The Conversation

 

We all have a pair of shoes that tell a story. It may be a story remembered or a story that never happened, but shoes can speak volumes, after all they’ve walked many miles. This week we want you to take a picture of your favorite pair of shoes (or a pair of shoes with a story) and tell the story of those shoes. Where have they been? Where will they take you? Let the shoes do the talking!

 

Hey, what did we do before children? I can’t remember.

I don’t know…we went out dinner, traveled a bit, cocktails. We just walked a lot.

Remember when we used to go shopping on Newbury Street then meet up with the Alden’s at Cigar Masters?

Oh, right. I remember that! They’re so handsome. Then we’d walk across the street and check out the scene at Saks.

Mmmm hmmm…and sometimes we’d even take gorgeous couple home with us.

So naughty…even when we knew we shouldn’t do it.

Remember that time we went back to New York and ran into all those old shoes?

Oh my God. Are you talking about that time that we ran into the old sneakers? What were their names…?

..The Nikes.

Right, the Nikes! But we looked good that night!

Damn good!

Those old things didn’t expect to see us walk into that bar.

What about that French bistro in Beacon Hill…

Pierrot Bistro Francais?

Yes, that’s the place. We went there a few times.

Of course. I loved it because the walk from the parking lot to the restaurant was easy.

Right…no cobblestones.

Shudder

I’ll never forget that night we tried to walk on the cobblestones a Faneuil Hall.

Well, those cocktails sure didn’t help!

Laughter

At least there was no permanent damage.

Yeah.

Sigh

I miss us. I miss those times. I feel boxed in.

It’ll get better.

Seriously, I can’t live like this. I can’t stand this tiny box anymore. I need to get out and live a little! We barely even talk to our friends anymore. For God sake, they’re shut-ins now too!

Those really tall black ones must be going crazy…what were their names?

The Gucci’s.

Oh, right…The Gucci’s…

Well, I don’t know about you but I’m kind of glad to see all those Blahniks get knocked off their high horse. What a bunch of elitists.

Hey, Jimmy?

Yeah, Choo?

Do you think she’ll mow the lawn with us on her feet again this summer?

I hope so Choo…I hope so, because I think our glamour-filled nights are over.

At least we’re still the favorites. Thank God we’re pink.

 

Oh, Dear 16-Year-Old Me…

Dear Me,

This is a letter from you – but the version of you who lives in the year 2011. I know that you can’t presently imagine that you’ll ever be this old. Ever. But you are. Sorry.

I know what you’re thinking because, well…I’m you. You’re thinking that a letter from future you is slightly too far-fetched to be true. It smacks of Back to the Future, right? Well, the future is nothing like that. John Delorean goes to prison and his cars become worthless. Also, cars don’t fly 24 years from now. That’s a bunch of bullshit. The good news is that you’re not fat and you’re still kind of cute. Please keep exercising so that doesn’t change. I worked hard to stay this size.

I have some sad realities that I’m going to share with you in the hope that you won’t waste our precious time. First, you are done growing. I repeat – there will be no further growth. That includes both height and boobs. You’re done, sister. Give up the dream. You will never resemble Elle MacPherson and you’re hair will always be slightly wavy with a hint of red undertones. Watch out when you start coloring it, that red turns brassy in the sun and no one likes cheap and brassy. Stay brown and classy.

Secondly, you’re about to embark a six-month long stretch of pot smoking and copious booze consumption. I know that no one notices you around the house and you feel a bit like a 16-year-old roommate, but trust me, smoking joints isn’t going to do much for you but give you the munchies, paranoia and bloodshot eyes. Can we just skip that phase and hit the books instead? Otherwise, in a few weeks you’re going to skip school with Shannon and accidentally burn your mattress to smithereens with a curling brush. It’s not a good scene. Fire Trucks and cops and all that. Seriously, you’re just not cut out to be a pothead. Stick to your regular gig because our (future) high school classmates tell me that they thought you were one of the nice girls in “that crowd” –  despite the fact that you kind of despise being identified as part of “that crowd”. Just keep being nice and maybe talk to people a little more. Jodi Davis, Jodi Gilman and Leon Spath are really funny! Also, watch out for Sunny Lee. He likes to light things on fire too. Oh, and by the way, I have no idea what horrible thing we did to Stacy L., but she’ll refuse to speak or make eye contact with you at our 20 year reunion. It must have been something absolutely horrific if she’s still bearing a grudge 20 years later! Sheesh.

