Drifters

 

It’s early evening on a Tuesday. Bill is in the kitchen heating the soup I made on Sunday. Flanken beef with carrots and broccoli. The sun sits higher in the sky than it did two weeks ago at this time. I’m on the sofa. A cup of tea steeps on the end table, a book of Billy Collins’ poetry open to my right, my journal on my lap. I like the sound this pen makes as I scratch it across the page.

I’m in a bubble.

Like the bubble Bill and I float in when we walk along the beach on one of those ocean and sky days. Or when we go to the farmer’s market on a Saturday morning for apples and bread. Or when we sail, the hull of our boat skimming through the waves, dolphins at the bow.

It is ordinary and I want to stay here forever.

My girlfriend Lena used to come over to our house. She’d hug me, call out a hello to Bill and make her way into my kitchen. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but there was something about her energy, spindly, splintered, disruptive. It was as if she didn’t fit in our home. “You don’t mind do you?” she’d say as she foraged in our refrigerator for almonds.“Do you have any of that green tea I like?”

“I don’t think Lena fits in our house,” I said to Bill one early evening after she left. She pushed at our walls, as if she took up all the empty space.

“You may be right,” he said.

Yesterday my friend Natalie came over. She toasted the bagel she bought at the farmer’s market. I made us tea. We sat at the kitchen table.  I watched her small hands as she dabbed at the crumbs on her plate with her index finger and put them to her lips and licked. Bill came home from work. He gave us each a hug and went into his office.

“Natalie fits in our house,” I said to Bill after she left. Natalie makes herself at home in our home. She knows where the plates are, reaches for a mug, puts her dishes in the sink after we’ve finished our tea. She offers me half of her bagel. Her energy is easy, effortless, trouble-free.

Its funny, how some people fit and others don’t.

 

 

On this Tuesday night, the sounds of writing echo in the living room, the smells of soup swirl in the kitchen, and I can’t help but wonder about bubbles.  How they slip through time. How they tap into other bubbles, bounce off or connect. Travel on in clumps of two or three or more. How their permeable skin shimmers iridescent in the sun.

bubbles two

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo

 

 

The Prescription *

 

My friend Jill posted a picture of Steve Bannon on Facebook with his quote, “Birth control makes women unattractive and crazy.” Jill’s comment was “Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!” My response was “hash tag medical marijuana.”steve bannon devil

I was kidding when I wrote it. But on Tuesday afternoon at 4:30, as the sun skidded the sky with Caribbean color, I pulled into a strip mall in Wilmington, off Pacific Coast Highway, for an appointment to get my prescription. Five storefronts lined the parking lot. A liquor store and the medical clinic were the only two that weren’t vacant, and a guy with his hands in his pockets loitered in a shadowy corner. I thought about driving away, but I got out of the car, put my purse on my shoulder and walked to a door with white block lettering: PCH Medical Clinic.

The office was cold. The walls were ghost white. My boots clicked on the dark brown parquet floors.

“Hi,” I said to the twenty-something girl sitting at a desk in a small office behind a window. “I called earlier.”

She looked up at me and smiled. “I’ve never done this before,” I said. I’d googled medical marijuana doctors. This place had 5 1/2 stars on Yelp.

The girl gave me some forms to fill out. I checked off the symptoms anxiety, stress and insomnia, and ticked depression and back pain for good measure. I signed several waivers promising not to drive under the influence or operate heavy machinery, and not to sell, redistribute or share my marijuana.

When I gave her my completed paperwork, I noticed an ATM in the corner. “Do you take credit cards?”

“No,” she said. “The appointment is $50 cash, if you have the coupon. It’ll be $65 without it. You’ll need cash for the dispensary, too.” I got $200 from the machine.

I didn’t wait more than five minutes before she called for me. As I followed her into the back I heard the ring of a Skype call. She brought me into an office with an oak desk. On it sat a computer monitor and a mouse.

“He’s not here?” I said.

She wiggled the mouse, connected the call and walked out of the room, closing the door behind her. I sat down and smiled at myself in the small box at the bottom of the screen, pale in my black Equinox t-shirt. My mouth was dry. I put my purse on my lap and folded my hands over it.

