Friday, December 30, 2011

The Men, Sexual Compatibility, Etc.

Dear Followers of this Blog of Mine,

Would you allow me a moment of your time to rant? Just a moment......Oh? I can?

Awesome.

I have been living in the land of the single peoples for over two years now. And during my tenure in this wilderness of loneliness and despair, I have come across all sort of odd creatures.

Examples include:

The guy who has THE WALL. This Wall Guy seems nice. He engages you. He's charming. And he will listen to every sob story you have to tell, but he will never, ever let you IN. That proverbial wall that he has built up around his heart is stronger than Fort Knox. Day and night he arms this wall with the most terrifying kamikaze pilots that ever lived. He will visit your house. Make you laugh. Eat your cooking. Smile at your children. And then one day......disappear. Forever to remain a mystery like the Lost City of Atlantis. No explanation.

He was a tough one to get past. This man made me analyze every conversation, every chuckle, laugh, sniff, burp, sneeze, kiss, silent head nod that was exchanged between us. Was I too much? Was I not enough? Should I have let him in more? Did he not like my cooking? Was my back rub terrible? Blah. Blah. Blah. Finally, over several glasses of wine and Conway Twitty playing in the background, I decided it wasn't me. It was him. He had issues. Damn him to hell in a purple rain basket.

Next!

Now, in previous blogs, I have often mentioned The Holy Grail. Every single woman will encounter a specimen of this nature. He's the best looking guy you've ever met. His smile disarms nuns, causing loss of underwear everywhere he goes. He has huge eyes that he trains on you. They bore into your soul until your heart, along with your virtue, melt into a puddle at his perfectly sized feet. He engages you. Tells you the most personal of stories. Tears up at the mere mention of that one time long ago when no one understood him. He hugs you tight and inhales your scent. He leaves you breathless. And as you maneuver your way home from your perfect date with the perfect man, you image your life together. The Holy Grail is the one that listens to your stories. He reviews your history with you and makes you feel like you are going to be ok. You fall madly in love with him. He feels connected to you. Only to be told one day that his is....busy. So, you wait. Of course you wait for your perfect man. Your Holy Grail. At first you do it patiently. Because, after all, he is THE ONE. But days turn into weeks and weeks often morph into months. And pretty soon you are waiting anxiously. This all happened to me. This was a rough one. This heart break made me swear off all relationships for good. I would forever take a lover in the night. I swore I would embrace my inner slut and just have at it. Damn him. Damn them all, I yelled over multiple bottles of wine while listening to Al Green sing about being tired of being alone. He's not The Holy Grail. He's the Devil in disguise. A sheep in Armani wolf clothing. I hope he gets constipated and develop hemorrhoids that need surgical removal but his anaesthesia wares off in the middle, so for the rest of his days he will never be able to sit on a chair comfortably again.

Ass.

Then I ran into the guy with the attitude. He's nice to you. Comes over. Makes you laugh. Takes you out. He rocks. Happy with just a hot pocket and a pepsi. Watches movies. Contacts you to see how you are. Then one night he comes to visit. One night he visits when a relative is there. His attitude emerges. He doesn't like to meet people.

Really? In my house? Right.

Next!

Then there's The Friend. He is the sweetest guy known to all. There is not a single person who does not like him. Poems are written about how he's such a good father. A swell guy. He laughs at your jokes. He kisses you passionately. He's there at the exact moment you need him. It looks like things could be working. Things might be building. And then he springs it on you.....on me. There's no spark, he says. Different parts in our lives, he explains.

Nice Guy 1. Ego 0.

So, in my quest for companionship (Because, let's face it, I hate cats. I'll never be able to collect enough to be considered the Crazy Cat Lady) I decided to be more direct. Taking the o'le bull by his sagging balls, so to speak. What are you looking for? I'd ask. Why are you single? They'd shoot back. The guys in my range, the ones looking for some way out of the jungle of single life, all seem to be ok at first. But, normally on the second round of the interview process, it always turns to sex.

What do you like in the bedroom? Is the most common question posed these days. While I am not offended in the least, I would like to point out that at one point in our social lives, it was almost unheard of to be asked that question so soon in a brand new relationship. I know it's an important question. Sexual compatibility can make or break a union at any point. Especially one still in the infant stages. But, there are more important things out there than that. At least to me. I want to know why you weigh every word carefully before you answer my question. Why do you avoid crowds? Are you like me and can't handle the energy of it all? Have you always done the nervous thing with your thumbs? You know, the twirling of them. I want to know these things. I want to know what drew you to me. After I've learned all these things, then we can discuss whether I will dress up as Wonderwoman and call you Mr. Monkey Pants or not.

All I'm saying dear, sweet followers is that navigating the rain forest of single life is treacherous. It's heart breaking, emotionally scarring, drag-your-hands-over-your-eyes-til-the-tears-fall horrible. But, if you find the RIGHT ONE. The one that looks at you and sees you and accepts you and all your quirks, then it's worth it. Traveling through the sea of wrong ones will eventually bring you to the right one. To the one who makes it all complete.

And that's why I keep plugging along.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Boredom

"Did you hear what I said?" He asked her quietly.

And she had heard him. Heard his words, rather. The meaning of his message was lost on her. Her attention was elsewhere, focused on the object he held, steady, in his hand. 

It was a gun. Black. Shiny. The business end stared at her chest, waiting to fire its contents into her heart.

She shook her head and tried to meet his gaze. "I'm sorry. I don't understand any of this."

He chuckled and leaned back in the chair. The gun remained trained on her. "You never listen."

They were sitting in the living room. Husband and wife. She rested in her recliner and him in his. They had settled in, TV dinners laid on the trays beside each, and had turned to the nightly news. After twenty-five years of marriage, they had little to talk about. Their routine consisted of returning home from work, grabbing a frozen dinner, and watching TV til eleven o'clock. They recycled each day. Saturday mornings saw her to the grocery store to retrieve more microwavable dinners while he stayed behind to tinker in the basement. Sunday was church followed by thirty minutes of sex that had became as unremarkable as their everyday lives.

She had entertained the idea of an affair once or twice. The mailman that made the deliveries to the small accounting office, where she worked as a receptionist, had flirted with her from time to time. She'd never taken it further than an occasional smile and giggle. Fear of a broken marriage didn't prevent her from full filling her fantasy. It was more a lack of energy. Energy to shave her legs. To do her hair. Wear makeup. She lacked the energy to put forth an effort at being a woman. So, instead of taking things a step further with the man that seemed to look at her with an interested curiosity, she meandered on home to her husband who barely knew she existed.

A few streets over from where his wife lusted after the man that brought her the mail everyday at work, he would sit at his office and contemplate his existence. He had no clue when his life had taken a dull turn for the worse. Well, not really worse. Life wasn't bad. He made pretty decent money clerking for a judge. Granted, it was a judge that presided over traffic court. Kind of the lowest judge on the judicial totem poll, but the bills got paid and at the end of each month, he could afford to set aside his lousy 10 percent into an IRA. He had enough to tithe each Sunday at church. Every once in awhile, he could even claim to enjoy the boring sex he made to his wife. So, life wasn't really what you would call bad.

But, the life he had. The life both him and his wife had, was not exactly what you would call living either.

So, one day after a tedious day at work, while waiting for his wife to heat up another slimy TV dinner, he began to formulate a plan. A plan that would....could....make his life more interesting and bring the spark back into his marriage.

Unless it got him killed.

The plan was simple. He purchased a .32 caliber pistol. A gun so small, that the only thing it would do was piss someone off and not actually kill them. He purchased the small firearm in a local pawn shop. The guy that had sold it was greasy, but pleasant and had gone out of his way to explain how you would have to shoot someone at point blank range to actually kill them.

Perfect.

So, he waited til the next Monday. Mondays were always tedious. Just like everyday, but more so because it served as a reminder as to what their life had really become. And he had wanted to get Sunday out of the way. At least he could get one last nut in in the off chance that his wife took the gun and killed him. So, he waited for the following Monday, the Monday that always followed the Sunday that was the day designated for sex, that would promise to be more tedious and tiring than any other day.

