Blog

Sometimes

sometimes I need the rain

to wash away the pain

the fear and disappointment

like an unguent or ointment

to cure my ills

strengthen my will

separate my soul

remake me whole

rage and blow

here we go

its over

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Miss you.

Your shadow will do.

Every event in my life has a shadow shaped just like you. Yesterday was your sister’s birthday and it was a good day but as the sunlight faded, I saw your shadow following me home. When I woke this morning, in the wee hours of dawn, it was there again.

It sits with me when I walk the dog in the morning light and as your brother gets off the school bus. It walks your sister to the park with me and helps me shop for our groceries.

It never speaks to me because I can’t remember your voice but it is always with me. I am glad I have it, even if I can’t hug it because I miss you and since I don’t have you, your shadow will do.

Tourist

I drape reclaimed items over ancient and decaying hangers and arrange them into a rainbow of tattered colors and ragged shapes. When the hangers finally succumb to their inevitable fate, I toss them into a large plastic bin and hope they are bound for a recycling center.

I watch as the teeming masses of desperate flesh paw through my rainbow in search of something marvelous. Their treasures selected, I punch the pre-determined cost of the detritus into the ipad-like device and announce the total. The purchaser’s face seems to drop, just a hint, before they claw through their pockets for that last coin which will guarantee they get to ferry all their glorious findings back home.

I accept the wilted bills and grubby coins, slathered with sweat and pocket lint, and lay them in the creaking register drawer, taking care to not touch the unidentified sticky mass on the bottom. I fold the rags, place them gingerly into an open garbage sack and pass the parcel into the eager hands of its new owner. With a grin and wave, they bid me “Good day!”, and hurry off to enjoy their prize.

Sometimes, the face turns ashen and they mumble, “I’ll be back tomorrow, then.”, after they’ve heard the price. They walk a little stooped, then, as they turn to leave and I know I will not see them tomorrow.

Sweat drips down my back as I empty the dressing area of the rejects and prepare them to rejoin their comrades in the rainbow, reeking of failure and fitting a little less snugly on the hangers.

I can feel hope wanting to be here. It peeks in through the front window glass, makes sure there is no room for it here, and sighs.

This is what I do to earn a meager wage, made all the more insulting by the sweltering conditions inside this metal box which serves as the thrift shop, since someone stole the a/c.

My back aches and my feet are screaming but they say this will pass, with time. So will I if I remain a tourist here in the land of loss and memory.

It took six years…

It was the first time, and it wouldn’t be the last.

He wrote the alphabet with his crayon, all over his high seat…well, the tray part anyway. He was thirteen months old and as he wrote the letters, he sang the song that went with them.

A…B…C…D…E… and so on. His voice was raspy, hoarse but beautiful. It sounded more like he was feeling the words rather than hearing them.

It was funny, the way he would feel our throats and put his tiny hand to our lips when we spoke to him, as if he wanted to figure out what we said by the way our vocal chords moved and the air came from our mouths.

Then he stopped. He quit writing, quit singing, stopped speaking or putting his hands near our faces when we spoke. It was disturbing, fascinating and worrisome all at once. We didn’t know what to make of it at first.

Then he quit eating all of the good things he’d loved before. No more peas, spaghetti and meatballs, carrots or greens. All he ate was peanut butter and jelly, graham crackers and mac-n-cheese.

We had his ears checked, many times, by his pediatrician but she always said all was well. We got lucky one day when she had a new assistant in the office. The lady took one look and told us his earwax was impacted. We’d need to get it removed. He was just over two years old.

It took the specialist two and a half hours to clear his ears. He remembers it still and he freaks out when the docs need to check his ears. We had the follow-up hearing tests and when we were certain he could hear again, we fired the pediatrician.

It was more than just his infant deafness, though. He still didn’t speak or sing, didn’t respond to his name or instructions. So we found a pediatric behavioral doctor. Less than fifteen minutes in her office and she confirmed what we’d suspected. He’s autistic.

“What do we do now?”, we’d asked. Research and worry, pour through misinformation and fear mongering to get to something which resembled sanity and logic. Some advice which was not behavioral therapy, ABA therapies, institutionalization or medication. (Not that I completely dismiss those options when nothing else works, but those methods were not for us.)

We settled on speech therapy, equine therapy and integration. He was four years old.

He began to make noise again. It was not speaking or singing, but it was something. We got to know his noises as a language in its own right. He had happy noises and sad ones, angry noises and hurt ones, too. It’s like learning your baby’s cries all over again. All parents know the difference between the “I’m bored” cry and the “I’m hungry” cry.

At five and a half, we sent him to school. Public school with a specific IEP tailored to his individual needs. He loved school and they did the best they could. They were a small school in the country so access to resources were limited, at best.

We moved to the city October 2015. He is in the special school district but goes to public school in a segregated classroom. He spends 90% of his day with his special teachers and therapists and the rest with his neurotypical peers.

Yesterday, he read a book to me. He speaks in words, not sentences yet. He writes again, too. The best part is he sings again. He sings Lady Gaga, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Spongebob, and anything else he discovers that he loves. He says “I love you, mama”! He is seven years old.

It was the first time, and it turned out not to be the last! I think we’re going to make it after all.

