The Not Ideal, Mighty Fine Work Around

This week’s Turn-a-Trope Tuesday was an interesting one – good people have good sex.  And I couldn’t help myself.  The voice, the story just happened and I’m not going to apologize or take it back.  I will, however, do a warning that it has an adult rating (because sexy talk) and some adult language, so if those two things bother you, then you don’t have to read it.  I won’t be offended, I promise.

I present 999 words, flipping this trope on it’s head (I think):

 The Not Ideal, Mighty Fine Work Around

My name’s Eve and I feel cheated. Not in the way you might think. No one robbed me or swindled me, but I’ve been cheated just the same.

The thing is, no one tells you what to expect. They just assume you know. How that’s even remotely possible, I’m quite sure I don’t know. But I’m here to say that I didn’t know and I’m thinking it would have been only fair if someone had taken the time to tell me so I didn’t have to puzzle through it on my own.

Not that my parents were going to tell me. They wouldn’t talk about sex to save their own life much less mine. Pretty sure their sex life was (is?) about as much fun as getting cat piss out of the carpet. Not that I want to know. Nope. They can just keep their sexy secrets behind closed doors, thank you very much.

See, growing up you watch TV and no, it isn’t porn or anything, but you wind up with certain expectations. Have a glass of wine with a gentleman; wear a dazzling outfit; smooch a bit; everything polished to a perfectly pretty shine. Then the door closes and the scene fades to black and your imagination takes over. And boy could my imagination take over!

It probably didn’t help that I found my parents’ book porn hidden in their room when I was younger. Now, just to clarify unless you go thinking my parents really had porn lying around their house, hidden in their bedroom or not; they didn’t. It was more like steamy romances, which had the same problems as listed above, only book scenes end with, “He took her into the bedroom.” Regardless, I ate that shit up! Had to make sure I put the book back so they wouldn’t notice, but when they were at work, I was in my bedroom poring over lustful words.

So, you might say I had some idea what to expect. But, boy would you be wrong.

There I was, the ripe old age of eighteen years old and me and the sweetie had been dancing around it for a few months. Now, keep in mind that we were both raised in religion, so it’s not like we were excited about this new experience, this sharing of sex with each other. It’s more like we were scared shitless.

But it didn’t matter what we did or how much we tried to stop it. Somehow our hands just ended up all over each other and soon we were lifting clothes and kissing more and farther down…

Well, you get the idea.

It’s not like we talked about it either. There was no “you’re going to do this” then “I’m going to do that” and “I really liked that” and “keep doing that” or “stop that right now!” In fact, I seem to remember an absence of words – like the first one who spoke would die a horrible death, or something.

So there we were, getting in on and before I knew it certain clothes had been removed and I was staring at something that I knew would not fit where it was supposedly going. And yep. I was right.

That’s another thing I never really learned about. Lubrication. As stated above, it probably would have helped to have some sort of words from someone on the subject and how to do things the best possible way.

Anyway, long story short, we kept at it and eventually managed to go all the way. But then another thing happened that continues to happen to this day. Once the thing was where it needed to go, it’s like it couldn’t help itself. Being surrounded by all that moist heat, pumping in and out, it expended itself within a matter of moments.

All that build up for a few moments? Because it’s not like things continued. No, once he was done, so was I apparently. And for some reason I did this thing where I smiled and acted like things were great when I was really feeling, well, I guess the appropriate words would be let down.

Which brings me to feeling cheated.

At this point, those moments have turned to minutes and sometimes we get a full ten, but other than that, it’s pretty much over as soon as it begins. I’m not sure he even realizes it, but it just doesn’t happen quite that fast for me. I mean, sure, I enjoy it, because all the build up is nice; but it should lead to that moment, you know the one – seeing stars, fading vision and languid, limp body.

Just in case you were wondering, we aren’t much better at the whole talking thing. We can’t even say things like, “Yes, I absolutely want to fuck tonight!” No, it’s more like we do another dance. I look at him a certain way and he’s supposed to just know that I want to; or he leans into me and puts his hand on my knee and somehow that is the magical symbol for “I want to fuck”. Things could be so much easier if we just opened up and said what we wanted, you know, with words.

Needless to say, we haven’t had that conversation. The one where I tell him I’m walking around most nights like a sex crazed maniac, throbbing and wet with hunger.

But to be perfectly honest, since that’s what I’m doing here, bearing my soul to anyone who will listen; I’m not really walking around like that because I discovered something – a work around; and a mighty fine one too. It’s not ideal, I suppose, but in the absence of actually communicating with sweetie to get shit done, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

And when I say that, I do mean it literally.

Funny how you learn pretty damn fast where your own buttons are and how to pop them.

A Daughter’s Choice

Chuck’s challenge this week is a complete story in three sentences.  I may have cheated a bit with the last sentence, but I’m standing by it.

*winks at you and grins*

If you click that little linky above and go to the comments, there are some AMAZING three sentence stories in there!  It’s totally worth your time and I highly recommend it.