As she sat down in her chair that was adjacent to his, she didn't even bother with the small talk. She had served him his dinner and the one beer he allowed himself every night. The news was beginning. The program popped on the TV, showing its two co anchors, covered in makeup, looking every bit like mannequins as the statues in department stores. He waited for his wife to take the first few bites of her meal. He listened to her chewing. He watched as her face registered no emotion. Her movements were mechanical. Thoughtless.

Sighing, he pulled out the gun and spoke. "Let's make things interesting."

He watched her stare blankly at the gun. He saw her register what he held in his hand. He took in the sight of her facial expressions changing from placid to recognition to horror. He saw all this and thought how he was actually achieving his goal. Maybe this would work after all.

"Did you hear what I said?" He asked her.

"I'm sorry," she said shaking her head. "I don't understand any of this."

"You never listen." He scolded her. "Even when we were dating, you wouldn't listen to me. I said I wanted to make things interesting."

"By killing me?" She exclaimed.

He thrilled at the emotion in her voice.

"No," he informed her. "I have no intention of killing you. At least I hope that doesn't happen. I just want you....me....us...to feel something. Anything."

"I really don't understand."

"I'm going to shoot you," he told her. "I'm going to shoot you and hand you the gun. Then you will shoot me."

"I don't want to die," she said as tears began to spill.

"Oh! I'm not going to kill you. I told you that. See, my plan is already working. You've only just seen the gun, and already your feeling something. Wait until I shoot you! You will feel so much more."

She began to sob. Loud sobs that rose from her chest cavity. He had not seen her cry since she'd lost the baby fifteen years ago. Fifteen years of silence that had followed. No more children, she had declared. Her heart couldn't stand the pain. So, they had spent the remaining years of their marriage, childless and silent. Living each day. Waiting for night fall. A recycled life that could fit anyone.

He smiled silently to himself as he witnessed her breakdown. The emotions that poured out of her blessed his heart. He knew, with no need for further proof, that he had made the right decision when he purchased his weapon. His plan was moving along better than he had anticipated.

He spoke to her quietly. The love that he'd forgotten he felt for her broke through and carried on his voice to her ear. "I'm not shooting you in the heart or the head. I'm going to shoot you somewhere non-lethal. The pain that you feel will bring on emotions that you haven't felt in years. Then I am going to hand the gun to you, so you can do the same to me. I trust that you will shoot me as I shot you. Together, we will climb out of this hole that we've lived in for over half our marriage."

She thought about running. She feared the man that she had shared a bed with for over half her life. She looked at him and saw the crazy that existed just below the surface. But, what if? What if his crazy plan worked and she was able to jump start her life?

Standing up in the middle of the living room, her girth blocked the TV. "Do what you want to," she solemnly told him.

He eyed her. Standing there in her flannel pajamas that were faded from years of machine wash, he found a new sense of longing for her. I don't need to do this, he thought. I'll just lay the gun down and carry her to the bedroom.

Excitedly, he envisioned sex with his wife. He imagined it to be wet and erotic. Something it had not been in years. But, he also knew, that once Tuesday came, they would return to the same old boring routine. Without the scars, without the pain of their shared injuries, they would have nothing to bind them to one another. No proof to show that their lives had gotten this........mundane.

The first shot was louder than either one of them expected. It rang throughout the house and threatened to bring with it neighbors and anyone else within a mile radius. Once the bullet reached her lower thigh, she immediately doubled over in pain.

The pain was exquisite. She dropped to the floor. The air, once holding all she needed to sustain life, was void of oxygen. There was no sound in her voice. Minutes passed before she sat up and looked at him.

"Give me the gun," she croaked.

Hesitantly, he handed over the weapon. Standing, he prayed that she would do to him as he had done to her.

His knee didn't buckle right away. It, along with with the rest of him, was in shock. It took a full minute before his body realized that the appendage it had relied on for support was no longer there. With the crack of the break, down he went. And just as his wife had experience, the oxygen he trustingly breathed in, retreated to a more safe climate. All that was left in the air that he grasped were particles of nothingness.

Sobbing. Shaking. He lifted his head and eyed her. She had fallen back to the floor after she'd shot him. Blood began to spill out of her open wound.

"My turn," he gasped.

She began her rise to her feet. As she did so, she tossed the gun to him. Trembling from the pain, she tried her best to stand still and take whatever her husband was about to dish out. The absurdity of his suggestion fell way to the first shot that sounded. All that was left was smoke, blood, and passion.

Her ankle cracked. There was no pain as the bullet entered. White noise filled her mind. With her Achilles tendon ruptured, she couldn't move that foot.....that.....anything. She laid still. She counted her breaths waiting for the pain to hit as before.

Physical pain is an extraordinary thing. While it can cripple one man, it can lead another to the heights of ecstasy. And that's where she found herself. Gripped in the throws of something she had never experienced before. Hungrily, she reached for the gun. Before he had a chance to move, she shot him in the shoulder.

"Now," she whispered. "Again," she begged. "Shoot me. Again. Now. Do it." She demanded.

With his one good arm, he took the gun that she handed him. He saw the spark that had ignited. He saw her, for the first time in so many years, for what she was. The love of his life. The woman that should have bored his children. The woman who he should have made passionate love to; instead of the tedious acts he committed to once a week. He saw her as beautiful. As a being that his heart kept time with.

She handed him the gun. The gun, once cold and foreign, was now hot and animalistic. She anticipated his move as he sat up. She longed to reach for him....to kiss him....to touch him in the places that she had neglected for years. Pain circulated her body. Heat radiated down her legs, throbbing throughout her core. Her face, red from the fire of the gun shots, fixated on her husband. The more she anticipated where he would shoot her next, the more she became excited. She would not stop herself. She could not stop herself.

The final shot was aimed for her left shoulder. And, as the police surmised later, it would have landed on just that spot had his wife not decided to lean in for a passionate kiss right at the moment he pulled the trigger. And, as the police would also gather from the evidence they discovered, her husband would not have been so overcome with grief had he not begun the deadly game to begin with. But, once the shots rang out, and once they began to feel the pain, emotions ignited and burned throughout both of them.

So, as he held his once stoic wife in his arms, the emotional swing that he so desperately wanted to feel began. He felt her gasp the tiniest breaths she could....her last breaths. And when the heat from her slumped body gave way to to the stale coldness of a corpse, he did what any loving husband would do in that situation.

He turned the gun on himself.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Heartbreak

The burst did not come without fireworks or fanfare. The break was not a gradual occurance. The sudden shatter, the thud at which her heart stopped beating was a jolt. A lightening strike that took her breath away. She stood quietly for a second. Aware that her body was reacting to the departure of him, she counted her pulse. The rapid beats told her she still lived. Her breathing, fast and rhythmic, was proof that she had only died a metaphoric death.  After his shadow had long disappeared, after his footsteps' last echo sounded, and her memory fought frantically to hold onto the smell of his cologne, the edge in his voice, the hatred in his eyes, she fell to the floor. The strength that held her together while he accused her of doing what she should never have done left her. She was alone. Her heart broken; but no tears fell. She had no physical proof of the pain she felt.

He had asked no questions. There was no long monologue spoken of how her infidelity had destroyed what was special between them. He'd simply stated that he knew and then waited. Watied for the denial that played softly on her lips. Waited for the tearful apology and the broken down begging of mercy and forgiviness that never came. He stood in front of her. A statue of what used to be. A monument erected to honor the man that only hours earlier thought the world of her and now looked at her with the same distaste one would view a roach that crawled into a cup of morning coffee.

The silence between them stretched for an unknown time. She offered no defense for her actions. There was no rebuttal to his statement. Her only action was inaction. To patiently wait til he walked away. And once his shadow was gone and she had slid to the floor, she waited for her life to not just metaphorically end, but to literally end as well.

After all, she surmised, no one can survive this kind of pain.

