The Great Escape (Plinky Prompt)

  • My Great Secret Escape
  • Shhh! This is top-secret so don’t tell anyone about this plan. It’s just between you and me, don’t forget it. Remember that dull party that you go to every Spring? The one with over 200 people who you know and enjoy and I don’t know anyone? Yes, that one. Every time I go with you, you leave me alone and start patting the backs of other guys, drinking your red wine and your bottles of beer and I am left sitting at an empty table pretending to smile, drinking my soda or cranberry juice.Or, I just walk around the room looking like a lost soul. As soon as I see food coming out of the kitchen I eat as many of the appetizers as I can because as we all know, those are the best. I’ve learned where the kitchen doors open and where the waiters and waitresses come out and I position myself carefully. I love those bite size appetizers, I would never leave before I had my fill of those delicate little flaky morsels. Sometimes they have crab meat ragoon inside them, tender and moist, jumbo shrimp with cocktail sauce, teriyaki chicken or pigs in a blanket which I dunk in creamy mustard.There are always a wide assortment of appetizers, fresh vegetables with a dill yogurt sauce, a large fruit salad, the bright red strawberries gleam with pride, four or five different wedges of cheese and assorted crackers, hummus, pita chips and a sushi bar.
    It is after this period, before they serve the dreary buffet dinner with people waiting in long lines that I plan my escape. No one is looking at me anyway so it really isn’t risky. I slip out of the basement room which is extremely crowded and if anyone is around me I murmur that I am going to the bathroom. Anyone who knows me, knows that I do that often anyway. I climb the brown velvet steps, I have my beige cardigan around me ( wearing nothing flashy on purpose) and I step outside into the cool Spring air.
    We have come in two cars so I hand the ticket to the attendant, slip him a crisp 5 dollar bill, smile and drive away. The restaurant/banquet hall is so busy tonight because it’s on a weekend. I happen to know that they are always busy on weekends, every single weekend they host weddings as well; I checked.
    I start driving, my suitcase is already loaded in the trunk, there’s a brown paper bag filled with clear bags of almonds and raisins, diet orange soda, small bottles of Pellegrino, four ham and cheese sandwiches on rye with Hellmann’s mayonnaise and Lay’s baked potato chips. For dessert I have purchased a big pack of softly baked chocolate chip cookies that I bought at Costco, you can imagine the size of that bag!
    I have CD’s in the car, and no where in particular to go, I love that feeling. I just drive, I have no idea where I am going and where I will end up. It really doesn’t matter, does it? I’m alone, free, with no responsibilities, no one to put me down. I go from one bridge to tunnel to highway and I don’t fuss because I am lost. I’m not lost. I’m free. I open the window halfway, put on the radio and sing out loud. I don’t know where I’m going and that is the plan. Wherever I end up will be the place I choose, for a short time, that is, until I decide it’s time to go again. I love the feeling, living for me, just me, on the road with nothing to hold me back. The gas tank is full, I’m just following the stars and singing out loud, no one complaining that my voice is off-key. This is my kind of adventure, no one telling me what to do or where to go. Maybe I’ll adopt a dog and tie a red bandana around its neck. That would make it perfect. Me and my dog on a journey to nowhere yet everywhere.

    Description unavailable

    Description unavailable (Photo credit: The Mitochondrion)

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Carry on Tuesday: Once Upon A Time

Miss Haxby is holding a newborn baby that is i...

Miss Haxby is holding a newborn baby that is in an incubator at the Toronto Western Hospital in Toronto, Ont (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1956 there was a child born six weeks premature, it was the first time the child’s mom had worn a borrowed maternity dress to a party. Doctors back then were strict about weight gain so she wasn’t really showing at all. After every appointment with her Obstetrician, she treated herself to a chocolate ice cream soda, a delicious, frosty treat that she looked forward to every two weeks.

Once at the party she wasn’t feeling well but had no idea she was in labor until her friend, Claire, suggested she sit in the chair and she timed the odd cramps, soon it was off to the hospital. Claire drove her to the hospital while Claire’s husband, Teddy drove her husband. Her husband hadn’t even tasted his favorite German potato salad yet, I’d imagine, he was a bit disappointed.

They arrived at the hospital and the mom was rushed into the delivery room, she hadn’t expected to be giving birth six weeks early. The labor was fast and soon, a 4 pound, 6 ounce tiny baby girl was born. The mother said she “looked like a plucked chicken.” Dad apparently said to “Uncle Teddy “how cute can you get.” Uncle Teddy told that part of the story every time he saw the little girl until he could no longer speak. It was “their” story.

