Hello people! Hope this Friday (or Saturday if you are living on the other side of the world) finds you well and planning a wonderful weekend!
Today’s short story was first written in 2012. A different sort of writing for me. I enjoyed it, hope you do too.
They sat, barely touching. The fire crackled softly in front of them. It was cold, but they didn’t feel it. The night sky was full of stars, brightly shining down upon the two. Their soft voices mingled with the slight breeze, wafting upwards among the trees.
They smiled, their quiet laughter muffled under the blanket wrapped around them. The night was quiet, beautiful. It was just the two of them. Hands would touch, then flutter away like birds newly learning to fly. The little puffs of mist when they breathed entwined like lovers.
The snow glistened in the moonlight. Sparkling like a spread of precious gems laid out before them. The small creatures that would normally be heard scuttling in the bushes were quiet this night.
Soft cloth enfolding them in its fibers. Making two seem as one. They exchanged ideas, words flowed freely between the two. They spoke of faraway lands, of people known and cared about. Each so different from the other, yet each the same.
With each word, each idea, each story they grew closer. The found that even though they lived very different lives, they were still the same inside.
I watch him out of the corner of my eye as I do the daily dishes. I’m worried about him, as he hasn’t eaten in a couple of days. He has hardly moved from his bed in the same amount of time.
I know I can’t nag him to eat. I’ve tried that in the past and it just makes us both miserable. I feel bad because the other day he asked for something special to eat and I had to tell him no. Not because I wouldn’t cook it because we had no money to buy it to cook. He didn’t seem to understand when I explained it to him.
He doesn’t understand lots of things now. It saddens me, but I have learned not to let it linger in my mind. It’s not his fault. It’s the fault of his medications. The strong pain pills he takes several times a day. They have robbed him of his sharp mind like the pain has robbed him of his appetite, his focus, his ability to function like he used to.
When we moved into this 30-year-old mobile home almost 2 years ago. We decided to put his twin size bed in the living room. He loves his TV, but the couch was too uncomfortable for him to lay on all day. So we got rid of the old loveseat and put in a twin bed we got for free. It has worked out well. The TV gives him something to do.
I watch him as I do the dishes. I see the deep furrows of pain on his face. I wish I could do something more for him but I know I can’t. Soon his afternoon pills will take effect, his eyes will gloss over, the furrows won’t be quite so deep. For a little while.
I finish the last dish, put it in the dish rack to air dry, wipe my hands and make myself another cup of coffee. I’ve been in the kitchen for 45 minutes and not a word was spoken between him and I. Just the sound of the TV going and the clink of dishes being cleaned.
I walk down the hall to my office and sit down with my coffee cup in hand. Taking small sips, I think about the last time we spoke to each other. Was it yesterday? Or the day before? I lay my head back and close my eyes. We don’t speak much anymore. I’ve learned to accept it. As I’ve learned to accept a lot of things the last few years.
I could sink into a pool of self-pity, but why? It’s not his fault he became disabled, so racked with pain that taking a simple shower has to be planned ahead of time, just so the pain will be somewhat manageable.
I could rage at the universe and cry an ocean of tears. Again, why? The universe is not to blame for the circumstances that made us lose our home and come to live in a broken down trailer. It’s a roof over our heads and heat in the winter.
I could rail against it all. I have in the past, I won’t lie about that. I’m human, with faults. So, I railed against something him and I had no control over. I cried, I felt sorry for myself. Worse of all, I wanted to leave. I wanted to run away from the pain. His pain and mine. I wanted to run fast and as far as I could. Half way across the world.
I didn’t run. I couldn’t run. I won’t run.
Instead, I learned compassion. Compassion for him. He doesn’t want to be in this much pain. Every single day, every single minute, to live in pain. Who would want that? So I find my compassion for him. My patience. My desire to help ease his suffering if I can. Which I can’t.
I can only help him suffer less. I will settle for that.
I have also learned to have compassion for myself. That was the hardest part. To be gentle with myself as much as I am gentle with him. I make mistakes, I lose my temper, I get frustrated, I get depressed. It’s ok to feel all these things. I will NOT beat myself up over having these feelings because they never last. I can’t let them. I won’t let them. I feel them and then I let them go without the guilt.
