Snooze, dear old man, gramps
all alone, sad.
rock your empty chair.
* * * * * * * * * * *
Blink, joy, blink sadness
numb eyes drool, lips shake, quiver
Alone is black-gray.
“We started dying before the snow, and like the snow, we continued to fall.” — Louise Erdrich, Tracks
I was weary, weak beyond anyone’s mind could see. It wasn’t just my physical pain that had failed me, I was used to pain. It stayed with me like a shadow every day and night of my life. This was different, this was emotional, mind pain that wrapped itself around my neck and pulled tight. I knew I could breathe but I felt like I couldn’t, like some evil demon was choking me, I could practically see inside myself, red, raw lines around my throat from the choke marks. This would be my undoing. I hoped it was.
I knew I couldn’t fight and the hysteria that I felt came bubbling up like a spring on a hot, dry day. I was out of control, lots of pills, lots of pills. Weed too. I could see the water but I couldn’t taste it or feel it. As much as I knew that logically, it didn’t prevent me from continually trying, again, the pain getting deeper, the vice holding my throat deepening every second. I was only thirteen but I had lived a thousand years already, I wanted to die, I was not scared of death. That was not a fear I had.
I knew what I was up against, I already had been living on the streets my whole life. It didn’t matter. No pills I bought from the street, that I dry swallowed, could lessen that inside feeling of feeling out of control. It was a horrible feeling, so I tried more pills, pink, blue, white, lots of colors. Like in a magazine, little pretty children wandering alone, not being able to find their mother in the middle of a busy city, constantly calling out, yet nobody would answer them. They were lost but not found. It did not have a happy ending. All these children could do was cry and be afraid and the story would finish just the way it started. I knew better than that. I kept popping more pills, nothing was happening to me. Yet.
Sometimes that’s the way the world works. Not everything gets tied up perfectly with a pink, lace ribbon, curled on the ends. Not everyone is a tiny ballerina on stage, showered with perfect red roses after a performance on their pointed pink ballet shoes. No, that was for dreamers and I was no dreamer. That was for people, the very tiny amount of people that lived in the rich life I never came in contact with but I heard about or read about it. My mother was a junkie, she lived on the streets, sometimes but not with me, no. I saw my mom who I called “Destiny” shooting up heroin in a corner, on a street. We didn’t say hello to each other. Usually she was so out of it she wouldn’t know me. When I recognized her, I pretended I didn’t. Me, popping pills, her doing heroin.
I was a street child, a crazy one at that. I lived here and there, whatever place I decided was mine for the night. The only name my mother ever called me was “gutter-child.” That’s the only name I knew.
Edge of seat, trembling
sticky pink gum, wet with sweat
her name called, door slams.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Pinpoint pupils, raw
heroin, addict, veins pop
Once his Mama’s dream.
everything i could never tell you
I’m sorry, baby girl, I was barely a teen then, I didn’t know there was a name for what your mama had. I just knew she closed herself in her bedroom, turned the lights off and had me babysit you every afternoon. She hid under the covers because she was really sad and all you could hear from her bedroom was her sobbing. I kept the television on to try to protect you from the sounds.
You know, back then, it didn’t even have a name, just crazy. Your mama was chronically depressed and it is like every other illness but years ago it was shameful. Thank God, now, people know more and there are medications and no shame involved.
When I would walk up one flight of dusty, gray stairs, your smile would brighten your entire face like sunshine and your cheeks would turn rosy pink as soon as you saw me. Your mama would scream sometimes, but she couldn’t control herself. Oh, I know you pity yourself but I’m sure it was not easy for her, she was very sad every minute of every day. Yes, it WAS hard for you but you are a grown-up now, can you now think about what it was like for her?
What I remember most, for some funny reason, is that she used to make two pale chicken legs in the toaster oven. Oil or butter turning into bubbles on those nasty looking legs. You must have eaten them after I left but I kept thinking “where was the rice and the salad?” Was there bread and butter to eat? I could picture you and your mama eating one sickly yellow chicken leg each and you drinking your glass of milk.
