Cohoes the summer of 1980.
This story is based on a true occurrence.
I heard him click the safety off of the .357, the barrel aimed at my forehead. I stood there, frozen in the moment. Not moving, not blinking, not breathing. As if my very life depended on it.
I hadn't heard from Harold in a while since he had moved down to Cohoes, after his mother and father had divorced. He called and said that his mom was getting remarried, and that he and sisters were having a small get together. So that Hot humid Saturday in mid August I got out on Rt 9 and stuck my thumb out and headed for the Mohawk river road. I made it there in record time (Walking and Hitching).I met Harold and his sister Vicki down town in front of the bowling alley. After the obligatory hello how are you asshole greeting,(This was a must greeting between friends)we headed up the steep dirt path, to the Garner Street apartments.
I had never met Harold's mom Shirley,I had talked with her briefly on the phone. I hd a picture in my mind that wasn't too far off. Shirley was in her mid to late thirties, she looked like she was aging a little quicker than she would like. She was about her son's height, a little on the plump side, greying hair. It was late afternoon and Shirley was in the process of cooking dinner. After saying saying hello and introducing myself, Harold grabbed a few beers and we sat down at the table and talked. We swapped stories about what had been going on in our lives, and who we had seen recently, told a few jokes and laughed. I asked Harold how his cousin Connie(His cousin Connie had an incredible crush on me when we were in Middle school)was doing, how she had been. He told me that she was doing quite well, she had gotten engaged, and was living across the river in Waterford. I smiled and said I thought that was great, even though inside it made me a little sad, I had missed my chance with her. That night we ate like kings, we joked and talked, Shirley looked at the clock and noticed the time and remarked that Dennis would be there soon.
Harold and I decided that we should get some more party supplies (Beer,Chips and Dip)we went across the street to the convenience store.We came back from the store with a 12 pack of beer and four Quart bottles of ale. About 5 minutes later Dennis walked in. He was already half in the bag, reeking of whiskey, sweating like a junkie needing a fix. Dennis was in his mid thirties (35 to be exact)he was thin and lanky, dirty blonde hair parted to one side. His shirt soaked with sweat, he slumped in the kitchen chair closest to the door, something was wrong. Dennis looked like he had been crying, as if someone or something had ripped his heart and soul from him. As he began to speak, his voice barely audible and shaking. Dennis told us that he had received a phone call about an hour ago, and was told by his ex wife that his then 8 year old son was diagnosed with leukemia. Shirley tried to hold him to console him, he pushed her away, Harold put a beer in front of him he threw it against the wall. Harold looked at me and nodded towards the door, grabbing a few beers as we walked out putting the rest in the fridge.
Harold his sisters Vicki and Deb and I walked around downtown for about 2 hours. We talked a-lot about Dennis, we tried to think of ways we could help him. I came up with the idea of possibly getting some local bands to do a benefit. Harold shot down the idea "that would take too long, and cost money that none of us have" he said.The look on Harolds face gave me the impression that he didn't completely believe Dennis's story. We walked back up the hill to Garner Street, no one said a word, except to curse the heat and the deer flies. From the top of the hill, you could see the Mohawk River just below the falls. I stood there for a moment and watched the river peacefully float by, until I felt Harold tugging on my shoulder "come on".
When we got back to the apartment, Dennis was in the living room watching a movie on Tv. Shirley had already gone to bed. Dennis was slumped on the couch, and had done a good job of polishing off 3 of the 4 quart bottles of beer. We all sat and watched the movie that was on Tv, drank beer(except for Vicki she was still a minor)and smoked cigarettes. One by one the others began drifting off to sleep and to bed. Harold was the last one to finally call it a night at about 3:45 am. Dennis and I sat and watched another movie, some B flick I've long forgotten the name of. For the longest time we didn't say a word, I could see the immense pain in his eyes. Then there was a scene in the movie we were watching that provoked his ire. He began telling me about how he used to hunt and fish up in the Adirondack Mountains, and named some places that I had been. He told me that he would go up there for days on end, after he came back from Viet Nam and just sit in the woods. I told him about some of my camping trips to Pharaoh Lake and Blue Ledge and hiking along the east branch of the Ausable River just south of Lake Placid. We talked drank beer smoked and watched the rest of the movie. I was starting to feel tired, the combination of the beer and no sleep began to get to me. It was about 6:00 am, and Dennis decided that we should go get some more beer.
We walked across the street to the convenience store to get some more beer, the clerk behind the counter wouldn't sell it to us. We had forgotten that it was Sunday, and because of the blue law in New York we couldn't buy beer before noon. Dennis looked at the clerk and said "Fine Bitch" looked at me and said "lets go". Dennis said I know where we can get some booze. We walked out of the store and started walking down town. I asked where are we going to, he mumbled something about the clerk in the store and then said "My Apartment... Irish Coffee".We walked down Garner St to division. Dennis peered in the window of the VFW post as we passed, saying that some times there were people in there all night on the weekend. We walked for about 5 more minutes and came to a street lined with row or factory houses. In its hey day Cohoes was a booming mill town, with 6 or 7 fully operational textile mills. What used to be housing for the factory workers, had become low income and rent controlled flats.
We came to the building and walked up to his 2nd floor flat, it reminded me of the apartment that my grandmother used to live in on Green Island. Dennis asked if I wanted to listen to some music, I said sure what are you going to put on. He looked at me with a bit of a sheepish grin, Shuffled through his albums put one on, and headed for the kitchen. As he headed for the kitchen, the familiar anthem of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son" came pouring out of the speakers. I heard Dennis putting water in the coffee pot and putting it on the stove, then he walked back into the room lit a cigarette and sat down. Should be ready in a few minutes. Dennis started to tell me about how he and his buddies, would listen to CCR and Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix on the radio while he was in the Nam. He showed me a picture of his platoon and pointed out those who didn't make it back. Just as he started to call off some of the names of brothers lost in battle, we heard the sound of the water coming to boil. As Dennis got up to go to the kitchen I asked "wheres the can", "first door on the right" he said. I could here him making noise in the kitchen, opening and closing cabinets..then it got quiet. I don't think in my half hungover stupor I realized that something was terribly wrong. I came out of the bathroom, heard the music playing looked towards the living room expecting to see Dennis, he wasn't there. I called his name as I poked my head into the kitchen to see if he was there, he wasn't. As I walked towards the living room, I looked in the bedroom to see if he'd passed out. Dennis was sitting on the bed, he had something in his hands, his elbows resting on his knees, thats when I realized what it was, he was holding a gun. "Dennis put the gun down" I said to him my voice was wavering. Dennis looked at me, the look in his eyes said everything that he couldn't say and more than he wanted to. Please don't do this, this isn't.... Before I could even finish the sentence he interrupted and said "Isn't going to solve anything" right. Bullshit this is going to solve a-lot of things he told me. He started raising the barrel of the gun to his head, I took a step towards him. He looked up at me with a look of both rage and sadness in his eyes. "Dave" he said quietly "I Think you'd better go I don't think you want to see what going to happen".
