Writing truth or fiction, feels as if I am stroking across a canvas, painting colourful words straight from my heart. I write from my old farmhouse in Sweden. *Favourite Munchies while writing* leftovers, hot coffee, herbal tea, good wine!
"We drove up the snowy, winding road towards our house like every winter break." Jonas reported to the local police officer on duty in the small Swedish village outside of his families fifty year old holiday house. Everyone there knew the Gustafsson's and loved having them return for Christmas, winter break, Easter and Midsummer. Well liked, open doored, come as you are kind of people some would say. The officer's name tag read Filip and he looked about the entry way bored then eyed Jonas attractive teenage daughter who in turn seemed flattered and smiled with no signs of blushing on her fair, white skin. Jonas son Mattias was rough housing with the families dog, a mixed breed of Golden Lab and who knew. Laughing and loud, Jonas snapped at him to take their dog, Opal, outside to play in the mounds of snow that surrounded them. Marie, his daughter sauntered up the stairwell, flipping her waist long blonde hair behind her, perhaps adding a bit of teenage drama to the scene. Her mother, Anne, was resting as she referred to it, which generally Marie interpreted as drinking white wine and flipping through home decorating magazines and blabbing with her best friend Allie back in the states. Officer Filip asked if he could come inside and have a sit down, ask a few questions regarding a bonfire incident that local teens had held which had sadly gotten very out of control; one teen was still in the hospital suffering from frostbite, another had fallen through the ice and had not been found. With a nervous glance up from his now more comfortable position on a very casually expensive, high backed grey chair covered with a soft, white, wool he pursued in a sheepish tone, "Was your daughter, Marie, was it? Was she there Saturday night?" Jonas stood in front of him, a good 6 foot 4, exceptionally groomed with amber fox like eyes, reddish brown hair neatly trimmed with a stern stance. "Actually, we arrived that afternoon, we pulled up and there were signs of some mischievousness around our property, a cracked window in one of the upstairs bedrooms facing the frozen lake and beer cans were strewn around the property; oh, and there was evidence of cigarette smoking in the barn. The barn chain had been broken as if someone had taken to frequenting the place." he purported. Adding, "Marie was home with us, helping to unpack the food, suit up our beds; she helped Mrs. Gustafsson, that is Anne, with making dinner in fact." Officer Filip nervously scratched down notes then pressed on, "What about your son?" Jonas squinted his eyes, obviously annoyed. "Mattias was home, he's only twelve years old." Officer Filip began to stand, however Jonas stood very close leaving little space for him to do so. Resolving to stay seated he pushed one last question, "You mentioned a broken window, brrr, whose bedroom was affected?" Jonas stepped back noting that this nuisance of a man had attempted to stand, and he really wanted him to get the hell out of his home. He gritted his teeth, his jaw twitching either out of hesitation to answer or irritability. "Mattias' window was broken, unfortunately he had to stay on the sofa by the fire; he was watching television late, disappointed in the weak reception for his mobile phone." "Okay, sorry about all the questions, truly, just the old chief is on my back; one more thing, What time did you go to bed with your wife?" Now Jonas was unable to contain himself, "Why all the bloody questions? As I said we arrived Saturday, unpacked, stocked up on wood, ate dinner and I was in bed by 11:00. My wife was exhausted so she retired earlier. We are regulars here, everyone knows our family." Officer Filip felt scrawny, as a newbie to the department he apologised for the intrusion then rambled on about it all being so awkward for him to question people he'd known from childhood as well. He mentioned he was just twenty-two now, how answers are crucial to comfort the frightened boys parents, surely he could relate? He began revealing details about the entire case which any good police officer doing inquiries would never do. His mouth spewed information as if he was overwhelmed, perhaps in need of some comfort, too and his head shook left to right, up and down like a bobbled-headed doll. Apparently, the one who was unaccounted for was a sixteen year old girl and her boyfriend had been seen in a fight with another boy over something by the bonfire, he'd noticed too late her predicament, run out to try and save her, all so tragic, so hard to believe. Some one had to know what caused her to stray off from the group and what the arguing was about. Not one teen admitted to seeing the potentially drowned girl there at all or even seeing the unknown boy who was in the brawl. A nurse on her way home from work saw the calamity, stopped and called emergency services. She wrapped the shivering boy in an old blanket laying in the snow near the fire; with the help of one quite shy, younger guy they'd carried him up the icy bank into her backseat. Even she couldn't recall what the boy looked like. While waiting for the ambulance and police all the kids dispersed never telling her about the girl on the lake gone missing. It was a horrifying happening. Jonas softened, "Yes, I understand what a shake up this has been for the village, the boy's parents, that desperate girl and you; like I said, I can't help you out, yet when the name is released of the girl who may have drowned, I will ask my kids if they know her. We'll obviously send condolences when we learn more. I've warned my kids that it's not like it was even ten years ago, global warming and wild temperatures cause the lake to not be trustworthy even