#FlashMobWrites Week 1×36 : Fanfare

You think I’m broken, wounded, bitter. All I ever say is negative, hard to hear. I know this. I’ve heard your words, the things you say when you think I’m not listening, when you think I can’t hear you.

“He’s so negative. Why do I bother to ask him anything?”

But, you don’t know. There are things I don’t speak of, don’t share, hide. Things I keep locked away from the world, so the world can’t reach them, can’t hurt them, can’t tear them apart, can’t rip them from my heart.

Like how I never got married. Yeah, I know, I’ve heard it all. I’ve heard them talk among themselves, “All he needs is to get laid.” What the fuck does that even mean? Does anybody know what that means? “All he needs is a woman,” like that says anything different. Like a woman would tame me, make me into a normal person.

I never got married for a reason. See. I never found her, never found who I’m looking for. You don’t know it, no one does. But it’s there, inside me. A dream I have of her.

I never got married, because I’m holding out for a dream I’ll never have. A dream of a woman whose hand I can hold. Whose magic laughter chases away the demons haunting me. The same demons that haunt those people who say “He just needs to get laid.” I know it’s the same demons. I can see those demons in them, in their eyes. Hear them in their voices, that fear of someone knowing too much, getting too close, finding out who you really are. Learning something about you they can use against you, they can manipulate you with.

Except for her.

That dream woman knows when I’m wounded, angry, frightened, frustrated from the events of my day. The stress of deadlines, of bosses demanding the impossible. She knows to put her hand on my shoulder, to whisper in my ear, “It’s OK. It’s OK.” She knows to show me I’m not alone, to remind me she’s there. To let me know it’s OK to feel everything, to feel trapped at my job, to feel angry about my work, and the silly deadlines, and the politics that happen there. To feel endlessly frustrated, because the misery never ends. She’s the one on whose shoulder I can cry. She’ll be my friend, my companion.

Why is everything always about sex? What is it with people? “He just needs to get laid.” Ha! That’s all wrong. I just need to find her.

And it works both ways, you know. She’ll be the dream woman I can hold when she’s wounded, when her heart aches, bleeds from the wounds this life carves into her soul. One I can carry when she’s too damaged by this world, this life, to walk on her own. To let her know she’s not alone. I’ll let her know it’s OK to feel everything. And I’ll be there when she needs me. I’ll be the one on whose shoulder she cries.

That’s why I never married.

I never found her.

But I haven’t given up. I’m still holding out for that dream. My dream. I know it’s every guy’s dream. To find that one person, that one friend. To find her. She’s out there, somewhere. All I can do until I find her is keep looking. And keep holding out, and dreaming.


I tried to write this for #FlashMobWrites 1×36, hosted by Ruth Long and Cara Michaels. But I couldn’t find the words, or the way to get them on the page in time. But not that I managed to find some of the words, and a way to get those few words on the page, I’m sharing it. Now, please, go read all the stories in for #FlashMobWrites 1×36. You might find something you like. But if you don’t read them, how will you ever know?

#MWBB 2.51 : The Thrill Is Gone

Jerry sat on his sofa every night waiting for her to go to sleep. She went upstairs about nine. She usually went upstairs between eight and nine most nights. He usually stays up till eleven, or midnight. Just to make sure she’s asleep when he gets to bed.

Sometimes Jerry wondered when it all started. When he stopped going to bed when she did. When she stopped asking him to come to bed. When he started wearing pajamas every night, even though she sent to bed naked.

“Used to be different,” he remembered. “Yeah. Used to be different.”

He remembered the first night, before they got married, when he woke up at stupid o’clock and she was on top of him. “Are we doing what I think we’re doing?” She hadn’t said anything, just kept moving.

Before they got married, they spent nights together at her house, in her bed. Hell, they spent whole weeks of nights together. Always at her house, always in her bed. Never in his apartment. But he didn’t care.

After they got married she got experimental. She started trying more positions, and more types of activity. Over the years, they’d tried everything, including oral and anal. They tried sex on the stairs, and in the shower. On the sofa, in the kitchen. Even in the middle of the night, with no lights on, and the curtains open. It was OK to experiment, since they were married. They could have all the sex they wanted. And they did.

After the kids were born, they didn’t experiment as much. As the kids grew older, the fun nights grew less frequent. When the oldest went to college, things pretty much stopped.

