#VisDare 43 : Memory

The eagles asked me to take Alice to a second place. As I did, Alice pulled me to a stop. “I can’t.”

I took both her hands in mine. “Why?”

“You don’t know, do you?”

I softly touched her cheek with my fingertips, as I closed my eyes. Alice pressed my hand against her face. And I saw her memories. She stood in the small glade the eagles told me about. She was much younger. I saw her speaking to a butterfly, her eyes closed, as she listened to the stories it shared with her.

I saw members of the horde pour through the walls of the glade, destroying it. I learned what they’d done to Alice that day. When she was just a child.

I’d seen enough. I kissed her. I held her.

“Alice. It’s time for things to change.”

She kissed me. “I’ve looked for you so long.”

150 Words

This is part 27 in the continuing story I’m working on for Angela Goff’s Visual Dare. Please read the other entries in this week’s Visual Dare challenge.

If you wish to read the entire tale, you can find it, starting with Part 27, running back to Part 1, here.


Time Only Flows One Way

I remember asking her
What she wanted.
I remember what she answered.
“I want my life back.”

Such a simple wish.
A wish I know
She’ll never have.

This world is not static.
It changes.
All the time.
Every day.

Study time.
The best we understand
Right now.
Time only flows one way.
And it may well be
There’s no going back.

Let’s be honest here.
She had breast cancer.
The surgeries.
The chemotherapy.
There is no way her world,
Her life,
Can ever be the same.
No matter how much
She tries to make it.

There is no going back.

She believes there is.
Like so many people
I have known.
So many I know now.

Like the one that’s divorced.
He left her
With their child.
To raise on her own.
I don’t care how you look at it.
She’s not who she was then.
She’s changed.

I suppose I could
Argue with myself
That what people really mean
When they say those words,
“I want my life back,”
Is that they really want
To be happy once again.
To feel safe.
To feel loved.
To feel whole.

The way they once did.

I wish I had some way
To explain to them
What I know now.
What I’ve learned.
Having walked through hell.
Having lost everything,
Save for my family.
And those few people I call
True friends.

Having had to make a choice
To start my life over
From the ashes of what was.

Was there any doubt
That I could not return?
My doctor knew.
My children knew.
My love knew too.
And deep down,
Even I knew.

I could not return
To the life I’d had.
To the work I’d done.
Because of one simple truth.

I’ve changed.

I know how that life works, now.
Why people do the things they do
In that land of gray.
That land of work.

I understand what was said to me
Back then.
When I didn’t understand at all
How that world worked.

And each day I ask the universe,
How badly are they hurt?
And will they ever know?

My soul cries tears of pain,
And my heart aches once again,
When I hear the answer
From the universe.
For most of them.
It’s no.

They’ll believe,
Like they do now.
That nothing’s wrong.
That everything’s the way
It’s meant to be.

And they’ll do anything
To keep the life they have.
The house.
The car.
The things.
The trappings of success.

It’s the way that world is.
The way it works.
Do what you have to.
Put up with the rules.
Put up with the politics.
Become a human resource.
And expendable part
In an economic machine.
So you can get the things you want.
And be safe.
And be secure.

Because that defines

And I can’t ever live
In that world again.
That’s why I can’t go back.

I see that world for what it is.

I’d rather have a new life.
A true life.
Where people matter.
Their hopes.
Their fears.
Their dreams.
Their wishes.

A world where people matter.
Where they care
For each other.
And aren’t afraid
Of what the company will think
If they take the time
To help a friend in need.
Of what the people around them
Will do.
How those people
Will behave.

I’ve abandoned that world.
It’s too much like the churches
I’ve abandoned too.

Where you have to be the same.
Feel the same.
Act the same.
Have the same values,
And beliefs.

I told my doctor, Monday,
The words she’d said to me.
And then I laughed
At the thought
Someone would want to go back
To how things used to be.

And then I couldn’t talk.
It was so very sad to me
That someone couldn’t really see
Things can never be the same.
That time only flows one way.

I can’t go back.
Even if I wanted to.
And I don’t want to
At all.

I’ll go with the flow
Of time.
And see what it is
The future holds
For me.

Because unlike what she said to me.
I don’t want my life back.
That life’s dead and gone.
It’s in my past.

I’ll keep moving on.
Making a new path.
In this new life
The universe
Has given me.

A Little Faith

It has occurred to me.
If I am afraid to try.
If I am afraid of life.
Why am I still here?
Why am I slowly reaching for
New things?
Why am I slowly bringing
Dreams to life?

I’ve got a job.
Had it for a year now.
I know
It’s not the best job.
But it’s a good first step
Into a life
I never had.
A life
I denied myself.

A lot of people act
As if the job I have
Is all wrong for me.
That I should have a job
Like the one
I used to have.
Before all this started.
Two years ago.

They don’t know.
They don’t understand.
They see the world
Differently from me.

I didn’t get this job
By sheer dumb luck.
I picked it.
I waited.
And when it was time.
I applied for it.
I chose it.