A Daughter’s Choice

She spent her childhood constantly searching for the love and attention most children take for granted in the important role their father plays in their life. After years of disappointment, severe let-downs and always playing the role of emotional adult in their relationship, she chose to walk away.  Peace is harder to find than most think, especially when bombarded by his emotional manipulation and that he never once reached out to find out why, but she is stronger now; and the love she found elsewhere lifts her up and carries her forward.

The Art of My Tattoo

This was written for Stream of Consciousness Saturday where the prompt was to basically write what you wanted, but you had to end it with a question.  If you happened to get an exclamation point in there, even better; I think I have 3 (I like them far too much and I usually have to delete most of them when I write blog posts).  Once again, what I started out to write morphed into something else entirely, but I’m not sad about it.  It’s one of my favorite stories and I love telling it.  I hope you enjoy, even if you don’t like tattoos all that much.

**

As yesterday was tattoo day for me, my mind has been on tattoos and what they mean and how they affect you.  Perhaps not as much as when I first got the outline two months ago, but it’s still something I’m thinking about.  I’ve wanted to get a tattoo for many years now, but it was always out of my financial reach (those suckers are not cheap!) and I wanted to find that thing that I wanted to live with for the rest of my life; something that meant something and wasn’t just “a thing” to put on my body.  Everyone is different.  Not everyone needs their tattoo to mean something and some people have just offered up their body as a canvas for art in whatever form.  I’m not here to judge anyone.  I believe tattoos are art and I think it is another form of self-expression that… let’s just say I think it’s ridiculous that society has such shitty labels for tattooed people.

For me, it was finding just the right thing and my daughter is the one who came up with the idea and we have pretty similar tattoos.

To start at the beginning, I read a children’s book to Adelle when she was young.  It was a gift for either when she was born or one of her birthdays.  In between moving several times and the numerous cleanings and thrift runs to minimize the stuff in her room, the book was lost.  Years later, my son came home from school and told me his teacher had asked parents to volunteer to read their favorite children’s story to their class and talk about reading and their favorite books.  I just had to to it.  I love books and reading (obviously).

I remembered the book I read to Adelle, only I couldn’t remember the name of it or the author.  The only thing I could remember was it had something to do with love and a baby growing up.  I went to the bookstore with very little hope of finding this book, but I thought I would give it a try.  I walked to the back and found all their children’s books in a huge book shelf at least six shelves high and I just started scanning the titles.  I picked a few out and put them back.  On the very last shelf I actually found it!

Love You Forever

I’ve heard mixed reviews of this book, but I happen to love it.  I think – well, I’m not here to give a review of the book.  Needless to say I bought it and took it home.  When the kids got home from school, we were all sitting around in the living room just talking and hanging out when I remembered.

I said, “Adelle, do you remember that book I read to you when you were younger?”

She looked at me, “I don’t know…”

I reached down and pulled out the book.

Then she did this thing that still melts my heart when I think about it.  She leaped in the air, grabbed the book, “I love this book!”  She looked up at me, holding the book with something close to reverence.  “Mommy, will you read it to us, please?”

I had tears in my eyes when I took the book from her.  She literally leaned over the couch arm, put her chin on her arms and proceeded to listen intently.  Both of my boys were there and they also joined in and I proceeded to open the book and turn it around so they could see the pictures while I read them my favorite children’s book and cried through most of it.  It’s one of those special moments that will always hold a place in my heart.  They were ages 16, 12 and 8 at the time but they still listened to that story like they were two and I was reading them a story as they were falling asleep.

Adelle came up with the tattoo idea perhaps a year later.  She wanted to have the words from the book and her birth month flower.  As soon as I heard it, I knew that’s what I wanted too.  Originally, I was going to get the exact same tattoo as her since we were born in the same month.

Adelle's Tattoo

But, after thinking about it, I decided this was my tattoo that represented my kids, so I incorporated my boys birth month flowers as well.  I also decided their flower’s should be their favorite colors.  I know that changes, but honestly, their colors haven’t changed much in the past five years or so.  And even if they do, it was their favorite color as a child, so I think it works for what I’m going for.

My Tattoo

I was more than sad that we couldn’t finish it yesterday, but seeing it mostly finished, I am beyond blown away at how beautiful it is.  I love it more than I can say and every time I look at it, I think of my children (not that I need a reason to think of them).

I know I’ve seen this question somewhere in the blogosphere, but what children’s book would you tattoo on your body?  If you don’t like that question, maybe just answer, what is your favorite children’s book?

The Aftermath of Life’s Gut Punch

That thing called life?  Yeah, it went and gut punched me again yesterday.  And while I’m grateful it was just a gut punch and didn’t turn into a full-on battle to the death that left me bleeding on a cold stone floor, it still shook me.  I keep telling myself I shouldn’t be this shaken; that, thank the Universe everything turned out to be okay, or at least manageable.  But then you start to realize where your thoughts have traveled… they’ve ventured down the treacherous “what if” road. They’ve actually created a whole new reality simply by thinking them, and you feel those feelings and drown in them almost as if the “what if” event had truly happened.

