Unusual To Find

It was I that thought of you today. I often do. Others may as well but I only know of me.

You were in a dream first and my sister was luring you with her charms – you succumbed and I was fraught with pain and anguish at the thought of abandonment. I had been clamoring after you in my usual attempt to find the love you have for me – it isn’t often clear.

I found you in a bed together.

You tried to convince me that it wasn’t that you didn’t love me.

She wouldn’t have purposely done a thing like that when she was alive. Just as you told me in the dream, “I couldn’t help myself.”

No one could resist her. She attracted everyone. I repelled. She couldn’t help herself either – it was just the way things were.

If not for you and a scarce few others, including my sister, I might not have had any chance to try to be known. That is what we all want – a chance to be known. We want someone to want to know us. Someone to ask questions. Someone to say, “Is that really how you feel? How did you come to feel as such? That’s very interesting. Tell me more.”

You don’t always do that but you do it enough to make me believe. My sister was the same – sometimes but not always – interested to know what thoughts I had. It wasn’t unlike her to call me a cynic and point out all my flaws though – too.

We want someone to want to see pictures of us in our younger days where we might be able to see our better side. We want someone to want to recall those days when we might have been together in them. We want someone to want to be with us – even if we must remain silent. We might even prefer the silence – just want the company and we want someone to want to accommodate us.

These things are quite unusual to find.

Sometimes, mostly in dreams, I find that unusual thing in you. Other times, I find you in bed with someone else.

Isn’t it a pity.

The Right Height

“Would you like to go to the top of the Empire State Building?”

“No, I’m afraid of heights.”

I wasn’t always. I seem to have become afraid of anything that is higher than my bed or a step ladder in the kitchen. I’m fairly okay on an extension ladder trying to lop off a dead limb on a tree or to inspect the roof. Anything much higher and I run the risk of expelling myself to tempt death – the thought occurs.

What’s so fascinating about death?

It’s well worth considering and I think that because I have considered it quite well that the thought of something as tiny as an unseeable particle of some matter that is thought to be devastating can’t seem to touch my psyche. I thought about death so much for so long before March 13, 2020 that I was relieved when an invader was thought to have been discovered that could knock out half the population in a matter of weeks. It brought me back to life.

It’s been almost a year now.

Everyone is still afraid of death. I think everyone just likes being afraid. It’s primal. It’s easy. It’s base to be afraid.

How many movies are horror?

And everyone likes obeying.

Except me. And one or two or three other people that I know.

I wanted more room for crafting and my mattress was getting old and was too big. I tore it apart for its parts before I had anything else to sleep on and have been suffering ever since.

Until today.

I got a $7 blow up mattress. I’m in heaven. It’s just the right height now to not be tempted to expel myself and I can stand up without having to bend my knees too much.

I’m happy to be alive now. And, I’m not too afraid of death. I’d still like to live to be 108 – but who am I to say.

Funny what $7 can do to make me happy as I sit here atop it typing.

Nothing But Disappointment

It might appear from another perspective that someone’s life had been nothing but disappointment.

Especially if that someone had kept so much to themselves other than the visible appearance of struggle.

Having not had the remnants of large success, it might seem to have been a triviality of existence.

Another perspective altogether – someone she’d never known – if they’d known, might have thought that, indeed, she had lived large and had remnants of success. But the people she knew, she was sure wouldn’t see it that way. She was sure they saw her as a refugee – not in the same world that they were.

She didn’t like their world so much.

There had been love and romance and beautiful things.

Just no children to speak about it to others after that life had left them alone in the world.

She woke in the middle of the night after just barely having nodded off. It was Christmas Eve. She couldn’t sleep. She’d eaten half a box of Whitman’s chocolates to soothe herself – a present to herself. She felt lonely or some sort of existential ambiguity that was making her feel a need to wrap her arms around something other than thoughts – so she went to her closet and there he was.

Bar – looking her right in the face – waiting.

How had it been decided that Bar was a boy?

She was one when he came into existence – at least to her existence – but one isn’t having existed long enough to know that something else exists – is it?

Perhaps.

