Slow Down, You Walk Too Fast

The judge looked at me, ‘It’s my understanding that you’ll be keeping your married name’. All I could say in reply was a simple yes, but I wanted to say so much more.

  • You see, I wanted to tell him that I was a Heath longer than I was a Homan so that’s why I wanted to keep my married name.
  • You see, I wanted to tell him that I had raised two children with that man and would continue to co-parent even after I wanted a divorce. And that’s why I wanted to keep my married name.
  • You see, that even though the marriage failed because of me, I felt a sense of pride in being married to such a good man for so long. 

As R and I were walking to the court house two weeks ago, I once again had to tell him to slow down so I could keep up. I’ve never been able to walk as fast as he can and with my new ankle and a substantial limp, it’s impossible for me to even attempt to do so now.

I asked him if he thought my new gait was funny, he chuckled and then replied, ‘you’ve always walked kind of stupid’; ‘flat footed and all’. I gave a raucous laugh in return and decided that I had to agree with him.

He did slow down so I could walk beside him. The late summer sun shined on our heads as a gentle wind whipped my blonde hair. A few strands caught in my mouth and I had to keep wiping my face to pull them out.

We crossed a busy Main Street and once we were at the courthouse doors, R held them open for me. I limped into the building with him behind me. We walked through security and took the elevator to the second floor.

R and I sat in the hallway outside the judge’s office and chatted. We laughed at the toddler that was yelling at her mama and running around her baby brother’s stroller.

The court attorney came to the door and called out, ‘The Heaths’. We walked into his office, and calmly and amicably dissolved our 24 year marriage.

Everyone was nice to us and we were nice to each other. I don’t think R cried when the judge asked if the marriage was beyond repair, but I did. It’s hard to admit that after 24 years it didn’t work anymore.

Afterward, R and I had a late lunch and then he took me back to my place. We said our goodbyes and I walked inside as he drove away.

Often, I try to pry into R’s life to find out how he’s doing. To see if his broken heart has mended and to find out if he’s happy. He gives me general answers to my questions, even when I try to dig deeper. I figure, it’s his right to do so, since it’s not up to me to make sure he’s happy anymore.

I hope he knows that all I want is for him to find someone to love him completely. And I hope that he wishes me no ill will, and that I’m happy too.

 

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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.

Sliding Glass Window Oberservations From A Grenade

Yesterday I watched from my sliding glass window, five young men wearing the same color suit. Four of them wore ties folded in Windsor knots. One of them wore a slick bow tie. There was a sixth man. A photographer wearing khakis, took candid shots of them as they changed from gym to dress shoes, straightened each others ties and goofed off, like young men do. My guess was, they were the groom and attendants for a wedding. Or maybe they were an a cappella group. Who knows?

My apartment complex is set back in a wooded area, so the photographer took them behind the building to get more shots. They left their gym shoes and back packs resting on the hoods of their vehicles. Their doors were left wide open. When they returned, they grabbed all their crap and jammed themselves into their vehicles. They and the khaki panted photographer headed off to parts unknown. I was excited to observe them as they smile radiantly and wore the same color suits. Four of them with ties folded in Windsor knots. The other, maybe the groom, wearing a slick bow tie.

Often, my observational posts begin on my personal Facebook page. An idea hits me and I have to write it down. I’m sure it drives many of my friends crazy because my posts can get a little lengthy. Whatever, then take me out of your news feed! On second thought, please don’t, because I want you to read my observations. Looking at my window is about the only place I can draw inspiration right now.  I’ve kinda been stuck in my apartment for 70 days.

My focus waned and I didn’t write much more till I arrived home from My Trivia last night. At 1:00 a.m I began writing a lengthy email to a friend, when the following quote popped into my Sparkly little head:

 I wanted to know that he would be okay if I did. I wanted to not be a grenade, to not be a malevolent force in the lives of the people I loved.–John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

I wrote to my friend, I am a goddamn grenade.

