Friday, November 21, 2008

The Gift

You left me on a Tuesday. I always knew you would eventually. You needed more than I could give you, taking more than I had. I was exhausted when you left. I should have been a complete wreck, but I was nothing other than tired and numb. I slept for days, waking only to pee, get something to drink or feed the cat. You hated the cat. You hated her because she loved me and that irritated you. You hated her because I loved her too. I was never much of a cat person. Remember when we found her? She was wailing away like a tortured child. I took pity on her, let her in and she stayed because I did not have the heart to abandon her at a shelter. She had already been through so much. I remember how she licked her wounds as she backed herself into a corner, unsure of what to expect from two people that did not appear to be much on animals at all. She stayed that way for hours, howling over and over again as I tried to reach out to her. She reminded me of you in a way. You had been difficult to reach too. You wanted me and then would run away knowing that eventually you would destroy me or I would destroy you. Never believing it would be you that destroyed everything, not me.You always preached how you were a simple man, but you were far from simple. Your hobbies and interests’ simple perhaps, but you were as complicated as they come. I suppose it’s what I loved about you. You were passionate to the core and when you loved me, you loved me so deeply and so completely until you realized it would hurt more if you allowed it for too long. So you would pull away, until another weak moment would hit and then you would come back to me and pull me under with rapture. You made love to me for days on end; we slept and ate in-between. Those moments were the best moments of my life. We walked naked through the apartment, unable to keep our hands off each other, showering together every few hours, sore, exhausted, finding pleasure in pain. Your tongue, your lips, your hands, the weight of you crushing me, but I would have gladly died that way beneath you with your eyes staring back at me as we reached unbelievable peaks of bliss in unison. “Let’s make a baby” you would say. I would smile knowing you would resent any child that took me from you for too long but loving how romantic you could be and knowing that eventually you would have to give me life outside of our little world or leave me. You were always so jealous of everything and anyone that bid pleasantries to me, men, women, even children. You wanted me to yourself. You wanted me in a cage. You wanted me at home where you knew no one could take me from you.I remember how the simple things would excite you. I would buy you something for no particular reason at all, lay with you while you watched those bloody reality shows that have never done much for me at all, rub your back or walk in the rain in the middle of the night, laughing. I remember how I made you feel ageless and not even close to your forty seven years. I remember how age had no place in our life. I was young but you were younger at heart and I loved you for it. I remember the last time you made love to me and forgot the birth control we relied on to keep our little world simple. I remember how surprised I was that you had no reservations about throwing caution to the wind.I remember how we laughed and smiled so much it hurt. I remember middle of the night conversations that lasted hours and work days that dragged on with endless cups of coffee to keep us going. You would think we would have gone home to each other and slept but we never did. It’s as if we knew we did not have much time and we needed to make the best of it. We devoured every minute. God … those minutes flew by so quickly.I visited you today underneath the maple tree. I brushed the powdered soil and dead leaves from your stone. I have not been to see you in a long time. It hurts too much. I wanted you to know that I forgive you for leaving me here, for not telling me what was wrong, that I would face losing you much sooner than I could have imagined. I want you to know that you were the love of my life, that no matter how hard I tried; I could never get through a single day without memories and thoughts of you. I wanted to thank you for throwing caution to the wind and giving me life. Our little boy is a year old today.

"Characters take on life sometimes by luck, but I suspect it is when you can write more entirely out of yourself, inside the skin, heart, mind, and soul of a person who is not yourself, that a character becomes in his own right another human being on the page"Eudora Welty