Yet, instead of death, the rain came. Like the sudden break of her heart, the rain tore out of the sky with a violent need. It beat the outside pavement with heavy drops that suggested even the clouds felt her pain. Behind the blanket of drops, the dam that held back her emotions broke and with it came the torrent of tears. She screamed out her apology. She vomited her pain until the confines of her stomach laid all around her. She crawled from her corner, and in her tear stained agony, knew there was only one way she could show him exactly how sorry she truely was.

Across town, as she was filling the bathrub with luke warm water, he walked briskly in the pouring rain. Each cold drop that fell down his collar made him curse her name. He felt none of the heartbreak that had brought her to her knees. He knew nothing about the violent grief that shook her body. He was only aware of his own anger. Of his own torment that caused him to view his surroundings through a reddish haze. So, while her trembling hands were reaching for the razor blade, he blindly walked off a curb. And as she was painstakingly slicing the thin flesh that protected her bluish viens, he was stepping in front of the bus that his hatred was preventing him from seeing.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

That Moment

It's those moments, those little moments, that connect us all. The ones, that when mentioned, causes everyone to nod their head in sympathetic agreement. And I'm not referring to the great defining moments of life. It's not the baby-being-born-that-made-you-decide-to-love-only-one-person-moment. Or that instant-you-decided-to-stop-drinking-and-give-yourself-to-God-and-change-your-life-forever.

No, not those moments.  But, the little ones that we barely discuss except while in the presence of our closest friends. These are THOSE moments.

You know......

The moment you're sitting in your car and you're attacked by a fly; but no one sees the brutal insect, so to the outside world you appear to be having a seizure.

That moment......

Or the moment you're already running late for work and you've discovered you're completely out of deodorant. So, you rub the crumbs under your arms and decide to keep your hands by your side all day.

Don't play. You know it's happened.

It's these little moments that shape our character.  It's the embarrassing yes-I-know-I-just-shot-food-out-of-my-mouth-across-the-table-at-you-but-let's-pretend-it-never-happened-because-I-really-think-you're-hot moment that shows us, and others, what we're made of.

Some people choose to pretend like these distressing moments never occur to them. When asked, these people....the ones that deny that anything that would cause their cheeks to darken into a burgundy and make them turn their heads......vehemently deny any moment like these exist.

Really? Seriously?

You've never sat down to pee and discovered in mid-stream that you were out of toilet paper? What did you NOT do in the moment that DIDN'T happen to you? You mean to tell me you didn't get up, pants around your ankles, and waddle over to get more t.p. only to be discovered by your kids/girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse/roommate/aunt/uncle/second cousin on your mom's side/neighbor visiting to borrow some milk?

Really? It must be nice to have an endless supply of toilet paper on the roll.

Some people even go as far as cringe at these type of moments. But, I embrace them. I live for them. These are the times that prove to me that God has a sense of humor. Otherwise, how else can you explain the moment you realize you're unable to open the child proof cap on the medicine bottle, but your kid can?

Those are the times you just gotta throw your head back and laugh. I have alot of these moments. Some seem to only happen to me; but when I share them, others laugh and that just warms my heart.

Like, for instance, the moment I'm standing in line to get food and a nice man calls me beautiful.....only for me to sneeze on him. I politely wipe the mucus off his shirt and walk away.

Or that moment I got excited knowing I just got paid only to discover the bill collectors are faster than I am.

Or that wonderful moment on a Friday morning. You know that moment....we've all had them. It's been a long week. The alarm clock has already sounded. It's 6:30 am. The kids are arguing in the other room instead of putting on their school clothes like you've instructed them to. You finish getting dressed and sit on the edge of your bed. You realize, at that moment, this is about as productive as your going to be all day.

It's those moments. Those little moments.

How about the moment when you are walking in the parking lot and head straight into a parked car that you swore was not there a second ago?

And, then there's always my favorite, the moment I decided to smile flirtatiously at the guy standing in the self help section of the bookstore only to trip over my own feet and fall face first on the ground.

Sometimes I think: "Only me." Then I wonder, are there others? Are there others out there that are familiar with that frustrating moment of hearing your kid ask a thousand "why" questions from the backseat of the car? How many of us, for a brief second, envisioned ourselves driving into a tree, and turning around to scream: "Because Eve ate the friggin apple! If she hadn't, you would know why and wouldn't have to ask ME a thousand flippin times!!!!"

It's that moment that you bend over to tie your shoe only to accidentally let one rip in front of a group of strangers that ties us to the person standing in line in front of us at the grocery store. I promise you, it's happened to them too.

Or the moment you have your hands full, ready to head out the house, everyone is in their coats and gloves, only to be told by the youngest child that they have to potty. You lovingly take them to the bathroom, but in reality, you really wanna make them hold it until their tiny bladders burst.

It happened. You thought it. Don't judge me.

These are the moments of life. These moments ARE life. And in these moments, we need to find the laughter. If we don't, if instead we get upset and say really bad cuss words that would shame our fathers, then when life hands us the big ones....the big moments that tests our strength and resolve, those moments will break us.

And I refuse to break.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Conversations with The Read Head 7.2

When I arrived home from work today, I could tell something was on The Red Head's mind. She has a way of letting me know she needs me, but holding back until she feels the time is right. I try to give her her space whenever she desires it. I understand that she processes things. She's like me. When something is truly troubling her, she has to sort it out before she presents it for further examination. I get that.

I get her.

This evening, while the 4 yr old was gleefully playing in his bubble bath, The Red Head and I sat at the dinner table. She picked over her dinner and drank some milk. I was eager to get to the bottom of what was troubling my beautiful 7 yr old.

"Momma," she began. "Did you know a girl got shot yesterday?"

She's referring to a 15 yr old student that was shot at the local high school. My alma mater in fact. We live out in the country, and so far we have been pretty lucky in that most of the troubles that plague the city schools have not touched us. But, the 21st century and all its new found concerns finally caught up to us. They came and kicked down the protective wall that we had built so long ago.

"Yes, baby. I heard about that. Is that what's bothering you?"

"Kind of." She wouldn't look at me. Keeping her eyes on her plate, she took a deep breath. "Is she going to die?"

"I don't know. Nobody knows. All we can do is pray."

"Is that why you tell me not talk to strangers? Is that why I can't leave the front yard? Because there are mean people who will shoot me?"

"There are mean people everywhere," I told her. Brushing the hair out of her eyes, I was able to get a quick glance from her before she put her attention back on the untouched food.  "My goal is keep you safe."

"But, she was at school. Why wasn't she safe there?"

And I have no answers for that. It's a question that every parent faces: How do you keep your children safe when even our schools are no longer safe places for them?

Better yet, how do I explain this to my 7 yr old?

"Do you think that girl had nightmares, Momma?" She looked at me with deep brown eyes. I could see the worry settling in. I hate to admit it, but she is a worrier.

"What do you mean? Do you think she dreamt she was gonna die?"

Frustrated, The Red Head shook her head. "No, I mean, do you think she ever had bad dreams? I have bad dreams a lot. My dream catcher isn't catching them.  I don't think it's big enough."

"Everyone has bad dreams. The girl that got shot had them. I have them. And you will have them from time to time. Do you know what faith is?"

She nodded.

"Don't put your faith in a dream catcher. Put your faith in God. Say a prayer whenever you have a bad dream. The Lord will pull you back into sleep and it will be a peaceful one."

"How do you know?" She asked me.

"Because He does it for me all the time," I answered.

"Momma, that girl that was shot....... Do you think she's having bad dreams right now?"

"No, sweetie. God has His hand on her. And no matter what happens, there are so many people praying for her, He will take care of her the way He sees fit."

I could see a puzzled look cross her face. Sometimes I get caught up in trying to explain God, that I forget to use the simplest terms possible. But, I don't know of any simple way to explain a being as awesome as He is.

"Just realize that God is going to take care of her. Even if it's not the way we want. He knows what's best. Do you understand?"

She nodded and hugged my neck. Later on, as we were saying our prayers, we threw in an extra one for the young girl whose life took a tragic turn.

And then we said another prayer against any bad dreams.