to skate on now." Officer Filip shook his head in a mildly agreeing way then just as he was turning to leave, Mrs. Gustafsson who was standing at the top of the stairwell in a black satin robe offering him more than a glimpse, her breasts were full and exposed, she pulled her robe closely as her left hand smoothly slid down the mahogany railing as she approached the men. "My God, did I just overhear that a poor girl may have drowned? Her parents must be suffering terribly!" Officer Filip turned warm in his face as she reached out to take his hand. Her daughter's beauty obviously was her younger reflection. She peered into his eyes with an agenda and just as Officer Filip felt his knees buckling, he fainted. The door swung open as Mattias and Opal came scrambling in from the darkness which fell so early in the far north. Poor Officer Filip was sprawled out on the marble floor, Opal licking his face, stepping onto his notepad, his stomach, then shaking off the wet snow from her fur onto his head, then she hopped onto the sofa. Mattias, kicked off his boots and stared at the man on the floor. "Pappa, what's wrong with him? Shall I call for help?" Anne looked at Jonas prompting him to answer. "No, no, still no reception. Go warm up." Mattias turned the telly on and snuggled up with Opal under a blanket. He noted the blanket was new, but things were always changing with his mother's eye for décor. Maria sprang down the stairs in a long tee-shirt and stared at Officer Filip, then spouted, "What the fuck!" and froze. Her mother ordered her to go get a cool cloth from the kitchen then to return to her room. Maria did as she was told as Anne gestured with a wave of her hand for Jonas to follow their daughter. She quickly took her purse from the side table removing her wallet carefully. Officer Filip was beginning to stir. She stuffed five thousand kronor into his outer coat pocket then swiftly picked up the notebook and knelt beside him. He could hear her whisper, "I so respect your discretion Officer Filip." She then strolled calmly to the kitchen as Maria and Jonas hurried past her in the opposite direction with cool cloths to comfort the downed Officer. With a bottle of chardonnay in one hand, a glass in the other, she glanced at Mattias lovingly. As she assented up to the bedroom, Jonas watched her as she caressed the handrail seductively, she still had a hold on him that no woman could ever replace. She paused at the top, her long legs exposed just enough to arouse him and she gave him a wink. Jonas squatted down next to Officer Filip patting his now pale cheeks softly, "You alright, mate?" Officer Filip slowly came to and gasped. "What happened?" Jonas helping him to a sitting position relayed that he had fainted. "Oh my god! That's a first!" Jonas continued, "You went down quickly, not for long, but like I said, our mobile reception is bad so I couldn't ring for help." He then put his strong arm underneath Officer Filip's and got him to his feet. "Did you eat anything today? Perhaps a coffee and some of my wife's gingerbread before you drive?" Officer Filip did his bobble-head thing and was seated at the kitchen table. Jonas filled a plate with gingerbread in the shapes of stars, snowmen, and angels and poured him a strong cup of coffee. He placed sugar cubes on the side of his saucer and cream in a tiny porcelain pitcher near his cup. He sat down directly across from him and smiled. "I can't thank you enough for all of this bother Mr. Gustafsson. Mmmm, these are really tasty." Opal appeared and sat next to them longing for a treat. "Mr. Gustafsson," Jonas interrupted, "Call me Jonas, please!" Officer Filip smiled and felt his pocket had thickened. His hand curiously slipped inside and he knew exactly what it was. He smiled and sipped his coffee. "Jonas it is then. I can't remember what I was thinking of to be honest." Mattias entered the kitchen with his boyish grin and grabbed a handful of gingerbread, some of Opal's favourite treats from a jar on the counter then seemingly bounced back to his spot on the sofa. Opal followed him loyally. "I should get going. Been quite the day"; Officer Filip stood and thanked Jonas for his patience, the cookies, the coffee and as he headed for the door, he felt a tap on his shoulder. It was Maria barely clad in a long tee-shirt. "Just wanted to say I hope you feel better Officer". Officer Filip's eyes widened, thinking damn she is sexy. "You can call me Filip." She stepped a bit closer than her father liked and said, "well okay then Filip, see you around?" As if in a trance, just like Jonas had been on the day he first set eyes on Anne, Officer Filip smiled. Jonas opened the door, turning on the porchlight and watched as Officer Filip drove away in his police car. "Pappa, can I please have some of the candy Mom bought before dinner?" He could never say no to her. Her eyes sparkled as she grabbed a goody bag from the still unpacked grocery bags in the coat closet. "Pappa, don't forget to get the rest of the bags out of from the trunk. I mean of course the pizzas will still be frozen as it's so like minus, minus here! Oh, and Mom asked if you could fix Mattias' window, bring her some cheese, crackers and I forget what else she said." Jonas sat down in the comfortable chair which Officer Filip had been in for what seemed like days. His son was watching a film for kids much younger and laughing. The cheese and crackers, what else? He stood again and poured a double scotch into his empty coffee mug, made a plate with an array of cheeses beautifully for his wife then meticulously surrounded it with an assortment of crackers. He added a few olives and made her a vodka and tonic just in case she was on the phone with Allie. He fumbled in his own mind, wait, her phone works? She's always talking to Allie. He downed the scotch and peeped around the corner at Mattias, who was definitely texting. He