It makes me wonder why we do this to ourselves because I know I’m not the only one who travels this insidious path.  Isn’t it enough that everything was okay?  No, now I have to go and wonder what might have happened if this or that or…

Picking up the pieces of my shattered serenity, I am pretty much back to the same place I found myself yesterday morning, only now things are slightly different.

First, I am going to have my tattoo colored in by myself tomorrow.  Which isn’t such a big thing, but it was that thing my sister and I had planned to do together and we were going to see it through to the end.  But since she won’t be able to finish hers for quite some time, I’m going to go and have mine done and hopefully I will be with her when she is able to finish hers.

Second, I might just be doing Tough Mudder by myself.  If not the whole thing, I will most likely be the only one who tries each obstacle, which is pretty ridiculous when you look back and realize that I was the one who said “NO WAY” when the idea was first proposed.  I’m still hoping we can all at least attempt it, but I’m thinking it is still up in the air at this point.  The training is also going to be a solo endeavor for the next little while and I’m not sure I’m okay with that!  I mean, who else is going to spur me to post better running times?  Who else is going to motivate me to do cross-training on my off-running days?  (This is where I think I’ve put far too much on my sister and I need to start looking at what I can do to motivate myself since she is obviously floundering under the weight of my neediness [too soon for the joking?… I apologize]).

So, there you have it.

Without really saying anything I have managed to let you know the state of my mind and how the next few months look.  How plans can go from concrete, set-in-stone laws to whimsical cloud fluff that could disappear at any moment – or at least change to something else entirely more whimsical and airy than what they were before.

“All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present.  Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – are caused by too much future, and not enough presence.  Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of non-forgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.”

 -Eckhart Tolle

Each day I am more fully convinced that Eckhart Tolle is brilliant.

There is no past; there is no future; there is no made-up event that might have happened but didn’t actually happen. There is only now.

My sister is here now and she is smiling and happy and alive.

NOW is the BEST place to be!

Newbie Writing Jitters

I’ve been feeling a bit off lately and I’m thinking if I can verbalize it here, it might help me sort it out – or at least get it out so it’s no longer going around and around in my head.  Maybe I can also find some valuable insight from someone commenting because that’s happened in places I’ve least expected it and I am more grateful than I can say.

When I first started this blog, it was in an effort to write.  My original goal was to write one blog post a week because I have a project that is forefront in my mind and my biggest reason for doing all of this, and I wanted to devote most of my time to it.  I had certain fears when I started – will people like what I write, am I good enough – that, while mostly under control, still haunt me.  I suspect they will always haunt me to a certain degree, but the fears I had a few months ago have changed and morphed because I now have more information and where my project used to be this shining beacon on the horizon glimmering its beauty into my soul, it is now a black hole of “how the hell do I do this thing!”

I have so many questions!

I have never pursued writing.  I didn’t go to college (well, I did, but it was only a semester and I didn’t have a major so does it really count?).  I wrote pretty well in high school but it was never something I thought was “that thing I do”.   Needless to say, I’m feeling a bit behind the game.  I was dead set on writing at least 300 words a day on my project two months ago. That was the goal to just get me started.  About a week into it, I realized I didn’t have the first clue about writing an actual novel.  Character development?  What’s that?  Oh, you mean we need to know who these characters are?  Their back stories?  If that’s the case, how important are character sheets and do authors use them?

Then there were the gaping holes in my story.  I have an idea with about three different events/plot points and I thought I knew the conclusion.  Those things have been set since I first thought about writing this thing, but when I started really working on it, it started to change.  How do you drive a story and take it from point A to point Z?  I had no idea what the in-between times looked like and it scared me so I started rethinking everything and then I just stopped altogether.  I think the idea is back on track and I have more going on now than I did when I first started, but I feel like I have more questions than answers.  Does everyone feel this much in the dark about writing or is it just my lack of experience?  But then I ask, how do you get experience if not by trial and error?

The other question that loomed its ugly head was how to store all these words once they are written.  This one might just be one of those questions that is stalling the process when it doesn’t need to, but I honestly don’t know.  I had a family member recommend Scrivner and I looked at it, but I feel so overwhelmed by everything.  I mean, I’m using Microsoft Word, but how do you share a document with 90,000+ words?  Do you save them by chapters and have multiple documents?  Perhaps it’s silly to focus on something as simple as storage, but the thought won’t leave me alone!

I have everyone (really it’s like the two people closest to me who got me into this in the first place) saying I need to work on my project because I have “it” (whatever that is) and all the stories are just getting me away from writing it.  Which, in some ways is true, but in others its not.