Conversations with the 4 yr old: Apraxia Style

Apraxia of Speech: A severe speech disorder characterized by inability to speak, or a severe struggle to speak clearly. Apraxia of speech occurs when the oral- motor muscles do not or cannot obey commands from the brain, or when the brain cannot reliably send those commands. Children with apraxia can be helped significantly with intensive speech therapy.

So, now that you have the definition of Apraxia, let's look at a typical conversation with my 4 yr old who has the disorder.

We are driving home from the park this afternoon. Both children are equally pumped up. High on adrenaline, they are talking and laughing back and forth. Me, well I'm exhausted from working, mothering, and basically being me. But, that's a blog for another time.

The 4 yr old decides he needs a question answered.

Mommma......Momma.....

Yes papa?

Momma.....

Hmmmmmm?

Is.....am.....well.....um.....going to be a bus ridah or.......ride a car?

Tomorrow your grandmother will pick you and your sister up from school.

I mean, not dis monin, but de uder mornin dat comes aber dis mornin when we have to......

Hmmmmmm?

Not dis mornin dats already passed. But da next dis mornin. When we go to skool. And we have wunch. Aber dat. Whut will happen?

You will be a car rider. Your grandmother will pick you up. Do you understand?

..........silence........

You mean aber dis mornin dat is aber dis mornin when dat passes she will pick us up?

Yes. Do you understand?

.........more silence.......

Papa? Did you hear me?

Yes ma'm.

Do you understand?

...........and some more silence.......

Papa?

Hmmmmm?

Do you understand your grandmother will pick you up tomorrow?

You mean not dis mornin but da mornin aber dis mornin? Dat mornin?

When you get out of school, she will pick you up.

You mean aber I eat wunch? When da dis mornin comes aber dis mornin? When dat happens? Grandma will pick me and sistah up from skool?

Yes, baby. That's what I mean.

Ohhhhh. I hope she brings juice.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Teddy Bear

My dad brought the stuffed animal to me on my third day in the hospital. My dad is like that. He knows what will comfort you even when it seem like nothing will. He approaches in a thoughtful manner. Careful to gauge your demeanor before he asks any questions. At that particular moment, I was laying in a hospital bed with IV's hooked up to me. Wires were leading to my chest that told the heart monitor what my heart rate was. The covers laid over my midsection, which was beginning to reveal my six month pregnant belly. My eyes were red and puffy from all the crying that I had been doing. Daddy didn't say a whole lot. He just handed me the teddy bear then took the chair next to the bed.

"Any news today?" he asked me. 

I shook my head no. Fearful of more tears flowing, I kept my eyes on the TV as I continued to flip channels. Recognizing my need to stay quiet, my dad flipped open the newspaper and began to read. We stayed that way, him studying the paper and me focusing intently on the screen, until more people arrived to ask the same questions that I didn't have any answers to.

Three days prior, I was at work. Sitting at my desk, I always kept one hand on my belly and the other on my keyboard. I was diligent in doing my "kick counts". These were little movements the baby made as it twisted and turned inside me. The doctor told me to keep a log of how many kicks per hour I felt. Every flutter, punch, kick, and somersault my child did, I recorded it in a notebook. Hoever, that day at work I had nothing to record. Nothing was going on inside my still small belly.

My baby wasn't moving.

A visit to the hospital confirmed what I already knew. Something was wrong. My little baby's heart rate was so fast, that the machine could not keep time with her. Unable to count the beats, the numbers on the machine flashed before my eyes. I was admitted. More tests were done. And it was finally determined that the baby's heart beat was so fast that it was unable to pump blood properly. Fluid was backing up into her stomach, around her heart, and in her brain.

"Your baby is going into heart failure," the doctor informed me. He spoke softly as I tried to fight back the tears that were spilling out. "If we don't move quickly, we will have to deliver. It's way too early."

I agreed with their course of treatment. Heart medication was given to me to slow her heart rhythm. But, it also affected mine. The second day of the hospital stay doctors were called to my room. My chest hurt. It was beating at such irregular intervals that I began to panic. I was moved to the ICU and stayed there for four more days.

The day my dad brought me the teddy bear, I had prayed harder than I'd ever prayed before. People from the lab entered my room at around 4 that morning. They were greeted with a tearfully praying woman. Not knowing what to say, they quietly took the vials of blood that were needed, and exited out of the room quickly.

I tried to shed my tears in the morning, before anyone came to visit. I had to be strong for my boyfriend, who was beside himself with worry. My mom would call and cry as she asked if I was going to lose the baby that people never thought I would ever have.  Day in and day out, the doctors would come and tell me what the heart monitor already showed me. The heart was still beating too rapidly to be effective. Time was running out. More medications were given. More prayers were said.

And through out it all, I clutched my teddy bear and hoped that I would be able to hold on to my precious baby until it was time for a safe delivery.

It took eight days for the medication to finally work. On the ninth day, I was released. Armed with enough prescriptions to rival any old person, I went home to pray away any panic I was feeling. The second trimester gave way to the third. I was finally able to breathe a sigh of relief when I saw that my duet date was fast approaching.....

........and leaving......

At 41 weeks, my doctor decided to induce. Carrying the overnight bag that I had packed way back before my first stint in the hospital and my trusted teddy bear, I gleefully checked in. Twenty-three hours later, my induction turned into an emergency c-section.

I won't go into details about that. But, let me just say, a c-section minus anaesthesia is not something I would recommend.

My beautiful Red Head was born on July 3. She weighed in at 9 lbs 10 oz. She was 23 inches long. A cardiologist from Chapel Hill was on hand for her delivery. But, he was never needed. There was nothing wrong with my precious baby.

God answered my prayers.

Now, seven years later, I sleep with the teddy bear that my dad brought me that day. I hold on to it every night. It still lends comfort when needed. Sporadically, my youngest will sneak into my room to steal it out from beneath my resting arms. He knows the power it holds.

Every so often, Shelby will ask me why at my age I sleep with a stuffed animal. I am always happy to tell her the story. I use it as an example of God's power within us. Of how, through prayer and faith, we can make it even when the doctors tell us we may not.

I love my teddy bear. It is, by far, the most precious gift ever handed to me. I just wish my son would keep his paws off of it.

Monday, October 10, 2011

My Pow Wow

 I was not meant to worship God sitting behind a pew, listening to a man dressed in a robe, reading from a book. That building, with its mortar and brick, is not my church. It is not my place of solitude. It is not where I was built to go and give thanks and honor.

The drums are my home. The beats signal to me when to start my worship. They call to me and bring me to my feet. They lift my spirits and carry my soul out towards the heavens.

It is the singers that I hear. Their words preach to me the true gospel as the Great Spirit so intended it. Their melodies echo a time, long ago, that my soul still longs for.

I see the dancers, dressed in their regailia, dancing to a beat that keeps time with my heart. I feel pride, as I know they do, for our culture. Our birth rite. Pride and honor as we look at one another, knowing that the blood that runs through each of our veins is the same.

The spectators are the congregation. They sit on the bleachers, in chairs, or stand on the outside of the circle. They watch the movement. They hear the sounds. They know, as I do, that this is a sacred place.



This is my place of worship. My place of honor. My church. My Pow Wow.



Copyrite Wes Chavis 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Lifestyles of the Broke and Jobless

I went to check my bank account yesterday. I hesitated as I punched in the numbers that would bring my balance to the screen. With one hand slightly covering my eyes, and the other hovering near the 'cancel' button, I fearfully looked at the screen. 

I hate it when my bank account screams in agony like that.

Sighing, I got back into my car and casually laid my head on the steering wheel.

"Momma," my 4 year old called from the backseat, "why you laying your head down? Is you tired?"

"Yes, baby." I replied without picking up my head. "I'm very tired."

"What are you tired from?" My Red Head asked from behind me in the her booster seat.k And just in case I didn't hear her the first time, she repeated herself.

"I'm tired of being broke," I informed her. "I'm not sure how I'm going to navigate life without a job."

"Navigate," she said. "Are you going somewhere?"

Sighing, I said never mind. I put the car into drive and headed home.

