we we ate. Sex was often the topic. T admonished us more than once, which seemed to make Lo and I act even more lewd. T’s daughter didn’t seem to mind, though she did blush a time or two. The young woman was so fair complected, I bet one could see her red glow from a mile away. She had a gentle but guarded smile, and all I wanted to do was hug her.

At Wally World, Lo brought around scooter for me to shop with. I drove the thing like a pro. I didn’t have my brace on and was constantly hoping other shoppers didn’t think I was using it because I was too fat to walk. I have no idea why I gave a shit what perfect strangers thought of me driving around in a Walmart scooter, but I did. I made sure to smile at the people that stared at me. Often, I balanced on one foot to grab items from a high shelf. Lo may have to drive me, but I did my very best to be independent when shopping.

After checking out, Lo took me home. I waited while she took my groceries up to my apartment and placed them on the table. Her car radio blared because we needed to hear how the Tigers game would end. While Martinez struck the ball with his bat, I raised my face to the sun and breathed in my last bit of summer and freedom for the day. The Tigers won while she wheeled me to my door. She dragged my wheelchair up the stairs, and I went up the steps on my butt. I slid into my chair like Lieutenant Dan and lifted that damn chair over the threshold on one leg. My BFF and I hugged and said our goodbyes.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but that was the last time I would be lifting my chair over the metal molding in my apartment doorway. It was the last time Lo Lo would have to drag my chair up and down the stairs. It was the last time I would have to take my wheelchair on a shopping excursion. It was the last time she’d have to push me around in my chair while I stubbornly tried to push it myself.

Two days till touch down…I hope I find out why God saved me on that snowy night in March…Maybe it’s something as simple smelling the aroma of summer and freedom…Maybe it’s for something greater…Maybe it’s to experience the joy of becoming a grandmother…Maybe, maybe, maybe…