Fairies : Wild Roses

Mystica was concerned for the little fairy she’d named Rose. Rose was only four years old. And she would just wander off into the forest every now and then. Several days a week. And she’d be gone for several hours. Mystica knew the forest could be a dangerous place. There were wild animals all through it. Including wolves. But always, Rose came back. And always, Rose was safe, and sound. Completely unharmed. And never afraid.

Mystica knew that Rose was gifted with wild magic. But she didn’t know what kind. All she knew was that she’d found Rose in the foothills of the mountains. Where she’d been abandoned by the people of the village that she lived in. Why she’d been abandoned was something Mystica had never learned. She only knew that Rose and her wild magic had never hurt anyone. So she couldn’t understand why the people of her village had considered her a threat. Why they had abandoned her.

She spoke with Merlin, and Whisper one day. And asked them if they could play with Sunshine, Dream, and Musica, while she checked on little Rose. Whisper and Merlin had agreed. Merlin had even used his black magic to call the dragon Scream, and request that Scream come help with the little fairy girls. He could play games with them, and let them hide under his wings.

So it was agreed that on the next day Rose wandered away into the trees, Mystica used her magic to fly across the lake to her home on the lakes western edge. She sat on a branch of a tree that hung over the lake. So close to the water that while she sat on the branch, she could run her toes through the water of the lake. Leaving little trails on its surface.

As she sat down on the branch, Mystica looked at the surface of the lake, and she spoke so softly, in a calm and quiet voice, “Show me the little fairy Rose.” Then she waited, and watched, as on the surface of the lake, there appeared an image of the little fairy Rose. She was walking through the forest. As if she knew exactly where she was going. And every now and then, Rose would use her young wings to help on her journey. Mystica was very much surprised to see Rose already starting to fly. She’d never know a 4 year old fairy that could do that. Fairies almost never really took to the sky until they were 7 or maybe 8. And they always had a hard time learning to land.

But there was Rose. Flying at age 4. Imagine that. Mystica smiled as she watched her little Rose make her way through the forest. Using her wings to get past all the obstacles she came across. That’s when the white magic showed her a wolf pack that was just ahead of Rose. Mystica’s heart beat faster at the thought of the fairy Rose being attacked by a pack of wolves. She quickly got to her feet, and prepared to use her magic to help her get to Rose’s side. So she could protect her from the wolves.

Imagine her surprise when Rose walked right into the middle of the wolves. Scratching each of them behind their ears as she laughed, and smiled at them. The wolves gathered around her, in a little circle. And Rose closed her eyes, and held her two hands out, in front of her. As if she were making a cup with them, so that she could hold something up. Mystica stopped, and watched the images as they played out on the lake. She watched as a beautiful rose bloom took shape in the palms of Rose’s hands. It was a pure white rose. One of the most stunning rose blooms that Mystica had ever seen.

Rose took that rose, held in her hands, and walked up to one of the wolves. Somehow, Mystica knew that the wolf was the Alpha Wolf of the pack. Rose smiled at the wolf, and then placed the rose on the top of the wolf’s head. Right between his ears.

The wolf licked Rose’s face with pure affection. And rubbed his nose against her cheek. Rose giggled. And the wolves then resumed their walk through the forest. Rose blew a kiss at them, and then she wished them well on their journey that day.

Mystica stood there. On the branch of the tree. Staring at the images the white magic displayed to her on the surface of the lake. She’d just seen the first glimpse of the wild magic that Rose had been blessed with. She knew that. But she didn’t know yet what that magic was. Or what Rose was capable of. So, she stood there, and watched the images upon the lake, wondering what things she would see next.

Rose had continued her journey into the forest. For a little more. That’s when she came into a clearing. A clearing filled with wild roses. Hundreds of them. Maybe even thousands. It was as if life itself had turned a plain field of grasses and weeds, and a bit of dirt, into a painting of a thousand different colors and shades of velvet rose blossoms. She watched as Rose entered the clearing, and the ocean of roses simply parted, and let her walk among them. Not a single thorn scratched Rose at all. And Rose. She walked slowly through the roses, speaking to them as if they were her friends. “How are you today, dear friend? Is there something I can do for you? No. You don’t have to do anything for me. I’m happy just to see the colors and the beauty of your blooms.”