I open my eyes, sip my coffee and keep an ear out for him as I face my computer and do what I know I’m good at. Writing words.
I write the words I cannot speak out loud. I write the words that my soul feels. I write the words that I have learned. I write my heart. That’s how I learn compassion all over again.
I know I haven’t shown up for a while with a new post. Although I’ve been busy. I do have a couple of things I have been working on, but they aren’t ready to be posted yet. One is another chapter to my story ‘The Man in the Fedora’. So stay tuned!
For now, I am stealing an idea from Mer over at Knocked Over by a Feather. She of course got it from someone else. It seems to be the go to post for us that have nothing otherwise for today. 😉
We answer 15 questions. I thought the questions were pretty good ones. So here we go!
What do you think you can do but can’t?
Well, I had to think about this one. Is it a trick question? LOL
I think I can do what I could do 20 years ago, but I can’t. I’m not as young, agile or have the want to that I had back then. Damn, it’s hard getting old. Some days I find just getting out of bed a trial. (By the way, my new mattress is oh so comfy! I had to get used to it! Isn’t that funny?)
What’s a difficult word for you to pronounce?
I find that I have become adept at using different words that I CAN pronounce. There are words that seem to get me every time. Like, cacophony, I never get that right! Or, entrepreneurship. I still can’t say it right the first time.
What are your favorite TV shows from your childhood?
The memories come sweeping back. Let’s see, The A Team, Twilight Zone, Taxi, The Carol Burnett Show, Kung Fu, just to name a few.
What are your virtues and vices?
Virtues; honesty, loyalty, trustworthy.
Vices; my temper, sarcastic, sometimes I’m a bit of a nitpick. oh, and I also like to play devil’s advocate.
What’s more important: love, fame, power, or money?
Love is more important, but I wouldn’t mind having some money for a change, you know, just to see what it’s like.
If you could live in any era/time period, when would it be and why?
Mer said the 60’s and I kind of agree. I also always wanted to try the 20’s, before the depression. Seemed like a fun time to be in. Think of flappers and a more innocent time.
If you had to redo your entire wardrobe with 2 stores, what would they be and why?
Well, this one was hard because I hate to shop, especially clothes. So I had to really think about it. I do know of an online store I love called OneStopPlus. I have found things to wear that actually fit a vertically challenged person such as myself! I can order pants that I don’t have to hem! Plus their t-shirts come long, just like I love them. They are reasonably priced even with shipping and they have a wide assortment of things to choose from. The other store would probably be a thrift store.
Can you recall what you were doing a year ago on this day?
More than likely just what I am doing today. Blogging, taking care of my disabled husband and assorted critters.
Do you have reoccurring dreams? If so, explain?
I do have a few recurring dreams. The first one is that I win the lottery. I have been having this dream for the last 5 years or so. At least once a week I have that dream, I win about 5 million and my family is on the phone wanting part of it and I tell them to kiss my butt. LOL I know sounds terrible, but only if you didn’t know my family.
Another one is I am talking to my Dad. He passed about 11-12 years ago. We are having a conversation. The conversations are usually about fate, our ability to change, and various other topics. I always feel so close to him with these dreams. It’s a nice feeling.
What’s your horoscope?
I’m a Virgo with Leo tendencies. Roar! LOL
Virgo Horoscope for February 19 2015: Family gives you a sense of structure and permanence. Turn to your relatives if you are feeling restless. Are you estranged from your kin? Create a support network consisting of friends, neighbors, and colleagues. Everybody should belong to a tribe. When they don’t, feelings of vulnerability can be overwhelming. Fortunately, you have many fine qualities that people admire. Your wit, intelligence and practicality will make you a valued member of a distinguished community.
What does your dream bedroom look like?
This is what it would look like! Perfect!
What position do you sleep in?
I’m a side sleeper. Lately though I have caught myself sleeping on my back. Never did before. As long as I sleep, who cares!
What are your all-time favorite films?
For me this is a tough one as I don’t watch movies very often. Hardly never, in fact. But, a couple of movies I saw years ago comes to mind.
