Friday Fictioneers-In the High Heat of Summer and Blood

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In the heat of summer, we began cleaning my deceased great grandmother’s home. Heavy with pregnancy, I pulled the old shoes from the bottom of the armoire. I felt overwhelmed by the chore and my grief of losing her before Adam was born. Sweat slid down my swollen belly as I filled the first box of many. Old shoes were easy to throw out, but what about the the other antiques? The baby kicked while I worked. Then the nosebleed began. Blood poured down my shirt and the old shoes. Distressed, I pinched my nostrils, and ran outside for relief.

100 words exactly!

Genre: autobiographical, memory, hell I don’t know.

Thank you Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting Friday Fictioneers. I’m happy as heck to be inspired to write again. I’m hoping that this priming of the pump will cause the words and stories to flow for me again. Dear Readers, please go to Rochelle’s site to read all of the entries.

Have a terrific day!

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100 Word Song-Slippin’ Into Darkness

the-dark-plantation-james-christopher-hillHands 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.

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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.

People, go read his work. He’s fabulous!!!

Five Sentence Fiction and The 100 Word Song-The Pursuer

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Sleep came to Audrey in trivial amounts, and when she least expected it to. Sitting in a coffee shop by the open door, waiting for the waitress to bring the only drug she could afford. She supported her blonde head in her left arm, the sounds around her muffled. How much she wished for a peaceful night’s sleep, without that prickle of anxiety that continued to nag at her. There were not enough locks in the world to hide her away from her mistakes.

Five Sentence Fiction

Continuing to sleep, her regular order was delivered to the table, but Audrey hadn’t spoken to anyone. Involuntarily her arm bumped into the warm cup, but she didn’t startle awake as she usually did. It seemed her body had given up. Whatever was pursuing her had won. Audrey was done, finished, spent. There was no awesome need to prove anything to anyone, anymore. Her shoulders relaxed. She softly snored into the crook of her arm.

The Pursuer stood before the sleeping beauty. Placing the silenced pistol to Audrey’s temple, she fired. In a flash of gun powder, Audrey discovered oblivion.

Robot-Badge

 

Friday Fictioneers-Descent

copyright-David Stewartcopyright-David Stewart

You know it’s over, don’t you?

Is there nothing I can do to change your mind?

Unfortunately, not.

Are you scared?

Petrified, but determined.

How will you live?

Not sure, but I will make my way.

I will miss you Amy.

I’ll miss you too, but I have to go.

Jason scooches to the edge of the scaffold. As he leaps, Amy feels peace. Upon his descent, his face shows terror and then resolve. Her demeanor never changes. The first responders look at her and know there is no reason to fear, she’s not going anywhere but home.

98 words/Genre: Hell, I don’t know, but damn sad.

Thank you Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting Friday Fictioneers. Criticisms and kudos are most welcome. Bring it on my loves, bring it on.

He Didn’t Ask to be Born

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From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is bolted to earth. But man has only to sink beneath the surface and he is free.-Jacques Yves Cousteau

At the age of 20, my Adam Boy told me he didn’t ask to be born. I looked at him and was kind of shocked by what he said. If I’d said such a thing to my mother, I would have been slapped in the mouth. I’m not her, so I simply shook my head in agreement. Adam spoke matter of fact, and wasn’t being malicious or nasty. He hardly ever is. His wasn’t a planned pregnancy, but was a pleasant surprise. I didn’t know if I wanted him or not. Roger and I were still newlyweds, and Meg was only five months old. She was a wild and spirited child that robbed me of sleep, and my smile. How the hell was I going to have two children under the age of two? I was all of 23 when he was born.

The first six months after Adam’s birth were harrowing, in the postpartum depression coupled with exhaustion kind of way.  In my wildest dreams I never would have thought he would question his birth. But then I think back to how both he and Meggie were raised, and now I’m not surprised in the least bit. He’s a brilliant young man that studies philosophy, so of course he’d say what he did. I’m not shocked or hurt by it. I’m in awe of  him. I look at him with wide wonder, and ask myself how’d my boy get to be so smart?

I know my birth parents didn’t ask for me to be born. I was an unwanted pregnancy. If abortion had been legal, I might have become a wistful memory to my birth mother. Instead of a constant reminder of a life she couldn’t have, back in April of 1968. I was born to a single mother and my biological father was married to someone else. If you’ve spent any time reading my posts, you already know my story. No sense in boring you with the details, again.

What this post is about is the other children that didn’t ask to be born, but were. The friend that wonders how both of her parents could still be alive, but doesn’t feel cared for by them. And never has for that matter. No amount of love I give her will ever fill that void. It breaks my heart. I want nothing more than to blanket her in unconditional love and tell her she is my family. It doesn’t change the loneliness she feels.