coughed loudly and walked passed Mattias with an ornamental tray of snacks for his beloved. Mattias eyes were back on the telly and Opal was sound asleep now. He came to the bedroom and could hear Anne laughing, obviously she had finished the bottle of wine. He opened the door and there was Maria next to her, (was she drinking with her mother??). He placed the tray on the bedside table asking what was so funny. "Just girl talk Pappa." Anne gave him that sultry look that made him melt then replied, "Darling, did I say how much I love you today?"; he moved closer to her and bent down to kiss her cheek and said "I can't remember? Did you?" Maria chirped in, wiggling closer to her mother, "Pappa, remember what Gran always said? Actions speak louder than words." Jonas brushed his hand across her messy hair, "yes, that's true my sweet girl." On the wall above the bed they all looked at once at the oil painting of Gran sitting with a slight smile on a red, velvet chair with a small cat in her lap. Anne sighed, "Imagine what she would think about today's upset." Jonas pursed his lips and turned toward the door. "Pappa, what's for dinner?" Maria blurted. "I'll see what I can drum up. You two have fun." He stood outside the door and tried to go over the last twenty-four hours. What had he missed? Time was all a fog. He stepped carefully toward his daughter's room and pushed her door open quietly. Her bed was not dressed, her suitcase was open and in the corner he saw what appeared to be a wet nightgown crumpled up. He bent down to touch it, yes, it had been perhaps hand washed and forgotten or? Odd. Teenagers. He left the room, careful to leave the door just as he found it, slightly cracked open. He went to the guest bedroom which was once his grandfather's office. The bed was made and had been slept in, by whom? It smelt of cigarettes and he unlocked the window to air it out. He looked out across the lake, at the moonlight shining across the thin ice and could see where it had cracked. He imagined the poor girl flailing, freezing, slowly succumbing to it's fateful beauty. Why did guilt hang over him? He felt numb, truthfully the drive up had left him exhausted, and he knew he needed to just restart his own mental holiday, let go of the drama and chill. He returned to the kitchen and poured another scotch, this time in a tall glass. He grabbed two bags of chips, dropping one into Mattias lap as he passed and then resigned to his chair. He ate chips, gobbled them up actually, sipping on his scotch. Ahhhh! He was truly relaxing. He even nodded off for awhile. Maria, now dressed warmly quietly entered the room whispering to Mattias, "Mom's out." He smiled and pointed at their father snoring in his chair. She grabbed a bottle of schnapps while Mattias slithered into his snow pants, put on Opal's reflective collar and together they both snuck out the door. Opal began to bark right away. "Shush, Opal!" snapped Maria as she lit her cigarette. The trio went out to the road, snow was falling heavily and they opened the bottle. Opal ran ahead and they followed her taking turns with huge swigs and laughing. Mattias began to mock her, "Well okay then, Filip, see you around" using the highest pitched voice he could muster up. "You little asshole." They walked until the bottle was finished then laid in the snow staring up at the northern lights swirling around. Opal wanted to play, nudging them repeatedly. "We better get home before we wind up in the hospital with frostbite!" snickered Mattias. Mattias pulled his sister up and then he saw the headlights approaching them slowly; it was Officer Filip. "Go on home Mattias, make sure their both passed out and pour more scotch into Pappa's glass. You and Opal get to sleep now. Mattias made a drunken snort, laughed and did as his big sister said. The car pulled up next to her and the door was pushed open. "Well hello Officer, how can I help you?" Filip laughed as he turned off the car's engine. "You are such a naughty girl. Shall we visit the barn tonight?" His hands were everywhere and she didn't refuse, she never did. "Why wait for the barn?" she slurred. After he'd finished he handed her more schnapps to replace her father's as usual. She slipped and fell as she exited the car and fell two or three more times before getting home. She quietly opened the door and staggered to the kitchen and put the bottle back to it's place in Pappa's liqueur cabinet. She grabbed a bag of chips and sat, rather, fell onto the floor. The bag sprawled open and Opal was munching away. She laughed then passed out until her Mother came in to put on morning coffee. "Maria!" Anne shook her daughter's shoulder hard. "Lay off, Mom." Just before she was about to nod off again, her mother yanked her to her feet and stared into her eyes with fury. What have I told you? Get to bed before your father wakes, NOW!" Maria made it to her own room without bedsheets still then shimmied out of her semen stained panties, put on her sleep tee-shirt and began to climb onto her bed; yet suddenly she felt the increasingly familiar need to puke; she started for the bathroom but didn't make it. She covered the threshold of her doorway in pinkish chunks then retreated and laid down, this time grabbing an old blanket off the chair in the corner, not noticing it's blood stains and was out. "Jonas, coffee dear?" Anne gently touched her husband's arm hanging over the side of his chair. "Oh, shit. Darling I am so sorry! I was so damn tired I fell asleep with Mattias watching the telly." Anne handed him his coffee with two sugars as always and whispered, "Go freshen up dear. I'll make some breakfast. Oh, and Jonas, Maria has a stomach flu, so don't wake her." Jonas looked at his wife in agreement and went up to shower. His head was nudging him to recall what was next on his list, fix the broken window, ah yes, always something with this bunch.