A Christmas Carol with George C Scott
Anything with Jackie Chan, not because he has a great name (even though he does). Because he’s funny and I love to watch his fight scenes.
What makeup are you currently wearing?
None. Haven’t since I had a job outside the home. Au Natural baby!
Do you have neat handwriting? Show us!
Not sure if it’s neat or not. But, it’s mine!
And so that concludes this week’s questions and answers! If you want to do this, please feel free to do so!
Now you know I just had to do this Silly Sunday Edition about the movie and book everyone is talking about. That’s right, 50 Shades of Grey!
Have you read the book or watched the movie? I have done neither I must admit. I don’t see it happening at any time. So I decided this will be my one and only nod to the story that seems to be on everyone’s mind.
Hope your day is being good to you. For this week’s Flash Back Friday I’m bringing back a story I wrote in September of 2012. It came from some research I was doing for something else. I stumbled across the term ‘taxi dancer’ and had to look it up as it fascinated me. Still does. Hope you enjoy my little story and if you are interested the Wikipedia link for the term taxi dancer is here. Thanks!
After the song ended, Anita sat at her table and wished she could take her shoes off and rub her tired, achy feet. But, she knew the music would start again in a few minutes and there would be another man holding out his 10 cent ticket to her. They would dance, maybe have a few snippets of conversation if he was talkative. If the man was on the shy side the dance would be quiet.
If Anita liked the look of the man, she would try to get him to talk. Most times not though. It was a job. Times were tough, she had to help with the family finances and this was better than nothing. She got this job because she could dance. She always loved to dance, even when she was little, Mama would catch her dancing all over their tiny apartment. Now that Mama was sick, it was up to her to pay the bills. So she came to the Taxi Dancehall and got a job.
The job was tiring and she usually went home with sore feet and achy muscles, but it never stopped her from returning the next day. The pay was fair, mostly because she was one of the most popular Taxi’s there. Men enjoyed dancing with her and she had her weekly regulars. She knew that some dancers working there did ‘side jobs’, but she wasn’t one of them. She was a good girl and she couldn’t shame Mama that way.
Anita heard the band start another song and just like always, there was a man standing in front of her with his 10 cent ticket in his hand. Without even glancing up at the man’s face, she took his ticket and stuck it inside the small black purse dangling from her wrist. She stood up and took his outstretched hand, finally tilting her head up and see who it was. This one she didn’t know, he was a new face in the crowd. The handsome young man smiled at her and led her to the dance floor.
They glided smoothly across the oak floor. Not speaking. Anita was okay with that, there didn’t seem to be a need to talk. She thought he was an excellent dancer, better than most of her ticket holders. She felt comfortable. As they twirled once more around, he finally spoke in a soft deep voice. “I’m glad my buddy talked me into coming here tonight.”
“Why is that?” Anita asked.
“Because I just met the most beautiful woman, who dances like an angel.”
“I bet you say that to all the ladies” Anita joked.
“Only you,” he said. “Only you from now on,” he whispered.
First, I want to thank everyone who donated to my fundraiser for a new mattress! You guys are the best and I ❤ each one of you.
Now for the really exciting news! I have purchased a new mattress and it came yesterday! Yay!!
I have before and after pictures to show you! With a bit of Jackie weirdness thrown in. What can I say? You love me anyway, right?
So first, let’s say bye-bye to the old, devilish mattress, shall we?
No! That’s not real blood, although most nights it felt like it should have been. Don’t let the good looks fool you people. It was a devil bed! Evil I tell you! If you look close at the headboard you will see how the mattress is not straight across, it starts high, dips, then goes high again. It felt a lot worse than it looks. The only reason it looks good is because it’s been protected by a mattress protector. Believe me, it was not a nice mattress.
Now, on to the new!
First I went looking for a mattress when I couldn’t stand it one more night. All the generous friends that donated made this trip possible. The Brick, a furniture store in town had a big mattress sale going on. Half off! So I jumped at the chance. Took the money you all gave me out of the goodness of your hearts and bought a new mattress!
They wouldn’t let me take pictures inside the store, but I did manage to get a shot of the outside. It was a nice sunny day too, a harbinger of better things? Perhaps!
