Reunion

“I’m home.”  I hear his voice and excitedly drop the pot I was washing back into the sudsy water. I turn the corner from the kitchen into the living room and my heart skips a beat. He’s been gone for six months and seeing him now – cornflower blue eyes, spiky hair, heart-shaped lips – I realize how much I’ve missed him. He drops his guitar and duffel bag on the floor and shrugs off his jacket. I run to him and bury my face in his neck, savoring the smell of soap and sweat. Our bodies fuse together as if they’re tailor made for each other. For months I’ve been bumbling along, stringing hours into days and days into weeks.

He kisses the top of my head and I sigh into his chest. I’m whole again.

Sailing

I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and take flight. My mind a willing partner with my heart as I sail through the air, escaping the stifling loneliness of my invisible prison walls. Up here freedom flows through me, lifting me ever higher. My heart dances and my mind finds peace. I am at once unchained.

A noise outside the window jars me from my reverie. A hitch in my breath and I fall back to earth, settling again into my dreary routine. Forlorn eyes reflect the hollow soul within me. I await my next flight.

Mindless

I haven’t been writing lately. I think about it every day. I get my daily word prompt and stare at it hoping for something. I tell myself that writers push through. But I don’t want to write if it doesn’t mean anything. I like my words to have feelings and connections. So I sit on the fence between beating myself up and letting myself be. And every so often I dash off a few words to stay in practice. Hello world, I’m still here.

Disconnect

**PLEASE NOTE** This is not a personal cry for help. It’s my social commentary on the breakdown of communication and fellowship that is largely lost in an increasingly digital and technological society.


 

She could count her friends on . . . well, she didn’t even need fingers. She was certain the people she knew LIKED her, but the late-night phone call on a Saturday night friend? That she didn’t have.

Do you really wonder why people leap to their deaths? It’s because in a world of 8 billion people, they can’t make a real connection to a single soul. And it’s not their fault. And it’s not your fault either. Not really. On this supercharged, high-pressure, success-driven, always plugged-in highway, some people never quite master the rules of the road – mere passengers in life. And, in their quest for the best, the ones in the fast lane drive right on by without a glance in their rear-view mirror. Each passenger on his own path, each driver worried about her own destination. Neither giving a thought to the basic and indispensable humanity underneath it all.

So, she sits alone every Saturday night. She stopped listening for the phone to ring a long time ago. And she always knows the location of the nearest bridge. It gives her a strange sort of comfort.

The Shoe Diaries

I’ve just spent the weekend in bed and let me say there’s nothing worse than laying in bed watching TV all day when you’re forced to rather than when you’re just lazy and it’s your choice. (Ok, that was a bit dramatic. I’ve been known to embellish for effect. And for sympathy. I got out of laundry duty today. Go me!)

I’ve got an injured foot. A rather vague description I know but I’m not convinced the Urgent Care doctor got it right when he diagnosed an arthritic toe joint. (I’m waaay too young for THAT word.) And the pain is in my arch not just my toe. Besides, according to WebMD my condition is near fatal. So I’m reserving judgment until I get into my family practice (which was booked last week) for a second opinion. And probably a referral to a podiatrist if this pain doesn’t let up soon. And with luck something stronger than ibuprofen.

In the meantime I iced, elevated and hobbled my way through the weekend, cringing every time I stepped the wrong way. And laid in bed flipping through 7000 channels of nothing to watch. And cried over my shoe closet. At least for the foreseeable future my feet will be flat on the ground. I had to reassure my beautiful heels that I wasn’t abandoning them. Even if they did almost kill me. Well, at least according to WebMD. Now where did I put my Will?

Waiting For A Star

She lived a charmed life. That’s what everyone thought. She was a shy girl from a small town who always wanted to get out, and she did. She told glorious stories about the places she had lived, sixteen cities and counting. She dressed impeccably, wore designer clothes, and considered mascara and jewelry to be both necessary and logical. She traveled to Paris, Rome, London, Spain, Athens, Vienna, her passport was filled with stamps and her mind was filled with memories. Her favorite color was Tiffany Blue. She lived a charmed life. That was the illusion. What they didn’t see was the nights she sat alone, staring at the dark sky, waiting for a star to wish upon.

The Loop of Grace

I’m not a particularly religious person. But I do have faith. And I believe in the basics of humanity, that everyone – despite our religious differences, despite our ethnic differences, despite the many other differences that drive us apart – has the capacity for grace. Father Robert Barron describes The Loop of Grace: “The more we give back to God, the more we get, and then we must give that back again, so as to get even more in return. This is the loop of grace.” I believe this has a more practical application in these troubled times. Substitute “others” for “God”. See how much your life changes. See how much you change the world.

