#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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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FWF, Kellie Elmore- Image Prompt

Image Credit: We Heart It

The” haunted house” has always been in my neighborhood. When we were little we stayed away from it. When I became a teenager and my little sister, Dani, would annoy me I would tell her the ghosts from the haunted house would fly in our windows and take her if she wasn’t asleep. I thought it was funny, you know one of those older sister “things.”

When I was 15 I claimed that neglected house as my own. Eventually it became our crack house,but for the first few months it was our hang out. We’d go there every day, cutting Senior year’s “internship” program. We had a tight circle of five or six friends. We all brought drugs, I stole pills from my mother’s medicine cabinet, there was alcohol, weed, all of us brought food, Benny and Steve always had heroin, my best friend Jenny brought cocaine and chocolate chip cookies.

My parents had no idea of who I had become. All they did was fight with each other. It was pathetic how easy lying was. If you wanted to change your life, it was so simple.  Assholes. They didn’t even pay attention. My little sister played in her room, alone. She barely came out.

One night, at dinner, the tension between my parents was especially bad, thick like the humid rain forests, we had to study. Hard to breathe. I saw my  7-year-old sister sucking her thumb which she hadn’t done since she was 3. I was fed-up with their non-stop bickering but when I tried to say something both my parents would tersely say “not now Tess.”

I pushed my chair back from the table and left, telling them I had study group and they didn’t even question me about what class or where I was going, so I left. I headed to my real home, the crack house where I knew my friends were.


I sat on the floor next to Danny he lit up a joint and we shared a few beers. It felt so good. I tried to forget about mom and dad but it was hard. Danny said there was one thing that would help me forget all about it as we giggled together and he nuzzled into me and whispered in my ear “I have something special just for you.” He laughed and said “Baby. I promise you, it is the biggest high you will ever have, all your silly problems will melt away in a minute.” He showed me the heroin and the idea of escaping my miserable world was so tempting.”Since it’s your first time, I’ll even stay with you if you want.”

We kissed and I whispered “okay” in his ear. He looked so happy that I let him inject the heroin into my vein. First, from what I can remember, I felt amazing, lots of colors and sounds, I had no idea where I was but it was better than any place I had seen. I remember dancing to the music alone, smiling a lot.

Later on, I got paranoid and scared. I just remember screaming so loudly in my ear. Everywhere people were screaming and I couldn’t take all that noise, I cried from the pain, covered my ears with my hands but it did not go away. Hours later there was nobody left and the screaming remained. Apparently the screaming came from me.

I don’t know what happened after that, someone must have called the police because I just remember an ambulance coming and strapping me down. I screamed when I saw both my parents waiting at the hospital, holding hands? The nurse gave me a shot. I felt  asleep in seconds.

When I awakened I pretty much just felt stupid, only realizing then that my problems had just begun.I saw a glimpse of my little sister hiding behind the curtains. I tried to smile but she did not want anything to do with me. I didn’t blame her.

I really was sorry, I guess we all were. My parents decided we would all go to family therapy and they would go to couples counseling. I lived back at home and my relationship with my little sister got better, sometimes I even played with her in her room. The crack house had been gutted and cleared.

I was happy to see it go. More than happy.

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Yellow Magic Madness # 36 The Little Yellow House On The Corner

"Where there is love there is life."

“Where there is love there is life.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tonight, my little yellow house is quiet. my dog is in her bed snuggled happily in her blankets; she looks like an angel when she is asleep. Other times she is the most difficult, stubborn, strong and crazy dog I’ve ever seen. I rescued her from the shelter, I saw her curled in a little red ball, asleep. We have had four trainers, books, gadgets, leashes, collars, any equipment you can imagine and she defies them all. Not that I would want to buy a dog from a breeder (though I am giving it serious thought for the first time) with the money we have spent we could have purchased a purebred, maybe two. This dog is wild, charming and adorable, sometimes we think she is part dingo. I love her to pieces.