Also, you know that boy who’s been flirting with you? Yeah, the one who plays hockey. He’s a total d-bag. Do not under any circumstances become his girlfriend. Trust me. You’ll have the most miserable senior year and, to tell you the truth, he might exhibit some sociopathic tendencies. Find a nice boy in your class, one who is your own age. Could we stop dating older boys for now? Especially that loser who goes to Sienna. The guy who graduated three years ago and lives in Bedford Close. He’s just after one thing. Don’t waste your time. Clearly, he’s not getting any at college if he’s trying to hit it with a 16-year-old. That’s just gross. I wonder what his father, the doctor, would think?

I know you’ve been told you’ll amount to nothing and no one really shows much interest in sending you to college, but you need to take the bull by the horns. Do it yourself. It’s not too late. There’s financial aid and loans and that guidance counselor at school should really have done a better job. Make her do her fucking job this time. Who gives a shit what Ron says and who cares if he laughs at you. In the end, he’s not your father and he’s just threatened by women who use their brains. He’s awful to you because you don’t let him dominate you. Use your anger to prove him wrong. Get this college thing out of the way now or we’re going to spend our late teens and early twenties bouncing around aimlessly. You need to make a plan, because in two years he’s going to push you out of the house.

Have you sensed that I’m steering this letter in a serious direction? This is the really important part. Please pay attention. ..

You’re going go through some really heavy stuff that you don’t understand.  You’re going to feel out of control. Hopeless. I’m going to be blunt with you – you’re going to wish for death. I hope that what I’m telling you right now keeps us from reaching that point, because we almost don’t make it through. You’ll come close. You’ll have a solid plan in place and it’s not a teenage angst-ridden cry for help. I’m telling you now so that we don’t stumble blindly for four years, begging God for escape. You’re simply suffering from something called ADHD that has turned into depression. That’s it. I know that in 1986 people don’t talk about depression and you’re afraid you’ll be called crazy. Better to be called crazy by ignorant people than to be called dead. Fo shizzle! (that’ll make sense in a few more years.)

Sadly, I’m sitting here trying figure out who you should talk to about the black hole that’s about to swallow you and I can’t think of one person. There isn’t a single person in your life that is really going to hear what you’re saying. They’re a bit tone-deaf to you at the moment, aren’t they? In the end, I’m the only one who is ever going to truly understand the depths that you’ll reach. Fight. Fight hard because it does get better. I promise you, it does.

Talk to Dr. Evans. I know that he knows mom, but he has a duty to help you and diagnose your illness or, send you to someone who can. That’s all it is, you know…a neurological illness. People don’t choose to be depressed and people who are clinically depressed can’t “snap out of it”. You have my permission to punch anyone that tells you to “snap out of it” in the face! Hard.

You aren’t alone. Millions of people have this disease. Simply put, the neurons in your brain have trouble re-absorbing something called serotonin as it is transmitted across synapses. There are medications that will help you someday. I promise. Get the help you need and everything else will fall into place. Or not, but at least you’ll be able to cope with what turn out to be some horrible decisions without falling into a pit of despair. Sitting on the floor crying in various bedrooms in numerous houses over the years really sucked. You can help us avoid that. We’re going to miss out on so much if you don’t. You’re going to spend a lot of our senior year at home on Friday and Saturday night. You’ll go to school and act like everything is fine but the charade is going to exhaust you.

