After It Rains

 

Piazza San Marco, Venizia

~*~

“Mummy … what’s that smell, you know, after it rains?”

Cindy looks at me with her big, brown eyes full of wonder, just a hint of a pucker on her lips to show me she’s not really sure what she’s smelling.

“Feet, darling.”

“Feet!”

Now her look is one of abject horror. I’ve thrown her for a loop.

“Not literally, sweetie.”

She cocks her head in confusion.

“I don’t know, Cindy. They call it petrichor, that smell, and I suppose it smells of whatever you want it to smell and changes depending on where you are. For instance,” I point to the vast expanse of a wet Piazza San Marco where we’re standing, the illumination of which puts a sparkle in my daughter’s eyes, “can you imagine how many millions of feet have walked here?” She shakes her head. “Exactly! Neither can I, but that after-rain odour puts my imagination to work. Wondering. Creating pictures in my mind of how things might have been in days gone by. The dust of the ages so ingrained into these ancient stone slabs it comes to life in my mind, somehow, after it rains.”

I can see I’ve lost her. I redirect.

“What do you think of when you smell petrichor?”

My eight-year old thinks for a moment.

“Are you saying that petrichor can smell of whatever you want it to smell?”

“I suppose so. Of course, how it smells will depend entirely on where you are.” I don’t go into detail. She doesn’t need to know about sewers and such, yet. So I ask her a question, “When we’re at the barn what do you smell after it rains?”

The wheels turn in that pretty little head and her eyes brighten even more. I think she’s got it.

“Hay and wet dog and damp dirt and fresh mown grass and oh! … Charlie’s wet mane!!!” Cindy’s smile is as wide as this wet, ancient piazza. A recent memory of that old codger of a pony coming in soaking wet from the paddock has taught her about petrichor.

“So, when you stand here and see the beautiful lights and colours of this square and inhale Venice’s post-rain fragrance, what does it bring to mind?”

Without missing a beat she pipes, “Charlie!”

I give her a hug.

Time for gelato.

~*~

Written in response to Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday challenge:

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Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti, All Rights Reserved 2014

 

Summer’s First Kiss

SpentSummer’s first kiss

A fantasy

A fumble

A moment made humble.

Not stolen;

Theft.

~*~

“Do you remember your first kiss?” Summer asked of her mother.

“Oh, darling, that was such a long time ago.” She thought for a moment. “It certainly wasn’t with your dad.”

“That would be a no, then?” Summer was despondent.

“Yes, that would be a no. … What about you?” Her mother asked, mildly curious. “Do you remember yours?’

Summer thought for a moment. Dare she tell her mother the truth of that first moment her lips touched those of another? She’d never mentioned it before. Too much shame attached to it. Not a kiss by choice; a kiss by chance. Someone else’s chance. No romance. A moment of groping in a dark theatre by a boy who’d asked her out under false pretences; her boundaries crossed when she had no border guard. All she’d wanted to do was watch The Pink Panther. 

“No, mother, I don’t remember my first kiss.”

~*~

1477384_696513200380722_443439577_n

Sadly, not all first kisses are what we might wish.

Written in response to Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday challenge.

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

Catastrophe

Catastrophe.

This is the first word I hear as I slowly awaken from my long, deep sleep.

What catastrophe?

Then …

“She’s awake!”

… and suddenly my quiet drifting world descends into a delirium of the fussing, fretting and fearful.

“Oh my god! She’s awake … look!”

The room floods with hysteria.

“Please stop!” I scream, but no words come out. My consciousness cloaked in a thick delirium. “Please stop!!!!! My head hurts …”

This is no happy reunion. I don’t want to see any of them. I want my life back, but not like this. Not with these mindless fools who put me here in the first place.

I’m awake now, but not just in the way they see.

Breathe, Amy, breathe away this claustrophobic panic and descent into hell.

“She’s not looking very good, is she?” Mother whines with the lilt of chronic disappointment I can recall all too well. “When can she come home then? I need her for …”

A kindly voice of authority intervenes.

“She’s not going anywhere for quite a while yet, Mrs. Boxwood. Why don’t you go get yourself a cup of coffee?”