She seems to remember him always with her – in a little doll stroller or in her bed being tucked in with another littler bear riding on his tummy.

She tried not to show partiality, but Bar was her first love. The littler brown bear was a love too, but somewhere along the line, he went missing. He was a boy too. Where had he gone? She missed him.

“You’ve lived such and interesting life.”

“Yes…I have,” she replied to the one that said that.

Someone saw.

Some things just need to be saved. Bar. Bar had been with her all her life – less one. What a faithful little bear he’d been. She would never abandon Bar.

Bar spent the night riding on her tummy – a string of colored Christmas lights working as a nightlight.

Bar made her cry, for the realness that he had tucked in with his stuffings.

Christmas came and went – again.

Image by Iván Tamás from Pixabay 

Being In Control

The bicycle rode up the hill and down the hill again. Someone was making it do so. The ride down was easy. The ride up quite a struggle. The ride down made it all worth it because the downward momentum felt like flying and in far less time than it took to struggle up the hill, several more times worth of length were flown down once the turnaround was made.

So it seems that we struggle longer to get just a little bit of flying.

It’s worth it.

High as a kite is not anything anyone could take on a continual basis. Neither is having to struggle forever. For some it seems they do. It’s a very sad thing that there might be someone who never gets to be as high as a kite without taking some kind of drug. It would be good if everyone could feel the effects of flying down a hill on a bike — one that has to be pedaled — though one with a motor is pretty awesome too. It’s that feeling of flying.

Lucky birds.

I can’t go on a plane. I’m claustrophobic. It’s a matter of being in control. I can control the pedals on a bike so I can still feel like I can fly except that now I’m a little too old and a little bit afraid of broken bones and they don’t all work as well as they used to — but, I can still remember peddling up that hill and flying down.

Lucky bird am I.

 

To Let Go

There is a history in old things. Some people don’t like them for that reason and buy only new to avoid having to deal with any feelings old, used things evoke.

My own home has hardly anything new in it.

Because Mom liked to save things, we had furniture stacked on furniture with few voids — every space became consumed eventually — as we all grew and nothing seemed to leave. It may be that because of that, empty space leaves me feeling uncomfortable even now. It was also likely because of that aspect of childhood that I ended up in a career arranging things. It became my job as a child to organize because, after awhile, everyone could see that I had a knack for it and so, as with all things someone does well, it becomes expected of them.

Lucky for me that I loved to do it.

When the old farm house my mother was living in changed owners and the caretaker was given all the old antiques that had been it it since its beginning, Mom and I went traipsing through a string of used shops all lined up in a row in one section of a nearby town and found replacements for everything that went missing with the caretaker. We had so much fun and ended up becoming friends with one of the shop owner because she got so much from them that it took a few trips to decide on things and each trip we spent time visiting. They delivered the entire lot once everything was picked out.

It may even have been the stories that they told that helped her pick the things she did.

In those days, old things hadn’t started fetching the kinds of prices they do now days — so we were able to refurnish her rented house with her measly money. Most all of those things ended up in one or another of her kids’ or their kids’ homes after she “conked out”, as she always called it — “I’m dibsing this to you for when I conk out,” — would be what she’d say and that person’s name would go on it or on a list.

Some of those things I had to let go of when I left California to move to Arizona. I corralled any friends who needed things and let them pick and choose for free and anything left was offered to another friend I had who rented a space in an antique shop who did special effects on things and then resold them. I loved her work. She picked the things she wanted, we decided on a price and after she gave me the money, I gave her all the rest of the stuff — whatever she still wanted — for free because, well, just because and I wasn’t going to move it so what else was there to do with it but make both of us happy.

There is always a bittersweet feeling letting history go but if it gets a good home, all the better and not so bitter.

There was one table, an oval one, that I had purchased used and made a faux marble effect on its top and painted the legs purple. It had pride of place in my big California house. I hated to part with it but it was really big and I had no idea what I would be living in once I got to Arizona, (I like to take a lot of risk. At least I used to.) I only took small things that could serve multiple purposes and were easy enough to carry around by one person.

