Only One Night

casablanca-Lily

casablanca-Lily

A stolen glance

Across the room;

Eyes that dance

To a lover’s tune.

Smiles and talk

Lead to kisses and caresses;

Long lingering hugs,

Discarded dresses.

***

Over in one night,

Like the bloom of the Casablanca Lily;

Fading away as the sun rises over the mountains.

The lovers part, as if they had never met…

My Paranoia – Back Safely

So, I didn’t die in a fiery plane crash…

Here are a few pictures from the air to prove it.

Snowy Mountains

Snowy Mountains

I have lived another day to regale you with stories of my sordid past.

On the way to LAX

On the way to LAX

My Paranoia

imagesWhenever I travel by air, I always have this insecure moment where I just know it will be my last flight ever.  Usually, I have somebody in whom I confide a few secrets; always revealing a bit more of myself he or she previously never knew about me, secretly wanting to preserve a bit more of myself should I happen to perish.

Additionally, I leave them with valuable information as to what they should do with certain belongings or something I meant to tell people in my life.  Typically, said person finds my ritual to be prosaic if not a bit morbid and they usually lose interest, as indicated by their sighs and/or glares.

As circumstances would have it, I had some rather good news, and I am taking a flight on Thursday with a return trip on Friday.  Since I have had a rather helter skelter year in terms of my interpersonal relationships, there is nobody to listen to my paranoid speech about how I may not live to see the weekend.  So, I thought I would write about a few things that move me, entertain me, make me smile, and are important to me.

I have to preface this by saying I do not believe I possess some special psychic powers to see into the future where I see a plane plunging to the earth; this is simply something I do every time I take an airplane trip.  It can become quite ludicrous at times, as I love to travel, and there have been some years where I have flown quite often; still, it’s me, so I have learned to accept it, flaws and all.

***

As much as I have written about how my children do not speak to me, I love them with all my heart; if I could give them a different mother wrapped up in a big red ribbon for Christmas, I would give her to them.  They would surely deserve her.  I don’t suppose they have done anything spectacular or out of the ordinary; in fact, at times they have been quite rude to me.  Though, as has been pointed out to me many times, they didn’t ask to be born.  I love them and they deserve the best; if there is a mom out there willing to give it to them, they should have her.

***

Speaking of love, I dearly love the rest of the family; regardless of their current ability to reach out and communicate with me.  It is what it is with our family; no further explanation in a family where we were taught to keep secrets, where somebody was always “out” or nobody was “in”.

***

I have a blue Eeyore blanket that I have taken with me on every flight, to every surgery (15 of them) for the last 12 years or so; I sleep with it every night.  It is a plush baby blanket with suede like material on one side and a furry type material on the other side; the Disney Store had it for $75 and one year I bought it for myself for Christmas on clearance for $30.  It still looks almost new even though it has been washed countless times; once, during a pre-op needle stick, the nurse stuck me in the wrong place and blood soaked the blanket.  A little peroxide and it came out perfectly clean.

I am leaving the blanket behind this time, for some reason it just feels like the right thing to do.  I am travelling alone and it is a business trip, too much stuff to carry, I suppose.  It will be the first time.

***

There is a little song I knew when I was in grade school, I used to sing it to my girls, and it goes like this:

“I’m an acorn small and round lying on the cold, cold ground,

I’m a nut (click click click), I’m a nut (click click click);

Called myself on the phone just to see if I was home,

I’m a nut (click click click), I’m a nut (click click click);

Asked myself for a date, picked me up at half past eight,

I’m a nut (click click click), I’m a nut (click click click);

Took myself to a show, sat down in the very back row,

I’m a nut (click click click), I’m a nut (click click click);

Put my arms around my waist, got so fresh I smacked my face,

I’m a nut (click click click), I’m a nut (click click click).”

When you see the “clicks”, that is the clicking of your tongue, you don’t actually say “click”.

