I Still Can’t Say Goodbye

daffodils

Sometimes we struggle with introductions, blurbs, short biographies, anything that might touch beyond the shells we carefully construct. Then, one day something comes along to blow your construct into dust. Such it seems, has happened to me this week when I least expected it. I’ve been through therapy with this only to have my therapist tell me “sometimes you never get ‘over’ a loss – you simply learn ways to get around the deepest part of the grief and carry on.”

I don’t know how to carry on. My best friend died in my arms from an insidious, evil disease. There hasn’t been a “tinker’s damn” worth of research done into it. In fact, in the nearly 30 years since my best friend’s death, women’s health issues are still considered of minor significance. Heart disease is the largest killer, however since the symptoms for a woman are quite different from a man’s, there has not been a widespread campaign to educate the public or even health professionals in the furthest corners of America.

There is no test that is 100% accurate and indicative for ovarian cancer. There are blood tests to see if a woman carries the gene for breast cancer, but even those can be flawed and some women that don’t test positive for the BRCA will still get breast cancer. Worse still, even with interventional mammograms, there was be aggressive forms of the disease that will ‘sneak past’ any diagnostic; leaving behind mourning families and friends.

The state of women’s health in this country is pathetic because of the allowances made for superstition to permeate the halls of government. There, I said it. Whatever personal beliefs you have should be left at the door when determining healthcare and the monies needed for research and indigent care for the populace. It would be almost entertaining for a voting male member of our Congressional houses to be suddenly struck with the monthly pain of endometriosis or PCOS.

This is an election year, and I am very, very aware of the high level of angst, anxiety, and anger flowing like cheap beer at a frat party. I am going to ask politely that you step back from the rhetoric, step back from the fear-mongering, step away from whatever media you’re watching and do some quick, reliable research on your own. Look at the advancements made in testicular cancer versus anything remotely resembling the same for ovarian cancer. Look at the statistics for survival of coronary artery disease for men versus women. Look at the statistics for diabetes and alcoholism amongst the First Nation tribes. Do the same for childhood mortality amongst the poor.

I think I have a handle on why I have this repeated grief. No steps of any significance have been made for those of us that don’t have access to quality health care, save for the ACA. Even this piece of legislation is flawed because it allows for someone’s mom or dad or sister or son to fall through the cracks. I’m still grieving my friend because of the thousands of folks that are dying needlessly. Folks that could have been my friend, folks that were treasured and beloved, folks that could have goofed off and accidentally created something monumental for the human species. But, we’ll never know because of greed and shortsightedness and stupid, insane superstition.

I’m just one sobbing mess of a human creature right now. Selfishly crying because I lost my best friend nearly thirty years ago to ovarian cancer. I can’t look at daffodils the same way, and in some years I can’t even function beyond the darkness of a bedroom and a case of tissues. Maybe this year, exercising my voice and my vote will have the effect of a pebble tossed onto the still surface of a pond. It sure beats sitting here sobbing, because I still can’t say “Goodbye.”

My Fellow Sentient Beings Have Lost Their Minds.

 

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Somewhere, born of helplessness, hopelessness and hunger, a mad cruelty was created. In its bitterness, it sang a deadly descant designed to infect and poison the minds, spirits and hearts of star-born souls. While it has stalked this planet in one form or another for millennia, on a certain Friday night in a city known for Light and Enlightenment, it decided to make a killing field of cafes, a concert and a stadium. All of this in the name of a bastard child of the twisted interpretation of a spiritual philosophy.

We have lost ourselves if we think of this disaster within the narrow definitions of culture, geo-political boundaries, religion or gender. This problem simply cannot be constrained, defined or addressed in finite terms. The very germ, the infinitesimal seed of what has become a monster must be located and cured of its self-perpetuating madness.

Perhaps it began in hunger. Food is a very powerful tool used by those who seek the ego’s own ends as a means to control the hungry. We are born needing the nurturing of The One Who Birthed Us in more than simple lactation, but the comfort of arms to hold us, the warmth and rhythm of a human heart to steady undeveloped neurons and imprint compassion upon our being. Hunger is more than food. It is touch, it is a caress, it is a certain knowing that your being is welcomed into a larger present and part of a larger community. We need to belong.

