Saturday, December 29, 2012

Hate Me

Hate Me
If you must.

Hate Me
If you will.

Hate Me
With all your heart and might.

Hate Me
With the fire of Hell and damnation.

Hate Me
Tomorrow and the day after.

Hate Me
If it fuels you into the light.

Hate Me
With words and stones.

Hate Me
If it brings slumber to your feet.

Hate Me
And in return I will love you.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Stage Fright

I know who I am supposed to Be.
The words I am supposed to Speak.
I know the Rhythm and the Rhyme
of my daily Life.
I know the Steps I am supposed to take.

But I don't want to be
The Person I am supposed to Be.
I don't want to Speak those
Dark words of Pain and Mishap.
I don't want to have that
Effect on others.

I Wish to remain curled up
Within myself.
Protected by my Own Thoughts.
Fears.
Desires.

I want my Shadows to stay Hidden.
I want my Demons to remain Secret.

My Blood should be kept in my Veins.
Protected.
Nurtured.
Flowing steady underneath my Skin.

My Essence should not be
Spilled for the Enjoyment of Others.
My Spirit should not be put on
Display for all the World to see.

I don't Want this.
None of It.
All I've ever Wanted was
Someone to Love and Children to Hold.
I did not want be this Person.

Fighting who you Are can be
As difficult as Fighting
The Will of God.

And just as Deadly. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Writing

I bled today.
It splattered across the pages
Of my life.
Bright.
Sweet.
Red.

I bled today.
My heart beat
Thump.
Thump.
Thump.

I bled today.
My secrets were told.
The shadows parted.
The smell of copper
Filled the room.

I wrote today.
The story poured out of me
Like the blood gushes from a
Fresh wound.
It was brilliant
In all dark reds
And thick liquids.

I wrote today.
My blood splattered
Against the keys.
The words coursed
Through my veins.

I bled my secrets onto
The pages.
I laid my wounds out
For all to see.
My soul bore witness
To the days gone by.

I bled today.
Sleepily I closed my eyes.
I laid my head against the pillow.
I felt my heart beat
Its final beats.

I bled today.
But I did not die.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Beaten Path

I had a purpose in life. A purpose to serve my fellow human being. To be to them what they could not be to themselves. I wanted happiness all around me. I wanted to see the joy of living on every face I passed. But, that is a selfish want. A needless desire. To strive so hard to make others happy is to neglect the soul that matters most.

My own.

I walked the path and ignored the faces. The downtrodden. The lonely ones, sniffling back the tears that wanted to fall. That begged to fall. I no longer tried to make them happy. I no longer reached out to them to brush back the strands of hair from their faces. I did not look into their eyes. I did not reach out at all.

I simply walked by.

During my journey on this beaten path, I searched for my own happiness. I sought out my own joy. I was amazed to discover that I could not find it. The brightness that could be my smile was hidden deep in the crevices of a hell that I had fought to climb out of for years. Hell held my wishes....my desires. I would have to climb into the lake of fire and death.....fight the eternal damned just to regain the little of bit of delight I once possessed. I would have to fight Satan himself in order to capture what I once rightfully held in my youth.

And I had no weapons.

How do you fight the Devil when the Devil is stronger than you are? What do you arm yourself with? How does one punch through the gates of hell and storm pass fiery pits of sulfur and brimstone?

How do you go to hell without dying?

Dying....

I almost died twice. I did not wish to attempt this feat a third time. I was not sure I would make it back. I doubted my own strength. My ability to heal my wounds and make life bare-able once again. But, I had to try. I had to make the journey and face the demons that had plagued me for so long. Otherwise, there was no point in continuing on.

I wasn't living. I was merely breathing. And I no longer wanted to just breathe. I wanted to inhale life. I wanted to drink from its fountain and bathe in the splendor of waking every day. I wanted my smile to infect others. I wanted to laugh and make others do the same. I wanted to live.

It seemed that in order to live fully I would have to die briefly.

The day I decided to return to hell, I knelt beside my bed and began to pray. I prayed for strength and only strength. I required the armor of God to protect me throughout my journey. I asked Him to protect me and instill in me the same will to survive that He had given me years before. I prayed all this with a fever unlike any I have ever experienced.

"What are you trying to do?" A voice asked.

I looked up from my kneeling position. On my bed sat a thin man. Standing he was about 5'6". His skin was dark brown  with he had short black hair. Wrinkles covered his face, arms, and hands. He donned faded blue jeans and an old flannel shirt. He had the look of a man that had lived hard and fast. His voice was low, but soft.

"I'm praying," I responded.

"You don't normally pray that way. What's got you on your knees like that?"

Feeling foolish, I stood up and walked to the side of the bed that held the old man. He was wearing a faded ball cap. It was dirty from years of wear and I could not make out the team name on the front. Up close, I could smell him. He smelled of peppermint and menthol cigarettes. 

He padded the bed beside him, indicating for me to sit. Bewildered, I obliged.

"I was praying for strength," I told the familiar face. It was hard for me to find my voice. Even harder, still, was the realization of who I was talking to. I couldn't help but stare.

He chuckled at my astonished look. "I've taken many forms during our talks. Why are you so surprised to see me like this?"

"You're Junebug."

"I know who I look like. But, I am not him. You wanted me to look like him because he represents so much to you."

"That's because I miss him," I said. "I was always happy when he was near."

"You're happy now," God said in Junebug's voice. "You've always been happy. But, you question so much. You wonder about everything. Wonderment is good. But, when it is abused, it can steal your happiness."

"There are shadows everywhere. And I can't sleep. I'm scared whenever I am alone. It takes so much energy out of me. I was praying for strength because I need it to venture back into hell. I need you to go with me." I explained.

"And what do you hope to find there?"

"Me," I said. "Just me. I feel like I got lost there. I remember standing over me, watching me almost die so long ago. Whoever I was....she was....took me away. I want me back. That innocent part of me. I want her back."

God put his arm around my shoulders. It felt like Junebug's arm. Skinny, but strong. Cool to the touch. I was amazed to discover that it still held the same reassuring properties that it did all those years ago.

"You will never be innocent again. There is no way for you to be. Nor is there a reason why you should be. Do not go to hell searching for yourself. You are not there. You do not belong there. All that you have been through in this world will carry you into the next. Only through pain and suffering can you find me. I built you for a specific purpose. I put you on that road for a reason that you are now discovering. Do not go looking for the devil. He will find you."

I sat for a moment taking His words in. Over the years, during my conversations with God, I have always felt a sense of relief and warmth. This moment was no different.

"You want to make others happy," He continued. "And that is a noble gesture. Continue to do so. Tell your stories as I give them to you. Your stories make you stronger. And they heal others also."

"Why will the devil look for me?" I asked.

"Because you are my child," God replied. "When you get frustrated, lonely, sad, or any other emotions that cause you to pause, that is him trying to thwart you from completing the tasks I have given you. Don't give up. I have given you what you can do. What you were created to do. I have also given you the tools to do them. Do not shy away. Talk to me when you are overwhelmed. I'm always here."

"What about my shadows? Why did you create me to have such dark thoughts dance in my brain? Why does my imagination lead me to places that make others so uncomfortable?" The questions began to pour out of me like a waterfall.

When Junebug was alive, he had a soft chuckle. I can not remember ever having heard him laugh out loud. He always chuckled softly, bowing his head when doing so. It was so sweet to see God doing the same thing.

"I've told you this before. You are a balance. You think dark thought because you've experienced dark events. You understand darkness in others. These are not bad things. They do not go against me or my principals. I created mankind in my image. Do you not think that I do not possess the very traits you possess? It is only on a larger scale that you can not understand while here on earth. You all have lightness and darkness inside of you. It is a balance that I created within you. A perfect balance means being able to walk in both darkness and in the light. There is no sin in the emotions you feel. In the stories you write. How can there be? I am the one giving them to you."

God dropped His arm from my shoulders and stood up to walk to the front of my bedroom. On my wall, facing the bed, I have two pictures of Snoopy hanging up. I've had them since I was eight years old. They are velvet and very tacky. I refuse to get rid of them.

"Why do you still own these?" He asked me.

"They remind my of childhood, I suppose. I remember Momma giving them to me. Those were happy times. I don't seem to have that many happy memories." I said.

He nodded. God knew my answer before I even said it. He knows everything about me. Every fear, interest, hope, every seed of anger, every chuckle....He knows it all.

"Why do you ask?"

He turned and looked at me. Standing in front of me, I saw Junebug just as he was before the brain cancer invaded all of our lives. Before radiation burned the top of his head. Before the light faded in his eyes. Junebug, vibrant and sweet, smiled at me. I smiled back.

"You're a big kid. You always will be. That's a part of your balance. You have love in you. A lot of love. Almost too much for other people. And that's ok. Those dark thoughts of yours, well, don't shy from them. You understand them. I know you do. Use them to complete the work I've given you."

I nodded. Sensing our time was almost up, I stood and reached for Him. For God. For Junebug.

"Do not go looking for the devil. He is here all around. Do not go into the pits of hell," He told me as He folded His arms around my waist. "Hell can be seen everywhere. You have lost nothing. You have everything you need. Continue on your journey. Be patient. Be kind. You are not being selfish in your quest to make others happy. You are happy when you make others smile. Do not pause. It all comes together in the time it is supposed to."

I agreed. He kissed me on my cheek. 

As God vanished from sight, I walked back towards my beaten path. I saw the others all around. I wiped the tears from others cheeks. I brushed back their hair when needed. I smiled and they smiled back. I helped pick up the downtrodden. I did it all, selfish in my purpose.