Soon he would say goodbye, doubtful his first taste of love would wait; boarding on the longship would begin at sunrise after two more night falls. He was not at ease nor feeling dutiful to set sail, his rough, calloused hands had been assigned to row, his grey eyes already set on defeat. In the chilly night he and his lover kept warm under a sheath of tanned hide; a warm fire encircled with stones lit up their faces. His lover was cold, she had been sweating earlier and she shared with him that perhaps she was carrying his baby. It had been six moons since her last cleansing. He held her close and rubbed her hands in his own. All night he stayed up, keeping the fire crackling and he called for a wise woman to look at his betrothed. He was given garlic for his neck and a tonic that tasted bitter as nettles to sip. He must prepare to board the longship and not fall ill. The woman wiped carefully with cool cloths the forehead and the nape of his lady's neck and said she should be moved to the women's tent so he too might rest. He was reluctant yet never questioned this miracle of her gifts from the God's and believed in the sunrise of his departure his love would encircle him with the other strong women and sing a prayer to the heavens. At last he fell asleep and the fire dwindled. He was a large man, of long height with a wooly red beard; for years he had been called to help others lift heavy logs, roll stones and fell trees for boat building. His stomach grumbled and his dreams brought him no peace. His eyes closed, his mouth agape, a gurgling snore erupted. Deep within his dream state he saw his own mother, her pale white face, her eyes weary yet loving; she spoke. "Son of Gudrun, son of Ove, lift your spirit up to see. It's been eighteen moons since we saw you. Your sister Ulla is here, too. Their faces were like a portrait in beautiful pastel inks. The heavens were soft as the first spring day when the sight of white and purple forest flowers burst through the edges of the footpath, gay as the laughter of friends when the sun was long in the sky, days were easier, their heart's lightened by the dark winter's end. Time for merriment and the smell of baking bread, the homecoming of the longship, strong fermented ales and hearty stews and loaves of bread with berries he could taste so sweet; stirred he woke with a gasp. One sunrise had come. He stood and walked to the women's healing tent and the flaps were sewn shut with thick leather. "Naaaaay", he screamed and he ran to the morning fire keepers boiling coffee and sharing porridge. Breathless, he asked if his lady was in the tent still. Blue eyes looked at one another and down. He knew the answer. He kicked the first iron pot and it swung from it's iron chains molted flawlessly by the black smith and his apprentice. Hot scalding water splashed and the men jumped back. An old man who laid on sheep skin by the fire called for him to sit by him. His heart rapid, his cheeks red with rage, he succumbed to his elder. " What can you say to comfort me?" The man, thin and weak voiced motioned for the giant, frightened man to sit beside him. "Are you the son of Gudrun and the sister of Ulla?" The old man already knew but asked even so. "Ya, I am." Do you think, son of Ove that your father created such acts of arrogance when the God's called his wife and daughter up?" Silence. "What name did they leave you?" "I am Per Ove's son."Well Per Ovesson do you dare to guess the will of the heavens? Are you in fear of the sea and hunger? Are you a messenger or do you serve?" " I serve." The so very big man, Per, son of Gudrun and Ove, brother of Ulla wept. The elderly man handed Per a smooth stone to rub and called for porridge. The big man, the thin elder and the fire keepers stood close. One by one they placed a hand on his shoulder and walked on. Night fell again and he laid by his fire alone sipping the bitter nettle tea. He did not want to dream and the silence soothed him. It had been nine cut logs when a woman he'd never seen came to stand before him. "You may see your lady now". His lips felt numb, his eyes ashamed and he said, "Why do you want me to feel more pain?" The woman outstretched her hand and he stood. When they came closer to the tent the woman lifted the flap and there lay a clump of deep red flesh upon his lover's abdomen. He moved closer and felt confused. Take the flesh and all of it's blood and bury it deep in the forest. His lady did not breathe and small stones were on each eye. He did as told by the healer. Without sleep and it being soon the second sunrise he fought to keep focused on his task. Big tears from a big man with the heart of a child fell steadily down his face. When he returned he went to his fire to sleep and there sat the woman again with a white bundle of heavy fur. She stood and handed