Perhaps this undefined evil was born of illness. When our bodies are attuned to their maximum expression, we not only radiate health, we express that energy in activity. We sing with voices or movement or creativity of imagination. When we are ill, all we wish to do is to return to the state of being where there was no pain, no weakness, and no burdened breath. When one we love is sick, the compassion of the beings we truly are will seek any level, any amount of respite for our beloved. This drive, this will for another to live is often as strong as our own survival instinct.

As a final observation, perhaps the horrific monster capable of deluding young promising minds and spirits into acts of murderous depravity was created from the simple lack of love. There were no welcoming arms, no extended family or tribe for an orphan exempted from inclusiveness. No blanket woven from the softest fleece to enfold or embrace a shivering body. No shoes to caress tender feet, no gentle finger to wipe away frightened tears. No calming voice to ensure that the terrors of the night were simply wisps of dream and nothing to follow an unsure spirit into the next dawn.

We are far too quick to blame when we should be stepping back to look for that “alpha moment” when it all went so wrong, and was allowed or indeed enabled to fester into a deadly example. If we as a species are to survive for millennia to come, perhaps we should realize that the ‘human race’ is either outpacing itself in the mad dash to dive over the cliff, or we need to stop running from ourselves.

We Gotta Fix This…..Now.

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Once every four years, this country goes slightly bat-shit crazy, (or crazier than usual) and all the uglies come out into the light of day. Our citizenry, en masse,  decide to strip politically buck nekkid and parade themselves as most fit and capable to lead the rest of the thundering herd over the cliff. Someone I consider a friend decided to fly the flag of “I double-dawg dare ya’ ” on her blog post here: writerslane.blogspot.com – and the gears began to grind between my temples.  I am soooooo going to go out on a limb here, but what the hell – everyone gets at least one chance to stand in front of the diving eagle and raise the middle mousy finger of fate. To wit: Sorry, fellas. No more men in politics. You guys have have the stage for over 200 years and you have yet to accomplish anything of concrete value that has lasted with the exception of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (or as I call it “Our Acceptable Do-Over List.”)

For the next 200 years, you must be possessed of ovaries and or the secondary sexual characteristics of the feminine persuasion in order to create, amend, consider and/or approve of any legislation whatsoever at any level within the current geo-political boundaries of the United States. Additionally, at the mere mention of your personal spiritual dogma, you will be considered ineligible for office. While we’re at it, the folks that have considered themselves as the un-taxed stanchions of religious liberty? Guess what? If you’ve made any political contributions within the past 50 years you’re going to lose your tax-free status. Yes, I suppose you could call that “Hard Core Separation of Church & State” – I prefer to call it Jeffersonian Socialism. In the old days, it was more commonly referred to as “Put Up or Shut Up.”  Yes, I hear the beginning moans of displeasure. They make a product for that now, it’s called “Depends.”

If you’ve ever presided over a group of children, refereed a herd of soccer, baseball, softball, or other team sports for young ones, or organized a birthday party for anyone under the age of 12, and are not male, you are now considered eligible for public office.  Please put on your big girl panties and report to whatever passes for a local political party’s district chairperson in your area and let’s get to work. This country’s infrastructure is in a shambles, our veteran’s needs are going unmet, we no longer have a safety net for the mentally ill, and with the dissolution of the unions our manufacturing base has likewise faded to gray.  Our educational system is mediocre even though we have access to the most powerful tools ever known to disseminate information to the populace. We can no longer rely upon a standard of ethics to guide us within the parameters of the reporting of daily events, the priorities of the Fifth Estate being handed over to profit makers instead of policy makers. There are numerous other matters that must be attended to that far exceed the vagaries of tanning salons, liquor stores and golf courses.

Once upon a time when young ladies decided to gather within their peer group, the first item attended to was appropriate footwear. This usually extended itself to the donning of “trainers” or “sneakers” or “kicks” or “tennis shoes.” Ladies, listen up. It’s time. Lace ’em up, or tie ’em up, or rip the velcro – we’ve got work to do.