For making others happy, makes me happy. And that is all I want to be. Is happy.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

My Dearest Friend

My Dearest Friend,

It has been so long since my last letter to you. Time seems to have a way with traveling onward without my knowledge. The days are growing shorter. The wind, with its urgent need to usher in a new winter, cuts through me while I make my way to the mailbox on a daily basis. The sky, once bright with the hot sun reminding us that the days will always be filled with a promise of better tomorrows, is now cloudy and dark. I can not remember the last time I set my eyes apon the warm sun, or its promises.

I hope my letter finds you well. I hope, no...I pray, that you are eating enough. I am sensing, from your last letter, that sleep has been kind. Visiting you nightly. You sounded so boyant in your last letter. So full of hope and cheer. That pleases my heart. Your happiness means so much more to me than my own.

The days are dragging on here. Since your departure, I have felt isolated. Cut off from civilization. I bide my time going through your old journals. Your handwriting is a comfort. It is a reminder of your existence. Of your love for me. And it brings warm flushes to my cheeks to read your description of me. Of the first time you held me. How you used to say my name out loud, just to hear the power behind it. I don't think another man has ever loved me as much as you.

Do you remember the last time you visited? You rode in on a storm. The rain had just begun to fall when you ran to my porch steps. I always looked out the window in anticipation of your arrival. I stood in the glow of the front door, holding out a towel for you. You had gotten soaked just from the short walk from the driveway. I still laugh over you snatching me into your embrace and forgetting the towel all together. You were always so anxious to hug me. To hold me. You'd lift me up off my feet. Then you'd laugh.

You always laughed. I wonder now what you found to be so funny. How could you walk through life so amused? Sometimes I'd think that this world, with all the trappings and hurtful people, never touched you the way it touched me. I almost felt like you lived in a realm above it all. The torture that we inflict on each other never was forced on you. Did you posses wings that I never noticed? How were you able to navigate existence unscathed?

Sometimes breathing hurts. Sometimes opening my eyes to the dreary morning is just too much to bare. The sun can hang over us all, but the skies remain a dismal gray. It has been that way ever since you took leave. I fear that it will continue to be this way always.

The second first time I met you, you walked into the room and just smiled. I have to go back to this meeting, because I can not recall the very first time we discovered one another. And I'm kind of angry over that. I'm jealous over the memories that you posses of me but I don't have of you. It seems you bonded to me without the benefit of my ever having returned it. But, I digress. The time I do recall first meeting you, I remember your smile. I saw it before I was able to see the rest of you. It was so big. So beautiful. I remember thinking that you had the smile of an angel and that as longed as I lived, your smile would be proof that God did exist. It was that breath taking.

Do you recollect what you did after you saw me? I am sure do. You're memory always served you far better than mine serves me even to this day. You lifted me up and hugged me. You, a stranger to me, embraced me with warmth and love. Of course, I wanted no part of it. I didn't know who you were. It is in my insecure nature to shy away from those that may want something from me. I wanted no part of you and your heavenly smile. But, you wouldn't take anything from me but affirmation of a friendship. That's what was so blessed about you. You gave to me. You gave and gave. The only thing you ever wanted in return was the pleasure of being in my life. I just don't understand how you could ever find it so pleasurable.

My sweet, blessed friend. My mind goes back to the first night you came to my house. I can recall from my memory bank as if I were reciting a favorite poem. The story rolls off my tongue with the same lyric and procession. I laid in the floor, crumpled and tired. Did you even knock? That much I do not know. It was as if one moment I was calling to you, to hurry, then the next you were by my side. Hushing me like an injured child. You stroked my hair and brushed back my tears. You were kind enough not to speak. For words would have deminished the urgency of the situation. No. You were much too kind for that. Instead, you rocked me back and forth. Praying over me. Kissing my wet cheeks until the tears had dried and my head hurt from the strain of it all. Next, when you spoke, it was so soft. So tender. You answered my questions honestly. That was all I needed. Honesty and compassion. You gave it so freely.

How I miss you so. Every day is a trial. A trial that I find harder and harder to get through. Tears do not come as easily as I would like. Tears have the power to heal, don't they? After all, that is what is embedded in us as young children. Cry. Cry so the pain will go away. It's a pity that no one ever teaches us what to do when the tears hide from sight.

How is the weather there? I am sure it is beautiful. Are the trees still blossoming? Have you found old friends? Have you made new ones? I think how you must take long walks by the river. I know you said that was something you liked to do as a young child. I imagine, now that you have the time and the place, it is something that you make a habit of doing. 

I wish my letter would find me in better spirits. I was so hoping that my mood would have improved since the last I wrote. However, with sleep not visiting as often as it should, I can not help but keep a foul mood. I don't dream of you. No, you never visit me there. I only recall the past when I close my eyes and enter slumber. In order to see you, I must visit you in my daydreams. Maybe it's supposed to be that way. They say the dead visit us only in our dreams. I would hate think to that you would ever leave Heaven just to come say hello.

I must sign off now. My hear is bursting at the seams with pain and sorrow. I try to look forward to tomorrow, but it is another day without you. So, I find it difficult to do so. I will write again soon. Perhaps my next letter will find me happy and wishful.

I love you with all that I am,
                ~Wes

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Grief

Grief is the shadow that sits in the corner of your room. It waits paitently for your eyes to close. It circles your bed, knowing your thoughts are resting, dormant in the night time hours. It slips between the covers, knowing how to fold you in its arms just so. Comfortable. Secure. Feeling you breathe deeply. Inhaling at a fast pace. Exhaling slowly. It wraps its arms around you.

And then is squeezes.

Grief is tricky like that. It is a sneaky beast that knows exactly when you are at your most vulnarable. It knows to wait til you believe the worst is behind you. It takes the moment when you have relaxed, when you no longer think of him day in and day out. When his smell is gone and you can barely recall the warmth of his embrace, greif will remind you. It is a harsh reminder.

I was doing ok. Here and there I would think of Patrick. Think of how my name would roll off his toungue so sweet like. He'd wink at me whenever he say it. The sound of my name amused him. And I entertained him. Everything about me seemed to make him laugh.

I can't help it, he'd tell me. You're just so damn funny.

I'm here for your amusement, I'd retort.

But, I loved it. I loved how even when I was talking serious business he would look at me with a grin on his face. I could tell him I dreamnt I spoke to the Devil the previous night, and he would smile and tell me how I must have been entertaining to the Beast.

When Patrick died, I felt as if I'd been punched. And as the months went by, I was faced with new challenges. Heavier challenges that threatened everything I had worked for. Thoughts of my better half were replaced with pain and fear. On occasions I would think of Patrick, but mostly I would lay in a self induced haze.

But, then everything turned out ok. Didn't it? I was no longer sick. And blessing after blessing greeted me. My mind would turn to him on a whim, and I would casually miss him like I would miss an old friend that moved away. Not one that died suddenly.

So, I thought the worst was over.

Until grief tapped me on my shoulder and reintroduced itself to me. Grief took its knife and stabbed me, repeatedly, in the heart. As I laid there, hands clutching the invisible wound, I could do nothing but cry out in pain.

Cry out for Patrick. Cry out for the unfairness of it. Cry out against the act that brought us together. Cry because he wasn't here when I was sick, and he's not here to enjoy my many blessings. Cry because I am alone with grief and I am so damn pissed over it all.

It's not fair. It's not fair. It's not fair.

I whisper this little mantra over and over. I look to Grief, now in human form staring at me and I question its very existence. I look at the short, stubby creature and I deplore it.

For the record, Grief  (when in human form) is no taller than 5 feet. He has short black hair. His left eye is blue and the other is brown. His nose is bumpy......too long for his face. He has elf like ears. And he has the most hideous laugh. It's almost like a snort.

I detest him.

I do not know why Grief brought Patrick back to me. As soon as I remembered our last encounter, I could smell him. I could feel his arms around me. As if he were hugging me at that very moment. Patrick always picked me up when he hugged me. And then, as he would set me back down, he would laugh.

Always.

So, grief came. First it was a shadow that danced around my room. But, as the night turned into day, Grief became a living person sitting on my couch. Taking up my space. Breathing my oxygen. And no amount of tears can send him away.

Grief is spending the day torturing me. Reminding me that the best thing that came our of the worst thing is long gone. There's nothing I can do to bring Patrick back. So, all I can do is sit and cry.

And hope tomorrow will be different than today.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Balance

I took a walk back into yesterday. I turned my back to the setting sun, and retreated into the shadows. There I saw my memories come alive with vivid colors. I watched as the child I used to be grew into the woman I desperately want to become. I observed all this with such an emotional charge that lit the sky with the fireworks of my youth.

And they weren't photographs flickering in a projector like I thought they would be. They were living images. My memories smiled at me, and acknowledged that I was there.

My earliest memory. Me, young and in pigtails, crying to my sister to lift me up to the first handle of the monkey bars. I wanted to climb. Climb to the top like the bigger kids. I wanted to see the world as they saw it. I imagined the children on the ground, resembling small ants to the others as they played beneath them. I yelled to my older sibling, threatening to tattle to our mother if she did not perform the duties I so instructed. She, being older and wiser in her three years ahead of me, chose to take my hand and lead me home. It was getting chilly and the sun was setting. But, as I watched my young self reluctantly head home, I waved as she smiled goodbye.

My pigtails soon gave way to one long ponytail. Eight year olds rarely like the young girl look that I was prone to. Pine cones and trees replace monkey bars and slides. I watch as I take cover behind makeshift barriers as I partake in an aggressive game of war. Rocks are thrown. Sticks are used as guns as the young soldiers around me take prisoners. I watch myself run to the other side and try to attack their captain. I begin to feel the anger of an eight year old as my own squadron abandon me when I am captured. But, the scene quickly changes as twilight shows a young boy knocking on my apartment door. I look on as he puts his arm around my shoulders and kisses me ever so lightly. The sweetest moment. This is when I first realize the value of such a kiss.