You have so much beauty in front of you. Things you can’t begin imagine. Heaven on earth. I’m not going to tell you about it here, because it will spoil the impact of it all when it happens, but you have four very important people waiting for you.

This isn’t at all what you envisioned the future version of you would say, is it? I’m sorry we aren’t glamorous and famous and wealthy and that we don’t drive a red Ferrari like Christy Brinkley in Vacation. We aren’t the Editor at Sassy Magazine and no, Johnny Depp isn’t our husband. (He’s still so totally HOT, by the way!) The reality of our life it this: Ferrari’s and bigger boobies and being Elle Macpherson pretty and being rich and famous isn’t nearly as beautiful as what we have at this end of our life. And though Johnny still makes us drool, he’s kind of weird. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be married to him…I think he might even be a little smelly.

Good luck and don’t let anyone make you doubt us.

Love,

Me

This letter to me was written in response to writing prompt #5 at The Lightening and The Lightening Bug.

Blink

She lay there completely drained, unable to speak, but also not feeling the need to. Exhaustion had robbed the strength necessary to keep her eyes open. Throughout the night she fought hard but, by the third time the staff rushed in, summoned by the blaring alarms, she felt herself slipping. Wearily, she turned her face in his direction. In the rush of doctors, he had been driven to the far corner of the hospital room. His face showed fear she’d never seen before . He looks stricken, she thought. Through her new calm, she felt only briefly sorry for him. She grew detached and he grew dim as she began that exquisite surrender. The hands of the people working on her body grew faint. Their voices took on a distant tinny sound.

There was no fear. That surprised her. How many times had she begged for this moment of release but backed off, fearful of what lies beyond? At last, she found herself wrapped in comfort and, with a growing sense of disengagement, she thought, how ironichow peculiar that my old prayer would be honored now, when I no longer plead for escape. Be careful what you wish for.

She vaguely felt her body moving. Her eyes blinked open to her doctor’s hovering face, asking questions she couldn’t respond to. They blinked open to lights flashing past overhead, then open again when a mask was placed over her face. They finally opened to him, his forehead resting against hers, his eyes full of worry. He squeezed her hand and she felt that.

On the verge of surrender, the first cry of their son touched her ears. She thanked God for his life, grateful for that piece of her that would remain with her husband.

Then she closed her eyes.

This week The Red Dress Club’s Red Writing Hood prompt was for a flash fiction piece inspired by the word LIFE. The story needed to be told in 300 words or less. Mine is precisely 300 words and based on the birth of my son. Every single word is true, except for the part where I died, of course.

Captive

An enormous jar of marbles sat perched on a shelf in the depths of the basement closet. In the dark, damp and musty room full of laundry soap and tools, a jar filled with perfectly shaped orbs in riotous colors was held captive in an old Ball jar. She reached in and pulled the jar into a shaft of sunlight pouring through the basement window. She was below ground, sitting on the cool cement floor and enjoying the silence.  One small rectangular ground-level window provided a view of the deep blue summer sky. Outside, the day was filled with heat but the basement was nearly frigid. She held the jar up, using the bright blue sky as a backdrop. The sunlight caused those perfect glass orbs to come alive again. Their color returned.

She marveled that inside of the dusty long forgotten jar, a bit of magic had been caught and held hostage. Inside the jar, the marbles screamed for release. For sunshine. To be held in the hands of a child. To roll across the sidewalk and click against another once again. Inside, under that zinc lid and neglected in the depths of a basement closet, they were captive and forgotten. Possessed but unloved.

She heard her mother’s footsteps on the basement stairs, “Be careful those are Ron’s marbles and they’re very old.” That was enough of a warning. To lose even one of those marbles wasn’t worth his vindictive wrath. Once he possessed something, he made it clear that no one else was entitled to touch what was his. From experience, she knew that children were not immune to his spiteful revenge.