I realized that in my married life and when I was raising my kids, I was a grenade. I was a malevolent force that ruined everything in my path. I was an F5 tornado or category 5 hurricane. And I was hell bent on self destructing. The self destruction included being a horrible drunk, a slow suicide with food and conversing with men that I had no business talking to.

I don’t want to be a grenade, anymore.

My ultimate goal is to try to find peace within my stormy, passionate and romantic heart. My ultimate goal is to not judge others and somehow rise above the transgressions of my past. I’ve sought forgiveness from God. I can’t go back and change anything. I’m not looking for sympathy. I’m not even looking for forgiveness from Roger Darling, Meggie or Adam Boy. All I can do is keep my mouth shut, my mind clear and try to be happy.

I wish for the three I’ve hurt the most to be happy, because I don’t want to be a goddamn grenade, anymore.

I talked to my mother today and I asked her when I should stop saying I’m sorry for all the havoc I wreaked? Her response was as soon as put down the bucket of guilt I continued to carry around. I may never be completely forgiven by my children or the man I shared 24 years of my life with, but I’m going to put down that bucket. I’m sure there will be times in my life that I will pick it up again. There will always be a part of me that knows that I fucked everything up.

I’m also acutely aware that I will probably be alone for the rest of my life because of what I’ve done. I have to be okay with that.  I have to realize that there is no such thing as unconditional love, except for the love we give our children. On this journey to myself, I’ve discovered I am a child of God. I am a sinner, but even sinners need to forgive themselves.

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches over me…

He watches over Meggie and Adam.

And I know, He watches over Roger Darling.

 

When We Were Young

When we were young.

We thought we knew so much didn’t we?

Our young brains could only comprehended the present.

We never thought of the future and what we’d be like when we were middle aged.

Now, we are no longer children, yet our hearts are childlike.

We are less stodgy than our parents were at this time in their lives.

At least we hope we are.

We think about the future.

About our children all grown up and moved away.

Living lives we’ll know only a smidgen of.

We think about retirement.

Maybe, we’ll live somewhere warm in the winter months.

Yet we live with that niggling fear that we’ll miss out on being groovy grandparents.

We’re no longer young, and that’s okay.

I’ve the feeling that what’s around the bend is going to be so much better than we anticipated.

*Special thanks to my friend Stephen Uelk for inspiring this little verse.*

Friday Fictioneers-The Invisible Man

al_forbes

coyright-Al Forbes

Cars whiz past the invisible homeless man seated in front of the library. Even the bust of Hermes above the door dismisses him.

Gnarled hands clutch a Styrofoam cup. Hot liquid replaced with chump change. The giver’s eyes always downcast; desiring not to connect. They are worried his obscurity might adhere to them.

He was a husband and father once, and delighted in holding his newborn child. Addiction displaced his family and dreams.

Car horns blast, as a passerby drops change into his cup. The kind eyes of a little girl meet his gaze.

‘Thank you miss.’

‘You’re welcome sir.’

100 words/Genre: Hell, I don’t know.

Thank you Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting Friday Fictioneers. It tickles me to death to write with such a great group of writers. 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.

I welcome kudos and criticism. Thank you so much for reading.

My Destiny was to be Their Mother

baby_hand_by_adela4

“No woman can call herself free who does not control her own body.” Margaret Sanger

Dr. P. placed the Doppler on my lower abdomen. She moved it slowly. Deliberately. She was looking for the sound I would grow to love more throughout the coming months. Within moments I heard it. Like the flutter of a hummingbird’s wings. It was my Meggie’s heartbeat. Fast, strong, and determined. I didn’t know it at the time, but those words would be used to describe her many times as she was growing up.

The doctor let the Doppler rest on my belly. It was still flat. It wouldn’t be for much longer though. I listened to my little nudger. The whump, whump, whump was soothing, but I was terrified too. My mind wandered. To four years earlier…

I was 17 years old and a senior in high school. I had a steady boyfriend. I was scared. Anxious. Pregnant. I was holding in my hand a positive pregnancy test. I hid in my bathroom and waited till the middle of the night to take it. I held the test tube up to the light. I sobbed silently. Wondering what the fuck I was going to do.