Visions of my negative balance danced in my head as I manuevered the car into my neighborhood. As the kids giggled back and forth, I tallied up the monthly bills.

I'm good. But, even I can't make a negative balance pay the bills each month.

See, I got fired almost two weeks ago. After a year of employment, the powers-that-be decided I was no longer a good "fit". I know (and so do they) the real reason I got let go. There's really no reason to recount them here. What's done is done. I have more important things to worry about at the moment. Like how to pay my house payment. Or how to keep the lights one.

Or, most importantly, how to keep my cable on....at least during football season.

So, today I went to the Department of Social Services. I sat at the desk of my caseworker as she looked over my paperwork and quietly judged me. I leaned forward to see what she was typing into that desktop computer of her's. I answered "yes ma'm" and "no ma'm" to her repetitive questions.

No, I do not get help from family, friends, outside agencies, federal government, aliens, the old lady down the street, my crush from years ago, my crush from weeks ago, my neighbor, or anyone else. Yes, I have two kids. Are they illegal? Why? Will that help me get assistance? Because if so, then, why yes...they are illegal. I bought them off the black market yesterday.

She didn't think that was funny.

Yes, english is my primary language. But, if it helps me get emergency foodstamps, then we primarily speak Swahelii. No? It won't? Oh, well, just put us down for bad english then.

No, we are not of hispanic origin. No, we are not hispanic period. We are Native American. Lumbee to be precise.

What? What do you mean you can't help me keep my lights on? What does me being Indian have anything to do with South River receiving their money in time and; thus, allowing me to keep my tv tuned into football on Sundays and Mondays?

You are restricted from helping Natives? Are you serious? I thought all that ended when we intergrated into the school system. It's the 21st century, for-crying-out-loud. I thought we had put aside this petty business of racisim and banded together to hate the angry muslims.

Still no smile from the caseworker. This broad is a hard nut to crack.

She directed me to my tribe for "Emergency Energy Assistance". "They can help you." She informed me.

Um, ok.

So, I called the tribe and explained my situation. I gave my best heart-felt plea. I made my situation as dour as I possibly could. Yes, I lost my job. I was not merely fired, but I was escorted out by a group of neo-nazis wearing camoflouge and carrying high powered rifles. My kids are starving, I told them. The 4 year old hasn't ate in days. My Red Head is so emanciated, that her beautiful hair is falling out. Flys are buzzing around the kids.

No lie.

"I'm sorry," the lady on the phone said. "We can't help you."

"Why?"

"We don't have any funds right now. We are supposed to get them in sometime in October. But, I am not sure."

"So, you mean to tell me you can't help me? At all? No other agency will touch me because I belong to you, and you can't help me? Really? Seriously?"

I lost my temper. I'm not proud.

After repeated apologies from the lady on the other end, I hung up the phone. Disgrunted, dejected, disheartened, and pissed off, I made my way back home.

I might as well enjoy the lights and air conditioning while I still have it.

As I sit and marinate on my predicament, I know I am not the first single mother in the history of America to be out of work and struggling. Hell, these days, millions of people are bypassing the mailbox because they just can't bare to look at another past due bill. Thousands of people, here in this very city, line up at the unemployment office everyday hoping against hope for something. Anything. Used to be if you lost one job, another one was literally right around the corner. These days McDonald's isn't even hiring.

And don't get me started on unemployment. It is a mere fraction of what a worker was actually getting paid. Personally, it is going to take three weeks of checks to equal what I owe in a house payment. Whatever is left will have to be given to the utility people.

It all sucks monkey butt.

All of this makes me want to hop into my car and pay a visit to my congressman. Imagine the scene, if you will:

Knock. Knock. Knock.

"Hello, Congressman...... My name is Wes. I know you don't give a rat's ass about me, but I care greatly about you. See, I have recently fell on hard times, and being you-technically-work for me, I want to know what you are going to do about it.

I have paid into the North Carolina tax base for several years. Now, that I need a little help, I am being told I can't get any. Why? Where are my taxes going to? I know it's not the roads. Have you driven down my neck of the woods lately? No? Well, I promise once you are do, you will need a new front end allignment. I'm aware that very little money is going into the school system. Ya'll seem to want to always cut that first before anything else. Trust me, I have experienced this first hand. My kid, special needs mind you, didn't get into pre-k because of budgetary cuts. But, thanks to my trusty softball bat, a little kid couldn't make it and he was granted a spot.

What? Don't judge me.

So, where's the money going? It's not healthcare. I was informed today that on unemployment, I make too much for medicaid. Really? Your people are telling me that as an unemployed worker, I don't get any medical benefits at all. Why? Can you tell me that?

And I know it's not going to retirement for the state employees. Ya'll seem to want to rob them blind left and right. Trust me, I know that too. Plus, their health insurance sucks as well.

So, Mr. Big-Ole-Congressman, where is my money going? Where are all the taxes that I have paid gone to? Wait.....is that your Rolls? Dang, that's a nice ride."

Questions answered.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Old Man and the Soldier

"You've got a lot to learn," the old man told me as he kicked off his muddy boots. We were sitting on the front porch of my momma's house. Me, a disgusted twenty year old boy with a newly issued army haircut. And, him, an eighty year old man, bald, sporting a gray beard that fell mid chest. I had arrived yesterday, fresh from the desert, to attend my momma's funeral. He had stopped by afterwards to pay his respects. I had known the old man all my life. He lived a short piece down the road.

"Yep," he continuing on. Stuffing tobacco in the left pocket of his mouth, he chuckled at a thought that occurred to him. "When I was your age, I was in the tobacco fields. You wanna talk about hard work....now that right there will make or break a man."

"I'm doing hard work," I informed him defensively. "I'm out there defending my country. Your country."

"Yep. Yep. You are. I didn't mean to imply you weren't"

We sat in silence for a bit. Each man held captive by his own thoughts. Inside, I could hear the quiet chatter of the friends and family that had come to mourn with my dad and me. I'm an only child. When I decided to enter the military, straight out of high school, my dad had supported me whole heartily. Momma, not so much. The papers and news shows were filled nightly with the names of the dead soldiers coming home to be buried. Her biggest fear was to outlive me. To see my name in print. She told me she couldn't bare it. Little did we both know, that I would be the one saying goodbye to her in a brown casket.

"You're momma loved you, boy." The old man said. I nodded. I knew that. I always knew that. "She bragged about you from the moment you signed them papers. She was so proud of you for joining the fight. For getting out of this town and trying to live. She was scared for you. But, she was proud of you."

"I know that. Momma told me."

"Why you so angry then?" He asked me.

I didn't answer. Four days ago, my momma had gone grocery shopping. A routine she carried out weekly. Like any day, she made my dad breakfast. Saw him off to work. She made a grocery list, and as she did every week before this one, she double checked to make sure she had included daddy's favorite snacks. He loved ice cream. Did she include his vanilla wafers also? Of course she did. After 30 years of marriage, shopping for your spouse is like shopping for yourself.

The ride to the store was uneventful. Like every grocery day, she slowed down in front of Mrs. Cleary's house to honk and wave as the grandmother of four watered her azalea bushes. She paused at the corner of Elm to make sure no kids would run out in front of her. A ball always got loose from the playground there. A driver had to be careful of excited little ones running into the street to retrieve it.

She chatted up our neighbors at the Piggly Wiggly. She inquired as to the health of the unborn baby of the cashier. Missy is due to pop any day. She's hoping to work up until the day she goes into labor. We're all waiting to see when that will be.

So, momma completed her grocery shopping. Heading home, I am sure she was already planning on what to make daddy for dinner.

It was on the corner of Breaker St and Walnut Ave that her day turned tragic. Wyatt Renert is my age. We graduated school together. Unlike me, but like most of my other classmates, Wyatt wasn't sure what he wanted to do after school. He opted out of the military and college. Instead, he busied himself down at the garage. On the weekends he hung out with friends at the local bar. Not a bad fellow really. Never got into too much trouble. An occasional fight in high school landed him in the principle's office. But, other than that, he was an ok guy.

Until he killed my mother.

