Cracked Green Paint

We locked hands in silence. The darkness hid our fear. At least, I thought it did.

Walking quickly, we passed through what appeared to be a hipster street party. Smoke butts, thick rimmed glasses, no invite.

There it was. The tall wooden door frame carried many secrets. I could tell just by looking at it. Curled iron. Cracked green paint. Carved initials.

Looking up, her blue eyes gave me strength. Yes. She was taller. Still is. I miss her strength.

Some days I see it, faintly. If only she could see what I saw.
If only she knew her own strength.

If only we could go back to the tall doorway and hide ourselves in the exposed corners.

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Scheduled Laundry in a Valley of Tumbleweeds

People are fascinating creatures.

Having recently started a new job, I have to say that I’m quite baffled at the level of contact that I’m receiving from my “friends.” I understand that life gets busy. I hear you. I’m busy. I’m tired. I have to schedule time with myself to do laundry.

Less than a month ago, I used to come home to at least two messages from solid “good” friends each day. Now, I hear crickets. I hear silence and I hear wind.

I suppose there are just those that make an effort, and those that don’t. If I was always the one to make an effort, and I’m hearing nothing now, what does that say about the people whom I saw as my friends?

What was it? Did you even like me at all? Or was it you? Were you the one who allowed us to get here? To this place of uncertainty and tumble weeds.

I can almost hear the sound of your spurs as you walk away from me, head downcast.

All I can say is that I miss you. And my fingers smell like tacos.

Coat tails and Shoe laces

Hair flung wildly across his brow, he stood there with a defeated stance, leathery hand on hip. The air smelled like nutmeg and pine trees. He was lost.

It had been three days since he had seen Jo. Three long and tiring days, full of oatmeal and muskets.

Unannounced to the man with the leathery hands, was a pair of weary looking men.

Though weary, they had fight. Like the crack of a whip, they flew into action, with as much courage as a bowling ball.

Hands in the dirt, they gracefully scrambled forwards like clever spiders, leveraging their body weight together to knock Jo’s father on his face. It was a whirlwind of coat tails and shoe laces, all three men clawing at the patchy fog which surrounded them.

If only he could get to Josephine, if only he could get her to safety, then these men could take him. But not till then.

Mustering as much strength as he could out of his old copper bones, he kicked, lashed out, flailed, bit, and growled. Turning heads, the highway men exchanged eyes of fear flecked with weariness.

The last thing any of them heard was the creak of the wagon wheel as it sped towards them on the forest path.

Rest and a Red Headed Girl

It was Tuesday, and rain had just started to dampen the ground.

We sat at a table for two, underneath a strange modern-styled light fixture. I said it looked like a creepy white underwater creature. She said it was more of the human body, inside out.

I knew that we both had stories to tell. I didn’t know that hers would out-do mine, not that it was a competition. I didn’t know that her stories would further define the crease between my eyebrows that I hate. I didn’t know that she had ever carried so much on her small frame.

I cringe, even now, when I think of how I underestimated her. I’m only human, I know, but making a mistake like this one-not seeing her for who she is-tore at the fibers of my heart.

Upon first meeting her, I could see that she was fiery  That she was strong and capable and deeply caring. During our coffee date under the unusual and downright ugly light fixture, I saw so much more.

She was born in Prague, to parents from different social classes. Her mother born into the world of the bourgeoisie, her father born on a park bench.

Her parents were blacklisted in the Czech Republic. Ostracized. Ousted. Rejected. They were made to feel as though the country that gave them life, was not their own.

Eyes wide, my mind was spinning. She spoke of an unplanned pregnancy, of herself being conceived, and I was still stuck on the word “blacklisted.” Being blacklisted, they had little money. Living in a room the size of a large kitchen, they knew poverty and pain.

They moved to China, where she went to an international school run by East Indians, and where she herself developed an East Indian accent for a time. They moved to Syria, where she adopted an understanding that it was normal to have military weaponry pointed in her face. They moved to Libya, where a man exposed himself to her through the car window while she and her mother waited at a stop light.

She hated Libya the most.

They moved back to Prague, where she completed high school. She was accepted into law school, but chose unyielding passion over unfavorable practicality. She chose to come to Vancouver and to attend the University of British Columbia for film making and international studies.

What hurts the most, she said, is when people underestimate her and judge her based on her age and on her cheerful exterior. “Age does not account for experience,” I thought.

Well, my darling red headed girl – You, are a gem. You shine brightly, though the hardship you’ve been through. You love deeply, care often, laugh easily, and help daily. Knowing you has brought me joy and filled me with gratitude. You are a beautiful blessing.

And your story is beautiful. It gave me rest.