***

Many people who know me think I am flat; they have rarely seen me smile, and have never seen me laugh.  It is all a façade; I feel everything, I love deeply, I have been scarred and scared.  I put up the thickest shield I could so as to be impervious to any further pain; it doesn’t work.  I am hurt daily, but nobody knows.

***

There is a man I love more than I have ever allowed myself to ever love; it took me eight years to let him in; I almost lost him because my heart was locked.  I have not seen him since April, but I’m going home in less than two weeks.  I have left him a journal on a memory stick in the room I have been staying in, it is on an Eeyore keychain; I would want him to have it, and my Eeyore blanket.

***

I miss my dad; I didn’t have a good relationship with him and he didn’t really like me, but there are times I would like to see him, to talk to him.  I would like him to be proud of me.

***

I love the song, “For Crying Out Loud” by Meatloaf.  The words bring me to tears every time I listen to it; even though it always feels like the end of a love story to me, like a tragedy, I love to hear it.  Maybe that’s why, I need it when I need or want to cry.  It feels like an aged love; I feel as if it is about finding love when you need it most.

***

I could go on, but I only wanted to open an envelope in my Pandora’s Box, not empty the entire contents tonight.

Cinnamon – the BLM Donkey

This is not Cinnamon... but looks a lot like her

This is not Cinnamon… but looks a lot like her

When I was young, I was crazy about donkeys; I had seen one when I was very young on a trip to Tucson, flinching as it bit me, one of my favorite books was Brighty of the Grand Canyon, and my two favorite stuffed animals were donkeys.  Whenever we traveled, I would select a trinket or knickknack with a donkey on it whenever I could; my collection included a donkey holding toothpicks, one made from granite, another carved out of wood, and a plastic one covered in suede like material.

One summer during my annual trip to my grandmother’s home she was reading the newspaper and saw an article regarding burros and mules that were rounded up by the BLM and being adopted out.  She showed me the two-page spread, probably not realizing the level of enthusiasm I had for the four-legged creatures.

I eagerly cut out the piece and saved it; then I penned a heart-felt plea to my parents begging them to adopt one of the donkeys for me.  My letter went on to explain how I would take care of my new pet; watering it, feeding it, and walking it.  I was only ten-years old; I clearly had no idea what it would entail to take care of a donkey.

When I arrived home shortly before school started, I was surprised to learn my parents had approved my request for the pet; they would be travelling to Arizona to pick up the donkey as well as two others for our veterinarian.

Cinnamon was the smallest of the three; she was scared and wild when she came out of the horse trailer, her big brown eyes nervous as she walked around our New Mexico yard.

She settled into her new life quickly; spending her nights in a cozy stall next to my mom’s quarter horse, he was probably four times her size, and her days were often spent in a field next to our house along with the horse.  However, she was allowed to walk around our yard and she soon became friendly with the menagerie of dogs that were part of our family.

As Cinnamon became more domesticated, she started to take on more goat-like qualities; she often dug through the trash, scattering it all over the yard, and if the dogs did not eat their kibble fast enough, she was finishing their dinner.  Often, when we left the kitchen door open for fresh air, she would walk right into the kitchen and just stand there or start nosing around the counters, looking for food; and, if you have ever tried to move a donkey, it is next to impossible, they are incredibly stubborn.

I was in the fourth grade and my school was not far from the house, I would sometimes cut through the field to get to school.  During recess, I could see Cinnamon in the yard, but mostly I could hear her braying.

One day, there was a huge commotion in the school yard while I was in class; I kept working, not really concerned with what was going on.  Then came the knock at the door and I heard my name called out, “You’re going to have to come out here, your donkey is on the playground.”  That was only the first of many times Cinnamon had come to school and found her way to my classroom; I would have to be excused so I could lead her home.

Once, I was watching television after school, and I had just kicked Cinnamon out of the kitchen when I heard horns beeping in front of the house; when I looked out the front window I saw the root of the problem, it was her, standing firmly in the middle of the street.

