#Free Write Friday, Kellie Elmore

Credit: We Heart It

 

Nowhere To Go, In Time Or Place

I felt the tears of uncertainty and dread spring to my eyes. I quickly wiped them away with the back of my hand because if I didn’t they would stick to my face like hot glue. Change hasn’t happened in our lives for years but I know, in my gut, we will be saying good-bye to the world as we knew it, forever.

Saying good-bye to the past, yet clinging, pathetically, to the memories that I hold dear. Old memories that rust in time but bloom in my brain like day lilies.

Another chapter will be beginning but we don’t know when or where.  Getting older is not easy unless you are a sweet, innocent child. Children love to turn another year older, there is no death in their future, just presents, and  cakes with candles, hope, fun and friends.The aged lack hope universally.

For us, their parents or grandparents, it takes on a whole other realm of closing a chapter and warily beginning another, the last third chapter or the beginning of the end. We don’t celebrate parties in the same way anymore; birthdays come around, it feels like, every few months. There is no happiness in aging when you can’t go back in time. Even memories become stale, photographs, blurry.

Our bodies hurt, pain clings to us like Saran wrap on cheese, transparent, almost impossible to remove. It holds us hostage in our weary, broken bodies

I hold on to the wooden stair rail, going downstairs slowly, sticky over time, but now I am fond of the predictable stickiness in certain areas. I have walked up and down these stairs thousands of times, with sick babies, and naughty toddlers, with gleeful children and with young adults I was proud to call my children. I walked with my husband supporting me and me supporting him.

I am not sure of the timeline, of when we will leave. It could be as early as six months but it could be more like a year, maybe two. The jittery nerves inside me says it will sneak up on us like a deer crossing our path in front of our car in the dead of the night.

I have practiced saying good-bye to everyone I love and have to leave behind in my shaken heart. I will be leaving this home, this carrier of memories. I know I am on my way, still clutching to some false sense of security.

Entering into another phase of my life, of our lives. I have to control myself from me not to sob out loud. I know this tiny, white house which in six months could be painted navy blue or brown. I don’t know, I will never know. But it will never be my house again. My children will not grow up here, the trees we planted for the children will stay and the two big gray rocks other people’s children will climb on.

We are homeless, we have nowhere to go although we can stay for a little time in a few places but never like this again. The locks on the doors will be changed in two days, maybe three, new owners will eventually move in.  The FOR SALE sign on the front yard seems to deface our property. It has already defaced our home.

English: for sale sign

A chapter in our lives is about to be over, a new chapter has not yet been written, the lines blur together. We are standing, clutching on to memories not yet ready or willing to create new ones. I am not sure I will ever want to make new ones.

We step aside, we cling to the naked walls and to each other with the depths of our depression in our hearts beating slowly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eppiglottitis: Do I Dare Ask How We Fared?

Fellow eppiglottitis sufferers, you KNOW what I am talking about, don’t you?   How WAS your Winter? I know it’s still July but I am already on high alert just anticipating the cooler temperatures approaching.

This murderess, inexplicable disease comes quickly from one day to another landing at any time, in one very specific place, beyond the throat, with no warning whatsoever.  All the patients are sure of is at least ten to fourteen days of hell and the most excruciating pain we have ever felt. Am I wrong?

Acute catarrhal pharyngitis. The oropharynx is...I just crossed my fingers so I will not jinx anybody, including MYSELF. Many people have written and asked me about this disease and while I have always followed up on each e-mail, now I want to ask how everyone did this Winter? I narrowly escaped it this year but I’m sure it’s on my To Do: List for this Fall. It’s hard to believe that you would be lucky twice in a row.

Does anyone care to share?  All “jinxes” are off and if they are on, I will be the one to get it because I initiated this damn blog. We share the same, horrifying experience, we feel the same excruciating pain and for all the pills to swallow and liquid to gargle it takes a long time to even feel the beginning of recovery.

pillsAs I mentioned in my earlier blog, “Calling Eppiglottitis A Bitch Is A Vast Understatement” the first time it happened, my ENT scoped me and said out loud “How the hell did you get THAT?” My answer, in my head, was “isn’t that your job, Bozo?” Which of course I didn’t say (basically because it was too painful to talk.)

Worst. Pain. Ever. Childbirth is like a little cramp compared to this misery of hell. There are no pain pills that can keep up. Literally, none. Be thankful if you can still breathe and get yourself to the Emergency Room ASAP.