him a baby. "How can this be? My lady only missed two moons." The woman smiled and said, "the God's were good" and asked him to bestow a name before he sat sail. In a state of both sorrow and beauty he said, " this is the son of Per, the son of Lea. He shall be blessed with the name of Liam." The woman promised him the babe would be well fed and when he returned the baby would be his comfort. Per kissed his son's forehead and slept with him in his arms until sunrise. The healers had prepared Lea's body to be sent to sea where she would be taken up to the God's quickly. He held one side of his love's canvas and birch sewn raft. He did not weep for she had left him reason to believe that more would come to be good. The women sang as the longship prepared to launch. The sky was yellow and afire with sunrise. The horns blew and he pulled in unison with his mates. By sunset they placed Lea on her raft and she floated away from the boat, away from the father of Liam, the son of Ove, the son of Gudrun and the brother of Ulla. In the night the high waves plunged over the stern and wailed upon the starboard, the longship albeit strong rocked with brutal fervour. Per was the lead, each pull he thought of Liam, each horn he heard his mother calling. The God's were trying his strength in a way he never had experienced, he was not only strong in his body now but also in his soul. The storm settled and he was sent to rest. A cool wind soothed his sweaty bruised hands and his lips cracked from the salty winds from the North Sea leaked sweet bits of blood. His thirst was mighty and he was given water with herbs to keep him quiet. His cough came on fast, deep and he heard other's coughing, too. He spat green, thick phlegm into the sea. He hung his head over, the winds cooling his dizzying state. The head of the ship was also spewing a sickness from his body over board. Few men could guide the longship, and one by one they fell, coughing, wailing in pain, and now hope had no place for them. Another night would come, a morning with many deaths and each one was set free to float amongst the creatures that both fed on them and nourished their loved ones. Per Ovesson would be the last man to go. He ensured all were met by the God's who knew better than he the true meaning. He would fall into a deep, long sleep, he would dream of Lea, mother of Liam and he would die proud as his father had bravely done before him. He drifted off further to sea and the sky above would open it's arms and his soul would rise up, up, up into the arms of Ulla.
Bull O'Bangles and Pinky Gonzalez had been inseparable for years after being crammed into backpacks for show and tell, forced to go on bumpy road trips whilst sitting dizzily on the dashboard all the way to Granma's, whimsically abandoned in various playgrounds, restaurants, at sleepovers and even stuffed in raincoat pockets for days. Granma once suggested they both needed a good washing but the small proprietors of these two resisted, deeply concerned that the precious pair might be damaged in some way. They had been to several countries, to the beach, sat in the front of shopping carts in the grocery store and even been to the cinema. Let's just say they were well seasoned and their attachment grew even stronger from an extremely tragic and scandalous event. The newspapers were supposedly notified but hesitated to print anything as, well, they weren't real animals. Bull O'Bangles felt quite real and although he was not certain if he were a guinea pig or perhaps a large mouse he knew that he had emotions, strong ones that is, and Pinky Gonzalez, well there was no doubt he was a pig who loved Bull unconditionally. The family was packing for a flight overseas and for a good amount of time the pair was parted being that they were in separate kiddo backpacks. Bull was in a Dora the Explorer backpack peeking out from the mostly zipped outer pocket for air; Pinky was inside a Chi-Chi Chihuahua purse with lip balm and crayons then pushed further down into the clutter within a Buzz Lightyear backpack with one child's mostly unnecessary items, (yet highly necessary for them in order to remain occupied and well behaved on the flight). Their parents led them aboard the airplane with strong hands on their shoulders, fastened kiddo one and kiddo two in their seats and took their bags and put them in unreachable compartments for take-off. The engines roared and the kiddos got chewing gum so their ears wouldn't pop; this was always the best part of starting a trip abroad. Now in the compartments above Pinky squealed as only a piglet can do and called for Bull. Bull could hear Pinky but he'd never been able to reply to anyone; he was able to pretend to eat mozzarella cheese sticks and sip through a straw when presented at the breakfast table however. The mother