Falling From Grace

I saw you today, walking to the pier, the way we once did. It’s been a long time since you walked that stretch of land with the earth between your toes. I am always here, walking endlessly and have been for years, consumed with thoughts of you and reprisal, my soul filled with memories, regret and dreams I will never fulfill. Dreams you stole from me, the me you stole from me.It took you a long time to return to your old hunting ground. Years have passed. I had nearly given up hope that we would ever meet again. You were not alone today on the beach that was once our beach with our sand and our water. Instead of my hand in yours, there was another, the one that you replaced me with had her fingers intertwined with yours.You appeared to be in one of your joyful moods that over time became few and far between, as I recall. The sunshine and soft sand with waves all around always did put a smile on your face. I think it reminded you of a home you had to escape from long ago, but all those memories of once upon a time followed you here and settled within you. You shared them with me several times, baiting me with your childhood endearment. I had nearly forgotten those moments, but seeing you there, like that, brought back a wave of memories and tales you told me, crashing up against me without warning. I spotted that sweet look of vulnerability that I had forgotten you possessed. For so long now my thoughts of you were filled with the arrogance and evil that lives and thrives within you, the beast that long ago took over your soul because you fed it and then allowed it to feed upon those that loved you and trusted you. For a long time, your presence had refused to abandon me, every bone in my body, every muscle, every dead moment, and every breath hurting and angry. At you, at myself. Angry for abandoning morality and common sense, angry for failing to protect me, angry for knowing the end would be ice cold and cruel, but committing to it anyways, for making such a rash decision and not being wise enough to know life would go on. Even in that all consuming weakness, I would regain strength and a new improved future would reveal itself. Hurting, for allowing you to rape me of everything I had been, everything I could be. Hurting, for having believed that I could make the difference in you, that you would not be so careless with my heart the way you had been with all the others before me.You walked with her and kept a steady pace. I was behind you for awhile. Then I was in front of you. Finally I found the nerve to walk beside you the way I had so many times before, so very long ago, as though I were searching for those moments, wanting to bathe in them one last time, needing to understand what had kept me there until you’d had your fill of me. You did not see me but you sensed something. You kept looking back hoping to find the negative aura that floated around you, a familiarity you couldn’t put your finger on. You were always like that. A little paranoid, I would tell you. But not this time. This time your sixth sense was dead on. I was amused by the invisible power I realized I had and that amusement filled me with life once again. You and I had unfinished business I reminded myself, remembering why I had come, why my very essence had chosen to stay and wait for you all this time.You kept walking with your hand clutching hers. I caught a glimpse of the expression on her face and realized she too had been hypnotized by you the way I had once been. I slowed my own pace, stayed at a safe distance never loosing sight of you. I did not want the anxiety you would begin to feel, force you to turn around and walk back to safety. I wanted you to keep going, stay on the same path you and I had traveled. It would not take long before you would reach the pier. The summer heat was still a couple of months away. The snow and ice had only just melted. I knew the water there, at the end of the pier was very deep, dark and cold. I knew because I had invited those same waters to swallow me many springs ago.You walked with her until the sand ran out and the concrete walk replaced it. You walked in the direction I knew you would. There were others, a few amateur fishermen with high hopes, standing at the end of the walk way, their rods hanging over the edge, waiting patiently for their first catch of the season. As you reached the end of the pier you lifted yourself up and swung your legs around. She followed your lead as the two of you sat there perched perfectly as we once had, with legs and feet dangling over the edge, the open lake only a few feet below you. I could not have asked for a more appropriate opportunity.I caught up to you quickly and before I knew it I was standing right behind you. I could not ignore the irony. Finally your life was in my hands the way mine had been in yours so long ago. I hesitated for a moment. I listened to you begin to recount tales of long ago and far away, the way you had done with me. The anger and hurt began to well within a heart that no could no longer beat but still feel. I felt a rage build beyond human comprehension and without warning your body plunged from the rock wall into the deep dark waters below. I fell back into the foreground, watching the long anticipated drama unfold before me. I could hear her calling your name, hear the panic in her voice and you, shocked in disbelief by the invisible force that grabbed hold of you keeping you under the water, gasping in fear your hands and legs flailing suddenly slowed to a near stop, barely treading. You were paralyzed by disbelief and fear that filled you to the core of your being. At that very moment, without reason, I came to mind but you shook me from your consciousness. You resumed the fight for your life again the way I had with my own. An invisible force attempting to keep you there pinned to the water, your lungs loosing air, the murky Lake not yet recovered from a relentless winter, waiting patiently to fill them. I could almost see life drain from you. Again, I was amused. Your water logged clothing weighing you down and holding you under as you fought your way to the surface, your heart pounding like a drum. Her hand reached out to you pulling you onto shore. I was nearly touched by her gesture as I watched from a distance. The two of you still in shock, you more than her for reasons you couldn’t explain just then. The fisherman rushing to help you, offering their heavy spring jackets to warm your blue skin, your body shaking. You stayed with the men you had barely taken notice of earlier, trying to catch your breath and make sense of it all in silence, as she rushed back in the same direction you had come from, getting the car that would cradle you and calm you, take you home to where you would be safe and warm once again. They kept asking you questions but you could not answer. Instead you kept looking at the edge of the Pier where you had been sitting before you felt that bolt of force on your back. Finally the car pulled up and you got in thanking the strangers that felt sorry and concern. Strangers you would have ignored under any other circumstance because they had nothing to offer you.Later that night, after the hot shower had taken away the bitter cold sting, after all had died down, you snuck to the computer while she slept. You entered my name into a search bar. It took a few minutes but finally you found what you were looking for. There I was. My face on the screen as it had been earlier that day somewhere in the dark, cold water. The face you could recognize and knew well from many years ago in the archived obituaries of a local news paper. The life that you had taken and destroyed without care or regret. I watched you from across the room in the shadows. Again, your heart began to pound in fear as you sat there in silence trying to make sense of it all. You did not know that I had taken my own life using those same waters as an instrument of my own death. You had left me destroyed and never bothered to wonder what had become of me. Invisible to you, I reached over to the glass cabinet that carefully housed her collection of figurines. The 5 foot tall mahogany cabinet came crashing down without any means of explanation and it was then, at that very moment that you knew. Not only had I been there walking with you to the Pier, forcing you into the waters but that I had somehow managed to followed you home.