It starts as a simple, little sore throat and then our alarm bells are on alert…we are always aware that this could be an invitation to the deadly Eppiglottitis instead of just a regular old-fashioned cold. If a sore throat lasts more than a few days/ gets progressively worse, I haul my behind to the ENT where he will insert a tube (sorry) through my nose to look at the usually ulcerated gap beyond where the throat lies.

Swallowing is torture. Pure torture. I did read of a trick that, while it may sound disgusting, has a definite advantage: don’t swallow. How, you ask? Lie on your stomach and have a spit bowl. Next time I have it I am definitely trying that. What could be worse than that razor blade swallow. Nothing.

Also, get your behind to an infectious disease specialist, I have never been but I plan to go the next time this horrible disease stops by to visit.

Person washing his hands

I hope you have a wonderful  rest of the summer and do keep in touch with me in the Fall and of course in the dreaded Winter. Keep washing your hands as much as you can (it will make YOU feel better) but no matter what you will get through it if it should creep up on you again. Trust me, I know.

 

The Reunion

 

Coffee in the morningMy husband Gary and I were sitting at the kitchen counter, drinking coffee, when he brought up the same conversation about my college reunion that I thought we had finished discussing long ago.  “You just don’t want to go to the reunion, he said “because your best friend hurt your feelings.”  “Gary, I replied slowly, she didn’t just hurt my feelings, she  decimated them, there’s a big difference, don’t you think?”

“What I think, he said, is that you’re being too sensitive, after all, you were best friends for four years.”

I had never wanted to go to any type of college reunion, what was the point to seeing people twenty years older, heavier, thinner with more or less hair? This time my husband pushed me to go “Come on, he said to me “why not? Everyone should go to one class reunion. Think of it as a rite of passage,”

I sighed.

Then, the final blow, my husband shouted “you just don’t want to go because you think Caroline might be there, admit it.”

I paused, of course he was right, but how dare he say that?  Did he not know the rules of marriage? He was supposed to stick up for me no matter what. “Asshole” I replied,  “that has nothing to do with it.” “Oh come on, he said, she was your best friend in the world, you think she betrayed you and you have never forgiven her.” “Just grow up,” he said impatiently.

I paused on the stairs leading up to the bedroom, gave him a killer stare and in a slow, moderated voice I said “Fine, if it is that important to YOU let’s just go” I said airily as I climbed the stairs to our master bathroom to shower, condition my hair and shave my legs very carefully.

We drove up on a Saturday morning, we checked in at the front desk of the University as if we were registering for classes. I saw my ex -best friend, Caroline, from the corner of my eye, I turned quickly away before she could see me.

“Bitch” I muttered under my breath.

“What? Gary said? “Nothing,  I didn’t say anything.”

Then, as my worst fear became realized, Gary, spotted Caroline and they waved to each other wildly. He nudged me, “Look Caroline’s waving” At that moment all I wanted was a divorce attorney. I turned to look at her and put my arm up with the faintest crack of a fake smile plastered to my face.

During college, the infamous Caroline, had been my  roommate and best friend. I loved her, like a sister and she was the one who introduced me to Gary; we had all been good friends.

After college we each moved home, she lived in Massachusetts and I lived in NY. We assured each other that we would always be best friends and find an apartment together somewhere in the middle.

In the beginning we talked on the phone every day. After that it dwindled to once or twice a week. Soon, I stopped hearing from her, she wouldn’t even return my calls. I wrote her but she never wrote me back. I convinced myself that she was dying and called her parents in desperation but they assured me she was fine.

I lived with that pain and that rejection in my life for many years. I just wanted to understand but I couldn’t, she wouldn’t even talk to me. Eventually, with time, It became more of a mystery and a dull pain and less of a piercing betrayal.

Many years later, on a vacation to Boston, Gary and I ran into Caroline at an Ice cream store where we took our two children, Nicholas, 5 and Erika, 3 for a special treat.  We were happy, laughing, eating dripping ice cream cones with rainbow sprinkles and I froze as soon as I saw her walk in the door.

 

First Ice Cream Cone

I said ” hello” to her then, so did Gary and she commented on how cute the kids were. She was about to start playing with them and I felt the flush of heat go through my body. I tried hard not to say anything and then, suddenly, my temper flared and I pulled her aside. I demanded to know the truth: “Why did you stop the friendship? What happened? We were best friends!”

She looked at me blankly, she shrugged her shoulders and I will never forget the words she said: ” out of sight, out of mind.” I was speechless.

The next time I saw her was at the reunion, she came up to Gary and me and started chatting about neutral topics, the weather,  our jobs, and finally she asked about our children.

