It held me down by the throat, strangling me, until I passed out and when I awoke, after the rape the first thing I saw was a stray cloud, a shade darker than the others, moving rapidly against the flat sky.
In the distance a lonesome hawk flew right through the stray cloud searching for its prey without mercy; my saving grace, triggering an unknown voice speaking to me in a foreign tongue.
The voice said.
"Go inside. You left the cake in the oven and it is done. Actually it is overdone. Can I be more frank? It is now ruined. The timer has been ringing. Where have you been and who told you that a cake can be baked at 500 degrees Fahrenheit? Talk about being asleep at the wheel. How many excuses can one person make? Listen to me. Just throw it out. Start over. I placed the recipe for you on the counter, again. You can't miss it. It is between the knives and the sugar tucked under your vitamin B12. Follow the instructions to the T.……Yeah. I know what you are thinking. It is true. All oven temperatures do vary, but seriously. 500 degrees Fahrenheit? You are smarter than that. Better than that. Are we on the same page?"
Heeding the advice, without recollection, I collected myself and went back inside. Before I did, I looked back up at the sky. The stray cloud was gone. Nowhere to be found. The hawk, without my knowledge, sat on a branch beyond me, satiated.
It was on the counter. It was there all along.
I read it, and with the keen eye of a hawk I participated, seriously hoping to avoid a miscarriage.
I took out the eggs, the butter, the flour and sugar, using a flat knife to assist me with all the measurements.
"This time I will bake the perfect cake." I spoke out loud to the unknown voice, feeling victorious, feeling as if it was me who had control over my own body; my own thoughts.
But alas, when the batter was ready, before I placed the cake pan in the oven, along came the hour of my discontent. As if possessed, I picked up the recipe in absentia, shamelessly discarding the written card in the trash in between the shards of cracked egg shell.
Once again, like a broken record, my hand, with a mind of its own, turned the oven dial back up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, while the hawk hunkered down for the night against the black sky unperturbed.
When you fall,
I will lift you up,
When you cry,
I will wipe your tears,
Whatever your need,
I will provide,
Is all I need in return.
What’s wrong with the world today is the same thing that was wrong yesterday;
We have forgotten that our opponent is our teacher and our ego is our enemy.
What is the meaning of life?
With one hour left I still question rummaging, opening up every door, drawer, even looking under the rugs searching.
It is then that I remember the old baton in the back of my closet.
Reaching for it, it slips through my fingers but I manage to hold on to it running down the street passing it to an unknown soul.
"What is this for?" He asks.
"You will know when your time comes."
And I walk away with a minute to spare knowing it has just been that straightforward all along.
We live and we die.
It is only in looking back upon my behavior as a teenager that I can acknowledge I was addicted to love. I was stuck in a pattern of intense infatuation, insecurity, and obsessive behavior. My immature mind believed that this other would fill my cup. So glad to be done with that!
As a young mother I became addicted to Vienna Fingers, no joke; the vanilla cookies with the vanilla cream inside. I would always use the excuse I was buying them for my kids but I'd eat them all before they got any. Don't worry. They weren't deprived. They liked and received Chewy Chips Ahoy.
In my fifties, I started a dangerous love affair with wine. Scared the crap out of me because my mother was an alcoholic. I had all these rules; only drink on the weekend; only two glasses max, that I was constantly bending and then I gave it up when I asked myself, "What the hell are you doing?" I do like beer, but I am able to stick to my rules. Only one, and not every day. My favorite beer at the present moment is Evolution, Rise Up Coffee Stout. It is addictive, but I keep it under control.
I would prefer to say writing and reading are passions and not addictions. I know I have an addictive personality and at one point I found myself turning these closely guarded passions into an addiction. I know the signs, perhaps you do too. When we allow what we do to become an obsession instead of a pleasure it's time to take a break. But I can unequivocally state today, writing (and reading) is the number one thing that makes me feel good when I feel bad, besides time with my grandchildren and my dog Booker.
Wrongfully convicted of murder, Pete Coones spent 12 years behind bars until he was finally exonerated. Lacking quality health-care in prison, he died 108 days later from an undetected disease.
If you were me you would understand my need for wide shoes. The wider the better, which of course makes high heels a pipe dream. Never will they find their way onto my wish list. It’s a harsh reality, but I have accepted Jimmy Choo and I will never date. Stilettos may have a certain bewitching appeal; transforming the calf muscle into a sex machine for some. This is a journey I and my eleventh toe will never walk. But we don’t mind.
Yes. You heard me right. I have eleven toes. Five on my right foot, six on my left. The sixth toe on my left foot sits up all high and mighty on top of my pinky toe with an air of authority. This is why I decided to give her an appropriate name. I call my eleventh toe Queen Elizabeth. There is no other toe quite like her. Not that I’ve seen. If she was in a line up, if pressed, I am aware one might describe her as a cross between the ring toe and the pinky toe, but that would be an unfair assessment. I’ve always considered any reference to a half breed to be derogatory, with good reason. I suspect you would agree. Queen Elizabeth is just one of a kind. Of life and limb, we were born into this world together and when we go out, a few bonus phalanges will go out with us.
