Happy Second Birthday, Lexi

2/16/14

Dear Lexi,  Happy 2nd Birthday.  I love you, sweetie-pie. What a good, good dog you are,  so cute and affectionate.Lexi1

You were a nasty, wild, hurtful puppy, weren’t you? Don’t look so sad, you didn’t know better. I know you are sorry. You were just an oral devil dog, digging those demon sharp puppy teeth into our arms and legs and clamping down. We probably tasted better than all the chew toys we bought you. Our welts gave you texture, right? Grandma kept telling us to “give you back” every single day but I couldn’t do that. Many trainers tried but they all said “You’ve got a really willful puppy there but if/when she grows out of it you’ll have a really great dog.”And, sweet girl that is who you have become.(Thank God)

At about eighteen months, from one day to the next while we were busy doing other things you became a dog, an amazing dog. One that cuddles and protects us, hugs us and plays with us. You are the dog we always wanted, we just needed to give you and ourselves a little more time.

It taught us all about being more patient, didn’t it?

Right now you are sleeping with your head on my knee, nuzzling, a part of you always has to be directly on me.  You know each member of the family so well. With Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain I do spend a lot of time in bed and that’s where you come, leaping on the bed, to be with me, happily. When “Dad” is around you get the leash, go to the front door, and start whimpering. You get instantly wild when your brother comes to visit, but we know he provokes you. He allows you to be wild, we don’t. Yes, I know, YOU are WAY cool when you rough house together.

Oh, but when your sister comes home from college you hear her parking her car and you run to the front door and start crying until she comes in.  Yes, our daughter, your sister, will kneel down to your level and you hug each other while you cover her with kisses. That picture of the two of you on the ground stays in my heart forever.

Have a Happy 2nd Birthday, thank you for choosing us at the shelter to be your family.Lexi2

Love, Mom

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Take Me Home

Members of the United States Navy serve the ho...

Members of the United States Navy serve the homeless at Dorothy’s Soup Kitchen in Salinas, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We had run into each other before a couple of different times, I just didn’t who she was. I saw her at the food pantry waiting in line with her kid, one day we saw each other at the soup kitchen. We knew each other, all of us. We just didn’t acknowledge each other, we kept ourselves private, looking down at our kids or in our bags of free food or me, down at my worn pink sneakers. I heard her name once but nothing else. She was so tall and skinny why I could almost see through her, she looked so frail, like a bird thats broken. What I remembered of her were her frozen green eyes that seemed like they were stuck in her head with glue, like they never moved or blinked.

I guess the only thing we had in common was we were both moms on a mission to protect our children, to protect ourselves. Months later we met at the shelter, The Home For Abused Women And Children. I had been at The Home for a month now, she was just coming in. As soon as we saw each other we nodded, she took the bed next to mine. Her daughter and my daughter looked about the same age and they hit it off,  children were great like that, they were best friends in less than five minutes.

She and I probably took a good couple of hours to speak, none of us were good at trusting but we were  friends pretty soon. Once she made up her bed, with me helping her, we started talking. Not good stuff like you see on funny television, that’s for sure, but stuff we had in common. Both of us had been in abusive relationships; I felt guilty being here but she felt proud. That was what she was like, all the time.

She made me promise to talk to her first if I was ever tempted to run away from here and go back, and I was tempted often. So, when my kid said she “missed her daddy” I would want to leave straight away but Alison always knew before I even packed. She would come over, sit me down and she would not let me leave. We would go back in time, and tell her out loud when Brian hit me so hard my head cracked open and blood was everywhere, how I  saw it on the green tile linoleum, thinking it would be hard to get out. It was kind of out of my body, why would I be thinking that?  The pain so bad I wanted to die. She reminded me of what he said he wanted to do to my daughter and what he had done with my niece and that stopped me cold.

That changed my mind back to reality and she started reminding me of why I had left him and how he was still the same monster he was when I finally got out. Then she and I would hug and I would thank her until the next time it happened and I’d like to say it never happened again but it did. Lots of times.

We stood by each other, like real friends, and we joined a job training group together so we could get jobs somewhere. We all moved to another state, changed our names and started fresh. We shared a one bedroom apartment but we made do; the girls slept in the living room, we shared the bedroom working different shifts. We had “beat the odds” they said at the shelter, we were safe, we had our own home and we were proud.

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND HELP:

The hotline number is (630) 469 – 5650.
Why should you call Family Shelter Service’s hotline?
  • You want to talk about your situation with someone who understands, or
  • You want to learn more about services and how to obtain information and help.