The stories have given me so much insight into myself, into the way I write and most importantly, they have given me confidence.  I honestly believed two months ago that I wasn’t creative, that all I had was this one story and once it was written I should pack it in and go back to whatever it is I do that isn’t writing or being a Mom.  Writing these stories, stepping out of my comfort zone and just doing it, has helped me so much and I know my project will be better for it in the long run.  But right now, I feel stuck not just in the project, but in writing even flash fiction.  (Or maybe it’s just that one that Chuck posted on Friday that I have zero interest in writing and I should just give a bow and say thank you but no thank you, I will wait for the next one…)  In some ways I feel like if I’m not working on my project, at least I’m writing these short stories, but if I can’t even do that?  Then what do I have?

In between all the angst (if that’s what this is), I’m just feeling a bit green, a bit new to the game.  I suppose we all have the newbie jitters when we first start down an uncharted path and that’s all this really is.  Sometimes, just putting the jumbled mess of words that flit around in my brain down on paper (or in a blog post) helps me move past it and I am actually able to take the first step.  In this case it’s probably like the hundredth step, so maybe I’ll just say the next step.

Since we’re on the subject of steps, I just realized that I probably tried to take the hundredth step before I actually took the first step and now I need to go back and fill in all the holes. See?  An epiphany, even while still working through the chaos.

Anyway, I’ve probably ranted about this enough.

At least I am feeling somewhat better…

Bring Her Back

I’m a bit late posting my story for Turn-a-trope Tuesday, but I’m still on time, damn it!  This week, the Trope was “Make a Wish”.  Thanks again to Mark Baron for hosting this challenge, it always manages to keep me on my toes.

I spent a good two days with absolute stillness in my head; no ideas, no spark. Nothing.  It was like a ghost town in there.  I was a little panicked, but I decided to give myself some time (actually it was more like screaming and crying that I was no longer creative and I couldn’t write anymore).  I spent some time reflecting on past stories and how far I feel I’ve come when it hit me on Saturday to use a character I had already created.  After that, it became much easier.

I’m a little over at 1,064 words, but I hope you enjoy my take on turning “Make a Wish” on its head, as well as Jaden’s continuing story.

Bring Her Back

Sitting in chains on the dank cellar floor waiting for my trial, I knew I had made a mess of things, but somehow I just couldn’t bring myself to regret what I had done. I regretted my own loss more than anyone could imagine, but my actions had saved someone I loved severe heartache and pain. Was that so wrong?

Mom had warned me countless times not to get too close to my human, not to care too much, but my bond with Xander was unique and most Guardians didn’t understand, Mom included. The thing was we had a set of rules to live by. We could only step in when the rules said so, but most times, we were just watching. Sure, we influenced their emotions sometimes, helped guide them in different directions, but the big events like death were written down and we could only step in when told to do so.

Xander was a great kid and it was hard to believe ten years had passed. Ten years of growing and learning together. When his first big tragedy hit, he was the same age I was when he was born and I was unceremoniously entrusted with him.

It was a tough thing to watch. Tougher still that we had this connection where he seemed to know I was there and counted on me.

He was lying next to his deceased mother in her hospital bed, holding her close one last time, tears streaming down his face. Everyone had left the room to give him some time alone, but I was watching, feeling helpless. I would have done anything in that moment to take his pain away; it was all I could do to stand by and not offer anything.

I was so caught up in our shared grief, I barely heard him whisper into the stillness.

“I know you’re there.”

He didn’t look up or turn his head, just soft words spoken into the desperate silence. I knew he was talking to me, but I kept quiet, bound by the Guardians’ rules.

“I think I’ve always known you were there. I just want my mom back and I know you can do it! Please, help me. Please bring her back.” He was staring straight ahead, holding her hand as he cried out his plea.

It broke my heart. I knew I couldn’t bring her back, but how to make him understand? I tried sending calming waves in his direction, but it didn’t help. He cried, pleading and begging, all the while hugging his mother, kissing her hand.

All I wanted was to comfort him, to make it stop, to bring him some release.

I don’t know if it was the overwhelming emotion, our connection or something else, but in the midst of the emotional assault, I felt something give inside me. It was the same feeling I had felt when Xander and I connected at his birth, but this time, it directed itself toward his mother. Xander must have felt it too because he lifted up and looked at his mother’s face. We both watched as her eyelids fluttered and a loud breath whooshed out of her mouth.

I was dazed, not entirely sure what was happening, when the air stirred and my own mother flew through the window and landed next to me.

“Jaden, what have you done?

Seeing the concerned look on her face and feeling the joy coming from Xander, I realized I must have done it. I had given his mother back to him.

“Mom! I don’t know. I didn’t know. How did you know?” The words and questions flew out of my mouth reflecting my inner turmoil.

She gently placed her hand on my arm. “When things like this happen, we all know. You need to fix it, son.”

“Fix it? I don’t even know what I did!” My voice was panicked.

“I will help you. You need to gather that same feeling, the one you had when you brought her back and direct it towards her again, but this time you will think the opposite of what you were thinking when it happened. I will do the rest.”

“I don’t think I can. Look at him!”

“Jaden, we are Guardians. If it wasn’t written in his file, then you can’t step in.”

