February 18th, 2013
Two old sisters sat in the quiet, dusty shop. One had hair of old-lady-blue, and eyes that could see right through any lie you could ever dream up. The other had hair of old-lady-purple, and a smile that never seemed to stop. They sat, and they waited.
Eventually, a young man came in, bright and full of wonder. The old ladies greeted him kindly as he marveled at the treasures in the shop. Something caught his eye, and he lifted it, examining it. He turned to the women and asked for a price.
The one with the purple hair smiled that smile and said, “We can’t sell that. That belonged to little Jimmy, and I remember back in 1980 when we bought it for him.” Her sister huffed and said, “It was in 1982, and it wasn’t Jimmy at all…” and began to weave a tale the likes of which the young man had never heard. He listened transfixed as they created a history rich and full of wonder and woe. He came to know that nothing in the store was for sale. But he left satisfied; he’d gotten more than he could have ever hoped for.
Late in the day, as the sun began to set, the sisters closed up shop and smiled at each other. “Another day, another satisfied customer,” said the elder sister, the one with the old-lady-blue hair. “I reckon so,” said the younger sister, and that glorious smile spread across her face. “I wonder who we’ll find tomorrow.”
January 15th, 2013
I wrote this in 2011 for a creative writing class I taught for kids.
The day I loaned Morgan $400 bucks was the most exciting day of my life. She was only 10 years old, but she had a smile that lit up the room like the sun in summer and the brightest blue eyes I ever did see. She found me sitting on the steps of my porch, bored out of my mind, and she got me all wrapped up in more trouble than you can shake a stick at.
See, she found a diamond bracelet in the back of the car. It was her dad’s car, but she had no mom, so we didn’t know who the bracelet belonged to. Morgan decided that we could sell it, but we didn’t know who would buy a bracelet a couple of kids found. She convinced me to loan her $400 so we could buy a couple of train tickets to somewhere more interesting than our sleepy little town, and I fell for it. It was my entire life savings, but I forked it over.
We made it to the train station, but that’s where she ditched me. She managed to make off with all that money and the diamond bracelet, to boot. That Morgan. She may be young, but she’s not stupid.
December 31st, 2012
She fell to pieces all over the kitchen floor.
As she was the only one to ever clean anything up, she just lay there a long time. She examined the tiles beneath her, the cracks like canyons stretching out as far as she could see. She gazed up, the dust on the ceiling glittering like stars. She counted her heartbeats, slow and glacial.
It’s not so bad, falling apart, she thought to herself. Peaceful, really. Surprising, when one isn’t planning for it. Inconvenient, perhaps.
She cast her eyes out over the floor. There, in the distance, she could see the sun rising over her green suitcase.
November 13th, 2012
“I’ll never get them to trust me after this,” she sighed, tucking the unicorn into her pocket. Looking behind her, she glared at the dark wizard. Even encased in crystal, he frightened her – though she tried not to show it. That wouldn’t do.
So she faced him. “I’ve killed twice to stop you,” she said, tightly controlling the tremble in her voice. “I’ve taken two lives. And now I’ve an entire species to restore,” she gently patted her pocket, “and their trust to regain.”
She looked into his frozen eyes, and could not restrain the shiver that ran down her spine. “And, of course, you.”
She knew what to do. And she was the only one left who would.
September 17th, 2012
She woke, knowing. Her eyes and her heart opened as the sunlight streamed into her room, swirling around her, encouraging her.
She rose, readied, and left.
In her car, she took a deep breath. She put on her favorite music. She let her mind wander so her heart could drive.
She drove until she got there. She rang his doorbell. He opened the door, and she looked into his eyes.
Familiar soul in a stranger’s body. They knew each other without introduction, without names.
They embraced, and their loneliness crept out the back door. Their lives began here, today, together.
July 30th, 2012
Don’t walk away, Renée,
Walk on sunshine and find those silver linings.