Sailing Unknown Waters

Earlier this afternoon, (after the painful introspection that we all need to do from time to time, but choose to refrain from) I discovered that part of the unease and unhappiness was due in part to the anticipated exit of the college kid from the nest. This is her senior year, and she already has staged plans to launch herself into that vast sky of Adulthood. The remainder of that reeking pile of gooey, emotional miasma is pure, clingy motherhood and the unwillingness to let go. Like most human beings, I am perfectly happy to dig a ditch and drag in a decorator, so overjoyed am I to contain myself in the habitat of a comfortable rut.

There is a joy in the simple terror of being drug out of the comfortable routine. Please note, I still use the word terror. I would have preferred ‘bloody screaming horror with a ninety-eight percent chance of pissing myself” but the husband claims I tend to over elaborate, exaggerate, embellish with prejudice. Of which I might own up to almost all of that, but only after a suitable period of retrospection. An epoch or so. Oh, that “joy” part? Only occurs when I discover some unique pattern to the scars left behind from planting fingernails, toenails and front incisors to the sides of the rut I am so damned determined to stay within.

catamaran

I must also admit to some pea-green jealousy when I espied another mother’s self-exposure of her anger and rage issues. Personally, I thought her more spectacular explosions of angst perfectly justified and I admired her self-control to refrain from reducing the gene pool by at least a half dozen self-righteous incubators of Chaos and kindred. I also wished I’d had her ear when I was mounting my campaigns against the windmills of public education for my ADHD challenged offspring.

All of the above aside, there is a certain private liberal arts college in Mt. Vernon, Iowa that took my daughter four years ago and has transformed a starry-eyed high school kid into a young adult with a stunning future ahead of her. I was so terrified to let her go 1100 miles away from Mom and Dad, even if I drove the big red truck with all that she deemed necessary. What if she couldn’t get her meds? What about the weather? I mean, she’s wasn’t exactly used to four seasons and all that white stuff that falls from the sky in the more Northern climes.

Now? Well, yeah – she’s convinced the parental units that moving to a Northern clime would probably be a good thing when the heat and allergens make it damn near impossible for them to get out and be as active as they need to be to stay relatively healthy. Score one for the offspring. There are probably more brownie points in the offing for her, but as she leaves our nest this one last time there is something else pending.

The Dane and I have only been without kids in the house for months at a time, this time there is the very real possibility of the child leaving for an overseas position. The others have fledged the nest, this is the last one to try out those wings. In truth, it’s not exactly an empty nest. The fur and purr-kids are still with us. Of those, only Toby has been with us almost as long as the kids, and we all know that eventually 13 year old ginger tomcats will find the Rainbow Bridge. I’m not ready for that transition, either.

I’m not and never will be a Domestic Goddess. Yeah, I can cook kick-ass Chicken & Dumplings, and the kids call me for my Mock Stroganoff recipe. Yeah, my grandfather’s chili recipe is an award winning fire starter. But, there is so much more to be said for the echoes of conversation, running footsteps, bus horns honking, dogs barking, kids laughing and the smell of pizza on a Friday night.

I don’t think I ever considered downshifting, and after all these years spent in “Adult Parent/Standard Cruise” I’m not sure that the old transmission remembers the lower, slower gear. Bear with me if you hear some gear grinding, or the chassis starts creaking, or worse yet one of the hoses fail. I’m assured by others that have made this change, that the slope is navigable and the waters will be somewhat constant. Further, the transition from Conestoga to Catamaran is possible.

Hell, with the size of my underwear these days, it is entirely possible.

But, if you hear me mumbling about needing a “tall ship and a star to steer her by” – please pull me aside and check my caffeine levels. For that matter, please double check that I’m not smoking the local wildflowers. Goddess only knows where this is going, but something assures me the journey will be epic.

Yes, I’m giggling. Really!