I can still feel the warmth of the sun on my back. Harder times lay ahead of me. I am no longer afraid to remember them. It is these difficult times that shape us just as much as the happier ones. Life is, after all, about balance. How are we to seek out the good if we never experience the bad?

Mom tells me we are moving to another city and I do not want to go. This new place, although home to her, is alien to me. Our destination is void of my grandmother, father, and the native culture that I am used to. I have no friends there. No one, but my mother's family, knows my name. I refuse to go, but I have no choice.

I see my first day in the new school. I try to make friends. I am ridiculed by the others. I am different. Too different. A year goes by and I am no where closer to being liked than I was before. My mother has become foreign to me as well. She works harder....longer. Things are more expensive here, she informs me. I don't like this new city. I want my daddy. I stare intently at my ten year old self as she begins to pack her bags and head north. For, not only is daddy in another city, he is also in another state. But, I smile her smile because I know she is not afraid. She is looking forward to living with the man who shares the same skin color as her.

I see the years pass by. I watch myself turn into a teenager. I see the hurt this new teenager endures at the hands of someone who is supposed to watch over her. But, I still smile. For I can now see the balance that is life. I see the friends I have made in this new state. These friends, who are still with me even as an adult, bring a richness to my world that I never knew existed. I have allies now. People who are willing to cry with me when I need them. I watch myself stand beside the lockers and laugh with all the others. These bonds, formed out of adolescent need, are palpable. I touch the chords of love between us. I smile as I am blamed for spreading measles to the school. And I can not help but shed a tear when four young men lose their life in a car crash. That was the day I learned death reaches for us all. No matter the age of the individual. No one is promised a tomorrow. We only have today.

The memories are more vivid now. Rich with swirling reds and purples, I see myself sitting on the mantle of the fireplace, listening as my dad tells me I am moving once again. This time I will live with my grandmother. I am no longer wanted. I see my fourteen year old chest swell with pride. They WILL NOT see me crushed. I have a spirit and it is not broken. I watch her with awe. When did I become her? I want to reach out and tell her not to hide her emotions. Do not bury her heart. But, I remain quiet. This has to happen. Because in order for her to become me, she has to have her heart broken.

I have to sit down at this point. I have walked down many years and I am tired. The sun, still south of me, continues to warm my back. A slight breeze picks through my hair. The trees, limbs long and lush with green, rattle above me. Ahead, I see clouds form. My heart begins to quicken. I know what is ahead. I can not move further. It is not fear that keeps me seated, but an unwillingness to relive what I have lived over and over again for many years. But, I must. So, as I have done so many times before, I brush myself off, and continue my journey on.

The clouds are gathering quickly as I step into the storm. Thunder sounds nearby. Lightening, striking trees hear and there, fills the air with electricity. And I force myself to see what I have already seen in my dreams.

I hear screams before I see myself. Fourteen. Crying. Shouting. Begging. I smell him before I can fully watch as he drags me to his hell. I try to turn my head, but the scene shifts to my new line of sight. It is real life. With the balance, you have to face the bad as you enjoy the good. So, I view this horror as the colors swirl all around. Reds. Violets. Crazy shades of grey and black. They are all there. I remember and I watch closely as she sees me watching her. I want to save my young self from the act that will forever change me and shape me into who I have become. But, I can not. And so I continue on through the storm. Fear never touches my heart. Warmth floods through me as I watch horror after horror unfold. Unlike the dreams that I incur now, I do not feel the pain that she feels. As I begin to wonder why, I realize that I am not alone on this journey.

I never was alone.

The storms cease, but the clouds do not part. I have more hard times ahead still. Heartache gives way to love. Love gives was to heartache. It is a vicious cycle that I continue to invite into my young life. I watch as I accept the crown of princess. I see myself standing tall. I am beautiful on that stage. Friends and family clap all around me. But, I can see what they can't. The girl standing on that stage is broken. The thread that keeps us all held together is unraveling. The light has died in her eyes. I feel for her. For the first time on this journey, I clutch at the pain shooting through my heart. I ache for her. I see the tears flowing on the inside of her. But, I notice something else. She has no fear. Anger propels her. The colors dance around my teenage self. I am saddened, but I have hope for her still. The clouds continue to follow me as I graduate high school and enter into marriage.

A young marriage that I helped destroy because I didn't have the heart to love. The sadness deepens. Yet, again, I am OK. I am not alone. She is not alone. And while I try to tell my twenty year old self that, I am quieted. She is not ready to hear it.

Beautiful images reach out all around me. Filled with wonder and amazement, I can sense the electricity stir through the air as I see my loved ones die.  One from brain cancer. Two more from a tornado. Another from Alzheimer. Cancer here and there. Many funerals. Too many. Each death brings peace to me for I do not see it as an end to life, but another chapter in a long journey we are all destined to make. I feel the tears flowing as I watch a very young me curled up beside my cousin. She is beautiful. Full of laughter. And just as suddenly as she comes forward, the view shifts to her laid out in a pink coffin at the head of the church. But, this time my heart does not break. I rejoice. She is where I hope to be one day.

I begin to move forward at a dizzying pace. My companion tells me I am spending too much time here. I do not want to leave the dead. I miss them so. My emotional flip flop causes more clouds to form, so I press on with the strength that is slowing forming within me. It is a fortitude that I have had all along, but was unable to tap into until now.

I see me in the hospital. Twenty-eight years old and terrified. I am with a doctor as he explains that my first born is dying inside of me. I watch myself fight tears that are expected to fall. I tell her to let them, but she stubbornly pushes them back. It is an all too common scene. I realize that I view emotions as a weakness. The expression of them makes me vulnerable.  And this emotion, this one, I can not experience ever again. To me, having your heart exposed is the equivalent of a lamb being to led to slaughter.

I look on as I lay in the intensive care unit fighting to keep my unborn child alive. I tell her to hold steady and slow her heart beat so I can show her just how much I love her. But, knowing what might happen, I am astonished as I see myself picture her being born premature and dying in my arms. And then I feel love and strength wash over me as the first time mother begins to pray with such earnest that the clouds on my journey part and the electricity disappears. Months later, I am giving birth. Although it is a painful cesarean, the joy of a healthy baby overshadows all else. There is rejoicing. My beautiful Red Head is born.

Years move by. More friends come and go. Friends I thought would be in my life for good are only meant for a season. I smile as my son is born without incident. Right away he is his own person. Mischievous. Bright. Wonderful in every way. 

More deaths of loved ones. More tears. More laughter. My great grandmother. An uncle. A friend. We are all destined to lose someone we hold close to our heart. I know this now and will never question it again.

I watch me in my thirties. Arguing. Angry once again. Nothing is right. I feel so much burden. Too much to carry alone. My companion does not say a word as I tell myself that it is not mine to carry alone. She looks at me and shakes her head. The anger has returned and she does not want to hear it. But, there is something else hidden just below her frustrations. I sense an insecurity that I have not picked up on. I do not like who I have become. I am too different from my friends. Different from the man that loves me. I see confusion cloud his eyes as he repeatedly tells her not to be who she is. I try to warn him, but it is in vain. I watch, with anguish, as the younger me leaves with two children.

I know her journey is going to be so much harder for her.

More years pass. My last memory forms in front of my eyes. The clouds have given way, but a steady rain beats down all around me. I sit on the wet ground. I watch, unable to take my eyes off the scene as it unfolds.

I am sitting in a kitchen as he walks in. He is beautiful and perfect. My saving grace. He is the man that my memory can not find. Yet, as his eyes meet mine, a smile plays on his lips. He knows me. He saved me the night I almost died. We are forever bonded. We belong to each other and it is proven time and time again as I call apon him. I cry to him as I am told things that I do not remember. He takes me in his arms and holds me tight as I spill forth twenty years of rage and horror. He promises to take care of me always. He is the good that must balance the bad. He is what I need. But, just as quickly as I find him, he is taken away from me.

I begin to cry into the soft ground as I watch myself take the call at work. I see me slump over as the caller explains how my beloved friend died so unexpectedly. I look up right at the moment the crying me realizes there will never be another person who will know me the way God knows me. I shake my head and turn to my companion.

"I am so mad at you for that," I inform Him. "That was my person and you took him away. Why give him to me to begin with? Why play with me that way?"

He puts His arms around me and slowly rocks me back and forth. I am His child. The answers He gives me make no more sense that the answers I give to my children when they ask difficult questions. It is not meant for me to understand. I know this, but I do not like it. It is the same way my child does not like an answer I give him.

"Are you ready to stand," He asks me.

I tell Him no. I want to lay in His arms a while longer. He lovingly obliges. Quietly we sit as the scenes of my life disappear. I am drained of life. I am unable to return to my starting point.

"You are here for a season," He explains. "This world is temporary for all of you. Your friend came back into your life just as you needed him. I send people to you. They are pieces of me to comfort you in times of dis pair. You have always known this. You are my testimony to the world. To those that do not seek me. They will listen to you. You will cause them to consider what they have forsaken. This is why I use you the way I do. You are blessed, my child. Blessed and favored for I send to you what you need exactly when you need it. Haven't I always done that?"

I can not argue. I was rescued when a rescue was needed. I was given money when I could not provide my own. A care taker became available when I could no longer care for myself. I have always had the blessings when I needed them. But, to be blessed, you must accept the pain. It is the balance of the world.

I go to stand and He helps me to my feet.

"It is a long walk back," I say.