Momma was going the speed limit. Wyatt was not. It was a four way stop. The sheriff says momma came to a complete stop before continuing on her way. There were no skid marks from Wyatt's tires. He t-boned her car on the driver's side.  Snapping her neck and killing her instantly.

Wyatt walked away unharmed. 

No one knows why he was speeding. He can't even tell you for sure. But, Wyatt will never be the same. The town talks about how is he a crushed man. Broken over killing a woman that he's known all his life, Wyatt doesn't care if he ends up in jail for forever. He just wants to take back that horrible moment. 

But, I care. I see red when I walk down the road. My forehead pulsates with anger. Rage has replaced the blood in my veins. I want more than justice for my momma. I want revenge. I want Wyatt's head under my boot. 

And the old man asks me why I'm so angry.

"You know," the old man says as he spits out a wade of tobacco, "they killed his son."

"What are you talking about?"

"They killed his son. Jesus was hung up on a cross."

"Sir," I say calmly, "I don't mean any disrespect, but I don't need to hear any religion right now. That's not gonna help me. Don't sit there and tell me everything happens for a reason. That makes no sense."

"What's on your mind, boy?"

I sighed. The breeze had picked up and the day was a beautiful one. The birds chirped noisely in the background. Occasionally, you could see a kid run in the front yard as they made their way to the back. It was the kind of day my momma lived for. Family and friends gathered around. The smell of food in the air. Laughter carried on the wind, drifting down to those that were silent, causing a smile to play on their lips as well. But, momma wasn't here to enjoy all this. Momma was six feet under. Momma died without knowing what it was like to kiss the top of her grand baby's head. She would never see me say "I do". I'd never have the opportunity to introduce her to the love of my life simply because I had not met her yet. Mamma's life taken by a kid my age. A decent kid who was just nothing more than careless at the wrong time. On the wrong day.

"I didn't just go into the service because I didn't know what else to do." I told the attentive old man. "I went in because it was something I had to do. Momma always told me to follow that little voice that spoke to me in my heart. So, I did. And, up to this point, I was glad I did. We'll always need people to defend our country. People who can set aside politics. Who can look past protesters and see the bigger picture."

"What's the bigger picture?"

"That, no matter what people think, our country is not invincible. Even in the 21st century, we can be invaded and destroyed. That's why I joined. Because I don't want the people that I love, the ones that I grew up with, to go to work one day and have someone nose dive a plan into their building. I don't want my future wife to board a plane, only to have some extremist hijack it and send it to hell. I want to do everything in my power to prevent that from happening again."

"That's noble idea, son."

"What I am having a hard time with, is putting my life on the line for all the others. For the Wyatts out there who decide to pay no heed to the safety of others. Why am I putting myself in danger for the druggies and the murderers? They don't deserve my sacrifice. Wyatt doesn't deserve my sacrifice. If he had just looked where he was going. If he had obeyed the speed limit, even a little bit, momma would still be here today. I would be overseas, defending my country, and being honored to do it. But, no. It didn't work out that way. Wyatt killed momma. And for the first time since I enlisted two years ago, I am questioning why I did it. That's what's going through my mind."

The tears finally fell. I was able to hold them back at the service. When my commander came and said "Son, there's been an accident", I didn't cry. I was focused on getting home. Now I was on my porch. My momma's porch, in her chair, thinking about her. Tears, hot with anger and sorrow, fell down my cheeks. I let them fall.

"Jesus knew He was going to die. God sent Him here knowing that. We didn't deserve it. But, it was Jesus's duty. It was God's plan for Him. Just like it's God's plan for you to serve a country. Yeah, you got your bad ones out there. You got the ones strung out on drugs. Hell, that Eli has been on crack for the better part of ten years now. Marcy robbed the liquor store for her boyfriend and ended up doing 10 to 20 for shooting the cashier. And then you have Wyatt. That poor boy decided to speed home one day. No thought to it. Nothing behind it. He's not mean. He just made a terrible choice. But, God called you to fight and defend him; along with the preacher of the baptist church. God spoke to you and said to lay your life on the line for the lady about to give birth and is working two jobs to support her husband as he finishes school. Son, she's no different than the Wyatts and the Marcys of this country. Just like my sin of chewing tobacco is no different than the sin of adultery. We are all the same in God's eyes. Jesus died for you, a good boy, just like He died for the man on death row. No sin is greater than the other. No countryman is less than any other."

I looked at this old man, with his weathered face, and his tobacco stained overalls. I looked at his hands. Hands that were dried and cracked from years on the farm. I looked at him and saw him first the time. I saw what he really was. And I thanked God for him.

A week later I packed my bags and headed back to the desert.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Kiss: A Dismemberment Story

Simply put it was the kiss that did it for me. He leaned in just slightly. Enough to make it clear his intention; but not too much to overstep any boundaries. He kissed me gently at first. Almost hesitantly. It was nice. At first.

But, the hesitation gave way to an urgency that I didn't expect. As his lips pressed harder against mine, I fought against his strong embrace. His arms had gathered me up when I wasn't paying attention. While I was focused on his breath, hot against my mouth, he had placed his hands around my waist and held tightly onto me. A little too tight.

I tried to shove him away. I tried to move my head. Shaking it back and forth as if to say, "No. No I don't like this. Your breath is too hot. Your taste is stale."  But, he continued to hold on. Unrelenting in his kiss.

His hands never explored any other part of my body. They seemed content on staying put around my waist. He never let up. His hunger lacked passion. His grasp more an exercise in control than in intimacy.

I began to panic. Then the panic gave way to anger. The anger fueled my attempts to break free. I reached for anything I could get a hold of. It was easy to find a weapon. After all, we were standing in a tool shed.

My dad's tool shed.

I grabbed hold of a hammer. Without giving much thought to the the consequences of my actions, I hit him in the back of the neck as hard as I could. Once. He let go. Twice. He stood erect, dazed. He looked at me, questioning my actions, with glassy eyes. He stumbled. Fell. On his way down to the dusty cement floor, he hit his head on the steel work bench that sat behind us.

The neck makes an ugly sound as it cracks.

I didn't drop the hammer at first. I just stood over his body, contemplating my next move. I knew he was dead. A person's neck is not meant to turn in that direction. I crouched low enough to the ground to get a good look at him. His eyes were open, forever caught in the endless question of why. I laid the hammer, my murder weapon, down beside him.

"Now, what do I do with you," I asked him. His corpse lacked a reply.
Slowly, I grabbed him by the arms and began the arduous task of dragging him out of the shed. I knew, without much thought or plan, where I was taking him.

The lake was no more than a hundred paces from the tool shed. In the summer time, it was home to a host of snakes, snapping turtles, and other assortment of carnivorous creatures. As children, we were not allowed anywhere near its banks. Fishing was not permitted. Swimming was out of the question. The lake was simply a mirage. An illusion of tranquility and summer enjoyment. My dad liked to tell me there were at least a thousand different ways to die in there.

It was the perfect spot to dispose of the body.

I was only able to drag him a quarter of the way before I had to sit and rest. The sun was beginning to say goodbye on this eventful day, when I sensed the first rumblings of an animal off in the distance. I didn't want to be discovered by any of the animals that lived out that way after sunset. Managing his heavy body was proving to be more difficult than I had anticipated. Killing had been easy. But, with his dead weight, I was not making much headway. Reluctantly, I decided on an ulterior, yet messier, method of concealing my crime. I went back into the tool shed and fetched the axe that my dad used to chop wood with in the winter time. My plan was to cut off the limbs and throw them in the lake. With the extra weight taken off, I reasoned I should be able to maneuver his torso with better ease.

At least that was the plan.

Our bodies are made to stay intact; to carry us through life with the protection that we need to sustain it. After we die, our bodies refuse to give up the fight. Our hearts, even though they cease to pump, still receive electrical impulses from the brain signalling some form of movement. Our bones, once given the duty to hold us upright and to protect our more fragile organs, refuse to break even after we have exhaled our last breath. These are the moments, that as living creatures, we don't realize. The corpse, however, looking at me with his neck twisted at that unnatural angle, was all too aware.