It turned out that the dad visited the little girl in the hospital, on his way home from the subway every night. He looked through the window and tapped the glass, it was in the late 50’s and he couldn’t do much more than that but him telling her that he was there every night made her feel good. Mom’s story was that she never visited because “there was nothing she could do” a story she changed recently when speaking to the child’s older sister.  She hadn’t visited; why would she have told the ugly truth so many times before? Did she want to rewrite history? Maybe. All of a sudden she was feeding that baby, bottles every other day. The sister just wanted to help but the child knew her mother was lying. It was okay, it just seemed pointless. Why bother now? Maybe it was guilt or she wanted to right a wrong or maybe in her mind, she decided that she wanted to remember it that way. One’s history is really made up of interpretation from others and ourselves.

Once upon a time had happened already, the child had accepted the parameters of her relationships with both her parents, with her Uncle as well. You can’t rewrite history. You just have to accept it for what it was, like she had done, all those years ago and then slowly, quietly, tiptoe, on soft, gray, stocking feet, walk away.

The Start Of Good-Bye

In two weeks my son will graduate from High School and head to his summer job, after that he will be going to college. This is harder than I thought it would be. It’s also brand new and I’ve never been too good with change.

Simple yet elegant prom corsage

I literally want to sink my head into my folded arms on my cheerful, flowery bedspread and cry. I want to cry loud and hard enough to erase the pain of change and sadness, new beginnings and endings. I want to cry for all the graduating seniors that will say good-bye in two weeks to their life-long friends, their girlfriends, their boyfriends, their parents, siblings, dogs, pets. I want to cry for me, I want to break down in unwavering sobs because it feels like I am losing my son to the future and I know that things will never be the same. Already, the “Seniors” have changed you can see it on their faces. Next year, my baby, my daughter will graduate High School as well.

I am a fluctuating emotional mess, happy, sad, crying, excited and miserable.  It is after prom and before graduation; it is the time in-between. The Pre-Prom party was at my son’s girlfriend’s lovely home. For me, it was like a Hollywood set, the girls with their glowing, shiny faces and beaming smiles, the sun streaming down on the back lawn highlighting their hair. Girls in long dresses of all colors: fuchsia, beige, royal blue, gold, gorgeous girls, each one of them, with the light in their eyes dancing, their faces sparkling. Their wrists adorned by delicate  wrist corsages awkwardly put on by their dates. I have known some of these girls since they were four. The young men in their tuxedos, stand tall and proud, handsome and mature. It felt like the tuxedo added years of wisdom and maturity to them.They stood brave and beaming, handsome and charming, strong and proud, very proud. Each one had a boutonniere shakily attached by nervous girls with manicured fingers.  My son posed willingly with the three best friends he has grown up with, solid friends, forever friends. He posed with his girlfriend, he posed with his family. This was a boy who refused pictures taken of him since he was nine.

These were not boys and girls anymore, here stood young men and young women going off very soon, to follow their dreams. Even though as parents we try to be prepared for the good-byes, it still hurts us. Like pieces of our heart literally being chipped off never to be repaired exactly like it was before. Our hearts still work but differently. With the young men and women’s new-found freedom, so too, comes pain. As a parent, not being able to prevent that pain is horrible yet I know, being a good parent means just that, letting them go solve their own problems, make their own mistakes.

As a mom, I am on an emotional roller coaster. Am I grieving beforehand like I usually do? Merely picturing graduation makes me wince. When my son actually leaves for college, I hope I will be just fine but anticipation is truly my downfall. I look at the photos I took of Pre-Prom over and over as if I will learn something new each time. Yet, every time I see the photos I see the same thing, utter, unblemished joy and happiness. As a parent, I wish that these things would continue but I know in a mere two weeks a lot of that joy will become heartache. It doesn’t seem fair does it? That is what growing up is all about, I’m afraid, there are always trade-offs.

These youngsters have precious little time to say good-bye to all their friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, best friends. I don’t envy their losses but I am happy for their new adventures. Tonight, on a dark and windy evening, I dread my own loss. My son is one of the nicest people I know, he is moving on and I will miss him. I love this boy of mine and in addition, I truly like him. Follow your dreams, first-born, the world will be a better place with you in it. That, I know, for certain. We will always be here for you, will always love you and support you unconditionally, when you are ready to leave, place that in your heart forever.

A Heart Broken

broken vase

Image by Leonard John Matthews via Flickr

I remember the first taste of flirtation, just a whiff, like the softness of a pink rose petal; it was enough to intoxicate me. A feeling that went straight from my head to my toes, a fluttering. Eyelashes blinked at a slower pace, my deep, green eyes  warm, sexy and coy, sending messages. It was the attraction that comes from nowhere and heads straight across an apartment, from the front door to the living room, in two seconds.  I was wearing a white cabled sweater, my hair was long, brown, full and curly like gentle ripples in a slow river.