My husband is already asleep, he has to get up very early on weekdays to trudge into the city to a job he really doesn’t like but at least it pays the bills. I am trying to focus on my kids coming home soon to visit; these three people are my treasures in life and there is not a day I take them for granted.

I am both a daughter and a parent. Sometimes it is hard to be in the middle, worrying both about my mom and my kids. You never know what the right thing to do is, you just try to do the best you can but sometimes it feels like a juggling act, no one is completely satisfied. We try to do the best that we can, that’s all we know how to do. I love my children so much, they ARE my world, I would do anything for them, instead of them, because of them. I not only love them but I like them as well. They are good, outstanding people, smart, kind, caring and adaptable which was never my strong suit but even I have changed. My husband and I always said I need 24 -48 hours to get used to change, and no one knows me like he does. I adore this man with whom I’ve been married for twenty-five years.

The night air is still, sky is black, I feel comforted. The air is different at night then it is during the day. My little yellow house stands underneath a vast sky of darkness. I can think more, be more peaceful, write, breathe in the evening. It’s at night when I don’t have to focus on anything else that makes me feel good, and at peace with myself. Life isn’t as complicated as I make it, I realize that at night, I need to remember that during the day.

Listening to crickets, the room is warm, I think back to old times, simpler times but I wouldn’t go back again. I love who I am today,  older, more appreciative and more at peace with myself. Grateful. I know what is important, I don’t need anything else in life.

The show must go on (Carry on Tuesday)

parents

parents (Photo credit: Mystic Lens)

I never said we were an unhappy family, it’s all a matter of perspective. After all, to the people in our homeland, India, we lived “the American dream.” My younger brother and I were born in India, we lived with our parents and grandparents together in one room. We knew no different, the only thing we knew is eventually we were going to “Merica” but we had no idea what that meant. My brother and I just assumed it was a neighborhood nearby.

Now, fourteen years later, we live in New Jersey and own a small white house, with black trim. My mother was afraid, she said, “to be perceived as too gaudy.” We have a front yard that is nicely manicured (my father brags to people back home that we have hired a gardener.)  My mother has the flowers, arranged in red, white and blue rows, perfectly, with soldier-like precision.

Everyone seemed to have acclimated to our new life, except me. I’m seventeen years old, did they think it would be easy for me? As in India we had to continue our very traditional ways in New Jersey. “It is expected of us” my parents would tell me and my little brother, Rakesh to carry on our culture with pride. At the same time my younger brother was getting beaten up in the playground each afternoon.  I refused to call him, his Indian name here, so I made up an American name for him in part to annoy my parents and in part to give the kid a chance at surviving elementary school. My parents were furious but I didn’t care, as soon as Rakesh became “Robby”  life got a little easier for him.

If they wanted obedient and silent children than they should have never left India. My brother and I wanted to stay in India when we were children but of course they never asked us how we felt. We knew we had no choice anyway, we always did what our parents told us to do, there was no options. We were never allowed to talk back to our parents, in fact, we were not able to talk at all until we had been spoken to.  Back home we would not even know the concept of talking back to one’s parent’s or anyone’s elder, it was not done, it did not exist.

We are all playing a role, in our new life here, like actors in a play. By the time we landed here I changed my name to “Annie.” My parents could scream but I did not care, I had to live in this society, so yes, I ignored them. I put up a sweet and demure face, I wore my traditional garb at home and changed into my “real” high school clothes quickly in the girls bathroom when I got to school. I changed into short skirts and tight tops. I pulled my long lack hair into a high pony tail and my friends taught me how to put on make up. I had it down to a science in no time. I only feared my parents coming in unexpectedly but I knew that would never happen.

If I had to stay in this country and honor my parents’ wishes I was going to do it on my terms, that is until I turned 18 and then they would have no control over me. I was counting the days until my 18th birthday. Until that day, and ONLY that day, this façade, this show will go on but after that it would stop, immediately. I had circled my birthday on the black and white calendar with a thick, red marker in boundless abandon, this was my secret. I will play the role of dutiful daughter, I will do whatever they tell me to do until my birthday.  The evening of my 18th birthday, I will slowly and quietly pack my things, while my ultra conservative, parents slept, in their separate beds with their overhead fans and ugly, green and white velvet bedspreads with inlaid crystals.

