Too Late?

Things that are planned are usually birthed in the Spring.  I’ve noticed that extremely well organized people have babies always born in Spring.  Well laid plans have never been my strong suit.   Is it my Winter birth that forever follows me?     Winter is the death of Spring perhaps?        Maybe the death of something is truly the birth of another.  Still it’s Spring, I know because I barely leave the couch in Winter and today there is a bounce, a purposeful vigor about my every step, as if I am showing up to my first day on the job.      Today without knowing it, for better or worse the resurgence of a story  has been birthed, one that has been writing itself in my sub conscious,  finally to be resolved.        I can see budding crocus outside my door, just the green tips poking through the recently thawed earth.   The color of them a happy reminder of how powerfully perfect nature is.   I love the crocus, and planting them, putting this blonde chestnut of hope deep into the ground, once you’ve forgotten them they appear again.   I have forgotten what color I chose at the Nursery then my joy blooms double fold -they weren’t just limited to purple alone.  The petals shine with white stripes, delicately painted upwards, undecided, against the rules, I like that.       If I had time to check my calendar I’d see it was the last day in April.

On this day it wasn’t merely dirt the eager buds busted through; because so much happened to make the world so much bigger that day.  So much beckoned to slow me down and tell me “take notice.”     The very ground should’ve been worthy of new admiration, that place that started from many layers and earned the importance of being rich like earth not just soil that merely drops from one’s shoes.   I was even cleaning up my appearance that day which deserves fanfare; stripping off the old shirt that smelled like me, too much of me, all stretched into a bigger pattern of my body, my own form- the shirt with it’s creases, stretched and mis-shapen was not enough protection and comfort for later events, it hung loosely about me, like my soul that day.      I was racing, shoveling  spoonfuls of frosted Mini Wheats, thankfully the last they’d been opened the packaged was tightly sealed, I smiled at that, baby steps I thought….the rice milk dripping down my chin.   I was the classic under planner where time was concerned I always thought I had plenty.

On this day the birds chirped that much louder.   Noise, I was always sensitive to.  The sun wanted to shine, the air felt of desperation or so I thought, but the chirping was squawking and fighting, even the birds were quarreling , probably about why the sun couldn’t just shine today, just this once. April Showers……

And As I nervously twirled my hair and scooted across the street, flinging water spatters up the back of my jeans, I tried to avoid the eyes of the homeless men and women that dressed as men, dirty with their pretend gaze of hope, rattling a paper cup below their toothless smiles….I looked to the ground-  not today I thought.   Seconds later life teetered above me and the crushed metal and the sound of screeching rubber was all consuming,  young handsome faces,  were there three of them or were my eyes working properly?  They must be working I feel their input, stares,  mouthing words, “are you okay?” ” Can you hear me?” but the honesty and horror direct from there eyes deep into mine told the real story.

It was still up to me to stop hurrying.   I never did.    The ambulance slid around the corner sideways,  as if the frost had glazed the pavement like a doughnut just about to be dipped in coffee, it all changed.  The paper said speed was a factor-not ice.   She was so eager to get to the 6th floor,  to ride the old rickety elevator with the screen that pulled across and the carved metal and the clanking sounds that made you question whether to take the stairs today or risk not knowing.     When it hit her, silence, the world shut down, every one stopped dead, like a trendy moment on you tube; frozen mannequins.  The paramedics stepped out with stretchers and the beggars surrounded us too.   What spilled forth from her blood on the street made them gasp  and step back a moment.    There she lay amidst the pavement, the smell of urine no longer a concern,  her black velvet shoes pointed  at the shopping carts filled with sleeping bags and remnants of attempts at life.  They had  front row seat to even more sadness,  real sadness, hope never realized, a life once cradled in gentle caring hands, the  ring leader of drunken  vagrants pressed through the crowds that had assembled and peeled off his dirty overcoat, folding it to cushion her head from the hard wet pavement,  as if she were a tender thing.      When she bled onto the street words fell from her blood, leaked out of her, all over the pavement like the street were a blank TV screen with an early morning children’s program spilling the ABC’s.     Words released themselves looking to be caught like silvery jumping fish avoiding a net.    Visibly the words spilled as if straight from her veins, airplane, sandwich, heartbreak, guns,  Morocco, Retriever, author, philanthropist; dreams dashed when it appeared from the look of her skin and the sheen of her blonde hair there was so much time still?        Why an ambulance, why, why?!    That was mere frosting on a bitter, bitter cake, why was she rushing to her therapists that day and not to her publisher?