Yes, mother, go! Go far away! Leave me alone!

I close my eyes. Perhaps if I can’t see her, and the swarm of bottom feeders hovering about her, they won’t be there.

“What’s happening? Why has she closed her eyes?” Every word out of my mother’s mouth a cloaked reprimand.

Go away already!

The kind voice, once again.

“Perhaps it’s best if you go home. Amy is still tired and needs her rest.”

“But she’s been sleeping for three months! Someone needs to tell her about Boo,” says my moronic best friend, Miranda. Somehow what I did not see before is so clear to me now. She’s a gossiping, energy-sucking vampire disguised as a goody two-shoes. And what of Boo, my beautiful horse who, I realize now, I so horribly abused? All I want to do is put my arms around his graceful neck and tell him how sorry I am for everything.

Is something wrong with my horse?

I’m feeling suffocated now. Panic setting in. I’d rather die than deal with these people now.

The voice of reason to my rescue as the oblivious still don’t get it.

“Look, everyone, I think it’s best if you all leave. Amy is still very weak and too much excitement will drain her of whatever precious energy she has. Now, go home, get some rest and come back tomorrow when you’re more relaxed. Amy needs quiet.”

“But it’s a miracle she’s alive. I want to be with her! I need her!”

My needy, idiot boyfriend, Danny. It’s an act, of course. I’ve known he’s been having an affair for a long time, even before this happened. I hung in because I thought I could change him, but it was killing me inside. Thankfully, I’m not dead. But I wish he was.

Go away!

I’m rescued once again.

“No, everyone must leave now. I insist. Any news must wait. Please … you can see her again tomorrow. But call first.”

The gentle voice trails off as the small gaggle of misfits finally makes its noisy exit. No one even whispers goodbye to me. Just … oh god … the needy needing the needy arguing where they’ll go for supper.

The kind voice speaks from above.

“You can open your eyes, love, they’re gone now.”

She’s an angel in uniform. Her aura radiates a softness with which I am so unfamiliar tears spring into my eyes.

“There, there, dear. We’ll sort it out. You’ll see.” With a soft cloth the angel dabs away the salty streams running into my ears.

“Why did I have to wake up?” Words thought, but unspoken. Still, the angelic one reads my mind.

“Because it’s time you woke up, dear.” She smiles reassurance. “Time to face your truth.”

I sigh a deep, quivering sigh.

My truth.

Talk about a catastrophe.

~*~

My response to this weeks free writing challenge from Kellie Elmore.

You have a story in you. Everyone does. And I challenge you to take the first step toward telling it. The prompt this week can only come from you. That idea you once had. Or maybe it’s that idea you just had. That story that hasn’t been told that you want to hear, it needs you to bring it to life. And it all begins with one step. That first opening line on that first page of that first chapter. What does it say? That is your prompt.

1477384_696513200380722_443439577_nI actually started writing this story some years ago. This is a fresh start based on themes already imagined. I see it as a kind of prologue before the telling of the story that got Amy into the hospital in the first place. Perhaps this will launch me into a re-write of the 40,000 or so words already penned? Who knows.

Still, I have a murder mystery to finish first. 😉

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

 

The Unluckiest Moment

Some might have said it was an unlucky end to her illustrious career. A grand dame of the Bel Canto repertoire forced to exit the international stage prematurely for health reasons. But she knew, if anything, that the situation was quite the reverse. She’d enjoyed her many years in the spotlight and now it was time to help raise the next generation of singers.

Standing stage centre in the English country garden turned temporarily into a private outdoor concert venue, the diva’s porcelain features formed a sad smile in preparation to sing the first note of the last song of her last public performance.

The moment choked her a little, as she knew it would, but gathering her wits about her she turned her head in a practiced fashion to the poised accompanist and nodded for the intro of the “Vilja-Lied” from Franz Lehar’s “The Merry Widow” to begin.

For a moment the sparkling soprano closed her eyes, the vision of a clutch of ardent fans dabbing at their tear-filled adoring eyes almost more than she could bear. They’d followed her around for years ~ to radio broadcasts; symphony concerts; opera ~ and with the close of this exclusive and intimate gathering she would see them no more.