Because it gives me
What I need
In my life right now.

Time to heal the wounds
In my heart and soul.
Time to change my course
Through life.
Time to write.
Time to dream.
Time to learn new things.

There’s nothing wrong at all
With the job I have right now.
Nothing at all.

I want to write, you know.
I always have.
It’s always been a dream
Of mine.
One that I gave up,
‘Cause everybody knows,
You can’t make a living
Writing stories.

I had to grow up.
Get a real job.
Be an adult.
Not a dreamer.

So here I am.
With the job I know
Most people don’t approve of.
I can almost hear them say,
“It’s sad.
So sad.
What happened to him.
The fall he’s made.
The broken person
He’s become.
He’ll never be the same.”

Just another victim
Of the ways of life.
We’ll leave him behind.
He fell by the wayside.
But the rest of us
Are OK.

I hear those voices.
Hear those thoughts.
And I know them
To be false.

For the truth is something more.
I changed.

I’m not the person
I once was.
I’m me.
The way I’m meant to be.

And with time.
And patience,
I’ll learn
The things I need to learn.
To breathe life
Into the dreams I have.

Step by step.
Day by day.
I’ll find a way
To use the skills I have
To help those around me.

And one day at a time,
I’ll find a way
To write.

I can’t help but feel
I’m on my way.

I just need
To have a little faith
In me.

No One There But Me

I’m afraid of being alone.
With myself and no one else.
When there’s no one to talk with.
Except for me.

But I’m learning.

I’ll have completed
The next step of my journey
When I can spend time
With no one but me.
And being alone
Doesn’t hurt me
Any more.

When I’ve learned
How to appreciate me.
The things I like.
The things I feel.
I know right now
I don’t.
At least not all that much.

I have a lot of fears
Of being alone.
If having to face me.
Having to deal with me.
Openly and honestly.

I have a lot of things
I have to change.
Things I have to relearn.
Rules I have to break.
And when those rules are broken,
I have to sweep away
Their remains.
Not let them be rebuilt.

There are so many things
I’ve got go change.
But they all come down
To the same thing.

I have to learn
Not to hate myself.
Not to be afraid of me.

That I’m not defined
By how many people I know.
By how many friends I have.
By how well I get paid.
By how big my house is.
By how nice my car is.

None of those things matter,
In the end.
When you get down to it
What matters most of all
Is learning
To live with myself.

And that’s what I’m working on
Right now.
In this journey
That began
Two years ago.

I’ve come so very far
In only 24 months.
How far, you might ask.

Far enough to know
And understand
I have to learn
To live
With me.

So that on afternoons like this.
When I’m at home.
With only me.

I won’t hide from myself.
I won’t find endless things
To kill off time with.
So that I won’t feel
Like everything’s wrong.

So that I’ll be content
To be alone.

With no one there
But me.

Perhaps It’s Time

I stared into the mirror.
For a long time.
Trying to find something.
Positive to say.
Positive to think.

All I could see
Was a trail of destruction.
A trail of fire.
A trail of anger.
And pain.

It’s no one’s fault.
I know that.
What happened.
It’s no one’s fault.
Trying to blame someone
Would be like trying
To hold someone responsible
For the rain.

It rains where it rains.
It rains when it rains.
No one is to blame.

I used to think I’d grown.
Think I’d changed.
Believed I’d gotten through
The worst of things.
That I understood
The world I never made.
And could cope with it.
Live in it.
Let it be
The way it is.

And so very gray
To me.

I stared into the mirror
For a while.
Oh the things I said
Inside my head.
To myself.

I’ve tried.
God, how I’ve tried.
I try every day.
To keep that last bridge
Between the life I had.
And the life that’s growing now.

With what happened today.
I’m not sure I can.
Not sure it’s worth
The pain.
The effort.
The stress.

It takes so very much
To not be angry.
When everyone you knew
Abandoned you.
Just because
You changed.

And it’s not really like I changed.
Not really that at all.
The truth is far more simple.
Far more plain.

I woke up.
I opened my eyes.
Like Neo
In the Matrix.
I unplugged.

I live in a world these days
That is filled with color.
With people that are so
Very much alive.
People that embrace
And let me be
Who I am.
Let me believe
What I believe.
That don’t expect me
To be just like them.

Except for that bridge.

I don’t want to burn that sucker down.
I don’t.
There are people on the other side
I really do like.
That honestly
Just don’t understand
And why I’ve become
So very critical
About the way things are.

I let them be their way.
I try.
Oh, how I try.
To not say anything.
To let them do
What they believe.
Live how they believe.
Be how they believe.

I’ve asked God now
For better than one year
To not give up on them.
To find a way
To wake them up.
Like He did me.

But I know
They won’t.
They won’t ever see.
Won’t ever know.
Won’t ever change.

They don’t see any reason to.
They don’t see any need.
To them
Everything’s the way
It’s supposed to be.
Or just so damn close
That it’s close enough.
That they’re OK
With the way things are.

