Every Now And Then

Every now and then
I remember.
Who I used to be.
What I used to do.
Who I used to know.

I remember the words
The Princess of Laughter spoke.
“We will always be friends.”
And
“I promise you.
We will both be OK.”

I remember names.
I remember faces.
Of people I worked with.
Some of them
For 13 years.

Until October 12th
Of 2010.
That was the day
Everything changed.
That was the day
I was blocked
From the work place.

That was the day
When everything that was
Erupted into flames.
That would burn uncontrolled.
Until everything that was
Was turned to ash
That slowly floated away,
Carried on the wind.

Leaving nothing.
Nothing at all.
Of what had been.

Sometimes I remember
Lessons that I learned
Through fire.
And through pain.
About the way
That people are.
About the way
They behave.

Sometimes I remember
The words I was told
They’d all said
About me.
How they all claimed
They were concerned.

I learned, with time
They all believed they were
Concerned for me.
What I was going through.
That they were concerned
For my family.

Hell,
I even learned
Some of them prayed
For me.

But there was a line
In their reality
They could not cross.
A line I’ve learned
Does not exist
For me.

I can do much more
Than pray.
For I am not afraid
Of any of the things
That could happen
If I show I care
For someone that I know.

Everyone there knew
She had cancer.
She was fighting for her life.
No one changed.
No one at all.
Except for me.

In their own way
Several of the people
I once knew
Tried to talk with me.
And warn me.
Of what would happen.

I didn’t understand their words.
Didn’t understand at all
Their concern for me.
And for the job I’d had
For 28 years
At that point.

The assumption, of course,
Was that I understood
What everyone was saying.
Because they all said
The same things.
They all behaved
The same way.

None of the people I worked with
Ever understood the truth.
That I don’t understand
Their social behavior ways.
Those ways
Elude me
To this day.
They always have.
They always will.

That’s part of what Autism is.

Sometimes I remember
People that I found
Along the way
From the life I’d had.
To the life I’m building now.

And much to my dismay,
They behaved the same way
As the people
I once worked with.

More than once
I heard the words,
“I can’t get involved.
All I can do
Is pray.”

I’ve learned.
People are afraid.
Of life.
Of pain.
Of change.
Of anything
They can’t control.
They can’t understand.

I’ve learned.
I was removed from work.
Because I was
One of those things.
That could not be controlled.
That could not be understood.

A lot of people
Were afraid of me.

They never needed to be.

Sometimes I remember
What once was.
And every time I do
I end up asking God.

Don’t give up on them.
Please don’t give up on them.
Find a way,
Like you did with me,
To wake them up.
To bring them back to life.
So they can understand
How cold.
How heartless.
How afraid.
They have become.

I can ask God for that.
For in very many ways.
I used to be the same
As the people
I once knew.

A Clip From Chapter 25 Of JuNoWriMo 2012

Sunshine slept in her little home. Where she felt so very safe. She hadn’t felt like she belonged anywhere at all for a long time. But now, she felt like she was home. Like she belonged with Mystica. At the lake. In her little home.

She’d gone to sleep. Like she’d done for the first four nights. But on this night, while she slept, she dreamed. And her dreams turned into nightmares.

She dreamed of a fire. A big fire. And her father was trapped in that fire. He couldn’t fly. He couldn’t get away. And she wanted so very much to help him. But she was so little. She didn’t even have real wings yet. Just little tiny wings. Her wings had just started to grow out. So she couldn’t fly.

The fire raged. And she could hear her father scream, as the fire reached him. She was so desperate she tried to run into the fire to save her father. But the fire was too hot. She had to run back out. And her own hair, and her clothes, were on fire. Someone had thrown a bucket of water on her, dousing out the flames. But she was hurt. Her hair was ruined. She had burns on her face, hands, legs and back. And she hurt all over. In her nightmare, her father kept on screaming. But she couldn’t save him. She couldn’t help him.

And then, his screams stopped. And Sunshine knew. He was dead. He was gone. Burned alive in the fire. She couldn’t save him. She couldn’t help him.

In her sleep, she tossed and turned. Rolling all over her bed. And as she did, the weather outside took a turn for the worse. As she ran into the fire in that nightmare she was having, lightning struck the clearing by the lake. And it set fire to the grasses. As she was hurt by the flames in her nightmare, lightning struck the lake. And then it struck several trees. And the wind began to blow.

As Sunshine’s father screamed in the roaring fires, the winds outside blew worse and worse. And the fire on the grasses began to spread. Reaching the trees. The winds blew small tree limbs off of trees, and added them to the fire.

As her father’s screams fell silent, Sunshine began to cry. And outside, it began to rain. A heavy rain. That doused out all the flames. But the wind continued howling.