What about my friend that I lost so many years ago to suicide? I’m sure he didn’t ask to be born with severe depression and no way out of it, but with a bullet to his brain.

I thought about him today on my way to work. I’m not sure why. Maybe it was the weather. I remember us sitting on a concrete bench outside of our high school. He’d given me a pink carnation and a bright smile. His arms enveloped me and he kissed me. It was such a pleasant surprise. I even remember what we were wearing. He was dressed in pin striped jeans and a button up shirt. I was wearing a peasant skirt and blouse with strappy high heels. I crossed my legs and leaned into him. Put my hand on his chest and kissed his soft lips again. We giggled at each other as we walked to our bus. I’m sure we sat together, but the memory gets fuzzy and I can’t recall.

And there’s my friend that’s been a martyr all her life. Did she ask to be the one that takes care of everyone instead of herself? She’s still trying to figure out that she’s worth more. She needs to be taken care of. I hope she finds the one that will, because she’ll take care of him.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this post. All I know is it feels good to be writing it. To be contemplative. Maybe even a little inspirational. Again.

None of asked to be born. Some of us probably wish we hadn’t been. What would be the fun in that though? Think of all the books we wouldn’t have read. The art we wouldn’t have seen. The music that we wouldn’t have listened to. The people we wouldn’t have met. The love we wouldn’t have experienced. The hurt. The anger. The elation. The bravery. The failures. The hate. The tears. The dread. The fear. The happiness. The strength. The weakness. The sex. The want. The need. The life!

Life! We would have missed out on life. That my dears, is why were born!

Finding Their Way Home

Dasha stands in the doorway of the dimly lit hospital room. The heart monitor beeps and an IV drips pain medication into an arm that used to be so muscular. So strong. There he is, her lost love, Mason. Sickness has ravaged his body, yet she still sees the young man he used to be. The one she fell for when she was a girl. How she’s missed those strong arms around her and the way he kissed her tenderly on the temple. Mason could always make her feel special.

She walks to the edge of the bed and gently caresses Mason’s liver spotted hand. He stirs and his eyes flutter open.  Her heart flits and then resumes its regular rhythm. Mason’s eyes are still the same. A vibrant blue that used to make her weak in the knees. Mason smiles and turns his hand over to squeeze hers. It is warm, though a little rough with age.

“Why, hello there,” he croaks.

“Hello back at ya, my handsome devil,”  she responds.

“I’m sorry,”  he says.

“For what? Because you’re dying? It’s all a part of life.  Dasha replies, “not to worry, we’ll find each other sooner in the next life. We’ll love each other there.”

She reaches out and strokes his cheek. Mason leans into the softness of it and feels an intense familiarity, even though they haven’t touched each other in 45 years.

“Know that I would have loved you if I could.”

“Oh honey, we weren’t supposed to, but I’m here now. We’ll catch up while we can. Tell me about your life.”

“Promise to tell me about yours?”, he queries.

“Whatever you want to know, I will be glad to share,” she affirms.

Their conversation progresses and never lags. There are no awkward silences or pregnant pauses. It is merely two old lovers bringing each other up to date. Dasha’s heart swells as Mason speaks fondly of his family. She speaks well of hers, as she crawls up onto the left side of his bed and rests her body against his. She lays her arm across his chest and rubs it gently. Taking special care, knowing that the cancer he has leaves him in constant pain. As he continues to speak, he puts his arm around her and thinks, this is how it should have always been for the two of them.

Mason voices, “I should have loved you. We were meant to be.”

Dasha looks up at him and replies, “No honey, we were meant to land exactly where we did. We were meant to be lovers and parents. But we weren’t meant to be. We reconnected now for a reason. I knew you were sick and I had to come see you. To hold you and feel your touch. I can’t heal you anymore like I did when we were young. It’s time for you to move on. When it’s my time to die though, I will find you and we will be together, forever.”

Mason begins to cry, and she wipes his tears. Dasha doesn’t know if it’s from pain of illness or the ache in his heart. She knows even in his weakened state, he’ll never admit to sadness or physical pain.

“Honey, please don’t cry. You’ll get all stuffed up, your face will swell and I’ll have to tell you that you’re ugly,’ she teases.

“You know you would never call me ugly, because I’m still your blue eyed devil,” he retorts.

“I called you that when we were teenagers and that was a long damn time ago,” she chides.

He gives her an angelic grin and asks, “what the hell happened?  Why didn’t we stay together?”

“You weren’t ready for me, and your adult life began before mine. I wasn’t ready to be with you anyway. I needed stability and security because I’d been hurt enough. Not only by you. There were many others that hurt me. I ended up falling in love with a wonderful man and believe me, we were happy. Our life was a grand adventure, and I’ll never take it back. As you’ll never take back your past; your adventure.”