I knew what I wanted, the type of mattress, so I was on a mission!
I talked to the nice salesman, Daryl. He was very helpful and not at all pushy. I told him what I wanted and he showed me a few mattress’s. The first one was nice, real nice, but out of my price range. Why are mattress’s so expensive?
Anyway, he showed me another one, but it was not comfortable to me at all. I told him how much I had to spend and he showed me another one. Yes! I found the mattress for me. So I bought it. Now, I had to wait 4 more days till they could get it in the store and for me to pick up. Dammit!
Wait I did. My husbands son offered to pick it up for me on Tuesday with his truck. He didn’t think it would fit in my minivan. Hey, I’ll take help when I can get it! So off we went on Tuesday morning to pick up my new angelic mattress! Yay!!!
I couldn’t seem to be able to shoot a pic of the new mattress without Sam being in it. So here it is! No dips, no broken springs, no more evil!
I slept on it last night for the first time. It will take some adjustment on my part, as I’m not used to this! It’s soft and level and now I can even sleep on my right side! With the old mattress I couldn’t because it was just too uncomfortable with the right side being higher. It just killed my old joints.
This morning, my knee felt better, I felt better. So thank you again kind, generous friends. This means the world to me. If there is anything I can do to help you or someone else I will! No hesitation! Pay it forward!
. The theme this year is games. I want some form of a game to be involved in your creation. Anything that involves competition between two or more participants is allowed… board games, sports, multiplayer video games, children’s activities… etc.
It also must have at least 2 different species of animals. So I thought who better than my world-famous Sam! Of course, I had to add that devilish duo The Cats, Notwen and Pouncer. They are always trying to outmaneuver each other. Silly things.
Friday again! How the time passes quickly. The first week of February already done! Hope your weekend is extra special.
I’m in a good mood today, so for Flash Back Friday I thought I would bring back a ‘feel good’ story I did almost 2 years ago. I did some editing, as usual, so I do hope you enjoy and come away feeling good too.
Two Coffee’s, Please
She was new to town and found this quaint little coffee shop a block from her new house. So every morning the past few weeks, she took a leisurely stroll to stop in and have her first cup of the day. She sat at the big picture window to watch the town come to life slowly, enjoying the friendliness of the owner of the shop as she stopped by her table with a cheery hello.
She had moved from the big city a year after her divorce. That was 6 months ago. She did freelance writing work for the local newspaper and for a few top magazines. She might not have been able to save her 5-year marriage, but she was able to save her sanity by moving here. A small friendly town. Lots of nice helpful people. Strangers, all of them. It was sad that she felt more at home now with these strangers then with the “friends” she had left behind in the big city.
She had gotten tired of the awkward conversations. The pitying looks. The fake “I’m so sorry things didn’t work out” from people she knew weren’t sorry at all. When you divorced a rich, high-powered lawyer, who turned out to be a rich, high-powered scumbag, things got a bit messy. And ugly. So she left. Goodbye scumbag, goodbye fake friends, goodbye ugly.
She smiled and took a sip from her rapidly cooling cup of coffee. Debating whether to have another to indulge herself or head back towards home, she noticed the man come into the shop.
For two weeks, she watched the same handsome man do exactly the same thing. He would walk in, glance around briefly, walk to the counter to order his cup of coffee. One cream, no sugar. Just how she liked hers. Then he would sit at a table next to the wall, open his morning paper and read it while sipping his cup of joe. After exactly half an hour, no more, no less, he would fold up his paper. Reach in his pocket for change that he left near the empty cup, smile at the owner and leave.
It was fascinating to her that he did this every morning, without fail. Never once changing his actions. Obviously a man of habit. She gave a small self-deprecating laugh. She shouldn’t be noticing handsome strangers. For all she knew, he could be married with five kids. Or be another scumbag. And one in her lifetime was enough! Feeling satisfied with her reasoning she left, waving goodbye to the owner.
The next morning arrived in a blustery, dreary, looking like rain, fall light. She debated going for her usual walk to get her cup of coffee. She had a brand new coffee pot at home she could use. It was sitting on her kitchen counter just waiting to be filled with fresh hot brew. Instead, she found herself locking up her house as she set off towards the coffee shop. She smiled as she walked briskly down the sidewalk. The fall wind at her back, pushing her onwards. The dry crackling leaves swirling around her feet.