"The test of any good fiction is that you should care something for the characters; the good to succeed, the bad to fail. The trouble with most fiction is that you want them all to land in hell, together, as quickly as possible" Mark Twain
Posted by CANUK at 23:52

A True Story

I was six years old. It was late fall, three months before my seventh birthday when my parents told me that they had to go to Bolton for a few days. Bolton is a cute town in Ontario with beautiful homes and large properties owned by wealthy men and women that either want or need to escape the city. My Uncle lived there. He was a property developer and quite wealthy in his own right. His wife was a gentle woman with a deep soul. My grandmother always described her as “A fragile woman” I thought it was a bit odd that my father would take time from his practice in the middle of the week, and without notice as he was never one for missing a single day of work. Rain or shine, tornado or winter blizzard, my dad was always in his office, on time, Monday thru Friday like clockwork. “Why do I have to go to Nanas in the middle of the night” I asked my mother as she hap hazzardly threw my clothing into a small suitcase. It was more like 10:00pm but to a six year old it seemed like the middle of the night. “It’s a business thing” she told me. My mother was, and still is, a lousy liar. Even at the age of six I knew she was not telling me the truth but I was use to it by then. I don’t know if all kids, my age at the time, lived a nearly unbearable sheltered and protected life as the one my parents had created for me, but that my parents would keep family secrets or adult issues from me was a policy they had adopted by the time I could speak. I knew nothing about divorce, death, cancer, sex, family conflicts or adultery. As far as I was concerned, a big ugly bird delivered me to my parents, couples stayed together for life and we all lived forever. Mom tried to draw my attention to other things as I continued to grill her “Why do we have to leave before the sun comes up” I wondered why she had not told me before I had been tucked into bed a few hours earlier. “Which dolls do you want to take with you?” She asked, avoiding all the questions as though the world would fall apart if she answered them. I shrugged my shoulders. What I really wanted was an explanation. I was tired. It was cold outside and I hated sleeping at my grandparent’s house. Worse still, Nana never had snacks in the house and what she did have always ended up to be those nut or fruit laced cookies that only an adult would enjoy. Never the less, we all jumped in the car while the rest of the world slept the night away warm and cozy in their beds. When we arrived at Nana and Bumpas house the lights were all on. Nana met my dad at the front door with me in toe while mom stayed in the car. Dad knew I was less than thrilled and he knew why. Aside from the fact that their food tasted odd the house was massive. The spare bedrooms were far away from my grandparent’s bedroom and even though I did not know about death I knew monsters slept under the bed and in the closets. “You can sleep with me in my bed” Nana announced. She was trying to pacify me for my father’s sake. I was six. Not stupid. By then I had my coat and shoes off with my arms folded across my chest. My pleading eyes and puppy dog face was my last ditch effort to convince dad that I should be going with them to Bolton and it wasn’t too late for him to take me and my suitcase back to the car. I stood at the window with Nana. We watched my parent’s car drive off into the darkness without me. “Where is Bumpa” I asked her. Had I been a little older I may have understood the look that flashed across Nanas face. “He is away on business” she told me. Nana was a better liar than my mother. “Business rules the world” I told her, still annoyed that something called “business” was the reason my parents had abandoned me.We walked thru the house to the family room where I was surprised to find my