I fumbled for something to say, started to take another step forward. He looked at me and said with A Snarl filled with rage and resolve, tears coming from his eyes "Go God damn it get the fuck out of here now"! I left the room walked across the apartment, out the door and half way down the stairs. I suddenly stopped. Im not sure if it was Devine intervention or sheer stupidity (I tend to think it was the latter an not the former.)that made me turn around. The one thing that I was sure of was that I couldn't let Dennis do this to him self. I walked back up the stairs through the door, I heard Dennis startle with surprise from the other room. I walked across the room to the bedroom, he looked at me with a look of surprise and anger. Dennis looked at me and growled "I told you to leave, get the fuck out.I looked at Dennis and said, with a calmness in my voice that even surprised me a little."If your going to do this then your going to have to shoot me first. He looked at me with a bit of shock in his eyes. Then in one fluid motion he raised the barrel of the gun so it was aimed at my forehead. I heard him click the safety off of the .357, the barrel aimed at my forehead. I stood there, frozen in the moment. Not moving, not blinking, not breathing. As if my very life depended on it. I was taken aback for a moment, shocked that he would really do this, and realizing the consequences of my actions. Dennis looked at me, he looked at the gun and then his hands, they were beginning to shake. "Don't make me do this just walk out the door he said". No! "either shoot me or put the gun down Dennis". He steadied his hand and began to slowly tug at the trigger, then it seemed as if his body just let go. His hands now were shaking almost uncontrollably, he looked at me tears streaking from his face, he lowered the gun. I took the gun from his hands and strapped it back in the holster. We looked at each other for a moment totally dumbfounded over what had just happened, I then offered him my hand and said "come on lets go back up to Shirleys". We walked back up the hill to Garner Street with out saying a word, funny how things tend to repeat themselves. I would have gone up the dirt path, but Dennis was still shaking and unsteady. It was about 7:15 am when we got back to Shirleys, she was already awake sitting at the kitchen table drinking coffee. "Where have you been" she asked.
Dennis slumped in the same chair as he had the night before. I could tell by the expression on Shirley's face that she knew something was wrong. I pulled her aside and told her what had happened, she let out a cry of shock, and Immediately went to Dennis. The commotion must have rousted Harold from his sleep, he came down stairs to see what was going on. Before he could even ask what was happening his mother told him, with that she lifted Dennis out of his chair and took him to bed. Harold looked at me half awake and said "Im going back to bed you should probably get some sleep". I went up stairs and crashed on the mattress that Harold had laid out on the floor, sleep didn't come easy. I laid there tossing and turning sweating from the heat, and finally drifted off to sleep.
I woke up shortly after 1 pm that afternoon, The air felt cooler I assumed it must have rained. Harold had already been awake for some time and was down stairs watching tv, Dennis was still asleep."You really must have been out" he said,"we had a major thunderstorm and you didn't even flinch". I kind of half heartedly laughed. We sat around and watched tv for a while, Shirley was In the kitchen and asked if I wanted any thing to eat. I politely said no, I wasn't really feeling very hungry and that I should get going soon. Shortly after that I said My goodbyes gave Shirley a hug and told her to take care of Dennis. I walked out the door, as I left I turned to Harold and said "see you around". It was more than five years before I spoke to him again. I headed down the dirt path towards Mohawk Street and the river road, I stuck my thumb out waiting for some one to stop. I got as far as Rt 146 stuck my thumb out again as I walked. A car pulled over, It was a car I recognized, It was Andy & Jack. Andy asked where I was going "home" I said. Jack asked where I was coming from I told him I was down In Cohoes, hanging out with some friends. Andy & Jack dropped me off in the driveway, I told them they could stop by later if they were around. Andy pulled out of the driveway honked the horn, and took off squealing his tires.
I walked into the house, it was empty. My parents were up at the lake and wouldn't be home for several hours. I decided to sit and watch some Tv, as I started flipping through the channels the phone rings. It was Diane a girl that I had been seeing over in Mechanicsville. Diane was a typical small town girl, school during the week, hanging out and partying on the weekends. She was a little taller than me skinny as a rail(but then so was I)dirty blond hair, hazel eyes. She wanted to know what I was doing, and asked if she could see me. At first I kind of balked, I told her I was tired and hung over, she said "I have something that will remedy that I scored some Robins eggs". I told her that I would meet her, in the empty lot by the shopping plaza at six thirty. Ten Minutes later I was out the door on my way to Mechanicsville. I made it to mechanicsville in about 45 minutes, walked over to the empty lot and waited for Diane. About 20 Minutes later I could see her walking up the street, carrying a bag in her hand. She walked up to me gave me a hug, handed me the bag, it had a beer in it and said to me "you look like shit Dave are you ok?" Just hung over and tired I told her. I wanted to tell her what had happen, but I couldn't. She reached into her pocket, and pulled out a small baggie with two white and blue speckled pills in it and handed it to me,I downed them. I said thanks and tried to kiss her she pulled away. Dave ...we need to talk she said. I half jokingly asked her if she was seeing some one else, she said yes.I got up and walked away.
I was semi passed out on the family room couch when my mother and father walked in the door. I remember my mother crouching down and gently shaking me, trying to wake me up.In my stupor of semi sleep and intoxication I blurted out what had happen. Both My mother and father looked at me, half in shock half believing what I had just said. My mother looked at me, sat me up on the couch."Why don't you go to bed and we'll talk about this tomorrow" My father told me. The look in his eyes told me, we would never speak of this for a long time.
March of 1986 I came home on a Saturday night after going out to dinner and a meeting with some one from the program I was 13th stepping. There was a message for me to call Harold with his Ph #. The next morning I met Harold and a friend of his to go fishing down at the river. We swapped stories about what had been going on in our lives, and who we had seen recently, told a few jokes and laughed. I asked Harold what ever happened with Dennis and his son and if he was still around. Harold looked a me in the rearview mirror with an annoyed frown on his face, "It was all a bunch of Bullshit" he said. I smiled at him and shook my head, sat back and watched the landscape and other cars go by as we headed for the river.