He smiles. "It is OK. I am here to carry you every step of your journey."

And as God carries me back to today, I rest my head against His chest. I breathe in His scent which is my favorite scent. He smells of peppermint and fresh cut grass. He smells of Autumn and falling leaves. It is comforting me and I begin to close my eyes.

Balance. That is what life is all about. It the ying to the yang. The good to the bad. The day to the night. To be blessed, we have to accept the pain. To become strong, we must be broken down so we can be rebuilt. To learn to love and enjoy life, we must know the anguish and the tears.

I feel His chest shake as He quietly chuckles to Himself. I lift my head to ask what He finds so funny.

"You got to be so arrogant. So independent in your thinking. You honestly believed you didn't need anyone in your life. You forgot the balance. And now that you remember, I wonder how long you will keep it with you. I am hoping it will be always."

As He sets me down on my feet, I see that we are at the beginning. I smile up at God in all His glory.

"There is one more thing you must take from this," He instructs me. "I have given you three tasks to complete. I have given you the tools to which you are to complete them with. Obey my command and complete them. You have free will not to. But, do not make me force your hand. I do not like doing it."

Humbled, I lower my gaze and nod my head. He wraps His arms tightly around me and I beg Him not to let me go. I pray to Him to take me where He is going. He tells me no. It is not my time.

There is a balance. With my dark thoughts, with my morbid fascinations, I am here for that balance. He has placed the shadows precisely where they are supposed to be. There is a purpose that I must fill. I understand and watch as He leaves.

Balance. That is life.






Friday, June 29, 2012

Drowning

She knew she was drowning. She knew this as surely as she felt the cold black waters dragging her to the bottom. She struggled to break free of the watery grasp. She kicked with all her might. She broke the surface for a brief moment, her fingers singing as they felt the cool night air, before the water drug her back down. She struggled. Struggled to breathe, to swim up, to find the oxygen that her lungs were begging for. Screaming for.

It was no use.

Her mind tried to retreat within itself. Unwilling to accept the inevitable. It urged her to kick harder. To reach further. Her limbs, heavy with the burden of saving her life, began to falter and surrender. Surrender to the darkened waters.

She was dying.

She began to accept the idea of her life ending and patiently waited for the still life photos of her life to flash before her eyes as she slowly sank to the bottom of the cold black abyss.

But, the flashes never came. She saw nothing of her life. Nothing of the family, friends, enemies, past loves, or any events that helped shaped the person she'd become. And as her chest began to burn from lack of air, she started to doubt her existence. What did it all mean? Where were the memories that were supposed to accompany her to death's door?

What was a life if the mere recipient of said life could not even muster up a memory to calm her as she waited to die? Had she not loved? Why could she not summon forth images of her parents or friends? Where were the warm feelings that others, when knocking on death's door, had spoken of? Those people with their near death experiences had all said their life had flashed before their eyes. Like photographs in a projector. Why was this not happening to her?

As she slowly began to die, she questioned whether or not she had ever truly lived.

When You're Expecting a Gertie: The "C" Word

So, you've had tests. You sat patiently while they drew vile after vile of blood. You smiled and told everyone how fine you were. You went back to the doctor, over and over again, just to hear the same old line.

"We won't know anything until we run more tests."

And since this IS the doctor who will be operating on you, you try very hard not to give him the finger and tell him to insert his mighty stethoscope where the good Lord did not intend for it to go.

You try to be patient. You do breathing exercises. And if you're in pain (like I am) you concentrate on not feeling it. You try, in vain of course, not to live your life by the rotation of pain meds.

Even though that is an impossible feat.

Finally, after what feels like years of doctors appointments, you get your questions answered. The doctor will come into the room. By now, ya'll are old friends. There's really no need to even shake hands or do that whole-sit-up-at-attention thing we all do when a person in a white coat walks in. You just sit back and wait.

"There's a good chance you have cancer."

Try to breathe. Try not to let your heart stop. Your palms will get sweaty. Your breathing will increase. And your eyes will roam the room, refusing to look the man in the eye that has delivered this God awful message to you.

"The size of the tumor, along with the shape and the fact that it's solid gives every indication that it is cancer. I am going to order more tests to see if it's spread."

After a while, you will lose the sound of the voice speaking. It will begin to resemble the teacher from the Charlie Brown cartoons. This is why it is very important to always have someone in the room with you. Someone who will be able to answer the questions that will pop up once you regain the ability to speak.

And it is perfectly OK to react this way. Your reaction is earned. Just remember not to panic.

A test that you are sure to go through is a PET scan. This is where they will inject you with radiated sugars. Cancer cells will feed off of these sugars and cause the areas where they are present to light up. There's nothing to it, really. They insert a port (IV) and inject you. After about an hour or so, you will lay down in a machine that resembles a huge....tunnel....  The test only takes about 15 minutes. During this time, the people running the scan will offer to play your favorite music.

I chose Madonna. It's OK if you wanna judge me. The little Asian girl running the scan sure as hell did.

The day I found out I had cancer was the day I also got  my surgery date. My tumor does not respond to chemotherapy or radiation. I have no recourse but surgery. I have mixed emotions about this day. One, because my tumor is about the size of a softball, I require a large incision. Two, because I may leave the surgical table minus a few organs that I have grown fond of. And, third, well let's face it, it's surgery. A serious surgery that requires at least four hours to complete. A surgery that runs many risks.

The doctor will go over the list of risks associated with surgery.  It is a long list that you will just nod your through as he recites them by memory. The last risk, the biggest one, is death. And when the good doctor reads that risk off, you will look up at him. Shocked. Because while you are still trying to wrap your head around the notion that you have cancer, you are now forced to face the fact that you may die.

I'm not ready to die. I'm not quite done living yet.

The doctor scheduled my surgery for two weeks out. As I write this, I am still six days away. This has been the longest two weeks of my life.  I assure you, no matter how far out a surgery date is for you, it will seem like a life time. Try not to dwell on it.

I know it's impossible. But, try.

Now, a few things about cancer. These are not facts I am about to present to you. These are just my observations. These are the things that have occurred since I got the news.

1) Everybody will immediately feel sorry for you. You will get so many pitiful looks that you will have to fight the urge to arch your back like a proud peacock and stare these people down. You're not pitiful. You are a person carrying around a disease that millions of other people have had and successfully fought. Of course some have died. But, we all die. We. All. Die.

2) Some of your friends will take this opportunity to exit your life stage left. Let them. There are some people out there who just can not deal with the ugliness of life. These are the people who were only meant to be with you for a season. That season is over. Say your goodbyes. Morn them if you must. But, whatever you do, do not dwell on them. You can not afford to spend the energy doing so.

3) People will want to do things for you. Help you in anyway. This is not the time to be proud. If you need something, voice it. Whether it's bill money, grass cutting, babysitting, or just an ear to listen. These are well meaning people. Genuine people who do care. And believe me when I tell you that you will be surprised at the amount of people who do care about you.......and your cancer.

4) Last, but not least, it is OK to cry over this. It is OK to stomp your feet and proclaim life to be unfair. Because it is. Life is always going to be unfair. The good people will always suffer while the bad people, the ones who never have to try and never have to be sincere, will continue to shit gold from their ungrateful asses. But, don't dwell on this thought too much. Because while you are living with cancer, someone somewhere is dying of it.

And that is one hell of a difference.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Annonymous

It sits in there
Waiting
Watching
Listening to your heart beat.

It knows
What you know.
It feels
What you feel.
It hates
What you hate.

In time its presence
Becomes your solace.
The torture
Feeds your mind.
The pain
Comforts you.

It waits
Patiently.
Because it hears
Your secrets.
It keeps your thoughts.
It wants
What you want.

It becomes
A part of you.
You hold it.
You welcome it.
You long for it.
You ache for it.

It sits
Inside of you.
It ticks
Away the minutes.
Until at last
It can do nothing else
But explode within you.
And bring Death to
Your feet.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

What To Expect When You're Expecting a Gertie

Welcome. If you are reading this, it most likely means that you noticed that persistent pain somewhere in your body (for me it was my stomach) and visited the doctor (or, in my case, the ER). Also, by now, you more than likely experienced the joy of being submitted to countless blood tests, X-Rays, scans, and endless questions posed by the various doctors you have seen. And I am sure you smiled and said your date of birth, repeatedly, with patience and understanding, without showing fear or worry over the unknown creature living withing your body that is causing you pain, or at the very least...discomfort.

Now as you sit and ponder your existence (and the tumor living comfortably where it shouldn't be) you are filled with questions and concerns about the journey ahead of you. Maybe you are a loner and do not have any friends to turn to. Maybe you are one of those people that have tons of friends but no one that "gets" you, so you don't really discuss your "stuff" with people. Or, maybe, you are one of the few people who don't know ANYONE who has EVER had a tumor or cancer, so everyone you know is looking at you with pity, but really have no advice to give.

If you are one of the latter, well I am truly sorry. That sucks for you.

But, make no never mind, where ever you are in your walk with your tumor, I am here to hold your hand and help guide you through the twists and turns you will run into on your road to recovery.

First, let me tell you a little about me.

On one particular Saturday, I awoke with stomach pains. My back had been hurting off and on for some time, but I never paid it any attention. You know how it is, you feel a small stab, almost like a little shock to the o'le kidney area, and you dismiss it as soon as it vanishes. I told myself I must need more water. That's it. More water.

Anyways, I carried on with my day. I got my hair done. Picked the kids up from my sister's house. Made lunch. As the day drew on, the pain in my stomach got worse. Lunch time saw me throwing up blood. Twice. Not cool man. Not cool.

After I deposited my precious cherubs with a friend, I drove myself to the ER. And, after waiting six hours, I went to a different ER.

