High One Thousand
Every Tuesday she comes. My teteteteacher mamamakes her wait outside my clclclclassroom until 2:25, but I see her pppppppeeking into the classroom door through the little glass window at 2:21, or 2:22, with a big smile.
On the first dadadaday she came, I think she wanted to hug me and I thought. "No way." BBBBBBut then she lifted up one hand to gigigigive me a high five, so I gave it bbbback, hard, and she didn't seem to mind. She told me to pipipipipick a bbbbig number instead of five and I said one thousand bbbbbbecause it's bbbbbig and told me from now on we will say high one thousand and I liked that, bbbbbecause I never heard anyone say high one thousand. And she said it again, right away, "High one thousand," pretty loud, lifting both hands, like a high ten, and her voice and hands made me forget about hitting bbbbback hard.
We walked down the hall together, and I wasn't sure whwhwwhy or where we were going. She led me to the cacacacacafeteria and told me we could play a game. Just the two of us. There were other kids there with one grown up too, all at separate tables, and I wanted to sit near Germaine, but she said that is against the rules and I don't like rules, bbbbbut I listened anyway. We put down our things and went to the gagagagame closet outside the cacacacacafeteria and I picked playdough even though it isn't really a gagagagagame. The reason I like playdough is because I can smash it, bbbbbreak it, and cut it and not get in trouble. In school and at home I destroy things and I always get in trtrtrtrtrouble. My hands just do it, even if I don't want to, like they are my bbbbbbboss, instead of my teacher or my mother. And the guidance counselor said, "Maybe a mentor will help," so I know that is who she is. She ttttttold me to cacacacall her Miss BB but I didn't say her nananame out lalalaloud the first day, only in my head, bbbbecause I always get stuck on the BBBB's and I thought why should I learn her name, bbbecause she will not come bbbback, bbbbecause she is not going to like me. Nononobbbbody ddddoes.
After I took the playdough out of the container, right away I started stabbbbbing at the purple, hard, and she didn't ask me why. She just took out the pink and gently started rolling small bbbbballs next to me and asked me to make the same size bbbbballs with the purple, or bbbbigger ones if I wanted, bbbbbut I didn't, and kept stabbing the purple until it was the size peas. She asked me if I was mad and if I wanted to talk about why and I didn't want to look at her bbbbbecause I think she must bbbbbe nice, and nice people should just go away from bbbbboys like me, the way my Daddy did. BBBBut he wasn't nice. He left us bbbbecause of the fighting and I know it was mostly all my fault. My sister's too, bbbbbecause of her wheelchair and the way she smells. And bbbbecause we don't have enough money. And because he didn't like the way people stare at us and whisper and I don't either. Why don't they stop?
And then Miss BB said something so nice that I wanted to stop stabbing, but I didn't, because it is what my hands do. She said, if I am angry and if I feel like stabbing things, it doesn't matter to her. She said Tuesdays at 2:25 is a special time for her, like a holiday, because she will get to see me, a special, good little boy, and that no matter what I do, she is going to keep coming, every Tuesday to sit with me even if I don't feel like talking, just to sit next to me, because she knows I am good. I told her that she must be thinking of another boy and she said "Nope. You. Only you." And I almost wanted to give her a hug, but instead I said high one thousand, and we did it and we do it every time she comes, because she told me the truth about Tuesdays. One time I overheard the security guard whisper to her when we were leaving the cafeteria, "Do you realize he doesn't stutter when he is with you?" Why is he listening in on our special time? Doesn't he know she is only here for me?
People die every day.
Most without ever
Having truly lived.
Most convinced to be
Content with a poor
Quality of life.
Not having enough to eat.
Not having clean water to drink.
Thinking love is something to harbor and
Store up from others, but not something
To be giving out because they might run
Out of it.
Litlle puppy dogs getting run over
The war isn’t ending anytime soon
So as if thing are to keep going as they are.
A parent kills themselves, and the funeral
Is on the kids birthday.
She clasped her grandmother's hand in hers,
stunned by the weakness and frailty
of the skinny fingers.
Machines beeped in the sanitary hospital room.
The words 'Palliative Care'
Crisp on the walls.
A sob was wrenched from her mother's throat
And she watched the first tear drop
Many would soon follow.
Wetness coated her own cheeks in silence
Unable to disrupt the mourning
Despite the life beside them.