“Ben is applying to Medical school, I said and Sarah is finishing up college, with a degree in International Relations.” “What about you,” I asked somewhat sneakily. “How is your life?” She blinked and looked away for a split second and then said lightly “Oh you know me, I’m destined to live a life alone, I’m too much of a free bird to have a family,” she said  chuckling.

I nodded politely, “yes, I said, slowly, staring directly into her eyes, I think you made that clear many years ago.

I turned to Gary, who by now was grinning, he took my hand and we went into the seminar together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Haiku Horizons, Content

Content life, morning

Had to get my Parlour Coffee fix! #winnipeg #p...

Coffee, swirling milk angels

Being One with Now.

 

 

 

 

 

In love with food, grace

A photo of a jelly doughnut (aka Berliner) top...

bellies, content, sugar bombs

lick my lips, linger.

 

 

 

 

Dog lies next to me

Love

Love (Photo credit: Noël Zia Lee)

her paw resting, yawns, content

Leaning on my leg.

 

Doing The Laundry With George

Growing up, my family lived in an old red brick apartment building in Queens, NY. The apartment building was its own little village on six floors. There was a feeling of comfort and safety having neighbors and friends around us.

I had good friends in the building and I ate many meals in my friends’ homes. In Lotti’s kitchen I always ate home-made matzoh ball soup, the matzoh balls light and airy. She introduced me to my first milkshake, made with chocolate and vanilla ice cream and served in tall, cold glasses.

Vanilla Kipferl (Vanilla Crescents)

Vanilla Kipferl (Vanilla Crescents) (Photo credit: sharon.schneider)

In Omi’s house, (my friend Linda’s grandmother) we settled into over sized chairs and we ate many home-baked cookies: granulated sugar-coated vanilla crescent cookies and chocolate kiss surprise cookies. To this day I can feel the taste of the melting sugar on my tongue, I have seen several duplicates in stores but they missed a very important ingredient: Omi’s special kind of love. I didn’t have grandparents and Omi made me feel like part of the family.

English: Windows in the red brick wall of an a...

My older sister and I, individually, had to do the laundry as our chore. In an apartment building, a couple of old washing machines and one dryer lived questionably in the basement. The basement was dank, dark, dimly lit and uninviting. Thinking back, there never seemed to be anyone else down there doing laundry, it was an experience you just wanted to hurry up and finish, it felt scary being there alone.

I would lug the metal shopping cart, that we also used for groceries, and hold on to it with both hands grasped behind me. It always left a lingering metallic smell on my fingers.The elevator always shook and made loud scraping mechanical noises as it bumped and lurched to a stop in the basement.

The only person who lived in the basement was George, the handyman.  We assumed from his accent he came from Romania or Russia but that was never confirmed.  George was a happy and unconventional man. When you talked to him, most likely he was upside down, standing on his head. There was nothing scary about him, in fact, when the door to his room in the basement was ajar we always felt safer.

Clowns Upside Down on the Ceiling

Clowns Upside Down on the Ceiling (Photo credit: wht_wolf9653)

George spoke little English but every so often he would determinedly either call himself Mr. Rockefeller or call my father Mr. Rockefeller; why we don’t know.

We accepted George the way he was as if he was a character jumping out of the pages of a John Updike novel, smelling slightly of old, cheap wine. All the mothers said “he was harmless.” Back then, he was.  In the sixties, that was normal, we trusted people. We didn’t even question his unusual style, we just laughed with him.

If you were lucky the two washing machines would be free when you had to do the laundry, the sense of achievement and happiness would be intense. I would dig my sweaty fingers into my jeans pockets, front and back, to find three quarters for each machine. The smooth shiny coins were placed in the slotted circles, I waited to hear the metal clinking sound as they dropped down.  Once I put in too much soap and bubbles, huge iridescent sudsy bubbles, started cascading down from the machine, everywhere. I was both thrilled and terrified at the same time. I ran for George.

There was one large dryer but more fascinating were these huge hanging racks that we would have to pull out of the wall and drape clothing on the clothing rods; how this was allowed and sanctioned by the fire department I will never know. Once we pulled back the steel rods and draped our clothing we could see the individual fires blazing. After we pulled our clothes from the hanging rods the clothes were stiff and scratchy. There were no fabric softeners, anything that was on those rods to were as crisp as burned toast.

Chemical Brothers

George lived in our building for many years, we would try to get  in touch with him by phone but he generally didn’t pick up. More often one of us went to his room and knocked loudly on his door.