The anticipation of her final public rendering of a beautiful aria for which she’d become famous was palpable and to her, indeed, almost overwhelming. As the diva awaited her final opening note she inhaled deeply of the fragrant red roses that festooned the beautiful garden ~ in the vast flower beds, in voluminous garden urn arrangements strategically placed ~ and that matched the signature colour of her gown.

Scarlett, her fans called her. Early in her career, Scarlett the Starlet. She exhaled a sigh of resignation and caught a hint of peppermint from plants that wove their refreshing magic wild around the beds.

She took another deep breath and opened her mouth to sing.

Nothing. No sound. Her throat seemingly coated in gravel. She spluttered; tried to recoup. It was no use.

Devastated, the diva raised a hand to silence her accompanist and reached for her water glass.

Empty.

Now a feeling of desperation washed over her. The audience could see it and began to murmur.

A young man in the front row rushed the stage with a water bottle, unopened. He twisted the cap and offered it to the adored. The thirsty soprano glided toward him and gladly accepted his kindness. She placed her ruby lips around the mouth of the bottle and drank while the throng of concerned onlookers waited.

“Thank you,” she whispered.

“Keep it,” he responded, and smiled.

She smiled in return and in a moment of spontaneity offered him her hand and invited him up the few steps and onto the stage so she might sing of forbidden love to him directly.

To rousing applause the diva signalled once again for the piano intro to begin and, beaming brightly in the rays of the setting sun, serenaded the one who had turned the unluckiest moment of all into a golden moment of immortality.

~*~

1477384_696513200380722_443439577_nOpera is on my mind now as I gear up to write the final chapters of my light-hearted murder mystery set in the melodramatic world of divas and dysfunction that is opera.

Thanks to Kellie Elmore for another great Free Write Friday challenge.

Prompt:

Word Bank – Use one or all. Whatever inspires you.

Red – Mint – Gravel – Sing – Unlucky

~*~

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

A Poet Out Standing In His Field

Bear relaxesToday I have the distinct pleasure of interviewing one Shakespeare “The Equine,” a poet out standing in his field and, reportedly, a legend in his own mind.

The Daily Haymaker: Good day, Mr. Shakespeare.

Poet: Hay! And please, call me Mr. Bear.

The Daily Haymaker: Right then, Mr. Bear. Lovely of you to join us from Poet’s Paddock today. How are things in pastures green?

Poet: Well, Mr. Haymaker, we’re pretty laid back out there these days. The cruel winter is behind us, but we’re still waiting for the grass to be greener on our side of the fence. Everything is very late.

The Daily Haymaker: Are you the only poet in your paddock?

Poet: Yes, yes I am.

The Daily Haymaker: Would you please tell our readers at The Daily Haymaker

Poet: Great name, by the way …

The Daily Haymaker: Well, thank you …. Now if you could explain to our readers just when you came upon your poetic prowess.

Poet: Well, it all started with the Scribe, of course.

The Daily Haymaker: Scribe?

Poet: Yes. As you might imagine, having hooves puts me at quite a disadvantage when it comes to recording my musings.

The Daily Haymaker: Indeed!

Poet: So, naturally when I was looking for a sucker, I mean horse mom to call my own I scanned the radar for someone who could write reasonably intelligibly.

The Daily Haymaker: And you believe you found him? Her?

Poet: Her, actually. Yes, I did, though I let said Scribe and horse mom believe that she found me. It’s easier that way.

The Daily Haymaker: Of course. So, how long did it take for you to plant the idea in your horse mom’s head that you had creative notions you wanted to get off your mind?

Poet: Not long, actually. She’s a sensitive soul and I could tell she was looking for an outlet. You know these artistic types, and if they’ve been in any kind of creative drought well, as you might imagine, they’re an easy target.

The Daily Haymaker: So, how does the creative process work for both of you?

Poet: Actually, Mr. Haymaker, I stand out in my field and eat, and she shows up at the barn one day and tells me we’ve written a poem.

The Daily Haymaker: Really, it’s that simple?

Poet: Absolutely!

The Daily Haymaker: How many poems have you written together? Any chance of a recitation? A couple of lines, perhaps?