Fourth of July Eve

It was a tradition dating back to high school. Every year on July 3rd we gathered at the river, drank beer, and lit bottle rockets; a “Fourth of July Eve” of sorts. Thirty years later and we still gathered, the sound of 80s hair metal mixing with laughter carried on the night air, soaring as high as the fireworks we set off. Our numbers had dwindled, some had moved away, some had moved on from this world. We toasted to everyone who couldn’t be with us, and remembered the days long gone. Days we thought would never end, and days we knew would never last.

Cowboy’s Delight

Leaning against the door-frame he quietly watched her, his heart-shaped lips curling gently upward. She was so beautiful when she was sleeping. Her light copper hair fell in messy waves across the pillow. The moonlight cast a soft glow on her face and highlighted her upturned nose and pursed lips, forehead creased as if in deep thought. He wanted to be in her mind, wanted to know what she dreamed about. He hoped it was about him.

Her emerald green chemise clung to her curves and the deep V neckline emphasized the soft curves of her breasts. He resisted the urge to go to her, to touch her, to caress her. He wanted to drink in the sight of her in the stillness of the warm summer night. He had ached for her on the long away. The nights he spent on the road, singing his love-struck melodies in nameless bars and faceless clubs. The words meant for her, wasted instead on strangers. When he had wanted only to return to her.

Now he couldn’t wait one more second. He slipped between the sheets and pulled her tightly against him, burying his nose in her hair and savoring the fresh smell of cherry blossoms. She shifted and murmured his name then melted into him. He sighed. He was finally home.

The Real Grown-Ups

I always wondered who made up the names for nail polish. No, really. That has to be the coolest job on the planet. Please sign me up. I’m pretty sure I would just come back from a long liquid lunch and pull out a thesaurus or a box of crayons. Or both. I’m looking through my personal collection of polish now. ‘Madison Ave-hue’ (This is just downright lazy – it’s a bright pink and isn’t Madison Avenue more glam??) ‘Splash of Grenadine’ (It actually looks kinda like grenadine so I’ll give them that) ‘Koala Beary’ (I was expecting an earthier tone) ‘A Rose At Dawn’ (Is this a cheap play on words?) ‘Dim Sum Plum’ (I’ve never had dim sum {mini shocker} but I guess they serve it with plum sauce???) ‘Boom Boom’ (This one-two punch doesn’t quite hit the mark) ‘Outrageous’ (Ummm, I’m not sure what outrageous looks like, but I picture it much darker) ‘Chicago Champagne Toast’ (The color is right but did it have to be in Chi Town?) Apparently I missed my calling. I could have been making up nail polish names for a living. It seems kinda random but kinda fun at the same time.

Only The Good

I dropped onto the damp grass, a cold bottle of Riesling in my hand. I made sure to get the one with the screw-cap – it would be easier. Opening the lid, I tilted the bottle in a mock salute and took a long drink. A few tears escaped my eyes, snaking down my cheeks and dropping onto my bare legs, untanned from long months inside, escaping the cold winter.

Dammit, Lizzie! It was supposed to be me. I was the screw-up. You were the one who prayed, who went to church, who helped others and did charity work. Mother Teresa I used to call you, only half joking. You, you could save the world. Me? I was destined to destroy it. Or at least destroy anything that came into my path. It’s not supposed to work this way. “Only the good die young?” That’s bullshit. The world needs all the good people it can get. More you, less me.

I put my hand against the cold granite.

Elizabeth Anne Donohue
~
Mother * Wife * Daughter * Sister
~
January 14, 1974 – April 20, 2017

My finger traced over the word ‘sister’. You were so much more than a sister. You were everything to me. Big sister, best friend, mother, confidant, partner in crime. You weren’t supposed to leave me. Not now, not this soon. We didn’t even have a chance to grow old and wear purple and join the red hat society.

I poured some wine into the grass, as if you could taste it, and took another long swig myself. Looking up at the cloudy sky I thought of all the dark days in front of me. “I guess I have to be the responsible one now, huh?” I said aloud, as if you were sitting next to me. But then I did feel you, right next to me, nudging me like an over-protective big sister would. “Whatever, Lizzie.” I finished the wine and nestled myself against your tombstone. “Just let me rest a bit first.”

Generations

She pulled the diamond solitaire from the dusty box, carefully as if it could shatter. The gem was lackluster from years of neglect, the gold band dull and lifeless. She thought back to the last time it had seen light, it had been almost fifteen years since the funeral. Cradling the ring in her fingers, she gently rubbed and buffed it until it shone like the glistening sun. When she delivered it to her eldest son, a gift to his betrothed, she wanted it to shine just like the day her beloved husband had presented it to her. A token passed down generation to generation. She wished her husband could be here to give it to Matthew; although, if he was here, she would still be wearing it. She stifled back a tear. Now was not the time to get weepy. It was a celebration. Jason was surely smiling down on them.