Waaaaaaay back earlier this year, the heavens decided that my little part of the fetid taint of Hell needed to exit the current drought and all of Nature conspired to Make. It. So. This, I took as a not-so-direct way of the Universe allowing me to view and review some of my more glaring defects of character by trapping me within the confines of Cat’s Paw Acres and the Alumi-Turd 2000.

merit badge sekrit squirrel

Enter the saving grace of a fellow author and friend Cherie Noel and the Super Sekrit Squirrel Project. (Named because once I get cabin fever, it is not that far of a stretch for my psyche to become nuttier than squirrel shit.) Since those early days, my beloved co-author has placed the onus of the Super Sekrit Oath of Shut-Upped-Ness upon me and our joint foray into published proof of mental instability lest I invoke Her Wrath Almighty. (What the Hell do I know? This woman lives in upstate New York, and I figure that the only thing crazier than someone who lives in Central Texas and COPS to it, is someone who can claim French speaking Canadian Yeti’s as relatives!)

Thus, the fervor of Hint Dropping. Which, I have on good authority, is “supposed to make waves stronger than a large turd from a tall cow.” Again, I will claim willful ignorance. It’s safer.

There are those of you who KNOW that I have the reputation to drop metaphors so colorful they could show up a Pride Parade. Likewise with the creative adjectives of cussing. But, this Oath of Shut-Upped-Ness?

Shit Fire and Save The Matches. This is harder than keeping your virginity at the Senior Prom and every available candidate to do the dirty with is not only available, but has been the subject of ‘those’ dreams for weeks.

Almost makes me glad I’m not Catholic. (Seriously, my imagination and the resulting confessions would have driven some priests into taking a vow of silence in a desolate monastery far, far away!)

Ok, dammit all to Hell and back. I’ll just look at the little sticky note that reads “Keep Thy Mouth Shut” but that little squirrel bastard? Oh he’s gonna die a bloody, certain death very, very soon.

As in, “he’s gonna be Celtic Dragon Mama Poop” verra, verra soon. Or I MIGHT recycle his little nut sack as a bladder for the World’s Smallest Bagpipe…

Ah, the joys of planning his demise. In the meantime, let me just say that the Hint Dropping shall commence like mulberry fueled bird shit – It Shall Leave Stains Upon Thine Memory. <Insert evil laugh here.>

To Boldly Wander…

dystopian Alex Andreev

Art By Alex Andreev

In keeping with a personal vow of total and complete honesty, I was destined to be a nerdy girl. I vividly remember watching the Friendship 7 and Mercury space flights with awe, wonder and envy. The first book that I bought was the unabridged version of H.G. Wells “War of the Worlds,” which would be followed by the purchase of Homer’s “Iliad” and “The Odyssey.” By the time I’d digested ancient space and space invaders, ‘Star Trek’ premiered and I would damn near trample anyone that got into my way while sprinting home on Tuesday afternoons to catch that week’s episode. In my time, the term was junior high school; by the time my shadow crossed the threshold, Bradbury, Asimov, Heinlein, and Cherryh were to become my mythic pantheon of worship. I learned The Three Laws of Robotics simultaneously with the obtuse directives of Boolean algebra and vagaries of photosynthesis. It never occurred to me that I couldn’t do what John Glenn, Neil Armstrong and others would do; the destruction of that dream took years of sexist oppression, rape and substance abuse to kill. Oh, was that a bit too raw for you?

This is no less shocking to me than the sight of law enforcement officers beating and killing pedestrians or other citizens of color and then attempting to use the ‘Unwritten Code of the Blue Brotherhood” to shield their perversions and crimes. The great minds of Literature Past and Present have ever warned us of the dangers of complacency and ennui. The Voices of the Great Enlightenment spoke deep and vast cautions against allowing our baser human natures to rule over our better selves. The Bells that Toll have been doing so for a very long time without a single voice to query “Why?” Or worse, “For Whom?’

There are no less than 40 years of a perverse directive to destroy an educational system and a safety net of worker’s rights that have a once-powerful nation on its own edge of internal destruction. We lack the compassion to enfold our veterans in a blanket of services, our populace in the gentle guiding hands of mental health professionals, and the once solid separation between Church and State is nothing more than a bloodied smear on the artifact of a printed newspaper.

Flags that symbolized our nation’s historic shame of human ownership still fly where they should have been taken down and archived with the memories of that intolerance and hatred. There is no genetic basis for race, just as there is no marker for sexuality. We are all shades of the spectrum, we come in all flavors of joy and tears. I dream that perhaps one day the bipedal hominids of this planet will actually awaken to the puppet master and clip the strings of ignorance and oppression that bind them to the mirage of their despair.