“What happens if I let her live?”

“The consequences are too numerous to go into right now. You need to fix it quickly before life sets in for good. At that point, it will take a whole lot more than what you and I have to make it right.”

I looked back at Xander. He was laughing and crying and hugging his mom. He was saying thank you over and over again and I knew it was directed at me. I was torn. On the one hand, even though I hadn’t done it on purpose, I knew it was wrong. On the other hand, how could I take back what was given? To make him lose his mother all over again simply because I didn’t know what the hell I was doing?

“Jaden?” Mom’s soothing voice penetrated my thoughts.

I looked at her and nodded my head, all the while holding back the tears that threatened to well up. I knew I didn’t have a choice.

I held her hand and focused everything I had into Xander’s mother. At the same time, I felt Mom’s energy flowing out of her and mixing with mine. It wasn’t bright white like before, but stardust gray, billowing and melting like molten lava towards the heartbeat that should never have restarted.

The non-life energy encompassed Xander’s mother and I was just about to breathe a relieved sigh when I realized it hadn’t stopped. The energy continued to flow to the heartbeat closest to hers and I was helpless to stop it. I looked at Mom, her eyes reflecting the horror in mine.

I thought I was focused and clear, but in the midst of the energy meld I divided my focus between Xander and his mother. I couldn’t bear the thought of him losing her all over again. I just wanted to take care of him, to guard him, to give him what I thought he wanted.

Xander would always be with his mother now and I had inadvertently sacrificed the truest connection I had ever felt.

Sides

Welcome to Stream of Consciousness Saturday hosted by Linda G Hill.  For this week we were prompted to write about “side”.  I have to admit that I changed the last line because it was originally too repetitious for my tastes in a poem… but the fact that I did a poem and didn’t change anything else besides that one line is a milestone for me.

Anyone who knows me will know I do my best to avoid the news and politics.  My boyfriend, on the other hand, is the exact opposite, so it is difficult for me to stay as oblivious as I once was (not that you can ever be truly oblivious to what’s happening in the world).  I suppose it doesn’t need any further explanation than that.

Sides

You take your side, I’ll take mine
Draw a line in the sand
Who is right and who is wrong
An idea, an ideal
Principles

Stand on a stone
Looking down
Where has humanity gone

Make a statement
Take a step into war
Bleeding on all sides

Aren’t we all beings
Come from the same place
But you have your god
And I have mine
Who breaks the barrier?

Of this side and that

Running is Awesome!

As I mentioned in a past post, I ran a 5K race on Saturday morning.  It turned out to not be everything I had hoped for since my sister had to bow out due to the death in her family.  I had visions of sprinting to the finish line to see who could get there first; but in all reality, my sister is faster than me and most likely would have kicked my ass!

I tried to find someone to run with me, but I had zero takers even though the race had been paid for.  I didn’t end up going alone, though.  I basically had to bribe my family to wake up at 6:30 so we could make it to the place by 7:30.  My boys were NOT happy!  They’ve been sleeping in late and going to bed late, so their schedules are all mixed up.  I was very grateful they decided to come, even though they sat around waiting while I ran and must have been bored out of their minds.

For a little back story, my time has been improving by leaps and bounds in the past two months since I started what I call the hard-core training for Tough Mudder.  In the post linked to above I mentioned I finally went below the 12 minute per mile mark and I was ecstatic.  I don’t honestly know, sometimes, what causes the “run faster” mode.  I usually feel like I’m running too slow and I’m having this conversation in my head the whole time – “go faster… whoa, slow down or you won’t make it… am I going fast?… I think I’ve gone back to a slogging pace and there is no way I’m beating my time right now…”  I feel like my mind is a bit manic when I’m running.  There are times when I am can’t handle my own thoughts anymore and I do my best to concentrate on the music rather than whatever my mind wants to think about.  I find when I actually mouth the words to whatever song is playing, it helps keep me out of the constant deluge of thoughts focused on my running style, pace or whatever…

The Thursday night before the race, I ran three miles and once again, I clocked my best pace on a three mile run (when I clocked the 11:59 pace, it was for a little over two miles). Needless to say, I was stoked! (In this post, I decided to show some proof just in case y’all thought I was lying or something… Besides, who doesn’t love some pictures?)

IMG_0365

Which brings me to Saturday morning and the race.  Races are great because you tend to get into the energy of everyone running with you and then there’s the whole “I cannot let that person pass me…” vibe that makes you run just a little bit faster.  So I was even more excited to clock another new best time Saturday morning.  I can say all those things about how the course was easier, not as many hills as what I run by my house, but I believe it was a combination of both the energy of running with others and the course.

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I’m not a fan pictures… I was tagged in a post on Facebook to post five pictures of myself that make me feel beautiful.  Guess how many I have of just me?  Like, one.  I think it’s something I need to work on – my self image.  So, I’m stepping out of my comfort zone and posting a picture of myself to show just how happy I was to clock that time!  The other thing I love about this photo is the kiddos – I cannot express how dead on this picture portrays each child’s personality.  Made me laugh when I really looked at it after it was taken.  (The girl to my right is Lily, my boyfriend’s daughter.  Even her personality is shining through, bright and clear!)