Mason asks, “Can you ever forgive me for breaking your heart?”

Dasha confirms, “Oh Honey, I forgave you a long time ago. It wasn’t your fault or mine. We were young and stupid.”

“Will you stay with me till the end Love?”

“There is no other place that I would rather be. I’m going to stay here and hold you. Relax those worry lines on your forehead. If you need water or ice chips, I’ll get those for you too. I’ll make sure that pain medication is administered at the right time. I will stay until your last breath is exhaled and your body is at peace. Until your skin cools and we say prayers over you. I will make sure to honor your final wishes for our spouses have passed on before us, and all we have are our children. So yes, I promise to stay.”

Annie, the young nurse on duty walks in on the old couple and she swears Mason looks better than he has in weeks. She’s convinced it’s because of his visitor.

He looks at her and inquires, “What do you want now?”

“Just a blood pressure and temperature check is all,” she says.

“I don’t know why you care since all I’m doing is lying here, dying, ” he responds bitterly.

“Oh Mason, don’t get cranky,” the nurse chides.

Dasha looks at Mason and says, “enough my sweet, give her what she needs.”

As the nurse takes his vitals, Dasha continues to rub Mason’s chest. It took many years for them to come back to each other and she’s not moving, for anything or anyone. Soon Annie takes her leave and closes the door quietly behind her. She stands holding the handle for a moment to clear the lump in her throat and wipe the tears from her eyes. After she composes herself, she continues onto the next patient’s room with a plan to call her husband as soon as she’s finished.

“Are you in pain Mason?”

“A little.”

Dasha leans back, looks into his eyes and queries, “do you need me to move out of your bed?”

“Absolutely not,”  he says as he wraps his arm more tightly around her.

Mason presses the button on the pain pump attached to the IV. Dilaudid quickly courses through his bloodstream. He places the push-button control on the table next to the bed and puts the back of his hand to Dasha’s cheek. They lay there in the quiet and stare into each others eyes. Soon, his lids grow heavy from medication and Dasha reaches up with her right hand to close them. Mason’s breathing becomes even. He snores quietly. She snuggles in tighter to his cancer ravaged body. Knowing that their days are numbered, she already misses his warmth. Dasha falls asleep next to her blue-eyed devil knowing that she is finally where she’s supposed to be, and so is he. For they have always been trying to find their way home.

The Intense Need to Live

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Anxiety is love’s greatest killer. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic.-Anais Nin

I feel torturous fear. My entire body becomes chilled. Palms perspire and feel as though 1000’s of stick pins are pushing into them. The small hairs stand up on the back of my neck. My heartbeat quickens to 175 beats per minute. There’s tightness in my chest. Tingling and numbness in my left arm. Am I dying? Will someone help me? Please!? My head pounds and I become dizzy. My teeth clench. I feel as if I’m living outside of myself. That I’m not real. I touch objects, but can not feel them. My breathing becomes shallow and rapid. I have feelings of impending doom.

My brain speeds up and all thoughts scatter. My eyes dart around the room. Can anyone sense what’s happening to me? My anguish? My need to live? To run away? That I’ve lost my breath? That I’m shutting down? Dying. Of what, I’ve no idea? I hyperventilate and my body shakes. I think I’m going to pass out. Won’t anyone help me? I can’t breathe! I can’t see! My face flushes. I am shaking. I reach out with trembling hands and scream, “HELP, I’m dying!!” Am I crazy? Can those around me see it? See me? Heal me. Please!

So pronounced was my need to live that I lost my breath. Every single day.

I would wake up and try to focus. Stand up. Breathe air into my lungs. It felt as though they had collapsed. I could barely gulp in air. The tightness in my chest would intensify and my heart would constrict. Such was my need to live. My need to survive everyday. I was a young wife and mother. I had lost control of my spirit, mind, and body. I wanted to die. But I didn’t. I wanted the fear to subside, but it never did. Every day I spiraled out of control. Every damn day.

It took years to come to grips with the fact that I was doing all of this to myself. That I was hurting myself. I went to the emergency room constantly. There were EKGs, EEGs, blood work, stress tests, and echocardiograms. I was a healthy, albeit crazy 22 year old woman. I fought the good fight. I finally found my way to the Anxiety and Panic Disorder program at the University of Michigan Hospital. After an assessment, I was put into an anxiety group discussion. I worked hard at my program. I faced my fears. My anxiety went into remission. I was able to live again. Enjoy my husband and children. Find my way back to happy.

Ten years later I started having symptoms again. My children were growing up. I was self-destructing. I was gaining weight and sabotaging myself. I started waking up in the night with panic attacks. It was time for medication and more therapy. I started Lexapro. Within one week the sparkle returned to my eyes. There was life in my life. There was hope. I and my family flourished. I realized that I was like a diabetic. I needed the meds to bring me back to life. I still take them. I need to.