**A word about emergency rooms. They are not all the same. Do not EVER be afraid to emergency room shop. You can always tell if you are in a good ER that will treat you fairly and give you a good heaping dose of awesome medical care. It's easy really. Look to the person who is sitting near you. Take their arm. Feel for a pulse. If no pulse is present, switch hospitals. Follow this simple rule, and you will never go wrong.**

I waited an hour in the lobby of my new ER. After I was taken to the back, I.V.s were started. An EKG was done, followed by an X-Ray and a CT scan. Armed with the findings of these three tests, a doctor entered my little room to tell me that they could not find a blockage in my abdominal area, but there was a 'large mass' on my adrenal gland. I was to be admitted. 

One week later I was discharged with the diagnosis of gastroenteritis and an adrenal gland tumor. I was worried and still in a considerable amount of pain. But, over the past few weeks I have learned to cope and since you have come here, I will share my coping skills with you.

Coping Skills
1) Name Your Tumor.
        I named my tumor Gertrude. Or Gertie for short. Naming it makes it real. Making it real, gives you an object that can be defeated. A 'tumor' is something no one can see. It lives within you. It takes up residence in whatever organ system that decided to create it, and it continues to wreak havoc there. A tumor can only be dealt with by a doctor. A trained physician, that you have no choice but to trust, will look at you and tell you what's going to happen to your body. You sit there, feeling powerless, and nod your head. You listen as they tell you the size of it. (Mine is 7.2cm X 6.4cm X 6.2cm) Naming the offensive critter will at least create control in your mind. It will give you some feeling of power. You will know that you are its host. And you are just biding time til you can serve the eviction notice.

2) Do Not Google Anything
       You have probably already done this. I started to, but quickly learned that I was doing nothing but driving myself insane. Do not, whatever you do, Google your symptoms. If you are anything like me, you will have yourself diagnosed with the rarest forms of cancer known to man. In fact, your cancer will be so rare, that it is still unknown. You will have nightmares where you are standing in the front of a room, facing the entire medical community that EVER EXISTED, and telling them what type of cancer you have. They will even name the disease after you. When you die (because, well let's face it, the cancer is too rare to survive) the medical establishment will not let you be buried; but instead, will steal your body, in the name of science, from the mortuary . Save yourself the heartache. Unless you continue to watch porn, don't even approach Google.

3) Be Kind To Others
       I know. I know. You are the one with this....thing.....growing in you and I am telling you to be kind to others. Well, let's face it, you are probably loved. Somebody, somewhere, is concerned about you. And that one concerned person is going to ask you a million concerned questions. There are times when I get impatient with these people. And then there are times when I find myself having to tell them how much it is going to be OK. It's weird. I know. But, you have to just suck it up and allow people to be...concerned. No matter how much they irritate you, you just gotta smile. Nod. Allow them this little bit of time with you. It makes them feel better. And they need that. And frankly, one day you will need them to make you feel better.

4) Listen
       If you are fortunate enough to have people in your life that have experienced something of this magnitude before, then seek them out. Listen to them. If they come to you with unsolicited advice, take it. Take it and pay attention. They have fought this battle before and you can definitely learn something. As smart as you are (being that you've diagnosed yourself with the rarest of cancers) you still don't know everything. So, listen and take in everything they say. Then tell them thank you.

5) Be Patient
       This is not a race. After the initial discovery of your unwanted friend, it will still be a long time before you see an oncologist. And just for the record, an Oncologist is a doctor that specializes in cancer. Do not be like me and freak out the moment it dawns on you that that's who you are going to be seeing. You have a tumor. They are 'tumor doctors'. Even if your special little tumor is not cancerous, you will still be seeing that particular doctor. And it will take FOREVER before your first visit. During this time, you need to stay as busy as your occupied body will allow. If you are like me, and in constant pain of some degree, then do what you can. Take up knitting......Ha! Kidding. Who the hell wants to knit? But, do something that you can do comfortably. Don't push yourself. You are not a superhero. Relax. And be patient.

Well, that's all I have for now. I will share more with you as I learn more. In the meantime, I will be sitting here with Gertrude and resting. I suggest you do the same. We have a long journey ahead of us. It's one that requires tons of fortitude and humor.

Luckily, I posses both.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Perfect

So, you wanna know how it all went down, huh? No? So, you  mean to say there's not some sick twisted part of you that's just dying to know what it was like? Not just why I did it, but what it felt like to do it? No? Oh, come on sweetness. Don't lie to me. You wanna know. All you productive sons-of-bitches that work day in and day out, pay your bills, obey the speed limits, all you mother fuckers that have 1.2 fucking kids, all of you people....you all want to know what it's like to do what I did. And if given the chance, you would trade a solid 24 hours with me, if you knew you could safely return to your humdrum lives without ever having to worry about the blood on your hands again.

Oh, did I offend you? I certainly didn't mean to. Don't shake your head. Don't call for the guard. Come here, princess. Sit back down. No need to get your purely white panties in a bunch. I'm harmless to you. Relax. I'll tell you what you want to know.

And, I'm sorry. I take back everything I said. I know you find me repulsive. Does that make you feel better?

See, I lived across the street from them. Beautiful family. Perfect really. They are.....

                     .......excuse me.....

were the kind of family that really don't exist anymore. He worked somewhere doing something that produced an income that allowed her to stay at home with the two kids. Two kids. A boy and a girl. How fucking perfect is that? They even had the white, two story house with a dog in the back yard. Beyond perfect really. The boy was in....middle school....no that's wrong. Late elementary school, I believe. Sixth grade maybe. And the girl, well she was in kindergarten. Young sweet girl.

She bled the most.

Don't gasp. You know what I did. Don't act all surprised. You read the case files. Talked to the detectives. Why act so shocked when I talk about it? Detached? Of course I'm detached. I'm a fucking psychopath for crying out loud. Jesus-Christ-on-crutches.

Ya wanna hear the story or not, Sweet Cheeks? Ok, then. Shut the fuck up.

Anyways, the girl....yeah....the little one....I'll start there.

She skipped. Never walked. Never ran. Never casually roamed about. She skipped everywhere she went. You know what they say about kids that skip like that? Yep, that's right. They're happy little fuckers. And she had to have been the happiest of them all. Every afternoon, after the bus had dropped them off at the corner of Elm and Longhorn, the son would race his little buddies to see which could reach their front porch first. See, all those little snot nosed brats lived beside one another. But, that little girl, well she would just skip. Skip. Skip. Skip. She'd wave bye to all the other little ones that ran home. But, she'd just skip.

Sweetest thing you'd ever wanna fucking see. Really. It was.

Well, one afternoon I saw her skipping home. I was sitting on my front porch, rocking in the old chair that used to be my great grandmother's. It's a dark wooden chair, and the places on the arm where she used to lay her hands is warn down from years of rubbing them with her palms right before she would yell at her son.....my grandfather. I like that chair. I've spent many afternoons and nights just sitting in it and watching the kids come and go all around me.

Get to the point? Fuck you. It's my story. Got it?

Anyways, as I was sitting in my chair, on the porch, I saw the young girl skipping her way down the sidewalk. She looked different that afternoon. It took me a minute to realize what it was. You know how it is. You see someone everyday, so that the person morphs into one image in your mind. And that image is actually a collection of shots that you've taken of them over a period of time. Same hair. Same style clothes. It gets to a point where we don't really notice them at all. Rather, our mind conjures up this image, and even when they go and change their hair or clothes, if it's not a drastic change, we just don't notice it. Our mind tells us it is the same person looking the same way. And instead of believing what our eyes are showing us, we believe what our brain tells us. That's how that woman trusted her hubby when he said he hadn't cheated, even though she walked in on some chick slobbing up and down on his dick. We don't want to believe our eyes. We prefer our mind instead.

The girl's hair was flowing all around her. It took me a few minutes before I realized it. Hell, she was almost to her house, when it dawned on me that the pigtails she normally wore were gone. Instead, her long brown hair was set free. Normally, her pigtails are done up in these colorful ribbons to match whatever pansy ass outfit her mother took out for her. How do I know the mother dressed the girl? Well, shit, no one would pick out those clothes.....not even a six year old.

But, she was skipping along, brown hair blowing all around her. And it was kind of windy that day. A nice Fall day where the leaves were changing into those bright orange Fall colors. It was so Americana perfect. Just the whole picture. The picture of youth, of her happily skipping along the sidewalk with her book bag strapped over one shoulder, and all the other kids racing around her. It was so fucking perfect.

And I fucking hate perfection. It shouldn't exist for some people and not for others.

I sat on that porch, in the rocker, and waited for the husband to come home. He always arrives....

                                       ...damn it, sorry.........

 arrived at 6 on the dot. Not a minute before or after. Now, let me ask you something, how does that happen? How does one go about arriving home at the same-exact-time every-fucking-day? That's just not plausible. Something, somewhere, has to go wrong for somebody. Traffic. Somebody catching you and saying "Oh, just one more thing...". Something. But, no. This lucky son-of-a-bitch, always arrived home at six o'clock on the dot.

And while I'm on the subject of that dildo, let me tell you...he was a piece of work. You would have thought that cocksucker had never seen an ounce of blood in his whole life. I mean, the way he started gagging, his eyes bulging out of that perfectly round shaped head of his....well, it was right comical. I took great pleasure in that sight. Really, at one point, I had to stop stabbing him, because I almost wet myself, I was laughing so hard.