Rose walked into that rose garden, there in that little clearing in the forest. And in the middle of that place, Rose stopped. In front of her was a boulder. A big one at that. Mystica watched as Rose ran her hands over the surface of that boulder. Using her wings to hover so that she could reach the top of the boulder. That she could fly had been a big enough surprise. But that Rose could hover, and control her flight so very well. Oh, my. Mystica found she had no words for that.

That was when she realized that Rose was tracing out a shape in that boulder. The white magic showed her where Rose’s hands had touched the boulder’s surface. And that trail took shape, until Mystica realized she was looking a the shape of a crescent moon, left upon the surface of that boulder.

Rose stayed there in that clearing, surrounded by roses, for only an hour. She sat on that boulder for a while. Several birds had flown into the clearing, and landed on the boulder next to Rose. She’d made little rose blooms for each of them. In colors ranging from pure white to a deep dark velvet red.

Then Rose had gotten to her feet, and used her wings again to fly out of the clearing, and back into the trees. Mystica watched, very much amazed, at the way that Rose could retrace the trail she’d taken through the trees. It wasn’t marked in any way at all.

When Rose had walked out of the trees, back into the clearing on the eastern edge of the lake, Mystica had taken flight, landing in the clearing next to Rose. “Dear Rose. You didn’t tell me you could fly. Or that you could make friends with the wolves.”

Rose had smiled. She’d reached up and held Mystica’s hand. “They just wanted someone to be their friend.”

Mystica then realized what Rose’s wild magic gift was. Little Rose could touch the heart of anything alive. She could reach past anger. Reach past fear. Reach past everything, right to another’s heart. Where she could then plant a garden in the soul. It was a special gift indeed. One that could sooth the ache of another’s heart. One that could dry the tears another’s soul cried.

It was why the villagers had abandoned her. They would have thought she was a witch. Able to get others to do whatever she wished. And she probably could do just that, if the light within her heart turned black. And she’d probably done that in the village where she’d lived. Just to get things she’d wanted. To get people to pay attention to her. So she would never have to be alone.

Mystica knew that the white magic had named little Rose well. For she was just like a wild rose. So very beautiful to behold. And yet, filled with so very many thorns.

Mystica reached down, and took Rose’s little hand, and walked with her to the edge of the lake. And there, they joined Sunshine, and Musica, and Dream. And they all played games with Whisper, Merlin, and Scream. Ending with a fun swim in the water of the lake. Followed by a picnic dinner on the grass of the clearing. And then they all sang as Musica played a little song on her flute. Then Mystica and Whisper helped the little fairies get to bed. Each of them in their own little houses that the trees had formed for them.

And as Mystica had tucked Rose into her bed that night, Rose had hugged her neck. “Mommy. I love you. Thank you for taking care of me.” And then she looked in Mystica’s eyes, “Mommy. I never meant to hurt anyone. I never did. I promise I’ll try very hard to not hurt anyone again,” as tears fell from little Rose’s eyes. “I don’t know what I did that hurt anyone at all. I really don’t.”

Mystica held little Rose. Hugging her so gently for a while. “My little Rose. Dear child. I know you didn’t mean to hurt anyone at all. You don’t have to be afraid here, of hurting anyone. I know the gifts that you’ve been blessed with. And I’m going to help you learn how to not hurt anyone.”

Once Rose’s tears had dried, Mystica had tucked her into bed. And then kissed the top of her little head. “Good night, my little Rose. Good night.” And then she watched as Rose had closed her eyes, and fallen fast asleep.