“Hello,” said a face on the screen. He was bald, shiny and overexposed. He wore a white lab coat and looked up at me through gold wire-framed glasses. I took him to be in his early 70s. “Can you hear me?” he asked.

“Yes, hello.”

“So.” He looked down at the forms twenty-something girl must have faxed to him. “How long have you had insomnia?”

“On and off for a couple of months.” I lied.

“And you have some back pain?” He was writing.

“My lower back,” I said. That was true, I’d just come from the chiropractor.

“How long have you been depressed?”

One of the definitions for depression is low in spirits. Another is vertically flattened. I felt both. My anxiety was real. But I didn’t want him to think I needed a shrink and meds or I wouldn’t get my weed.

I made the decision to get the prescription after a white delivery truck barreled toward me in traffic that morning. I had to swerve and jump a lane to get out of its trajectory. That’s when I burst. I couldn’t stop crying. The level of the swamp out there is getting high and there’s a riptide pulling me out to sea. I didn’t want to cry here, in front of the Skype Doctor, let my guard down. I needed to be calm. Explain in a mature tone that I just needed a little soft focus.

“Here’s the thing,” I said. “I’m not officially depressed. It’s more like I’m stressed.” I paused. He kept writing. I didn’t want to say the wrong thing. I wanted to be cool. “It’s not like I want to be stoned all the time. I mean I heard that there’s this stuff that just takes the edge off, you know, without being super stoney.” My heart skipped and slipped into my stomach. I felt awkward. I looked at myself on the screen and took a breath. Tried to gather my thoughts. Stay calm.

“The truth is,” I said, “this election, well, the outcome and everything has me really freaked out.” Shit, I didn’t mean to say that. What if he voted for the guy? He could be one of those people that says, “Hey we put up with Obama for eight years and we survived.”

A penny lay on the desk by the monitor. If a penny lands heads up, its good luck. If it’s tails, I flip it over, give someone else a chance to find a little luck. I needed some luck. These days, everyone I care about, that I’m close to, can use a little luck. A little softness. A little kindness. A little ease. Luck that lets you know you’ll be fine. Everything will be okay. Gives solace. The kind of luck that’s light. Light like compassion, peace, hope. I reached for the penny. Tossed it. Tails. I flipped it over.

The doctor stopped writing and looked up at me. I hoped he’d give me my prescription and I could buy some liquid miracle and a vape pen. Some Acapulco gold, purple haze or amnesia. That’s what I needed.

“Tell me about it” he said. “These are some crazy times.” He smiled a soft smile. “You can pick up your prescription at the front desk.”

“That’s it?”

“Yes,” he said, and the call was disconnected. I took a deep breath and exhaled for what felt like the first time in weeks.* medicalm

* Previously Published in Writers Resist

The Crunch of Earth Underfoot **

 

“I woke up to one dot,” the woman’s voice drifted from the sunlight into the corner where I sat. I sipped my coffee shaded by pines, on a black leather sofa outside of the kitchen. Breakfast was being prepared. I could smell the bacon cooking.

“I tried it over here,” a softer voice said. It floats. “But still no service. You have to walk up to the gate, where the cars are parked and then you’ll get service.”

This morning, I walked that road. I wound myself around the trees. I breathed in their pine needles and

Road to Inn at the Lake Connamarra

Road to The Inn at the Lake Connamarra

vanilla. The early morning chill. I listened to the crunch of the gravel gravel-road-glint-of-light

gravel-road-glint-of-lightunder my feet and I wondered about roads like this. Roads that lead to cabins with wood shingles and windows that wink at you as you walk by. Big open windows that let everything in and nothing out.

We had a house like that once, an A-frame in Lake Arrowhead. I’d sleep in a hammock stretched out between four trees, the sun tawny on my cheeks. My dad would drive us up the hill in his brown and white van, my mother by his side, my sister and me in the swivel seats in the back.

In high school I invited my girlfriends up for weekends. In college I’d bring my boyfriends, Ted Forbath and Mike Gallagher. Even though I knew how to get there, my dad mailed me Memo’s with directions: how to drive to the house, how to unlock it, how to call the Lake Arrowhead patrol so they could plow, turn the heat on, or do a spider check. I wish I’d kept those memorandums, typed on thick Warner Bros. stock.