That mother fucker....I swear. If you were to look up 'perfectly built' in the dictionary, you would find his mug cheesing right back at you. Brown hair, brown eyes.....broad shouldered. Only a hint of gray, right around the ears. He had these high cheek bones that probably made every split-tail cream at the pure sight of him. Ugh. And his smile, shit-me-some-tomorrow, I swear, when he smiled, he showed a set of the straightest, whitest teeth you've ever seen.

Ridiculous really. No man should have teeth that straight. And I bet he's never had a pimple in his whole life. Lucky ass bastard.

And that boy of theirs. With his shaggy hair, and his chubby torso, you could just see how he was going to grow into the spitting image of his dead. He was one of those good nature boys. I doubt he'd ever been a bully. More like that kind of student that would stand up for the retards and nerds in school. Ya know the kind, right? The kid at school that the bullies feared and the retards loved. That was him.

I fucking hated that kid. But, not as much as I hated the mother. Ugh, she was a piece of work. Dumber than a box of nails. When she saw me coming at her with my knife, she had the nerve to ask me if I was going to hurt her. Really? This bitch had to ask that. And then look surprised when I said, "Of course."

The mother had this really long blond hair. But, she wasn't a natural blond. Naturally blond hair don't turn that weird color...somewhere between magenta and black....when the blood seeps into it. I want to say she may have been a dark brunette at one point. She was tall and, of course, thin. O'le girl was more than likely a C cup. Can't say if they were real or not.

But, she had a perfect figure to go along with her perfect family.

So, to get to the grit of it. Are you sure you want to know this? I can see you've gotten comfortable, settled in over there. You seem to have gotten passed the initial horror of everything. So, you ready to hear how I was able to gut a perfect family of four? Are ya sure? Okey dokey...

I waited for the kids to get on the bus that Wednesday. There's no reason why I chose that day. But, it was there. I waited until a little after lunch time. I didn't want to have too much time pass between doing the mother in and then waiting for the kids to get off the bus. But, I wanted enough time to be able to enjoy myself with her.

No. Fuck you. What the hell? I don't get sexual satisfaction out of it. Who the hell do you think I am? Dhamer or some shit? You're one sick chick. Really.

Ugh. Anyways, I walked over to her house at about one or so. the kids get off the bus at 3. And I already knew the boy was going to come through the door before the girl was. With her skipping and all. Ya know? So, I rung her door bell and waited for her to open up.

Perfect people who lead perfect lives are rarely worried about anybody coming in and disrupting their perfect world.

And she did. She opened wide up without even looking through the peephole. She never once asked who was standing behind the heavy oak door. She didn't know me. She'd never spoken to me or even saw me in passing. So, she just opened the door. To me.

The look on her face when I slid my knife across her chest was beautiful. Astonishment. Fear. Disbelief. Those are great words that could describe her expression; but, they fall short of what I saw. I watched as she stumbled back into her foray, arms spread wide as if she was still casually opening the door with one arm and leaning against the frame with the other, searching my face for signs of anything that would tell her that this moment was not happening. I kinda laughed at that. You're bleeding. You gotta hurt somewhat. But, you still don't believe it.

Again, we rarely believe what we see.

She fell against the steps. I closed the door and knelt in front of her. She started gasping for air. I'm not sure why. I hadn't cut her that deep. I suppose it was the shock of the experience that took the wind out of her. After asking me if I was going to hurt her; she had one more question. She asked why.

Why? You people love to ask that. You perfect people. Why? Why? Why? Skip. Skip. Skip. I swear. Does it really matter? Does it matter why I killed her? Trust me, if there really was a reason that satisfied your needs, it still wouldn't make the murder less horrific, and that perfect little cunt would still be dead. So, does it matter? Really?

Why you sitting up straight like that? Less comfortable now, huh? Relax. Breathe a little. Want me to stop? No? Ok then...

I took her by the leg and drug her into the living room. Her head made these hard thumps against the stairs. I can't believe she wasn't smart enough to hold head up. I mean, that had to have hurt. Don't ya think? I guess she was in shock.

Anyways, I drug her perfect ass into the living room....or rather formal room. I say it was the formal room, because all those big, two story houses have a formal of everything. Ya know? Formal dining room. Formal living room. This room didn't have a tv, but did have a huge fire place. So, I laid her, feet first, at the foot of the hearth.  This was the time I took a good look at the slash across her front. She'd been wearing a button up pink lacy number with a tank underneath it. She had on a pair of khaki pants with high heels. Who the hell wears high heels inside? I mean....fuck....What the hell? So, I sit on her....kinda straddling her. The blood is really seeping through now. The pink has turned to a deep red on the front.

It was actually a nice color on her.

She kept asking why. That's irritating to say the least. I mean, why? That's what you're gonna ask. Let me give you a word of advice, Sweetness, if you're ever in a spot where you are staring death in the eye, do not waste your breath on stupid shit like 'why'. Save it and fight.

She never did fight. I guess perfect people don't know how to do that. I guess perfect people who are brought up in perfect worlds never have to. But, she did cry. She cried a lot. She cried so much, that instead of dragging it out like I had originally planned, I went ahead and plunged the knife into her heart. Just to shut her the fuck up.

And it was beautiful. The cracking of her chest as the knife broke through to get to her heart. The resistance the knife met before I drove it straight on. It's a neat feeling. Listen, if you ever get the chance, grab a cat or a small dog. One that can't fight free. Stab it in the heart. It's orgasmic. Honestly.

Don't look away, darlin. If you can't hang, well maybe you need to look into becoming a hair dresser or something.

What did I do next? I looked into her brown eyes. I sniffed the blood that seeped out of her mouth. I brushed her hair back from her face. See, now I like her. She's not perfect anymore. Now, the imperfections of life greeted her at the door. They took her in. She is now like the rest of us. Dirty. Imperfect.

I laid down on top of her and fell asleep. I must have been really tired. I hadn't done that much, but when your body pumps pure adrenaline like that, then you tire out very quickly. It was the boy coming home that woke me up. His gasp as he stood over me, laying on his dead mother, caught my attention. When I grabbed him, and flung him to the floor, I had just enough time to slit his throat before his sweet sister came skipping through the front door.

Do you need a moment? I can give you that. No? You good? Ok, then Buttercup, let me tell you a little bit about blood.

Blood is life. It was specifically created to sustain us of course. Do you know how much blood actually pumps through those dainty little veins of yours each day? A hella fucking lot. And when you slit someones throat, when you get them at the jugular, at the point where it pumps through, well, that shit goes everywhere. The living room was painted a dark red in no time. The walls, which were once a lavender, I think, ya know, not a deep purple, but not a light one either, well those bitches were red. Pure red. Everywhere that little shit turned and stumbled over, he sprayed a can of red paint from his neck. I guess in 6th grade they don't teach you to put pressure on a wound like that. I mean, as his sister was walking through the door, he's running around and gasping like a chicken with his head cut off. If I didn't have to act so fast and grab up the girl, I probably would've stood around and watched.

That little fucker ended up landing on top of his mother. How poetic? Right? Right?

The little girl just stood there. I had my hand on her arm, but there really wasn't a need. She just stood there. I don't think she realized what she was seeing. I picked her up and took her to the couch. I sat down and put her on my lap. She asked what happened, and I told her that mommy and big brother were now dead. I told her I killed them. And now they were probably floating around in a perfect hell made just for them.

That's when she started to cry. Big, fat sobs. Sobs that woulda broke anybody's heart. And then she asked why? Her hair was in pig tails. I'm sure that's in the police report somewhere. Not let loose like that one day. But, in pigtails. I grabbed her by one and threw her to the floor. She bled so much. I took the knife and cut her across her chest like I did her mother. She screamed. I'm surprised no one heard her. And when I went to stab her itty bitty heart, I caught it on a pump and it squirted blood high into the air. Kinda the old faithful of blood.

Was really kinda neat.

Then I laid on top of her and slept til almost time for the husband to come home. Six o'clock, remember? Not a minute before or past. And as always, in this perfect little world that I had stepped into, he arrived at six on the dot. Mother fucker. I didn't waste time with him. When he opened the door and turned to the living room, I snuck up behind him and plunged the knife into his back. That's about when all the gagging and choking started happening. Before he was able to turn around, I yanked the knife out and stabbed him in the side.

Just for your information, the blood that comes from the side is almost black. It is a creepy color, if there is such a thing.

I pushed him to the ground. Now this fella, well, he had some fight in him. Not a whole lot. He tried to sit up and take a swing, but I pushed him back down. He laid there, on his back, bleeding and coughing up blood. He looked around. Crazy really. He took the longest to die. But, right before he did, he asked why.

It's always 'why'. Can't it be enough that someone is trying to kill you? Can't it be enough that you are dying? That's enough for me. Wouldn't it be for you? But, no, that mother fucker wanted to know 'why'. And I didn't know what to tell him, except that his life....their lives....are...

                   ..........fuck......

was too perfect. And that type of nonsense can not exist in the imperfect world we live in.

Now, they've asked me how many people I've killed all together. They were real big on that when they discovered me. Still laying on top of him, mind you. That was kind of embarrassing. Counting those four, I've killed twelve in all. The detectives, the shrinks, the newspapers, all of you people want to know why. And you act like I'm crazy when I tell you the reason. But, think about it. Think about that one person that you know, rather it's at work, or school, or just around, think about that one person who always looks perfect. Perfect body. Perfect family. Perfect bank account. Perfect life. Nothing bad ever touches them. Think about them and then think about your own shitty excuse for a life.

Now, tell me again how crazy you think I am.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Wait

She was so tired of loving him. The years, long and dry, had seen her shed countless tears over his unexplainable need to wait. Wait for the perfect time. Wait for him to achieve the goals that he had set forth some ungodly time ago. Her life revolved around his need for time to become perfect.