She turned the grimy jar and marveled at the stifled beauty within, “Why are they in this jar in the basement?”  Her question was answered with a shrug and look of confusion, as if her mother couldn’t understand why it mattered. She felt a wave of aversion, realizing that her mother didn’t recognize the disservice of capturing such beauty and hiding it away. She stopped asking questions, knowing she’d never get her point across but also realizing that the marbles were his to keep confined forever. And wasn’t she avoiding just that? She constantly bucked against his masochistic need to dominate what wasn’t his. Including her. She’d given up waiting for her father to rescue her. She realized, at fourteen-years-old, that she must fight her battle alone.

Spellbound by the marbles and his need to control, she spat on her finger and rubbed a circle into the grime of the Ball jar. Through that clean spot, the marbles gleamed. She stood and walked to the washing machine to retrieve a towel and polished the grime-coated jar. Once more, she held the jar against the rectangle of bright blue summer sky and slowly turned it. Inside, the marbles knocked against glass and clicked against one another, begging for release. I can’t help you, she thought, I can’t help myself. She slid the jar back onto the shelf and closed the door on the beauty that shone within.

This is a piece inspired by the photo prompt at The Lightening and The Lightening Bug. It is a memory. I don’t know what became of the jar full of beautiful marbles held captive. I eventually escaped.

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I Remember the Dancing Dust – A Writing Prompt

This week’s memoir prompt asked you to dig deep to find what, from your childhood, you still know from heart.

I still remember all those rhymes you did while slapping hands with a friend, like Miss Mary Mack Mack Mack all dressed in black black black.

What do YOU remember? 600 word limit

The parking lot’s gravel crunched beneath my feet as I followed my father toward the door. The mid-day sun threw a glare off the rear windows of the handful of cars parked outside the quiet building. I wondered why this place was always our secret. He’d slapped my knee in the car and given it a light, tickling squeeze. “Remember…don’t tell mommy that we came here, K-Belle.” he instructed. Why wasn’t I supposed to tell Mommy? Through the screen of trees I could hear the cars on Route 6, but we were hidden from view in the parking lot of this dead end road, cloaked by the trees that seemed eager to help keep our secret. I would do anything for him, anything to stay with him forever even if it meant lying to my mother.

He pulled the door open onto a darkened room. From the outside, I could vaguely make out the tables and empty red vinyl chairs. The familiar smell of stale cigarette smoke and beer wafting into the daylight reminded me that this was a tavern. My sneakered foot crossed over the threshold and entered the cool, darkened cave of a room. To the right I saw the long bar with its rows of bottles lining the wall. A yellow-haired woman stood behind the bar, tending to a handful of men, each sitting alone and hunched over a glass. I knew who they were. They were the nice old men who suddenly talked to me in the voice of Donald Duck after they’d gone to the bathroom two or three times. Their faces bore silvering whiskers and deeply lined creases. Their good humor seemed forced and unreal. There was nearly always one who would speak to me through reddened eyes full of water. He’d lean in too close, too eager to ask me questions that didn’t make sense and I would wonder why his eyes were so filled with tears that never fell. Was it my fault? Was it my presence that reminded him that he was lonely? Was he sad because his little girl wasn’t sitting at the bar next to him?

Those men bothered me with the way that they waited until my father left for the bathroom to approach me. I’m sure that their intent was to care for the little girl sitting at the bar alone under the temporary care of the barmaid, but they left me unsettled. When I spotted a man who had the potential to become too interested in me, I always chose the barstool on the other side of my father, creating a barrier against men with rheumy eyes. Why was it that I was always the only one who noticed them? Everyone else seemed to look through the watery ghost men.

I knew one of them would keep me rich with maraschino cherries and orange wedges while I sat with my daddy. Sometimes, they’d buy me a Shirley Temple and tip their hats in my direction. I learned to hold my drink up and say thank you, like all the ladies in the bars did. I didn’t want to stand out.