As a little side note, I don’t know what it is about age that starts the sweating.  I don’t ever remember sweating quite like I do now when I was younger.  Maybe that’s just it… age. Anyway, this picture shows it all too clearly and it’s pretty gross… I do apologize.

IMG_0358

After Saturday, I was feeling pretty great about running and my time and how well I was doing.  I was thinking that I should maybe stay at this pace for a while; get used to it; let it settle in and, I don’t know, just try it on for a while… see how it felt.

Then on Tuesday, I did this.

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Granted, it was less than three miles, but once again, I beat my pace!  I’m just waiting for when I clock over 12 minutes per mile again and that feeling of “well damn, I’m slow again” to hit me for a few days.

Whatever this is and whatever is causing these times to happen, I am happy.  I feel great after each run and can’t wait to run again.

So, yeah, as the title says, running is awesome!  I’m not a huge fan of the cross training, but if it continues to help my time and help me feel better running overall, I will continue to do it, even after Tough Mudder!

Thanks for tuning in to my running post.  Every once in a while it’s nice to step out of the stories and talk about life!  Because, LIFE!

 

The Forest Behind My House

The Flash Fiction Challenge this week from the ever amazing Chuck Wendig was to create a 2000 word story using the list of items you received after sending “inventory” to the @You Are Carrying Twitter bot.

My list of items was: a nightshirt, a tail, a handful of aspirin tablets, a canvas bag, a powder horn, salivating hedge shears, and a horseshoe.

This wasn’t the story I was originally thinking when I received that jumbled mess of words, but I quite like how it turned out.  Coming in at 2005 words, I give you:

The Forest Behind My House

We moved to a small town when I was twelve and while I missed my friends terribly, there was so much open space, so many places to explore, I hardly noticed their absence once we were settled in. It’s a bit clichéd, I suppose, but I didn’t see it like that when I was young and the world was still an adventure waiting to happen.

Our new house was a sprawling, ramshackle two-story – a “fixer-upper” Mother called it. The one thing that drew her in was the porch that wrapped all the way around where she sat most nights in a wicker rocking chair, mesmerized by the setting sun.

There was a barn that came with the house, but it went mostly unused except for Father’s old cars. Mother hated them, but at least they were somewhat hidden now, unlike where we used to live.

The barn became one of my favorite retreats. Climbing up wooden stairs to a hidden loft in the rafters, I would lay out the items I had stowed away in my canvas bag – mostly candy and rocks and other small treasures I found in the woods. I created stories around the items strewn haphazardly along the walls and hidden in crates – I was a soldier reloading my gun with an almost-empty powder horn, ready to take aim at my enemy; I was the caretaker of the horses who used to live in the barn, lovingly tending them and hanging their horseshoes on the wall as mementos.

Our backyard was a sprawling wood and when I wasn’t in the barn creating stories, I was lost in the forest, deep in mud, high in a tree, or lazing next to stagnant ponds. It was a magical time, one spent mostly in solitude exploring the hidden treasures and deep depths of our surroundings and my own imagination.

I barely noticed the changes in Father and how Mother was more sad than usual. Perhaps they were both missing our home in the city as much as I did when we first arrived, but we never spoke about it. With just the three of us, it was a quiet household. I never even heard them argue except one morning when I accidentally stumbled into it.

“Where were you last night?” I heard Mother ask Father. They didn’t realize I was awake and had come downstairs to scrounge some breakfast.

“I couldn’t sleep so I spent the night in the barn, working on the car.” Father sounded exhausted, his words slurring, one into the next.

“I went out to the barn around two this morning, and you weren’t there.”

Her words were met with silence and I had half a mind to go back upstairs when the kitchen door flew open and Mother ran past me and up the stairs to her room. She didn’t see me, but I thought I heard her crying.

I waited a few minutes before going into the kitchen. Father was staring down at the table, dark circles under his eyes, looking forlorn. I don’t think he even noticed I was there, but I asked anyway. “Is Mother okay?”

He didn’t move. “Daddy?”

“What?” He looked up, his normally vibrant blue eyes startled. “Did you say something, honey?”

“No, never mind. Are you okay?”

He mumbled something I couldn’t hear, slid the chair back and silently left the kitchen. I watched him leave, unsure what to do. After a few minutes, I shrugged, poured myself a bowl of cereal and sat down to eat. Soon, I was thinking about the new place I had found in the forest and anticipating my continuing adventures.

**

One night in late summer, I was lying awake picking at my nightshirt clinging to my sweat-soaked body and wishing there was a fan or a cool breeze coming in the window, when I heard some strange noises coming from the barn outside. I looked out the window, but the moon was hidden behind some clouds and I couldn’t make anything out. My vantage point was off, but I thought I saw a light coming from the barn.