would quickly dab his mouth with a dishcloth when kiddo one and two were brushing their teeth and he was always much appreciative of her thoughtfulness. He hated being slung out onto the teacher's desk with cheesy breath and apple juice stains on his belly for all to observe when kiddo one had him taken away by a substitute teacher during mathematics. So, anyway, the flight reaches it's proper course and the seat belt sign is turned off; the wiggly kiddos screech for Bull and Pinky as the long armed father takes the backpacks down for the rambunctious whippersnappers. The mother sips a Bloody Mary and the father takes a beer and the kids are given pretzel sticks. Bull is relieved to see Pinky and they both fake gobbling down pretzels for the wee ones, winking at one another and smiling in the way only real stuffed critters can. At their seats the parents tune the kiddos into a long Disney film and soon they nod off. The parents relax hand in hand and catch a little shut eye, too. Upon waking both rapscallions frantically yell out that they need to use the toilet, both are scared to go alone so each parent takes one of the screaming small humans to the facilities. In doing so, Pinky falls down from the seat of kiddo two's and then rolls backwards several aisles. He lands at the foot of a serious looking gentleman who kicks him away without hesitation. Pinky squeals again but Bull is too far away now to hear him. When the family regains their seating meals are served and everyone is very hungry, in fact they are all so hungry that no one notices Pinky is not near. After eating the kiddos are given two new drawing pads and colourful markers that smell like berries and fruit. They occupy themselves for a good while and then nod off to sleep again. After seven hours Pinky was picked up by a flight attendant and put on the seat of another young child where it appeared he most likely would have fallen from. This child was happy to have something new but Pinky was very, very scared. This little weirdo was yanking on his ears, bashing him against the back of his brother and pretending to throw Pinky out the window. The seatbelt sign came back on and all were preparing to land. The father asked for the backpacks and the mother scrambled to stuff everything that had sprung out back into their places. The kiddos giggled and wiggled and above Bull O'Bangles cried. He knew he had no power to save his best friend and certainly no way to learn to talk so quickly. The family dismounted the aircraft and stood in long lines to go through customs. It was there, when a metal slinky set off the security alarm that the Buzz Lightyear bags contents were emptied and the Chi-Chi Chihuahua purse was opened and Pinky was noted as missing. The kiddos who were loudly freaking out and the parents, too knew his importance. They found a bench and went through the Dora the Explorer backpack and Bull lay solemnly, alone and frightened. Kiddo one and Kiddo two began to fight over Bull and so the parents took him away and the mother stuffed him in her gigantic purse and although weary, he felt much safer. The kiddos were sobbing now as they made their way to luggage pick up. They held each other and called out his name with quivering lips, Piinnkkyyyy! Oh man, this was not going to be a fun start to the trip for anyone now. The mother in desperation went to the lost and found area, no toys there. She spoke to an airline employee who said they weren't allowed back inside the airplane to have a look, she even looked in gift shops for any stuffed pig that might look a wee bit like Pinky Gonzalez with no luck. After retrieving their bags the father went to pick up the families rental car; as he was standing in cue the most obnoxious two kids were fighting over something in the very front of the line, slowing down the entire procedure for securing their car. Finally, a parent of the two grabbed what they were fighting over and it went up in the air then landed near him. Stunned he quickly jumped out of cue and grabbed the one and only Pinky Gonzalez! The wild boy's father said something out of his own desperation "it's just something they found on our flight, can you give it back to them?" Pinky's father stood his ground and told the his own kiddos story. He gave them both some coins from his pocket and said they were heroes. When he pulled up in the rental car to load up the baggage and collect the jetlagged family Pinky squealed in delight from the dashboard when he saw the mother approach the front door. Look who I found! The father grinned as the family all cried in undeniable delight. The father told the kiddos Pinky was thinking ahead and had gone on a bold adventure to pick out their rental car. Bull joined him on the dashboard and they snuggled closely, winking and wagging their real tails.
