Falleció

Jack flipped the car into park and craned his neck up at the building in front of them. All of the houses on this street were a similar pastel colour – did she say yellow or blue? “Is this it?” he motioned toward Amy at the yellow house. “I forgot what colour she said the house was and those house numbers are tiny.” “Only one way to find out,” Amy sighed, “let’s just head up and see if Laura’s home.” The walk up to the house was long. Jack lifted his heavy feet up the steps toward the front door. Jack and Amy found themselves on the front doorstep, shoulders side by side. They both inhaled a long, deep breath, and simultaneously knocked on the door. Knock. Knock. Knock. The door slowly opened, bleary eyed, Laura collapsed on the front step. wpid-photo-20150323193545609


145 words. This is a response to Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers, lovingly hosted by Priceless Joy.

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For the LOVE of Poetry!

It is said – here, now – that one of the great markers of a spiritual kinship  is a love  for the same poetry. For if two souls are equally moved by the same pulsating constellation of metaphor and meaning, they are not only bound by a common language and a shared sensibility but also exist in the same dimension of truth and possibility. Poetry, after all, is the ultimate meeting place.

I got my weekly Brain Pickings newsletter in my inbox today and that lovely quote donned the top of the article. It got me thinking about all the great poetry I’ve read over the years. As I continue reading poetry, my creativity and my love for fellow writers swells. In the spirit of favourite poems – I’d like to share mine. What’s your favourite poem?

Memoriam

In lawnchairs under stars. On the dock
at midnight, anchored by winter clothes,
we lean back to read the sky. Your face white
in the womb light, the lake’s electric skin.

Driving home from Lewiston, full and blue, the moon
over one shoulder of highway. There,
or in your kitchen at midnight, sitting anywhere
in the seeping dark, we bury them again and
again under the same luminous thumbprint.

The dead leave us starving with mouths full of love.

Their stones are salt and mark where we look back.
Your mother’s hand at the end of an empty sleeve,
scratching at your palm, drawing blood.
Your aunt in a Jewish graveyard in Poland,
her face a permanent fist of pain.
Your first friend, Saul, who died faster than
you could say forgive me.
When I was nine and crying from a dream
you said words that hid my fear.
Above us the family slept on,
mouths open, hands scrolled.
Twenty years later your tears burn the back of my throat.
Memory has a hand in the grave up to the wrist.
Earth crumbles from your fist under the sky’s black sieve.
We are orphaned, one by one.

On the beach at Superior, you found me
where I’d been for hours, cut by the lake’s sharp rim.
You stopped a dozen feet from me.
What passed in that quiet said:
I have nothing to give you.

At dusk, birch forest is a shore of bones.
I’ve pulled stones from the earth’s black pockets,
felt the weight of their weariness – worn,
exhausted from their sleep in the earth.
I’ve written on my skin with their black sweat.

The lake’s slight movement is stilled by fading light.
Soon the stars’ tiny mouths, the moon’s blue mouth.

I have nothing to give you, nothing to carry,
some words to make me less afraid, to say
you gave me this.
Memory insists with its sea voice,
muttering from its bone cave.
Memory wraps us
like the shell wraps the sea.
Nothing to carry,
some stones to fill our pockets,
to give weight to what we have.

– Anne Michaels


Anne Michaels is the author that originally helped me to fall in love with language. Upon reading her first novel – Fugitive Pieces, I knew that I was stuck (in a good way!) with writing.

Just Right…

I don’t know if I’ve ever been at a place where I’ve felt ‘Just Right’. To me, the notion of just right correlates to my ability to be content. Unfortunately, contentment for me has been an ever elusive notion that I can’t seem to hold onto. I have spent most of my life jumping from not only place to place, but idea to idea. Maybe I should do this! Or this… or that? What should I choose? Someone close to me made a joke that I should have my own television show about how I change my life trajectory once a month. Ha. So this is how I’ve lived, for the past however many years. Jumping, not knowing, being anxious that I don’t know. Never settled, never at peace. I read an article a while ago that talked about how there is just as much courage in staying in one place, as there is in picking up and leaving everything behind. I like that. The courage to stay still. It’s my natural reaction to react with any stress/anxiety/major life change with a swift selling of everything and moving as far away as possible. I now know that it’s time for me to teach myself to stay still. Stay still! Breathe, know that your problems and your insecurities follow you over geography. Stay still! It’s a mantra that I have to repeat to myself over and over. I know now that I need to root myself down to a place, to a life, to myself. Just pick you silly girl!

So where am I now? I’ve found a complimentary half to my being. One who lifts me and supports me through all my crazy swings. I’ve dedicated time and effort into the one thing that tends to keep me sane, writing. (God bless the WordPress writing community, I’ve found a second home) I’ve found a job that I love and one where I’m a part of a family. I’ve taken the first steps in attempting to cultivate a calm mind and a happy spirit and most importantly, I’m trying to cultivate gratitude. Thank you. Thank you thank you thank you. I’m incredibly blessed. Sometimes I feel myself falling into a sneaky spiral of self loathing and cynicism, but as for right now, I guess you could say things are ‘Just Right’.