Jerry sat on his sofa and remembered what it was like. When she put her head between his legs. Or when he stood by the bed with her on her hands and knees. He used to watch every stroke. That was part of the fun for him. Watching.

But, those days were gone. And Jerry wasn’t like the guys he worked with. All of them divorced their wives and had married younger women. Women still interested in sex. If that’s what they wanted, Jerry was OK with that. But he wondered why they slept with women the same age as their daughters. “That just ain’t right, is it.”

Besides, it took energy to wake up in the middle of the night for that sort of thing, and he’d rather sleep. He knew, after enough times, it all became the same. Everything felt the same. All the new, all the excitement, had worn off.

The thrill was gone.

Around eleven-thirty that night, Jerry felt tired enough to go to sleep. He wandered upstairs, changed into his pajamas, and climbed into bed. The covers felt good. After a few minutes, she stirred, pulled his arm out, and snuggled in, her head on his shoulder.

Jerry smiled. The thrill might be gone, but the comfort and the trust of having her as his friend and companion more than made up for that.

511 Words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry for Year 2, Week 51 (Week 2.51) of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. This week the prompt is the song, “The Thrill Is Gone” by B. B. King. Please, go read the other stories in this week’s challenge.

Remember The Magic

I wrote these words last night, after I got home. I wrote them for a friend. The math told me I needed to share these words with her. And being who I am, I did. She wrote back, a brief little note, and said I should share these words with everyone.

Well, this afternoon, I just got home. And the math told me second friend could use a note from me. So, I’m sharing what I wrote last night. I’ve modified it as little as possible to keep names out of it. Otherwise, this is what I shared with a wounded friend last night.

Just because that’s what’s friends do in the world that ought to be.

Mark.


IMG_2796Oh, dear.

My friend. You make me wish I could give you a big hug, and take you on a long outing at the Botanical Garden. I’d do it. In a heartbeat.

I am not “physically” disabled. I have a 100% functional body. I can walk most people into the ground. Even at my age. I can hold a camera still long enough to take pictures at 35X optical zoom without a tripod. I can mow my own lawn. I can stand on my feet all day at Geek Squad.

I am, however, “disabled.” There are parts of life I simply don’t understand. I’ve told my doc, it’s like I’m deaf. It’s like I can’t hear that part of life that is “social”. I’ve explained to people, “It’s not that I do anything special. It’s not that I’m caring. Or tender. Or any of that stuff. It’s that I don’t have the social constraints most people have. So, for me, it’s all “math”. It’s all observation, and appropriate response. If I’m hurting, don’t I want attention, and help? Or at least someone to say, “I know.” So if someone I see is hurting, what’s the appropriate thing for me to do?”

And somehow, this gets people to call me, “caring, kind, and tender-hearted.”

I’ve told my Doc, “Isn’t this how things are supposed to be?”

So, when I see you write about how you are still getting used to your disabilities, and the reality that you can’t do certain things, my heart tells me I should take time, and say, “Hi!” and make sure you’re OK.

I have never, in this life, been understood. I’m married to a wonderful lady. I’ll never change that. I love her too much. But there are many “features” of me she does not understand. In her words, “I’ve grown used to them.”

One thing I’ve learned in the past 3 years. One truth that’s been hammered into me over, and over, and over.

People are blind to life. They are. Every morning, driving to work, they don’t see the flowers growing by the side of the road. They don’t see the clouds in the sky, or the way the sun reflects off of them. They don’t see the rays of sunlight shining through the clouds. They don’t see the birds flying just above the trees. They don’t see that occasional deer in the field.

They are blind. They don’t see the gifts we are all given, every day. Every day.

They never stop, walking across the parking lot at work, to feel the breeze flowing through their fingers. To feel the sun on their faces. To hear the birds singing, or the leaves of the trees rustling as the breeze passes through them.

They are blind.

They never walk through the flowers of the Botanical Garden. Without time constraints. Taking however long it takes. They don’t stop, and watch the butterflies. They never watch the bees moving from one flower to the next, pollinating the trees. They never watch the ducks, or geese, as they lazily swim around on the lakes.

They are blind.

Did you know, if you really try, if you sit quietly, close your eyes, and just listen, and you keep listening long enough, you can hear yourself breathe. I do that all the time. Did you know, if you practice, and you learn to listen to the things your body tells you, you can feel your own pulse. Your own heartbeat.