That night her father came to get her from the dreary room
And her mother urged her to go and said,
"Grandma won't pass if you're here."
She offered a weak smile, knowing her grandpa was there
In spirit for both her mom and grandma
And she walked away willingly.
In the middle of the night, she woke to heartbreak
And knew her grandma had left this world.
A happy soul now gone forever.
Cries echoed down the hallway when her mother returned
And she wiped away her own sorrows to put on her face.
A warrior's mask to support her mom
And fight her demons with her.
The little boy once known as the prodigy took his spotlight.
Violin at the ready,
Bow held high,
He played the most complex and beautiful melodies.
Songs that took you soaring through the heavens,
Suspended you in time.
Lost in the one man symphony.
Emotion and precision in perfect harmony.
And in the end,
...From his audience of two.
The streets can be an uncaring stage.
He made three dollars that day.
Maybe next time he'd have enough for a hot meal.
maybe all i needed was something to believe in
and now you're leaving
thought that i was finally winning
but that was just a necessary step
i had to take
to fall harder than ever
and harder than that
it's so quiet in here
but i can hear all the demons screaming my name
and all i can say is
Black Cat Magic
I gazed down thinking how long it would take to reach the bottom. I was never good at judging distances, so I grabbed a pebble and dropped it off the edge. It went rushing to it's end faster than I thought. This was good. A quick descent is what I'm hoping for. I stepped up on the ledge taking one last look around. It was late at night like I planned, so I didn’t expect anyone to be here. I took a deep breath preparing for the looks and conversations I would have if I failed. One more dissapointment is just to much to deal with. I’m already at my breaking point with this. I lift my leg ready to take this final step when I hear something moving behind me. It was a black cat with the most mesmerizing green eyes I’ve ever seen. I didn’t even know cats had green eyes. I backed away from the edge hoping it wouldn’t run away. The cat sat down, curling its tail behind it, letting out a soft meow. I reached down to pet it and it raised it’s head into my palm. I sat down and it climbed in my lapped and started purring. Seeing it so content with me, I just stayed there for awhile. I guess I’ll have to try again another day. It’s true what they say: Black cats really are bad luck.
“Tsu, we need to leave. Come on, let’s go.” Said Martha as she gripped my elbow in an effort to lift me from my seat. “Alright, I’m coming. Relax.” I guess this is what happens if you become a doctor . I thought to myself. As I left my room, I wondered why Martha was so worried. I hope it’s nothing too serious. Last time she had this look was when her mother was in that car accident. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
My name is Tsukasa. I am from Japan. Martha is a professional at her job. She’s from the U.S. We work in a small village in Japan where there are only 5 doctors in total. I work with Martha from 9 to 5. Tanaka, Bill and Sarah work after us.
When we arrived at the patient’s house, we could hear someone crying in another room. “Martha. Do you hear that” I asked only to notice the look on Martha’s face. It was just like when her mother passed away. “Don’t worry, it’ll be fine.” I rang the doorbell. “This is Martha. From the hospital.” replied Martha. We were greeted by a woman who had clearly been crying. “Come in. My daughter is in that room. There is nothing you can do anymore...” I was shocked by her statement. I shrugged it off and went into her daughter’s room. “May we come in?” Asked Martha. “Yes, you can come in.” As I entered her room, I saw this weak, frail girl who looked nine years old. I went on to notice that she had also been crying. “So little girl, what’s your name?” I inquired. “I-It’s Nino.” she replied sounding weaker than before. “Well Nino, What’s the problem?” “I’m beyond curing now. All I ask of you is to take care of my grandma” said Nino. She had tears welling up in her eyes. Martha started to get worried. “Doctors, tea’s ready. It’s in the living room.” Announced Nino’s grandmother. “You two go have some tea. I’ll stay here.” I was shocked at how little hope she had left.
