October 29, 2014 § 2 Comments
The sky is gray and gloomy above Public Square today, but I am smiling. You know, the strangest thing about blogging is that I don’t do it every day. In fact, I haven’t been blogging much at all this past spring/summer/fall. So if you were to ignore the dates on my posts and just read them all in a bunch, it looks like I’ve been living a steady stream of heartbreak and sadness and nothing else.
I’m not, though. This autumn has been so good to me. The season itself has been especially beautiful here, I think. The usual fall rain has mostly held off- until today- and instead we’ve had endless days bright with amber sunshine and sere fields and vermilion trees. And me? I have been growing, letting go, learning how to hold on to what matters most. Oh, and I’ve been living. Brittany and I took more photos the other day. We went up to the top of the old factory building in Forty Fort, where Canteen and the apartments are now, and she shot me against the sky and the sunset with the mountains that I love at my back.
Brittany’s a pretty fantastic photographer, isn’t she? Visit her page: https://www.facebook.com/bootephoto.
There’s this new bar that opened up in Luzerne: Vaughn Street. We’ve been going there for seafood night on Thursdays, me and the girls from the Cafe. They have a shuffleboard table, which makes me think of being a teenager and playing shuffleboard in the garage at the Holy Family Center with the other community kids after Mass on Friday nights. Nostalgia at a bar is such an oddly contradictory feeling. You’ve got a drink, there’s music and chatter, you know you’re grown-up, but you’ve got these happy memories playing in your head- faintly bittersweet because you know they’re only memories now- and you feel like a kid at the same time.
I went on a great date the other night. The kind of date where you laugh and laugh and everything else is sort of a colorful blur spinning around you but you’ve got a sharp focus on what’s happening between you and him, and it’s light, it’s good and sweet. I kept thinking of that scene in Casablanca, where Rick is remembering his time in Paris with Ilsa, and he says, “Who are you really and what were you before? What did you do and what did you think?” Questions and answers and a current in the air. Tell me about you because I want to know. There’s a certain kind of joy, I think, that maybe doesn’t have a specific name, but it’s there when you meet someone who sees the world you see, who stops and looks at you, whether the meeting is friendly, romantic, or whatever else. Relationships, man. They make the world go round.
My friend Veronica came into town from Michigan the other weekend. She was asked to give the keynote speech at the nurses’ pin ceremony at Wilkes University, where she’s an alumnus. She asked me to help her write the speech, and being the hopeless nerd that I am, I thought it sounded like a blast. So we got together on Google Drive one day last week, despite still being in different states, and worked on the speech. I’ve never done that, been editing a document at the same exact time as another person, and it was really cool. I was trying to think of a better closing sentence for one of her paragraphs, and I was just typing as I thought, stuff like “The compassion and strength of nurses… no wait we used that… I believe that these virtues will help… help what… what am i trying to sayyyy” and Vee typed in the chat bar: “It’s so fascinating being able to actually watch your mind work.” SCIENCE FICTION BABY. (The best part of Veronica saying that was that she admitted I have a mind. I always grin gleefully when I can trick her into complimenting me.)
It’s the little parts, summed up into a whole. It’s life. One day at a time here. As the blog title says, I’m just trying to find the better part and hold on tight.
October 28, 2014 § Leave a comment
October 23, 2014 § Leave a comment
Her breath caught in her throat. This was her chance. She could escape right now if she was smart and silent. Eyes darting side to side for the most direct exit, her pulse began racing and she felt slightly sick from the taste of near deliverance not quite at hand. The right side of the hallway seemed the best option; it was mere feet away from her and the floorboards would not betray her. With a momentary glance to check that they were still unaware, she silently began taking steps toward the hallway. She willed her breathing not to sound so very loud. Calm, she commanded herself. Be calm, or this is all over. That thought was almost too much to bear, and panic tightened its gruesome grip around her throat. Her fluid steps continued, but her mind was suddenly drowning in a whirlpool of despairing cries.
What will they do to me if they catch me right now?! My life is in their hands… She almost choked on that thought, and tears filled her eyes. Everything I hoped to accomplish will be lost… But the hallway was upon her, and her bare feet glided along the smooth wood, carrying her lightly even as her mind was sinking in fear. Her back was to them now, and she kept her pace normal, scared that unusually slow movement would alert them. Her fingertips gently pressed against the wall, steadying herself as she took step after step along the edge of the hall, closer to freedom with each passing inch. Their voices grew further already, and she reached the bottom of the staircase. Her body was shaking, and she realized her face was dripping with tears. You can do this, you can do this, she forced her herself to breathe evenly. Just the staircase to conquer. Her absence still unnoticed, she took the first step gently, her hand leaving a film of nightmare-induced sweat across the banister. The second stair, too, accepted her sneaking step graciously with no audible betrayal.