In Momma's arms I was always safe, her blue eyes shining from her freckled face, with my Momma I was free to play, romp around and to be me. Brown from another's genes she said I was the most beautiful child she'd ever seen. In time I'd go off to school, unaware of unspoken rules. Birthday parties I'd heard about, all invited, me left out. On my skateboard in the park, I was called in early before dark. I was called Mowgli, like in Jungle Book, I tried to shake it then gave up. There were lots of names I overheard, I never told Momma for she would've hurt. We went to school for lots of meetings, Momma tried to stop my in school beatings. She fought like a raging bull, finally she took me out of school. She called me in sick for three weeks in a row, refused their pleas to let me go. Underneath her supermom cape, she always found a way to escape. Now I'm grown and everyday, somebody jumps 'cause I'm in their way. Special was what Momma saw, I spared her from my inner wrought. I used to hold my head with pride, have a strut in my stride; once I laughed from ear to ear, rarely seeing Momma's tears. When I met her out to eat, we quickly had a proper seat, served well is how it should be, yet on my own they don't see me. She saw it too, she knew the real, no matter how others feel. Never think 'cause someone's white, they're not aware of your daily plight. Momma said most won't be, aware that is, of the life we lead. I know Momma prayed for me but I don't believe honestly, after all the hassle I go through, I doubt God's arms are really true. Hand in hand we were quite the team, me and Momma pushed the seams, eyeballs rolling as we were strolling; kids would try to touch my hair, her firm hands intervened when there. She told me it would be a fight to stand up for what is right, she told me things I hated to hear, I was well prepared and had no fear. Looking now at the same old park, I see Momma after dark, in the shadows behind the swings, even in death she sees everything. She told me there were angels on my shoulders, I wanted to believe this yet now I'm older. I crush out my cigarette, a habit I started and now regret, I begin to roll as I see the stares, trust me, trust me, I'm aware. Momma told me to stand up, to hold my head high, I want to really, I want to try. I see her smile in the mirror, I wipe my tears to see her clearer; there she is my supermom, some days right and sometimes wrong, she always said what was on her mind, she could be hard, she could be kind. I lean in now seeing something dangle, perhaps it's the mirror or my angle. I feel the bumps rise on my skin, blink twice and then again; on my shoulders I see wings, very tiny fluttering things. I want to shake them off of me but hesitate and let them be. Are these the angels Momma said that would look after me when she was dead? I want to believe in God, I do, but what took Momma was very cruel. Her spiritual quest was all her own, she hoped someday I'd start my own. I slide in bed and close my eyes, Momma, Momma you were wise. Why did you choose me when your life could have been lead so easily? Love my darling, is what I chose, hush my special little rose, it's time to dream with your eyes closed. ~Even in my deepest sleep I know my heart is hers to keep. She is in the heavens above, goodnight Momma, my first true love~
The Dragon Beside Me
Draped in blanched weathered skin, she stands beside me still, the fury of her wrath when coming to my defence was like no sandstorm, no wildfire, no unanointed castration one could foresee; all because of me. Her small frame was a disguise for fools, her wingspan, pulsing with old blood swooped down and tore out the heartless ignorance of fools who dared to brand me different, odd, peculiar...all the words that dig into one's spirit, teasing, daunting, bare. My mother, my dragon, who defied all notions propelled by the green eyed monsters that tried to steal who I was, who I would be, who I am now, spared nothing for herself; her blaze was entwined with mine. Blanketed by her privileges, I passed through walls, cemented rules unbeknownst to me; I was hers despite my brown, curious eyes, my lack of tough skin, I hung onto what she bled. She could be like the cool breeze that quells the night after a scorching summer's day just as easy as she could slap her spiked tail and frighten anyone who dared to try and break my dreams. Time passes, I am no longer under her pale, veiled skin. I stand alone, my scars permanent on my earth toned face. I am not safe all the time and I know it. Yet she fought for me to fly. Despite the stares and repeated rejection I feel invincible, well, most of the time. I can not see her, no one can when I am crossing the divided bridge, making my way home, always hoping for no trouble. I don't know if I should feel this way, yet sometimes I wish her white skinned cape never was hidden for it has left me in a world where no one can ever know the dragon that stood beside me, who rescued me more than once. My wings do not dare to disrupt or make controversy. I want to soar; to not carry the heaviness of this life on my back. Yet, I am understanding, in both an angry and consenting place within me, that I must strive to not only live, but to love on this worn down mountain, to not whisper but learn to roar. I lift my wings and seek the rainbow where I am free. Free to be all the colours that make me, ME. Drench me in violet, sultry bruising blues, flaunt me, drink me, spill me like red wine, let me break through the cape where I was shadowed, parting with wings which sheltered me. I want to fly on my own, her love is mine to feel. Solo I swirl back to a place where I am at her breast, her thunderous heart against my cheek, we clung to symbiotic sighs, never did it cross my mind that one day she'd be on her eternal voyage while my knees shook, my own thoughts burst forward, my being would feel as ripped flesh when parted by sudden falls onto unseen glass carefully laid out, in my own path. Never did I consider I would dance alone, sing again, make it through the day, the night, the week, the next month, the anymore of ever without her. Standing on the edge of my new frontier I grieve in choked up swallows, my throat is tight, and I almost retreat. I remember her bending down with her assuring gaze, I perch, I take a deep breath and plunge into my own being; I have never been so proud, so hopeful and alone. She would say higher, higher, higher! I will be alright, I think. Mother? Watch this! I do a back bend, I hang upside down from high beams like a hungry little bat. Go baby. I am always here, I promise I will always see you. I'm living, I'm doing it! The smell of her encapsulates me and the audience applauds. She was beside me all along.