It was bad enough that it woke Mystica up. At first she wasn’t sure what was happening. Other than there was a nasty storm outside. But then the realized the storm was caused by Sunshine while she slept. And that meant just one thing. Sunshine was having a nightmare.

Mystica hadn’t even bothered to take the time to dress. She’d raced out of her home, and hurtled across the lake to the home of Sunshine. Where she’d peeked into her daughter’s home. And saw her crying on the bed.

“My daddy’s gone. My daddy’s gone.” Was all Sunshine said.

Mystica had taken Sunshine from her little home that night. And carried her across the lake. Where she tucked her into bed. And Sunshine spent the rest of that night sleeping with her new mother.

A Clip From Chapter 22 Of JuNoWriMo 2012

Rain woke the next morning. And she decided that if her name was Rain, and everyone called her that anyway, then she was going to make it rain. She was going to make it rain like no one had ever seen it rain before. She was going to make it rain like the sky itself was made of water. And she’d make the wind blow too.

And that’s just what she did. Oh, the storm she caused. The wind howled through the kingdom. It was so fierce that no one ventured outside their homes. The rain fell. As if nature itself had dumped an entire lake on the kingdom, all at one time. And in the wind, the rain fell almost horizontally to the ground.

And it was cold. A bitter, angry cold. A cold that caused the bones to ache. And the teeth to chatter. And the water on the ground, and trees, and houses, to turn to ice.

And Rain stood outside the kingdom. Beneath the sheltering wing of a dragon. And the rain did not fall there. It fell all around. She could see the ice on the ground. She could see it raining in all directions, as far as she could see. But it didn’t rain where the dragons were.

The fifth dragon protected them all from the weather.

Musica stood next to rain, beneath the wing of that dragon. And Musica cried. Tears of hurt, and pain. Tears for the loss of everything she’d had in the village she’d called her home. Tears of bitterness from when she’d been abandoned, and left to die, all alone, in the Gray Hills. Tears of anger that people could be so very cruel. Throwing away little children like her, and Rain. Because they were different. And not understood.

Musica didn’t play her flute. She didn’t sing. She was hurt. And angry. And she wished the storm that Rain was causing could somehow make everything OK. She could see how hurt Rain was. She could see the tears that Rain cried. Hot tears of anger.

The storm raged. Hour after hour. Rain stood there, beneath the wing of the dragon. And let all the hurt she felt pour out onto the ground. She’d lost everything. Her mommy. Her daddy. Her home. Even her room at the castle. Because of the nasty people of the kingdom. “She’s dangerous!” they’d said. “We need to get rid of her!” they’d said. “For the safety of us all!” they’d said. And like the little girl she was, Rain finally lashed out. And let her anger show. “I hate you all!” she screamed. “I hate you all! I hate you all!”

And the wind blew. The roofs came off of several houses. The fairies inside those homes became very wet, and very cold. And the wind buffeted them. Eyela’s soldiers did the best they could to bring those families inside the castle. Where it was safe. And dry. But even then, the wind howled, and moaned, and screamed, as it sought the windows of the castle, and came in through them. Like a living thing.

More and more people in the kingdom were leaving their homes, and heading into the castle. The first floor of the castle was filled to overflowing. And still the storm continued. There was ice on everything. Ice like no one could remember in all the years the fairies had been in the Southern Plains.

And still the storm raged.

A Clip From Chapter 20 of JuNoWriMo 2012…

As the sun began to set, the two girls grew tired. They pulled up some hay, and made a soft spot on the ground. Then they both curled up on it. And went to sleep. They both slept soundly on that night.

With five dragons watching over them.

That night, the fairies had attacked once more. This time the second pair of dragons had acted. The first dragon had blown wind. He took a deep breath, and looked at the fairies flying in the night, and he blew his breath out right at them. The flying fairies were caught in a tempest. Winds far stronger than any they had ever flown in. It blew them backwards in the air. Carrying them for miles. It was like they were little leaves from trees that had fallen on the surface of a mountain stream. And the stream carried them away.

The second dragon had looked at the fairies gathering at the wall to attack again. His eyes had glowed bright red. And fire had lanced out of them. Striking the wall. Knocking the fairies off of it.

The fairies had retreated. They didn’t try to attack again. Enough of them had been injured in the attacks they’d tried so far.

The dragons didn’t sleep that night. They didn’t need to. Dragons only had to sleep once in a while. They could go for days, and some of them for weeks, without sleep. They stayed awake, and watched over the girls all night.

A Clip From Chapter 14 of JuNoWriMo 2012.

Through her tears, Gentle Breeze reached down to pick her daughter up, and hug her.

“Mommy? What’s wrong? Why can’t daddy come home?”