My heart was pounding in my ears and I thought about climbing back in bed to hide under the covers, but I had an adventurous spirit and afraid or not, I wanted to know what was out there.

If anyone was awake in the house, I wasn’t fooling them trying to sneak down the stairs in my bare feet. They creaked and groaned no matter how delicately I placed my foot on the stair. I waited at the bottom expecting Mother to come running or Father to gruff out a warning, but there was no sound except the normal settling of an old house into an uneven dirt foundation.

As I made my way over to the door, I stepped on what felt like tiny pebbles strewn across the floor. They dug into the soft pads of my feet and I clapped my hands over my mouth to stifle the “Ouch!” that accidentally escaped. I bent down and found what looked like a handful of aspirin tablets that Father probably dropped on his way to bed. Promising myself I would clean it up on my way back, I brushed bits of aspirin and dust from my feet and stood up to continue outside.

It was sticky, warm and deathly quiet, the sound that brought me outside having settled into night’s oblivion. The door to the barn was partially ajar and the soft light coming from inside spilled onto the dirt. The thought of waking my parents didn’t even enter my mind until I was almost at the entrance to the barn, and even then I ignored it. I was drawn to that door and the soft light seeping through the cracks like a moth to flame and I went, gliding over the uneven dirt with barely a sound.

Standing in the doorway, I took in the sight before me, trying to understand what my eyes were seeing. I raised my hand slowly to my mouth and my eyes grew wide. I don’t know why I didn’t scream, but I didn’t make a sound other than my breath hitching in my throat as it picked up speed.

I recognized my mother’s nightgown and I ran to the crumpled mass on the floor next to the wooden ladder leading to the loft.

“Mother!” tore from my lips, an anxious terrorized plea.

I bent down and smoothed her inky, black hair from her face. Her eyes were open, glassy terror stark and naked in their emerald depths. She was trying to say something but no sound came out. She grabbed my hand and I squeezed my eyes shut, tears spilling down my cheeks. What was happening?

I knew something was wrong with her and when I opened my eyes I saw, not sure how I could have missed the gaping hole in the side of her neck, steadily oozing blood. I spread my hands over the wound trying to do something, anything. Her eyelids fluttered, hands grasping at mine.

“What do I do? Mother, please…”

She was whispering, straining to say something. I leaned down and thought I heard “…your father…” in halting, breathy sounds, gurgling out of her throat.

“Mom, I don’t understand! What’s happening?” My eyes bored into hers, pleading, begging. “Mom, please don’t leave me.” I was sobbing and my hands were still holding her throat in a helpless effort to stop the blood seeping steadily through my fingers.

Her hand clutched at my arm and once again she managed, “Jesse… Run…” The last word was a guttural sigh that spread out of her mouth as her hand fell and her eyes slipped to the side.

“MOM!” I screamed, shaking her, kissing her face, willing her to come back to her eyes.

A snarling growl snapped me out of my delirium and the hair on the back of my neck stood up. I slowly lifted my head and saw a nightmare.

Frozen in place, I stared, taking in the grotesque site of the thing blocking the doorway of the barn. Standing taller than anything I had yet to encounter, it was covered in blackish brown fur with clawed feet and hands and a ferocious muzzle that dripped blood down its front and into the dirt. Its tail was swishing back and forth raising small pillows of dust that floated around its bent legs and human-like body. Its teeth, like salivating hedge shears, snapped as if straining to get at me and tear me apart.

I watched in horror as it reached for me, not able to breathe past the scream lodged in my throat. One claw dug into my arm and the other wrapped around my throat lifting me in the air. It brought me close and I cringed as it sniffed my hair. A deep growl coming from its throat resonated through my body. I wanted to close my eyes, to put an end to the nightmare, but I was transfixed. My eyes met the beasts’ eyes and for a tiny moment I thought I recognized the blue orbs staring back at me and I blinked. When my eyes refocused, the only eyes staring at me were wolf brown, not a hint of blue anywhere.

My legs were kicking helplessly and I scratched at its fur-coated arms. I heard tiny whimpers that I realized were coming from me. I don’t know how I managed any sound because I couldn’t breathe, and my sight slowly started to cave in at the edges. I kept blinking, fighting the darkness, but it was no use. As my body sailed toward the side of the barn, I finally saw black.

**

I spend my days now, gallivanting in the forest behind my house, climbing trees and letting the smell of pine seep into my pores and blanket my tongue. I find overwhelming joy in the crisp air and the smell of green all around me.

Every once in a while I am snapped out of my forest forays into a stark white room, but there isn’t much to see beyond the brilliant white light and what looks to be soft, pillow-like walls broken only by jagged cuts that look strangely like claw marks.

Once, I was jerked out of my pine-needle sunbathing to the sound of voices and my skin sizzling with heat.

“She’s waking up. Someone get the doctor.” I heard rustling and the loud beeping noises that always accompanied waking up in the bright, white room. I tried to open my eyes but I couldn’t. It was like trying to pull taffy apart – I could lift them up, but they wouldn’t separate enough to open.