That table, a dear friend took and it ended up as the table in the space her husband liked to be in and as his sprawling work station with papers and clutter all over it — little patches of the faux finish peeking through. That was his space and it kept clutter and stuff from all over other spaces she didn’t want it and it was tucked back in a corner where it wasn’t easy to see. I have an image of him friendly-flipping me the bird while sitting at it one time that I visited. So, the history of that table lives on and on. They aren’t together anymore but I think he took the table with him.

Right before my mother died, she asked me if I thought about renting her old house — she loved it so much and wanted to think of me in it. I said, “Mom, I would never be able to get over you if I did that.” She looked up at me and said, “I know.” So many times I almost wish I had — 20/20 hindsight. But, I would not have had the life I’ve had, good and bad and God only knows what I would not have been able to rise above if I’d stayed. California will always be home though and I very often miss it and especially my mother’s old home and the little wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling used-furnished abode we spent a lot of time in too before we all moved up the street to the big old farmhouse where all the space got filled as well.

Filling empty space has been a thing my family excelled at and I was, am, no exception. But while my mother, on the one hand, would stick new pictures on the wall wherever there was an empty space, I would learn to try to make them make more sense and have a rhyme and reason to where they did get placed. And I would eventually learn a little bit more about editing and letting go of things so that there could be a few empty spaces for a place the eyes could land to find a little peace from utter chaos.

All the things that come and go are touched and leave a fingerprint while in the person’s custody. Finger prints can be erased. What the touching does is anybody’s guess but I think that might be why I like old things — history travels with them, perhaps. And I love that very continuity and the sense that life just might go on. I know I sense my mother in the things she left and that is such a bonus and a comfort after all is said and done — any nuisance of clutter or the burden of the baggage of old dolls aside. I’m glad to have my mother still with me, one way or another.

One Little Thing

News to me, primary colors have been redefined. Is it a debate or simply that more about color is known?
At any rate, it turns out that the original color wheel is still used when mixing colors for painting in oils or acrylics.
Wavelengths and spectrum aside, early in my career of planning rooms and spaces for stores and clients, what I knew was red, yellow and blue and that if you mixed those in different proportions and with each other in various assorted ways, you could get any color in the world — at least I thought.
I loved everything about trying to understand color and couldn’t wait for any chance to have another try at mixing and coordinating things in ways that would please someone enough to inspire them to spend some of their hard-earned money so that a commission would result.
For a month or so on my first job designing vignettes for a showroom, I followed someone else around getting used to things. She had a lot of confidence, which, by the way, I did not — at least not right away.
I was nervous and unsure of my skills. I had no real formal training. I had started a home study course (yes,that was a thing way back then), after coming back from a summer scholarship trip to the Academy of Art in San Francisco and those two things were enough to get that job.
A little talent in drawing and painting and a passion for it all was enough to buoy confidence for giving a decent interview. The manager was impressed with those credentials and gave me a shot.
I buckled a little under the weight of my anxiety but managed to pull through with a little more practice and watching others more confident than I for the time that it took to get better at it.
Practice, practice, practice.
That was in the 70s and at that time there was a very wide array of styles to choose from — one of them was Modern.
The store I worked for had a set of modular pieces that could be arranged almost any way you could imagine them and they were the brightest shade of yellow textured vinyl. They were low slung and not something an older person could easily get out of. They had somewhat carved out seats and almost fit like a glove when sitting in them.
The young woman I was following around learning from was working on changing some things out in that vignette when I first fell in love with red, blue and yellow together as an interior decorating color scheme.
What she did that seemed like magic to me then was that, to top it all off, she hung a translucent acrylic screen, (called a room divider at the time — a big one — four or five feet by five or six), from chains hung on movable sliding brackets fixed to dropped acoustic ceiling panel rails. It was an aqua color. Everything else in the vignette was pure primary — as far as I knew primaries at the time.
That additional color changed things in a way I never would forget. One little thing made all the difference. The fact that it was see-through was of value too — it made things sparkle.
No doubt there were other bits and bobs placed all around to pull it all together — but I don’t remember anything except the solid red, blue and yellow and that translucent aqua. I went back to stare at it every chance I got and just loved how it made me feel.
So funny the things we choose to remember.
What was so special about that?
I think now that it was because it simply helped me to realize that something so slight can have such a big, dynamic impact.
I didn’t know how that young woman knew to do that and that impressed me too. To me it spoke of bravery and confidence — and, possibly, subliminally, the value of more education — which she likely had. At that point, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. That simple little thing made it clear that there was learning in every nook and cranny to be discovered turning any corner and that watching others do a thing could reveal those things I didn’t know I didn’t know.
And, there is always a chance that you can be amazed.
I find it funny that all these years later, I still gravitate and have been making my way back to those simple primary colors with little twitches that result in pleasing eye movement. The more I pare things in my own home, the more I see red, blue and yellow coming to the surface — they’ve been hiding in plain sight from that love affair so long ago.
The things we’ve built our live around, seem to stay with us all the way.
That’s a very comforting thought.
To say the least.