This is a response to The Daily Post’s daily prompt, Hello, Goldilocks!

Hello, Goldilocks!

The Pulse

Lily gazed upwards and was presented with a periwinkle and orchid coloured sky. After enduring over 10,000 steps, her feet had finally brought her to this final destination. She looked through a green tinted window where she saw shadows and figures skittering about. She hesitated for a moment, drawing the courage to put her hand on the glass. She felt the pulse of the room. Thump thump. Thump thump. Gasping, she withdrew her hand, hot like coals, and put it back in her coat pocket. Spinning on her feet, she promptly made her way to the front door of the school. With the slightest of hesitation she knocked on the door. Three swift bangs. The door creaked as it made its way open, where a frail, ghastly presence stood.

“We’ve been expecting you,” it whispered, a breeze ran through the door, “come in.”

As she made her first step into the school, she found herself. Again.

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This is a response to Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers, lovingly hosted by Priceless Joy. Photo credit to the wonderful Pixabay.com

A Medical House Divided

I fiddled with my wedding ring as I waited for Dr. Osbourne to meet with me in his office. The metal examining table was cold to the touch. I looked around me, white walls, white computer, white everything. Everything was so clean, so tidy and perfectly placed. The air was stiff, the smell of thousands of other people being told news, good or bad. I stood up from the examining table and swayed side to side looking at the notices posted on the walls.

“Please allow 24 hours for cancellation…”

“Harsh language or abuse will not be tolerated…”

I found a chair to sit in. This one had a stiff back and torn upholstery. It made my bones ache. I had been sick for a long time. In and out of hospitals for the past few years, doctors still had trouble nailing down what ailed me. A lifetime spent in waiting rooms, looking at clocks and sitting while doctors clicked their keyboards. Dr. Osbourne finally arrived in the office, with no amount of grace.

 

“Hello,” he said in a hurry “Sorry I’m late, lets take a look here…”

Out of breath, he sat down in his chair and hummed and hawed over my file. My appointment today was about the results of the tests they had just done. Bad news was always delivered in person. They couldn’t have just called? I tried to break the silence with some semblance of humour.

“Give it to me straight, doc. I’ve already been waiting for too long.”

He closed my file and laid it down on top of his keyboard. The air in the room suddenly got far too heavy for me to have any hope left of it being good news. Dr. Osbourne exhaled for a long time.

“I’m sorry to say, that you have Cancer. Stage 3. We can put you on chemo…”

Everything slowed down and became blurry. I have Cancer? What will I tell my husband? My children? I have so much life left to be lived. Stage 3, that’s a death sentence right? He’s talking to me about something but suddenly I couldn’t hear him. It sounds like mumbles as I tried to make sense of what he told me. What seemed like an eternity, but in actuality was 2 minutes later, his speech was over and he was preparing to leave.

“See the receptionist to make a follow-up appointment once you’ve mulled over your options.” He noted just as he was closing the door, leaving me to gather my things and exit the building.


Finishing up my lunch, I glanced at my schedule as I washed my hands. Jane was next. I pulled up her file on the computer to verify the results came in on time. I opened up the folder and my heart dropped. Cancer. For the fourth time this week I’ve had to break the news to someone that they’ve got Cancer. It never gets easier. Medical school doesn’t prepare you for the daunting task of informing someone they are terminally ill. It’s a cultivated disassociation from the person sitting in front of you. If you start thinking about their kids, family and all they’ll be leaving behind, it suddenly becomes too hard. Some people call it being cold, I call it survival. Running late for her appointment I start rehearsing my speech in my head:

“I’m very sorry to tell you…”

“It comes with my deepest regret telling you this…”

Don’t overthink it, or you’ll end up looking nervous I try and remind myself. I walk to the examining room she’s sitting in. I stand in front of the door and stare at her file for a few minutes. Bite the bullet, I tell myself. I grab the folder and rush into the room, trying to make it appear like I was really busy.

“Hello,” I say to her in a hurry, “Sorry I’m late, lets take a look here…”. I sit down in my chair and open up the folder. It might as well have Cancer stamped in it with big red letters. I hear Jane say something out of the quiet.

“Give it to me straight, doc. I’ve already been waiting for too long.” My heart feels heavy as I try and meet her nervous gaze. I exhale to amass the energy and strength it requires to let someone know they’re dying.