As she came closer to her now favorite coffee shop she noticed a familiar tall handsome figure just walking through the door ahead of her. He was early today, she thought to herself. For some reason, she felt a flicker of anxiety. Every morning since she first noticed him he never deviated from his routine. Always the same time he arrived, always the same time he left. She wondered if something was wrong today.
She opened up the door and was greeted with the smell of freshly ground coffee. The shop was gratefully warm and cozy. She saw the handsome man standing at the counter. As she approached to give her usual order she noticed the owner on the phone. The woman gave a small friendly wave and mouthed, ‘be right there’.
She waited, wondering if she should attempt some small talk when she heard a deep soft voice state, “I notice you’re here every morning”. Nodding her head she looked up into hazel eyes, darkly fringed.
“So are you” she stated as she smiled into a wide-set face with a slight dusting of freckles. The face went well with the reddish-brown hair falling over his forehead.
“I enjoy the walk before work. And I enjoy good coffee. So I get both every morning.”
She watched his lips turn up into a smile and found herself drawn to the man. She liked how he looked. Friendly, interesting, open, just like the small town she has come to love. She felt the beginnings of interest flicker in her mind as he introduced himself as the local hardware store owner. He engulfed her smaller hand in a warm handshake that lingered just a bit.
She told him she was new to town and was a freelance writer for the local paper.
When they heard a cheerful ‘hello’, they both slowly faced the woman behind the counter as she stood waiting for them to order. The man then said in his deep soft voice, “Two coffee’s, please. One cream, no sugar”.
Most people who know me, here in the virtual world and in the real world, don’t realize how I’ve suffered from depression and anxiety attacks in my life. Why? Because I don’t talk about it. I put on my happy face or my face that says, “don’t come near me” and go about my life.
I’ve touched on it briefly in one or two past posts, that’s about it. I’ve seen more and more blogs with the title ‘Blogging for Mental Health’ or something similar. A lot of my blogging buddies are writing posts on their battles with different mental health issues.
Now it’s time for me to do the same. If I can help just one person, then I’ve done a good thing. I’ve kept quiet about my issues because that is how I was raised and taught. You have a problem? Don’t tell. You were abused? Don’t tell. You are depressed? Don’t tell. You can’t step a foot out the front door because it terrifies you? Don’t tell. Make up excuses for not leaving the house for days at a time, weeks at a time. Sometimes, months at a time.
I’ve never been professionally diagnosed with these mental health issues. I’ve never talked to a therapist, psychologist, or any other medical person about these things. I’ve read though, I’ve read books, journals, and anything else I could find about depression and anxiety attacks.
I’ve gone through months and even more than a year inside a deep dark hole, where all I wanted was my life to end. I would say that’s depression. I fight it every single day that I breathe. That deep dark hole is a terrifying place to be.
I’ve gone months and more without stepping foot outside my front door. I would go to the door, open the door and be terrified. I was positive that if I walked outside something bad would happen to me. I would then slam the door shut and make sure it was locked, then I would go and check all the windows and other doors in the house to make sure they were locked.
Then I would sit down with my fur babies and cry. Because deep down I knew it was wrong to feel this way.
I managed, by myself to crawl out of that deep dark hole of depression and stay out. It’s a fight, but I do it daily. I managed to walk out my front door and rejoice in the sunlight on my face. I did it without professional help. It’s not something I would recommend. I did it without drugs or therapy, but again, not something I recommend. It’s hard. It’s damn near impossible.
Most days I wonder if I have the strength to keep doing it.
Why did I decide to ‘come out’? It’s time. It’s time to help some others if I can. It’s time to quit being afraid of telling.
When I saw the blog posts going up around me and then checked out Blog For Mental Health 2015, I knew it was time I started talking about my mental health too. So during this year I will be writing more posts on my depression and anxiety attacks and how I overcome them. How I can keep smiling real smiles and how I can walk out my front door without fear.
I will also be talking about the times I can’t overcome the darkness or the fear.
“I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2015 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.”