Gentle Breeze couldn’t talk through her tears. She could only hold her child. It was Eyela that spoke. “Because he’s dead. He died in a fire. Trying to save a little girl.” Eyela placed a hand on Verdant Green’s cheek. “He’s gone, little one.” Eyela was crying too. “He’s gone. And even if he wanted to come back, he can’t. Your daddy doesn’t exist any more.”

Daddy doesn’t exist.

Daddy can’t come home.

Daddy’s gone.

Verdant Green didn’t know, before that night, what death was. Everybody just lived forever. But that night. In that room. With her mother, and the Queen. She realized that sometimes, people end. And become no more.

And she cried. Oh, how she cried! Her world was changed. Her world was destroyed. Everything she’d always known changed. And her heart cried out in pain. “Daddy’s gone.” And little Velvet Rose realized she’d never see him again. Ever.

And oh, did she cry.

And as she cried, the sky outside filled with clouds. Black clouds. Blotting out the stars, and moon. And the wind started to blow. Growing stronger, and stronger. Until it howled between the houses, and the buildings of the kingdom. Screaming down the streets. Blowing over anything that wasn’t anchored down. Rattling windows. It grew colder. And as it did, the wind grew that cold bite it has when it’s cold. That bite that makes you shiver. And huddle up indoors around the fire.

And then, it rained. Slowly at first. But the rain grew. Becoming a downpour. Streets flooded, floating things the wind had blown away down streets.

It was the worst rain storm anyone in the kingdom had ever seen.

And Verdant Green cried.

Daddy was gone.

Life Is Change

I stood next to my mentor. On the beach. It was bitterly cold. The wind was rushing in from the ocean. Lifting waves of loose sand, blowing them toward the dunes. The waves crashed into the shore, the wind adding catching a fine mist of water, blending it with the sand. The wind stripped away any body head I had. Leaving me even colder. My hands were numb. My ears ached. I found myself wishing I could go inside. Or back to the car. Anywhere that was out of the wind. “You wonder why you are here, yes?” He spoke. Always, he started with a question that he already knew the answer to. I merely nodded. Then he began the lesson of the day. He began walking toward the dunes. Along the way, he stopped, picking up a handful of dried, dead sea grass. It had that dull, gray-brown color. “Everything changes, young one. This is something you must learn.” He walked back toward the ocean. Right into the wind, with it’s sand, and ocean mist. Stopping just short of the waves. He made a fist, crushing the dead, dry grass he’d collected. Leaving only pieces, shards, fragments. Collected in his hand. Protected from the wind. “The people of this life collect up a few things. A career. A home. A car. A spouse. Children. All the things they believe define success. Much as I hold this dead grass in my hand.” He looked into the wind. “But the wind of life. It blows. The ocean of life. It’s waves come and go. It’s tide rises, and falls.” He looked up and down the beach, motioning that I should do the same. “As the wind blows. As the ocean’s waves come and go. The beach changes. It does not stay the same. It lets go of old things. Old forms. And welcomes new things. New forms.” “I can make what’s in my hand stay the same,” he explained. “So long as I keep it all within my closed hand. Where the wind can not blow it away. Where the ocean can not carry it to sea.” He smiled at me. “ I nodded my head. Then he continued. “I can interfere. I can block the wind. I can block the ocean. And keep what I have in my hand.” He looked at me. “But this is like me being able to stop, or control the weather. It would stop the flow of life.” He faced the wind, holding his hand out in front of himself. Opening his palm. And watching as their crushed, brown fragments blew away on the breeze. “Or, I can let the wind, and the water, do what they want to do. I can let them change what is in my hand.” I watched the fragments as the wind moved them from his hand. “Do you understand, young one?” I answered honestly, as I knew he would know if I were to lie. “No.” He smiled, then spoke. “Over the coming 6 months, you will spend the time required to come here. To this beach. Once a week. And you will stand here. And take pictures of the beach, both to the North and South. Examine each picture. Compare it to the other pictures. Remember what I have said and done here today. Then you will understand.” I did what he had asked of me. And as the six months came to an end, we reviewed my pictures. It was very clear what he’d said. The pictures showed how the beach changed, every week. How it was not static., always changing. He’d tried to warn me about the trap of losing my awareness of life, becoming defeated by always trying to prevent change. For as the sands of the beach changed each time I was there, with each picture I took. I realized that change simply is. And that static, and unchanging, is not. I spoke with my mentor then. About the pictures. He spoke. “Change is natural. It is part of the order of life. Static is not. It is part of the way of death. Where everything becomes stagnant. And slowly dies.” I remember his words to this day. Even now I can see him as he spoke those words. Life is not constant. Not static. It changes. And to prevent change is to prevent life. Gradually killing the very life you attempt to capture, and protect. It has been a difficult lesson to learn.