Having planned this for months the night of my birthday I will sneak down the steps and go out the side door. I will tiptoe quietly down the street where Brian, my boyfriend, will be waiting for me in his car. We are leaving together, we are moving to the Village in New York City, Brian has a friend who has an apartment there. If we don’t like it in New York we will go to Boston, or California, wherever we want to go. I will feel free for the first time in my life.

I have to laugh. They named me Ashmita, meaning rock born, hard and strong. What did they expect?

Free Write Friday: Kellie Elmore

On the way to Spirit Caves

On the way to Spirit Caves (Photo credit: Dru!)

You wake to find yourself in a strange house and you cannot remember your own name. You roll over and see a letter by the bed.
Is it for you? Who is it from? What does it say? Does it explain where you are and why?

I am sleeping so peacefully in a bed that does not feel like my own, but I turn over, my head on a hard pillow, my long brown hair down my back. I start to stir and I feel a little uneasy but I don’t know why.  This isn’t my bed, as I pull myself up to a seated position I look around, I don’t think this is my room either but when I try to picture my room at home, I can’t. I am very confused, I start asking myself questions: “What did I do last night?” “Who was I with?” “Did I drink?” Nothing comes to mind, I don’t feel like I have a hangover, in fact I feel pretty good but I’m scared. I have no recollection of the past, I gasp when I realizze I don’t even remember my own name.

What? I don’t remember my name. Oh my goodness, I am a stranger in a strange land, wait, wasn’t that the title of a book? It figures that would sound familiar to me; I must have like to read in my past life? My other life? I honestly don’t know. I can’t say I am freaked out totally because deep inside me there’s a feeling of calmness that i have never felt before. I wonder if I am dead. If so, it’s not a bad thing.

I  roll over to my belly, exhausted from both the confusion and the calmness and I see a letter in qn envelope with no one’s name on it, since this place, this house, this farm? wherever I was, seemed so quiet, I opened the letter thinking things couldn’t get weirder than they were already. I had hoped that the letter might give me answers to where I was and most importantly WHO i was. Part of me cared a little bit, but most of me jst  was curious, interested as if one might feel when you are almost finished with a book and want to know how it ended. Not panicked in any way, just simply interesred.

The letter inside said the following:

Dear Guest:

Wecome to our home, we hope you ar e comfortabale here and please stay as long as you wish. No one will be here to bother you, there is food in the kitchen, help yourself. You can leave at ANY TIME. Use your time well, we think that you will understand why yoou are here the longer you stay. We wish for you many blessings and utter peace.

In peace and in love,

Your friends.

She had learned nothing about herself, not her name, where she was, why she ewas here but she wasn’t disappointed. She just had an inner peace ethat she was there for a reason. There was really nothing else she wanted to do, she didn’t want to fight it, to go outside and walk endlessly so she embraced it . She knew, in her soul, that she was sent for a purpose and she would learn the lessons she was supposed to learn on her own and in her own time.

*Free writing, no editing, no corrections (that’s hard) but I did it.

Plinky Prompt: Beach or Pool?

    • Going For A Swim
    • Beach Girl
      Ocean Wave Beach. The feel of the sand under my feet, walking slowly in the sun, looking for seashells. The thrill of the ocean (and the fear of the sharks) jumping over the waves, being a part of Nature. Sure, it is a little risky, it’s a little cold but there is no better feeling for me than diving under a huge wave and jumping over the rest; knowing when to jump and when to swim. It’s always held power over me, I love swimming and walking on the beach. I love watching the waves as they crash. My biggest dream is to live near the ocean. Someday….
    • Previous Answer

Do You See Me?

English: Lady Lake, Fla., February 6, 2007 -- ...