For now and for today, I quietly sit in a forgotten corner of a rolling Texas plain watching the clouds that drift overhead and envy them their freedom; trying to remember when watching the clouds was a moment of peaceful joy.

When You Least Expect It

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There are some days when the daily drudge of life grinds a person’s spirit to the point that stepping out of the routine is nothing short of lifesaving. Of late, the daily repeat of rain, thunder, wind and humidity had pretty well left me feeling like old toweling; I was ready to let the individual threads of whatever was holding me together release their integrity. I’d gotten to such a point within a manuscript that all I wanted to do was pull out a virtual torch and let fly with the fire. Yes, my finger hovered over the “delete” key.

Then, I saw that someone else was struggling with the same hated dance partner that I was fighting with, depression. I do so wish that the stigma of mental illness was a thing of the past. When you’re dealing with any of the monsters that live in that closet, it’s as if they have a life all their own. Your sanity is their prey and they are avid, cunning predators. Mental illnesses know where all the ‘buttons’ are because they hardwired the triggers. If you own a single erg of compassion, then when you happen across a similar soul fighting the same noble battle, there is no other choice but to lend a hand, a shoulder; Hell, take up arms right next to them.

Not all of us are blessed to find the “other” part of us in a relationship that goes beyond a simple pairing, but when that particular magic occurs, very few of us examine the depth of what it can truly be. We’re not a perfect species, even in relationships we tend to mess things up – sometimes beyond simple repair. Then, there are those of us that despite repeated failure find a way to, with great trepidation and despite the inner warning klaxon deafening us, open that door to our fragile, delicate soul centers one more time. When it’s not a fatal error, this becomes the very thing that poets and philosophers have waxed poetic over for centuries.

For near a quarter of a century, I have woven my spirit with that of another. Whatever it is between us, it has served us well as a medium against the criticism of others, as a nursery of hope to raise three children within, and a shelter against the storms of rising and falling fortune. We’ve found a safe harbor to moor within, and gypsy spirits that we may be, this is our base, our home – no matter where we rest our heads when sleep beckons. With all the hoopla over same sex marriage, legal rights, acceptance of sexual identity, etc. I stand baffled. What is it with humanity that we must insist on finding the most inane, bizarre conflicts of consciousness and inflate them to be the dread monsters of superstition?

In some form or another, we’ve managed to scrape together 2.5 million years of bi-pedal hominid history. Did we ever make it from sentience to enlightenment? Are we supposed to? Or, are we destined to dance around the next transformative force we discover and name it as a god, not unlike our distant forebears around a campfire? This day is too young and there’s too much blood in my caffeine system to follow this line of questioning any further.

I was thinking about my beloved last night as I watched the skies momentarily clear from the seasonal rainy weather. To that end, I will share the following:

******************************************************

Infinity Plus One

Somewhere on the shores

of Eternity, we’ll still be

walking hand in hand

until the last star flickers

into the shadows of Infinity.

Then, we’ll just turn, one

to the other and murmur

into our shared breath, “That was

interesting. Shall we do it

again?”

My heart shall ever beat as

one with yours, our feet

will dance the same

steps, and our fingers

intertwine. All our joys,

fears and tears to mingle

in the same rain, dance

on the pebbles of the driveway,

and water the flowers in the garden

of our lives together.

One day, maybe the rest

of the 6 billion souls we

share air with will understand;

“I Love You” is just the beginning.

********************************

P.S. Remember, Angel Martinez will be on this blog on the 25th. Come see what she has to share!

Watch This Space

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I’ve been so scattered of thought, body and spirit of late that I nearly totally blanked that I even had a blog. No worries though; there’s this little e-mail notification that tells me that the spam-meisters have been hard at it again. I really do wish that I had less of an ethical filter at times, because whamming the crap outta their blatant promo would just thrill my little dark heart.

