Okidata

I stood limply, my hand resting against the cabinet that housed our servers and router along with other cables and cords all mixed and matched to make a roadwork of electric veins running along the floor.

An ink cartridge shuttled across the green bar paper, leaving behind a trail of numbers, customer names, and totals. The tape running from one side of the printer to the other shifted rhythmically as the shuttle pulled along the black stream of ink.

It was soothing to stand there, my body still except for the faint movement involved with breathing. I was lucky that was an involuntary body function or I may have completely forgotten to breathe. In the room next to me I could hear his voice as he explained to her the details.

The service would be held after the weekend. His son was planning the details. So far the family knew as did most of the county due to the paper printing the whole fucking mess.

I closed my eyes and listened to the scuttle of the printer as it spit out the report for that morning’s receivings. Such a small detail in the much larger scheme of life; a few pages with black ink organized into rows of information to be read, recorded and filed away, never to be thought of again.

The side of the conversation I could hear had turned into monosyllabic sounds in response to the person on the other end. It made sense, there wasn’t really a lot to talk about when suicide is involved. Just the details of the where, when, how and with what can be really discussed. After that the conversation becomes a silence so deep your bones echo it back through your body as you wonder to yourself the last question: why?

But instead of asking out loud, you keep that one to yourself. You do it a little out of respect for the dead and more so for those still left behind to pick up the shattered pieces of a broken life. But you ponder this question in the silence that follows the news that someone you knew, maybe someone you loved, took their own life.

Why did they do it? Was their life so bad that they saw death as the only way out? Why would they do this to their family and children? Why did it have to end this way?

Why?

The Okidata printer stopped and the report flopped over the edge into the basket below, pooling into a folded stack of figures and data. I bent over to pick it up and slowly pursued the front page but could see only a blur of black in between green and white lines with perforated edges framing it.

None of it made sense. The numbers, the collected data, the reasons, the grief. It all swirled together into a cloudy mess of anger and worry and sorrow.

Why? Why would there always be one question left unanswered?

Why did it have to end this way?

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Nightfall

Let the Nightfall come and
the shades drop slowly.
Bring in the soothing sounds
of the velvety skies
and the welcomed comfort
of rest.

Let the windows press open,
the scent of orange blossoms and jasmine outside
drifting in on dancing curls of
warm Summer night air,
swirling and slipping away.

Let your eyes droop and fall closed, Little Boy,
tuckered and tired from a day of
running and grass stains and
swimming till your lungs feel like they could
burst with excitement and joy,
so full of life.

Close your eyes,
steady your breathing.
Dream of ice cream and sand castles,
waves of salty sea water and
unending laughter.

Let the summer air envelope you in slumber, Little Boy,
so sweet and so soothing,
you rest in peace and calm till
Nightfall fades with the waking
of the Morning Sunrise.

Till then, Little Boy…
sleep
and dream of the many days ahead.

 

Home

When I was young, I spent a horrid week or two at a summer camp. I don’t remember much, just a general feeling of displacement and despair. Not your usual fond memories of swimming with friends and making bracelets out of plastic lanyard you bought at the little store with your summer money.

I was about 9 years old and I was looking forward to spending some time away with girls of all ages in a lush forest setting. But an unfortunate event occurred as I was getting up to leave for my time away. As my family roused to get me to the bus stop in time for my journey to begin, my mom had a tumble down our stairs. She was hurt pretty badly and needed the attention of a doctor.

My mom and I have always been close and seeing her lying at the bottom of our stairs, her ankle tucked in between the bars of our staircase and her face bruised and motionless, I was panicked at the thought of leaving her. In my 9 year old state of mind, my mom was injured and close to death and leaving her was the last thing I wanted to do.

But camp was paid for and the plans were laid out so off I went and spent a miserable 14 days away from my family with only letters to comfort me. I wanted to call, I wanted to hear her voice and know she was ok. My dad wrote to me, drawing little pictures of ants and writing of happy things to keep me comforted. But a picture from my younger sister alarmed me. She took the time and care to draw a picture of my mom, fully dressed in a neck brace bigger than life.

It was when I got home that the battle really began. My time away somehow severed in me the ability to feel at home during times of emotional stress.

