FWF, Kellie Elmore. Fire.

 

 

HER

 

Everyone says that teenagers are moody.  I’m not. I’m depressed or nothing. My shrink says I’m in a “Clinical Depression” my parents say I’m very depressed. I don’t care what they call it, I just don’t want to live anymore.

I’m 15, I hate my life or well, I used to, now I just want to leave and not exist. I have no friends.

 

Her

Her (Photo credit: Forty Photographs)

 

Not that anyone would miss me, my parents just wanted to commit me to a crazy hospital and lock me up or drag me to church, every single day and night. My little brother, Billy, well he is okay, he’s five and to him I am,  everything, silly jerk. He didn’t think I was as crazy as a bat but what did he know, he still sucked his thumb.

 

I wasn’t the shrieking, breaking- glass bloody kind of crazy you see on television, or the raging mad screaming in the streets throwing knives and pulling out my gun, feeling ugly angry. Nope, It’s like I lived in the air. I existed, I blended in with the beige lockers in the middle school hallways. http://magicinthebackyard.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/campfire.gif?w=290&h=290&crop=1

My secret plan kept me going, it was the only thing I had looked forward to for over six months now. Today was November 11th, my favorite day and I knew where I would be  tonight. I knew where I would go tonight after dark. I had the place, I had the alibi, people didn’t care about me and I didn’t care about them anyway. I didn’t feel loved or hated. I didn’t feel anything at all. I read that’s the worst kind of crazy-bad or maybe it’s something my shrink said. I don’t remember.

She once said that if I could have cried, “released my inner emotions” maybe it would have been better but I had no inner emotions that I knew about, nothing that I was hiding, no conflict or cover-up, no tragic past. I felt nothing, bad or good, I didn’t complain and I didn’t want attention. I was just empty, all the time.

All I wanted was to go to sleep forever, and I loved playing with fire. I wanted to leave this world in a way that made me disappear for good. I wanted a quick death so months ago I stole a can of lighter fluid from the hardware store. My plan was to spray my clothes and jump, go poof up in flames.

The fire was still burning strongly, I opened the can of lighter fluid, smelled it and it made me cough. I hadn’t squirted it on my clothes yet. I walked closer to the fire, just a tiny bit. The long hem of the left leg of my jeans caught on fire as I edged closer accidentally but instead of jumping in all the way I instinctively fell to the ground and smothered the flames.

What the hell just happened?  I didn’t know, why did I do that? Why didn’t I just go into the fire as I had planned 1,000 times and burn to a crisp? Couldn’t I even get death right?  I really was a loser, I couldn’t even succeed in offing myself.

 

Ian's Big Boy BedI had been waiting all along for a sign WHEN to jump in. Could that have been the real sign? I told myself, that if I was supposed to die I would have. I wouldn’t have instinctively dropped like my old doll, Raggedy Ann, on the ground to get rid of the fire and save my life. THAT was the sign! I started feeling strongly about this. I moved away from the fire and after sitting there a while, I made sure the fire was out. I was not feeling happy but I was feeling something. It was a lot more than what I started out with.

 

I felt like I was in a daze, confused but I knew deep down I think that I wanted to live. I started walking up the hill, eating a granola bar that was in my pocket,to get to where I parked my car. I sat there for a few minutes.  I took a few deep breaths and drove home really slowly. Before I got to my room, I opened Billy’s door, he was wearing his favorite cowboy pajamas and yes, still sucking his thumb. I tiptoed over to him and ever so gently, kissed him on his head.

24-Hour Crisis Hotline – The Samaritans

samaritansnyc.org/24-hour-crisis-hotline/

  • The Samaritans of New York
     

    Samaritans 24-Hour Crisis Hotline (212) 673-3000. With the goal of helping people in distress and preventing suicide, Samaritans free, confidential.

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Haiku Heights- Lunch

Crying alone. Lunch.

fruit and cheese plate

fruit and cheese plate (Photo credit: kungfu_kc)

Eyes stab, silver blades ready

Adolescence s***s.

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A bite of cracker

juicy pear, cheese, almonds, dates

Forever in France.

Carry on Tuesday: There is a place, Where I can go

Photo of a dog behind a chain-link fence at th...