Be gentle, take a deep breath…
Explore Canada with that hippo fantasy.
Find out how it works and why,
but don’t walk away.
July 30th, 2012
I walk through the house, feeling her beside me. I hear her collar rattle.
I reach down to pat her head, but my hand finds no reassuringly fuzzy ears to touch. At night, I hear her whimper only to wake to the emptiness. I trip over paws not really there.
I look up, expecting to see her eyes watching me with curious intensity.
But there are no eyes watching at all.
Moments pass, and I wonder if there ever really were. If it was all in my head, all along.
Ghost dog, haunting my heart. Here and gone again. A flash of white, a glimmer of her wagging tail, then nothing.
June 22nd, 2012
The sky was obsessively blue, the kind of blue that comes from thousands of years of practice. Not a cloud visible. Most likely, they’d all run from the heat.
The heat. Good lord, the heat. It rolled in waves, rippling across the sands, creating a kind of fucked up water effect. It was beautiful in a brutal way – like the heat itself was trying to make up for how bad it was out there with the mirage of relief.
But it only made us all the crazier.
And that’s when she came. Right when we were considering drastic measures, there showed up a tiny kitten, blue as the sky. We all had to hold her, to make sure our eyes weren’t lying to us, but she was real as any of us. A tiny purring mystery.
She took to the youngest of our tribe; a tiny girl with eyes that matched the sky’s obsessive blue – and the kitten’s strange fur.
We none of us questioned it. Stranger things happen out here. And the kitten seemed a blessing.
Little did we know what would follow.
May 23rd, 2012
She held her breath. Stepping up to the mic ripped her heart open. Her voice carried her emotions, playing out over the crowd in streaks of blues and reds. This is why they loved her so – she wore her songs like the finest of cloaks. She draped her music over their shoulders, pulling them into her, safe inside her heart.
She wasn’t ready.
She was never really ready.
Standing at the edge of the stage, at the edge of the world, the bright lights shining on the emptiness.
She held her breath.
The people in the audience, her people, held their breath.
Everything froze. Suddenly, she could feel the boundaries between them fade. The crowd blurred and she blurred, they opened, fuzing together.
She stepped onto the stage, eyes closed. She began to sing.
April 9th, 2012
On March 16th, 2007, a girl drove her lovely wife to work. Dropped her off. Went for coffee.
As she went through a yellow light, a careless driver made a careless turn and their cars collided.
He was a bully. He made the girl feel responsible, and shamed her into avoiding the police. He trivialized her injuries. He forced his information on her and then left the scene.
The girl, shaken and frightened and hurting, called her wife. “I can’t get you coffee,” she said; “I’ve just been in an accident.”
That afternoon, the girl wound up at the doctor’s office. Her shoulder, you see, had begun to hurt too badly to ignore. But when the nurse, compassionate and helpful, moved the girl’s wrist, they realized it, too, was damaged.
Her wrist had been crushed, in fact. Multiple fractures, a crushed carpal tunnel, and lots of tiny tiny tears in the soft tissue.
Her shoulder was abandoned in favor of fixing her delicate wrist.
But the fixing of her wrist took nearly a year.
By the time her wrist was healed (as much as it would be, in any case), her shoulder was permanently damaged.
The girl had to fight the bully and his bully car insurance to pay her a meager sum that just about covered her expenses. That she was permanently disabled didn’t bother them – she was a number, not a person.
Life goes on.
Now, five years later, the girl finds that her hands no longer work without pain. Her shoulder, constantly dodgy since the wreck, has taken to hurting – or flat refusing to move – with the slightest provocation. The stress and fear she felt through the weeks and months of healing from the accident pile upon her, and the doctors confirm.
This is permanent. This is from the accident, all those years ago. Injuries left untreated. Injuries unhealed.
The girl, now a writer and an artist, faces a decision.
To give up her heart’s calling?
Or to face her disability and stay strong in her path?
Funny how it seems so simple when you say it like that.