We waterskied and drank our vitamin c with Champagne and Absolute. We lay on the dock, me and my sister, comparing our tan lines.

“You’ve got to learn how to relax, Ca.” My dad calls to me from the boat snug in its slip.

“Daaaaad!” I say. “Very funny.”

The summer I learned how to drive my dad took us four wheeling in the orange GMC Jimmy, that he outfitted with a red bug catcher and a pewter bull dog on the hood. My sister and I bounced in our seats, our laughter trailed behind us on dirt roads like a wake behind a boat.

I thought we’d have that house forever.

Today as I walked along the gravel road, the crunch of earth underfoot, the splash of memory on my skin I remembered that tomorrow I will outlive my father.

me-and-dad-maui

Me and my Dad…Maui … ’78 or ’79?

 

 

** Written at the Glint of Light workshop at the Inn at the Lake, Connamarra, Hope BC.
**My father passed away September 12, 1988

A Clown Walked Into My Bedroom…

A clown walked into my bedroom. It was 4pm on a Saturday.

That’s a lie.

A clown didn’t walk into my bedroom. It walked into the room I was in and I was in a bed. I’m pretty sure it was a Saturday. I think it was a Saturday because the day before, on the Friday, before sunset, a lady Rabbi walked in with two battery operated Shabbat candles and a loaf of cholla. As to the time, I’m guessing there.

I didn’t see the clown walk into the room.I opened my eyes and there it was. When I saw the clown standing in the doorway I closed my eyes. Waited a moment or three, and opened them again. The clown didn’t go away. In fact, in those three moments, it moved closer. It stood right at the foot of my bed.

clown

This Clown Walks Into …

I’m not afraid of clowns, but looking at this one with it its purple and orange satin oversized jumpsuit, ruffled collar, yellow Elton John glasses, white pancake makeup face, blood red lips and wild orange wig and a small red dot at the tip of its nose, well, in that moment, I understood the phobia.

“You know,” I said. “People hate clowns.”

“I know,” the clown says, “I have permission.”

Permission? From the nurses? The doctors? The old patient down the hall that screams at everyone and throws things at the nurses? I feel bad for the nurses and I tell them so. They’re nice, all except for the cranky one.

“Why are you here?” I push myself up. I have to use both hands and it hurts like nobody’s business. This isn’t a complaint. It’s a fact. Just that morning they wheeled me down to radiology, put me on my stomach, and drilled a hole in the left cheek of my derriere. Something about draining an abscess in my gut, like I’m some kind of engine block and they’re the car mechanics.

“You can watch if you like,” the nurse had said and pointed to the monitor above my head and to the right. I don’t think so. I’m on my stomach, in a cold white room. They had to use an x-ray machine or something so they could see what they were doing—guide the tube to the correct place above my stomach and to the right, or the left. I don’t know. “That’s okay,” I said to the nurse. “But you can give me more drugs.” She obliged and shot something into my IV. I was getting used to the icy liquid of morphine shooting through my veins, my heart skipping a beat and forgetting to breathe.  She held my hand during the procedure. I squeezed tight.  She was a good nurse.

The clown doesn’t tell me why it’s in my room. Instead it reaches into its clown pocket and pulls out something wrapped in cellophane. The clown walks closer to me and I push myself harder, away from the clown and into my raised the bed.

“Here,” the clown says and pushes a pale veined hand at me. She reveals a red nose wrapped in cellophane.“This is for you.”

Crinkle, crinkle, crinkle. I flinch and it hurts. I take the nose from the clown. “Thank you.” I lay it on the table to the right of my bed, next to my cell phone.

“If you put your nose on,” the clown points to the nose. “We can take a picture together for Facebook.”

Are you kidding me right now? I don’t post pictures of myself when I’m sick. I’m just not one of those people. I don’t post pictures of chicken soup with captions that say, “I’m sick”.  I don’t post status updates that say, “Got a stomach bug” or “Hey, I’ve got food poisoning, guess where I am?” I had been in this hospital bed too long, my hair was greasy and I looked pretty green. No amount of make up would make me Facebook-photo-ready.

“No thanks,” I say.

The clown won’t leave.

“Can I take a picture of you?” I ask the morphine-clown.

“Of course,” the clown seems happy with this.