I know these things. I see them every day. I know the magic that is life. The magic of watching a 5-year-old cat sleep on your lap. Of watching the clouds as they slowly move, and change, in the sky. Of watching the neighbors dog chase a butterfly, not wanting to catch it, or kill it. Just wanting to chase it, and play with it. Of watching a wild rabbit carefully pick the best weeds growing in the yard, and eat them. Of watching a baby bunny grow through summer, becoming a rabbit able to survive on its own. Of watching a momma duck lead her tiny little ducklings to a lake.

I know the magic of seeing Camellia trees in full bloom in January, in the snow. When people tell me, “It’s cold. And there’s nothing out there to see.”

I know the magic of stretching out on my sofa, with the window curtains pulled aside, and the sun shining through them, on to me. Of taking a nap in that sunshine.

The magic is there. Every day. All I have to do is stop. And look. I don’t have to look for it. All I have to do is look around. It’s there. Everywhere.

People are blind. They can’t see that. They don’t know the magic’s there. They think I’m crazy. Or strange. Or broken in some way.

I’m not.

If I were there, I’d give you a great big hug. Then, even if I had to sit you in a wheelchair, and carry a 2 liter bottle of water with me, I’d take you on a long walk through the roses, the butterflies, and the flower gardens at the botanical garden. I’d stop any time you wanted. I’d let you look all you wanted. I’d let you feel the sun. The breeze.

I’d just appreciate the gift you are, my friend.

We are all different. We are all unique.

Smile, you. That’s the greatest gift of all. The gift of a smile.

#12DaysBop : Day 5 – Camellia Blooms

It’s day 5 of Stacy Hoyt’s 12 Days Of Christmas Blog Hop. Today, the topic is flowers. I love flowers. And this time, I went with something true, for someone I remember…


IMG_2655They say, as long as you remember someone, they are still alive. At least in some way. I like that thought very much. Because it means you’re still alive. Because, I remember you. We went to high school together. You were one of my friends. I had so few friends back then.

I remember your smile. The way it made your eyes crinkle. I used to look in those eyes of yours. They weren’t the prettiest I’d ever seen. But they were pretty. Yes, you weren’t a hot chick. It was the 70s. The days of Charlie’s Angles. Dukes of Hazard. You certainly didn’t compare to Jill Munroe, or Daisy Duke. But then, who did? You looked pretty to me.

I’m sorry for all the 33 years we missed between then, and when we met again. It was sad to learn you were so very ill. I remember calling you. Some people said I was doing that ’cause I was being nice to you. They said I was doing that ‘cause it was the right thing to do. But you knew. You knew I was calling you because I wanted to. I wanted to talk with you. Not that I ever said much. But I did love to listen to your voice.

I’d hoped to visit you someday. Meet your family. But that never happened.

You loved the pictures of flowers I shared with you. Especially the Camellias. I find sometimes, walking here, through the Camellia trees filled with blooms. I remember you. Your smile. Your laughter. The sound of your voice.

I’m glad I do. And maybe someday. When when it’s my turn to move on. I’ll get the chance to visit you again.


Please go enjoy the rest of the stories in the blog hop. There are some really gifted writers out there. It’s well worth reading their work. You can find the other entries here:

The 12 Days Of Christmas Blog Hop, Day 5 – The Gift Of Flowers

Finding My Wings : For Amy

Tonight,
I make this wish.
A wish for a friend.
A simple wish
For I have learned,
Those are the best wishes
Of all.

I wish  for you tonight
To find your heart and soul.
Your self.
The you that life intended
To bless this world with
On the day your were born.

It won’t be easy.
I speak from experience.
But that’s not really the point.
Nor is finding that answer
To the question
“Who am I?”

It’s a question I’ve been asking
Of this life
More than twice as long
As you’ve been alive.
And I truly don’t know
If there’s an answer
At all.

But I’ve learned.
It’s not the answer
That matters.
It’s the journey.
The walk.
And all the things that happen
On the way.

It was almost 2 years ago
When the journey I am on
Changed dramatically.
I’ve told you that before.
And that change
Was wrought with pain.
More than I have ever known.

But it seems to me
Sometimes
Pain is what we have to face
To take the next step
Down the path
Of the journey
Each of us is on.

I know to many souls
That stopped walking
Long ago.
The pain got in the way.
And they became afraid.
And settled for staying
Where they were.

They haven’t changed.
They haven’t grown.
In years.
Some of them in decades.