As she returned to her house, above the lake, Mystica had stopped, and stood outside, in the dark of the night for a little while. Looking at the reflections of the stars up in the sky on the mirror like surface of the lake. “It’s quite a gift the wild magic has given you, dear child.”

She then wondered for a while just how to take care of a wild rose without harming it.

“This is going to take some time, isn’t it?” she asked of the sky.

Then Mystica went inside, undressed, and went to bed. Where she dreamed of gardens of wild roses through the night.

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She’s In The Hospital Today

God.
She’s in the hospital today.
I worry about her.
You know that.

She’s my friend.

She’s having surgery
At 1330 hours.
That’s all I know.
That, and that
She’s very jaundiced.

As if there’s a problem
With her liver.
She said she looks
Like a big yellow smurf.

She’s been ill
For a lot of years.
Unable to work.
And I know
It’s been hard
On her family.
And on her.

She told me once
That not a lot of people
Ever talk to her.
That she spends
Most of her time alone.
With no one
To talk to.

I know what that’s like,
God.
To be alone.
With no one
To even talk too.

She’s in the hospital today.
And I’m very worried
For her.

She asked me
To call her today.
You know I will.
She’s my friend.
I care for my friends.
I care for her.

I call her once a week.
Every week I can.
I know I don’t say much
When I call her.
But that’s OK.
She talks with me.

And I just like to listen
To the stories that she shares.
I get to hear her laugh.
I can imaging
That she smiles.

That’s a priceless gift
From this life to me.
You know that
Don’t you God.

Oh, I know.
I haven’t actually seen her
In almost 35 years.
But, you know.
I’m autistic.
I can remember
All those lunches in high school
When she was a member
Of the same group I sat with
At lunch.

We used to talk at lunch
All the time
Back then.
And you know.
I don’t forget things like that.
It’s not my way.

To me,
She’s always been my friend.
And she always will be.

So,
While she’s in the hospital today,
God,
You take care of her,
Please.

And maybe find a way
For her to have more people
That she can talk with
Every week.

Now, I know that there are people
That would tell me
Not to worry.
That there’s nothing I can do.
Just like they did
When the Lenten Rose was ill.

You know I don’t listen
To what people say to do.
And you know too
That I don’t listen
Because my heart tells me
That people are just wrong
When they say that.

My friend.
MY FRIEND!
She’s in the hospital today.
I know
If I were there
I’d be nervous.
I’d be scared.
I’d want very much
To have someone
I could just talk too.

So I’m going to call her
Today.
And see if I can talk with her
For a little while.

So that she’ll know
Someone besides the people
In her family
Cares.

When did people get so cold,
God?
That they are afraid to care?

You take care
Of my friend today,
God.

OK?

Irrational People

There are many times
When people just strike me
As being illogical,
Irrational,
And perhaps even
Insane.

Take the topic of gasoline
As an example.

Here’s the simple facts
About gasoline,
And oil,
In our free market
Economy.

The free market says
When something starts
To run out.
But the demand for that something
Remains the same.
The price of that something
Goes up.
Because it’s harder to get.
And there’s less of it.

Is oil an infinite resource
On the planet Earth?
I don’t believe it is.
And the world’s been using
More and more of it
Every year
For better than 100 years.

Sooner or later
We’ll start to run out
Of the oil
That we’ve always used.

That’s just simple math.
It’s like the supply
Of fresh water.
It’s a limited resource.
And you can use it up.
And when you do.
Well.

History is rife with examples
Of what happens
When a resource
A society depends on
Runs out.

And history pretty much says
That the society
Collapses
When such a resource
Disappears.

Oil, and the gasoline
That’s made from it,
Have been an interesting
Thing to watch
Over the past 35 years.

I find it entertaining
That as oil becomes
More difficult to find.
And more expensive
To obtain,
That almost everyone
I encounter
Almost ever day
Reacts to the price of gasoline
The same way.

“Drill! Now!”

I’m left wondering
If any of them realize
That by drilling now,
To get more
Of the gasoline they want,
All that will really happen
Is the supply will run out
Even faster
Than it’s running out now.