Photo of a dog behind a chain-link fence at the Paws and More No Kill Animal Shelter in Washington, Iowa. I took this picture. This looks just like my dog Yuma. He was from a shelter in Evanston Il. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There were too many people inside my parents house. They talked too loudly so I slipped out the door in my black down coat and covered my cold, red ears with an old gray hat and crouched behind the bushes. They were probably all drunk.  The clinking of glasses sounded like mirrors being shattered. I didn’t care if it was my mother’s birthday party. Who did they think they were to have a place this garish when they didn’t need it? It was all for show.

Unfortunately, I’m their 18-year old misfit daughter, Lindsey. I embarrass them all the time by the way I talk, the way I dress. They are pretentious and all they care about are their fancy clothes and their BMW cars, glossed so they gleam in the light.  If you asked either my mother or father if they knew anything personal about any guest invited they would come up blank. Their uplifted, tightened faces would freeze and they would change the subject: “Would you like another drink, darling?” These are all plastic people, acquaintances to be used to just get ahead. They really don’t know about each others children, lives, troubles, they just need each other like the stepping-stones to get to their private yachts. I despised them all.

I’ve never been used to the amount of money that my parents would throw at me as if to entertain me. “Here, darling, here’s five hundred dollars, go buy yourself something” my mother would say, waving her hand away.  “Umm”I said, just standing there, silently pleading for her to look at me. She never glanced over. Our conversation was over, she tried to buy my love with money. As if. I wasn’t stupid, I stashed that money away and I had a huge pile saved up in my sock drawer.

Later that night, I shoved all my money in my a bag, took the keys to my dad’s car and left. I was going to my boyfriend Adam’s house, the only person I loved and trusted. I had done this many times before. My parents never even knew I was gone.

In the morning I went with Adam to the *animal shelter where we worked. I loved it there. This was a place where I could go and feel love, unconditional love and I never wanted to leave. My parents would never let me adopt a dog but I had always wanted one since I was a little kid. I begged and pleaded but my mother refused; she didn’t want a dog to “mess up her carpet.” That pretty much summed up our family.

Adam and I had worked at the shelter for about a year now. We cleaned and held the puppies and fed them, stroked their soft fur, wiped out their smelly cages, fed them and gave them water. Then we walked and cleaned the older dogs, same thing every day but it never got boring. Me and one dog who was about a year old were best friends. I named him Rex and he was special to me. I was going to adopt him that very same day.

I hated my life here and Adam hated his. Adam, Rex, and I were going out on the road.  I would never have to see my parents again and I knew if they looked for me at all, they would stop in a week. I was an embarrassment to them. I didn’t fit in with them but Adam and I fit together. Rex was MY dog, and we knew, when we set out that day, we would never ever, look back.

*Both my dogs are from animal shelters, please save a life if you can.

Haiku Heights – Illusion

Illusions

Illusions (Photo credit: azuk)

I thought I knew her

like the softness of my glove.

This bitter cactus.

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Eighteen pounds just lost

Still image of a fat girl

Bloated, in the glass

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Daughter flies out fast

not looking back,  just forward

She was once my girl.

Grumpy, Sleepy, Droopy, Cranky? Yes, That’s Me

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Image by Jenn and Tony Bot via Flickr

I haven’t had a good night’s sleep for a long time and I want sleep NOW! I need a good night’s sleep because I have Fibromyalgia and an auto-immune disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and a tendency towards anxiety when sleep deprived. Lately I feel I have jet lag every day even though I haven’t gone on an airplane or visited fascinating foreign cities. I feel bad: achy limbs, stiff muscles and joints that roar with pain. My eyeballs ache, the soles of my feet throb, even my finger nails, unpolished and raw, hurt.

We have been living in one hotel room, my husband, my daughter our dog and I for the past six weeks. We’re doing the best we can since our house has been destroyed by rotted wood, termites and carpenter ants. It’s a horrible situation not to mention the emotional and financial stress. We have stress layered on stress.

We get along fine and try to respect each other except for one annoying factor: cell phones. I don’t understand this generation of teenagers that get text messages all hours of the day and night. My daughter’s alarm, also from her phone, shrieks loudly, picture loud buzzing bees meeting chain saws every ten minutes. It’s hard to go back to sleep after that, my husband and I are old now. We can’t just fall back asleep like our children can.