I know so very many
New people now.
The kind of people
That the folks
On the other side
Of the bridge
Wouldn’t understand.
Wouldn’t accept.
Would ask me what I see
In them.

They’d call my new friends
Call them wrong.
Call them sinners.
The Devil’s spawn.

I stared into the mirror
For a while today.
Oh, the things I had to say
To me.
They would hurt you
If you heard them.
I know this.

And in the end
I have to ask
If it’s time.
Time to take
Another step.
And burn that one last bridge
To the ground.

Can I leave that bridge standing
And ever truly be free
From the self-hatred,
And self-denial
That once owned me.
In that world
I never made.

I wish I knew the answer.
I wish I knew.

Now, I have to think a while
And figure out.
What I will do.
What’s best for me.
So that I can take
The next step forward
In this new life
I’ve been given.

Perhaps the best thing
I could do
Is nothing.
Is just watch.
And wait.
And see.
What the people
On the far side
Of that bridge do.

Maybe I won’t have to do a thing.
Maybe they’ll burn down that bridge.
To keep their world
Safe from my new friends.
Safe from me.


I’m in hiding.
It’s true.
I’ve taken my abilities.
My technical skills.
Carefully crafted through decades.
And put them on a shelf.
In a cave.
Where no one can see them.

No one deserves to see them.
The last time I used them.
The last time I put them on display.
The last time they were visible.

I got wounded.
Gods, did I get hurt.
And I still feel that pain.
I suspect I always will.
Kind of like the way
My knees, and ankles ache
Every single day.
From the injuries
They have survived.

But at least I use them.

I don’t use the skills
I carefully crafted
Over 30 years.
I haven’t touched them
Since 2010.

My doctor tells me
Every week.
I need to use those skills.
There’s a marketplace for them.
People everywhere
That could use my help.
That I could share
All the things I know,
All the things I’ve learned.
To help people.

“Start a business of your own.”
That’s what he says to me.
Every single week.

He’s right.
I know.
If I do that.
I’ll use the skills I have.
The things I know.
To help other people.

And the crap.
The politics.
The social environments.
That tore my heart apart
Two years ago.

Those will be gone.
I won’t have to deal with them.
Won’t have to wonder
If I’m doing something wrong
In the land of work.
Every day that I wake up.

My interest is still there.
In the skills I’ve hidden.
I take them out
When no one can see them.
When I’m at home.

And I use them.
All the time.
But I keep them to myself.
Because a world I never made.
Ripped my heart
Out of my chest.
And stomped on it.

And made me stand there
And watch
While they did.

That world does not deserve
Access to my skills.

That’s why my skills are hidden.
On a shelf.
In my home.
Where no one can see them.
Save for me.
And my family.

But perhaps.
I could be time
For another change.


Bring The Rain

Why are you afraid of pain?
Why are you afraid of being hurt?
Of feeling sad.
Of crying tears.

Why are you afraid
That your heart will ache?
Of your soul’s tears?

Don’t you know?
Don’t you understand?
That’s a part of life.
Without it
We don’t grow.
We don’t change.
We don’t become
Who we are meant to be.

We become like the desert.

What would happen
If it never rained?
If there were never clouds
In the sky above?
If every day
Was the same?
A perfect summer day.

What would that be like?
Wouldn’t that get old?
Wouldn’t that become
A barren wasteland?
Devoid of anything
But sand?

Do you stay inside
When it’s cold?
When it snows?
Because it’s no fun at all
To be stuck outside
In the ice and snow.
It’s just damn cold.

Do you stay inside
When it rains?
So you don’t get wet.
Don’t get soaked
To the bone?

Does it bother you
When someone does not smile?
When someone around you
Or even cries?

Is the only thing you want
In your entire life
Sunny days,
And perfect skies?

Does it seem to you
That bad days never end?
Do they seem so awful
You find yourself doing
Anything you can
To avoid another one of them?

What are you afraid of?

It’s just a feeling.
Feeling sad.
Feeling hurt.
Feeling bad.
A feeling.
Nothing more.

Your heart still beats.
You can still breathe.

All you need
Is patience.
For if you wait
What you feel
Will change.

It always has.
It always will.

After the events I endured
Two years ago.
I know things change.
That no two days
Are ever quite the same.

Some days are beautiful.
Filled with sunshine,
And blue skies.
Other days are dark.
The sun hidden
By gray clouds,
And rain.

Is filled with change.

Is that what you’re afraid of?

I only ask because
I know that I once was.

But I’ve learned
That without change.
I’d become trapped.
In a dead-end life.
In a cold, dead world.
Where nothing mattered to me
Any more.

I’m not afraid of change

Bring the sunshine,
Because it’s a beautiful thing.
But also.
Bring the rain.

I want to live a whole life.
A full life.
I want to grow.
I want to change.
To become
Who I’m meant to be.

I don’t want a life
That never changes.
I’ve already had one of those.
I want a life that evolves.
A life that grows.
A life that makes me
Feel alive.

Not trapped
In a desert world.
Where every day’s
The same.
And nothing ever changes.

That’s why I say,
Bring the rain.