Poet: Well, we have self-published three short chapbooks so far, and we’re working on a collection of sonnets. As for a recitation ~ from my Sonnet XIV, second stanza:

While beauty lies within the eyes that see

And no two eyes shall ever see the same

Believe, I must, her eyes were meant for me,

While others’ eyes their own beauty proclaim.

For handsome though I be to all who care

It matters most to she who calls me Bear.

The Daily Haymaker: Yes, a sonnet ~ like your namesake William Shakespeare?

Poet: Who?

The Daily Haymaker: William Shakespeare? The Elizabethan poet? You must have heard of him.

Poet: Neigh. The only other Shakespeare of which I am aware is my father, Shakespeare in Love.

The Daily Haymaker: Really?

Poet: Yes. And, just as a side, his father was Sherlock Holmes.

The Daily Haymaker: Indeed! An illustrious background to be sure. Where were you born?

Poet: Well, Germany. I’m Hanoverian. Some call me the Happy Hanoverian because I’m so, well, happy. Still, I don’t suffer fools.

The Daily Haymaker: And your relationship with your father?

Poet: I’ve never met him, but the Scribe has shown me a photograph. A handsome stud, to be sure. But then …

The Daily Haymaker: Of course, I can tell as you yourself are quite debonair.

Poet: Well, thank you, thank you very much. My mother, as I recall, was quite beautiful also. I have her even temperament.

The Daily Haymaker: And what do you do for exercise ~ you know, to keep the creative juices flowing?

Poet: Well, I’m trained in classical dressage, actually. One of my present challenges is to get back into shape since the Scribe has been unwell and I’ve had to back off my training. Things are picking up again, however, and this pleases me.

The Daily Haymaker: Any chance you’ll show?

Poet: I can’t answer that. It’s up to the Scribe. I’d be happy to but then, she must be comfortable.

The Daily Haymaker: That’s awfully generous of you.

Poet: Naturlïch.

The Daily Haymaker: And now, Mr. Shakespeare, I mean Mr. Bear, where might one read your poetic renderings? Actually first of all, please explain your nickname.

Poet: Actually, it’s not a nickname, it’s a barn name. It’s something the horse moms do to make life easier for themselves. Some equines, like myself, have rather sophisticated names noted in the breed registry which are quite cumbersome to use on a daily basis. Creating a barn name makes sense. In fact, I don’t mind the name Bear. I’m told it was given to me because I’m like a big, cuddly teddy bear, whatever that is. I try to maintain my dignity by not thinking about it too much. Still, I get the sense it suits me.

The Daily Haymaker: I’m sure it does. Do you get called “Bear the Bard?”

Poet: No.

The Daily Haymaker: Now, where can one find your poetry?

Poet: I have my own website, Poet’s Paddock. It’s currently being redesigned, but I believe it’s still up for grazing.

The Daily Haymaker: Marvellous! Well, thank you so much for stopping by The Daily Haymaker today. It’s been a pleasure to speak with you.

Poet: Pleasure’s all mine. Say, do you have some spare hay for a starving artist?

~*~

1477384_696513200380722_443439577_nMy response to Free Write Friday with Kellie Elmore.

Here is the prompt:

per·son·i·fi·ca·tion
pərˌsänəfiˈkāSHən/
noun
1.
the attribution of a personal nature or human characteristics to something nonhuman, or the representation of an abstract quality in human form.
Select something nonhuman and write about it as though it were human. It is up to you whether or not you reveal what it is, but I have found it a lot of fun to leave it a mystery and allow others to guess at what you were writing about.

~*~

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

Just A Statue

“That’s a bit dark, isn’t it?” Mona screwed her mouth into a pouty knot and grimaced. “Miss Liberty looks like she’s had a few.”

“A few what?” asked Lisa.

“You know, molto vino.”

“Don’t be ridiculous! It’s a statue!”

“Whatever … she’s seen better days.”

“No doubt.”

Mona and Lisa stood together and studied the desolate rendering.

“I wonder what it means,” Mona offered a half smile only half interested.

Lisa withdrew into herself for a moment, an emptiness filling her eyes that Mona found profoundly disturbing.

