Thank you to Elephant Journal for this inspiring verse.
Thank you to Elephant Journal for this inspiring verse.
I’ve forgotten what it’s like to love myself.
To look at myself in the mirror and see beauty instead of flaws.
I’ve forgotten how to love myself.
To touch my flabby and cellulite covered skin and not hate it.
To rub my own feet with thick lotion and not wish that the heels were softer.
To hold my hips and wish I could remove all of the fat inside of them.
To trace my wrinkled hands across my ample breasts and hope that someday a man will behold their beauty again.
To gaze at my face in the mirror and not see wrinkles, but amaze at the brightness of my blue eyes and the perfect symmetry of my lips.
I’ve forgotten how to love myself.
To find that little girl that resides inside and tell her that she’s going to be okay.
That she is loved.
That she is free.
That she is important.
I’ve forgotten how to love myself, but I do hope in time I’ll be able to again.
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.
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.
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.
Copyright-Tracy Rhodes Photography
When I drove in to work this morning, I felt like I was straddling the horizon. The sunrise to the East, and the moon to the West. Stars settled on my shoulder and whisked pixie dust through my hair. I knew I was being reborn.
The last 30 days have been quite remarkable. Where do I even begin? I guess, I’ll begin at the beginning….
On September 26, I drove a completely packed UHaul to my new apartment. After I signed the lease and got the keys, I started lugging boxes. My friends arrived a couple of hours later and helped me drag the furniture up one flight of stairs. J bitched about having to drag the sofa bed up a flight. But with the help of my BFF’s teenage son, they got it moved with nary a broken fingernail between them. As a thank you, I took my moving crew out to dinner at a local Coney Island. The food was cheap and good. Our conversation lively and full of laughter. After the plates were cleared and the bill settled, I hugged my friends and headed home, alone.
Alone, that was what I wanted to be. I smiled at the prospect of it. The sense of it too. I’d never been alone my entire adult life, but I was anxious to begin my journey. After I arrived back at my place, I slipped a DVD into the player (Pretty in Pink) and started to unpack my treasures. Working tirelessly till about 1 am, I finally collapsed on my sofa bed and slept the sleep of the dead.
The next morning, I dragged my sleepy ass off the couch and drove to my local AT & T store. Seems my smart phone took a shit in the middle of the night so I had to get it replaced. Nick, my sales rep noticed my anxiety about the replacement fee of 250.00. He graciously waived it, set me up and shoved me out the door before 10 am when the cable/internet installer was to arrive at my apartment. Wonder of wonders, the cable guy showed up on time and I had cable and internet before noon. Thank God, because there is no way in hell I could live without Facebook or Word Press for more than 24 hours!
I won’t bore you with more details of settling in. Suffice is to say that it was pretty uneventful. A few leaks in the bathroom needed to be tended to by maintenance. My kitty, Cinders came to live with me. She’s a happy camper and good company. I hear from my children and ex-husband on a regular basis, and we’re all adjusting to the new ‘normal’.
Friends have wanted to come visit. I’m okay with it, but I enjoy my solitude. The quiet is welcoming and I let it envelope me. I read, write, shop, sleep, and buy my own flowers. I relish the times away, and revel in the time spent with myself. I’ve gotten the hang of budgeting my time and money. When my children call on me, I drop everything and go to them. It’s easier now to be a good mother without the rain cloud of unhappiness that used to follow me everywhere.
Roger Darling and I will always have a connection. We will be a family because we are parents to the two most incredible human beings I’ve ever known. Our Adam Boy and Meggie need us to be on the same team, even if we don’t live under the same roof. Our grown children may have suffered a setback or two with the newness of this life. But I think they’re getting the hang of it.
I’ll continue to broaden and straddle that new horizon, every damn day that I have the good fortune to wake up. To make heart connections, and make new friends. Who knows, maybe someday with God’s good grace a new man will enter my life. One that will love me with all my brokenness. He’ll place his hand on the shattered pieces, making me stronger than I’ve ever been. I’ll hold his hand, and we’ll walk that horizon together.
Until then, I’ll enjoy the solitariness. And live. Maybe I’ll even go to London. In the springtime. I bet it’s lovely that time of year. I have to research a book. A tragic romance. About a young writer that falls for a drug addicted poet…….
You know it’s over, don’t you?
Is there nothing I can do to change your mind?
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.
Photo courtesy of filmcamera999
A man’s face is his autobiography. A woman’s face is her work of fiction.
Beauty and peace is what they see.
How to tell them that both are a lie?
My eyes hold sadness.
My lips long to kiss that of another.
To lay my heart beside his, and live forever.
I’ve been told I have the perfect nose.
Why not the perfect ass?
The perfect thighs?
I want to be happy.
There is no pill for what I crave.
But still I want.
I need a smoke.
A vodka and tonic.
I remembered the day. It was May and I’d finished planting in one of our gardens. I stood up and brushed the fresh earth from my knees. Removing my work gloves, I refastened the elastic that had loosened during my labor. Soft strands of hair had fallen from the knot and ended up flying in my mouth as the breeze blew. The scent of lilacs filled my nostrils and I hummed a lazy tune.
I walked up the steps of the back porch and picked up another flat of colorful pansies. I dug and dropped the hardy flowers with delicate roots into each aperture and covered them with fresh dirt. The air smelled of mud. Some of the dried grit, wafted in the warm breeze and settled between my teeth. It felt as if I was humming while holding a piece of sandpaper in my mouth. I spat a couple of times to try and purge the grains, but it didn’t help. I’m sure anyone walking by would have laughed at the young woman in short coveralls spitting into the dirt while she planted flowers.
You walked up beside me and knelt in the grass. You didn’t say much, which was unusual. I continued to dig holes and you dropped the pansies into them. When the plastic container was empty, you carried it to the garage and threw it in the recycling bin. As you wandered back out to the yard, I glimpsed your face. You looked ill.
“Honey, what is it?”
“I have to leave.”
“Do we need more flowers?”
“No, I’m leaving. I’ve packed my suitcase. It’s in the hall closet.”
“We’ve worked so damn hard and you’re not happy. You try, everyday. But I know you’re not.”
I turned away and stared at our freshly planted pansies. The tears came, because I know you were right. I stood and walked up to you, kissed you lightly on the lips. My nose ran and I wiped it on my shorts. I ambled to my lilac bush, leaned into it and took in the potent smell. The fresh blooms reminded me of childhood. Of easier times when all I had to worry about were mosquito bites and scraped knees.
“It’s okay for you to go. I don’t know how I’ll live though. Where I’ll go or what I’ll do.”
“You are an incredibly strong woman, you will find your way.”
You walked away and I attacked the bush. I pulled as many blooms off from it as I can stand. My fingers ached and are covered with scratches. With the bush almost bare, I carried my bounty into the house. I pulled three vases from under the sink and jammed them full. The air is already redolent with the smell of spring. I shivered as I heard the back the door slam. I knew you were gone for good. I placed my hands on the counter and wailed.
In my heart, this is what I’ve wanted, but my soul is that of a child’s. I longed to be cloaked in the familiar, and held. To be taken care of. As I placed the vases of flowers on book shelves and tables, my tears dried. I felt a strength grow within me. A light began to burn so brightly that if you touched your fingers to mine, you would burn.
I headed back outside and continued to place pansies in the little holes we’d dug together. The gardens may be mine now, but I realized, so was my life. I had to better learn to live it.
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!
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