When I was a little girl, I spent a considerable amount of time in bars learning to play pinball and read the words in the jukebox. This piece is an excerpt from the memoir I am working on in my MFA program. It is only a portion of what I so vividly remember.

Snow What?!

This post was written in response to the prompt at The Lightening and The Lightening Bug.

Rewrite or modernize your favorite fairy tale or take a story (book, movie, play, or memory) and turn it into a fairy tale. Lots of room to play around with this one, as long as you use the fairy tale aspect in some way. I’ve made the word limit greater this week, so you can develop your story further.

 

She woke slowly, her eyes heavy from her dark slumber. A hand brushed against her face lovingly and she heard a cacophony of noise as the woodland creatures she had called friends celebrated her sleepy stretch. Sunlight danced through the leaves, casting shadows on her face. This was the moment she’d anticipated ever since she’d been denied her birth right and forced to perform the duties of a scullery maid. She knew he’d come.

There had never been an apple so red before. The old woman held it in her gnarled hand, its beauty accentuated by her hideous form. She knew who the hag was but she also knew that in order to meet her prince; she needed to have faith in the ancient tales. She needed to bite the poison apple to summon him. Feigning naivety, she plucked the fruit from the wizened hag’s palm, pausing for the briefest of moments before bringing the apple to her mouth. It smelled of dust and earth. The impossibly shiny red skin seemed to undulate beneath her fingers causing her to recoil with disgust that she disguised by forcing a quick, hearty bite. The old woman, her stepmother in an enchanted disguise, mistook her haste for stupidity and beamed with the anticipation of her stepdaughter’s demise. Her lips pulled back in a smile that revealed the rotting, pointed teeth of something inhuman. The shock of seeing her stepmother’s true form caused her gasp, lodging that piece of poisoned fruit in her throat.

Her eyelids struggled to rise after her long sleep. Her lashes fluttered open but her vision was cloudy. “Wake up, my love,” whispered a familiar voice. Was it familiar because she’d always anticipated his voice to sound this way, or because she actually recognized it? She willed her eyes to focus and sluggishly turned her head toward the voice.

A form kneeled over her – blurry but familiar. That smell…the faint fetid scent of pickles. Her vision remained cloudy, but she saw the hand coming to stroke her cheek. “Shhhhh…baby, don’t fight it,” was breathed into her face, carrying with it the tell-tale odor of cigarettes and Budweiser. Now she was beginning to struggle her way through the remnants of her unnatural slumber. This is all a mistake, she thought, I’m still feeling the effects of the poison. She forced herself to blink clarity into her vision and rubbed her eyes to speed up the process.

It couldn’t be…

She pushed herself up and slowly focused on the form of the man kneeling at her side. He slowly rose and, finally, she was able to confirm what she had feared. “Steve?”

“How’s that for a magic kiss, huh baby?” That annoying stupid laugh made her skin crawl. “Wait ‘til the guys hear about this…you and me back together,” he boasted. “We’re a fuckin’ match made in heaven.”

She threw up a little in her mouth and recoiled against the side of the coffin she’d been placed in. Her hand fell upon the soft, rotting apple. She looked from Steve’s face to the apple and back again, suddenly infuriated at herself for being foolish enough to believe in fairy tales.

“So you gonna get up or what?” he asked impatiently. “I gotta go play some Fantasy Football.”

Without further hesitation, she picked up the putrid poison apple and took an enormous bite.

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This ain’t your home…

We bought that house together months before our wedding but it was never really mine. In his mind, he did all the work so he became the sole owner and he made that clear. I didn’t care. In the end, I just walked away from it all and threw everyone into a state of confusion. Who walks away like that unless there’s another man?

I do.

I tried to be like them and, in conforming, I began to drown. In the end, I went back to get my things. I left half of everything – half of the towels, half the dishes, half the sheets, I left the bed, I took the couch, and I left the house. It was never mine. I cleaned it. I cooked his dinner in it. I tried to be his wife in it. I wanted to die in it.