This is what I mean
When I say that people
Sometimes seem insane
To me.

We don’t need the oil.
We don’t need to drill now.
We don’t need to sink
More and more of our resources
And our economy
In getting more
Of something that’s running out.

We need to be smarter than that.
And find something
To replace the oil
That we use now.
And we need to do that
Before the oil runs out.

‘Cause if the oil runs out
Before we find
A usable replacement.

Can you spell chaos?
How about anarchy?

I keep forgetting
That no one I know
Believes that we can learn
A single thing
From history.

I’ve had great fun
In the past few years.
Listening to the people
That I know
As they complain
About the price of gasoline.

I saw the price
Had no where to go
But up
20 years ago.

In 1996,
I bought a Honda Civic.
That got 38 miles to the gallon.
And in August
And September
That car would get 40
Or more.

We had to sell that car
In 2007.
But in 2008,
We bought a Toyota Yaris
To replace it.

I’m somewhat disturbed
That the Yaris I drive now
Averages only 36 MPG.

We’ve gone backwards
On fuel economy.

Now, during all the years
That my family and I
Have driven cars that get
The kind of mileage
That they do
We’ve seen all our neighbors
Buy new vehicles.
Knowing ding well
That a pickup truck
Burns gas
As if it was a cheap
As dirt.

It was a choice
That they all made.
To buy the wrong damn car.

And I’m not sorry at all
When I laugh at them
Every time they buy
Another tank of gas
For $70, or $80,
Or even more.

Yes, the oil companies
Are making more profit
Than they ever have.
Because the price of the oil
That they provide
Has gone up.

And the cost to find that oil
Has gone way up too.
And it will continue to.

Face it,
Silly people
Of this world.

It’s just flat cheaper
To drill for oil
In the desert
Of the Middle East
Than it is
To drill for oil
10,000 feet or more
Beneath the surface
Of the ocean.

I’d think that even you guys
Could figure that one out.

Geeze.

As I said before,
Sometimes the people that I know
Seem so very illogical,
And even irrational
To me.

Notes On Windows : Windows Registry Maintenance

Starting with Windows XP (all versions), and then including Windows Vista and Windows 7, Microsoft implemented something called the “Windows Registry”. Put as simply as possible, and as bluntly as possible, the Windows Registry IS windows. If the registry is broken, so is Windows.One thing I do with my computers that run Windows operating systems (In my home, we have Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7) is I obtain tools that help me take care of the Windows Registry, and keep it from becoming broken. While I know that it is possible to maintain the Windows Registry by hand, it’s a serious time consuming process, and any errors, or mistakes in that process will result in a Windows operating system that may not run at all. So, using tools to clean up and maintain the registry greatly reduces the risk of typographical errors, or mistakes in registry maintenance.I’ve listed two tools that are available for free that perform registry maintenance rather well. Note that I’m only listing tools that I’ve actually used. In this case I actually use both tools. In my experience, using two tools that perform registry cleanup actually produces a better end result than just using one.

  1. CCleaner by Piriform. This is the tool I currently use.
  2. Advanced System Care Free by IOBit. I’ve just started testing this one. So far, I like it.

I use these tools to make maintenance of my Windows based computers simpler. A computer is a complex tool. Like any complex tool, it requires maintenance. You need to care for your car. You also need to care for your computer.

You can find both of these tools at http://www.download.com/. I have found they are simple to use, and work well. Using them does keep Windows working better, for a longer time. You may wish to try one, or both of them. The first time you use these tools, they will take a while to run. That’s because they will have to perform lots of corrective actions to fix the Windows Registry, and to complete the process of tuning up your computer. If you haven’t ever tuned up your computer, this process can take a long time.

Have fun learning about your computer.

Mark.

“Just Be Yourself.”

Ah, the words.
I’ve heard them
All my life.
In answer to the question
“How do I fit in?”

“Just be yourself.
And everything will be alright.
Just be yourself.”