She knew that it never would. Time is never perfect. Never right for anyone. No two people had ever come together in the exact space and time that was without strife or forethought on their part. So, she knew, like the ocean knew where it would roll into the shore, that no matter how many years passed her by, she would always be loving him. And the timing would never be right.

And she was so tired. Restless. Ready to move on with her life. Ready to invite someone into her fold and care for them the way she longed to tend to him. But, there was no one waiting in the wings to swoop in and bring her the salvation that she craved. There was not a soul that could offer her the connection that he had placed in her reach unknowingly.

Patience. He had explained one night. Patience is the key. I still have work to do, he said. You have work to do. But, she knew she didn't have the labors of life that he had. She had her children. She had her home. Her life consisted of those two things. And she was quite happy with how trivial it had become. She had room in her world to accommodate him. He didn't.

He wanted her to wait. But, she'd grown weary of putting her heart on hold. Her soul cried out for her to let him go, her heart, precious and vital to living, begged for mercy in its frozen state. Let me go, it screamed. I was made to pump vigorously. Madly, I have love to give to others. You are suffocating me. Let me thrive and grow for someone one else. Anyone else.

But, there was no one. No one to grab her hand and tell her the waiting was over. She had no one to kiss. She was void of whispers and soft touches. Her hair was never touched. There was no one to inhale her scent and look into her eyes. She had no one to love.

Loving him was robbing her of years. Waiting was slowing killing her. Thump, by precious thump, her heart gave up its beat of life. Slowly, with the echos of empty promises playing in her mind, she would close her eyes and say she would give it just one more day. Just one more day to see if he would begin to love her.

Or just tell her to wait.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Death

I kissed Death today.
It was delicious.
His lips were soft
Like petals on a flower.
His breath was sweet
As honey.
His embrace was
Constricting and invasive.

I touched Death today.
I nuzzled my lips to his cheek.
I felt the smooth contours of his dried bones.
My fingers danced across his skull
They twirled around his long fingers.
They scratched across his ribs and
Tickled his spine.

I laid down with Death today.
He played in my hair
Twisting the dark strands and turning them
An ash grey.
He traced the contours of my body
And I watched as my skin crumbled under his spell.
He parted my veins and
Turned my blood to pools of black magic.
He kissed my eyelids and blinded me to the light.

I spoke to Death today.
He sang a sweet melody
"Ashes to Ashes
Dust to Dust
Lay with Me
And Forget the Fuss".
His voice groaned
And I moaned with
Pleasure and despair.
Never wanting it to end
I begged for more, more, more.

I succumbed to Death today.
I went quietly.
Enthusiastically.
He brought me into his black cloak
And took me down into the pits of his exquisite misery.
He wrapped my long hair around his wrist and turned
Me onto my side.
He grasped my throat with his hand
And whispered "Don't breathe".

I became one with Death today
As our bodies moved in time.
His breath
Hot on my neck,
Quick and fearless.
My eyes began to drip
The tears that I have longed for.
I took him in
And gave him all I had. 

Today was the sweetest day.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Bump in the Night

I have always been afraid of the dark. Always. Creatures live there. They exist where the light dies. Small beings, with hate and death on their minds, play and dance within my grasp. Their fingers tickle my cheek, lovingly caressing my hair as I hurry past them to step into the light. Walking the few feet from the living room to my bedroom causes my pulse to race and the blood to pump furiously in my ears. My couch stands empty when the room is lit, but as soon as blackness fills the void, a mysterious monster takes its seat in the middle of the cushion. How do I know this? Because I can hear it breathing. The hairs on the back of my neck stand tall signaling to me that danger is awaiting as I stand, hand still on the lamp, frozen with fear, in the dark.

Do not laugh at my fear of the dark and the monsters that inhabit it. Do not sigh at me as you would a pestilent child who refuses to go to sleep. My apprehension, which grows with each ticking of the clock that signals the approach of nightfall, is all too real. It is grounded in truth and reality.

My first brush with the dark fear came when I was eight. Young and trusting, I climbed into bed that fateful night to sleep the sound slumber that I was used to. I felt the familiar weight of my eyelids as they began to close on my day. My breathing, heavy and rhythmic, pulled me down into the trenches of dreamland. My teddy bear, worn from years of love and closeness, was brought tightly to my chest. Time evaporated into the night. The moon rose in all its glory to signal that it was time to rest. My house settled in for the night, its baseboards ceased their creaking. My world, exhausted from the day's work, quiet within its own arms, embracing the solitude of silence, slept. The hands of the clock that kept time, quieted itself to a hushed ticking that only it could hear. We all heaved a heavy sigh of contentment as our consciousness changed course.

Now, I do not know the hour that the monster first visited. Nor do I know if it had always been there, quietly listening to the sounds as I comforted myself to sleep. And as my foot dangled precariously over the side of the bed, I can not say how long its claw reached out and scratched at it. What I do remember, even now, almost thirty years later with my mind cluttered with memories of years gone by, is the terror that seized my heart as I awoke to my skin being torn from my ankle.

Over the years, I have encountered other assorted monsters and creatures that take refuge in the night. There are the troll like beings, with their pudgy bodies and green eyes that follow you closely as you make your way to the bed. They live in the closet. They peer up from under neath the door to see if you are resting comfortably before they slowly turn the door knob and open the only barrier between a sleeping you and them. Their feet make the light thumping noise across your floor when they inch closer to the bed. That's probably what woke you up last night. That small, quiet sound. The sound of danger that is so faint, you shake your head and dismiss it before you curl back to sleep. Don't ever do that. I refused to accept that I heard it one night. That was a long night. That was the night that a smelly beast climbed onto my chest and robbed the air of the oxygen I needed.

As a child, I was more cognizant of the dangers that lurked underneath my bed. Void of the cynicism of adulthood, most children know to keep a watch out for things that go bump in the night. Their tiny ears know to signal to the brain that the noise they hear is not the house settling, but instead a slithering corpse that is crawling down the hallway towards them. A child's imagination will give them a close view of the black sludge that covers the naked body of the beast. It will tell the young one, that this being....this thing that drools and growls, all the while trying desperately to reach its goal of tearing the flesh off the inhabitant of the bedroom, is a slithering corpse of what once lived. A child's imagination is a powerful thing. It is the third eye to the soul and its job is to protect its young host against all that is evil. It will wake the child and show it the deadly eyes and outstretched hand. It will force him or her to scream for help. To scream until lights flood the room.

Yes, I have always been afraid of the dark. Even before I was eight, before I felt the thing underneath the bed, I was apprehensive of the creeks and groans of my home. Something within me spoke out and said that I was to remain vigilant. It ordered me to keep a watchful eye all hours of the night. However, it wasn't until that fateful event that I paid it any heed.

Last night, overcome with sleep deprivation, I closed my eyes and returned to the dream state that I knew as a child. Last night, after I made the mad dash from the lamp, through the blackened living room, past the monster nestled comfortably in the middle of my couch, I laid in the dark and closed my eyes. I now sleep in the middle of my bed. I am barricaded with pillows on all sides. A nightlight shines from my bathroom, illuminating the various corners between me and the closet door. But, last night, in the dark, during the sleeping hours, I felt a hot breath drift across my cheek. I stirred and settled back down into my desired slumber. A heart beat later, not only did I feel the hot moisture of death traveling from the side of my face towards my neck, but I could smell the stagnate odor of decay. Gasping, I sat up in bed.

But, you see, my screams fall on the walls of my empty home. They are absorbed by the carpet that covers the floors. There are no ears that belong to concerned parents that will come running to flood my small bedroom with light. So, I had no one to save me from the thing that hovered over me. The thing with the red eyes and the yellow teeth. The creature....the monster with the long black hair. It threw back its head and laughed a maniacal laugh.

I have always been afraid of the dark. Always. And I have reason to be.


Monday, April 2, 2012

Patrick and The Holy Grail

It had been two weeks since my friend had died. Two weeks since I had been sitting in my cubicle at work when I'd received the phone call.

"Hey Wes," he said on the other end of the phone. "Patrick died. He just....died."

That's basically what had happened. Patrick, mid conversation, just dropped. There was no dramatic pause to indicate anything was out of the ordinary. No ominous music played in the background. One minute he was saying he wasn't going to make the move from North Carolina to Maryland and the next he was, well....

......dead.....

I was shocked. The air that I breathed became shallow and stale. My heart continued to thump, only it increased. My brain searched for ways that the caller could be lying to me. A practical joke, maybe? The wrong Patrick, perhaps? This couldn't be my Patrick. The one who had bartered for a Child's Play Doll so he could send it to me in time for a birthday party. Not my Patrick, with his hazel eyes and his crooked smile, that would accept my random text messages and would reply with the most bizarre responses.

Hey Patty.... Ya ever wonder if maybe the reason I see shadows everywhere is because I'm really insane?


Nah Wes....It's like that saying about women with big feet. Ya'll just have big egos....

Not him. Not the guy I could sit and tell the story of the man who decided to shoot his wife to add spark back in his married to. Not my Patrick who understood with perfect clarity that my mind works on the oddest levels and that my attention span rivals that of a three year old.

No, that man in Maryland, the one that they were unsuccessfully able to administer CPR to was a different Patrick. My Patrick was traveling back to North Carolina. My Patrick, all 6 feet of him, had just asked me to marry him the night before.

"Come on Wes," he laughed. "No one understands you like I do."

But, it was my Patrick. My Patrick that I never told anyone about because I wanted to keep him to myself. I never wanted to share him with anyone. He was my special person. My person that had been there when the worst thing that could ever happen to a woman had, indeed, happened to me. He was my safety net. The one who listened when I was too tired to be angry about anything. The one who sat, nodding enthusiastically, when I discussed my story ideas. His reassurance was what I reached for when I felt too insecure to be in my own skin.