David Casabonne ( C ) 8.25.2001 All Rights Reserved
“Who or what benefitted from COVID-19?”
The biggest beneficiary from the Covid-19 outbreak has been China. The country has been the only major economy to register growth in GDP during 2020 and is on course for significant growth during 2021 as well.
China experienced a short lock-down through most of the country (around 3-weeks outside Wuhan) and hence was able to bounce-back strongly in the second half of 2020. As the rest of the developed world experienced different kinds of shut down for various lengths of time and different extents, China was able to take up the slack in manufacturing and continue and enhance its ability to supply the world with all kinds of products, but in particular, with the equipment necessary for fighting and preventing the spread of Covid – namely face masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE). Since the number of cases in China, after the original outbreak was controlled, remained low to non-existent, China did not need the PPE for its own people, and was able to massively expland exports of these products, taking over the mass market with most of its competitiors in various stages of lock-down and/or supply-chain disruption.
Similarly, when the vaccines came on-stream, China was in the lead position to supply them to the world as it had no internal pressure to provide vaccines to its own population as they were not at an increased risk from the disease, as China closed its borders to all but exceptional arrivals on March 26 2020 and has effectively not re-opened since. All tourist visa applications have been suspended since that date and only family resident permit holders were allowed to re-enter briefly between September and November 2020 and then again from April 2021, but only if they had received the Chinese vaccine. Other countries, notably the European and North American developed economies, had no choice but to prioritise the vaccine distribution to their own people as the numbers of infected patients and deaths soared. The effectiveness of the vaccine at reducing deaths and serious illnesses meant that they had little or no ability to supply vaccines to the rest of the world until most of their own people had received it. The subsequent variations in the virus have pressured these countries to look at a third jab and/or vaccinating young people, rather than exporting, leaving the market wide open for China to dominate.
Unlikely many other countries, the Chinese economy does not rely on foreign tourists for a significant share of its GDP. Shutting the border and banning foreign tourists on March 26 2020 has made little or no difference to the performance of the tourist sector in China. The domestic tourism industry has recovered very quickly from the low-point in the first half of 2020 and is running at around 80% of pre-pandemic levels. Most of the tourist sites have been able to weather the storm relatively comfortably, as has the rest of the Chinese economy, without the need for significant financial stimulus, as has been provided by other developed economies to avoid the mass unemployment and disruption that the long lock-downs would have otherwise caused. As a result, all other developed economies now have a huge burden of increased debt to service and if interest rates rise, as history indicates will happen, then the interest payments will become a huge dead-weight on the future growth and development of those economies. Particularly, the normal approach of raising taxes to fund the government expenditure to repay the interest will be a huge drag on any future growth in those economies, a problem China does not have. The present and future looks extremely bright for China as a result of the Covid effect on their main competitiors, particularly the USA, which has lurched from one crisis and disaster to another through their stop-start handling of the epidemic.
In most developed countries, the approach to handling the epidemic has been to shut-down large parts of the economy for long periods. As a result, people are largely required to work from home, if they can, rather than commuting to work. For families, particularly with younger children, this has been a huge benefit. Typically, with parents working away from home for long parts of the day, the damage to the parent-children relationship is often irrepairable. Paying strangers to care for their children has deep psychological impacts on the children, who can easily assume that they have been neglected and abandoned. The forced reunification of the family will have had huge win-win benefits for everyone. The parents will be far less stressed as a result of not having to commute for long wasted hours every day, they can get up later and go to bed earlier and be more relaxed with their family. The evidence has indicated that people are more productive working from home. They are more focussed and have less distractions from colleagues wanting to chat about what they did at the weekend. Bosses have been pleasantly surprised that far from being out of control as they cannot be seen, the on-line monitoring more than makes up for it, but ultimately it is the outcome that matters. If the employees achieve the targets then that matters more than when they do the work. The flexible working particularly suits new parents, who get to spend quality time with their children. The benefits to society from more children growing up with a better and closer relationships with their parents remains to be seen.
3) Medical products sector/pharmaceutical companies.
These were the obvious winners. The massive increase in demand for PPE, vaccines, ventilators and all the related products and services will have benefitted all these companies and their supply chains. Most of these products are manufactured in China, supporting the increase in Chinese GDP, as indicated above. Many of the products have to be disposed of after one use, increasing the demand. The vaccine research industry as well has benefitted from many governments determination to vaccinate everyone, regularly, and unlimited sums have been poured into finding a cure for this new virus. The scientists will, no doubt, demand ever more money to research into cures for the virus variants and also to prevent infection altogether, rather than just prevent serious complications and fatalities. The future looks increasingly bright for this sector of industry.
4) Online sales vs Offline sales
The switch in people’s spending habits from physically walking into a store and purchasing something to buying on-line from home (or anywhere!) will have been massively accelerated by being forced to stay at home during lockdown. The convenience, flexibility and lack of queues is a huge benefit, which even the most reluctant of ‘switcher’ will have appreciated during the enforced home-isolations. The home-delivery market and the related providers, carriers and couriers will have massively benefitted. It is not yet clear how many people still prefer ‘going out’ to buy things and whether the re-opening of the high street will see a partial or full return to physical shopping, but it is unlikely as the trend away from high streets to on-line shops was clearly established before the pandemic forced most countries to shutdown the high street. Most high street stores were struggling before the pandemic. They are unlikely to ever recover now.
5) People’s bank balances/debt repayment
As a result of staying home longer, people were not spending as much on-line as they did when shopping in physical stores. Presumably this is because they were bored and wandering around the shops and buying things they didn’t actually need was some kind of hobby or therapy for their boredom. Staying at home and shopping on-line, even though far easier, apparently doesn’t give the shopaholics the same pleasure and so they don’t spend as much. Shops, particularly, would take advantage of ‘impulse’ buying, with the strategically-placed items near the check-outs to encourage people to pick up things while queuing. The on-line equivalents do not appear to work as well.
The consequential benefit to people’s savings is therefore obvious. During the lockdown, people have been paying off their debts and building up their savings. All good for their financial situation, but it remains to be seen whether this ‘good behaviour’ will continue now that the shops have re-opened or whether people will revert to their previous bad habits of “buying things they don’t need with money they don’t have”.