I know this to be true.
Not so very long ago
I was one of them.

But you,
My friend,
Have not let fear
Stop you.

I can’t imagine
What it took
To take the step
You took this week.

I wish I could tell you
What it is you’ll find
On this journey you are on.
But I know I can’t.
For it’s your journey to take
Not mine.

Life’s like that.
We’re each different.
We each walk
A different path.

But I’ve seen you take
Your next big step
Along the way.
And I can‘t help but feel
It was so hard to do.
And I can’t help but know
It’s what you heart told you
You had to do.

And that’s good enough for me.

Follow your heart,
Dear friend.
For written in your heart
Is the story of the path
Life wished for you
On the day
You were born.

If you listen carefully.
It will never lie to you.
It will simply be your guide
In life.

On your journey
To find you.

Tonight,

I make this wish.

A wish for a friend.

A simple wish

For I have learned,

Those are the best wishes

Of all.

I wish  for you tonight

To find your heart and soul.

Your self.

The you that life intended

To bless this world with

On the day your were born.

It won’t be easy.

I speak from experience.

But that’s not really the point.

Nor is finding that answer

To the question

“Who am I?”

It’s a question I’ve been asking

Of this life

More than twice as long

As you’ve been alive.

And I truly don’t know

If there’s an answer

At all.

But I’ve learned.

It’s not the answer

That matters.

It’s the journey.

The walk.

And all the things that happen

On the way.

It was almost 2 years ago

When the journey I am on

Changed dramatically.

I’ve told you that before.

And that change

Was wrought with pain.

More than I have ever known.

But it seems to me

Sometimes

Pain is what we have to face

To take the next step

Down the path

Of the journey

Each of us is on.

I know to many souls

That stopped walking

Long ago.

The pain got in the way.

And they became afraid.

And settled for staying

Where they were.

They haven’t changed.

They haven’t grown.

In years.

Some of them in decades.

I know this to be true.

Not so very long ago

I was one of them.

But you,

My friend,

Have not let fear

Stop you.

I can’t imagine

What it took

To take the step

You took this week.

I wish I could tell you

What it is you’ll find

On this journey you are on.

But I know I can’t.

For it’s your journey to take

Not mine.

Life’s like that.

We’re each different.

We each walk

A different path.

But I’ve seen you take

Your next big step

Along the way.

And I can‘t help but feel

It was so hard to do.

And I can’t help but know

It’s what you heart told you

You had to do.

And that’s good enough for me.

Follow your heart,

Dear friend.

For written in your heart

Is the story of the path

Life wished for you

On the day

You were born.

If you listen carefully.

It will never lie to you.

It will simply be your guide

In life.

On your journey

To find you.

Sometimes

Today, the isolation I live with
Cuts me to the bone.
Leaves me with a choice.

Sit here
And feel the pain
Of having no one to talk with.
No one to laugh with.
No one to cry with.
No one at all.

Or bury the pain
Beneath other things.
Housework.
Dishes.
Laundry.
Mowing the yard.
Anything at all
So I don’t have to feel
Alone.

She’s at work.
And will be.
For another 8 hours.
And many times
When she comes home
She’s tired.
And we don’t talk.

But I get to hug her.
If only for a little while.
I get to watch her.
To see her smile.
To see the light
Within her eyes.

I watch Twitter relentlessly.
Reading tweet after tweet.
Knowing all I’m doing
Is observing.
Knowing I don’t understand
The conversations going on.
At all.

I watch Facebook endlessly.
Waiting for a new post
To show up on my wall.
Even though I know
It won’t mean anything.
Anything
At all.

At times I wander
To the book store
Down the road.
Where I examine
Magazines.
And books.
Galore.

Sometimes I walk
Through the aisles
And displays
At the local Best Buy store.
Picking up,
And putting down
Items all the time.

Sometimes I even visit
A fast food restaurant.
On my own.
And watch other people there
Spend time with each other.

I think they call it socializing.
But I’m not really sure.

And all the while
My hands scream out in pain.
“Let us touch something
Alive!”

I gave up screaming
Many years ago.
No one ever heard.
There was no one to hear.
So I don’t scream
Anymore.

People tell you that the pain
Goes away with time.
And that with time
You make new friends.
Add more people
To your life.

They lie.

People group together
For a reason.
It feels comfortable to them.
They understand each other.
Each knowing
How the other feels.
What the other thinks.