Then, of course, the unthinkable happened.
She sneezed. Without warning. Without any chance of muffling it. An undeniably loud sneeze. A fatal sneeze.
Their heads whipped around and their conversation ceased instantly. Eyes narrowing, they dropped everything in their hands. Their entire beings tensed at the sight of their captive attempting an escape. For a solitary moment, she was frozen, watching them as all chance of escape slipped as far out of reach as an infinitesimally small pebble beneath the waves of a giant ocean. They were on their feet in a split second, running toward her with screams and shrieks and and wild eyes and foam at the corners of their mouths, their clawing hands ready to snatch her back to themselves.
“Mama, Mama!!!” they shrieked in their baby high-pitched voices. “Where are you going? Stay downstairs! We want to be by you!” Reaching her on the stairs, they wrapped their chubby little arms around her legs and refused to let go. “Stay down here, Mama! We want a snack. We want juice!” She let herself slump against the banister. Forfeiting her ideas of accomplishment, she sat down on the step, and, with eyes closed in a definite kind of resignation, she allowed herself to be climbed upon by her captors. She had simply tried to go upstairs to put away laundry, but her beautiful children had noticed.
Now, it was time for a snack and juice.
October 20, 2014 § Leave a comment
…stopping at the bakery after Mass on Sunday morning and getting a large box with cinnamon rolls, raspberry danishes, and chocolate cupcakes.
…when the autumn wind is chilly and the sunlight is molten gold and every delphinium in the world is jealous of that blue, blue sky.
….writing this, finding words like gems and boulders, the freedom of description and remembering how writing soothes my soul.
…driving. Driving home, driving to church, driving to visit a friend who lives far away, the reassuring contradiction of arching freedom in the sky above me and the private little world enclosed within a car.
…salty, buttery toast and drippy eggs at a diner after a late night. Hot coffee and home-fries with peppers and onions.
…the dim lights of the bar and good live music in the background and a cold beer.
…my friends laughing with me. Or at me. Generally, at me.
…a busy night at the Cafe when everything is working smoothly.
…singing Latin at Mass, the chants or the songs. The sound of an ancient language carrying down through the centuries: praise and sorrow and prayer in words of a different yet familiar tongue.
…that scene in The Return of the King when Sam looks up and finds the single star amidst the gloom and smoke of the sky above the Plains of Gorgoroth.
…my living room couch and a book.
…my bed and a book.
October 10, 2014 § Leave a comment
I remember metal, sun, chalk dust on my hands
The longing appeal of a little girl’s plans
The hopscotch boxes of a lifelong dream
Held lines and numbers, an orderly scheme
From one up to ten, a simple enough game
Arrive at the end with a brand new name
Then slowly and blurrily the rain came down
Washed out the chalk with a regretful sound
Now jacks and a ball are all I have left
Little pieces of me that fell out of my chest
“Can you make it to ten, can you do this for me?”
My questions were never what they should be
This game wasn’t for winning, it was just for the joy
But you tricked me and yourself, dear stupid sad boy
Alas for a dream; Time makes great fools of us all
Hopscotch boxes, jacks and a ball
A little girl’s games, an older girl’s fall.
I feel like I need to say that I have been doing really well lately. I’ve been happy and smiling and life has been good. My friends are wonderful. But tomorrow would’ve been my anniversary with my ex-boyfriend so he’s been on my mind a lot more this past week. I’ll admit I’m a silly girl and things like that meant a lot to me, and we’d always do something nice or go somewhere fun. It’s the ‘firsts’ that kill me during these past months… first time in 7 years I haven’t spent 10/11 with him. Simply put: the date got into my head a little, messed me up, knocked me off kilter. So I did what I always do when I need to get stuff out of my head, and I wrote it out. The very act of putting the words onto paper- well, ok not technically paper- has always been a saving grace for me. They’re outside of me now. They’re a weight lifted off my heart and away. And tomorrow, I’m going to this Jars of Clay concert and I’m going to enjoy every moment of it- because how could I not?- and I’m going to come home singing, with a smile on my face and a future full of hope.