As we entered the living room, Nino’s grandmother was waiting for us and greeted us with a smile that was hiding a thousand tears behind it. “Please, take your tea.” Said her grandmother with a gentle smile. “What exactly is the problem with Nino?” I asked, breaking the silence in the room. “Her internal organs are rotting. The doctors said that they could save her. They gave us false hope. One day before her operation, they said it’s too late. They said she has 2 weeks to live. That’s two days from now.” I was suprised at how composed she was. She didn’t give the slightest hint that she was sad. “Can’t we help in any way? I mean there has to be something, right? Martha asked desperately, looking at Nino’s grandmother with determination. “Did you not hear what I said? She is Dead! Dead! That girl has two days to live And I’m trying to make them the best last days she can have. Now, if you’re done, you may leave.” replied Nino’s grandmother. as she left, I could see the tears dripping from her cheek. We returned to Nino’s room to say our goodbyes. We saw her on the bed, facing away from us. “I’m sorry for my grandma. She’s just worried about me. She’ll be all alone after I’m gone. You heard it from, I’m supposed to die in two days. So I guess it’s natural she’s worried for me. Nino was also holding her tears back. She wasn’t afraid of what would happen to her. She feared more for her grandmother. Martha lunged forward towards Nino and tightly held her hand. “We will take care of your grandma. No. Matter. What.” Martha comforted Nino. “Thank you. Thank you so much...” Nino jumped into Martha’s arms and started crying. She felt that she no longer had to burden all that pain alone. As we waved goodbye, Nino gave me a smile. A smile hiding so much pain. I couldn’t much sleep that night. Or the night after that. Before I knew it, two days had passed. I woke up at six A.M and saw Martha heading towards Nino’s house. “Hey Martha. What’s up?” I asked Martha casually. “I got a call from Nino’s grandmother. She told me Nino was calling us. It sounded urgent.”
As we approached the front door, my heart started racing. I was worried about Nino’s grandmother. What will happen to her once Nino is gone? “Hey Tsu, we’re here. Ring the bell.” Said Martha. “Y-Yeah. Hello? This is Tsukasa and Martha. May we come in?” I asked hesitantly. “Yes, come in.” Replied a sorrow filled voice from inside the house. “Nino wanted to see you before her time came. She’s in her room. Let’s go.” When we arrived, Nino’s grandmother sat on the chair beside the bed. “I’m so glad you’re here. You’ve treated me so nicely. I would’ve loved to talk to you sometime.” Said Nino, with tears in her eyes. “Her time is almost here.” Nino’s grandmother signalled to us. “Grandma. remember to take your medicines on time. And remember the salt is kept in the third cabinet.” Nino said that with a smile and tears flowing down her cheek. “I know honey, I know.” Nino’s grandmother replied also with tears flowing down her cheek. As Nino’s hand left her grandmother’s, her grandmother burst into tears. “It’s over. She’s gone now.”
The music drifts through my ears.
I feel free and let go of my fears.
The calm takes over as I soak in the lyrics.
The breeze blows against my face. Emotions mixed.
I take another step. I'm getting closer. I'll be brave.
The music helps and gives me the empty feeling that I crave.
I begin to feel lighter as i gaze out at the stars.
I move my foot forward. And look down at the cars.
The music lifts me. It makes me smile.
It takes away the pain... for a little while.
The beat kicks in and I feel myself relax.
I can now let go. Peace at last.
I take the final step, and fall into the air.
The music continues on. The wind whips my hair.
My pain will soon be gone. No more being alone.
The beat echoes in my heart. I'm now going home.
The passing cars are getting closer, as I plummet to the ground.
I'm done. Gone. My music still makes the sound.
Something told me I had seen him at this hospital some years ago. It bothered me all day yesterday, as much as something trivial can bother me, until finally I realized it over lunch—I had indeed seen him before, five years ago at least, because he would visit one of my patients.
“That’s not her,” he had told me one day for no reason.
I had raised an eyebrow; professionally, I hope. I still had several more patients to examine that morning.
“That’s not her anymore,” he said again. “She wouldn’t say those things. When is she coming back?”
He seemed calm enough, but I explained, even more calmly, that painkillers often kill more than just pain.
“But we’ve been together for years,” he said, as if it were relevant. “You’re saying an accident and a few drugs can erase all of …”
I was waiting for him to finish, but evidently my face was already saying “Yes,” and he saved us both the breath.
I don’t go in for sentiment, not in my line of work, but I made a rare concession just then. “Sir. You’re her husband? Fiancé?”
He shook his head.
“Okay, well, you’re her something.” His head nodded itself. “Whatever she may say or do from now on,” I tossed a glance toward the distant hospital bed, “that is still her. If you’re still going to be her something, then you’re going to have to get used to that.”