They like the same TV shows.
The same movies.
The same restaurants.
Even the same drinks.

They know what to say
To each other.
How and when to speak.
When to laugh.
When to smile.
When to cry.

And they stay away from people
That can’t behave like that.
That just get it all wrong.
Or even not quite right.

They say,
“He’s just a little off.
Eccentric.
A little strange.”
And they avoid that person
After that.

Everyone just goes away.

They say,
“You can’t be that way.
You can’t do that.
You know what to do.
You know what you did.”
Even if you don’t.
And once they’ve said those words.
To them.
You’re gone.

Not one human heart I know
Wants to be alone.
Wants no one to talk with.
Wants no hand to hold.

It’s an endless isolation
I’ve lived with
All my life.

And every now and then
I find someone
Living with the pain
I live with
Every day.

I worry about them.
For they are not me.
They have not survived
The things I have survived
In the life I lead.

I know I’ll survive.
I know I’ll be OK.
I’ve walked through the depths of hell itself.
And lived to tell the tale.

But sometimes
Even I can feel
The isolation I live with
Every day.

It never really goes away.
Never has.
Never will.

Sometimes
All I really feel
Is pain.

The Brilliant Light On The Far Side Of The Darkness

[Author’s note : I wrote this on 02/04/2011, while I was still working through the darkest part of my life. I am putting this one back up, because I know someone I wish to share it with.

Things change, my friend. Things change. All it takes is time.

Mark.]

I just got out
Of the sauna.
A little toy
My lady bought
Back in 2009.

It’s a two person sauna.
Sits in the corner
Of the master bedroom.
And given that our central heat
Has been dead
For the past 11 months,
It’s turned into
A really nice little room
To sit down in
And read.

And that’s just what I did.
Turned that sucker on.
Set the temp
To 96 degrees
(Fahrenheit or course,
‘Cause that I understand).
Set the time
To 60 minutes.
Pulled off my socks.
Put on my shorts.
Grabbed my book,
My Kobo e-reader,
My Tank of a cell phone,
And MP3 player.
Turned my music on.
And got right into that room.

Oh, but that felt good.
And why wouldn’t it?
Sitting here at my desk,
The thermometer says
It’s a whopping 57.
It’s not that bad,
Really.
You get used to it
After a couple of weeks.

I read another chapter
In the book I’m reading
By Pema Chodron.
“When Things Fall Apart”.
Another book I find
That I like a whole lot.

When I spoke this morning
With my doctor,
He and I agreed
That I’m going to be OK.
That I’ve found the path for me.
The path that leads
To where I want to be.

We spoke of how very
Self-destructive I’d become
In October, November, and December.
And I shared this story
With my doctor.

The first time that it snowed.
In December, that is.
When I was out there
Walking in that snow.
That’s when I realized
How very close I was
To the end of me.
And everything
I might have ever been.

I was just one step away.
For as I walked along
In the snow that day,
I could see all the reasons why
I would bring things
To an end.
And I could understand
So very clearly
Why some people do.

I don’t mean
To upset anyone of you.
I really don’t.
So please let me
Finish writing down
The words I have to say.

As I walked outside that day,
Out there in the snow,
I came to a point in life
Where I could go left,
Or I could go right.

If I was too afraid
To continue on.
I could go left.
And that would be
The end of me.
Suicide, was to the left,
You see.

I went to the right.
Because I decided,
More than 30 years ago,
That suicide
Was not my way.
Was not me.
That I would never run.
That I would not take
That easy way.
That my fear
Would never
Destroy me.

The path that led
To the right,
Lead me into pain.
Pain that I have never felt
In all my days.

I told my doctor of
All the injuries I’ve had.
Damaged ligaments,
Separated joints,
And broken bones.
And that I’d rather have
All those injuries
At once,
That walk through that kind of pain
Again.

But walk through that pain
I did.
And I’m here today.
That proves I did.
And I know this simple truth.
If I can live through that.
I can live
Through anything.

And having walked
Through such agony.
I’ve begun to catch a glimpse
Of the life I’ll have
When I get through
All of this.

And the little bit I’ve seen
Is more than worth
Every bit of pain,
Every ache that my heart had,
And every tear
That my soul cried.

For I have glimpsed
The light that lives
On the other side
Of the darkness
I’ve been in
For so very long.

And it’s a light
That I can always reach
Every single day
If I just take the time,
And use what I have learned,
To find my smile
Again.