One night I went back to pick up my cat. His new girlfriend, the Bud Girl from Vegas, was allergic. The dog was off limits though, because she liked Jack. He’d left her picture at my sister’s house. Had he planted it there as if accidentally, so that I’d see his new girlfriend? She was cute. She wore her Bud Girl uniform proudly and stood beaming next to a hairy overweight and heavily bearded biker. I think his planted photo scheme bombed. I simultaneously thought it was funny, sad and desperate.

The night I picked up my cat, I stood in the living room and he moved closer to me, trying to pull me into an embrace that I didn’t want when the telephone began to ring. My telephone number, my telephone, my answering machine. “Hi, Baby it’s me…” my eyebrows rose as I spun back to look at his face. I stared at the person who had been accusing me of cheating for a month and a half. I glared at the person who threatened to change the locks on our house before we were divorced because his father told him to – the person who was just trying to pull me into an embrace. I moved to pick up my telephone and say hello. “Wait!” he pleaded, “Don’t.” My hand hovered over the cradled telephone as I weighed the importance of picking it up. What did she know about me? Did she know I hadn’t even moved out yet? That we weren’t divorced? Did she know that he was trying to sleep with me while I picked up the cat? Did I really care enough to tell her?

 No.

I took a step back and listened to the disembodied voice calling my husband ‘Baby’. I looked around the room that I hated and my eyes finally came to rest on him. He had no idea what to do. Was he waiting for me to confront him? Was he waiting for me to retaliate after the accusations that I’d cheated? Did he need me to explain again that sometimes people leave because they’re drowning? Should I scream that I’d slept in my car because of him? That my own family stepped away from me because of my alleged cheating?

 No.

I stepped away from the telephone and picked up the crate holding Rosie. He reached for me again as she hung up, trying to pull me closer but I resisted. “I’ll be here with the moving truck in two weeks.”

She moved in a month later. I moved to Greenwich and a house full of single girls.

Bursts of Light

This is a piece written in response to prompt #1 at The Lightening and The Lightening Bug. (click on the button on my side-bar to read the fantastic posts written in response to our first official prompt.)Write a blog post that focuses on either lightning or a lightning-bug. This post can be fiction, memory, or poem. Let these words and images carry your post to its destination.
 

 

I quickly reached over to the bedside table and turned off the lights.

I’d spent nearly an hour lying in bed reading a magazine, attempting to induce sleep, but it wasn’t working. Without the luxury of extreme exhaustion, falling asleep without the comfort of voices can be a challenge. My need for the sound of television is a hold-over from childhood where I lived in a house filled with the presence of a woman long gone. Voices kept her at bay or, at least, that’s what I thought. My sleep habit has endured for too many years to count. I’ve argued with parents, roommates and even an ex-husband about the television as a sleeping partner.

I lay in the bed at my mother’s new house thinking of these things while longing for the muffled sounds and flickering light of a television. Finally, exhaustion won and I slowly began to drift despite the energy that was rising. By that time I knew enough about myself to know I’m a beacon. It’s not the buildings, it’s me. I’ve come to know the feeling and I’m able to recognize when someone or something wants to make its presence known. Most are just memories being played again and again, but some are angry, some are confused and some are lost. Some were never even human to begin with. Sometimes I can ignore them. I pretend I can’t hear them or see them and they silently move on to wherever it is that they go. It’s the ones who refuse to be ignored that make me long for a television – a distraction that buffers whatever it is that causes my mind to tune in.

My mother’s new house – the one she was so proud of, the one they’d just built on the top of a hill in what was once a farmer’s field, was haunted. I didn’t tell her. My “ability” had become running joke in the family. You think every house you go into is haunted… David and I drove to upstate New York from Boston and, from the first time we stayed, I knew they were there. Three of them – a man and two women. He was very angry. His emotion was palpable. On that first visit I curled myself into a ball and buried my face in David’s back in the guest room bed. I tried to ignore them.