Yeah,
Right.

I’ve tried that
Time and time again.
Tried to be myself.
To behave naturally.
To just be me.
Around other people.

And every time.
Everybody
Left.

Yep.
That’s the honest truth
Of that.
Seems that no one
Can deal with me
When I’m just me.

I just don’t get it.
They tell me
To just be me.
To be honest.
To be real.
And then
They kick me in the teeth
When I am.

No one seems to understand
That for me,
Being in the same room
With most people
Is just like being
In a meeting at work.
There are rules
That you have to follow.

And if you break those rules,
There’ll be trouble.

There are things
I just don’t understand.
Like how come people behave
As if nothing’s wrong
When they work with someone
That’s deathly ill?

What the heck’s up with that?

I’ve heard this answer
Many times before.
“I don’t want pity
From anyone.”

My autistic self translates that
In one way only.
“I have my pride!”

So tell me, fellow humans.
Does the word “pride”
Have the undocumented meaning of
“stupid”?

And why is it that people
Who obviously care
About someone they know,
When that someone
That they know
Is so very hurt,
Refuse to ask that someone
If they can help them
Get things done?

I don’t get that one
Either.

It’s like I told my doctor
Half a billion times now,
“And people tell me
That I don’t make sense.
When they do such
Irrational things.”

Where’s the logic
In the way that works?
It’s broken math.
Like saying “2+2=8“.
Let me do the math
For you.

Jimmy has a broken leg.
He can only walk
With crutches.
And can’t put any weight
On his broken leg
At all.

So he hops down the hall
When he gets to work each day,
Using his crutches.
Carrying his lunch box
By the strap
In one of his two hands.

Watch that sucker
Bounce around
As he hops along.

But by God,
No one help him.
That would just be flat damn wrong.
Now wouldn’t it?

No one asks him,
“Did you need some help?”
Or
“Can I carry that for you?”

Why the heck is that?
Hell,
Anyone with eyes
That work like they’re supposed to
Can see
That he could use a little help.

It’s like there’s some
Unwritten law.
That you’re not allowed to help.
That the injured person
Has to do things
On their own.

It’s the kind of thing
That I see around me
Every day that I’m alive.
I see this happen
All the time.

I flat don’t understand
Why people are this way.
Sometimes I think
That people would watch
As the whole building burned
Right down to the ground
Instead of helping someone
Put out a tiny fire
That got started
By an accident.

And it’s these people
That try to tell me
That to fit in
All I have to do
Is just be me?

Yeah,
Right.

I can’t just be me.
Because just being me,
I’d help someone
When they are hurt.
I’d do what I could.
It’s just the way I am.

And that’s just not
How other people
Behave.

So don’t tell me
That I should be me.

Because I know
That the words
“Just be yourself”
Are a flat out lie.

No one wants me to be me.
No one at all.
All they want
Is for me to be
Just like them.

And I thank God
I’m not.

Scars

He stood there,
On Christmas Eve.
Looking into the mirror.

He was quite sad.
Depressed, actually.
By what he saw there.
By the images that he could see
That no one else could see.
Images of memories.
Paintings of events
That he remembered so very well.

All of them ending
With yet another scar
Left forever
On his heart.

It saddened him greatly
Every time he looked
And saw those scars.

He knew
He’d never put
A single one
Of those scars
On his heart.
They’d been put there
By people he had known.
People he had called his friends.

What saddened him the most
Was how the people that he’d known
That had scared his heart
The way they had
Had never understood
The hurt that they’d caused him.
And his understanding
That none of them
Every would.

After all.
He was the only one
That had been injured
In the way he’d been.
No one else
He’d ever known
Had been hurt
Like he’d been.

Since no one had been hurt
Except for him,
It had to be something
That he’d done,
Didn’t it.
That’s how he was treated
By the people that he knew.

As if everything
Was always his fault.

As he stood there,
Looking in the mirror
At the scars upon his heart,
He asked God once again
To take care of his friends.