One day, he disappeared, no one had seen him for a while. Everyone was talking about it but he literally vanished from one day to the next.

In my young imagination, I decided he must have rejoined the circus, as of course, a clown. He already had the sweet smile, the jolly personality and the impeccable skills for standing on his head.

When I remember George I remember him upside down, firmly saying “Mr. Rockefeller.” Why he did this nobody knew, but we all accepted him for who he was.  No one ever heard from him again but after all these years, I never forgot him.

 

I Called Him *William

We were best friends, William and I, all through college and I had hoped we would be friends all our lives. Long ago, when we were 18, he wanted me to be his girlfriend and I wasn’t ready to be anyone’s girlfriend, I was scared and emotionally immature. We went to one formal dance together, he arrived holding a dead, limp, rose.

True, his smile could light up the darkest day and to me he was an absolute beautiful, and handsome man, blond hair, brown eyes, someone I could trust and talk to but he talked with his mouth open revealing a mound of mashed potatoes. To this day, I can picture that sight.

English: A small plate with a serving of mashe...

If it was now, I would say, “Dude, where are your manners?” but at 18, what did I know? I didn’t know one single thing. I did know that we made a pact that if by a certain age we weren’t married to other people we would marry each other but I would bet a million dollars Billy wouldn’t remember that.

Everyone called him Billy or Bill  even now I would refer to him as Bill but during the glory years of youth he was my William. People in our dorms were sure we would get married. After we graduated I wanted to move to Boston, mostly because I thought William was going to live there. I moved, he didn’t.

What finally made me wake up and truly understand William and relieve all the guilt that I had (he had made me feel guilty for years) for not dating him was when he called me, years after we graduated and said he would be driving to Boston and he wanted to visit.  I said “YES, ” absolutely and he would stay over at my place.” This was it, once and for all I wanted to see what we had between us, obviously it was something.

He said he would come on a Friday afternoon, sure I was a tiny bit nervous but excited. I waited for him all day and night. This was long before cell phones. I didn’t hear from him, he hadn’t given me an exact time or day so I thought for sure he would arrive on Saturday.

Saturday and Sunday came and went, I was worried, very worried that something had happened to him, a bad accident, he was involved in a serious collision…something serious must have happened for William not to have come or call.

flipped car

Or so I thought.

I literally waited all weekend for him to show up but he never did, never called, first I was very disappointed and after that angry, very angry.

The man I had trusted and loved, through and through, yet not wanted to date when I was merely 18 just changed his mind and didn’t think about letting me know. I had finally reached him during the middle of the week and he said “Yeah, I didn’t think about calling, I changed my plans.”

Who was this guy?

Apparently this was the guy that deep down I knew existed, or some part of him that I didn’t like. This was hard to take, for me, but for him, maybe he wanted to punish me or maybe he really was just the guy, across the table, with no manners, eating with his mouth open, full of mashed potatoes.

He came to my wedding, after that, I never saw him again. I finally realized he was never my best friend, he just made me think he was. I still remember his birthday but I let go of him a long, long time ago.

*Name changed to protect the guilty.

This New Waking Up At 5: 30AM Is Seriously Getting On My Nerves

If (when) I get cranky during this post you can blame it on the lack of deep, constant, uninterrupted sleep. I’m cranky just thinking about it. This has been the fourth or fifth night in a row and correlates beautifully to the new medicine to raise my blood pressure.

True, I am not passing out and smacking my head getting bumps the size of baseballs but still, as any chronic pain or Fibromyalgia patient knows, sleep is our vacation. I wish I would be kidding but I’m not.

Insomnia

Insomnia (Photo credit: Alejandro (Lì Delfos))

Literally, going on vacation stresses our bodies more than staying in bed, not that it isn’t worth the risk at all. So, this old body now awakens way too early in the morning and today it’s not even a sunny morning but a gloomy gray one. Of course, I try to go back to sleep but it never works. Also, I can’t nap anymore.

Fibro: The Way It Is, make something better, make something worse. A trade-off. Ugh, I’m disgusted but with Fibro or any Chronic Pain Disease when aren’t we totally fed up? Usually I can handle it very well and I am NOT a complainer but now I am definitely cranky. If I can’t run around and have some semblance of a normal life at least let me enjoy my sleep and sweet dreams.

I guess that’s too much to ask, isn’t it? I’m giving this drug a few more days and then I will begrudgingly call the doctor as promised. I know he is just going to give me one pill after another to try but I wanted fewer pills not more. Granted, passing out at any time definitely had its disadvantages and the fact that no one call feel my pulse was a little scary but there must be something in-between?