6) The planet – less pollution
With less people travelling to and from their work-place, there was less pollution from their vehicles, less oil/electricity/diesel/petrol needed for the public service vehicles. Buying less products means less waste from throwing them away and less raw materials used in their production. Protecting the planet can be achieved much more easily by reducing consumption (and hence waste) and the need to travel than by any other means.
There has been a huge transfer of power during the lockdowns. Governments have forced people to give up many freedoms including freedom to travel, freedom to be vaccinated, freedom to decide where to work, freedom as to how to shop. Not surprisingly, governments have tried to keep these restrictions in place far longer than necessary in order to control huge sections of the economy in ways never before seen in most western countries. The forced nationalisation of huge parts of the private sector have met little or no resistance from the ordinary people – frightened into submission by the scary numbers of people succumbing to the virus around them. Governments will be reluctant to give up this power and people seem reluctant to regain responsibility for their lives, being happy to be supported by state welfare handouts in numbers that would have been unthinkable as little as two years ago. The permanent structural damage to the society and economy as a result of all this government ‘interference’ remains to be seen.
8) Online games/movies
All the on-line game companies have massively benefitted during lockdown owing to the boredom factor. The streaming of movies and other video content will have massively increased to provide entertainment to people with nowhere to go and nothing to do.
9) Psychological support services
But the big sufferers during lockdown – the lonely old and young people – will have massively suffered from increased isolation and the exacerbation of any of the anti-social behavioural characteristics. In the absence of any possible physical contact from anyone – even a handshake or hug has been impossible – the psychological consequences will have been devastating. All of the psychological support and suicide prevention industries will have massively benefitted from the shutdown. Loneliness is the biggest killer in most western countries. The true increase in death rate from suicide as a result of the lockdown will take many years to discover.
Sadly, the massive increase in the death rate caused by Covid has resulted in a massive increase in demand for all the funeral services involved in handling our bodies after death, in whatever way we wish to be treated. Unfortunately, lockdown restrictions often meant that loved ones were unable to properly say goodbye to their deceased relatives and so the boom in funerals was, perhaps, more limited than it might otherwise have been.
11) Zoom/Teams and on-line meeting Apps
As more and more meetings have been conducted on-line, so the software and hardware necessary for this to function has been in massive demand. More and more people working from home can easily keep in touch with their colleagues and bosses using these video Apps. All the education, studying and training throughout schools and universities had to move on-line. Similarly, families, friends and loved ones can also keep in touch this way. Many countries have shut their borders, often with little or no warning, resulting in families, couples and friends being stranded on either side of a border and forced to keep their relationships going on-line. The quality of these services has improved dramatically, but the damage to relationships will have been incalculable. You cannot hug over Skype.
What do you do during enforced lockdown? You make more babies! There is usually a baby-boom during a lockdown. We shall see if this time round there has also been a baby-boom and all the baby support industries will be hoping so after many years of the collapsing birth rate in developed economies.
13) Divorce/domestic abuse
One of the sad facts related to enforced lockdowns is the consequential increase in domestic abuse and divorce that follows. Traditionally, January and September have been known as ‘debt and divorce’ months. Couples spend enforced extra time together over Christmas/New Year and summer holidays resulting in a subsequent jump in divorce on their return to work after these holidays. The debt jump also follows having spent more than they can afford on Christmas presents and summer holidays, and having to pay for them in January and September – although perhaps not so likely this time round. Divorce and abuse counsellors and lawyers will, unfortunately no doubt, be seeing a massive increase in demand for their services now.
14) Home improvements
Sitting at home all day, people are much more likely to notice the problems with their house and now have the time to go and repair/resolve the issues – either themselves through ‘DIY’ or by paying a builder to do the work. Since moving house became impossible, people also decided to extend/improve/renovate their own house and there has been a massive increase in demand for the appropriate services – electricians, plumbers, gas fitters, builders, decorators and painters – they are all in increasingly shorter supply, as are the products needed for the home improvements resulting in an increase in cost of all these materials and services - benefitting the whole supply chain.
In the absence of allowable face-to-face physical contact, more and more people have been buying pets to give them something to hug, something to stroke, someone to talk to. Being forced to stay at home in isolation, animals are able to provide some comfort and company in the absence of human interaction. Pets will also have benefitted from having their owners around more and will have enjoyed not being abandoned for 8-10 hours a day Monday to Friday. It remains to be seen whether there will now be a huge jump in demand for animal shelters to rehouse these pets, no longer needed when people return to ‘normal life’.
During the period immediately before the imposition of the lockdown, people stockpiled food and medicines and other emergency products, causing a massive boom and shortages in these key areas. Since the reimposition of the lockdown is highly likely in many places, even without any warning, so people will have over-stocked on these items to cover the possibility of being stuck without supplies during the next lockdown. All of this massively benefits these stores – most of whom were allowed to remain open during the lockdown.
The Covid empidemic and consequential lockdown has caused the most dramatic and significant change in people’s behaviour in recent memory. As the above list indicates, some people have massively benefitted during this lockdown, but many people have badly suffered as a result. It remains to be seen whether these temporary changes become permanent or people revert to their previous behaviour when the preventive restrictions are fully lifted. Only an extremely optimistic person could believe that nothing will have changed permanently as a result of these enforced disruptions and reconsiderations of what is actually important in people’s lives, which only a major disaster like this can cause.
Let us hope that we can keep the benefits and lose the disadvantages and have a better future for everyone in the post-covid world.
Dans La Bibliothèque
She wore a silver beret over her black and grey curly hair. He stood mouth agape at the sight of her freckled cheeks. They reminded him of constellations. How he wanted to raise his hand and brush her cheek with it. Just to see if at all they would sparkle from the slightest touch.
He watched her struggle, trying her best to grab a book from the highest section of the bookshelf. Rushing to her aide, he quickly managed to catch her right into his arms as she slipped off the ladder with the book that caught her held tightly like a baby in her arms.
She sneezed and he chuckled. How cute, her sneeze was the most adorable one he had ever heard. In a flash, she collected herself and squeezed out of his hold. He apologized and asked her if she was alright. She gave a quick nod and said, “Yes- I’m alright, thanks.”
He continued to watch her slowly walk further away from him. She turned around and looked at him with a shy expression, almost hiding her face behind the book. He chuckled once more, and gave a slight bow.
She smiled and curtsied. He placed his hand on his heart, and felt his heart skip a beat. Then he turned around and decided to head back to his work station of placing the books on the carts carefully back in the right section of the bookshelf.
His mind drifted into a daydream of the lady with the silver beret, and freckles. He smiled and sighed. He hoped he would see her again, and soon. And next time he would have to remember to find out and ask her for her name.