He looked up at me. It is amazing what lack of empathy will do sometimes.
“But will she get better? Her …?” He knew mind wasn’t quite the right word, nor was memory or personality; whatever her name was, he was probably about to turn it into an abstract noun, like Suzy-ness, until I saved him the trouble and told him I didn’t know. No one knew.
“Could she get worse?” I gave him the same answer, since it was true. I remember part of me later at lunch, apparently the part that was going soft, reflecting to myself that for all I knew, the next time I saw her in the hospital, she may well be treating him worse than a stranger. But I theorized I would be seeing him here nonetheless. The next day she was transferred and I promptly forgot about them both.
Well, my theory was still right; half-right, at any rate. I did see him again at the hospital after all, only it was years later, just yesterday, and this time, he was a patient. Brain tumor; a nasty one. Crept right up on him because he is young. Late this morning I went in to check on him; of course he was unconscious and is going to be spending most of his time that way from now on. I was annoyed with myself for suddenly wondering what ever happened to the young woman of his in her new hospital five years before; how much worse she had gotten, and whether his visits tapered off when he gradually realized he was visiting a stranger.
I don’t think she recognized me when we collided in the doorway. It was her, without doubt; she had obtained a visitor pass at the desk, and as far as I was concerned that was all I needed to know. I nodded, professionally, and busied myself with his chart.
I had to return about an hour later, and she was still there, melded into the bedframe. Sometimes the only things that act remotely alive in a hospital room are the machines, blinking and chirping all around the motionless humans nearby. I was going to have to ask her to leave for a few minutes, and I was about to do so when I realized she was already speaking.
“And I’ll read your favorite books to you …” I could barely hear her, since I was not supposed to be hearing her at all. “ … and I’ll tell you the flavor of the day at Bernie’s every day …” I scratched a little louder with my pen, but she didn’t notice. “… and I’ll sing to you … I’ll sing all the songs we play together at the coffee shop … and I’ll bring you a bottle of water out of the pool … and the seashells we collected from the beach … and I’ll read out of your journal you write in code and I’ll hope that I’ll finally mispronounce so many words that you’ll wake up just to correct me …”
She seemed to be pausing, so I prepared my professional glide toward her side. But just then she leaned in further.
“Hey.” She was whispering now, just above his head. “Hey brain. You have to be okay.” She stifled something in the back of her throat. “You have to stop hurting him.” I had stopped writing and was standing still now. She went on, talking neither to me nor to him.
“He’s kind …
“… he always thinks of me before himself …
“… he tries to make me coffee …
“… he reads all the books I like …”
Each of her reasons was slower and quieter than the one before.
“… he always sends me messages even when I don’t send any back …
“ … he just saw the ocean for the first time …
“ … he’s stubborn …
“… he’s so smart; and sometimes he’s so dumb …
“… and he’s messy …
She finally broke down. And I turned around and left her in that room. It would be the first time in my professional career that I would fall a little behind schedule for the morning. Lunch would be shorter today. But just as well. For some reason I do not want too much time to think.
Every day that you gave up
Has touched my heart
In a way
I do not yet understand.
I don’t think I ever will
Until I hold
A little hand.
An unopened bud
Blossoming into fruition
Giving me life
Making me who I am.
You gave me your all
And I stand aside
To weep alone.
Every sacrifice you made
To love and cherish me—
And I threw it all away
Turning my back
On what is most precious.
The years have gone by
And time has passed
But my regrets will always last.
Why did I push you away
When you tried to hug me?
Why could I never say
“I love you” back?
What was wrong with me?
Now that I will lose you
And my second chances are gone
I stand aside and weep alone.
I see you smiling
I am still sitting in your lap
With a sippy cup in hand
I am so sorry.
I never gave back the love I was given
I am so sorry.
I see you laughing
I am still in your arms
Playing with your hair
I am so sorry.
I never gave back the joy I was given
I am so sorry.
You are stronger
But you are stronger
I am so sorry.
I inwardly squabble
Though you’ve always been close
Sister, I am so sorry.
Yes, you got on my nerves
Sometimes I didn’t like you
But I always loved you
I am so sorry.
You will always have
A special place in my heart
I love you so much.
But so overlooked
If only I had taken the time
To cherish every moment.
I wasted so much
Only thinking about myself
When there was always so much more.