The sad thing is, three months prior, I had called Planned Parenthood. I’d made my appointment to get my first pelvic exam and procure a scrip for the “Pill”. I didn’t go. I never rescheduled. And then after a night of unprotected sex, I got pregnant.

I called Planned Parenthood again. This time to find out more about an abortion. They were so caring, gave me guidance and information. The day of the appointment, my boyfriend took me. He was great. I’m glad he was with me. I couldn’t tell my mother. So I didn’t. I was so afraid she would be disappointed in me.

At the clinic I was given a blood test. It was positive. I knew it would be. I spoke to a counselor. She gave me three options. Adoption, abortion, or keep the baby. She did not pressure me to terminate my pregnancy. I was given a choice-I decided that I would have an abortion. They gave me expert medical care, birth control, and follow up counseling if necessary.

I never regretted what I did and it wasn’t a decision I made lightly. I’m glad that my boyfriend was there to support me. I’m happy I had a choice. A safe one.

As time went by, my relationship faltered and life moved on. A child wasn’t to be my destiny for another four years.

I came back to myself as Dr. P finished the exam. I was so excited to be pregnant. To hear my baby girl’s heartbeat. I was scared, but I wasn’t alone. I was little more grown up. Better prepared. I knew it was my destiny to be a mother.

I’m still pro-choice. Aborting my baby was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever made. If I could go back in time, I’d make the same decision.

My heart aches for my first one. I often wonder what their heartbeat would have sounded like. What they would have become had they got the chance to grow up. I keep my mind on my Meggie and Adam Boy though. I know that they were my ultimate destiny. I was meant to be their mother, and that’s just fine with me.

The Sun was a Butter Yellow

Melinda, a young momma stands on her cement porch, with clothes basket in hand.  The air is warm and the sun a butter yellow. Jack and Lisa, her little ones are running around the backyard. Heading to their swing set and jungle gym. Max, their crazy Jack Russell is running right behind them. He’s snapping at the air trying to catch flies. He’s yapping so loudly that he’s disturbing the flies, making them buzz around his head. Melinda stares at the dog and wonders if he’ll die of a heart attack, he’s riggling around so much.

She walks down the steps and heads to the clothesline. She breathes in the smell of fresh laundry and Springtime. As she begins pinning the bed sheets to the line, she watches her children play with Max, the wonder pup. They are chasing him around with cheap pinwheels that she bought them at the dollar store. The wheels are spinning as they run. The colors of them blur with their motions. The trip to the dollar store was a necessity, to pick up laundry soap and fabric softener. Of course she had to placate her 7 and 9 year old with cheap plastic toys. Now they’re terrorizing the dog with them.

Melinda yells, “Hey you two, knock off banging on the dog with the pin wheels!”

Jack and Lisa look at her with faces of complete innocence. She just shakes her head and smiles. The kids continue to play with Max. Melinda hangs up her husband’s t-shirts and some of his jeans. Ah Troy, what a good man. She hold his shirt to her nose and breathes in the aroma of Gain detergent and Snuggle fabric softener. She wishes she could still smell him on the fabric though. She sighs and pins the shirt to the line. Just then the kids start running through the clothes line. With the dog!

Once again Melinda yells, “Get out of the clothesline. The clothes are clean and I want them to stay that way.”

The kids keep running through the newly hung laundry. Laughing, with Max trailing behind them.

They scream, “Mom, come run with us!”

Melinda laughs and starts to chase them. They weave their way around the sweet smelling laundry. Hair flying wildly in the warm breeze. Max is crazily chasing after them. Still snapping at the air to catch flies.

The kids and Melinda plop down on the ground under the clothes line. They are still laughing and carrying on. The rest of the household chores forgotten for a few minutes. They lay next to each other and look up at the clouds.

Melinda points to one and says, “I see an elephant.”

Jack says, “No Momma, it’s a rhino.”

Lisa replies, “You’re both wrong. It’s a hippo!”

