September 3, 2009
Originally posted February 7, 2008. (Hey, I’m feeling nostalgic. So sue me.)
Alli stood at my left shoulder, resting her chin on the back of my chair to peek at whatever it was on my computer screen that held my attention. I could feel her there, fidgety and anxious, waiting as patiently as she knew how until I finished typing. Her warm breath tickled my neck, and I smiled to myself. I turned away from the computer (these days it is always the computer) to give her a smile, and that is when it happened. That is when I saw her.
Really saw her.
Of course you saw her, dipstick, you think to yourself. You were looking right at her. And you’d be right, of course, except for the “dipstick” part, because that is just plain rude. I looked at her. Of course I looked at her. But it was what I saw that startled me.
I’m not going to spout any hackneyed verbiage about seeing her “with new eyes” or “for the first time.” Nor will I wax allegorical about seeing beyond the outward appearance of those around us. Nope. It was simpler than that. I wasn’t seeing her anew; I was just… seeing her. Her sea green eyes, one magnified by a coke bottle lens, but both shining up at me, full of depth and warmth. The freckle on her chin. The wisps of unruly hair that danced around her hairline, escaped from the confines of her ponytail. The sweet little nose. The determined tilt of her chin, seemingly at odds with the amiable set of her lips. The almost palpable energy radiating from her body as her excitement and vitality threatened to spill over, to overwhelm me with, just… her, all of her, even as she struggled for composure.
She was so beautiful in that moment. Ethereal, yet so very real. I literally ached with the beauty of her. All of her. In that moment, she wasn’t just a spunky little mini-me with glasses and a propensity for chattering simply for chattering’s sake. I don’t know how else to say it. She was just… herself.
And it was breathtaking.
Alli shook my shoulder. “Mom? Momma?” She peered into my eyes, and a shadow of concern crossed her face.
Just a moment had gone by–seconds, really–but I felt both physically and emotionally exhausted, absolutely spent, as if I’d been traveling for weeks in some far off place and I was finally returning home. Trying to get my bearings.
I blinked a few times, fast, winking away any tears that dared to escape. I showed my tear ducts who’s boss, so to speak. “Yes, sweetie?” I finally answered.
“I love you.”
Now, I know for a fact that she had been about to ask me, “Can I read to you?” Because that is what she always asks when her homework is finished and she needs to read for twenty minutes for her reading log. But she changed the program.
“I love you, too,” I replied, then pulled her into my arms for a hug.
“I know,” she said simply. Then, “Momma?” she asked as she gently disentangled herself from my arms, arms which may or may not have been holding her a teensy bit too tightly.
“Can I read to you?”
After a momentary glitch, we were back to our regularly scheduled program. All was well in the world.
But now, as I think back to that moment, I can’t help but wonder if Alli veered off-script because at that moment, that exact moment when she looked into my eyes… she saw me, too.
November 18, 2008
When shattering glass hits tile it makes a beautiful tinkling melody, light and ethereal, like distant wind chimes or water washing over pebbles in one of those meditation fountains you can buy at the Just Like On TV store in the mall. I could hear it so clearly, the melody, more real to me than the faraway sounds of car alarms, shouts, and sirens. From where I lay, sprawled on the ground, my head lolling to the side, I could see the glass skittering across the floor in slow motion, catching the rays of sunlight that shone in through the jagged hole partially filled with—what? an SUV?—where a solid glass door had been just moments before. The effect of the light on glass was dazzling. A haphazard prism.
I heard someone calling my name, but I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the glass. Rainbows of color all around me. So pretty.
It was a dream. All a dream. Shattered glass, faraway voices, something dark and red slowly seeping out and away… Oh, no. No, no, no.
The reunion newspaper article. An afternoon spent poring through old yearbooks in the school library. The deafening squeal of rubber on asphalt just as I rounded the corner of the deserted school hallway. Flying metal and exploding glass knocking me off my feet. Papers I had spent hours gathering flying every which way. A sudden violent pain searing through my chest. A tidal wave of agony washing over me, before dissipating into a dull, faraway ache wholly unconnected to me. Not me. Not real. Only a dream. I could not be lying in a pool of shattered glass and blood. Blood. My blood?