Your mom never let you have candy so with my babysitting money I would hold your hand and take you into the candy store and let you pick out a chocolate bar and tell you it was our secret. I didn’t care about lying to your mom, she wouldn’t even have noticed. I just wanted you to have a little happiness in your life, I wanted you to be able to be a kid for a short time, anyway. Your eyes would glisten like stars on a dark night, with happiness and excitement, you were lit up like electricity in a lamp.
I met you for lunch once when we were both adults, I didn’t know you anymore. You hated your parents, you hated everything, nothing but hate and coldness inside you. This was way before your older sister became sick too and I adored her as well. I know you were wonderful to her, you did everything for her and everyone knew that, there was the goodness in you.That sweet little girl came back to be her sister’s angel, but when she died, it died too.
We didn’t know about the funeral, no one told us. As soon as we found out we raced to your mom’s apartment where your cold, icy, blue eyes looked through us. I wanted to hug you, but you didn’t let anyone close enough to even say we were sorry. Why? You were blaming us for something we had no control over but you were the queen of control, right?
You built a wall around you of law books and court rooms and tennis-playing friends. I hope you are happy now. But, I wanted to say something that I never could say before: I missed my sweet baby for a long time. The little girl you were, the innocent, happy child that would race to sit on my lap.What happened to her? My one question is “do you even remember her, that sweet sunny child, you were?” Because if not, that would be a damn shame. A damn shame.
Dear Ms Andrews,
I’ll be honest I can’t forget that when I was little and bumped into you at FAO Schwartz and my father asked you for your autograph for little, shy, sweet me, you said “NO” coldly and harshly. I heard you. I remember thinking “how could she be so mean? ” Well you were, there were no other people around us but you simply and COLDLY said no, and walked away abruptly. Who would do that to a little girl? Mary Poppins would never do that. Apparently, you had no such problem. I was devastated that you acted so coldly my dad was furious at my crestfallen face.
However, I still adored your movies: Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music. It is for this reason alone, my loyalty to you as a fan of your movies that I refused to watch Carrie Underwood in the live performance of “The Sound of Music” on television earlier this week.I have always been “brand loyal.” I know all about the Broadway play, my sister saw that but I was devoted to the movie version. I knew every word by heart, I sang every song proudly albeit not in tune.
I wanted to remember Julie Andrews the way she was in the movie I adored her characters and her singing voice and still watched her movies when I was feeling blue or nostalgic. I used to watch that movie many times with my dad and my mom. My mom she was from Germany and my dad from Austria.
I will stay loyal to your movies and to your songs, to the characters you played. They will live on in my mind and heart forever. Just do me a favor, think about how a cold, nasty “no” can stick in someone’s memory after so many years. Your resiliency as an actor speaks loudly of your talent but definitely not of your real character.
Bear and me
my name is greta, i am five. i live here with my bestest friend Bear, we used to live someplace else but no more. we came 2gether cuz wee had 2 cuz of the bad stuff for us but we love it here. he and i are the ones in charge of all the other friends and family. theres mr. red cat, an mrs.duck and her yello ducklins, monkeys that make me laugh when they tickle me under my chin or throw me lellow bananas. they swing from branch 2 branch like a circus show some person in the bad other world took me from.
circuses were fun once but not ythe other part where i got losted and the mean man pushed me in the bathroon door an hurtted me a lot. he lockeded the door and i tried to screem but no words came out and my momma culdlnt find me cuz he coverred my lips with a smelly rag. no daddy came neither, but i new they was lookin for me cuz i kept hearing my name in the air. for a little while until i was asleep an i f elt sick.
wen i woke up i didn t now wher i was, and i has to throw up bad. the mean guy was still ther and he was madder than smoke i got sick again and again but i had to. i didnt want to mac him mad, i swear. he hit me a lot. he told me to shut up and used a realy bad wordd but i cant repeat it but it starts with the letter f—. i tried to stop sayin anythin and to stop cryin but i wantd my momma and daddy sew much.he sayd they didnt want me no more an i was gonna be dead soon after he got some money for me.