“I’m sorry to say that you have Cancer. Stage 3.” I blurt out. “We can put you on chemo but it’s unlikely that it’ll be of any help this late in the game. It’s important that you discuss your options with your husband and your family to determine what’s best for you.” I pause. I can tell she’s clouded over and isn’t processing what I’m saying. I continue, “There are many options available for end of life care and we’d be happy to answer any and all questions you have regarding what’s the best option for you.” I stand up to leave. I grab the folder turn to open the door. She looks at me, eyes shrink wrapped in tears, red in the face. I swallow the gut wrenching need to empathize and be of emotional service.

“See the receptionist to make a follow up appointment once you’ve mulled over your options.” I added. I turned to open the door and shut it behind me. I ran into the bathroom to collect myself. Slashing water on my face, I reminded myself that I did the right thing. It doesn’t get easier. It doesn’t get easier.


 

This is a response to The Daily Post, daily prompt: A House Divided. 

I got the inspiration for this piece from an article in The Atlantic titled: “How to Teach Doctors Empathy“.

A House Divided

Liebster Award!

Wow! Thank you so much to Izzy (Izzy-grabs-life) for nominating my blog for this award. I’d like to thank myself for the times when I pushed past how much I hated my writing and kept doing it.  It means a lot to me that there are people out there who enjoy my work. I get into a complicated relationship with my writing at times, and what a lovely reminder to keep on track. liesbster2 I am fairly new to the WordPress scene, and given that, I’ve only selected four blogs that I’d like to nominate. They are…

  1. Sat on my butt
  2. From the mind of a muggle
  3. Writing dilegently  
  4. Twenty five & broke

My answers to Izzy’s questions:

  1. You’re in trouble. Why? Probably cause I opened my big trap located on my face.
  2. You start your car, what’s playing on the radio? Pearl Jam, hopefully.
  3. You go into your kitchen, what do you grab? After thoughtfully staring into my fridge first to see if anything will magically appear? A grapefruit.
  4. You’re crying. Why? Stress/frustration.
  5. You had a crazy dream last night. What was it? I have crazy dreams every night. Last nights was particularly disturbing (funny you ask), not all that appropriate for this setting 😉
  6. Tea or coffee? Coffee. Always coffee.
  7. You’re going on an ideal date? Who are you with and what are you guys doing? With my husband, we’re sitting on a patio in the sunshine.
  8. If you could live a character’s life for one day, which character would it be and why? It’s hard to say, there are so many wonderful characters that exist who’s lives I’m envious of. If I had to choose, I’d be Michaela, the lover of the main character in Fugitive Pieces, my favourite book.
  9. Is your mind an enigma? Ha! Most likely no. It’s too full of itself to be complicated.
  10. Would you rather be a child or an adult in a post-apocalyptic world? Adult.
  11. What languages do you speak, read in, and/or understand? What languages do you want to? English only. If I had the patience to master another language, probably Italian.

If you’re interested, here are 10 random facts about me:

  1. Books are my favourite thing in the entire world.
  2. I have 5 siblings (4 boys and 1 girl) all at least 10 years younger than me.
  3. I’m sad, a lot. I think at times I’m addicted to it because sadness is all I ever can write about.
  4. I have over 14 tattoos.
  5. I chose to remain anonymous on here because it’s better for the reader if they’re not biased from knowing too much about the author.
  6. I enjoy the silence. A lot.
  7. I’m almost done post-secondary. In April!
  8. I’ve moved too many times in my life to count. Spanning many places and many loves.
  9. I love a good war movie.
  10. I think a halved grapefruit is one of the most beautiful things this earth has to offer.

In the interest of keeping with the rules for the award, I’m going to propose 11 questions for my nominees.

  1. Biggest source of inspiration for writing. Go!
  2. What’s your biggest obstacle when it comes to writing?
  3. If money was no object, what would you be doing right now?
  4. Favorite book? (Hard, I know)
  5. If it was proven there was a God, how would you react?
  6. What’s your main goal when you write?
  7. What was a defining moment in your life?
  8. What’s your biggest fear?
  9. What are you currently struggling with right now?
  10. Who’s your biggest supporter?

Thanks again Izzy. This has warmed the cockles of my heart and I’m so happy you take the time to read my musings and ramblings. Here’s a handy photo of the award rules for my nominees! the-rules

Two Steps Behind.

“See that boat over there? I bet you, if the breeze is just right, I can land a rock right in it.” He smirked. The boat was about a three quarters of a football field away. Even on a good day, I doubt my throwing arm would make that shot. Harvey was always going on about what he could do and rarely about what he couldn’t. Full grown man stuck in a cycle of persistent competition with his former, childhood self.

“Alright tell you what,” I laughed, “If you make that shot, the first rounds on me.” Seeing his intrigue, I stepped back to let him get his perfect shot. Spinning around with force, he whipped the rock and it fell short of the boat about half a yard.

“Ah,” I patted him on the back, “better luck next time. But hey – first rounds on me anyway.”

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Word count: 147. This is a response to Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers, a weekly photo challenge, graciously hosted by Priceless Joy.