“I want to wake up now.” Did I say it? Did I think it? I was awake in a dream. That was it. I closed my eyes, shut out the glass, the tile, the rainbow colors, the stuff that wasn’t–couldn’t be!– blood. Wake up, wake up, wake up…
“Juliet? Stay with me. Please, Juliet, stay…”
Someone knelt next to me and swore softly. I felt a hand brush gently against my cheek, wiping away splinters of glass. It stung. Like needles. Like bee stings. The person gasped. I moaned. Suddenly my button-up shirt was ripped open. Mind muddled, I tried to remember if I had picked out a cute bra that morning. But it didn’t matter. Not really. Medical professional. Plus, dreaming. I felt a tug, followed by a fieriness that radiated across my abdomen. Warm hands felt their way across my stomach, coming to rest in exactly the spot that, when pressure was applied, caused shooting pains of white-hot heat to explode in my head, illuminating the insides of my eyelids to a blinding pinkish-white.
I was definitely awake.
I gasped and struggled to move, but quickly realized that the movement only made things worse. Much worse.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” the voice whispered. “Pulled out the glass… have to apply pressure, I’m sorry…”
I blinked, groggy, foggy, and could just make out a person, a male person. He had his hands on my belly, and was leaning in to look at my face. He was close, I could feel him, but it was as if I was looking at him from the end of a long, dark tunnel, with the sun illuminating him from behind, obscuring his face in shadows. He smelled faintly of the ocean, and where his hands pressed, I burned.
“It’s not time yet,” the voice whispered, his lips so close to my ear they grazed against it softly. “You have to hang on. Stay here… stay…”
Where am I going to go? I thought to say, but keeping my eyes open was struggle enough. He continued murmuring words of encouragement, but his voice grew softer and was finally drowned out by a wave of darkness roaring towards me. I gazed up at the shadowed face once more, caught a glimpse of dark eyes, wide and panicked, eyebrows raised almost into his hairline, and for a split second I could see myself reflected in his eyes, strands of my dark hair plastered to my bloodied cheeks as I lay pale and still beside him, my body peppered with slivery shards of glass. I wanted to say something like “who are you?” or how I wasn’t ready to die yet, thank you very much, but all that came was a gentle sigh as I let the dark wave wash over me and carry me away.
Two weeks ago I died. So here’s my question: Why did I have to die to finally feel alive?
October 3, 2008
But what geniuses planned a novel writing month RIGHT during prime tv-watching season?! Huh?! It’s almost as if they don’t WANT us watching television in our free time… Honestly. There’s only so many hours in a DAY, people! Good LORD.
See, it’s all about priorities…
May 22, 2008
There are thoughts being thunk. I promise! But I’m in a funk. Not to mention the fact there are, unfortunately, not enough hours in my day to plunk out said thoughts being thunk…
Aaaaaand now I’ve gone all Theodor Seuss Geisel on your ass– er, bootays. How incredibly lame.
I need a vacation.
That being said, I have a story. It’s a good one. It involves six impatiently eager children, six gaily wrapped presents, one tinsel-covered Christmas tree, and a dream. Oh, and Uncle Ron. We can’t forget him. This story spans years and years and has recently come to a rather interesting conclusion. Or beginning. I don’t know…
When I gather the thoughts I’ve thunk, the keys I will plunk.
Oh, dear lord. I’m LAAAAAAAAAME.
Until I get my blog on, feel free to click over to TechnoGeekery for my latest shows:
Seriously. What the widget?! Did anyone ELSE know a person with Safari and Leopard could DO this?! SWEET.
* Plus, to prove people watch, I need your videos now! Send whatever you want, except porn ain’t allowed! (Hey, that sounds like a song…)
May 8, 2008
I recently stumbled across the following post, which I wrote way, waaaay back in May of ’05. In all honesty, it made my heart hurt a little to re-read it. Who knew I could be introspective and poignant? Sometimes? Okay, I may have even teared up a bit. Just a little! I know, right? Me? BIG BABY. Deal with it. Re-reading the post also inspired in me a wicked craving for a donut. Go figure.
In any event, I thought I would share. Or, rather, re-share. Share again? Whatev. You know what I’m saying.
I have no desire to be enigmatic.
But it is a scary place, my mind. Crowded with jumbled imagery and intricate stories and trivial pop culture references, with nowhere to go. All of the craziness shuffles and scuffles to be forefront in my mind, to be most important. To be first. “Let me out!” it all screams, because it has to go somewhere, right?
Sometimes, when I read a book or I see a movie, I catch the mood of the piece, and I cannot shake it. I am there, and woe unto any who try to break in, to find me. I am in it, and only I can find my way back out. I am not even sure if that makes sense, but it is most definitely the case.
