Category Archives: ~Looking Back~

She’s Not Ready

The feelings had built up over the years.  So many feelings she felt as though she was trying to wade through wet cement.  They were hard to make out.  Which ones were hard truth, which ones had other memories exaggerated, which ones never really happened?

One by one she tried to sort through them, struggling to make sense of them all.  She had wasted too many years, too many relationships, too many opportunities trying to just shut them out.  She had reached her breaking point, and promised that she would not be like him.

The man she loved, but the man who broke her time and time again.  The man who was her all, but couldn’t be there for her.  She didn’t want to follow in his footsteps, even though she never wants to let him go.

She wants to tell him this, all of this.  How he hurt her time and again.  How he forgot about her, how he so easily can turn his back, how he never was there to see the tears she cried… because of him. 

She wants to tell him how so many of her failures were out of the fear he installed.  How she broke many of hearts, out of habits that he had built in her.  How she wanted so much to make him proud, to make him stay, to make him care. 

She wants to show him all that she’s done, all that she learned, the good and the bad. 

She wants to know if he realizes the rage that can build in her blood, the temper she battles, the hate her mind can fester… because of him.  She wonders if he gets that the rush of tears she can’t control is because of him.

She wants to show him how it can be, breaking those chains, building, growing, how life does not need to be this way.  That life is more than the deceit, the anger, the games. 

She wants to tell him, she wants to show him, she wants to ask him why?

She’s not ready.  She may never be.

But she’s okay.  She’s doing fine.  She’s learning, she’s growing, she has overcome. 

And she still loves him madly, and always will for all of time.  He shaped her, he built her, he made her want more, to be more… And without him, she’d never be at all.

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A Home by the River

Google says home is:

  • The place where one lives permanently, esp. as a member of a family or household.
  • Of or relating to the place where one lives: “your home address”.
  • To the place where one lives: “what time did he get home last night?”.
  • (of an animal) Return by instinct to its territory after leaving it: “geese homing to their summer nesting grounds”.

 When I think about my life, and the places I have been, seen, lived, only one place swells my heart with memories.  It’s one of those places where you can see your memories come to life no matter how many changes have happened over the years.  It’s the first place that popped into my mind.

When I think of home I see my river.

We spent every weekend, spring through fall, camping when I was little.  I’m talking we brought two tents and cooler, risked our lives down some clearing in the woods, better have four-wheel drive and a riffle type of camping. 

I remember every routine, every moment as if it happened five minutes ago.  Stopping for hotdogs at a store that bore my father’s first name, singing to Elton John, Billy Joel and Fleetwood Mac, ice cream at the bait shop.  I remember the first two miles of our journey down the path that we made ourselves, next to an old rickety fence of rotted wood and rusted barbed-wire, that enclosed a field of wildflowers.  There’s the big sink hole, that even in a drought was filled with thick black mud, we got stuck every time, and my mother had her yellow station wagon fitted with a wench just for that reason. 

And there, like a best friend, it always was, our secret little perch, on top of a cliff, next to the river. 

The river always had a mind of its own, an electric company built a dam at the end to harness its power, and I can still hear the distant alarms they’d sound when they were opening the gates.  The river would swell and engulf the shores, but never our special spot.  In one spot we rebuilt the shore, made our own little wading pool out of boulders, this place was ours. 

It’s all my sacred space, my home.  It’s where I cried alone in the safety of old white oaks.  It’s where I learned to fish, to hunt, to be still and to let go.  It’s a place of falling to sleep with wolves howling in the distance.  It’s where my family came together, no matter what.  Where I had my first drink.  It’s where I explored the world and my mind.  It’s where I was always me, and no secrets ever hid.

That river, those woods were my safety.

And then one day, while I was in the midst of labor with our son, a news alert flooded my hospital television.  The Dam had broken.  Broke as in exploded under pressure, releasing everything it had held inside.  The town was destroyed, the river out of control.  My safe place, gone.

