Dear God, Don’t Take Him

I lay awake at night listening to him breathe. The sounds go from a simple in and out to the slight snore of a child fast asleep.

How long can I keep him my baby? How long can I keep him under my wing? I hold him and kiss him and do more than tell him I love him. I say and ask, you know I love you, right?

I don’t want him to just hear the words. I want him to know it. And feel it. And be more sure of it than anything else in the world because it’s the only way I know to save him.

There’s nothing to save him from yet but I worry, worry, worry. Will he have anxiety and depression like me? Will he turn to drugs? Will he be bullied for being the smart kid? Will something or someone drive him to the depths of despair where he will take his own life?

This is what I fear. That you’ll take him from me. That you won’t let my love be enough to keep him here.

I kiss his cheeks every night. I scratch his back. I rub his hair. And in the dark moments in his room when he’s just drifted into sleep, this is when my pleading is the strongest.

Keep him here so the world will see the amazing little boy I know turn into an amazing man. But mainly keep him here for me. Because without my baby, my heart would shrivel and die.

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The Deer in the Hollow

1382276_85742452He sits there. At least I think it’s a he.

His body, rather, sits there. Laying solitary in a field probably transversed by his crowd. His pack. his herd. Whatever deer travel in.

Perhaps a family, as a young child might see it.

His family walks past day after day and see his body lying cold and still and lifeless.

He is gone. His animal spirit is gone. And soon, his body will be too.

The vultures are seen the field picking out his innards. Doing what vultures do best. Helping the young buck to eventually return to his roots in the earth.

He’s slowly fading away. His body is but a hollow cavity.

The hollow deer in the hollow.

How I wish he would leave. I wish his body could leave as easily as his animal spirit so the daily reminder of his passing would be out of sight. Out of mind.

Until then, I drive and glance. Still startled every time to see him lying there in the hollow.

Paralysis

ImageSome days I feel lost. 

I feel like I’m not living the life I’m supposed to be living.

You know those dreams you have sometimes where you need to scream but you can’t scream? You try to open you mouth and nothing will come out. Or you try to run and your legs have forgotten how to move.

That’s how I feel sometimes.

Only I’m awake. I’m not dreaming. I’m just a little bit paralyzed.

The Day The World Changed

What. The. Fuck.

I’m not a swearin’ woman but those were the first words that entered my mind. It was my favorite time of the evening, where dawn finally meets dusk.

I found myself sittin’ on the front porch like I usually do around 7pm in the summertime. I was drinkin’ an Arnold Palmer, half sweet tea, half lemonade. It was a habit I picked up when I lived in North Carolina two decades earlier.

The noise came first. The low rumble and then the explosion, like a sonic boom but with all the light and smoke along with it. This was not a shuttle launch. I’d lived in this part of Florida long enough and had seen more shuttle launches than I could probably count.

This was something different and my mind began to immediately try to process what was happening and what it meant.

First thought – Oh dear God. There’s been a horrific accident over at Kennedy. I was thinkin’ about that Challenger disaster. I wasn’t here for it but knew plenty of neighbors that witnessed it firsthand. But there was no shuttle launch. The last shuttle launch ever had been last fall.

Second thought – This is an experimental spacecraft that’s gone horribly wrong. It’s vertical so I ‘spose that’s a good thing. But my God, the noise and the flames. This couldn’t be right.

And then the unthinkable. This wasn’t part of a space mission. This wasn’t a launch gone bad. This was a launch of another kind. This was a missile and this meant only one thing.

We were at war.

This post was a fictional submission to the Surprise Writing Prompt found on Write on Edge today.

A Peach of a Cake

Childhood birthdays are probably the most memorable of our lives.

Silly games like pin the tail on the donkey. Slumber parties with ten of your best friends. Twelve months of impossible anticipation waiting for the one day. Your day.

With only one child, making a memorable birthday is more than a desire. It’s a personal requirement. Every birthday needs to be special. Not bigger or better than last year. Just memorable.

As my son approached his third birthday, I asked him what kind of cake he wanted. Secretly, I had hoped that he might be swayed into a repeat of the previous year’s lemon cake.

A peach cake.

He wanted a peach cake. My fingers scoured the internet trying to find a bakery that just might make a peach cake. Because I was sure peaches were in season in January somewhere.