The burst of bright light happened just as David’s breathing told me he was falling into sleep. The room was washed with the blue-white light of a lightening flash. I told myself that it was storm but knew it wasn’t. It was late fall. There were no accompanying rumbles of thunder and the big windows confirmed the stars were shining. The yard was illuminated by a bright harvest moon. The flash came again, filling the air with a series of popping sounds and carrying their image into the corner of the room. The women hovered behind him silently, almost sorrowfully, looking down to where their feet should have been. He looked straight at my face and, wearing an expression of rage, he pointed angrily at the ground. His mouth moved in a noiseless tirade. I closed my eyes and pressed against David’s back, trying to shake him awake, but he wasn’t sleeping.

Did you see that? That flash?

Yes, that burst of light.

Yeah. Did you hear that sound…like bubbles popping?

This house is haunted.

It’s new.

Just don’t say anything…they’ll all make fun of me if you do.

A year later, I was nearing the end of my first pregnancy. I was alone for the visit and my mother offered the pretty guest room. My big belly and I slept on the couch. I pretended I’d fallen asleep while watching television. I had tried the bedroom, but he came with his women in tow, riding those lightning flashes, emitting a noise best described as impossibly large bubbles popping. He was full of rage. He pointed to the ground, angrily jabbing his finger at something unseen and mouthing something I couldn’t hear. On the second night, I finally asked my mother if she’d seen any bursts of light.

Yes, what is that?

Have you seen anyone? Anything?

Why?

Despite myself and the fear I’d be belittled, I told her what I had experienced.

It wasn’t until a later visit when she led me to a broken gravestone they found after the foundation was dug. She laughed sheepishly, explaining that my sister had forbidden her from telling me about the broken headstone because, of course, I’d immediately claim there was a ghost in residence. Instead of becoming defensive, I suddenly understood his anger and his jabbing points to the ground. I knew why he was angry.

Each time I went, he became stronger. He began appearing in daylight. One afternoon his form moved through the living room, easily identified by his broad shoulders and dark button-down shirt. Despite feeling foolish, I talked to the air, hoping to explain that the farmer who sold the field had knocked down their cemetery, plowed their headstones and scattered their bones long ago. My mother had asked around a bit and uncovered that sad revelation. One of the last times I visited before my mother sold the house, my friend Tiffany came with me for a weekend. I generously offered her the pretty guest room and its lovely view…because she doesn’t see dead people.

The Hill Field - Arthur Wesley Dow 1908-1910 courtesy National Museum of American Art

Sand and the Soul

My body rose into the air, heaved toward the sky on the crest of an undulating wave that brought me as close to flight as I’ll ever be. Just as quickly, I plummeted back toward the earth as the wave moved forward without me – pulled back where the world attempts to ground me, forever reminding me I belong on its solid surface. I tucked my knees into my chest, avoiding the sand beneath my feet and I hid behind the wall of water. There, in the trough of a chilly Atlantic wave, I relished precious seconds of freedom. Behind the wall of water I was unseen. For a moment, I ceased to exist. I was erased by the sea.

Treading water, I turned my body and faced the horizon to welcome another exhilarating ride skyward, realizing that riding waves still fills my soul with pure joy. The waves are a place where the darkness can’t reach me. The water holds both the joy and playfulness lost so long ago when the darkness began its slow consumption.

My face bore a smile. Unabashed, I played in the waves allowing freedom to wash over me, temporarily cleansing the darkness. I turned once again to face the beach and, there in the sand, I saw my little girls building castles and moats. Their presence suddenly made me aware that I must tear myself away and return to solid ground. I need to walk among them in the sand and allow my feet to sink into the earth, back on land where the darkness hovers, waiting to pull me down.

So this week, we want you to write about sand.
Yes…sand.

It doesn’t have to be summer-related, but the impending summer and my proximity to Lake Michigan and it’s glorious beaches are what inspired me to tell you to write about sand.

So.

SAND.

GO.