I snap the picture. I thank the clown and I close my eyes.

When I wake up it is dark. The room is quiet. I reach for my cell phone.

Kindness Breeds Kindness

Something President Obama said in a speech last week has me thinking. He said: “Kindness breeds kindness”. He said it in regard to the current climate of the presidential campaign.  Simple, yet powerful.

Aloha Flying Big Red

His remarks sparked thought about spirituality.  Recently, some some self proclaimed ‘spiritually awakened’ individuals have been, as my Grandmother would say, out of line. Sharp tongues, twisted snipes and cuts, judgement, some gossip and just plain one-upmanship threw me for a loop.

I did some writing, looked to see how I might have contributed to the tango. I’ve come to the conclusion that sometimes  my practice is just staying centered and sending love, even in the face of, well, nastiness.

Obama’s remarks struck a chord. I know he was talking about the election, but it’s more. I wonder if we haven’t gotten lost in the how and forgotten the simple what–that Kindness Breeds Kindness.  Whether your spiritual process is to light candles and chant, burn incense and smudge, consult crystals and spirit guides, shouldn’t matter. For my husband sailing is a spiritual experience, or a great scuba dive. For some it’s a hike. For me it’s a walk along the ocean, meditating, or journaling. Sometimes I light a candle and prey. I do different things at different times.

What matters is intention.

Are you coming from loving kindness? Or are you trying to prove something? Be better than the person next to you? More spiritual. More powerful. More more more, fill in the blank. Spirituality shouldn’t be egocentric, it should be heart centered.

I once wrote an article about how women judge women for my blog on the Huffington Post. I have been judged for lots of things in my life: my body, how I conduct business and my spirituality. I’ve been told I’m a ‘spiritual anti-christ’ (what does that even mean?), that I’m not in touch with my inner goddess and I’ve even been accused of not liking mermaids–(Who doesn’t like mermaids?) (And how does that relate to spirituality? I don’t know, but that was the context of the jab.) I have judged too. I am not perfect. I have a LEO-ego I have to keep in check for sure!

How a person expresses their spirituality is personal. It shouldn’t be a competition. And, if you’re starting with loving kindness, who cares how or what or when you ‘practice’.

Kindness Breeds Kindness.

Being spiritual is being kind, spreading kindness, coming from a place of love.

Fear Vs. Love.

If I’m not in love, but in fear, I will lash out, judge. That’s human nature. Because when we are afraid we are out of love (Yes Marianne Williamson) and it’s hard to not judge, not to compare, not to go to good vs. bad, right vs. wrong. If I’m afraid, I defend, compare, compete. I am in my ego, not my heart. Stepping into love, just that, is a spiritual act. Making that choice. Taking that breath and centering.  We move from the oneness, disconnectedness, the aloneness of ego and fear into the vastness of being connected to whatever it is that you believe in and LOVE.

Spirituality doesn’t have to be complicated. And it sure as shit shouldn’t be competitive.

If you know me, you’ve heard me joke about how my business is my spiritual practice. And it is. It has taught me to be patient, to be kind, to trust, to have faith, to slow down, to walk away, to breathe in love and to be in service. Practice kindness, in an email, a phone call, a conversation.

redondo spoiriIn the end, whatever I’m doing to be ‘spiritual’, whatever you’re doing to be spiritual, shouldn’t it be rooted in love and kindness?

Kindness breeds kindness.
It is a beautiful practice.
Kindness breeds kindness.

With love and light
Practice well
and
Write on

carolyn first only sig

Breach

whale breach

One of the reasons whales burst out of the water, reach back, twist and splash back through the blue stained glass surface is to knock off dead barnacles from their skin. Cold water barnacles attach themselves to the whales in the waters of Alaska and die when the whales move through warmer seas.

 

I rise
like this whale.
I break through
twist, turn, flip,
towards sky.
I splash down
all white foam
and spray.
The ghosts
that have attached
themselves
to my back
like barnacles,
parasites that feed
on my soul,
finally
they fall
back into the sea.

Blood Spatter

I have always liked a clean floor. It might have something to do with the way I was raised. When I was growing up our floors were spotless and the carpet was vacuumed each day. You could see paw prints from our 8 pound cat indented into the plush carpet.