For when I find my smile,
I find that I am walking
Once again,
In that brilliant light I’ve found
On the far side of
The darkest days
I’ve ever had to face.

And I really hope that you
Can find your smile.
For if you truly can
I believe that you
Will find your way
To the brilliant light
On the far side
Of your darkest days.

Captain Of A Shipwreck

I’m trying my hand at another Flash Fiction challenge. This one is the #FridayNightWrite, hosted at Sweet Banana Ink. This is my entry…

She stopped at my desk one day, an hour before lunch. “Walk with me.” She didn’t ask. She knew I would. I remember so clearly the tone of her voice. The tension in it. The fear. The confusion. I took a good look into her eyes. The pretty blue that I normally saw was gone. Replaced by an intense, panic-stricken blue.

I got up, and took a walk with her. Would have gone anywhere she asked. My heart told me too. Told me something was horribly wrong. We walked through the halls of the building. A path we’d walked before. No one watching us would have thought anything was wrong. Somehow, I knew that’s what she wanted.

I opened the door to the stairs, and let her through. Then followed. As we walked down the stairs, she told me what was wrong. “That doctor’s appointment, Friday? That was a mammogram. I got the results last night.” She stopped walking and held on to the stair rail. She closed her eyes, briefly, and took a breath. “It’s breast cancer.”

I stood there, next to her. On the stairs. “I knew something was wrong. When you told me you were going to the doctor’s on Friday, everything went black.”

“I’m scared,” She resumed our descent down the stairs. “Really scared.”

I didn’t say anything. She knew how I felt. Knew I considered her to be my friend. I understood she was trusting me with information she didn’t want others to know. As we reached the foot of the stairs, she paused again. “I need you here. I need you to be here. For me. Can you be here? For me?”

If I were a knight on a horse, I would have drawn my sword, and fought any dragon she asked me to. If she was surrounded by a fire, I would have burned in the flames, trying to rescue her. If she were the captain of a sinking ship, I would have put her on the last lifeboat, in my place.

I was none of those things. I was just me. Another person she worked with five days a week. A friend who took pictures of flowers and shared them with her. Someone that tried to write poetry every now and then. She always asked to read everything I wrote.

“Yes.”

There was nothing else I could have said.

I wish I could tell you how things ended. I wish I could tell you how she’s doing. That it all worked out OK. That I walked through hell with her. But I can’t. The simple truth is 12 weeks after her first surgery, I was sent out on medical leave. All contact between myself, and the people I worked with was banned. That was two years ago. And in that two years, I have never heard from any of the people that I used to know.

She’s Crippled By Fear

She told me,
“I can’t get involved.
I can’t care.
I can’t do anything.
But pray.”

And that night.
When our conversation
Reached it’s end.
My heart ached
Within my chest.
And my soul
Cried so very many
Tears of pain.

I have wondered
Since that day.
How deeply she was hurt
When everything in her life
Came apart.

I know she got divorced.
I know things didn’t end well.
She raised her daughter
On her own.
The father was simply gone.

I know there are other things
That just went wrong.
And I know those things
Left scars
Upon her heart and soul.
As they would
On anyone’s.

But the words she said to me
That day.
I’ll remember them
Always.
They will echo in my memory
Through the rest
Of my days.

For to me
They said one thing.

“I can’t risk being hurt again.”

And each time I think of this,
Each time I think of her.
And the words she shared
That day.

My heart aches once again.
And my soul cries more tears
Of pain.

For I’ve learned
Pain is a part of life.
One of the many things
That defines us.
Grows us.
Tempers us.
So that we become
Who and what
Life meant for us to be.

Pain is just emotion.
Like laughter.
And like tears.
Like anger.
And like joy.
Like everything
We feel
In our hearts.
And souls.

I would not be the person
That I am today
If I had done everything I could
To avoid,
At any cost,
More pain.

I spoke two days ago.
Of a friend of mine
That’s passed beyond
The veil of life.
She’s gone.
And I’ll never hear her voice
Again.
She’s not there
To share stories with.
I’ll never make her laugh.
I’ll never have another chance
To see her
Face-to-face.

I watched what she endured
In her last months and years
With us.
Here on this Earth.
In the life we lead.

And I watched
As people left.
They quit talking
With her.
They went away.
Left her alone.
Isolated.

Sometimes people do things
That are so heartless.
And so cruel.