Whenever They Spoke

As he was walking by, he was talking on his cell phone. She recognized the voice so she stood up to look — she was sitting out in the sun. What he was saying, she knew a little about too — he was talking about his wife, complaining, which he often did whenever they spoke.
She called out his name with an attendant hello and he waved back at her but kept on walking and talking. Suddenly he stopped in his tracks and told the person he was talking to that he needed to go.
She walked to her locked front gate which was close to where he was standing with several bags of groceries in one hand and his phone in the other. She imagined he wanted to chat but he made no indication that he wanted to come in — so she didn’t bother to ask.
He struggled to get the other party to quit, but he finally did. She waited while he finished and then he flipped his phone back closed.
She hadn’t seen him in awhile and had actually been worried. Turned out it was because he had had a seizure and was restricted from driving. She offered him a ride but he was close enough to home that he declined it. They stood there and talked for quite a little while.
He was easy to complain with and so that was how she started with her side of the conversation. As soon as she did, she remembered that she had decided to quit thinking and talking in those kinds of ways because all they do is make life more miserable and never fix a thing.
She was thinking how easy it is to get into bad patterns and how hard it is to change them once they’ve been started.
He had lived in their little town as far back as she could remember. He might even have arrived before she did. She couldn’t remember if they had ever talked about it, but they had been stopping to talk all through the years.
When she first met him, he wasn’t married but was in the same house as the one he now calls his “wife”. All along he had been saying things like, “If I wasn’t with her…,” which eventually turned into, “If I wasn’t married.” One time he slipped and said, “If you weren’t married,” even though he had known all along that she had never been.
One time she had a card left on her car window that was a handwritten excerpt of Lionel Richie’s, “Hello” song with specific verses picked out to make the card giver’s message clear — “I’ve been alone with you inside my mind and in my dreams I’ve kissed your lips a thousand times. I sometimes see you pass outside my door…hello…” and then some of his own thoughts about how beautiful he thinks she is and how he will always love her. It wasn’t unusual at all for her to walk by his house as it was on her walking path.
The card sounded so very heartbroken but she never said a word to him about it. She figured if it was him and he really wanted her to know, he would say so.
She couldn’t imagine that it could have been from anyone other than him because there had never been anyone else in town who had shown even the slightest kind of interest. Well, maybe one or two, but none had been as sentimental as he had always been. It was very cryptic with little clues inserted that she believed were intended to give her leads. None of them meant anything much to her other than the excerpt itself which was the mood of his usual musings about her — whenever they stopped to talk.
He was a little man who was from New York or New Jersey and had a very New York or New Jersey dialect. He was now quite crippled and bent and was losing most of his teeth and came off as a scrappy fighter just like someone from New Jersey would be inclined to.
She didn’t think of herself as anything better — after all, she was getting quite a bit older too — but he had never been anyone she could find herself interested in and as the years had gone by, it had become clearer and clearer that they had very little in common. About all they had ever really had in common was that they were both lonely and glad to have someone to talk to.
This day was nothing different. They spoke for a while and he went on, crippled and bent and walking. He waved back after a few strides and said, “Go with God.” She shouted back, “You too.”

