Dear Mom (Mommy),

It’s been ten years. Ten years ago, this week, you turned 42. I don’t remember what we did for your birthday. DId you like it? Was it special? In fact, I probably was not even there. I was at the university going to school, hardly aware that it would be the last birthday we would celebrate. Did you know then that you’d remain 42 forever?

A decade is a monumental amount of time to be absent. I lived through my twenties. Jacob and Maddi spent their teen years without you.

Ten years. In ten years I’ve lived in another country, traveled to more. I biked around an active volcano, bungee jumped, and went on many road trips. In the last ten years, I became a teacher. Like you. I bet you never thought I’d want to follow your footsteps. I even got a Master’s degree. Ten years is so much time. Maddi went to nursing school. Jake is almost out of college.

In another decade, ten more years without you, I’ll reach your eternal age. What will I have to show? A handful of accomplishments and a room full of milestones. But you’ll miss those too. Because, you will remain forever 42.

The world keeps moving, minutes tick, hours ache, and we live. A blink, and the time has passed. But there is something missing, and each year it is becoming more difficult to remember. Your voice. Your Yell. Your laugh.

Ten years. Although your life ceased a decade ago. You’ve never really gone. You are the ink in my pen, the shadow in my step, and the beat in my heart. So, for the tenth year continuing, happy 42nd birthday. You are in my soul. Everything that I achieve is because of you.

I love you always,

Your Daughter (Me)

My Christmas Spirit

I wrote this piece awhile back. It is for someone very important in my life. This person, even though she thinks I dislike her most of the time, I really don’t. It is true when I was younger, I thought she ruined my life. But really, she made me a less selfish human being. My sister graduates college on Tuesday, and will be all growed up. This is for her.

My Christmas Spirit

                 Tip toe, tip toe. There is no stumbling or fumbling as I make my way into a sea of darkness. This house, this place is mine. I learned to walk, talk, read, and love here. These white walls that surround my bedroom crawling with late night shadows are held up by my memories created here, the good and bad. I wander out into the blackness with purpose, blinded, but eyes wide open, adjusting. The darkness carries me; a guiding hand in my secret mission.

Quietly and quickly I creep across the entry hall. A lonesome, wooden cactus guards the front door (his years have now taken toll, as he’s been demoted to living room patrol). Falling stealthily against the kitchen wall; smells of fresh baked pie still cooling on the stove greet my nose, cherry and apple, I think. Earlier festivities resonate in my memory, but there is no time for that now. I have business to attend to. Searching the kitchen, empty counter tops leave no sign of life. The dishwasher light blinks monotonously at me, begging to be emptied. I can see a few dishes in the sink, clinging to remnants of turkey dinner with a think layer of film forming across left over gravy. Then my eyes approach the kitchen table, I see it. Crumbs scattered across the plate, half a cookie left, maybe. Yes! I think to myself, Santa does like Chips-A-Hoy. I was worried, I’m glad he didn’t take my mom’s pies.

Missing cookies was my cue. I scurried across the kitchen floor, almost tile surfing on my socks. First, I peeked cautiously around the corner of the other kitchen entrance catching just a glimpse of the tree in the corner and the flicker of the lights shining. They lit up my first Christmas tree ornament, other I hand crafted from kindergarten and first grade. Popcorn strings, I had insisted on decorating the tree with, hugged the branches. There she stood in all her glory, tall and proud, in the dark of night- like a piece of family artwork. My eyes fell towards the floor as I stepped into the living room, not before almost bumping the TV cabinet running along the wall on my left side. Recovering, I looked again, because that of course was what I had come for. The bike, orange, pink, and green, towered next to the Christmas tree. A two-wheeler at last! I had only waited my whole life! (All seven and three-quarter years) But, just as quickly that my joy came, it faded as my gaze slowly wrapped itself around the tree. It was a mound of presents dressed in pinks and pale yellows. Suddenly that mound look like Mt. Everest. I would never be able to conquer it. Waves of jealousy swept through me. I knew it had been a disaster from the beginning, when ten months ago, two words were uttered across my mother’s lips. Now, I was being haunted by ghost gifts that had taken form in Santa’s presence.