I loved her with all my heart; I would feed her every morning, clean her stall, and haul water.  Along with her came the duties of taking care of my mom’s horse; my sister would sometimes help with the horse because she rode him every few months, but mostly the horse was a giant pet, like Cinnamon.

A few months after Cinnamon came to live with us, I got a tiny saddle and my parents started pressuring me to “break” her.  I was more than a little terrified to ride her; she did not like the saddle and she preferred to go for walks.

I would put the saddle on her and she would rub against the side of the house, trying to rub it off; when I tried to get on, she would buck wildly.  Our relationship became angst-ridden and frustrating.  Where it had been one of friendship and love, I now hated being with her; and I suspect she hated seeing me coming at her, saddle in hand.

My mother started to make threats, “If you don’t start riding her, we’re sending her to the glue factory.”  I would beg and cry, pleading with her not to let my beloved Cinnamon be turned into glue.  It would work for a week or two, and then the threats would start again.

One day there was a horribly violent fight at our house, nothing particularly unusual; just another Saturday night.  I went outside to get away, and I was talking to Cinnamon.  One of the officers came over and started to talk to me, “You know why they have that cross over them in their hair, don’t you?” he asked me, pointing to the markings on Cinnamon’s shoulders.  When I shook my head no, feet scraping the dirt, he went on to tell me a beautiful story about the baby Jesus and Mary.  It was nice, I realized he was just trying to distract me from the chaos, but I never forgot his kindness to me and Cinnamon.

I came home from school one day the following week and Cinnamon was gone; her saddle was gone, there was no trace she had ever existed.  I burst into tears as I asked my mother what happened, “I told you if you didn’t take care of her that she would be taken to the glue factory and turned into glue.”  She walked away and left me sitting there, crying.

Every time I used glue afterwards, I was sick to my stomach, thinking of my beloved Cinnamon.

A few years later, I was still angry with my parents; my mother laughed it off saying, “Oh, god, did you really believe that?  We gave her away to somebody.  You weren’t taking care of her, you wouldn’t ride her.”

True, I did not ride her; however, I did everything else for her, and, if we wanted to discuss not riding an animal or taking care of them, my mother rarely rode her horse, and my sister and I took care of him.  Still, nobody ever threatened to send him to the glue factory.

Years later, I was walking in Virginia City, Nevada, and saw a man walking his donkey, she looked just like Cinnamon.  I gave him a dollar, his donation request for taking pictures, but instead just gave her a carrot, we talked about Cinnamon, “Oh, no, hon, they don’t like to be ridden.  But they’ll pack your stuff for miles,” he grinned his toothless smile at me, “And they are more loyal than any dog.”

I guess Cinnamon was more loyal to me than I was to her.

Tug of War

images

My heart is the rope

In a tug of war;

It’s not a game,

No one will score.

You chase after me,

I run away;

Just as you flee,

I look your way.

Your patience grows thin,

Mine never existed;

This game that we’re in,

The way I resisted…

***

Just when I think my heart is steady

You find you’re not ready.

The rope wears out…

Discovering my Family was Different

abuseI remember the day I discovered my family was not like every other family on the block; I was 15 years old.  We had moved around quite a bit when I was younger, by the time I was in the tenth grade I had already lived in five states and had attended my fifteenth school, so to say I had been around the block was an understatement.

My experience with close friends was limited; I had a sort of “love ‘em and leave ‘em” attitude when it came to friendships; why bother getting close to somebody when we would probably be moving in the next few months anyway.  However, by the time I was a sophomore in high school, I was told we were going to “settle down here at least until you kids get out of school.”  Where had I heard that song before?

So, I had a rocky start; my cavalier attitude and propensity for dating other girls’ boyfriends made me an unwelcome and unpopular choice of a friend among my school mates in my new high school.  As the months wore on and I realized we really were staying, my prospects for friends seemed to diminish; until one day, the new girl came from California.