IMG_20151023_072907737 copy

Mahalo

I ask that people remove their shoes before they come into our home. I placed a ceramic plaque I bought in Hawaii by our front door that reads: “Maholo for removing your slippers…(But no take mo’ bettah ones when you leave!)”

I know people make fun of me. That’s okay. I know where their feet have been. They’ve been to the alley behind a favorite restaurant to get to that secret parking place no one else knows about. They’ve been in the restroom at the airport or worse, the toilet on a plane. They’ve been to the doggie park, the gym and the gas station.

Most people are good about taking off their shoes. They’ll leave them outside at the front door or step onto the doormat inside and take off their shoes.  There are those individuals that will walk in to our home without thinking and wander into the living room. I have to remind them to ‘please take off their shoes.’

After a dinner party I’ll grab my Commercial Grade Microfiber Dust Mop from the hall closet, secure a clean mop pad to the Velcro backing and polish the floors. You’d be surprised at the number of crumbs that drop from an Hors d’oeuvres on the way to someone’s mouth or the particles that fall from dinner plates and forks onto the floor.

There are exceptions to any rule, of course, and I’ve had shoes-on parties. These are usually catered events. We set out tables in the back yard, set up a bar on the driveway and let people have the run of the property. We leave the doors open and lock the cats away in a back room. Once we even had dancing. Someone wore black rubber soled shoes that night. After the last guest left, I went through the house and rubbed until each scuffmark was erased.

I like walking on clean floors with clean feet.

These days I spend a lot of time on my hands and knees cleaning droplets of blood from the floors. Our cat has a tumor growing inside of his mouth. It pushes against his teeth and his tongue. After he eats, blood pools at the corner of his mouth, drips to the floor and leaves droplets smaller than a pea, the size of a blueberry or as big as a nickel.

Blood isn’t always red. It can be crimson, or maroon or rosewood. Blood clings to things. I clean the floor by the cat’s food dish, near the back door where he sits and cackles at squirrels and crows. I clean under the kitchen table where he naps in the late afternoon. I clean outside our bedroom door where he guards us at night.

There is blood splatter all over our house.

I use a mixture of Murphy’s Oil Soap and water to spray each droplet. I wait for the molecules to dissolve, I watch them loosen their grip. Then I wipe. Sometimes I’ll wind my way through the house following the trail of blood, stopping at each cluster to spray. Then I’ll loop my way back around and rub each spot clean.

I’ve been called neurotic. Maybe I’m compulsive. I don’t care.  Every day I clean my floors. I’ve perfected my process. Cleaning blood has become an art form.

Fred the Beautiful

My Red Bench

This morning I brought my coffee and my journal to the porch and sat on my bench. I love my bench. Not long after we moved in to our house I saw that the neighbors two doors down from us had a bench and I wanted one too. Their bench was honeydew green and had two white canvas accent pillows. It sat on the front porch under, what I assume to be, their kitchen window.

My Red Bench

My Red Bench

I wouldn’t call our neighborhood modern. In fact, except for the trees and a few over-the-top remodels, if you were to drive down our street, you might think it was 1956.  Most of the homes on our block have grass and maybe a brick pathway that leads from the curb or the driveway to the front steps.

The house with the honeydew green bench had curb appeal. One of the two women that lived there was rumored to be a landscape architect. She designed her front yard in sections with rock borders and exotic plants and a winding slate path that led you to the front of the house. When Bill and I first moved in, we’d walk over and take pictures of their plants so we could buy them and plant them in front of our house.

“I want a bench,” I said to Bill. We were standing in front of their house. I snapped a picture of their bench.

“I don’t know why they have that bench.”  Bill said. “I’ve never even seen them sit on it.”

“You don’t know.” I said and turned to Bill. “They might sit on it when we’re not looking.”

“We don’t need a bench.” Bill said. He was standing with his arms crossed staring at the house.

“It’s curb appeal.” I said. “I want a bench.”

Bill turned toward me. “You probably won’t ever sit on it.” He said.

“I’m buying a bench.” I said. Bill rolled his eyes. He turned and headed back to our house. I followed.

He stopped at the foot of our driveway and crossed his arms. I caught up and we stood there for a few moments looking at our home.