Peabody’s Rescue

She stood alone at the edge of the cliff overlooking the drop off that had recently formed after heavy rains.  Her tears washed over her face until her whole body was sobbing.   She willed the world to swallow her into it.  It didn’t matter if she were here, of this earth,  one more day, she was invisible at this moment anyway, he didn’t want her any more and she didn’t know if she even wanted herself.    Clearly she had to decide if what he saw in her was perhaps more than she saw in her own self?    IF she were so selfish as to hurl herself into the unknown feeling, and sucessfully disconnect from the physical world-ripped from the people that gave her the gift of heartache, would that day that they trickled holy water over her head….would that moment prevail?   Like a grand shield, negating her decision, simply by having waved a hand, and calling her life “symbolic” Frankincense and Myrhh inciting her first sneeze.. ..” God”  seeping into her infant pores through her angelic white satin dress, would that be the clincher?   Is that what does it-a hand reaches out through the air, just before her heart is pierced by some metal debris jutting out.  Would this crevice instead cradle her in a hug as luck would have  it?  She’d felt other-worldly embraces before-that summer as a child, she swam in two confused angry torrents of undertow pulling her under…..”Deception Pass,” A red flag?  Eegads… this is true…. She would undoubtedly only puncture herself on the creamy skin of her face, her FACE….her best feature, and forever have to explain this awful puncture scar long after the bloody scabs had dropped away and the tears had dried and the twigs were removed from her hair-only her heart remaining forever bruised.   That is the story that could live inside her in shame?   How does one carry that secret with them? …..how would she tell that story- as luck would have it, she would indeed stay undiscovered for just enough time to realize she DID want to live and then some senior citizen dressed as if she were still middle aged in her designer matching sweat suit and pants in some unfathomable color like, turquoise, would come along with her perfectly manicured hands, matching her outfit, and her cloud of white toy poodle, whom she was just sharing the exquisite view with…she would be the one to find her!    That is how life works.   And  in her surprise she would have to befriend this woman who had  ”saved her”   whose surprise didn’t show on her face due to the success of her  many Botox sessions-robbing her of any expression.   She’d peer out over the oblivious eagles and grand rolling hills in the distance and happen upon my body, twisted in a heap of despair on that cliff side,  leaning over she’d say to me in that perfect Betty White sugary tone ” oh honey, why do you let boys DO that to you?

Cliff's Edge

Grandpa, Happy Birthday, Dance On……

Somehow the smell of cheap cologne saturating the white velvet seats of his Dodge Colt, paired with his company, made me feel like royalty.  The pungent smell of cigarettes weaving through the air with sounds of the Andrew’s sisters and Tommy Dorsey, sealed his memory in my senses forever. He’d hold my hand, and I looked up to him with eyes like Shirley Temple, his shiny shoes fit for a musical tap dance scene.  It never even mattered where we were going, everyone we bumped into was a friend, they knew him, and if they didn’t, they wanted to.

As good dancers do, he had a bounce in his step, both in and out of the ring, ready to squeeze the sporting fun out of this life, “this is it, this is no drill” he would say.  His idols were fighters whose lives he mimicked in subtle ways.  He was Italian to the core. He was accustomed to late nights and a tough rounds of poker.  His bluff was dead-on and cards kept his recall razor sharp.  He spent countless hours reviewing the great fights of his “brothers” Rocky Marciano and Sugar Ray Robinson.  Boxing for me, still joyously fills the insides like a walk through a fine museum capturing the spirit of endurance in a perfect square.  He balanced his fights with his dancing, he always wore a suit jacket, the brighter the better; that framed his Maffioso demeanor so playfully.   

     On the dance floor he was as intricate and as well oiled as an antique clock.  Quick on his toes, refreshed by cranberry juice, never booze.  He was a natural lead that made the novice envious.   Lucky for me, he lived next door-my entire life.  My regular afterschool routine was to sit with him and watch the fights while he drifted off…… he would extinguish his cigarette that sat burning in the silver metal ashtray. I would push and swirl and push and swirl and marvel at its tidy ingenuity the way it’d hide the charred tobacco away so secretly.  Shortly after he smoked, he would pull his black satiny eye mask in place. I took the opportunity to rifle through his drawer as he slept and steal the chocolates he hid under his Marlboros.  He made aging look pleasant, and I was unafraid of life after knowing him.  I endeavor to live my life smiling; living it in a way to diffuse all stereo types of aging, the way he did for me.