Uncle, his new wife and my cousin watching TV. Actually they had been whispering as I entered the room but quickly pretended to be watching some program in a language I doubt any of them knew how to speak much less find entertaining. My uncle tried to carry on age appropriate dialogue with me for a few minutes before Nana finally rescued me from the conversation. “It’s very late. Time for bed” We walked to her bedroom which was enormous in size and smelled of rose water. That was one thing I did love about my Nana. She smelled like a garden and so did her house and her bed sheets. “Are you coming to bed too?” I asked her. “I’m going to finish my tea and then I’ll join you” she promised. “Can you leave the bathroom light on?” I asked her. Normally she would have tried to convince me that it was a waste of money but that night she agreed to it without a single objection. I must have been very tired and the soft glow from the bathroom must have created enough security that I fell off to sleep almost right away. I don’t know how long I had been sleeping for. It could not have been that long when I woke with a start to a pounding sound that came from the far end of the bedroom, behind the curtains. When I think of that night I’m always surprised that I did not bolt from the room screaming my lungs out. Instead I walked to where the sound was coming from. There was urgency to the pounding noise I heard. It seemed to get louder and faster the closer I got to it. I opened the drapes to find my Bumpa standing outside the window. He looked panic stricken and if memory serves me correctly he seemed to be telling me that it was cold out and to let him in. I remember my hand pressed against the cold glass. I struggled with the lock for a few minutes but could not wedge it open. I finally decided to get Nana to help me. Running thru the house to the family room where I heard the voices I sprang into the room. I was out of breath but explained that Bumpa was at the bedroom window and could not get in the house. I urged my Nana to hurry explaining how cold he said he was. Looking back now they must have been horrified at what I had said. I can only imagine the thoughts that were running through their minds. When we got back to the bedroom with Nana, my Uncle, his wife and my cousin on my heels- I marched directly to the window but Bumpa was gone. The drapes were open the way I had left them. I was confused as I tried to explain what had happened and suddenly in a panic myself wondering where Bumpa had gone. My Nana looked very sad when I told her about the pounding on the window. She slowly moved from where we stood to sit on the edge of the bed. My Uncle stood beside her to lend support at any given moment. Nana pulled me up onto her knee. “Bumpa is not there darling”, she told me. Her voice was soft and almost apologetic. I argued the point and kept insisting that I had seen him. I was getting very upset and angry almost at the point of tears. I could not understand why they would not believe me or why they were looking at me in such a way. “Your Bumpa died two months ago” She said. “What is died” I asked her.
Posted by CANUK at 23:18

Fiddy said...
Breathe some life into meAnd make me come alive.Miss the first four chaptersAnd start at number five.Imprisoned on a bookshelfWith English words and space.A novel character am ISomeone without a face.© BOB FIDDAMAN
30 October 2008 16:23
Radagast said...
I wonder what would have happened, had you been able to open the window? A pointless question, given that it's in the past, but still...Why do you think that people keep secrets?Matt
30 October 2008 16:51
Tracy said...
I really look forward to reading your blog. Welcome to mine.Warmly,Tracy
04 November 2008 21:48
susan said...
this is beautiful.... I am glad I found this blog. Added it to my RSS feeds and will add you to my blog roll shortly.
07 November 2008 09:30
Fiddy said...
Youv'e been tagged.Please read:
17 November 2008 04:17
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