he sayed he waz gonna sell me but somethin bad happened an there was lots of bad men fighting an screeming, i herd guns an shootin, i saw red blood flyin aroun the small white room, no win-dows. i tried to pre tednd i was sleepin but th en i messed up. i opened my eyes too fast and 2 guys, one the meanest one, got a shot gun an the other a small gun an they both shotted at me the same time, in my bleedin heart and left me. i waz bleedin an in the beginnig it hurt but i couldnt cry an then it didnt hurt an i was raised up to be here past the blue sky an puffy clouds to be betterer an happier to live with Bear an my animal friends forever. i no peoples say that some mans and womens are good but i dont care i dont believe them, an i dont have to cuz my world is safe up here with my forest family.
Dining companions? Setting? Conversation?
I wouldn’t move from my living room, food would be ordered in from wherever my family wanted, loads of it. My (adult) children would be with my husband and me, our dog would be in my lap, my mother would be with us. We would not talk about the end of the world but the memories we had. We would talk about the good times, the happy times and we would not be looking at any clock. Let the world end when it does, we are holding on to each other, some hold hands, others hug. We eat good comfort food, milk shakes, champagne, anything our hearts desired. No limit. Nothing fancy, nothing different, just a lot more of it. Now is the time to coax those less inclined to talk to share their feelings, to show emotion. Maybe they would, maybe they wouldn’t. You can’t change people you just have to accept them the way they are.
No fights, no domineering, just balance. Love, kindness, support, appreciation. To have had what we did have, together. We close our eyes together and fall asleep. We give our thanks for what was. We have no control over tomorrow.
A MOTHER’S OPEN AND HONEST LETTER
Happy almost 21st birthday _______. You know I’m staying up to midnight, right? How could a mom miss the minute her ______ turns 21? It’s a milestone and one that you have looked forward to for many years. I know that you can buy alcohol legally now, not really a thing I get excited about. I’m not stupid, gullible yes. I asked you to take a sober picture of yourself on or before your birthday and I knew you would remember.
That’s the kind of kid you are and that’s probably why I’m crying now (you expected it, I know.) You have always been a tremendously kind person, in fact, when you were little I had to teach you to be assertive. You were so easy-going that at nursery school if another kid grabbed the toy you were playing with you would just let them. You would happily go on to play with something else. I remember this as if it was yesterday, we sat down in your room and played with toys and we practiced. “I’m playing with this now but when I’m done its your turn OR ” want to play with this together.” I believe you liked the second option better.
When you were born, literally born, you didn’t cry at first, why not? You started a few seconds ( which felt like hours) later but your nickname was Buddha Baby. You were always peaceful, serene, happy and the only time you cried was when you didn’t feel well. You took long naps, slept through the night early on and the only time you cried was when you were sick. Sure enough, you would have a double ear infection. You were the sweetest baby ever and yes, a part of you will always be like that.
It’s not to stay that you weren’t an obnoxious teenager sometimes, don’t get me wrong. I’m not going to lie to you. That would never work anyway because you see right through me. You can judge my mood on the “hello?” of the telephone. We have a very strong connection, I hope we always will. I’m grateful for what we have had. And, by the way, the “assertive” thing, I think you learned that too well, maybe I shouldn’t have taught you after all because as a first sibling and as a Scorpio you are a bossy, strong-headed, stubborn person. But, it’s not true, right? Let’s argue about it!! You can be the good person and I can be the bad one person…
I just want to say almost Happy Birthday from a mom who loves you with all her heart. I am proud of you as a ______, as a person and I know you will make a difference in this world. You already have. You are a wonderful _____________and I couldn’t ask for anyone who is a better_____ than you. I’ve told you before I not only love you but I like you, everyone likes you.
Thank you for being in my life, you bring me great joy and I will always have a special place in my heart for you.
I love you ____________
Love always, Mom
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.
I just bought a cane. A dull pink one straight from the pharmacy. If it really helps my balance issue I will special order a cane that will have turquoise and a tiny bit of shiny silver and beautifully polished … Continue reading