I have nothing to write about; I feel empty like the new wooden cabinets in our kitchen, bare without plates and mugs nestled inside them. There’s nothing to do but tiptoe amongst vicious looking tools, a saw with its huge blade on the floor, assorted screws on the wood and carpet. I am not scared for myself but for my dog. ‘What if she walked on it?’ I seethe. I am trying to make progress and doing very little. It’s hard to feel at home with the workers fixing things or re-doing things. The house is always dirty even though we paid quite a lot of money for the industrial cleaning crew. As soon as I clean something, it becomes dirty again.The floor is slippery in places from wood floor shavings or tiny pieces of sawdust and wood that get stuck in the soles of my red, swollen feet.

I’m wandering around in circles, green plastic spoon in my hand, eating bright red pomegranate seeds. Back and forth, upstairs and down, I can’t find anything. Every room is filled with garbage bags and suitcases that don’t belong there. I need to shovel out my son’s bed from his room before he comes home for Christmas break. Whenever I find something I want, I lose it again.

Found objects are playing hide and seek with me, once found, now forgotten. I never liked that game, it’s the element of surprise, any element of surprise, really that scares me. The quick motions of a darting gray mouse, a bat swooping dangerously low, somebody coming at me from behind, I have been known to scream as if a murder was taking place in my room. It’s called the startle reflex and I correlate it with my being six weeks premature and in a hospital for over four weeks. Of course, I despise surprises.

We may have moved in too early as odd as that sounds. We’re in the way of the people working here, the old refrigerator covered by the blue tarp is now our lawn ornament. I had hoped someone would want it and take it away but no one came and the contractor will move it away on his truck. A good deed gone sour.

We have no curtains, we are using black garbage bags on our windows. I can’t cook or bake yet because the kitchen is not clean and there are no clean surfaces; the guys are finishing things in every room, all the time.  Our old oven sits silently, resentfully, among other new shiny items. The dishwasher has pretty blue lights, like that of a bluebird, that make me happy. I don’t have to look at garbage anymore or smell its rotten odor, there’s a garbage can built-in to the cabinet. The wooden cabinets have handles that I picked and I love them, when I look at them they seem to smile back at me.

I am back in our cozy home; how could I still feel lost?

I don’t know the answer.

Almost, Almost, Going Home

This photo was taken by myself on October 22,2...
For the past couple of days my husband and I have switched into high gear to expedite getting us OUT of this hotel room and into our small but sweet home (known by one friend as “the construction site.”) It’s been over three months since we lived there, we missed hot summer days and our famous barbeques, the scent of charred hamburgers and chicken wafting through the neighborhood. We also missed the bold, changing colors of leaves, red, orange, yellow, from our favorite tree in the front yard. We had no choice. The house was completely destroyed and we had to leave in a great hurry, before, as our contractor put it, “the bathtub plummeted on its own to the basement.” We were lucky to be alive.

While still living in the hotel, last night we started the process of trying to get rid of as much unwanted stuff and garbage as we could in our house. My lungs have not shaken the massive amount of noxious odors, wood shavings and dust. The industrial cleaners come in soon, but I dare not write when, just in case, they postpone us. Again.

Yesterday, back in the house for four hours, I searched for a little brown wooden dog that had belonged to my dad, named Susie (after my mom.) Finally, in my tiny office, underneath my desk, wrapped in dust and dirt, wood shavings and plaster board filth I found little Susie. Five minutes later I heard “Dance With My Father Again” by Luther Vandross, a song that is like an instant message from my father, in heaven, to me for the last eleven years. I’ve learned to appreciate and accept and love these signs, helped by my friend, Roland Comtois, who channels messages from those who have passed to the living. I haven’t had a sign from my dad since August when, as I drove my son to college for the first time (my husband was having surgery for his Achilles Tendon)  I saw the number 3, three times and the letters FBF, three times, my dad’s initials. (My interpretation had been three? 3 what?  I soon found out, three months in a hotel, in one room with the whole family and our dog. The last song I heard before I left the house was my favorite song by Adele. The signs were finally all there, dad, in heaven, was telling us we would be going home soon.