#DansLaBibliothèque. (c) 7th Sept., 2021.
All who choose to believe...
I was houseless in Colorado, living in my van with my twin, 2 cats, and our -R.I.P- Grandpa’s dog when COVID-19 was first reported as a worrisome happening. A few months later, we drove to Florida one good-semaritan-filled gas tank at a time and COVID wasn’t but a whisper of “pandemic” potencial. By the end of the year, as we drove our way into Virginia, and then Illinois, the lables had been cast and mandates issued. Over the course of 2020, we would drive back and forth and around Illinois, Virginia, and Florida following unrelated deaths (stress-enduced heart-attack for one, and gun-shot to the chest for the other) in our family and our evolving fortunes, all the while doing our own research and our own personal experiements...
This year, End of January 2021, mid-pandemic and winter in full swing we began a drive from Lynchburg, Virginia to LA, California-- only masking when manditory for service, like at gas stations, eateries, and hotel lobbies-- and mostly water-washing to save our hands from sometimes unpleasant smelling soaps.
From the flats of Kansas to the gorgeous gap of the Grand Canyon and on over the mountains to LA, it was impossible for us not to notice the increasing profitable COVID paraphernalia-- masks, gloves, hand santizer-- but more glaring than that, the number of buisinesses closing down their customer-use public restrooms. Even some of the big-chain gas stations (that weren’t high-traffic truck stops) were closing their restrooms citing “COVID-19” as their reason.
My Twin and I mostly just smiled at each other, having worked in several different customer serivice industries, understood the relief of the staff/workers not having to clean those public restrooms after the (sometimes careless) consumers who use them.
We noticed the HUGE wave of increased “Order-Now” Apps for everything from food to furniture, and the push to get people using them; in some cases, even making it mandetory. Ordering Apps are a big bonus for businesses trying to manage more accurate inventories AND consumer analytics on buying habits/cycles (which allow for proper inventory and staff scaling/control and profit maximizing.)
On the consumer side, people were happy to chat about how easy and “kinda cool” it was to have their orders ready when they arrive and brought out, or sometimes delievered from places that didn’t used to do such.
Some kids loved being pulled from school to learn from home. Grocery stores loved the increased sales in.. almost everything, but especially the likes of cleaning supplies and disposible supplies, and certain house-hold necessities like our toilet paper...
People were loving to work from home and ESPECIALLY in the LA area, loving the decreased traffic, which meant for faster commutes to.. well, all across the LA area-- and surely other busy cities saw the same.
Without question, for every “bad” to be counted as caused by COVID, there seemed to be “good” gathering in equally potent ways.
While I am generally anti-vaccine for the simple fact that my mind-body-spirit complex can naturally do it better just by being mostly-happy me... yet, as members of my immediate family get vaccinated (some under the same “do your part” propoganda as much of the world) and others because their job paid them to; there’s been an array of observations and discoveries...
Whether or not you believe there is “real woo-woo crap” or not, I do and as such have had my interests satisfied with feedback shared from those practitioners of healing-energies and soul communications about the recievers of the vaccines.
In one case, there was mention of what I felt compelled to call, “Soul-Gapping” which is a term I realize really only makes sense with the context of understanding that our “Spirit/Soul” is the non-physical leading/calling force of who we are, and our emotions are our guidance system to that path our Soul is on; both as a soul, and as the individual human being (and in short, it works simply as feeling “good/better” is an indicator of being aligned with the lead of your soul, and feeling “bad/worse” is an indicator of being on a detour from the lead of your soul.)
As I understood the sharing, the vaccine was some-how initiating a “Gap” for lack of better words, minimizing and sometimes preventing communication between Soul and Mind-Body.
My first reaction was my own rationalization/reasoning that by no means, physical or non-physical, can anyone actually disconnect a soul from a body-- besides death, and even then there can be a lasting tether. So, I felt better thinking that everyone who may experience this Soul-Gap, can and will eventually return to their normal connection and communication through strong intuition and emotion.
So, as I reasoned my observations, those experiencing the Soul-Gap would also be experiencing a lull of their emotional potency. There is relief, some of it simply for being officially vaccinated in a culture where some think a legal mandate for it be necessary, but also in the increased ease of moving from one emotion to the next and not getting so stuck in the echo and loop of unresolved/balanced “emotional baggage.”
While I’ve been reluctant to actually ask probing questions of these family members and their before-vaccine emotional state and post-vaccine emotional state, I haven’t had qualm observing and feeling how almost “peppier” they seem, like a weight is continually being lifted.
I acknowledge my choice to believe such things being catalyst-all-its-own to making them my reality, and it is a good, happy, fun reality that appreciates the contrasts of COVID as a diverse tool of economy/profit boosting, emotional leveling/healing, and eye-opening.
To call attention to the opposites of the boosting, healing, and opening would be akin to turning over the coin of which they’re both faces of, and in doing so, give focus to the very side of the coin I have no interest in experiencing.
As I have driven across the country and back, to my current home-ground of Virginia, with my Twin and our health/happiness as natural immunity in tact, I’m going to continue to believe it and benifit from the bliss of that balance and how each individual, both knowing and not, has the choice of which side of the coin they’d rather experience, personally.
For my beliefs only govern my life... even if you decide/discern you believe as I do, it’s still your belief, specific to you and the context of your life experiences.
#health #prose #consciousness
* For those wanting and easier to read image of the banner, please see the link below.
Crando & Tamalia: The Time Date!
It was another quiet day in the small town of Citiburbia. Well, for most of the inhabitants of the suburbs in town anyway. Young Crando was heading to his best friend Tamalia’s house. Tamalia was beautiful and highly intelligent, always inventing amazing things. The other day she created a rubber band that could fuse back together once broken. Crando had a secret crush on Tamalia, but was too shy to admit it to her.
“If only she could invent something to help me overcome my fears.” Crando thought.
Crando reached Tamalia’s house and knocked on the door. Tamalia’s mom answered the door and smiled at Crando, inviting him in. Crando went to Tamalia’s room and found her sitting at her desk, reading a magazine.
“Hi Crando, thanks for getting here so quickly. I really needed to see you!”
“You did?” Crando asked, his heart fluttering in his stomach.
“Yes, I need your help with my creation.” Tamalia said excitedly. “And I want you to join me on the journey.”
“Creation? Journey? What have you invented this time?”