I ain't, ya'll. That's what you think. Ain't is somethin' we create? ME is underneath a heavy cover, a sweet retreat from your discomfort. Naw, ya'll are always down, seein' me with your jaded brow; where do I belong in your white ass dreams, layin' low, to be unseen? Ever stray to wonder why a black kid feels a little shy? I shine, I shine; OH, how Momma sees me shine. I sit waitin' for the bus, after seein' my therapist; cops are called 'cause I am readin' 'bout the struggle and am grieving. I am BLACK, I am BROWN, I am whatever ya'll puttin' down. I am GAY, I am kind, you won't see ME with your dull eyes. I'd give up if it weren't for hope; Momma's love is my antidote; SHE don't give up on me, even if society....don't let me SHINE, SHINE, SHINE.
each crease, line, place, time, furrowed bits of a well worn kind, deep within memories cast, shadows fading ever fast, soft, safe in mother's hand, crossing to another's land, washing, raw, red, and chafed, all to keep another's space; bleeding, giving all you could, kneading life, for another's good; recipes bled between worn threads, all to keep the family fed, living on rations, ne'er to resign to the place your momma left behind, brushing hair, steaming dresses, all the while, braiding tresses, always ready, to use those hands to keep things steady, when they ached no one knew, you gave it all as your family grew, tender times, stitched within your heart of gold was strength that shined, you were so bold, you kept on going while other's wept, then one last time with your kitchen swept, your hands reached out and took in mine, dearest Grandma, my Valentine.
What the hell happened to you, faithful, floundering boy? You took every woman you could seize as an admission to your own court of indecency. Why? How? You took me to your mother, you said I was yours, you took me to your father, you said I was yours... was yours until I saw you. You took my special place, you discarded all of me; I prevailed. Your eyes were always positioned, ready for your next prey; I was keen and could smell your carrion well before its take. What happened to you good Catholic boy, why did you long for drunken nights with cloudless aims? How did you think life would be when I walked away, albeit unwillingly? You seek the reassurance that you have meaning in another's arms, yet failed to know the seed you sowed, still you have never grown? I heard you were alone, by the city docks, looking back to the sunset where once we swam as one. Please, find the message of a sailor's dream, pick up the bottle I have dreamed. An ancient scroll I present; your child is broken, your brother dead; and I was once your love. The world you shared was in greed; barren you live with all we heed. Sorrow beckons us all to mourn, yet old lover you were never born. Take and taking more and more, the bottle to baste your heart to mourn. You stole my trust, my belief in good, you gave me nothing, nothing, nothing hood. I am old, I should be better, but what you did scarred me forever. I want to face you and say you were wrong, yet my being now is much too strong. I do not wish you to perish or rot; I am in heaven and you are not.
- Top Story - February 2024
LovelyTop Story - February 2024
Held. I wiped tears from your eyes; we played your favourite song sung by Etta James. "At Last", your frail frame unfolded into my strong heart beat, not missing a step we made it almost to the end, before collapsing. Anguish pushed through a slight glimmer in your grey eyes, once again fever swept over you; I wiped your brow with a cool cloth, then like white chocolate in the afternoon sun, you melted away. Our love was a last dance, a promenade of bashful memories, tender as the fledgling free from it's warmth, flightless, featherless, starving, then fed. I longed for one dance more, yet time stole us in a heated breath; at last, you will be, forever lovely.
One in two, seen, unseen; begotten holes, hearts rendering. Love, doubt, past memories. Failed words, broken communication, healing me, you healing wounds open ever, never, shall we, look again. Backwards, forward, present, Now. Listening, forgiving, mother's vowing, praying yet empty now resurrecting fertile bows.
Wanting in Winter
Only once did it take to lock my heart forever to yours; our passion abandoned due to a cause neither of us wanted to fight. Blinded by bullets, blizzards, time ticked on. Trails of you leaving were quickly blown away into snowdrifts, my dreams, my starving desire. That kiss was not to be our last; I will never stop believing you will wander home before the hearth grows empty, enter my bed with your inner battle won. In sleep I see your eyes ice blue, your lashes heavy, pelleted by the storm within; I am inside you and see that each footstep you take is cautious, though your toes are black, your face raw from the brutal winds, each print brings you closer to me. I am your guiding light, your angel whipping sunlight toward you, claiming you to this cracking heart. When I wake, brittle, hungry, tasting you still, I wrap all I can find to warm me and make one last fire. I search for sustenance, anything to keep me steadfast, ready to see you stumbling through the opening of the forest, in whatever pieces you are in, I will heal you, over and over again. I find the vodka you left for your return. I hesitate to open it as it could further your journey. I am ravenous and lie down by the fire, falling back into my polar dreams where our hearts are pressed together pumping life into each other. Your chest is bare, my love.