Isn’t it true parents are known to count all the fingers and all the toes when they hold their newborns for the first time? What if my mother thought she had counted wrong on the day of my birth? I can’t imagine she was in the least bit concerned at the revelation because when I was growing up my mother never made me feel any kind of way about Queen Elizabeth. But there were repercussions. Kids can be cruel. When I got teased by the kids down at the lake, my mother would confront them claiming they were just jealous because only Kings and Queens were born with extra toes. If anyone tried to protest her explanation, she would stand up and stare them down with a predictable “off with their head” kind of vibe. Beyond fearing my mother, I suppose the novelty of my eleventh toe must have eventually worn off since if there were any lingering whispers in between splashes about me and Queen Elizabeth, shade only came from the Eastern white pines bordering the lake.
Years back, it was Aunt Francis, my father’s mother’s sister, who said at the Thanksgiving dinner table, “Why don’t you take her to a surgeon and cut that damn thing off already?” My mother disregarded the question as if Aunt Francis hadn’t uttered a word. Instead she politely asked not one but two change the subject questions, “Will you please pass the dinner rolls?” And. “Aunt Francis what are you grateful for this Thanksgiving?”
From across the table, I recognized the death stare lingering all over my mother’s face.
There would be an extra seat at the table the following year.
Perhaps Aunt Francis had not grasped that in our house we had always been and will always be an “embrace your God given gifts” kind of folk, and that way of thinking goes hand and hand with gratitude. So when Momma said to me, “What are you thankful for,” this past Thanksgiving, I replied,
“I am thankful for the designer genius of Orthofeet sneakers with stretchable uppers and extra wide toe box.”
Momma then winked at me and I winked back while wiggling my comfortable eleventh toe.
We See Each Other
Finger like flowers
Touch me in the morning sun
After I touch them
What’s wrong with me?
I am a nature girl. Always have been. Without sounding insensitive or flippant, I have often declared that I would make a good homeless person and as I look at what I just wrote, I realize that there is no way to make that statement and not sound insensitive and flippant. Don't get me wrong. I am very thankful for my humble abode (which I have worked hard for) and my warm bed every night, especially on a cold night, but give me any excuse on any given day, all seasons (begrudgingly less in winter), and I'd rather be outdoors. I don't understand people that would rather be indoors, and perhaps those same people don't understand me.
So what is it that annoys me? People that don't respect common ear space when they are outdoors. In my neighborhood, at the beach, anywhere. You might enjoy KIIS FM or your station of choice on Pandora, but why do I have to be forced to listen to it when all I want to do is be at one with nature sounds; the breeze, the birds and the buzz of the bees while I read and write or do anything else or nothing? With all the wireless buds out there, you mean to tell me you can't personalize your choice of entertainment by keeping it to yourself?
I have never been diagnosed, but I'm pretty sure I have some form of ADD, because as soon as I hear unsolicited music, I lose all focus. And although I prefer silence, I love music, but only when I choose to listen to it. Obviously, I can see this makes me sound like a control freak. Truthfully, I really don't understand why something this trivial bothers me so much! Yes, I do know there are much bigger problems in the world. And oddly if I hear power tools, dogs barking, children playing, none of that bothers me, it's only unsolicited music that makes me nuts. What's wrong with me??
I buy these foam ear plugs and when the need arises I wear them along with noise cancelling headphones on top of them feeling so silly in the utter silence thinking this just doesn't make any sense. Shouldn't the person choosing to listen to music be wearing the headphones?
And I have gone so far as to drop comments about my love of silence to the biggest offender of my aversion, the neighbor that lives behind me. Something tells he will play his radio prouder and louder if I push the issue, so I do not, would not nag him over this. I just remain grateful for the days he is not around. He's really not a bad person, and I am aware he has also worked hard for his humble abode and it's his yard, his airspace, and I just have to remember to put my big girl pants on and deal with it, when he presses play.
You complete me
There is this intimacy that happens for writers, this magic that takes place between our innermost thoughts and the assemblance of words into prose.
When we hold that magic inside the words take up meaningless space, they wither and then they die. If we are unable to fill that void, we are left in a state of longing and despair.
Writing on Prose fills that void. There are no rejection letters here on prose, just like minded individuals of all ages, most often anonymous, happy to share their creativity and camaraderie.
For us, I believe prose is more than a hobby or entertainment. It is an opportunity to get to know our true selves, while we get to know one another in a safe place.
Let's call us one big happy family and leave off the word dysfunctional.
We've got enough of that on the flip side.