I moved a little further inward, the carpet warming my feet below, looking across the room my rocking horse was sitting in the corner playing in the shadows. My heart skipped a beat when I saw by my rocking horse, the baby swing- lingering music. My breath became shallower to a point where I thought I’d pass out. The tantalizing smell of cinnamon was my rescuer. Faintly traceable from the kitchen, the scent reached up into me stretching and driving forward finally settling inside; heightening my sense and awakening my Christmas spirit.

In that moment I realized just how beautiful the room looked at this late hour. The lights from the Christmas tree were dancing across the room as if someone had just finished the Nutcracker Suite when I walked in. The moon was shining through the glass doors, gliding along the floor creating a lake of light. It was magical.

I spun around to go out of the living room the other direction near our old leather couches when she caught my eye. She must have been there the entire time. Light was just barely glowing around her as the held a bundle in her arms tilting a bottle to it.

The room was serene. Time has stopped while I stood there watching as everything came together, the guardian tree, lights twinkling over them, just enough so their faces were in shadow. The moon looked on from a distance, protector of all things small. I felt if I had dreamt anything, or wished anything at this moment it would have come true. But, I didn’t have to because anything I had ever wanted was all right there before me, witnessing this great magic. I walked over and gently kissed the bundle on the forehead, knowing what I had really waited my whole life for, contentment radiating from every pore.

“Go back to bed Alex,” whispered my mom.

NaNoWriMo Boycot

For awhile now I’ve been asking myself what is the meaning in all of my writing. It seems as though all the ideas I have been brainstorming as of late are senseless, meaningless. And, then I just did it. I boycotted National Novel Writing Month. The one month when I was supposed to spend the whole month working diligently on one of my many novels, I couldn’t do it. I didn’t see the point. I have so many that I want to write, yet they all seem like nothing. That they will never be worth one good story, whatever that story is.What is that story? Where is it? Why am I boycotting writing in hopes that a story will come to me that is worth writing about? My whole notion seems senseless. Yet, here it is December 5th, and I have once again been writing for a little over a week now. But the writing is nothing of consequence. Where is the passion? I need something to once again threaten me and give life back into my words. I cannot say that boycotting a whole month devoted to writing novels is the right choice, though I feel like a book worm is making it’s way through my brain and eating my words as I type. I only hope that my inspiration returns once more, renewed and refreshed.

The First Bike Ride

I like empty parking lots

after fall storms.

Humid air clings to clammy skin

hard breaths puff from lungs.

Like mirages,

miniature puddles gleam in the

peaking sun.

Rays poke through-

left over clouds hanging

low,

for that last chance

shower.

Training wheels and two-wheelers

cycle ’round my memories-

shadows,

in empty parking lots

dancing after fall storms.

 

Into Writing

I desperately wanted to be one of those writers that could impress with their humorous anecdotes. I wanted to have intricate, witty banter woven into my prose and poetry. But then,

my pencil broke,

my paper ripped,

I turned fourteen and my grandfather died.

The darkness began to creep in at first; just a shadow in my heart. A few years later my aunt had a routine surgery and forgot how to draw her own breath. She left too. The blackening shadows began wrapping their tendrils through my ventricles and choking my words.

A month later, my mother had a migraine, closed her eyes in the hospital and didn’t remember to open them. Little by little as death clenched its arms around me, the shadow in my heart extended into my extremities.

Now my words breathe life into paper through a haunted soul, escaping death’s reaches.

Still, humor evades me.

Inspiration

Sometimes my words are empty. They come out with too much air in between and not enough mass. I’m losing detail. My inspiration is drying like rain on a summer day in Arizona. It evaporates before it even touches the ground.

I have taken a wrong turn somewhere and now I am lost down a darkening forest path. There is no light, the trail is thorny and muddled with debris. I can only escape through writing my way out. I stand till awaiting a sound, a whisper, any clue of direction. The trees stand silent, leaves tranquil, forbidden to answer my pleas. The animals retreat to the shadows, alas I must find inspiration in darkest corner and furthest reaches. So I sit where I have been stumped and write.

I let the words guide my pencil until they dry up like the rain. Then I know, the ideas will spring forth once again, and I will light my way from this tumultuous, winding path. Where I will emerge into the pages of a story dripping with freshly spun yarns.

picture courtesy of deviantArt