I like knowing there is somebody I can call at any time.”
– A Victim of Domestic Abuse

Free Write Friday: Kellie Elmore

Rich Man, Poor Man

Rich Man, Poor Man (Photo credit: kcnickerson)

Name is John, most people around here call me Johnny D. don’t care much what people call me but I like Johnny D. better than John cuz it sounds less like Catholic school and more like my life now. I haven’t been to a church in years, not sure they’d want me anyways not with the life I lead. I live in the streets, and when warm it’s good but when it’s cold and snowing not so much. I huddle in doorways where people with their leather boots step around me, “hey don’t judge me asshole”, and sniff. So what if I smell bad, maybe you smell bad but they are just plain disgusted that a man could end up like me, living on the street, black garbage bag as my rent. What do they know, they know nothing, I’ll tell you. They judge me but they don’t know me, not one bit.” Hey, YOU, “I scream sometimes to get their attention,” I WAS you once” and then I take a long drag from my filter-less cigarette and keep laughing, that really makes em move fast, real fast.

Yep, I was walking in expensive, brown Italian leather shoes, carrying a briefcase and heading down to the city to a big- shot job. I made good enough money in banking until the world tipped over on its head and the stock market crashed like an airplane into water. Casualties everywhere, people drowning, hell, they were the lucky ones. I wish I had drowned but God kept me alive which to me was more punishment than having just killed me. I wasn’t lucky, I was cursed. I saw men and women who told me their plans to kill themselves with drugs and jagged lines up and down and across their wrists so they would get themselves good. They didn’t want to make no mistakes in dying.

So here I am, having failed at something I wanted to do. I couldn’t even die. Couldn’t even put myself out of my own misery. Well, shit, why I don’t know. People say it wasn’t my time to go, but I sure felt it was. I wanted to go so bad and not embarrass my wife and my baby girl and son anymore. They used to be so proud of their dad but now they referred to me as a “bum.” I was never any “bum” I was just down on my luck but my wife she didn’t stick up for me, not once.

Well, I guess she didn’t like the alcohol problem I was having and the drugs but I was trying to quit, I swear. She threw me out and that’s why I started living on the streets, not that I had too much of a choice.  Once or twice in the winter I stayed in a shelter for people like me, good people, until I got on my feet again. Just not on my feet yet. But, I will be soon enough. I’m determined to get help and walk straight up again, just need some good luck, someone to give me a break and a job. No, I haven’t been looking for a job myself but soon someone will find me and offer me a job, I can feel it. Then, I will get paid money, instead of collecting it here on the street with a cup, shave off my beard, change my clothes and stand straight and tall and go home so that my little girl can run and hug me and my son will jump on my lap and my wife will want to have me back because I have dreams. Aint nobody gonna take away my dreams.

walmart man

Photograph credit to photographers

Kellie Elmore and K. Nickerson

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Haiku Heights – Storm

Winter Storm 2009

Winter Storm 2009 (Photo credit: merfam)

Inside turmoil spins

I want a piece from two worlds

Red: Life. Gray: Shelter

*****

Ocean waves explode

I am insignificant

Take me over, please

*****

Red rage, fury, fire

bolting out the hostile door

releasing the storm.

*****

Ice cascades through snow

the beauty of pureness, white

black ice underneath

*****

Snow fighting ice, wind

Let’s huddle together now

to seek warmth, safety.

Plinky Prompt: When was the last time you felt truly lonely?

  • Storm Sandy
  • Uprooted tree from Storm Sandy

    Uprooted tree from Storm Sandy (Photo credit: Arlington County)

    Day 1 NaBloPoMo

    Full rain storm

    The lights went out, there was no electricity, there was only a deep chill in the air that piles of blankets couldn’t help. Storm Sandy was visiting New York and I felt lonely and confused and in shock at what was happening. How could this happen here? I felt disappointed in a way that New York could let me down like this, I felt cheated. I couldn’t call anyone or take a walk, I looked out the window clutching my flashlight and there was nothing to see. Just darkness, lonely, cold darkness everywhere I could see. I thought I heard mumbling outside but I was too frightened to venture out and I wasn’t sure if it was real or my imagination. The wind was howling and reaching for the darkened windows with passion like two young lovers.
    It was right after dinner when the lights went from on to off, no flickering as a warning, and I hate surprises of any kind. So, when I stood with two sharp knives near the dishwasher in the total darkness, I screamed as if I had been stabbed. My husband was also in the kitchen and he too, screamed, startled by the quick switch from light to dark. We were alone, together, in the sudden darkness of our neighborhood that I used to describe as “cozy.” Nothing felt cozy tonight.
    Disbelief described our feelings as well. How could this happen, here? Nothing made sense, we were trying to make sense out of something that seemed impossible until now. Everything I knew before was gone;I felt sorry for the children who, once again, could not Trick or Treat. This was the new normal and it was sad.