We drink free coffee from the hotel stand in the morning and snack on food we have in the room and then we have one meal, dinner, out. We can’t afford to eat three meals out a day nor do we want to. I dream about being back in our old kitchen planning a simple meal. When you have to eat out all the time, it’s not that much fun.

We have a favorite diner and it has a dozen pages of every single meal you could want and we still go from page to page not wanting a darn thing. We eat out of boredom, planning where we want to go to dinner can take hours. It’s alright, we have nothing else to do. My husband is still on crutches so during the day I drive him places he needs to go. His ruptured Achilles tendon is healing but very slowly. It’s been five weeks for that too. Why do bad things happen around the same time? Or is it just us?

I cannot see my computer keyboard, my eyes are closing, eyelids thick, thoughts are mixed up and frazzled. Our dog who now rests on the bed is snoring softly; even she knows that 5am is way too early to get up and that we still should be sleeping. I try to nap later on, sometimes I dream that we are back in our home but when I wake up I am sad and upset. I have to remind myself, we’re nowhere close. My dog lies next to me, licking my elbow, laying her head on my hand.  Last night she started nibbling on my toes, tickling me enough to get me to laugh. Sometimes, you have to just be grateful for those special moments.

Where The Sun Rises

Galilee

Image by Florian Seiffert (F*) via Flickr

Right now as I am about to go to sleep there are people waking up all over the world starting their day. The earth continues to spin, bringing me soft cotton blankets and images of sleeping baby lambs. On the other side of the world, in Israel, people are waking up with the energy of a newly performed puppet show for grinning children.

There, old women with white hair put red and blue carpets outside their apartment windows and beat the rugs rhythmically with a broom. That same sound would wake me up in the morning when we visited. Plumes of dust would escape the beaten rugs and disappear into the blue sky like magic.  Once awake, I would tiptoe to the living room window to see the stray kittens and cats on the ground floor crying out, begging for food. I would slip behind my step-grandmother’s back and throw bits of chicken or bread out the window every day. I knew I wasn’t supposed to do that but that was not going to stop me. I would do the same thing today.

There is a main street in the city, Dizengoff Street, that is filled with shops of all kinds and numerous outdoor café houses all in a row. It was a tradition after an afternoon nap to pick a place and have coffee and cake, or in my case, iced chocolate and cake. There was never a question if we would go, but rather where we should go. The one that had the deep chocolate fudge cake or the one that had lemon meringue tarts? Where could we get orchestra seats, a front row table, to watch other people go by. Everyone knew each other back then and it always felt like we were being welcomed back home. My mother was the star, the queen from America; often, people would recognize my mother and come over to say hello and join us as they smoked cigarettes, one after the other.

I felt safest here, walking alone at night with yellow globes of lit lamps along the street and a steady stream of people cheerfully talking near me. I did not fear missiles or bombs or terrorism. I had little more to do than try to avoid eating some of my step-grandmother’s moldy cheese. She would keep little squares of cheese and cut the mold off and say the rest was fine; she did this with all her food. She would hold on to tiny bits and pieces of food in her refrigerator and never throw them away. I tried to stay away from the her home-made dark tuna salad that reminded me of cat food.

During the early morning we would go to a beautiful pool club that was next to the ocean. The pool water was bright, glimmering blue, sunlight crystals sparkling on top of the water like freshly polished diamonds. People would play beach tennis on the beach; the hot sand only a few seconds away. The tide was strong, pulling, pulling, like repetitive pain. The current could go from challenging to dangerous in a split second. Lifeguards blew their whistles here too.

My mother would hold my hand as a child and take me from store to store to find American Cheese and Nestle’s Quik for my milk, I was always a fussy eater. Once we found corn flakes in a tiny store no bigger than a closet and that was a major triumph. On every street corner there were at least one or two vendors selling freshly squeezed orange juice or grapefruit juice. We always stopped for a glass as we walked on the steaming pavement under the blazing sun. I can almost taste the fresh orange essence dancing on my tongue.

In three days my friend’s son is getting married in a forest in Israel. Two interwoven trees, black and white, were beautifully hand drawn on the invitation. I wish my whole family could have been there but it is a long way from home and very expensive. I imagine the happy couple, friends and family, dancing joyfully. I imagine endless platters of food: vegetarian only: hummus with pita, salad, platters of eggplant drizzled with olive oil, home-baked goods and people cheering and celebrating into the wee hours of the morning. Dogs and children playing on the forest floor making happy sounds, babies gurgling with delight.