Max wanders over to Melinda. Sniffs her hair and face. He settles next to her, and lays his chin on his paws. He’s still panting from his meanderings.

Troy, Melinda’s husband comes home from work to find his family laying under the clothesline. In the sun, giggling and talking. He sets down his briefcase and takes off his suit jacket. Then wanders out to where his family is and lays down next to his wife. She grabs his hand and leans her head on his shoulder.

Melinda says to Troy as she points to the cloud above them, “What do you think that cloud looks like? We’ve decided it’s an elephant, rhino and a hippo.”

Troy kisses Melinda’s forehead and replies, “Why can’t it be all three?”

Jack sits up and says, “Dad how can it be all three? It can’t be an elerihinhippo!”

Troy looks at Jack and says, “Son, that’s exactly what it is!”

Lisa sighs and says, “Daddy, you are way too silly.”

Melinda grabs Troy’s hand and squeezes it. She gazes at the sky, breathes in the fresh air and laundry. She knows that life can’t possibly get any better than this.

Practical Magic or Practical Love, What Can We Do to Fill That Hole Inside of Us?

“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

It has been so long since I’ve seen this movie, but this quote moved me to tears this morning. I know I have love, but I still feel this void inside of me. Every day. Why? I have no idea. But I wish there was some way for me to fill it. Maybe that’s why I write. Who knows. Maybe that’s why I share with you the emptiness I feel in my soul. Today, I shared it with my friend, someone I haven’t seen in 30 years. But it felt normal to share it with her. I have no idea why.  I just did. As I talked to my friend, I’ll call her the Singing Siren. I was reminded that we all have this hole in us. We want to fill it. I asked her, why do we have this hole that needs to be filled?

I mean we love, we are loved, we have children, and we lead full lives. For some reason, we want more. We women, who have made it to this stage in our lives crave more. We are NOT our mothers. We are not content to sit back and grow old. I am sure  it’s why I write. I still burn. I may be almost at middle age but I still burn. I write because I am not dead yet. I will not die. And when I do, you will remember me. My words, my passion, my life written on these pages will make you remember me. It will also make you remember the stories that I’ve told and the people that I’ve made you meet. I told Rory today that I will not go silently into that good night. I will go out kicking and screaming. Fighting ever damn step of the way.

I told the Singing Siren’s friend, that we all have that hole. No matter how fulfilled we are, we all have it in us. It could be from a lost love, a great what if, or a life wasted. We all have that hole we are trying to fill. I told her to find a passion, and fill it up. But who am I? I’m just a girl with a big mouth that likes to talk a lot. What advice I give really has no bearing on anyone that I come in contact with.

My friend, the Raven Haired Angel, gave a sad status update today. It was: I used to be so positive about life and encouraged others. My life was awesome. I have a wonderful husband who puts up with the crazy and psycotic depending which day it is. I have great friends, wonderful children, great employers, and cuddle pups. So why is it I can still encourage others while I’m drowning in myself? I am so blessed and so thankful, and yet feel stupid and unworthy and incapable of anything! I awake crying for no reason, I hurt from head to toe, I stumble,I forget , I’m hot, I’m cold, and I can’t open a damn jar anymore! If this is midlife it sucks!!!!!

I told the Raven Haired Angel that a good friend gave me the subject to write about today. All from a simple quote from a sweet, sad movie called, Practical Magic. I told her she was beautiful, that she’s still viable. That she is loved and lovely. That the crazy and the psychotic we feel is normal. We’re normal. It’s okay to feel the way we feel. It makes us yearn to be more, and to do more. It means that we are not about to be complacent. I told her do NOT become so. I told her to find a passion and pursue it. I signed off telling her that I had much love to give her and if at anytime she needed to be told how normal and necessary she was, she could call me.

I’m still trying to find a way to fill that hole in me. I feel I do every day I write. Every post I make. It fills my hole and makes me whole. Makes me better. Makes my friends, readers, and followers better. It makes me realize we are not alone. We are not. And here, here we find a way to become better. To find that Practical Magic, and that Practical Love.