At some time in the VERY near future, I will be hosting a wonderful author & friend on this site, so if you are following me, please be nice to her. Read some of her work and feel free to fawn all over her awesomeness. (Hope you’re blushing pink at this point, Angel Martinez….<evil grin>) Further, to all the beloved author friends hammering the good times gong at the Romantic Times 2015 convention in Dallas this week, huge and gentle hugs. Sorry you folks had to hit here during the rainy season!

This is the time of the year that the Dane and I shift gears into parental mode because the college kidlet is at home for her final summer break before kicking off her senior year at Cornell College. We are incredibly proud of her and just KNOW that she’s going on to incredibly awesome adventures (especially if the posse’ she’s surrounded herself with is any indicator!) Beyond that, there are other opportunities that are dragging us away from Cat’s Paw Acres. It’s time for us to re-connect, re-consider, re-new and re-vamp. That being said, I’m having to learn about some time management wherein health concerns are part of that equation. Did I ever mention that I SUCK at algebra?

We’ve lost some more of our barn cats due to a bumper crop of coyotes and my heart is heavy with their loss. Until recently, both the coyotes and the cats were fine having co-opted a truce that included George the Anatolian being the gatekeeper of goodness. Once George was taken out of the picture by incarnated slime parading as neighbors, everything fell out of balance and relative peace. While I totally despise the idea of returning to being apartment dwellers, it appears that this will be our temporary respite until we leave the State. Which means I get to explore the outer limits of Creative Downsizing.

On a happier note, a completely different surprise in that I’m actually hitting my stride with “Lyriel’s Moon” – a novel that I’ve had in my head to write ever since I narrowly escaped the clutches of the Evil Day Job with my very life. If you are ever victimized by an evil supervisor, boss or co-worker, I heartily recommend exacting revenge through the medium of writing. Nothing feels quite so invigorating as creating your own version of Karmic Payback to bless them with. I’ve created a playlist on YouTube that consists of all my beloved 80’s hair bands, some late 70’s rock, and a few of the latest happy musical creations that has me chair dancing and rocking out as I put my characters through the blender of human experience. The Yorkie thinks I’m two biscuits short of a snack, the cats are conversing about my shredded threads of sanity, and the neighbors are nervously avoiding me. It’s all good.

Sending out love and gentle hugs to one and all. Billy Joel and the rest are tuning up, and the Muse beckons.

LGBTQ Push Back Giveaway 2015

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Love is Love is Love

Allow me to state once and for all, I am a STRONG supporter of equal rights for EVERYONE. Likewise, I usually allow folks with a differing opinion to enjoy every bit of their personal opinion – as long as they don’t try to shove it down my throat, or the throats of anyone else, OR decide to legislate their personal beliefs into a public policy. Live and let live is a pretty happy place to be and with very few exceptions, a fairly nice lane to drive through life in.

When my firstborn nervously approached me to venture forth the idea that she might be bisexual, I didn’t flinch an inch. In fact, I think she was sort of shocked when I told her that her biological father was and he was closeted about it. Which, wasn’t a nice to for me to find out about until a couple of years AFTER he left the scene and I had to wait 3 weeks for the results of an AIDS test. (Note to genetic benefactor of first born child: Spurned ex-lovers have a very efficient network capability and a definitive taste for revenge tartare….oh gee, is the blood still dripping down my chin from that? Oops.)

Events of late have left a VERY nasty taste in my mouth; especially when righteous dim-wits go out of their way to show the rest of the world what an absolute failure our educational system currently is and just how decayed the interior working of our democratic republic is. We have the legislative process only the most elite of oligarchs could have wet dreams over and an educational system so pathetic that we’re only microns away from dropping statistically below certain Third World countries. Into this festering cesspool we add laughingstock after vaudevillian sideshow of state mandated ‘religious freedom’ statutes and ‘abstinence only’ sex education.

The pathetic outcome of such short-sighted actions will result in hairless bi-pedal hominids with scarcely enough mentation to punch buttons; those that survive their litter’s gestation in mothers infested with drug resistant venereal diseases, that is.

It’s PAST time to push back against the tides of intolerance, the bulwark of bullying, and the rubber bullets of riot police. I proudly support AJ Rose, Kate Aaron and Meredith King’s organized efforts in this weekend’s LGBTQ Push Back Charity Giveaway, and have a couple of short stories to offer up in exchange for donations to their efforts. OR….(keep in mind that in R/L I am clergy) …I will joyfully write a complete liturgy for whatever spiritual need you have.