“What’s up with you?” Mona asked between smacks of gum.

Lisa didn’t answer right away, trying to grasp the image’s message. Sharing how she felt was going to be a challenge. Mona was easily distracted.

“I’m trying to imagine myself empty, broken and as betrayed as that poor Miss Liberty,” Lisa explained. “I’m trying to imagine everything I represent crumbling on uncertain ground and me landing in a heap with my head smashed in.”

Mona wasn’t buying it.

“But it’s just a broken statue. It doesn’t mean anything,” she whined.

“It’s not the statue, it’s what it represents ~ liberty and freedom for all. What if we forget that freedom demands responsibility; demands it be supported by deeds and not just paid lip service.” A tear sprung to Lisa’s eye. “Imagine how you might feel if the very people who claimed to love you undermined everything you represented by their actions or, for that matter, inaction. When we forget who we truly are, when we forget what it truly means to be free and are unwilling to defend that to our deaths we are as fallen as that statue. We need to wake up. We need to wake up soon.”

Mona thought for a moment. Took another look at the image and sighed. She couldn’t see any meaning.

“You’re weird. It’s just an ugly piece of art.”

Lisa turned to face the friend she realized she hardly knew.

“Perhaps, but we’re both free … for now.”

~*~

1477384_696513200380722_443439577_nMy response to Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday challenge this week. Follow this link to find the image prompt.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

Staring Out The Window

 

2014-04-08-09-52-48

 

~*~

“Sadie!”

Young Sadie, lost in a haze of distracted thought, didn’t hear her name being called and continued to gaze absently through the classroom window toward the woods in the distance. She was looking at nothing in particular. It was an escape.

“Sadie Perkins! I’d like to see you outside. … Now!”

The double-barrelled effort to get her attention worked. Sadie snapped back to real time and turned to see a disappointed Mrs. Crowell pointing toward the door.

A chorus of “Ooh …” from Sadie’s classmates resonated about as she rose quietly from behind her desk and made the embarrassing walk across the classroom to the door.

“Quiet, all of you,” Mrs. Crowell admonished, “or you’ll be coming back after school.” She cast a concerned look in Sadie’s direction and opened the door. “After you.”

Sadie, unaccustomed to being singled out for any reason, let alone to be told off, walked timidly into the corridor. She was trembling inside. Her defences rising.

Mrs. Crowell, the school’s deputy headmistress and a kindly, well-put together but stern woman of late middle years, closed the door behind them. The hallway was empty and quiet. She stopped.

“Sadie, please look at me,” she said to the pretty brown-haired girl with the big, sad brown eyes.

Sadie could already feel tears welling up, but couldn’t understand why. All she’d done was stare out the window. With hesitation she looked into Mrs. Crowell’s steely blue eyes.

“What’s wrong, Sadie?” The usually intimidating deputy headmistress asked with a gentleness Sadie had not been expecting. “Why do you stare out the window?Why don’t you pay attention in class? I’m concerned about your progress in math, but I’m also worried about you. Is something wrong?”

The 15-year-old girl choked back her tears. Something was wrong. Something was definitely wrong, but there was no way to speak of it. She coped with her deep agony by drifting away, far away in her mind to far off thoughts she never reached. To dreams she could not identify.

“Such a good and responsible girl, is our Sadie,” people would say about her ability to cook meals, care for her siblings and housekeep all while trying to maintain an active school and social life. Long days putting others needs first.

Sadie’s thoughts wandered off the edge of the world in search of something lost. Innocence, perhaps? She did not know. She could never find it.

She was exhausted, so much so her ability to focus and discipline herself at school was next to impossible. She was as smart as any of the other kids in her top-tier class at school, but too distant, too distracted to make anything of it. Many of her marks reflected this.

She escaped the weight of her responsibilities at home by staring out of windows.

“Sadie … are you there?”

Tears poured down young Sadie’s pink cheeks.

“Yes, Miss.”

Mrs.Crowell pulled a clean tissue from her pocket and handed it over.

“Listen, whatever it is I would like to help you. Would that be okay? Would you be willing to meet with me in my office tomorrow at lunch time?”