She was different, sort of quirky; she wore cowboy boots, but had a haircut like one of the guys from Duran Duran.  We hit it off instantly; she was the new kid, and so was I.  Where she was shy and somewhat nervous around boys, I was outgoing and could talk to anybody about anything.  She kept me grounded when I was manic and had crazy ideas, like stealing her dad’s Corvette to cruise the strip; and I pulled her out of her shell.

Soon, we spent every weekend together; either she spent the night at my house, or I spent the night at her house.  We watched MTV until the early morning hours, then we would get up and make “Egg McBreads” our version of the Egg McMuffin; egg, cheese, and bacon, on a piece of bread.

She was part of my family and I was part of hers; I had never felt anything like it.  I thought I knew everything about her, and she about me.

One weekend, she was with my family as we spent the day in the foothills of a historic mining town just driving around looking at old mines.  My parents were drinking as they usually did.  They started to banter; they banter turned to fighting; nothing unusual.

By the time we got home it was a full-blown police intervention weekend.  It was about time, it had been a few weeks.

My father had been antagonizing my mother; well, everybody actually, by poking her with his cane.  She was aggravated and asked him to stop.  He would not.  By the time we got home it had escalated to the extent that when he walked into the house she walked up behind him and crashed him over the head with a rock.

He never saw what was coming.

He staggered to the side somewhat, but continued into the duplex, his head bleeding profusely.  By now, my brother-in-law, both sisters, brother, my friend, and me had gathered on the front lawn and were yelling at them to stop.

My mother followed him inside and the fight continued down the hall as evidenced later on by the trail of blood on the walls.  My father walked along a bar of antique glasses and with one fell swoop, wiped them off, crashing them to the floor, breaking them to bits.  This enraged my mother, she took a stick that had been holding up a plant and began beating him across the back.

I do not know who hit whom next or the exact chain of events, but there was quite a bit of blood all over the walls and the household contents were in disarray and destroyed.  I ran in to use the phone to call the police, but the phone had been ripped from the wall.

So, I ran down the street looking for somebody; luckily, we lived in a bad neighborhood and a policeman was driving down the street a few blocks away.  I was able to flag him down and get him to come over to our home.  Upon questioning the family, everyone except for me claimed my father had started the melee.

True, his antagonistic attitude had begun the arguing, but if my mother had just let him walk into the house and go to sleep, it would have ended.  In my eyes, she had started it by cracking him on the head with the rock.  I was outvoted, and my father was arrested and taken to jail.

Of course, back in those days he would only be held for as long as it would take to “sleep it off” and he would be released.  It would not have mattered anyway, as my mother would move earth and sea to bail him out anyway.  The whole matter was an exercise in futility.

We all got back into my sister’s Bronco and headed to Burger King; we ordered our food, and sat down to eat.  It was then that I noticed how stunned my friend looked, she had been so quiet.  My brother-in-law broke the silence as he dipped a fry into the ketchup, “Hey, doesn’t this look like Dad’s blood when mom cracked his skull?”  He was simply trying to lighten the mood, we all accepted it.

My friend stood up, in the middle of Burger King and screamed, “What is wrong with you people? Are you all nuts? What just happened?  You are sick!”  Then she just sat back down in the booth and started crying hysterically.  It was my turn to look at her, stunned.

Later, when we left the restaurant, my mom said, “Okay, I need somebody to volunteer to sleep at the house,” she went on to explain, “When your dad gets out of jail, he is going to be mad and I don’t want him to come home and destroy the place.  I can’t come home until he calms down. You can have a gun.”

I volunteered my friend and me to spend the night; we slept in the living room amongst the broken glass, shadows cast over the bloody walls.  As we sat there, I shoved the gun under my pillow and said, “I don’t get it, your parents must have fought.  They’re divorced.  Isn’t it like this for everybody?”

She looked me straight in the eyes and said, “No, not everybody lives like this.”

That was the first time I knew.