I need to go back with my husband for a visit. I would like to return to a place where I have a lot of colorful memories from. I would also like to take my mother back to her home. She wouldn’t need to find me chocolate milk or cheese; it’s my turn, this time I would take care of her.

Congratulations Daniel and Nora!

Dedicated to my Mom.

my day by sherry

Hopscotch

Image via Wikipedia

my dday waas verry diffrent from yesssterdat, funnyhow ur day cann be really bad andd scary and u  want to  just cry an cry. thaats what i felt like   today. mommy and pops were all tryin  to  preetend to b hapy but i culd know thaat its was just becaaause  i was stil their. i felt that in my bakk as i walked out the dorr so i culd catch the lellow school bus. my hair waz in 2 long braidss, my feet werr flyin in my new red lite up ssneakers witch ar so ammasing!!! andd i had a baloni and merican cheese sandwitch in my hello kitty! lunch boxx.i dont know whats goin on really but i know it feels kinda wrong and badand sad. i hav a brover who is just makin me feel jumpy and sad and mad andd that shouldnt happen. isnt family suppo two be nice tto family? no iguess thats not just so for some peepel, everyone is different i know.my teacherr told me that. i was sitting on the playground when  jessie came over to me and u know what, she didn’t do anythin but sit right down next to me and that was relly good. it was plenty, she asked me to play wit her like jump rop or hopsscotch or use   chawk but i didnt want to play or jump rope or hoppscotch.i just wanted someone to know who i wasss and what i was feeling like and jessie was all quiet and she put her arm around my neck and then we both smiled. smiled like we had won the lottery like on tvee or something cuz that is just how it felt. we both felt happy for no reason, well, no special reason at all. after that we held hands an went bakk incide. me and jess, we are best freinds now.

wen i gott home my brooter  said some  baad words and slamme the door an every ones voics were sso loud and screamin. my brother sam, i am, is 14 and hes in some kiind of badd truble, somes ttimes gronups dont listenn enuf but i no something was wronng and when i came baaak from skool, i was not  so hapy anymore andd at leaast i knew tht tmmrrow woud be sccool again  and i woud ssee Jessie aand she wood still be my bestest friendd. so i no thaats  really good an i donnt hav to say a word if i don’nt wan to.

Always Elizabeth

Deer

I associate french fries with Elizabeth. Still, to this day, I can picture her face when the french fries that she DID NOT WANT appeared on her plate. I can’t forget her face. She looked like a deer, with white, almost translucent skin and dark, dark eyebrows and eyes.

When I was in High School, a long, long time ago, in Jamaica, NY, in the early seventies, I was good friends with a girl named Elizabeth W. I don’t want to give her last name since she seemed to disappear and maybe she wanted it that way; I hope that’s the reason.  This was a friend, a dear, enormously talented friend that wrote amazing stories, poetry; I think she was an artist too.

I remember we cut class together and would go to a pond or grassy area right near the school and talk about writing and life and everything esoteric. What sticks in my mind the most is that this was one tragic, sad girl. I cannot call her “young woman” because nothing about her wanted to grow up or change. She was the daughter of one Child Psychiatrist and another Psychiatrist or Psychologist. Elizabeth was one very sick girl. I am not sure if her parents knew how sick she was.

Back then, as my daughter would say, in the land of dinosaurs, no-one knew what Anorexia was but certainly that is what Elizabeth had. I remember vividly going to a restaurant and Elizabeth told the waitress at least twenty times that she did not want french fries with her sandwich. She said it over and over and I also told the waitress to make sure they didn’t bring french fries because I knew how Elizabeth would react, badly, of course. Sure enough, Elizabeth, never Liz or Lizzy or Betsy or Beth freaked out. Deep down in my stomach I sensed that would happen and I swept the offending french fries away and started to try to talk her down. She was inconsolable, she cried and trembled and cursed; we left immediately. I want to say we went to a show or a movie after that but I don’t know what we saw. I think there were kids throwing candy and that upset you, and me, too.  Poor Elizabeth, no one knew much about your illness back then.