 

 

Make a List

What I am…

What am I…

  1. Mother
  2. Wife
  3. Housekeeper (debatable)
  4. Chauffeur
  5. Shopper
  6. Appointment Setter
  7. Travel Agent
  8. Film Critic
  9. Sketch Artist (debatable)
  10. Painter
  11. Writer (…)
  12. Singer
  13. Dog Walker
  14. Seamstress
  15. Event Planner
  16. Chef
  17. Short Order Cook
  18. Waitress
  19. Yeller (yes, it is a thing)
  20. Disciplinarian
  21. Teacher
  22. Preacher (Not Religious)
  23. Moderator
  24. Monitor
  25. Student (of everything)
  26. Gamer (when I have time…HA)
  27. Proofreader (even when I don’t want to)
  28. Editor
  29. Doctor
  30. Nurse
  31. Dentist
  32. Caregiver
  33. Hair Stylist
  34. Alarm Clock
  35. Survivor

What was I…all of the above and:

  1. Accountant
  2. Personnel Manager
  3. Customer Service Specialist
  4. Human Relations Specialist
  5. Payroll Specialist
  6. Payables Clerk
  7. Receivables Clerk
  8. IRS Liaison
  9. Tax Consultant
  10. Financial Consultant
  11. Machine Operator
  12. Personal Banker
  13. Business Banker
  14. Financial Manager
  15. Errand Runner
  16. Shipper
  17. Receiver
  18. Packer
  19. Stacker
  20. Inventory Manager
  21. Receptionist
  22. Administrative Assistant
  23. Personal Assistant
  24. Health Plan Administrator
  25. Insurance Company Liaison
  26. Victim

Ok, so most of the first list falls under the main heading of Mother but it is important to lay it all out because it’s so much more than those six letters can reasonably hold.

The second list is everything I did at my last “job”.  I quote “job” because I got paid for doing those things at a location which was not my home.

I will dive in to why I am no longer the things in the second list soon, stay tuned for a new “I want to be…” post for those answers.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Open

Here it is. Oaken and heavy, it stands eight feet high, with an imposing iron knocker in the shape of a ship’s anchor and large, old, iron hinges. There is no handle on the outside, and no visible lock. The casement is thick, and pitted, weathered but not deteriorating.

It just showed up, one Thursday, here in the middle of everywhere and attached to nothing but its casement and the stairs.

I thought it was just one of those temporary art installations, you know the type, that show up over night and are gone in the next few days. We all did. Then it was gone, an hour after I first noticed it.

The collective inclination was that someone had complained to the authorities and it had been removed, which was probably at least partly true. This sort of thing was not new, some starving artist decides to get noticed by creating an impossibility amid the masses only to have it be misunderstood, unappreciated, and subsequently destroyed.

We forgot about it once it had gone. Didn’t even think about it again until it showed up the next week. This time the news crews were at it, posing questions and speculations and pleading for the artist(s) to come forward and claim their work.

No one did and, for the next several months, it was a sensation in the world. The internet, newspapers, TV shows were all abuzz. How did it happen? Where had it come from? Why would nobody claim the thing?

Obviously it was good for the community, people would come from anywhere to behold the “magic door”. Tourism boomed and the strip flourished as never before. A new trinket shop opened after the second week, how they came upon so many door-themed baubles we may never know. They wore t-shirts, carried signs, had buttons and bumper stickers, there was talk of a movie or play being written, billboards were put up, posters displayed, shop windows decorated with the newest majestic theme.

In the interim, people held meetings about the door. The military came to inspect it, scientists in tow. Scrapings for carbon dating were taken, machines designed to measure everything from radiation to ectoplasm were waved at the thing. Opponents posted PSAs and warned of impending doom, religious groups praised it as a sign from some deity or other. Ultimately, it was deemed non-hazardous by whatever authority was responsible for that.

Then, as quickly as it began, it ended. Before long, people stopped talking about it, stopped staring, stopped touching and taking snap shots. It was accepted by most as just another part of our lives. Nothing miraculous or spectacular, or even remotely interesting after a while. It would show up on Thursday morning and be gone before noon and everyone accepted that.

There were, of course, a few holdouts, myself included. We were dubbed “The Cult of the Door from Nowhere”, bit lengthy title in my opinion but who am I to judge? We, the others and I, just didn’t want to give up on the thing. Maybe my life is just that mundane and uninteresting or perhaps I am delusional and want it to notice me. It’s a bit like playing lottery, you never know if you don’t buy a ticket.

So, I rearranged my work schedule with the jeers of my coworkers and sneer from my boss always hounding me. I arrived at the site every Thursday and waited for my door. I sat with it until it disappeared, talking to it all the while. It became a sort of surrogate friend or child even, because when it got dirty from sitting there, I cleaned it and when it rained I dried it off. In winter, when it snowed, I brought blankets to keep us warm.

The others began to worry about me because while they were at the door every Thursday, like me, their lives didn’t revolve round it. They would climb be the steps and knock in whatever way they chose, then be off on their daily errands. I have come to terms with the probability that everyone thinks I’ve gone mad and it may be true that I have, but I will not abandon my door. If it never reciprocates, that will be fine because it knows me better than anything else in this world. It is my friend and I need it.

No one can be seen in any direction today, strange. Typically there are at least a dozen people walking to work at this hour. The others should be headed down the walk; we have gathered here every week for a year, but today is eerily quiet. There aren’t even cars moving on the roadway. People should be milling about and doing their daily things at least, but there is nobody. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen anything alive all day…

The door materializes, just like always, right at my feet. I dismiss the strangeness of the day, my friend is here now and that’s what matters. I climb the steps, like always. I place my hand on the knocker and …