I’ll be the first to admit it it. I am a worrier.
And I worry most especially about those for whom I care deeply. But sometimes, I worry about people I don’t even know. Like the elderly woman at Goodwill yesterday, who was unjustly reprimanded by an insensitive and overly zealous clerk for taking her cart into the dressing room area and then having more than three items to try on. (Seriously?) I, in fact, anguished about that woman the rest of the afternoon, hoping her feelings had not been too hurt, or her day completely ruined, by the experience. (Mine probably would have been.)
Of course I worry about Amy. And as the time of her leaving nears, I expect to worry a lot more. I can’t help it. Will she get enough sleep? Get along with her roommate? End up with pneumonia (again?) That sort of thing.
If only I could be assured that in the end, life, weighed in the balance, would be found to be more kind than not, I could stop. Most importantly, that nothing so terrible as to hurt or jade my impossibly beautiful and tender-hearted daughter would ever happen. Then I’d stop worrying.
But for now, I simply am not equipped with an off switch.
I used to wear it on my sleeve. Till it was stolen. Something so valuable is bound to be desired by others. I am heartless now, though I am not hardened-I wore it long enough to give and take my share of love. And my hope is that the one who owns it now might do the same.
By way of explanation, when I came up with this I was thinking about the definition of fenced meaning to sell stolen goods.
If only he’d asked her to. Not because he doubted that she did, but because of what it would have done for him, hearing it. That someone, even one someone, loved him more than anything else in the world. How it would have made them more them.
Prove you love me.
Like her uncle did.
Loved a certain woman despite the fact she was everything his family would have objected to. Loved her enough to ask her daughters for permission to marry her. Loved her so much that as a POW, he must have, for four long years, pined for her to the point of insanity while he withered away in that camp.
And how that woman had proved it too. Keeping the secret of their love, to protect him. Sending her condolences to his family, as merely an acquaintance. That must have nearly killed her.
Prove you love me.
But he never asked.
Then again, there’d never really been anything there to prove.
Inspired by the prompt over at Light and Shade…Prove It
I missed the link up deadline, (the story of my life lately) but still thought I’d post anyway.
It’s a gamble.
Still, look over the past, separate the syrup from the bitters.
Shake it up with n’ice.
And throw the dice.
I am not naming names, but now I know I’m not the only one. Though our quirks manifest themselves in different ways, the revelation that we share them similarly was like a portal of hope opening up in my soul, letting relief shine in.
I’m not sure why some of us with obsessive compulsive disorder have such a thing for numbers. Maybe we all do. I don’t know. I just thought that I was the only person whose daily life was measured in the endless task of counting and repeating in an attempt to bring a sense of order to my world. I’ve been this way since childhood.
But I wasn’t. And the fact that this person who was near and dear to me before is only that much more so now is one of those little unexpected gifts in life that keep us plugging along, but with maybe more of a song in our hearts than a curse on our lips.
So as I fill my water glass and pour it out.
Fill it up and pour it out.
Fill it again and finally take a drink-
I raise it to her, and to all of us who really aren’t so different after all.
In my pitch black soul days.
Bottom of the barrel days.
He (as in He) sent me a pretty clear message that He’d not lost sight of who I was, even if I’d stopped believing it.
Among a confusion of empty bottles and cigarettes left to burn down in ash trays, loud music and a bunch of drunk strangers who’d invaded her home, a terrified five year old girl wandered into that confusion, grabbed ahold of my leg-
And held on for dear life.
I think of that little girl quite often…when I need reminding.
(I get up to close the window and change my mind)
I’ve had too much coffee
I’ve had too little coffee
(I get up to refill my cup and change my mind)
I like what I’m wearing
I like what I’m not wearing
(I get up to change my clothes and change my mind)
There are layers of who I might be
There are layers of who I might not be
I must decide what to keep
I must decide what to discard
(And stop living this double life)
In the days before these days-past days of jam sessions and late night coffee drinking, she used to wear black. However, this is a more recent snapshot, and she is holding it without commitment by a single edge-as though she finds the image to be disquietingly foreign.
The photo does her justice. Or so she has been told. Hairspray subdued curls. Wrinkle-free brown poly cotton skirt worn with ballet flats. And her blouse. Cream colored crystal pleats-and a bow that ties at her neck. She contemplates herself, and doesn’t see justice in the photo at all. Chokes, in fact, at the remembered uncomfortable sensation of the knot against her throat. Strangulation by Dior.
Yesterday evening, she found on the sidewalk leading away from her house, a dead baby bird. Naked brown skin, (much like the hue of that skirt) its tiny corpse already baked by the sun. Resembling a piece of beef jerky. Or more appropriately, bird jerky. (She used to, in those days of jam sessions and late night coffee drinking, be known for her sense of humor.) But now the humor falls flat.
Because it’s all about feathers, and she doesn’t like hers at all.
And while she knows she couldn’t have done a thing to fix that baby bird, as for herself, for now-at least for the herself in the picture, a black Sharpie marker promises to fix everything.
I should have known. I really should have known. Amy had been too quiet, for too long. And when I finally went to her room to see what she was up to, it was too late. Oh sure-there were some red flags in those moments of relaxation that I had been enjoying. But I chose to ignore them.
The scene I encountered when I entered her room was something I can only describe as resembling what I believe would be the beauty parlor from H-E-double toothpicks. One where things have gone horribly wrong-where a hairdresser with a grudge-or some misguided sense of style, has been at work.
There was hair EVERYWHERE. It took me a minute to sort out my confusion. Amy’s hair was a delicate shade of reddish blonde, and there was plenty of that. But I also saw black hair…and brown hair… and something that looked like fur…and I seem to recall some green hair too.
All I can say, is that Amy must have worked very quickly. When I say that the quiet in her room had lasted too long, it couldn’t have been more than 15 or 20 minutes. But put a pair of scissors in the hands of a child on a mission, and it’s long enough.
I don’t know who she started on first-herself, or one of the many stuffed animals that fell victim that day. No one was spared. Not even Willow, who probably figured that hair cutting was just another form of attention. (So that’s where the fur came from.)
Of all the hair cuts given that day-they had one thing in common. Without a doubt, they were all bad. (Amy’s was a real piece of work-cropped down to her scalp in several places.) But at least her haircut and Willow’s haircut were not permanent, and would eventually grow out.
And what did Amy have to say for herself when her handiwork was discovered? I didn’t do it–my stuffed skunk did.
So what do you say to an otherwise good three year old child, who is impossibly cute, telling a bold faced lie while holding a pair of safety scissors in her hand and covered with hair and fur? Well I guess we should send skunk to beauty school then. If’s he’s going to be giving haircuts, he should at least learn to do them right.
Is how I would begin.
There was never any doubt in my mind as to what your name would be.
Based on meaning alone.
And if by chance the name had been different, something awful like…well I don’t want to step on any toes here (imagine the worst name you can think of) then, yes, you would have different initials. (Thankfully, I also happen to think your name is exceptionally beautiful.)
We labored long and hard before we met, you and I. A night. A day. And another night. You arrived so quietly. (You would demonstrate your lung capacity soon enough.) And in that quietness, I loved you enough to know that I would die without you. Yet I was mystified by you, as well. Who you were. My daughter, yes. Even so, all I could tell you of your future as I saw it in those first few minutes and hours and days was nothing more than a scripted list of milestones.
I know you now. Infinitely better than I did then. I’ve had 18 years to learn. Still, there is so much more for me to discover about you-in time.
Your continuing story, as you write it.
(How I wish I could say this aloud to you.)
When the words can come clearly without my voice betraying me.
For today, though,
I know you well enough to know,
you know this.