A Dirt Floor

Her house had been left to fall into disrepair. Social anxiety had very nearly disabled her. It was all she could do to even answer the phone or the front doorbell for fear she would have to engage with a human — someone she already knew.
She said it was easier to speak to strangers.
Going out in public was like going to war unless she was behind her camera talking to it, her audience, like she had an imaginary friend in tow.
It’s hard to hide ourselves from people who have gotten to know us some. Unless there is the distance of that camera, it’s not as easy to pretend.
It made her cry to watch Grey Gardens in fear of ending up the same as Big and Little Edie Beale — though she watched it from time to time to remind herself of what she didn’t want to become — or to consider how far she had gone.
There was something very strong about her countenance — even in her frazzled and frayed behavior, her eyes remained fully engaged.
Democracy was becoming an enemy — but an individual’s well-accrued wisdom didn’t interest her either. She was hiding from critique. What good was a consensus — she knew very well about herself. Everyone had an opinion and mostly they agreed that it would be good for her if she “Did this” or ” Did that,” — as if they knew how she was feeling in the core of who she was. After all, she was sharing loudly everything about herself. Fatigued by their votes — because, after all is said and done, only she knows how her shoes feel — she cut off comments. Everyone could watch her, but no one could reach her.
It isn’t clear if the disrepair was due to lack of funds or the emotional stamina she might need to hire a repairman. Either way, as she said, “It’s like trying to clean trash,” and that was her excuse for letting the inside go as well. She just shifted things from one side of the house to the other trying to improve the function some — but nothing ever left and she cleaned very little. She made it a point to not let anything new in. That gave her a sense that she had a measure of control over how bad her disability could become.
Humans seem to have a need to fill empty spaces.
What empty space was she really trying to fill — a hole in her soul, unsuccessful connections in her brain that had left gaps between synapses? She didn’t know. She pondered with her muted audience.
She was making lots of plans for the future — lots of projects that were exciting to think about were racing through the empty spaces in her mind. She had an income to accrue toward retirement. Even though getting dirt off of a dirt floor is impossible, sweeping it isn’t. She would keep on keeping on and as much distress as it might all seem to be, there was still something about momentum that spoke to her of hope.

About Wild Things

The poor black, woolly, massive cat came around the corner and jumped up on a pile of sticks and leaves that are making a crescent mound around a tree to keep whatever rain falls from rolling too far away from it. The sticks will eventually decompose and feed the tree. The cat settled high on the sticks and then turned his head enough to reveal a flaming-hot pink patch around his ear.

There’d been a fight and it wasn’t clear who had won because neither cat came back for quite a while after that. The other cat has been around again too but keeps a very close eye out while traversing about the yards — especially while he’s eating. It’s still unclear who won. It’s too bad they just can’t get along.

Does the other cat have as much empathy for the big, black, woolly cat as the one feeding the cats does? Would he take him to a doctor? Should the person feeding cats get a trap? Will it heal on it’s own? Will he die alone? If the vet fixed him would he recover and do it all again?

It’s so hard being a human — to know what to do about wild things.

The big black cat is soaking in the sun, feeling his pain like a trooper. Why can’t all cats just get along because the lady feeding cats would feed them all. If they only knew or she could speak cat so that she could tell them all to behave.

The lady that feeds the cats can’t help but feel the pain of all the animals in Australia fleeing fire if they are lucky enough not to first go up in smoke. She can’t help wanting to ask all the people crying and posting images of koala, kangaroos and wombats being rescued if they still eat meat. She wants to ask them to rescue pigs too and cows before they reach their plates.

How much does meat eating relate to fires? It would be nice to know.

It’s odd how political correctness waffles depending on the trauma. No one seems to be posting pictures of a grilled kangaroo or one with a proud hunter by its side these fiery days. So much empathy suddenly for kangaroos being rescued now. Wasn’t it just yesterday that they were promoting selling hunting licenses to keep their populations down since they have become such a nuisance for humans.

Good guys, bad guys.