I approached him stealthily with the axe in my hand. I held it over my head, ready to swing at the slightest movement. I knew he was dead. Yet, something in me didn't trust death to keep him down. I circled his carcass a few times, nudging him with the axe handle here and there, half way expecting a reaction. When none was displayed, I prepared myself for the dismemberment.

I had originally drug him to the spot on his belly. His head laid at such an angle, that if he were on his back, his face would be in the dirt. So, I kept him on his stomach and spread his arms and legs out. He resembled a twisted angel. He looked halfway up at the sky, still kept one eye on me; while the other watched the ground.

I decided to start with his arms, rather than his legs. I had no reason behind this action. It just seemed like a good place to begin.

With the axe raised over my head, I stood poised to bring it down as hard as I could. Taking deep breaths, I swung with all my might.

And completely missed.

Undaunted, I attempted the act a second time. On this go around, I caught the arm where it joins to the shoulder. I felt the axe ripped through the muscle and tissue as it meant resistance at the bone. Again, I lifted the axe over my head and swung down. The cracking sound let me know that I was at least somewhat successful.

The fourth time was undoubtedly the charm. The cracking of the bones and cartilage gave way to the axe sweeping clean through to the ground. Careful not to get too much blood on me, I picked the limb up by the elbow and carried it to the banks of the pond. Once there, I threw it as far as I could into the placid waters. I returned to the body to repeat the process three more times.

By the time I had thrown the last limb into the lake, the sun had set. Working by the light of the moon, I made my way back to the torso. Even in the night, I could see blood splattered everywhere. I imagined what I must look like in my jean shorts and t-shirt. I could smell his blood mixed with my sweat all over me. Wiping the beads of perspiration from my forehead, I grabbed him by what remained of his clothes, and proceeded to drag him the rest of the way to the lake.

A person's body weighs considerably less when it's missing appendages.

With each tug of his body, I became increasingly distressed. I was furious with this man. How dare he touch me in such a manner. How dare he presume to believe that I would want his pungent breath anywhere near me. True, I had originally looked forward to the kiss. Yet, it became immediately clear that he had no idea as to what he was doing.

Cursing under my breath, I took a moment to rest my weary muscles. I was so close to the lake that I could see the ripples that various animals created as they made their way into the water. I imagined them smelling the blood and looking for its source. I knew I needed to get out of there quickly.

Fueled by my fear of the unknown creatures lurking beyond the tree line and with a renewed sense of energy brought on by the sudden burst of anger, I picked up the bloody torso and began to drag him to the shore once more. I thought ugly thoughts about the man that I had flirted with no more than a few hours prior. Remembering the dryness of his mouth and stale taste of his tongue, gave me the extra nudge to finally get what remained of his body to the water's edge.

At that point, I was at a complete loss of what to do. I was nowhere near strong enough to throw him out into the water. With relatively few options, the only logical choice was to weigh him down with whatever rocks I could find. I pushed the body as far into the water as I could and hoped that whatever was wondering around in the trees, unseen by me, would finish what I had started.

The hundred feet back to the tool shed took an eternity to walk. I tried to clear my head of all the unpleasant business that had preoccupied me for most of the evening. There was no use in trying to clean up any blood spilled on the cement floor of the shed. It was too dark to see anything. I made my way back to my room and prayed that my parents were already asleep. I did not feel that I had the strength for any explanations.

Besides, I needed to get to bed. The next day was a school day.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Day that Death Died

The day death died, I stood beside a dirt road. Behind me lay crumpled heaps of metal. Reminders of a technology that no longer served a purpose.

The day that death died, I looked across a field of wheat and saw the animals fall to the ground. Over taken with a sickness that knew no bounds, even the flies would not invade their space.

The day that death died, I prayed to the heavens. I asked for an answer. I sought out safety. I wanted death.

But death had died.

I walked down the dirt road with nothing but memories to keep me company. A shot gun held in my hands, ready to shoot whatever noise or movement that grabbed my attention. I was beyond waiting to see what emerged from behind the tree. What made the bushes shake. Too many times it was nothing more than the dead that death had released from its grip. I'd shoot at anything. I was done with asking questions.

The day that death died, I learned that I could survive anything. As I walked the desolate dirt road with the stench of decay floating in the air, I pushed back the memory of the dead feeding on my family. I removed the sight of my friends running for their lives, only to head into an ambush by the corpses that craved them, from my mind. The tears had long dried by the time the sun fell from the sky. Pain turned to energy which propelled my legs to walk, or run, into the unknown.

The day that death died began like any other day. With me waking to an alarm clock that sounded before I was ready. With me leaving my husband to the demands of two young children as I got ready for work. With me staring into the mirror and studying my reflection as it stared back when I head the screams. The screams signaled the changing of the tides. The screams told me something was wrong with the beginning of my day. The screams froze me in place. They turned my legs into cement as my husband let out a sound that I had never heard him, or any other animal, make. It wasn't until the children's cries of terror subsided that I was able to move. I did not move far. The undead were making their way towards me.

The day that death died saw me climb out a window and run frantically to my car. No keys. So, I ran until I found help. There were four of us. Four of us inside a car. A car that sped out of control until it flipped over onto it's hood, vomiting most of its occupants out into the open. It was not the undead that killed my companions. It was lack of seat belts.
The day that death died, I shoplifted for the very first time. Something came over me as I saw people dying all around. The old. The young. The strong. The weak. Screams seeping through the air. The buildings emitting sounds of terror. The trees wailing in horror. The sun falling and the sky becoming black. I went into the pawn shop on a street corner that no longer resembled a corner; but now had become a war zone. I armed myself with weaponry that I knew nothing about. Shotguns. Handguns. Grenades. Knives. Bullets. I traded the house coat that I was wearing for sensible clothes. Clothes that would see me out here on this dirt road.

The day that death died saw the end of mankind in a matter of hours. Whoever is left have remained indoors. Windows are boarded up. No charity is given. Trespassers are shot on sight. The old murder the young. The weak are shooting the strong.

And I am walking down this dirt road. On the day that death died.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Dating: Poker Style

Imagine, if you will, that dating is like a card game. The dealer is fate, and your opponent is the one you are hoping to have a relationship with. Now, the dealer holds all the cards at first. Each card represents either a piece of your past, a long lost love, or one of your “crazies”. Got it? Confused about what the “crazy” is? I’ll get to that in a minute.
So, all three of you are sitting at the card table. The game you are playing mimics Go Fish. The dealer hands each of you seven cards. Yet, instead of asking your opponent if they have a two or a king, you lay one card on the table and say, “Here it is. This is a piece of my past. This is the person who did me wrong. This is my crazy.” So, the other player looks at your card and if they find they can deal with it, they pick it up and match it to one of their own. The object of the game is for both sides to have all matching cards. Easy enough right? Let’s take a look…..

Dealer shuffles the deck and passes out seven cards to each player. Both players nervously look at their hands. Up to this point, they have been casually flirting with the possibility of dating. This card game will determine whether or not they go on to the next round. If either one of the players forfeit the game at any time, the other player walks away with the right to spill all secrets to his or her friends. The stakes are high.

Up first is the woman. She lays down a two. It is a smart move. Going with a low card first lets her test the waters to see if the man is capable of handling anything bigger.

“When I was four, my parents divorced and I was bounced back and forth between the both of them for years.” She states.

The man looks at her and pulls out a two of his own. “My parents divorced when I was five, and I haven’t seen my dad since.” This was a well played round. Both sides were able to match and move on.

The man takes his turn. He pulls out a five. “I had my first beer when I was 10. My uncle gave it to me and it made me sick. To this day, I can’t stand beer.” This makes the woman laugh. She pulls out a five of her own and states she hates the taste of beer as well. Again, good round.

This time the woman reveals a nine. “I lost my virginity when I was 13. I did it because I was bored and there was nothing on television.” This play seems to have shocked the man for a moment. The woman holds her breath with anticipation. Did she reveal too much too soon? The man begins to chuckle and responds, “I got my first bj when I was 12 by my sister’s best friend. I lost the big one when I was 15.” This was a risky play by the woman, but it showed she could be adventurous when she wanted to be.