I work with an incredible therapist. He helps me find my way. He tells me I’m not crazy. That I am good. He makes me work hard. Makes me accountable. What’s surprising is the fact that I’ve become an adrenaline junkie. Nothing scares me. Well, hardly anything. There’s that unnatural fear of sharks that I have. I think I was killed by one in a past life.

If you feel these symptoms, know that you are not alone. Get help. Talk to me. Talk to others. Find your way back to life. And breathe easy. You are okay.

I Will Follow You Into the Dark

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No words are coming to me today. There’s sadness in my heart. It’s dark and rainy too. Just want to stay in bed on days like this. Headed to the funeral home later to say goodbye to a cousin that died suddenly a few days ago. I want to be happy that Meggie is getting married, but my heart breaks for my cousin’s family. They are in mourning while we are celebrating. It isn’t fair. But who said life was supposed to be?

Love of mine, some day you will die

But I’ll be close behind

I’ll follow you into the dark

No blinding light or tunnels to gates of white

Just our hands clasped so tight

Waiting for the hint of a spark

If Heaven and Hell decide

That they both are satisfied Illuminate the no’s on their vacancy signs

If there’s no one beside you

When your soul embarks

Then I’ll follow you into the dark

In Catholic school as vicious as Roman rule

I got my knuckles bruised by a lady in black

And I held my tongue as she told me “Son fear is the heart of love”

So I never went back

If Heaven and Hell decide

That they both are satisfied

Illuminate the no’s on their vacancy signs

If there’s no one beside you

When your soul embarks

Then I’ll follow you into the dark

You and me have seen everything to see

From Bangkok to Calgary

And the soles of your shoes

Are all worn down

The time for sleep is now

It’s nothing to cry about

‘Cause we’ll hold each other soon

In the blackest of rooms

If Heaven and Hell decide

That they both are satisfied

Illuminate the no’s on their vacancy signs

If there’s no one beside you

When your soul embarks

Then I’ll follow you into the dark

Then I’ll follow you into the dark

You Gotta Get Up and Try, Try, Try

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My day started as usual. The alarm went off and I practically knocked the fucking thing on the floor to shut it off. I snuggled with Heidi Jo Jo, the Wonder Schnauzer. She licked my nose. I dragged my ass out of bed, said my good morning to Roger Darling and headed to the shower. As I was stumbling into the tub, Heidi had to have me pet her one more time. Of course I talked to her like she was a baby. Her little nubbin wagged excitedly with the extra loving. Afterward I dressed in warm clothes. Grabbed some coffee. Chatted with Rog. Did my hair. All the normal boring shit I usually do.

As I was walking outside to go warm up my car, I slid on the frost covered deck and fell on my ass. I let out a huge laugh that brought Roger to our picture window. As usual he shook his head at me. Then he raised his shoulders as if to say, “What the fuck woman?” I just kept laughing and picked myself up. Wiped my ass off as I headed out to my car and started it up. I do have a new Candy Blue, the Stripper Car. She’s more curvaceous  than my other Candy Blue. But curvy girls are always better. There’s more to hold onto.

I made my way to work with the stereo cranked to 11, changing stations constantly and singing my brains out. Typical drive in. I was screaming to P!nk’s new release, Try when my Sync system cut in. It was Roger Darling of course. He asked where I was. I let him know I was almost to the parking structure. He said he had just talked to mom and that one of our family members had been found dead this morning. I started crying. He told me to hold it together and call her back. I did. She sounded sick with grief. She told me no more details than my husband did. I made sure to tell her I loved her and to call me with any news.

In the span of five minutes and two phone calls my life changed. My mundane morning routine was turned upside down. My happiness, replaced with grief. For my sweet cousins.  My entire family. As usual death will bring us together. We will hug, cry and reminisce. We will remember and look forward. We will hold on. We will let go.

Much love my dear friends. Much love.

I Can’t Look at the Stars

I lit a fire with the love you left behind
It burned wild and crept up the mountainside
I followed your ashes into outer space
I can’t look out the window
I can’t look at this placeI can’t look at the stars
They make me wonder where you are
Stars
Up on heaven’s boulevard
And if I know you at all
I know you’ve gone too far
So I, I can’t look at the stars

All those times we looked up at the sky
Looking out so far we felt like we could fly
Now I’m all alone in the dark of night
The moon is shining
But I can’t see the light

And I can’t look at the stars
They make me wonder where you are
Stars
Up on heaven’s boulevard
And if I know you at all
I know you’ve gone too far
So I, I can’t look at the stars

Stars
Stars
They make me wonder where you are
Stars
Up on heaven’s boulevard
And if I know you at all
I know you’ve gone too far
So I can’t look at the stars