A meme stream was filled with haters of someone who dared to imply that the fire-cleared land can be scarfed up on the cheap now by special interests. “How dare you have no empathy for all the people fleeing.”

How dare you is popular now.

Truth is truth. How dare you not normally care about cows.

What is the truth?

“The fire was believed to have started from a sparking electrical transformer.”

Seems the same thing happened in California.

“Rather than spend the money it obtains from customers for infrastructure maintenance and safety, PG&E funnels this funding to boost its own corporate profits and compensation,” according to the complaint.”

Yes, what is the truth?

Cats fighting over territory have it out and one might leave with a bloodied ear. They might both come back and find a way to get along so they can each or both continue to eat.

Humans who fight do sneaky things. It doesn’t seem impossible to imagine how all the sneaky things that people do can add up to fires.

It would be a lot easier if it was a bloody ear.

 

 

What They Gained

Looking through frosty glass can make the world outside appear imaginary. Maybe it is an illusion, even unfrosted. After all, it is only what it is while someone is thinking. Depending on what kind of thinking is attending, it can shift shape and meaning. Who knows what colors others see.

The woman said that she would rather that she had never been born. Her fans were telling her that they were dismayed that she could be thinking that way and advised her strongly against it. She made no apologies and dug her heels in deeper — saying, “I stand firm. I wish I had never been born. I wouldn’t wish life on anyone.”

She gave no clue about feeling this way until she said it outright. She was effervescent and animated in her videos and so natural and earthy. She spoke her heart and minced no words — shit, fuck and damn fell out with ease, unedited, and well-congealed thoughts tripped out of her mind with ordered precision. Her communication was easy, made good sense and she was unabatedly funny. She claimed later that that was because of anxiety and not because she was actually comedic.

She was sticking and stitching bright colored scraps to a backing making a new piece of fabric out of bits and pieces left over from other things she had sewn. She seemed so full of life and was so very chipper and everything she picked to patch was cheery and so well considered. She turned pieces this way and that while the camera was watching, trying to make the piece aesthetically pleasing — it was obvious she was filled with a fluid artistic persuasion.

It’s easy to hide behind the fog of the war that is living.

She didn’t seem to be trying to hide. She seemed to be undressing while still keeping on her clothes. She was emotionally fully exposed.

Unrehearsed and played aloud, more about her story started coming out. She had set a stage for telling her truth. She said she wanted an audience to help her understand herself. If it helped someone else, she didn’t mind. The sewing and cooking were just a way to make her viewers look and find a content value. Her story was as much.

“I had a parka that I opened the seams of the pockets so that I could fit all the beer cans along the bottom, inside the lining. It was hard to stuff it all in my locker at my elementary school. I don’t know why no teachers ever confronted me. I was drunk everyday. It was as if nobody cared. My parents certainly didn’t. I was taking beer to school when I was twelve and stumbling and falling in my parent’s presence. I drank champagne when I was ten and drank as much as I could get my hand on at a wedding. When I couldn’t find alcohol elsewhere, I stole. One day my father had to pick me up, drunk and lying in the snow and bring me inside. He never said a word. I was a child. I never hated myself for drinking. And I always thought I was living a grown up enough life to warrant doing grown up things. I hated the people who never seemed to care and who let it keep going on when, clearly, they had to know.”

She was rambling. It seemed like she could burst out crying any minute but didn’t. She stuffed it in. She’s claimed to be a hoarder.

“I hate to look at pictures of the past. I’ll look and see that someone’s gone — has died — and that some of the others will leave before much longer — one way or another. I wouldn’t wish life on anyone,” she repeats. “It’s just a bunch of crap. Whatever’s good isn’t enough to make up for all that’s bad about it.”

She claims it’s not depression, just a realist’s way of seeing her condition.

Her condition might just be a way for others to see what can end up being so subtly gorgeous once the full measure of its being is exposed. That she has undressed, so to speak, is what has let others see. It’s a useless exercise — someone, who once has been, cannot go back to never having been — and certainly not without others losing what they gained.

She is certainly subtly gorgeous and anyone who has seen her has gained.

 

 

Image credit: Simple Stylish Makes