Up next the man hesitantly pulls out a ten. “I smoked weed and did a couple of lines of cocaine when I was in college.” The dealer pauses to inspect both players. The game has taken a serious turn with the cards getting higher. How will the woman respond?

“I smoked weed and was drinking all throughout high school. I have dropped acid a few times.” The man and the woman eye each other. The man grins and takes the cards. So far so good.

Up next is the woman. With a ten already in play, all she has left are the face cards. This is where the crazy comes out.

A person’s crazy is not so much their deep dark secrets. It’s beyond that. It’s what makes them tick. It’s what makes them angry and how they deal with that anger. Crazy is what keeps you awake at night. It is your silliest fears and bad habits. Crazy is what will usually drive a person away.

With a heavy sigh, the woman lays down a jack. This is considered a low crazy. She may reveal anything from not being able to stand hearing a person chew to how many people she has slept with. Revealing anything sexual when displaying a jack is considered low-high crazy. A person’s sexual nature is not exactly the worst of the crazies, but it can rank high up there.

“I have no idea how many people I have slept with.” She bluntly states. The man looks at her and blinks. Looking down at his hand, he sees he holds three jacks of his own.

First jack is played. “I have slept with thirteen women.” He lays the card down.

Second jack. “I once slept with a girl at a night club in the men’s bathroom.”

Third jack. “I only like to have sex on the bottom.” There, the man has laid all his cards out. Not a bad hand at all. He has very little crazy, and there isn’t much in the way of his past. Now let us take a look at the woman’s hand.

The woman sits in her seat trembling. She only has three cards left. These are high face cards she is holding. It is a king and two aces. In this moment, the dealer looks at her and realizes there are not enough cards in her hand to represent the crazy she has to let out. What will be the woman’s strategy? She could fold and walk away. By default, the man would have all rights to whatever secrets she has already revealed and will be able to tell his friends. Or, she could combine all her crazy into the three cards. This a very risky move. The man could easily get overwhelmed and the dealer may end up having to call an ambulance to carry him out of the room. Sensory overload is a common side effect of these games.

Unfortunately, the woman decides to go with the latter move.
The king is laid on the table. The woman sighs and with one breath, she lays out her crazy associated with the king. “I liked to be choked during sex. I like violence, it excites me. I once got a concussion during a romp in the bedroom and that was the best night of my life. I have had threesomes, foursomes, and other -somes that I can not explain. I like men and women. I don’t equate sex with love, so I don’t care who I have sex with. I’ve had sex in the downtown library, in a club, and in a movie theater. I like to have sex when I’m horny, when I’m mad, and when I have nothing else to do.”

Bam! She lays down the first ace. “I have been in the mental hospital four times. I tried to commit suicide three of those times. I have bad mood swings. I can go for days without sleeping. When I do manage to sleep, I have terrible nightmares about zombies and vampiric dogs. I don’t cry in front of people and when I think I am going to, I yell at them until they go away. I will throw something at you, if you make me angry. I once threw a fully cooked pork chop at someone because they wouldn’t tell me what they wanted as a side dish. I cuss like a sailor.”

The dealer looks at the man. He is starting to swoon. The woman’s risky hand has backfired and the man begins to experience sensory overload. However, the woman is not done. She has one last ace to play. What will she reveal? What has she not spoken of?

Bam! Out comes the last ace. “I am eight weeks pregnant by a foursome I was previously in. I’m not sure which guy is the father.”

Down goes the man. The dealer calls 911.

Dating Exhaustion: The Googley-Eyed Guy

Please gather around and lend me a shoulder to rest my weary head. I am tired and I do not know how much longer I can walk this road of singledom. You see, I have been out on a couple of dates and I am exhausted. I am debilitated, weakened, and plain out pooped from my foray into the dating realm. What I thought I wanted has finally arrived.

So, now what?

I met a guy a couple of weeks ago. I did not meet him on an online dating website; nor did I pick him out of a police lineup. There was no casually pumping into each other in the grocery store, or waiting patiently for him to move out of the way so I could grab the newest Stephen King book at the bookstore. I met him the old fashioned way. The way my mom met my dad. The way millions of men have been meeting millions of women for centuries.

I met him in a bar.

I first noticed him not noticing me on a Saturday night. I looked into his beautiful blue eyes and I smiled the best smile I could muster. He did a polite head nod and turned back to his companion. Undaunted, I spent the rest of the evening trying my best to give him the kind of googly eyes that I thought would at least land me a "hello".  Still nothing.

So, I retreated back here to my home to lick my wounds and start looking for the cats that I'm hell bent on collecting.

The following weekend I went back out with my girlfriends. We sat at a restaurant on their patio. There, one of my fellow cohorts saw Mr. Googly-Eye walk by. She began having seizures.

"Look! Look! Wes! Oooh! Oooh! There he is. The googly guy!" She exclaimed.

I nodded and tried to look casual as he strolled by. I knew that I would eventually run into him in the bar.... (which I did.)

OK. So, let's cut to the chase. I am too tired to even paint a clear picture of the whole night's events for you. So, I am going to sum up the bar scene. After trying my best to stare my intent and interest into the back of his head, one of my bff's took it upon herself to drag his amused behind over to our table. She introduced us.

I proceeded to make an ass out of myself. As usual.

"You know I was trying my hardest to give you googly-eyes last weekend?" I demanded. "You just walked right on by!"

My friends proceeded to fall apart. One crawled under the table. One walked away. And one just sat there with her mouth gaped open staring at me. I'm not sure if she's managed to close it yet.

But, he just smiled and sat down beside me. We proceeded to talk the rest of the night. As the bar closed and the drunks did the zombie walk back to their vehicles, he was kind enough to walk me to mine.

We stopped at the museum that's downtown. Beside the building is a beautiful tree. The branches are jetted out, stretching into the road. The leaves are full. This is a tree that begs to be climbed. It spoke to me as I stood beside the Googly-Eyed Guy. It said, "Come. Climb my branches. Sit in my trunk and feel the breeze."

So, I did.

With the help of my new found companion, I hiked up my already-short-to-there jean skirt and climbed the massive branches. He then followed suit. There, in the tree away from any one's view, we talked and laughed. That tree went from being beautiful to magnificent as it held the promise of something new.

Fast forward a couple of weeks later and that something new has turned into........crickets chirping.

Now to give him credit, he took me out on a couple of fabulous dates. He is great to talk to. Smile is as charismatic up front as it is across a bar. Clear eyes. Easy going manner. Shyness that is just this side of charming.

Hell, he even bought me a book. (Which I am reading and it's quite good.)

Granted, I DID throw him into the deep end. I brought him to dinner at a local restaurant to meet part of the tribe. The tribe (or my family) is very loud and sarcastic. We also have a brutal wit about us. We're not for everyone. After the tribal gathering, I took him to my bff's house to meet The Round Table. (A group of girls I hang out with.) Now there are seven of us in The Round Table. Seven of us with at least two kids each. Out of the seven, two have husbands. (which were there).

So.....

I believe I threw him into the deep end. But, my theory behind having him meet everyone at once is the same theory that people have used when they are trying to teach their children how to swim. Throw them in the deep end and they'll either paddle their way to safety or drown trying.

I guess he began to drown.

So, now I'm exhausted from beginning the whole process of getting-to-know-you-and-letting-you-see-my-crazy. I'm wiped out from worrying about what I am going to wear and how I am going to sit. I'm plumb tuckered out from forcing the eye contact and trying to keep my A.D.D laidened squirrel sequestered.

I'm not sure if I want to go out and meet someone knew and do a whole two weeks worth of the getting-to-know-you-and-you-see-my-crazy only for it to go ka-plooey once again. I mean, I can only worry about such stuff as hair and clothes and whether or not he's going to kiss me or do I reach in and kiss him first or is he bored and wants to drop me off at my car or is the smile genuine before I go completely bonkers. I don't like it. I can't do it. I give up.

Besides, my squirrel is ready to run free.