“I’ll show you now.” Tamalia beamed, dropping her open magazine onto the floor. The magazine was open on a page with an advertisement for a science camp.
“Secret lab, take us there!” Tamalia exclaimed.
Tamalia and Crando were pulled into the magazine, and within a moment they found themselves in a huge laboratory. Tamalia gestured for Crando to follow her, leading him to a giant bowl full of Rice Krispies.
“That’s a huge bowl of cereal!” Crando said in amazement, thinking about how there was enough in it to feed their whole town. “All the snap, crackling and popping would be pretty incredible with this one!”
“It would, but this isn’t for eating or sound effects.” Tamalia laughed, giving Crando a playful shove. “This is my newest work, a time machine!”
“A cereal time machine?” Crando asked, amazed and shocked at the same time.
“Yeah!” Tamalia said proudly. “Originally I thought about using a car or a phone booth, but there were already patents on them. So cereal it was. Climb in and take a journey into the past with me.”
“I would go anywhere with you my lov... erm, my buddy!” Crando said as his face turned red. “Yeah, sounds like fun!”
Once Crando and Tamalia were sitting in the giant bowl of cereal, Tamalia pushed a button that was buried under some of the Rice Krispies. Two faucets rose above them, and out of the faucets poured milk.
“Shouldn’t we have worn swimsuits for this?” Crando asked, secretly wishing to see Tamalia wear her bikini again.
“Oh, don’t worry about it buddy, this milk won’t soak us!” Tamalia reassured him.
“Oh, that’s cool.” Crando said, trying to hide his disappointment.
“This milk is like a fuel for my machine, which will allow it to send us back in time! Hey Crando, if you can guess where we’re going, I will go on a date with you wherever you choose!”
“Really?” Crando exclaimed, turning red again. He should have known that the smartest person he ever met would catch on that he was in love with her.
“Absolutely!” Tamalia replied, winking at Crando. “You have three guesses. And go!”
“Are we going to meet Jesus, while he was here on Earth?” Crando asked.
“On the way back, but we’re going somewhere, or somewhen else first. Two more guesses!”
“Are we going to see dinosaurs?”
“Nope, you know I disagree with the science from those theme park dino movies. One more try buddy!”
“Go see sliced bread get invented for the first time?”
“Nope, sorry! Ready to find out?”
“Yeah....” Crando said dejectedly. He was really hoping to guess correctly and score a date with Tamalia.
“We are going back to August 11, 1919. Back on that date, the president of the German Reichstag, Friedrich Ebert, signed a constitution that began the Weimar Republic. Besides being a point in time I have wanted to visit since hearing bedtime stories about it since I was a little girl, I am also looking to get some real life experience with it. There is a Prose writing challenge asking for details on where we were when it happened, what we were wearing, and what the event meant to us while it unfolded. The only way to get those details is to visit that event in the past, so that is what we are doing!”
“Well, if you’re going to be there, then there’s no republic formation I would rather oversee!” Crando said boldly, no longer blushing. “I love you Tamalia, and I will go anywhere, or anytime, with you!”
“I love you too Crando, and that’s why I asked you to join me.” Tamalia said passionately, resting her head on Crando’s shoulder. “You didn’t guess the event correctly, but the condition was for going on a date that you picked. So I will pick the date. Let’s go back in time, together!”
Crando smiled widely as the cereal bowl floated into the timestream. He couldn’t wait to watch history unfold with his favorite person of all time.
I’m So Bored With The Government
So I hear the Greenies (rhymes with “Meanies”) want to levy a “carbon” tax to help combat the pesky climate change problem. As astounding as it may seem, I have never shat in a river, although no one has ever forbade me from doing it. I do not spit on trains. I also do not piss on cats.
There are no laws or taxes for any of these things, yet most (!) people still have performed none of the above-mentioned fun activities.
The fact that we must pass legislation to remind us how to treat our environs shows us how far we’ve come.
If it is not OK for us to dump on the environment, why is it OK for Chevron to dump billions of gallons of toxic wastewater in the Ecuadorian jungle?
If the business of America is business, why not just turn the country into one giant, paved Stock Market where the rich can play and everyone else maintains the building in gloomy subterranean levels?
If we are so concerned about the environment, why the reliance on “safe” nuclear power?
If we are so concerned with the environment, why does no one question whether we now have, finally, enough plastic?
What about the environment inside of us? Does that not count? Should we not be outraged at the way we desecrate it? See: Chop’t Panko Fried Chicken Salad.
If we are so concerned about the environment, why have we continually shown such utter disregard for it? Do we ask the land beneath our feet if we may build a machine gun factory on it? Do we ask it for permission to grow the crops we want, when we want them, where we want them? Do we ask animal's permission if we can cage and slaughter them to satisfy our voracious appetites? Do we ask for the Earth's permission if we may bury our nuclear waste underground or our toxic waste off the coast of sunny California?
Maybe the question here is not whether there should be a carbon tax or not, but rather what have we done to earn the right to even live here? It's ironic that before we have even begun to deal with this questions, billionaires have already begun to build their dick-rockets and blast off to ?
Most of us are not ready to answer the above question, much less ask it. But since I am trying my darndest to be a more positive, productive, and helpful human being, despite all of the impediments life puts in my way, I would ask that we all perform an exercise:
Try to imagine the most spectacular, amazing thing humans have ever produced. My wife said the Inter- or Intranet*. She has a point. The Internet, and possibly the Intranet, allow us to keep in touch with anyone on Earth, or procure any kind of information in the blink of an eye. You might also find that other things, like beer, are way huger accomplishments.
I wonder, however, if one short 20-foot flight of a common monarch butterfly isn’t as amazing as anything we’ve ever done. You can’t even hold the Internet in your hands. Most of our accomplishments benefit only the person using whatever it is, if anyone. Beer is not healthy, sadly. [I said ladies lingerie, which is swell, but I’m sure we’d all get along just fine without it, sadly.]
If my idea is true, that a 20-foot flight of a butterfly is more important than anything humans have ever produced**, then it’s about time we began putting Nature in its rightful place: at the head of the table. Nature is not here to do our bidding. It is we who must find our place in it, if such a thing is still possible.
Only then will the need for a “carbon tax” be relegated to its rightful place: the scrap heap of history.
*Is the Intranet really something? I always say 'Intranet' as a joke but I recently heard someone mention it seriously. What is it? Help! I’m spooked...
let’s talk and think, all!