“I’ll go on line to that garden store, Smith & Hawken.” I said. “I bet that’s where they got their bench.”

“Don’t.” He said. “I’ll build you a bench.” I reached up on my tiptoes, kissed his cheek, and walked up the driveway to the house.

Bill built me a sturdy pine bench. I helped him paint it. We chose candy apple red. She sits at the end of our porch under the kitchen window. I bought two black pillows with white piping and lean into them as I write and sip coffee in the mornings. In the summer, our neighbors Susie and Jerry join us for cocktails or beers. Bill and Jerry stand in the driveway and talk about boy things like boats and the weather and motorcycles while Susie and I sit and page through the latest Crate & Barrel or Pottery Barn catalogue. Bill and I sit on our bench and watch the rain. On warm nights, sit and we’ll look at the stars and talk. I love my red bench.

The two women have since moved and a couple bought the house. He’s tall and she has platinum blonde hair. I rarely see them. The lawn is dying and the plants look tired and thirsty.  The porch is empty.

The View From My Bench

The View From My Bench

We’ve gone drought resistant. Our gardener planted lots of colorful dwarf trees and shrubs like Dwarf Day Lillies, California Redbuds, Dusty Millers, Evergreen Current and Fairy Lilacs.  What once was our lawn is now river of grey sand and rock with blue grass accents that runs through pea gravel the color of the beach on a rainy day. When Bill gets home from work, we’ll sit on our red bench and watch the bees, butterflies and hummingbirds drift from flower to flower.

This morning I brought my coffee, my journal and one of my black pillows with white piping outside. I sat on my red bench. The air was thick. The clouds hung low and heavy in the pink and blue sky. A woman walked by with her dog and waved. I waved back.  A man jogged pass on the other side of the street. A white Toyota slowed down in front of our house and stopped. I noticed the driver lean toward the passenger side window and aim her phone at our front yard. I think she was taking a picture.

A View From My Bench

The View From My Bench

Moving With No Movement At All

 

I haven’t been writing lately.

I’ve wanted to write.

I’ve wanted to write because that’s what I’m supposed to do. Write. I’m a writer. I should be writing. I want to write. I miss writing. I miss feeling words flow through me on a walk or during yoga. I miss rushing to get to my journal to write them down. I want to mush words together between my fingers, to mold them and shape and form them into a pose and put it in the kiln to finish.

I’ve wanted to write but since the picture I haven’t. I mean a journal entry here or there, but that’s the extent of my pen.

I’ve thought about writing. I’ve thought a lot about how I’m not writing. I’ve thought a lot about the light bulbs that puffy cloud through my mind but don’t seem to make their way through my fingers onto the ring.

I’ve been reading more than writing. Good thing writers read. Phew! I’ve been reading articles and books, poetry and blogs. I’ve been reading the news. I even read the back of my husband’s Morning O’s cereal box. (A quick read indeed).

The other day I read Cindy Yantis’ Thought Changer blog. She wrote about winding roads and beating your own drum.  

Let me paraphrase. I do that. I paraphrase. I’ll take someone else’s light bulb and ingest it, process it and make it my own. It’s not plagiarism, I promise. I give credit where credit is due. It’s more like digestion. Then I can share the light bulb and spread the love. Isn’t this what we writer’s want? To make a difference in the world with our words and let our light bulbs enlighten.

Cindy described that feeling of moving through molasses, that idea of things not happening fast enough. I know this place, I know this judgement of speed and how things should look. I know this gavel well.labryinth

My path has brought me here–to this forest. I’m not producing right now. It’s not my time. It’s my time to clock. Instead of writing, I’ll sneak off to a dark cool theatre and watch someone else’s creativity unfurl. Instead of writing, I’ll explore my own popcorn. I’ll listen to it hum and vibrate. I’ll feel it and feed it a bit of patience and respect and ocean air. It has been quite a practice, putting  my judgment aside and letting my popcorn dolphin on it’s own.

When I sit back and breathe I feel my gratitude. I’m grateful for the picture–that huge bump in my own coiling trail. I am grateful for the wrench that jammed up my labyrinth and the skillful hands of builder who yanked it out. All that digging and stirring about, although quite tunneling, turned out to be a blessing. I am different. I am more grounded. I am even somehow more whole.