Before you tell me about any type of herbs or supplements I am NOT allowed to take any, because of the chronic kidney problem. It’s time to do some deep breathing, now that I’ve written my frustration out here, hopefully I’ll feel better soon.

If not, there is always leftover pizza with grape jelly.

IF I had some.

Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies

Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies (Photo credit: fritish)

Since I LOVE FOOD and SWEETS maybe it’s time to make Nestle’s Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies. Just one, maybe two before bed with a very large glass of milk. Milk is medicinal, it helps you fall asleep.

That is, of course, why I will bake cookies today, all in the name of science.

Haiku Horizons, Drive

 

Guns - latest batch

Bloody, young faces

Drive by shooting, bullets fly

Cries of terror, blaze.

 

 

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Sunday drive, Spring flirts

Tango Kiss

Vibrant flowers tango, sing

Love blooms, sweet romance.

 

 

 

 

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and for a little fun:

 

Teenage fantasy

Control the power with style

1966 AMC Ambassador 990 convertible. A full-si...

I’ve got this, now drive.

 

 

 

 

 

FWF, Kellie Elmore: Ace’s Boy

 

1969_0521-1970_0605__RVN__218__173rd_Abn_Bde_Comp_A_Admin_Phu_Tai__1970_0400_Night_Gunfire_Time_Exposure_MT

Dear Becky,

No matter how many times you tell me it’s not my fault, I will never believe you. I know deep inside it’s the truth. I saw this photo today in the paper and it made me feel really bad. I still feel guilty. Yes, even after all these years. I was a stupid, dumb kid trying to get out of Vietnam. Doing the right thing was never in my vocabulary. You tried to plead with me but I never listened to anyone.

When my number came up to go to Vietnam I thought of every scheme, including running to Canada, but finally you and Dad broke me down and I went. I said I would go but in my head I was thinking of ‘every which way to leave.’

I was in the Army for about six months, six months was too long for me and I desperately wanted to get out. I had already seen a buddy of mine, Lou, lose a leg, have the docs bandage him up, re-shave his head while he recuperated and send him back out to some desk job. He WANTED to go back out, for his country. He had the choice to go home! I thought he was nuts.

After that I thought the world was crazy and the thought of serving in the Army became even more despicable to me. I already hated myself but that was nothing new. I started hating hatred. My logic was if I hated myself already, it really didn’t matter what I did from then on, right?

I had plotted schemes to get out from the first second I was here and I had no regrets. I chain smoked every damn unfiltered cigarette every second I could, one after another. Remember, as a kid my lungs had always been weak?  I tried hard to make them collapse or do anything to get me the hell out of here.

Eventually after about six months I did get sick, so sick that one lung collapsed completely and the other was in bad shape. I was released and they didn’t even want me back. I was so weak I couldn’t stand up. I thought I’d be thrilled but I didn’t feel anything, nothing. Glad to get home, for sure, but not happy. I certainly didn’t feel like a man, I didn’t even want to leave my room. Mom was happy but Dad didn’t talk to me, not one word.

I married my girlfriend, Amy and we had our son, Jeff, your nephew and your niece Caroline. I worked at a car dealership for many years. The kids grew up too fast and yes, my own personal hell, Jeff wanted nothing but to join the Army the second he could enlist and he did. I begged him not to go but nothing was going to stop him.

He went to Afghanistan, where he wanted to be, front line, shooting enemies. Sometimes I thought it was all a big, bad dream. He was happy to be fighting for our country. I knew I had been a coward, I knew I had done the wrong thing, but yeah, life sure kicks you in the butt. Every day I waited to hear from the Army, every single day and night. My boy, who wanted to serve his country, who loved his country, killed in the line of duty, right after he got the Medal Of Honor. At least he got that much. Me and his mother have it hanging on the living room wall.

If it weren’t for Caroline, Amy and yes, you, I’d be joining my boy, that’s for darn sure.

JBER Combat Cross-Country Series 10-mile Relay...

Love,

Your brother,

Ace

 

PS I’ve enclosed a picture of your nephew that one of his friends sent me. I made a copy for you.

Haiku Horizons, Party

Balloons

Space, introspection,

balloons, toes, sand, silence, peace

Party,  far away.

 

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Party on, drunk friend,

Drunk at the Morrison

pee on yourself, stupid fool

“Grow Up” we mutter.

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My sweet love’s birthday

cake cut

the wonder of turning six

Party, cake, joy, glee.