The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, H.R.2307 was reintroduced in the House. I think that, or any carbon tax bill, would be a welcome breath of fresh air. I look at the horrific weather events around the globe and feel upset, saddened, and angry. I want to fire up my peers. I lobby my representatives as a member of my local chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL), an environmental conservation organization.
Realistically, as much as I hope to get H.R.2307 passed, it's not practical to get my leaders behind climate change legislation. In my state, it's likely impossible now, due to denial, ignorance, apathy, &/or possibly other seeminly unrelated factors, such as politics.
Even trying to change people's habits en masse seems daunting, an insurmountable challenge. We need to get away from viewing videos on such enjoyable, entertaining sites as YouTube, TikTok, or Netflix. These and similar sites require the most energy use, producing the most carbon emissions. I don't know how to link an article's website. By copying and pasting, you'll find more info in this article: All of your YouTube and TikTok videos are contributing to climate change (greenandgrowing.org).
Supporting a carbon tax bill makes all the sense in the world. So why am I pessimistic that the world won't grasp it? Oh, did I say 'pessimistic'? I'm really just trying to force myself to be 'realistic'. I'll close, before I get myself all choked up. Thanks for the challenge, and that's not sarcastic! It's certainly a topic fit for discussion! Sincerely!
Anomaly: the second chapter
When Roman Zorić saw Rosemary Jones, the fear already etched on his face deepened. His eyes widened and he literally jumped backwards, clattering against the office door.
‘What the-’ he shouted.
Deke Jones, Rosemary’s until-recently-widower, shot forward to calm his assistant.
‘It’s alright, Roman,’ he soothed. ‘I’ve seen it too. It’s okay.’
‘It’s not okay,’ Roman argued. ‘Man, it is so far from okay.’
Deke chuckled despite himself.
‘You’re right. It’s not okay. Something strange is happening-’
‘Something very strange is happening,’ Deke agreed, ‘but now at least I know it’s not just happening to me. Look at me. I need you to calm down so we can figure this out.’
Roman looked into Deke’s eyes, breathed deeply for a few seconds then nodded. His eyes were still wild with confusion.
Rosemary spoke softly. ‘Roman. Can I ask why you jumped at the sight of me?’
Roman glanced to Rosemary, then back to Deke. Deke gave a nod of encouragement.
‘Y-you,’ the younger man stammered, ‘you were dead.’
Rosemary shuddered. Esme Sinfield, Deke’s colleague at the university, supported her and led her to a chair.
‘It’s times like this I wish I had a whisky bottle stashed away,’ she whispered. To the room, she said, ‘I think we all need to sit down and discuss what’s going on.’
Deke pulled up a chair for himself and Roman while Esme placed herself next to Rosemary. They sat in the centre of the office, the men on one side, the women on the other. Deke was acutely aware the arrangement appeared as though different sides were being drawn.
‘Roman, why did you think Rosemary was dead?’ Esme asked.
‘Because the police told us,’ Roman answered, his face dumbfounded.
‘Last week. You were here, don’t you remember? They came in here and told Deke that she had die-’ He cast his eyes at Rosemary.
‘It’s okay,’ she said.
‘That she had died in a car crash,’ Roman finished.
Deke felt the weirdest mixture of joy and sorrow. He was glad somebody else remembered the same past week that he did, yet horrified that that confirmed the death of his wife.
‘But that didn’t happen,’ Esme stated.
‘From your point of view,’ Deke said. The three of them looked at him. ‘Let me ask this, to both of you. Think back to last week. What happened the day after Monday?’
‘That was the day the police showed up,’ Roman said.
‘You didn’t turn up for work,’ Esme said. ‘Didn’t even call in to say why. I assumed it was because of the rain.’
‘It didn’t rain on Tuesday,’ Roman said. Esme looked at him as if he had just announced that orange was blue.
‘Who was sitting at the front desk last week?’ Deke said.
‘Gareth,’ said Esme at the same time that Roman answered, ‘Marika.’
‘Who the hell is Marika?’ Esme asked.
‘Marika Nowicki,’ Roman replied. ‘She’s been on reception for as long as I’ve been here.’
‘Is this some kind of elaborate joke?’ Rosemary asked. ‘Have you two planned this?’
‘Look at his face,’ Deke said. ‘You can’t fake this kind of fear.’ To Roman, he said, ‘Tell them if you saw Marika today.’
Roman swallowed a few times before speaking. His voice cracked as he said, ‘She was behind the new guy. I could see right through her. It was like she was…’
‘A ghost,’ Deke said.
‘But how can she be a ghost is she never existed in the first place?’ Esme said.
‘Again, that’s from your point of view.’
‘Explain,’ Esme said.
‘From our point of view,’ Rosemary said, ‘the world is normal. Nobody died last week and Gareth has been working here for three years. But from their viewpoint, this Marika woman has been here instead of Gareth and I… I lost my life in a car accident.’
Deke smiled at his wife despite the strangeness of the day. She was one of the smartest people he had met and she knew the way his mind worked. Two of the many reasons he loved her.
‘Are you saying we’re experiencing some kind of… dimensional overlap?’ Roman asked.
‘Two separate realities intruding on to one another,’ Esme voiced.
‘It’s possible,’ Deke said. ‘I don’t know. That could explain Rosemary being alive and Marika not working here, but it wouldn’t explain why we saw Marika as a ghost.’
‘Three separate realities colliding?’ Esme suggested doubtfully.
‘I don’t know,’ Deke said again. ‘This is not my field of expertise. Is there anyone who knows about this stuff?’
The four of them were silent as they racked their brains.
Until Rosemary said, ‘What about William Bradshaw?’
They found Bradshaw in his office in the Theoretical Physics department, peering at a holoscreen. From their side of the screen, they saw a long list of backwards numbers. Bradshaw touched a finger to the display, highlighting a specific point in the string, then made a note on his second screen before switching off both holograms.
After greeting them individually, he asked how he could help. The fact that he didn’t even blink at Rosemary’s presence told Deke that he was in the same camp as Esme and his wife, the no-last-Tuesday train of thought.
‘William, this is going to sound crazy,’ Deke began. ‘Just bear with us.’
‘Fifty years ago, space tourism sounded crazy,’ Bradshaw said. ‘Look at us now.’
‘I don’t even know where to start.’
‘Just present the facts and we’ll determine how “crazy” this is.’
Deke smiled. ‘Ever the scientist.’
‘Deke thinks I died,’ Rosemary blurted.
Bradshaw raised an inquisitive eyebrow.