To my dismay, this was not the case.

Growing up, cakes in my house came exclusively from Duncan Hines so in desperation I searched for a box mix. No luck.

I had to face the fact that I was going to have to make this peach cake. The cake, the frosting, and the whole nine yards. I could do this. Even if peaches weren’t in season.

Butter, eggs, vanilla, flour, sugar. I even bought Swan cake flour, for lighter, more delicate cakes. Two white cakes, approximately 8 inches in diameter, were baked to perfection. Not as perfect as Duncan Hines but still perfect for my baby boy.

Envisioning an elaborate layered cake, I placed toothpicks at the midpoint of the edge all the way around the circumference of each cake. I delicately sliced each cake in half to create two smaller layers. It was a fragile operation.

Between each layer, I spread a generous amount of peach preserves, imported directly from France. This was to be the peach cake to be talked about for years to come.

Then came time for the frosting. Only buttercream would do. Surprisingly, buttercream frosting was made simply with butter and powdered sugar. I kept beating it and beating it waiting for just the right amount of sweetness and fluffiness.

When all four layers were aligned, I frosted the cake with enough buttercream to just barely make the edges meet the top. Orange colored frosting spelled “Happy Birthday” while the rest was drizzled delicately with chocolate sauce.

I hope he’ll always remember that peach cake.

Write on Edge: RemembeREDI’m back for more memoir writing for the RemembeRED meme. The assignment: “This week, we’ve asked you to share with us a special recipe. But, we’ve asked you to do more than just list out ingredients. We challenged you to take us back…to take us into your memory, in 500 words or less.” I kept it to 400 words and didn’t exactly share a recipe. But it was definitely a memory worth sharing.

 

 

 

A Crayola Affair

Halloween was an incredibly magical time of year when I was growing up. The news stories were full of apples filled with razor blades and unwrapped candy sending children into comas. And somehow, the lure of free candy allayed our fears and we busily set about buying or creating our costume.

It was a simpler time in that store bought costumes were quick, easy, and cheap. Nearly every Saturday morning cartoon character was adequately represented on the shelf in a box containing a plastic mask, meant to pinch every last hair on your head (not to mention make you gasp for air), and a plastic suit with a “likeness” to the character, meant to be worn over your clothes.

I wore my share of masks and plastic suits stretched over my winter coat at my mother’s insistance. But Halloween was never as magical as when we made our own costumes.

One particular year, perhaps it was 1980, I had the idea of dressing as a crayon. I can’t remember if it was a book than inspired me or just the box of Crayola 64 with the built-in crayon sharpener.

We chose blue for the color. Perhaps it was my favorite color or perhaps it was the only posterboard available at the store. On the light blue posterboard, my mother sketched the label and together we painted the Crayola markings in black. With the dark blue posterboard, she created and fastened two shoulder straps to the top of the label and we made the perfect cone for the top of my head.

It was perfect. For the Halloween parade.

Even in creativity, there is competition. This year was going to be my year. I wanted to win. Not because I simply wanted to be the winner but because I thought I was the best.

We marched down to the tennis courts where we paraded in front of the judges. However, I discovered a major flaw in my costume. The posterboard, while the appropriate size to represent a crayon label, was too long for my body. The length hit me somewhere below the knees making it nearly impossible for me to walk.

I did my best penguin shuffle past the judges and that crayon won. I won.

Write on Edge: RemembeRED

This was my first attempt at joining in the RemembeRED meme for Write on Edge. The prompt: Reach back to a costume that made an impression. Show it to us with your words, draw us into the emotions it evoked at the time. (limit 400 words). 

I welcome any constructive feedback for this memoir inspired post!

Hello world!

What better phrase to start off a blog with than Hello world!

It certainly conveys more excitement than I’m feeling. I’m apprehensive. I’m admitting that I need work. I need improvement. Writing is a skill that requires learning and practicing and stretching and growing.

I am a writer. But I want to be a really really good writer.

I’ll still be writing all over the place but this is my sacred little writing space. My place to discover my voice. It’s the one that is still afraid to come out. My voice right now is the one that still seeks approval and acceptance. I’m forty years old and still want to sit with the cool girls.

FUCK THAT.

This is me unfiltered. I may forget that from time to time but this is where I intend to let it all out and hopefully discover my voice in the process.