“You found a way
To touch my heart.
To awaken me.
You never once
Gave up on me.
Please, God.
Don’t give up on them.”

The truth was
The only real mistake
He’d ever really made
Was being different.

He still had trouble accepting
The way people treated him
Because he did not behave
Exactly like them.

He had even more trouble
Trying to understand
How people could live
In such awful pain.
And not realize it.

How could people deny
So many things they felt?
So many things they believed?
So many differences
Among themselves?

How could they go on
Day after day,
Afraid to say things
That were different?
Things that might disturb,
Or disrupt,
Or upset,
Someone that they knew?

It was this denial
Of individuality
That had wounded his heart
So very many times.
And left the scars upon it.

And yet,
All of the people
That he knew
Proclaimed how different
Each of them were.

They were looking
At the window dressings
Of their lives.
If people were like cars,
They’d all be the same model.
But with different paint.
And different trim.
Some with radios.
Some not.
Some with performance tires.
Some with plain old radials.
Some with the cheapest tires
That they could find.

Some would have paint stripes on.
Some would be plain colors.
Some would have that pain
With all the plastic bits in it
So that the color changed
When the light hit it.
And you couldn’t really tell
What color that it was.
Some would have fabric interiors.
Some would have plain vinyl.
Some would have gone upscale
And opted for leather.

But, underneath it all,
When you stripped away
All the details that there were.
They wound up
All the same.

And it bothered him greatly
That the people in his life
Didn’t even seem to know
That things were that way.

He had to wonder
What had happened
Years and years ago
That would have caused
Such a thing to happen.
That would have caused
Everyone to be the same.
To follow the same rules,
And the same ways.
To the point
Where nothing else
Existed.

This was where the scars came from
That were on his heart.

As he stood there
Looking in the mirror,
He knew as time went past,
There would be still more scars
Made upon his heart.
By the people
He called friends.

All because
He was really different
From them.

The scars he saw upon his heart
When he looked into the mirror
Didn’t make him sad at all.
To him, they were a part of life.
Just like smiles,
Laughter,
And happy memories,
There would always be
Tears,
And pain.

That’s just how life works.

It was the memories he had
Of the causes of those scars
That made him sad.
That and the knowledge
That none of the friends
That had hurt him,
Leaving scars like that
Upon his heart,
Would ever understand
What they had done to him.

Memories : Good Old Mark (2)

Good Old Mark struck
Many times on that trip
To Syria.

There was the day the group
Made the trip
To the swimming hole
Up in the mountains.
My little Pinto and me
Leading the way.

It’s interesting to lead the way
When  you have no idea
Where the heck you’re going.
Even more so
When you don’t get lost,
And drive right to the place
Using only the instructions
Someone gave to you.

Like I said.
It’s damn hard to get me lost.

As we walked the trail
To the swimming hole,
No one really said
A single word to me.
Funny thing about that.
I had to be out front
Of the entire group.
Leading the way
To that dang place.

Hell,
I didn’t even want to go.
Had no intention
Of swimming at all.
But, at least I could
Climb around on rocks,
And in the mountains
For a bit.

All alone.

Just before you get
To that swimming hole,
You have to climb a slope.
Climb being the word.
It’s about a 70 degree steep hill.

Even I needed to grab
The occasional tree.
It’s sort of like
Going uphill
On your hands and knees.

Of course,
Statistically speaking,
Everyone should understand
That going up is the easy part.
Going down’s
Where people get hurt.

I have always wondered
About the intelligence
Of people in a group.
And I wondered much
About it on that day.
What can you think
When you deal with people
That jump head first
Off a rock up in the air,
Into a pool of water
In the mountains.

“It’s deep enough,”
They all said.
Yeah right…
At least no one wound up dead.

I spent that entire time
That they were at the swimming hole,
Climbing around.
I was the only person
In the group
That climbed to the top
Of the little water fall
That formed the hole.