Sadie wiped away the cheap mascara gathering in pools beneath her eyes and sniffed. It didn’t sound like an order but she didn’t feel like she could, or even wanted to, refuse. Somewhere deep inside she felt something positive stir.

“Yes, Miss.”

“Good. I’m glad. You are an intelligent girl and deserve to do better in school. Let’s see what we can sort out for you. In the meantime, do you think you could try to focus a little more during my lessons?”

As math was Sadie’s weakest subject she wasn’t sure what she could promise.

“I’ll try.”

Mrs. Crowell smiled and patted Sadie on the arm.

“Okay, then. Let’s go back inside and start things fresh.”

Sadie wiped away her tears and took a deep breath. How unfamiliar it was to feel this pat on the back. Could she trust it? Dare she?

Mrs. Crowell opened the door and ushered Sadie back to her seat. But for the scratching of pencils on paper, while students worked out their sums, all was quiet.

The next day, Sadie went to Mrs. Crowell’s office, and they talked. There was the promise of more lunch hour meetings and for once in her life Sadie began to feel something resembling hope. The teacher who had once intimidated her was becoming something new; something she’d never experienced ~ someone who genuinely cared about her needs and wanted to help her grow. A mentor.

Two months later the kindly teacher was claimed by cancer.

Sadie returned to staring out the window.

~*~

1477384_696513200380722_443439577_nMy response to this week’s Free Write Friday challenge from Kellie Elmore. Ends on a bit of a downer but who knows where the free write will take us.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

 

 

Go Away!

 

 

to-love

 

~*~

“What the hell does that even mean?” Cynthia glares at me with raccoon eyes and wails. “What do you know of my pain? My suffering? You who have everything. You think my life can be fixed with empty platitudes? Go away!”

She slumps her fashionable thirty-something frame into the sofa and sobs like thunder.

Sobs I remember.

I know her pain. She only assumes that because I am older and seem to have my life together that I have never walked through the valley of shadows. But, she doesn’t know me. She only sees the illusion of me.

I recognize Cynthia as the woman I was 20 years ago ~ broken, confused, stuck, desperate, angry, frustrated, bitter ~ all hidden behind a finely applied mask of pretty lies that fit so tightly it almost suffocated the life right out of me.

With the ignorance of those who know only their own pain she doesn’t realize that the rutted and pot holed path I’ve walked is not so far from her own. A path bordered with noxious weeds and pretty plants that poison, overshadowing the cheerful flowers clinging to the healing rays of the sun.

She doesn’t realize that I know what it’s like to be in the choking embrace of another’s misery; to watch the petals fall from a once blossoming life; to have my fondest dreams lopped at the first branch or, most often, not even have a chance to take root.

She doesn’t know because she never looks beyond her own suffering.

Yes, I know her pain, and as I watch her sobbing there I feel it all over again ~ the heart-burning, gut-wrenching, headache-inducing dismay of disappointment and sadness rolled into one ugly ball of torpid feeling. A numbness that acts out like this. Cold. Hard. Stinging. Selfish.

As I witness her anguish, however, my awareness reminds me of triumph over adversity. It reminds me of how I am able, now, to look life in the eye and tell it “I love you” just because it is … and just because I am.

Cynthia cannot see this yet, and perhaps she never will. Perhaps she will wallow in her divorce, or lament her poor choices or berate her appearance and spout profanities to her dimming light until the end of her days. I cannot know for sure.

Still, what I do know is this ~ not I or anyone else can hold her hand and lead her down a path to healing until she is ready; until she opens her eyes and chooses to move beyond her pain.

I don’t know what that will take for her. Everyone’s wake-up call is different.

In the meantime, all I can do is listen and love her, my daughter, and pray she will be alright. That one day she will learn to love her life for the precious gift it is.

And that is all.

And as she bids, I go away.

~*~

My response to the Free Write Friday challenge from Kellie Elmore.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

As Good As Dead

 

This week’s Free Write Friday prompt from Kellie Elmore …

You find yourself in the lower level of an old ship. A calendar on the wall says 1682. There is a small window, and the view is nothing but open sea and a setting sun. There is a staircase and you can see daylight at the top…

 

Seems to me I’ve been lodged down here a long time.