The simple truth is
They all left
So that they wouldn’t have to hurt
When her time here
Reached it’s end.

And my heart aches for them.
For the truth is
I have memories
Of my friend
That they don’t have.
And never will.

Because they were afraid
Of pain.
Afraid of being hurt
Once more.
The kind of hurt
That makes you cry.
That brings tears to your eyes.

And shows how fragile,
And how fleeting
The lives we are blessed with
Really are.

She spoke to me one day.
She said these words to me,
“I can’t get involved.
I can’t care.
I can’t do anything.
But pray.”

And every time I remember
The words she said that day
My heart aches in my chest.
And my soul cries tears of pain.
For I know
She’s going through her life
Crippled.
By her fear
Of being hurt again.

And I know
Also,
She’s not alone.
She’s not the only one
That’s turned their back on life,
And is running from the thought
Of being hurt again.

I just wish there was a way
I could show here what I see
When I look around.
And watch the things
That people do.

I just wish there was a way
I could explain to her
What the words she shared
With me that day
Mean to me.

Pain is a part of life.
It’s another things I feel.
I see no reason
To avoid it,
Any more than I
Would go out of my way
To avoid laughter,
And smiles.

It’s just a feeling.
And feelings
Change.

I Remember…

As I sit here tonight.
Writing down these words.
I remember.
God help me.
I remember.

I remember a hug.
That wasn’t supposed to happen.
That was a big surprise.
That I never saw coming.

I remember the texture
Of the clothing she wore.
My fingers burning the sensation
Of the fabric
Of her sweater
Into my memory.

I remember
The way her hair felt.
Against my cheek.
Another memory.
Burned into my brain cells.
Forever.

I remember.
So much.

Other memories are there.
Like another hug.
Oh, so long ago.
I can still remember
The smell of her perfume.
The texture of her hair.
How it felt
To have her arms
Around my neck.

I can remember other things.
So many other things.

Watching tears fall.
From hazel eyes.
And wishing.
I could somehow.
Turn back time.
And change the things
That caused those tears.
That caused the hurt
I could not help but see
In those eyes.
That is forever
Burned into my memory.

I can remember
Countless things.

The time I reached
Across the barrier
Of socially acceptable behavior.
Of the rules
That I’ve never understood.
And touched the hand
Of a friend.
Because I wanted her to know
That if she ever asked
For my help
I’d always find a way.

I remember
Gifts like these
From life to me.

Priceless memories.

All my life
I’ve wished.
I’ve prayed.
That God would free me
From my hands.
From my ability
To feel such things.

Why, God?
Why?
I’ve asked that countless nights.
I’ve screamed that to the heavens
Out beneath the stars.

Take my hands from me!
I can’t take this anymore!
I don’t want to feel
The things my hands feel!
Why did you give them to me?
Why!

Never once
In all the years
Did God answer me.

Never even once.

Instead, time passed.
And I collected memories
I sometimes wish
I didn’t have.
I sometimes wish
I could forget.

Until I finally understood
A little truth of life.
That shocked me.
Stunned me.
Caused my heart to ache
Within my chest.
And my soul
To shed more tears.

Until I came to understand
That not everyone has the gift
Of hands like mine.
Not everyone has memories
Forever burned into their mind
Of the things they’ve felt.
With the fingers of their hands.

Until I came to understand
That not everyone
Can see the hurt,
The pain,
The loneliness,
In another’s eyes.

Until I learned
That my heart aches
When one of my friends
Cries.
And the hearts
Of so many others.
People that I’ve known
All my life.
Don’t feel anything at all.

There are times,
Like tonight,
As I sit here
Writing down these words.

That I wish
I had a way
To just turn my hands off.
For just a little while.
So I could get a break
From all the things they feel.

But I know.
I know.
That the sensitivity of my hands,
And all the thngs they feel.
Is a part of me.
And without them
I would not be,
And could not be,
Who I am meant to be.

My hands feel so many things.
And because they do.
I can see the pain
In another’s eyes.
I can hear the music
In another’s laughter.
And my heart remains alive
Inside of me.

God gave me these hands.
So that I could learn,
And know,
And understand.

That it’s OK to feel.
And it’s OK to care.

I remember the texture
Of the sweater
That she wore
On the day that she hugged me.
Even though that happened
Years ago.

I remember things like this.
As if they happened
Yesterday.

Can you?