I can’t explain it well. It’s almost like I’m in familiar surrounding and yet not at all comfortable there. As if my body becomes numb and unable to feel at peace in any place.

For weeks after I returned from camp, I would wake in the middle of the night, panicked and feeling out of place, lost. Getting up in the dark, I would tip-toe to the hallway and would sit in the middle of the open space, looking, searching for something to help me know I was safe. To ground me and help me feel at peace.

I remember nights crying softly, unable to speak to my parents and explain these unnerving feelings welling up inside my stomach. About this time, I could sense a discord within my home, between my parents while at school I was forced to endure bullying from my teacher on a daily basis.

As an adult, if I have any issues, I completely point to this time in my life as the place it all began.

I never did get over those feelings of being lost, of having no place and of feeling unsafe. I’d rock myself on the warm carpet in the hallway, the moonlight streaming in through the window in my room, waiting for exhaustion to sweep me away.

That was over 20 years ago and last night, all those feelings bubbled up and I fell apart. I cried huge waves of tears and my thinking was scattered and erratic.

I felt out of place in time and numb from head to toe. It was as if I had a clear view of everything and then suddenly, the lights were turned off and I was left to bump along, unable to catch my bearings and find my footing.

I stumbled through the night, aching for peace and starving for comfort.

I wanted to go home. But…where was that?

They say home is where the heart is but my heart was so broken last night I couldn’t seem let go and find peace. That where I was, in the arms of my sweetheart and close to my little man, was a perfect place to be. It was where my heart needed to be.

In the end I fell into an exhausted sleep and fitfully made it through the night, bad dreams and all. Upon waking up, my eyes swollen and my nose stuffy, I felt drained and without aim.

I was 9 all over again.

How do I heal these wounds? It’s evident to me that I’m in my 30’s now and I’m still dealing with some form of separation anxiety from my past experiences that were never healed. Maybe even a sense of abandonment from being sent off to camp without the means of speaking with my family after a terrifying event.

My 9 year old self is hurting and I don’t know how to make it all better. I’m a mother myself and I don’t know how to make the hurt go away. How to make the monsters under the bed disappear.

I’m certain that I need to be taken care of right now and comforted. I need to be held and rocked and told it will be alright. And, most importantly, I need to allow myself to be reassured. To be loved and cared for. And to believe that everything will be alright.

That I will finally feel at home.

Afternoons Make Me Cranky

There…

The title says it all.

And I can’t even answer why this is true.

Maybe it’s because the coffee from the morning has worn off or because I forced myself to eat a healthy lunch of broccoli and chicken when I really wanted a Double Double with onions and a vanilla shake.

Maybe it’s because the afternoon is the end of the workday and all I have to do is make it through 4 hours more of tedious busy work till I can get my butt out of the office and go home.

Maybe it’s because I flew through all my work too fast and now I’m stuck working through thousands of pages of credit applications dating all the way back to the late 1970’s. That would make anyone cranky.

No way around it. The afternoons make me cranky and while I’d like to up and shuffle off this weighty cloak of boredom, what must be done must be done.

Sigh…

Improved But Not New

Ever wake up one morning and realize nothing has changed magically over night? That you are the same person in the morning as you were when you went to sleep?

Yeah, I bet anyone can because that’s pretty much what happens every time you lay your head against the cool side of the pillow and drift off. You wake up the same as you were the night before and the night before that.

I had this feeling a lot lately. I’d been waking up with the same issues and worries each morning that I fall asleep thinking about just the night before. My dreams were plagued with nightmares and scenarios played out as my subconscious works through what ever was bothering me.

And somewhere inside my heart, somewhere the little girl in me imagined that if I could just squeeze my eyes shut as tight as I could, I would magically wake up the next morning to find I’m a completely different person. That all my worries and troubles would be gone and I’d be a whole new woman with nothing to fret over.

But it didn’t happen. And no amount of eye -squenching as I drifted off to sleep fixed this problem. I would go to bed with worries circling my mind and wake up dragging, tired, and fighting to stay awake as the same issues bombarded me throughout the day.

Until recently.