I miss those days of how just thinking about someone could make a flush run deep in my cheeks, and I would smile openly in the air, not caring what other people thought. My feelings became so intense that I ended up getting jealous of my own fantasies. He had eyes of brown velvet, there was no denying the attraction that happened at first sight. No getting away from it either, the pull of a fierce rip tide tugging at my heart and body.

This kind of physical attraction was new to me and it frightened me as well as consumed me. I was 18, home from college and met him at a party. Only later did I find out he was married with a wife back in Alabama about to give birth to their second child. I stopped cold and the sensuous side of me changed to brittle cement that settled in and stayed.

I did not want to become that person that snuck away to a hotel, I was young but not stupid.  Back in my dorm room I wrote his first name down in sketchbooks, a soft blush of pencil,  angry strokes of red and black. I had fallen in love with someone who was not available; I felt betrayed, angry and unhappy with the world, with him.

It was nothing and everything. It was waking up a side of me I had not yet known. Attraction, the physical energy with a stranger. His eyes locked on mine and we did not leave each others’ side after that. It was a party yet no one existed except the two of us. He was my first love, my first introduction to sensuality and feeling wanted. It did not have a fairy tale ending but it gave me an education, it was a glimpse into the future from a very brief, innocent, romance, one that I could not forget.

The Lingering Smell Of Basil

A cooked hot dog garnished with mustard.

Image via Wikipedia

As soon as I feel the first warm hint of spring on my shoulders and see the first crocus I immediately rejoice! It’s Spring, not officially, but in my snow-sickened world it is the start. As soon as Spring is even in the air I start thinking of having barbeques, especially the one BIG BBQ we try to have every few years.  I’m imagining all our friends and family out in the back yard eating cheeseburgers from the Weber grill, dripping with either cheddar or American cheese. I think about   grilled chicken with barbecue sauce and juicy hot dogs, and bright yellow mustard. I also think of potato chips, the real kind, the ones we had as kids and not the baked, healthy, kind either. There would be Heinz ketchup, (of course I’m brand loyal) potato salad made with a touch of mayonnaise, coleslaw and perhaps a large tomato and mozzarella salad with fresh basil and a touch of light green extra virgin olive oil drizzled over the vibrant red tomatoes and the creamy white mozzarella cheese. I love how the earthy smell of basil lingers between your fingertips all afternoon.

In addition, we may have small roasted potatoes on the grill along side smokey-sweet yellow and white kernels of corn on the cob.  Red and white plastic table cloths, bright red or blue plastic plates (preferably the ones that have three sections, love those!) and disposable cups. Napkins would be stacked high in your hands as if they were towels. Messy and barbeques to me are happy synonyms.

Once we went to a barbecue at Charlotte’s house, (“Charlotte of the charmed life” as I call her) the table was like a set directly from a page right out of Martha Stewart Living. Everything matched, the beige, ironed linen table-cloth ( l-i-n-e-n),  the highest quality count, and the china decorated with large blue and yellow flowers bursting on the plates.  Of course, all the bowls, the silver utensils, they all matched perfectly as I watched in unmitigated horror and delight. This is not what I thought I was coming to, I felt under-dressed and ill at ease. It was absolute perfection just not MY type of perfection. It was for high-class people with lots of money and so very different from our dinners and us.

We dined on steak and salmon, ( I hid my salmon) a glossy arrangement of bright green, yellow and red fresh vegetables and imported cheeses. There were no sticky fingers and plastic glasses of lemonade, just a beautiful crystal pitcher filled with ice water, ice cubes that were in the shape of tropical fruit. I was afraid to eat, afraid to get the napkins dirty so I ate slowly and carefully and with my luck, ended up leaving a stain on the tablecloth which I fervently tried to hide underneath the matching napkin. There were no s’mores at this dinner, it was too elegant. We had assorted cookies from the expensive bakery in town shaped and iced beautifully like flowers and cars and ice cream cones but utterly tasteless.

At our barbeques we have cherry, blueberry and apple crumb pies glistening on the table inside with vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream readily waiting in our freezer. I make my home-baked banana raisin-chocolate chip loaf and there would always, I mean always, be a chocolate cake and brownies.

I put my nephew, Jon, in charge of music so the sounds of Neil Young,  Bruce Springsteen, The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac and various other oldies will be playing out the window like the days when music screamed from dorm rooms. It isn’t fancy or elegant and it may just be ordinary but I guarantee you, there will be, a lot of food, including s’mores and an equal amount of laughter. Hope you can come.