I mean, I know other people can read a book and put it down. Me? I read the fifth Harry Potter book in one night. ONE NIGHT! That freaking book is over 800 pages long! Honestly. It can take me literally hours to stop worrying about the characters in which I have invested my time. I feel their pain, their joy, their despair, their triumphs. If the book is particularly well-done, if the characters are alive, if the mood is fully realized, then it can take me hours to stop feeling the book. To let go of it.
Other people can watch a particularly riveting television show or movie and walk away thinking, “Huh. Good show! What’s for dinner?” Me? I become emotionally invested in the characters. I will obsess about their lives and the “what if’s” for days on end. Weeks, even. Now do not misunderstand. This is not to say I cannot separate the fictional characters from reality. No worries. I absolutely can. What I cannot do, not right away, anyway, is to stop thinking about their stories. Taking them in new directions. I will spend hours weaving new stories for them. Sometimes I even dream new stories. But Leonardo da Vinci said, The eye sees a thing more clearly in dreams than the imagination awake. Dude was a wise Renaissance man, yo?
Which leads me to this: when I write stories? Oh BOY. I am SO living them. And it is so exciting! I get to be someone else! Well, for a little while, anyway. I become Goddess of the Story Universe! Bow to me! Then, inevitably, my characters begin growing and acting out in ways I had not intended, and I just get to go with it, and it is GOOD. Of course, I think this is why I enjoy happy ending so much, formulaic cliche be damned. I need them, or I am lost. Then again, my endings are not always happy. And I absolutely hate that, because I ache for my characters. But I love it, too.
For a long time I thought this craziness had a name. I HAD to give it a name. I was surely bipolar. Manically depressed. Obviously. It was the only explanation for the mood swings, the black days, the deep-rooted dark despair that settled into my mind and would not let go. Right? And what sane, happy person loses herself in television and books? Huh? Normal people with three beautiful kids and TGIM don’t act this way, right? Am I RIGHT?! I hated my career choice, my living situation, my life, and I could not shake the feeling that something was terribly, terribly WRONG with me, because everyone I knew insisted I should be happy, that I should be thankful, that I should just STOP wallowing and get on with living. And I wanted to. I WANTED TO. But I was stuck. So I turned to the happy pills. But the drugs? They did not help. Dispassionateness, for me, was not a cure. It was a bandage.
“You are just like my ex-husband,” my sister said to me. “You can be anything you want to be. Anything but happy.”
Oh, no she DIDN’T.
So I ripped it off that bandage. And I made CHANGES.
I found a job writing and quit my teaching job. I packed up and moved all the way across the United States, not sure when and if TGIM would follow, but sure it was the right thing to do. I began expressing the jumbled imagery, intricate ideas, and trivial pop culture references swirling about in my mind through the magical world of blogging. I made new friends. I discovered the words “job satisfaction” were not mutually exclusive. I pulled myself out of the rut of complacency and fear in which I was trapped and made some personally earth-shattering decisions regarding what I wanted out of life. And, yes, I hurt TGIM and others close to me in the process and, yes, almost lost everything. I know that. I OWN that. But these days? I’m starting to feel as if despite the excruciating pain I caused myself and others, I have gained everything.
TGIM thinks this is The Crazy in me. Sometimes he loves me for it, sometimes… not so much. Me? I am starting to believe The Crazy is simply the artistic temperament in me. And, slowly, oh so slowly, I am learning to embrace it. I am learning how to USE it, to hone it, to bend it to my infinite megalomaniacal will, mwah ha ha ha!…
The other day I stumbled across a quote by Edvard Munch, the artist formerly known as the man who painted The Scream. Okay, he is still known as that, I just like the allusion to Prince. Because Prince ROCKS. Anywhos, Munch wrote of the experience he had which triggered the creation of this masterpiece:
I was out walking with two friends – the sun began to set – suddenly the sky turned blood red – I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence – there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city – my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an endless scream passing through nature.
As I read this I realized, hey, sometimes I sense that Endless Scream, too. I hear it! I KNOW it. And, slowly, I am learning to embrace it. I am learning how to USE it. I know, I know. Inscrutable, much? Talk to my family. But, then again, if I did not see the world this way, if I did not feel the world this way, how could I write? And writing? Makes me feel complete. Utterly, dizzyingly complete.
Well, writing, and a big ol’ cinnamon cake donut. Yummmmmm.
Take that, big sister. I CAN be happy.