Recently I’ve been spending more time with The Guy. Staying at his place whether he’s home or in class and doing some rather domestic things like organizing the bills and picking up around the place, cooking dinner and folding the clothes. Our laundry has effortlessly combined into one communal pile of dirty socks and underwear. My son’s books now rest in a wicker basket along side a handful of game system remotes. Our shoes line up together in a solid row of blacks and whites and blues.

IMG_0198-1

Somehow, over time, we’ve melded into a family unit without much thought or conscious planning. It just kinda…happened. And in doing so and staying there regularly, I find myself falling asleep peacefully on what’s now my side of the bed while he builds his pillow fortress around him on his side of the bed. Upon sleeping, I rarely dream and I wake up without a worry in the morning.

It doesn’t last long as the day kicks into full gear with lunch making and bartering with my son about getting dressed and what he’ll eat for breakfast. But still, I’m waking up feeling a general improvement over my thoughts and my heart each morning.

That’s when I realize what I’ve done. I’m metamorphosized.

The anguish and frustration, the clawing and the caterwauling as I painfully made my way from the young lady to a full fledged woman has paid off. I’ve survived, I’ve made it through some of the toughest moments I’ve ever faced and found myself able to stand through it all.

Not just standing. I’m up and stronger than I ever imagined I could be. I’m proud of who I’ve become.

And, in all that turmoil, I’ve found someone who loves me just as I am. He loves me when I’m on my feet, strong and certain. He even loves me when I’m huddled against the driving rain and winds, when times get tough.

To have found such an honest connection, a true bond of faith, trust and common hopes is something I never understood or considered having. Maybe something I never thought I deserved or even wanted. Instead something I feared because I didn’t think I was capable of blending with someone else without losing a large part of myself.

Whatever I thought an adult partnership to be or whatever I had before this with another person, it was never as big or as wonderful as what I have now. It wasn’t as demanding or yet so satisfying. It never had these depths of compassion or understanding and never the heights of laughter and devotion. It was never roomy enough for growth and the inevitable change that comes over time.

I was so afraid before this, thinking I could never be strong enough, I could never amount to much more than I was before. Little did I know all that growing and all those painful learning experiences would lead to this: a love full of passion, understanding, and acceptance.

I’m not done growing yet. I still have much to learn and experience. But I’m not alone, and that’s ok with me.

For the first time in my life, I willingly give up my lonely and independent lifestyle for something a little more accommodating. Something a little more interdependent.

A loving us and an improved me.

Floating

Sigh…

I have no direction right now. And I hate it.

I seem to have strayed or lost sight of the path I was on and for the time being I’m in this weird gray limbo, caught between my reality and my possible futures.

I feel like a balloon that was once tethered securely and lovingly when SNIP! My string was cut and now I’m afloat through the clouds and sky without direction and guided only by the wind and its whims.

This feeling sucks. At least that’s how I feel about it. While some might focus on the lack of necessity and the ability to choose in the moment what I need or what I want to do and the freedom that comes from both, my stomach is a churning cauldron of nerves and anxiety, bubbling up as I turn over and stir the possibilities and what ifs.

I want to know where I’m going and when I’m supposed to get there. Having this information gives me what I need to know to prepare and what I need to do right now. Alas, this is not in the forecast. I’m afforded no more than a slight breeze as I float aimlessly. I’m without proper information and it seems I’ll be this way for some time.

And thinking back on my personality as a school girl, I was that child that hated opened ended projects in school. I liked a timeline, a due date, a structure to it all. I wanted to know how much time I had to waste and what was expected of me to pass. That child in me is confused, now. I’m lost and wandering capriciously, worried I’m wasting too much time before the big project is due and I’ll be unprepared when I’m finally told what I need to have completed and when it’s all expected to be turned in.

I also hate to rush. Especially the big things. And right now, as my nerves unravel and my bored mind wanders, I feel as if I’m walking through a minefield, waiting for the POP! of a ticking bomb and the unexpected explosion that will send me reeling, unprepared and confused, running in any direction for safety.

I just want some direction. A little guidance. Maybe even a tidbit of knowledge about my maybe futures.

I can’t float here forever. At least I hope not…