And now he's dead.

That was two weeks ago. Actually, it will be three weeks tomorrow. But, last week, it was two weeks ago. Last week it had been two weeks to the day when I contacted the Holy Grail about dinner. The Holy Grail had said yes, and I realized (a day later) that it might not be a wise decision to ask the last guy that broke your heart out when you are grieving over the death of a close friend.

But, if I were the type to make wise decisions, I would never have any subject material for this blog.

So, this past Thursday I met the Holy Grail for dinner. It was a nice restaurant in a nice part of town. The Grail didn't know what was going on in my life. My contact to him had been out of the blue. We had not spoken, except for the occasional random text, in months. So, after we had ordered, I was not the least bit surprised when he asked me what was going on.

And I was nothing but truthful in my explanation. "See, I'm using you. Just using you. My friend died recently. And it, well...it sucks. I need what he gave me. I need that one person that I don't have to be anything other than me with. I need someone who knows that I have all kinds of quirks and accepts and understands why I have them. I need that accepting person to allow me to lay my head on their shoulder. I need to be listened to. I need to ramble. My attention span is all over the place and I don't want to have to control it. I need the comfortable silences. I don't want to have to perform. I don't want to have to make someone laugh or be witty or carry on an analytical conversation. I just need a couple of hours where I am me. That's it."

The Holy Grail understood. Just as I knew he would. For all our ups and downs, he does understand me. He gets me. So, the rest of the night was spent in casual conversation. Light hearted topics. Music. Daily routines. Kid stuff. It wasn't until the dinner was over that Patrick was even brought up again.

"It's tough when someone so young dies," The Grail said. "It leaves us with a lot of anger and fear."

Yes," I replied. "But, that's not the part I am dealing with. I'm dealing with the isolation. I kept him to myself. He was my person that I hid from everyone else. I discussed my heart, imagination, and everything else in between with him. And I kept him to myself so much, he remained so hidden, that I have no one to grieve with me. I am isolated now. And that is what sucks the most."

Again, he nodded. He understood, just like I knew he would. And as I drove home from my much needed dinner, I couldn't help think about how ironic my night had been. How, in my grief over my friend, my soul mate, I had reached out to the one man that has broken my heart like no other. Funny. I could have had the same conversation with anyone. But, I know it would not have had the same comforting affect that the talk with The Holy Grail had. It just goes to show you how funny the heart can be.

Huh....who knew....

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Breathe In. Breathe Out.

She was sick. She had, in fact, been sick for a long time. She'd hidden it well. She would remain stationary when breathing became too difficult. Conversations were cut short. Grocery shopping only occurred twice a month instead of weekly. She confined herself to her bedroom on most days to spare the rest of the house the smudges of her fingerprints. Microwave dinners replaced home made meals. She kept her life simple. Clean. Small. She did as little as possible. Too much energy spent would cause shortness of breath and chest pains that would prompt her husband to call for an ambulance. She didn't want medical help. She had already refused the referral to a specialist. She knew that would be the beginning of procedures and medicines that would ensure she got better. Healthier. She'd live longer. And she didn't want that. She preferred death to the constant debilitating strain of life.

Over the years momma had tried to hurry death along the best way she knew how. She'd taken a handful of pills, lay down, and pray not to be awoken by the sun in the morning. Each failure confirmed the belief that she was no good. No good as a human being, mother, wife, or friend. She was so no good that she couldn't even kill herself. Waking up would fill her with such agony, that she was forced to wrap herself tight within her own arms. Rocking back and forth, she would use the movement to calm herself. She would try to convince herself that outside her bedroom door lived the normality of life that she'd never been able to experience. She'd lay there for several hours crying and cursing the day that she did not wanted to see. She felt betrayed by the sun that greeted her each morning, showing her she was still alive. She'd ride this wave until she couldn't do anything other than leave her bed and proceed to survive the day. 

Breathe in. Breathe out. Eat. Bathroom. Sleep. Repeat.

When momma could no longer carry the weight of her own mind, she would call me. Day or night. Time did not matter. I accepted the ringing as a call to arms. As her daughter, it was my job to bare her burden until she was able to lift it again. Her anguish became mine. Her tears flowed down my cheeks. I could only reassure her of my love for her. She would reminisce about the days when I lived with her. Our memories intertwined as we spoke of how I used to love her so much. I would listen as she tore through me with hate filled words. Each phrase uttered sliced through me like a blade, leaving me open and vulnerable for the next attack. I accepted the role of villain to her victim.

"Why don't you love me?" She'd inquire. "Remember when you used to love me? Worship me? Why did you leave me so young? I remember when you couldn't bare to be a part from me. Don't you?"

And I did. I did remember anxiously awaiting her arrival home from work. I could remember, with longing and fondness, sneaking into her bed at night. I could recall her arms reaching around and pulling me into her. I have performed the same ritual with my own children. Pulling their small bodies to mine. Taking in the scent of their hair. Allowing the rhythmic rise and fall of their chest to lure me back into a slumber.

I could not tell her that those precious memories of a child hood now past has been replaced with the nightly phones calls that break my soul a little at a time. My brain could not connect the mother that used to braid my hair with the woman who cried for death almost every night. If my mind were to ever make that connection, my heart would surely have broken into two.

"Momma," I said one night. "Your body was not meant to die by your hands. It was meant to survive. To thrive in a world full of elements that can kill it. Death is not an easy destination. The road that will lead you there is filled with nothing but pain. As much as you push your body to the point it will break, your body will push back even harder. It will fight with all the strength it has. And your body is strong. If you refuse to admit defeat, if you do not give up your dream of death, you will end up far worse than you are now. Your body will turn on you. It will do everything it in its power to protect itself. You could become trapped within it. Unable to do anything but be."

She never heeded my warning. When her husband took the pills and hid anything sharp, she knew of no other way to actively try to kill herself. She was almost ready to accept defeat.

Almost.

The day the doctor informed her that the chronic illness she'd been living with for years had turned into a ticking time bomb, with her heart as the explosive, she almost clapped with glee. Here was her chance. She knew all she had to do was be patient and let nature handle the rest.

She wasn't prepared for the pain, however. As her heart grew larger in order to pump more oxygen to be carried through her blood stream, oxygen that her lungs no longer cared to give out, the sharp stabbing pain she felt on each unsteady pump, was too much for her. Unwilling to give her any pills, the doctors prescribed patches that barely reduced her pain.

Without any forethought or understanding, momma had sentenced herself to hell.

Unable to take it anymore, she agreed to see the specialists she had managed to avoid for so long. The news was not good. In fact, the prognosis was grim.

"You have two choices. You can continue on as you are. We will do everything in our power to make you comfortable as possible. Or you can have surgery to alleviate the pressure building within your heart. However, with the surgery you will face many risks. You run a high risk of never waking up. The chance of you regaining the ability to breathe on your own is slim. Very slim."

And there it was. The opening she had been striving for. The guarantee death she had prayed for for years. The pain. The sadness. The grief over having to live when all she wanted to was die was on its was to loosening its grip on her.

Death was welcoming her in.

"I want you to make the decision," she said to me. "Tell them to take me off the machine. Pull the plug. Whatever. Let me die."

Suicide by daughter. This was the plan. No longer able to be an active participant in her own demise, momma was handing the task to me. She trusted that I would instruct the doctors, without hesitation, as she requested. She believed I would make the right choice. Her choice.

What momma failed to realize, what she never suspected, was that each attempt she made on her own life, each phone call that stirred me out of my sleep, or disrupted my living, each time she questioned my love for her, she had planted and cultivated a seed of hate within my soul.

She could not possibly have fathomed that after years of hearing her desperate plea  for death and after repeatedly defending my love for her, after all these years, I wanted nothing more than for her to feel the pain and mental anguish that she had inflicted on me.

Death was a beautiful release that she would never get the chance to experience on her terms.

The day of the operation arrived. And just as the doctors predicted, she began to flat line as soon as her breathing tube was removed.

We sat around a conference table in a room reserved for the difficult decisions that most families do not want to make. The doctor sat across from me. Using words like "stroke", "pain", and "seizures", they described the struggle momma was facing if she were to remain on the machine. You have to make a choice, they said. They referred to her quality of life as they placed the appropriate forms in front of me, that when signed, would end her suffering.

"No." I said quietly.

Two weeks went by. Two weeks filled with seizures, morphine drips, antibiotics, steroids, and tubes running here and from there. By the end of the first week momma had swelled so much that the doctors began to discuss ways of alleviating pressure. Quality of life was again discussed.

"No." I said quietly.

Night and day, I sat by her side. I watched the monitors tell the story of her heart rate. I saw the I.V.s feed her fluids and medicines. I observed the machine breathe for her. In and out.

Her husband visited daily. Always begging for me to release her from her prison. He approached the doctors, demanding the machine be turned off. But the decision was mine and mine alone.

At the end of the second week, I stood by the hospital bed and looked down on the bloated shell that was once momma.

"Your body is a machine that was created to live. It is a living breathing machine. The more you push it to die, the more it will push back to live. All you had to do was live. You did not have to love. Just live. Breathe in. Breathe out. Eat. Bathroom. Sleep. Repeat. But, you couldn't do that. Could you? You couldn't just survive. No. You had to destroy. You had to destroy your body, your life, and me. You should have never given me the power that you didn't posses. It was your body's decision when to die. Not yours. Not mine. I don't know where your headed, but I hope it's better than the hell you're in now."

With no forethought or remorse, I gave the order to turn off the machine.

Four hours later her body decided to die.