Six months later I bribed my sister to get me back home.  My heart fluttered as I saw a worker sweeping the parking lot of my father’s name sake.  My bait store, had boarded up windows, but a tot sitting outside with his mom, ice cream in hand.  My field of flowers was well a bloom, the fence still standing guard.  But my sink hole was gone, I started to panic inside. 

And there was our clearing.  Trashed with litter and debris, but still there.  Ten years had passed since I walked that ground.  Ten years and a flood of mass proportions, yet I could still see it all.  I walked quietly, eyes half closed, retracing the steps I had walked a million times. 

There was a home on the hill where we used to shoot balloons, my wading pool barely recognizable, the thorn bushes I had torn my legs up on every dang time, the sounds, the smells, so different but exactly the same.

This was my home.  This forever will be my home.  No matter what changes it takes, no matter how far apart we grow.

My heart is forever at home with my family, wherever that may be, but a large part of my heart my soul will forever be waiting for me down by the river and the old oak trees.

What do you see when you think of home?

 

(Consider this my NaBloPoMo entry for April 9th, now only 4 behind!)

 

 

~The Bully and the Bullied~

Childhood is a funny thing.  The parts we remember, the parts we can’t remember, and the parts we try to forget. 

I sat down in a restaurant one day with a friend during our lunch break at the local college.  The waiter walks up to me with a huge smile of recognition.  “You know who I am, right?”  He asked still beaming.

Of course I didn’t remember him.  I can point-blank tell you about something insignificant 2 years ago on Facebook, but please don’t try to get me to remember faces or names.  I squinted, and forced my mind to try to think, and counted my lucky stars for his name tag.  “Mike.”  I replied.

Then he took me down a track I wasn’t prepared for, “So, um, I’m glad to see you again, because I have to say something…  I’m sorry for being a complete ass to you in grade school.”

Had I been standing I would have tripped and fell and stumbled over his words until I was black and blue.  Memories I let go of years ago flooded my vision.  I searched for words as he stood there staring at me, what do I say?  Yes he was a complete ass to me, yes he picked on me, made me want to cry.  But I was 12 back then, such a long time ago, is this really necessary?  And a part of me didn’t want to give the former bully of my youth the satisfaction of knowing he ever ment a damn thing to me.  I picked the blonde card, “I’m sorry, what?”

He rolled his eyes, scooting into my booth, making the gap between me and my childhood tormentor non-existent.  “I just want to apologize, that’s all.  No games.”

I shrugged, sipping on my lunch time beer, spinning the long neck bottle as if the label would suddenly produce a script for me to follow, “Eh, you weren’t that big of a jerk, no biggie.”

He grabs my hand gently from off the bottle neck, and guides it down to the table, nothing forceful, nothing romantic, just touching, reliving the past few years as quickly as he could fit into his short break. 

Lives lost, hearts broke, changes made.  The bully and the bullied made their peace.  Forgiveness was given, wounds were healed.

Plans were made, numbers exchanged.  Beer on a Saturday afternoon, the bully and the bullied.

I saw him once more, a week later, during another lunch break (beer break) from my Bio-medical Ethics Class (don’t ask).  That would be the last time I ever saw him…

Weeks later, maybe a month, the world proved to be too much for him. 

And it was hard, difficult, impossible to place the pieces together.  What mind wouldn’t grasp what one could have said, could have done, could have noticed?  What mind wouldn’t want to take responsiblity? 

I couldn’t have changed the course.  Even though my heart stills aches over the tragedy of the whole thing, three classmates, best friends, leaving this world all too soon… it had nothing to do with me

But at least for a moment, just a small crack in time, we had our peace.  Peace between the bully and the bullied

And today as I look back, I can no longer see the memories from grade school, his image as a bully isn’t there.  He’s the man, sitting next to me in the restaurant, with the kind words and the open heart, holding my hand.  I’ll never forget his soft smile.