It was a pretty view
From up there.
I got to see a pretty mountain stream
Flowing through the trees.
With many shades of green
From all the leaves
Reflecting off the water
As it flowed.

I got to watch
The patterns in the water
Where it flowed
Over big rocks.
It’s always mesmerizing
To watch the water flow
Over the rocks.
Making patterns
That are ever changing.

I got to see the way
The color of the water changes
As it flows.
Going from shallow areas
To deeper ones.

No one else
In the whole group
Got to see what I saw
On that day.
No one else cared to.
They were having fun
Being social
In a group.

What’s that all about anyway?
I don’t know.
I never have.
Most likely never will.
It’s one of those big
Mysteries of life
To me.

I do know, though
That sometimes people
Do some stupid things
They would never do
If they were alone
When they’re in a group.

I wonder lots about that too.
Why things are that way.
That’s yet another
Mystery to me.

The leader of the group.
The one that held the meetings,
To work out all the plans
For the entire trip.
Decided it was time
For us to head back to
The retreat in Syria.

She headed toward the hill
That lead back to the trail
That we’d followed
To the swimming hole.

You know dang well
That I went right along
With her.
See.
There was that big damn hill
That we’d had to climb
To get to the swimming hole
In the first place.

I loved that lady dearly.
To be sure
I loved everyone
In that entire group.
Even though sometimes
It felt like they hated me.

But the leader
Was a friend.
She’d taken time
To talk with me
Every now and then
Over the years.

And I knew
She wasn’t the most coordinated
Person that I’d ever met.
So I knew that it made perfect sense
For me to climb down
That big hill
With her.

Couldn’t let her get stuck
On that hill you know.
Or maybe slip,
And hurt herself.
Nope.
I took care of my friends
Back then.
I still do now.
Even though sometimes
I just doesn’t show.

We took it nice and slow
Going down that hill.
I stayed right with her
Every step of the the way.
I could tell
That the descent
Made her nervous.
It was an observation thing.

The way a person moves
Very cautiously.
Very detailed.
Making sure their feet
Are always someplace safe.
And their hands
Are holding on
To something.

I could tell too
That she was glad
To have the company
On that climb
Back down that hill.

Hey.
It’s what I do.
What I’ve always done.
What I always will.
I try my best,
And always have,
To take care
Of all my friends.

That’s how friends
Are supposed to be.

As we got to the bottom
Of that steep descent.
She relaxed a lot.
I could see the stress
Fall away from her.
She had a smile
That was to die for.
And such pretty eyes.

‘Course,
Being me, and the way I am,
I never mentioned that
At all.
Not even once.
In all the years
That I knew her.

Hell,
I didn’t know how.
Not back then.

We smiled at each other.
The way friends do.
The way friends are
Supposed to.
Especially when
They trust each other.
Like we did.

And she said to me
Right then.
“Good old Mark.
Thank you.
Just for being you.”

It took me many years
To understand
Why she said those words
That I hate so very much.
“Good Old Mark.”
God, but I hate those words.

It’s alright.
She didn’t know.
I never told a soul
What those words
Meant to me.
How much they cut
Into my heart and soul.

I know she didn’t mean
To cause me any hurt.
For I know
She thought of me
As a friend.
As someone she could
Always depend on.
In that group of people
On that trip.

And I know
That she meant the words she spoke
As a compliment.
And a true
Thank you.

It was her way
Of thanking me.
For taking the time
To make sure
She got down that hill
Safely.

And it was perhaps
An acknowledgment
Of how much the entire group
Depended on me
On that trip.

Even though no one
Spoke of it.

I remember her
Very fondly.
One of the few friends
That I had
Back in those days.

Hell.
I’ve had so few friends
In my life
Anyway.

When I close my eyes
And think of things
From the days back then.
I can still remember
The texture of her
Blond hair.
The magic light
That I saw in her her eyes.
And the beauty
Of her smile.

And I still wonder sometimes
If she ever understood
How much I hated,
And still hate,
Those simple words,
“Good old Mark.”