I heard a door open and then a soft, male voice close to my ear said, “Jesse, can you hear me?”

I saw a bright light right in front of my eyes and I tried to turn my head to get away from it. The light made the heat consuming my body even worse. I tried to bat it away with my hands but was surprised to find they were held down, strapped to the hard surface I was laying on. I jerked and struggled to get free, trying to ask for help at the same time. Why was I tied down? Didn’t they realize I was burning up? The background noises were soon accompanied by vicious snarling and growling and I wondered where the new noises were coming from. Why couldn’t they hear me?

“She’s starting to change. Get me a needle!” I heard the same male voice yell.

I continued to struggle, desperate for help as I felt tears spill down the sides of my face from eyes that still wouldn’t open. Moments later, I felt a sharp pain in my neck and cool liquid spreading through my veins.

Helpless to do anything else, I happily slipped back into my forest and the quiet solitude of the fresh air.

The Long Car Ride

This is written for Stream of Consciousness Saturday hosted by Linda G Hill and our prompt was to write about “getting away, or getting out.”

I want to say thank you to everyone associated with SoCS and the wonderful welcome I have received.  I also want to apologize for posting this late.  This weekend threatened to be emotional, and it was.  I spent most of the time embroiled in funeral happenings with only a short stop for a 5K race yesterday morning.  I haven’t had a chance to write anything, and even when there was some time, I spent it in deep thought or getting my own emotions out.  (I’m not one of those people who can spend hours around grief and not feel some of my own, especially when I knew the person and could see the impact she had on so many people’s lives and how much she will be missed.)

I am happy to be on this side of the weekend and it was a refreshing change to think about “getting away”.  I hope you enjoy my thoughts and remember there is no editing… or at least, not much.

**

Getting away isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.  Don’t get me wrong… I love vacations as much as the next person but there are so many stressful things that go into actually making a vacation happen.  I am planning a trip in mid-August to take my daughter to college.  Not only am I grieving her moving across the country to go to her top pick of school, I am stressing about helping to pay for her college and the trip down there.  I decided to drive her, which should be a fun “coming of age” sort of experience – mother and daughter alone in a car for three days.  I am looking forward to that time –  since we have lived apart the last year I need that time with her before she is more than a three minute drive away whenever I felt I just couldn’t go another day without seeing her or talking to her.

I was stressing so much about the cost of the trip last week and my boyfriend, the loving supportive person he is asked me, “Did you already make the decision to go?”

I, of course, said, “Yes.”

“Then it doesn’t matter how much it costs.  Just do what you have to do and enjoy it because you are going regardless.”

He was right.

I have spent so much time worrying about things that have already been decided and I will worry my way all the way to North Carolina if I’m not careful.  It’s time to take a breath and enjoy the experience because worrying about it only serves to make me miserable and will probably leak onto my daughter and I don’t in any want her to feel guilty or sad because I’m freaking about something as arbitrary as money.  Sure, money is a genuine concern, but is it more of a concern than… or more correctly is it what the trip is about?  I don’t think I’m saying what I want….

I’ve been known to say I hate money.  I’ve lived most of my life where there was never enough money to do, not even what we wanted… sometimes there wasn’t enough to do what we needed.  I hate that this trip with my daughter is shrouded in “not enough money” and “how am I going to pay for everything.”  But, honestly, I have also heard and been known to say “I’ll make more.”  I have a job.  I could get a second if I chose.  Money will happen… until it doesn’t.

This is fast turning into a rant about money instead of writing about getting away.

I’m genuinely excited about the trip.  Some people might freak out about being in a car alone with their teenage daughter, but honestly, Adelle and I have a special connection… I believe we are – you know how people say there are soul mates?  I believe there are soul siblings and soul children – which sounds weird I suppose, but what defines a soul mate?  Someone you feel a deep connection to that seems to stretch the boundaries of time and space.  Someone who knows what you’re thinking and can finish your sentences.  Adelle and I have that.

Being in a car alone with her will be hours and hours of talking and laughing; hours of loud music – “Mom, you have to hear this song…!” It will be hours of peaceful silence with someone who understands you and the silence isn’t uncomfortable or overbearing.  Sure, we might have moments of frustration.  We are close enough that sometimes its too much, too close for comfort and you want to scream “get out of my head!” But, for the most part, our connection is peaceful and loving.

I’m excited to be a part of her continuing journey, even if it is only a three day car ride to drop her off and kiss her goodbye.  I have a friend who tells me I will hear from my daughter every single day, but I don’t know if that’s true.  I don’t know if she needs it.  I wouldn’t hate it; in fact, it would be wonderful.  But it’s time for me to take a step back and let her spread her wings – I apologize for the trite metaphor, but it is the best one I have.

Back to my original purpose in writing this.  I am hoping the stress of planning the vacation will soon give way and I will be able to just enjoy the long car ride with my amazingly adult daughter and her continuing journey through this thing called life.