We will go back to the broken swing set at the side of our back yard where no one swings anymore or goes down the yellow slide, one child is in college, the other is a senior in high school. We leave the swing set there until we find someone who wants it for their family. It will take many months to find everything we own, scattered underneath beds, in corners, in different rooms, closets and the basement but at least we will be home.

Through reconstruction of the house, the wood, rot and carpenter ants and termites, still lived a neglected and forgotten plant, a Christmas cactus that never has bloomed on time until this year. I saw it from the corner of my eye shining red amongst dying dark green leaves; a true sign of hope.

I’m Done, I’m Stuck, Help Me

Help, I'm Stuck

Image by Martin Cathrae via Flickr

Help I'm Trapped In Here

Image by duncan via Flickr

snowing

Image by jam343 via Flickr

I’ve had it. I have said it jokingly before but now I mean it. I’m disgusted with everything and every person. There are a few exceptions like my kids (especially the one away at college) and my dog. My dog is exempt ALL of the time, my husband? Not so much. Today, he could not make a rational, DECISIVE decision and he flip-flopped like a newly caught fish. He changed his mind twelve times in under two minutes, a record. Sometimes a girl/woman/wife/mother/person just has to say “what the eff?” Here’s to you, my hero, Ferris Bueller.

I’m also feeling the teeny tiniest bit of crazy and it’s all coming out on paper, now. After the anger came out I felt scared and stuck, trapped and hopeless, also hungry. This has been going on way too long, three months too long.

Today did not start with a resounding, positive spin. We woke up to snow, yes SNOW. Heavy, dreadful, snow that started in the morning and will continue until the wee hours of tomorrow morning. It’s OCTOBER people, October. You know, the time of year where we gasp from the brilliant artistry of the naturally changing leaves, bright streaks of red, amber, different shades of green, all colors holding hands, clasping each other, on one fiery tree. It’s beautiful, well, it was beginning to get beautiful… In past years it was a slow and steady sign of seasons changing, temperatures starting to decline not a nor’easter punching us in the face coming out of nowhere.

To those who say I shouldn’t be cranky, I say “Tough.” I am cranky, I deserve to be cranky and I have every right to feel cranky.”  I know there are worse things in the world and indeed I am incredibly grateful that we are not suffering from life threatening illnesses but I swear, my mind is going, going, soon to be gone. Yes, maybe tomorrow I will breathe as deeply as I possibly can and I will repeat the mantra of safety but today, I am not doing it. I don’t WANT to be calm today. I’m sorry what? Yes, I said it: No interest in being calm today.” THE FRIGGIN SNOW OF OCTOBER 29th 2011 put an end to that.

I have lasted an entire paragraph without mentioning my old, destructive and defective house but trust me I’m so there now. The little house from hell with termites, carpenter ants, rotten and decayed wood, that had electrical problems now has heating problems too. So, my genius husband (sorry hubby, it’s been a really bad day) decides (without consulting me, of course) that he would leave two portable heaters on over night, plugged in, “on low,” when nobody was home. That is all kinds of wrong; I just couldn’t take it. Thank goodness for my sister who rightfully said: “this is from the man who insists that I, as a grown woman, put on my seat belt when I sit in the back of the car?” Yes, Sis, the same person. I asked him to ask a neighbor, one of several we could ask to please unplug the fire hazards but no, he didn’t want to do that. So, now he is on his way back in the snow to turn them off himself. What IS IT about men and asking favors? I don’t get it.  Smokey the Bear, on behalf of my husband, I apologize. Deeply.

Peeps, you don’t need to bother to read this post if you don’t want to because I am VENTING and sometimes venting is useful because my chest has become less painful and I am breathing evenly. Sometimes it is more than okay to say “I’m furious” instead of meditating your anger away. I’m CRANKY, I’ve lived with this stress, tension and emotional and financial ruin for three months now, cramped in one tiny hotel room. I have every right to vent and I am glad I did. So there.