‘I saw Rosemary’s dead body,’ Deke said with a sigh. Telling the story over and over was having a toll on him. It brought back the shock and loss he’d felt when he first saw her lying on the morgue table.
‘I remember it too,’ Roman said. ‘I didn’t see her, but I was here when the police came. I saw Deke crumble and Esme crying at the news.’
Bradford turned his gaze to Esme. She shook her head.
‘I have no recollection of this,’ she told him. ‘In my world, it did not happen.’
‘In your world?’ Bradford repeated.
‘There’s also the issue of Gareth,’ she explained.
Seeing confusion in Bradshaw’s eyes, Deke said, ‘The young man at reception.’ Bradford nodded, back on track.
‘Did Gareth die too?’ he asked Deke.
‘No, Gareth didn’t even exist until this morning,’ Roman answered.
‘Ah,’ Bradshaw exclaimed. ‘Your world. I see now. So you and you-’ he pointed at Deke and Roman ‘-remember Rosemary dying but don’t know Gareth and you two-’ Esme and Rosemary ‘-do remember Gareth but have no memory of Rosemary’s passing? Obviously, as you’re here now,’ he added to Rosemary.
‘That’s the first part of it,’ Deke said.
‘There’s more?’ Bradshaw sounded intrigued.
‘Roman and I have never seen Gareth before today, but we remember the woman who was on the desk.’
‘Of course,’ Bradshaw said. ‘Someone has to cover reception.’
‘And we both saw her ghost today.’
Bradshaw’s forehead creased. After a pause, he said, ‘Gentleman, please get out your phones and put them on private.’
Deke did as he was requested, switching off the holographic image so only he could see the screen.
‘Open up a memo or a blank text. I’m going to ask you some questions and I want you both to type the answers without sharing the information.’ When the men were ready, Bradshaw began, speaking slowly to allow them time to answer.
‘What was the name of this woman? How old was she? What colour hair did she have? Eye colour? How tall was she? Her weight? Did she have a husband, boyfriend, significant other? When did you last see her, before today? What was she wearing? Do you know the name of her parents? Siblings? Does she have a pet? How long has she been at the university?’
When he was sure Bradshaw had finished, Deke said, ‘We can strike the first and the last questions because we’ve already discussed those so our answers will match.’
‘Okay,’ Bradshaw nodded. ‘Now please, share you answers.’
The similarities were remarkable. Hair colour: brown, brunette. Age: late twenties, twenty-nine. Eyes: brown. Height: five-six, five foot seven. Weight: nine stones, sixty kilograms. Boyfriend: Simon. Last seen: Monday, Friday. Bradshaw then said to skip the question about her clothes as they had seen her on different days. Parents: unknown. Siblings: twin, twin brother. Pet: cat.
‘What does this prove?’ Roman asked.
‘It doesn’t prove anything,’ Esme told him, ‘but it suggests you two remember the same person because you’re recalling the same details.’
‘So are we from a different dimension?’
‘Unlikely,’ Bradshaw said with authority. ‘As you know, string theory posits the existence of hyper-dimensions, but this is not the same as science fictional parallel dimensions. Hyper-dimensions deal with objects which exist beyond the four dimensions we readily observe. Parallel dimensions purport an entirely different plane of existence. It’s logical to assume that in a different plane of existence, everything would be different not just one receptionist and a dead or not-dead woman.’
‘But I can’t be going crazy,’ Deke said. ‘Not if Roman remembers the same things as me.’
‘No-one is suggesting that,’ Bradshaw admonished. ‘In fact, I’d actually be more inclined to search for any more… differences you and Roman find from-’ he lifted his fingers to air quote his next words ‘-this world. And again, test them to see if you both share the same memories of them.’
‘Okay. How do we do that?’
‘What do you remember of the current state of the world?’ Esme asked.
‘Trouble in the Middle-East. Politicians being shifty.’
‘Racial tension in America,’ Roman added.
‘We need more specifics,’ Bradshaw said. He switched on one of his holoscreens and tapped through to the local news. ‘I’ll pull up a news story at random and see if you spot any inconsistencies.’
The first report told of a newly discovered comet that was approaching Earth at an incredible speed. When they read that the news had only broken that morning, Bradshaw moved on to the next item. Another body had been found, bringing the total number of victims to thirteen. A 3D photofit of the suspect rotated beneath the text; unkempt brown hair, deep set eyes, weak nose over thin lips and a square jaw.
‘God, he is chilling,’ Esme commented. ‘This guy is a lunatic.’
‘What guy?’ Deke asked.
‘How have you not heard this story?’ Esme asked. ‘It’s like Jack the Ripper all over again.’
Deke saw the ignorance he felt mirrored in Roman’s eyes. ‘How long has this been happening?’
Bradshaw scrolled through the article.
‘First body was discovered… six weeks ago, but they suspect the third body found was killed two weeks prior to that.’
‘Eight weeks?’ Roman said. ‘I would have heard something. No, that never happened.’
Deke felt his head swimming. Here was another element of the world that he and Roman had no recollection of. Just like they did not remember Gareth and Rosemary did not remember Jayke, their neighbours’ son. Could it really be that somehow Roman and he had travelled from another dimensional plane?
‘Let me find another story,’ Bradshaw said. He leaned forward and scrolled to another news item. ‘Enid Blyton,’ he said with a grimace. ’Why is a twentieth century author causing su-
-ch a stir?’ asked a Japanese woman.
Roman screeched and shot back in his chair. Deke looked at Rosemary and Esme. They seemed unperturbed that, in the blink of an eye, Bradshaw had been replaced by a stranger.
Choking back tears
By shoving three spoonfuls of
orange-flavored Jell-O into my mouth
Was a talent I didn’t know I had until
I did it in an ICU room while
Watching my grandma die.
She was a little mean, but the last
Thing she told me before she lost her words
Was that she left me $20 in my car for gas.
She was a little selfish, but when I was a child,
She would hand-feed me rice and fried eggs to
Make sure I never went to bed with an empty
I love and miss her very much, that woman.
The least I could do for her in a room
Full of family already mourning
Her impending death was to not
Let her hear me cry.
On an afternoon in the middle of January, I’m glad I kissed her forehead.
I’m glad I told her, “See you tomorrow.”
Maybe that was comfort enough.
She died hours later.
Her hand was still warm when I arrived that night.
Her face relaxed and
I held in most tears, shoving them into
The black hole that consumed
All my other neglected emotions
But what that resulted in was my inability
To grieve for her properly
And my inability to
Eat orange-flavored Jell-O the same way again.