There you have it in 500 words or less. Please support this cause; next to our fur-babies and purr-babies, it’s near and dear to my heart. Further, for about the same price as that fancy coffee in your hand, you’ll be supporting authors that could be wandering the streets looking for unsuspecting characters to add to their next novel in compromising situations with questionable motives. Scary thought, no?

Remember: What divides us, destroys us.

For more information, follow the link below:

http://diversereader.blogspot.com/2015/04/lgbtq-push-back-charity-giveaway.html

For a snippet of the some of the good stuff at that link:

It started when my sister Sarah overheard me talking to my boyfriend on the phone.
That afternoon, under the football stadium bleachers, Jonathan and I had our first kiss, and
I told him how much I liked it, how I wanted to do it again. I didn’t notice the click of
another phone in the house being picked up, but I sure heard it when my parents yelled my
full name.
“Elijah Michael Goodman, come here right this second!”
“I gotta go,” I whispered to Jonathan, and hung up before he could say anything. My
heart was in my throat as I went downstairs to the living room to see my mother and father
standing there, looking for all the world like they’d swallowed lemons.
“Who were you on the phone with?” Dad asked.
“Jonathan,” I answered truthfully. They thought he was my best friend. “Why?”
“What were you talking about?” Mom demanded, her voice shaking.
I squirmed and did the only thing I could with no time to think. I lied. “A test in
Algebra tomorrow.”
“That’s not what Sarah heard,” Dad challenged, eyes flashing.
Oh shit, I thought, but would never say out loud. My parents would tan my hide if I
swore in front of them, then take me to confession.
My silence made them angrier. Dad’s face turned red. “She said you kissed Jonathan.”
There was no way to refute that. I wasn’t a good liar. All I could do was take a deep
breath and nod, hoping they’d see the pleading in my eyes.
“Are you gay?” Mom demanded. Another nod.
The rest is a blur. My mother began screaming about my soul and salvation, and
they wouldn’t listen when I tried to tell them I tried not to be interested in guys, but it was
impossible. My dad went quiet, which was scarier than if he’d yelled, or even taken out the
belt.
Roughly grabbing my arm, he marched me up to my room, got out a duffel bag, and
threw three changes of clothes in it, grabbed my deodorant from the top of the dresser, and
shoved my shoes at my chest. Then he dragged me back downstairs, twisting my ankle in
the process, and threw me out the front door, the duffel landing beside me on the dry,
brown lawn.
“Don’t come back. You’re not our son anymore.”
My heart, having never left my throat, exploded, taking with it my ability to breathe.
What did he mean? Don’t come back, ever?
That’s how it started. By the time I’d walked to Jonathan’s, my parents—no, Mr. and
Mrs. Goodman—had already called his parents, and his mother met me at the door with
crossed arms and a stern expression, telling me Jonathan wasn’t home, and that he wasn’t
allowed to see me. As I’d walked away shivering, tears stinging my cheeks in the cold
November air, I’d looked back. Jonathan was at his bedroom window, holding an ice pack to
his eye and looking miserable. He gave a tentative wave, which I returned.
I had no choice. I had no money. I didn’t have my coat. No phone. And no one to call
anyway.

Trapped

Adrian 2

When you are trapped in a mind

That is crippled with broken wings

The winds that bring the day to you are cruel and unkind.

When your spirit is mocked and shamed

For not playing along, though the game

Is for those who cheat and lie.

It is then that I long for the breath

Of a dragon, the claws of the lion

The scream of a hunting hawk.

I did not ask to stumble and fall

I did not expect the march to be broken

By the Sword of Unspoken Fate.

Enchanted by the illusions of immortality

I failed to understand that mortal bodies

Have mortal limits, despite the Eternity

Of the inner self.

When next you see the ashes

Of a fire, remember well one day

You too will be like those remnants

Of what was once bright and welcoming.

You will be no more than the fragile flakes

Of someone else’s memory.

Rhae Camdyn

Mar. 28th, 2015