I don’t care to look through windows. The sea means nothing to me.

And the setting sun? I’ve endured two summers below deck. I labour where it is always dark. When have I seen the sun set? What is a setting sun?

The light at the top of the stairs blinds, so I don’t look up. I am not permitted up the stairs anyway, so why bother torturing myself?

And the calendar? My lot don’t read.

I am used to the dark places now; used to dwelling in the shadows. Used to the filth. Used to scavenging. So, I don’t want to be seen. I don’t want the people upstairs to find me. I just want to be left alone among my kind. And, frankly, those others don’t bother me as long as I stay out of sight.

On the off chance the other lot see me by mistake I will make a desperate attempt at escape. If cornered I will fight back but am, as likely, as good as dead.

For some reason the people upstairs just don’t like rats.

~*~

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

 

When The Student is Ready …

This week’s Free Write Friday prompt from Kellie Elmore

I didn’t understand it then, but I understand it now …

“I didn’t understand because I couldn’t understand, I wasn’t ready, Joe.” So said Magnolia as she gazed absently out the window trying to explain her life to me.

“For a time in our lives are eyes are not open wide enough to see what really matters. Our vision is narrowed by the prejudices and the illusions with which others, chiefly our family because they are the ones who first influence us, endow us. We learn to see the world their way, and for most of us the view is disconnected. They have a need to be validated through our eyes” She pauses. ” Still, if their ways are harmful, should we then perpetuate their dysfunctional view just to seek their approval?”

It’s a good question, purely rhetorical, but I answer anyway.

“What’s this got to do with me?” I respond, my ignorance laid bare. She doesn’t miss a beat.

“You are in danger of remaining a slave to the beliefs of those who have come before; of those who have patterned your life,” she says, convinced of her truth. “You are angry all the time, as displayed by your need to curse at the slightest provocation. You criticize where none is warranted. You are defensive to the point of being hostile. You hurt the people who matter most, including yourself, but don’t see it. You do not see it because you are not ready to understand there is another way.”

I suppose I could get defensive as I stand here in Magnolia’s glow. But I can’t, because that’s just it. She is glowing. She is so serene I feel something I don’t know I’ve ever felt before … a sense of peace.

Could she be right?

Could it be that my hostile way of dealing with life is due to an inability to see my Self beyond the programming of my forebears?

“It can be undone … to a degree,” she says, as if reading my mind. “But you must be willing to become self-aware; to explore the rooms of your soul that are darkest and frighten you the most. You must shed light in them, rummage through the crowded closets of negative thought and empty them of everything that clouds your ability to see your own truth. Everything that makes you unhappy.”

Pocket of Sunshine

“But how will I know what I am looking for?” I ask, somewhat bewildered.

“You will know it when you feel it.” She says, again with a confidence that creates a longing in me for my own. “It’s really quite simple when you consider the thoughts, ideas, experiences, people, places and anything else that makes you unhappy, miserable, sad, angry, devalued, diminished, distraught and all other manner of negative emotion. These are the things that need to be explored; that need to be made peace with so you can release them and make room for something new and more life affirming.”

“Like what?” I ask.

She turns to me and smiles.

“Make peace with yourself and you make peace with the world. You promote peace around you, Joe. Everything that makes you truly happy; that brings you such joy you can’t wait to share it with everyone; that causes your heart to heal and overflow with love. When you no longer feel the desire to express yourself through expletives or defend yourself all the time; when there is no need for attention at any price. The price of your dignity; your self-worth; your Self.”

She ponders for a moment.

“Where there is hatred, Joe, there can never be peace. If it is not peace you feel inside, what is it? You must decide your fate ~ to deteriorate in the face of hatred or grow in the heart of peace.”

Perhaps it’s just where I am in my life right now but for some reason this is making sense. I am middle-aged and exhausted in the wake of my reactionary existence.

I see how my life has been misguided, and possibly sabotaged, by the belief systems of people who knew no better than to influence me with their own dysfunction.

I’m beginning to see that what there is, what I have experienced, is not all.

I did not understand this before, but I understand it now.

And when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

~*~

Hmmmm … interesting where the free writing process will take us.

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

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