I remember your very pale, very skinny body that seemed to shed it’s own skin. The hair on your arms were black or maybe that’s just how I remember them. We took a trip to Philadelphia once, I don’t know why, but we did. We took the train together for a day trip, did we visit a museum? I remember nothing about what we did there or where we went or even why. I had an aunt and uncle that lived there but I am not sure if we saw them. I remember nothing but your face, dear Elizabeth and the photo in our yearbook; etched in my brain.

Rumor had it that you went to a small all-girls college, Smith maybe? I tried to track you down but never found you. I was your friend and then you were gone. Nobody knew anything about you, it’s as if you were a dream of mine, that you existed only in my imagination.

I just wanted you to know, if you are still out there in this enormous world, that someone has not forgotten you, that I remember your big dark eyes, and your wistful little smile, like that of a tiny kitten. I hope you are well, I hope more that you are still alive.

What Was The First Album You Bought? (Plinky Prompt)

  • My First Album
  • “They will take your soul if you let them so don’t you let them….”

     

    Carole King – Tapestry

    The first album I purchased was a record, a 33, not that it would make sense to anyone in any generation other than mine. It was Carole King’s Tapestry and I remember sitting on the hard, steel beige cover of the radiator in my older sister’s room filled with full-fledged teenage angst. I sang along to “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” and “You’ve Got A Friend.”
    I sang the verses of “You’ve Got A Friend” focusing on “people can be so cruel, they hurt you and desert you”….I had a good friend who moved away and she swore to keep in touch with me. It didn’t happen for many, many years and I was hurt. Deeply hurt. I sang that song, over and over again,while I peered out of the dirty window from the sixth floor apartment building to the dark, empty and cold pavement below.

Ordinary Days Are Magical

chocolate covered cherry

Image by circulating via Flickr

I woke up this morning, not to the shrill blaring of my radio alarm clock, or to a shaken shoulder but when my eyes opened and turned to the window.  It’s been a long few days and today I have nothing planned. I did a mental body check of all my ailments: Fibromyalgia aches and pains were present, my right leg still hurt  but was manageable. My knee still throbbed from my recent fall on the icy pavement but my mood was good. I had ten hours of sleep and while the sun was not shining it could have been. There was no snow in the forecast, reason enough to celebrate.

I started driving to the supermarket, because food, comfort and love equals nurturing for me.  I didn’t really need much except an idea of what to cook for tonight’s dinner and a destination. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in the grocery store and new items celebrated my return. Marshmallow yellow chick peeps out the day after Valentine’s Day? Okay. A discounted box of chocolate covered cherries? I love those and I am not proud. Sugar cookies to make for my children and various treats for my dog, Callie’s, upcoming birthday in March. (shh! it’s a surprise party.)

I felt a little guilty because the simple, routine, “mom” things that I was able to do today, I did with less grief. As many of you know, my friend Dawn died on Friday night  and after the wake and the funeral and some time, today I woke up void of a dark, painful shadow. Then I remembered Dawn’s family, her father and mother, her husband, her siblings and her three children not able to escape the haunting grief. I felt guilty for being relieved and it pains me to write this.  I have been in their place before when my father died so I know, I truly KNOW what they are going through and how much it hurts and for how long.  I grieve for my friend, the twinkling green-eyed Dawn, but not the same way her children, her husband and relatives are grieving. Not even close. I feel bad that I have the luxury of distraction.

Strolling through the market I decided what I would be making for dinner, ravioli with a thick marinara sauce that I add a small can of tomato paste to, a store-bought fresh pizza, mozzarella and tomato salad with basil with drizzled olive oil and a multigrain loaf of Italian bread, still warm to the touch from the bakery. It’s rare that my family  eats at the same time these days but I feel happy with them just being home, together for a little while. Next year, with my son in college, it will all be very different.

That is why today, a simple trip to the supermarket and a walk through Target with a Starbucks gift card felt special. I bought a skinny vanilla latte with a shot of espresso to manage my afternoon weariness.  The simple touching of my dog’s fur, and playing with her outside in the snow felt like a gift.  An ordinary day at the supermarket felt, to me, like a five-day vacation to the Bahamas. It’s true that you don’t appreciate normalcy when you have been overwhelmed with an abnormal amount of grief and sorrow or horrible pain from any disease. A simple day that ends with a hot bath, sleepy eyes and a half-smile, is indeed, a miracle.