It’s a funny thought. To find myself here, in a place of acceptance after that picture and the tunnel and my inability to grasp at my light bulbs and put them to pen. After all that, I’m okay.

Still, in this place of moving within no movement at all.

 

Ekphrastic — Midsummer’s Eve

 

Firebombs and Fairies

I’ll just hide here in this lantern, thank you very much.

I don’t like crowds, especially crowds of drunken naked fairies looking to cause trouble. They make fun of me because I don’t like to join

Midsummer's Eve Robert Edward Hughes

Midsummer’s Eve
Robert Edward Hughes

in their mischief. I don’t care. I’m used to the taunts. “Baby! Baby! Hughie is a Baby!!!”

I don’t care.

Cain is trying to get me out of this lantern. It’s the only safe place. The lantern. I made a beeline for it when we got here. I bet a small flock of fairies were swinging from it and it came crashing down, the fairies tumbling and laughing all the while. I’m just glad that I found this lantern. I’m not coming out. It’s enough I’m here at all. God, Jewish guilt is the worst.

Earlier this evening, I was reading in bed, catching up on my New Yorker’s sipping a cup of Chai tea when Cain came into my room.

“Hey.” He said. “Aren’t you going to come to the solstice celebration?”

“No” I said. Last year’s solstice party turned ugly. A riot broke out when the keg ran dry and some crazy fairy almost ripped my wings off my back. Booze and firebombs just don’t mix.  “Remember last year?” I asked. “No way I’m subjecting myself to that again.” I turned my attention back to the magazine.

“Come on.” He walked over and sat next to me. He pulled the New Yorker out of my hand and tossed it on the floor.  “Hey, I was reading Ellen Bass’ new poem.” I said.

“What is it with you?” he asked. “Why are you such downer?”

“I’m not a downer.” I said. I know that I was disappointing as an older brother. I wanted to be better. I wanted to fit in, I wanted to be able to relax, be myself and have fun with the other fairies. I just couldn’t. I didn’t know how.

It was going to be a nice evening.  The solstice sun was setting. It was warm and the sky was a kaleidoscope of pink, orange, and violet.  A white mother of pearl guitar pick lay on the floor by my window. The changing colors of the sky seemed to bounce off the pick and bathe the walls of my room in a rainbow glow.  I had found the trinket on yesterday’s beach walk. I love picking up little treasures. I have glass bowls of rocks and shells and lucky pennies all over my bedroom. The pick was a great find. I guess Mr. Taco must have swatted the it onto the floor. Cats will play with anything except their cat toys. Ahhhh a cat’s life–the world is their scratching post. Oh to be a house cat.

Cain didn’t need me tonight. He’s stronger than he knows and quite able to go to the celebration without me.  He shouldn’t care if I come or not. “You don’t need me.” I said.

“I do,” he said. “I want to get into the Fairy Fraternity.” He said. “They want you to be there too. If you don’t it will reflect badly on our family.  You have to go or else I might not get accepted in the frat.” He stood up. “Come on.” He said. “Get up and come with me. Please.” He said.

I shook my head. I pulled the covers up and over my head.

“Please.” He said and yanked the covers down. “Please. Please! PLEEEEAAAASSSSEEEE!” He said.

“God.” I said. “You are such a whiner!”

“It’s really important to me.” He said. “You have to come. I just have to get into the Fraternity. I have to!!!”

I’m such a sucker. Once again here I am doing something for someone else and sacrificing myself in the process. I have to learn how to say no. This isn’t good for me. My cortisol levels are rising. I can feel it. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Maybe if I focus on this red light. Breathe. Focus on the light. Breathe. I need to calm down. Maybe if I concentrate hard enough I can just will myself gone.

Uh oh, is that Fairy Constantine over there with a fireball? It looks like he’s going to throw it my way.

I gotta get out of here.

Breathe, breathe, focus, and breathe. Relax. I’m a fairy aren’t I? There must be some powers I have, right? Can’t fairies just blink their eyes and disappear?

Shit, what’s the point of wings if you can’t even fly?

**Thank you to two AMAZING writers, Josh Grapes and Lisa Segal. Their unique workshop BEYOND THE FRAME brought this fun piece to me…and I see many more on the horizon…