The night fills with a whispering wind. I watch intently through the screen. Will I see her again tonight? A breeze whiffs her scent near my window. The stronger the scent the closer she is. My hair feels jolted, my eyes dilating. Foot steps and cigarette smoke make me feel uneasy. I lay low. The scent fades. The alleyway quiets down. Seeing the sun come out, my night post ends then exhaustion takes over. Eating a snack from a crusty bowl seems savory. Lightly cleaning my hands and face with some moisture, puts me into a slumber. As I lay down half-dreaming the day seems to unfold.
In this small town in a rather basic building structure of no decade-worthy architectural feat, lived a family of average means. It did what most family do: get by. Tommy was an only child. He understood only what was in front of him, which then only meant, same breakfast of oatmeal and raisins, and the occasional birthday pizza. He never cared much for food, it did not interest him. He was never irked by it’s commonplace taste. His parents worked a job, one each. Mom was a neighborhood seamstress and dad was a produce delivery man. Tommy went to school, rarely called in sick and not much excitement happened to him on the playground. He was rarely bullied. He did his homework most of the time and if he was not getting good grades, his teacher never noticed and his parents did not reprimand him. He blended well into the medley of life. Unaffected by its variables he did not seek to pursue passionate hobbies or notice its unjust nature. At home he watched television and doodled some easily forgotten drawings. Life was a bland spice that was fitting for Tommy. He rarely laughed out loud and sometimes spoke to some of the boys on the playground. Mostly he kept to himself. Neither sad nor happy to play alone, he was okay to just exist. Life was neither to be understood or to be lived fully, it just was. Nothing to get upset over and nothing to complain about. Tommy lived to be of average adult age. Accomplishing nothing beyond forgotten school grades. This is Tommys’ story.
on hot asphalt
in grass blades
I was riding on a bus
being transported through
space and time.
I was jolted into another dimension.
Looking at the clouds for six hours.
I don’t remember the last time I had
given myself permission to daydream.
The beauty of nature,
the complexities of life
began to overwhelm me
with their presence.
* * *
Live for this moment.
Not a second in the past,
Not a second into the future.
What is now is now yours.
The unknown will always be there.
The mysterious is what will guide you,
Especially when everything makes no sense.
Pain does not go away.
Mistakes are not forgiven.
Heartache tears through you
At every chance you give it.
The moment of now,
just me and the clouds
floating together with the wind,
An escape into the present.
Ruptures the seams of the skin
Burns the flesh with inspiration
Lures creative juices into
Addicted to pain
Inflicted by grief
The train’s tootin’ horn woke me up. My book fell out of my hands, sliding in between my boots. As I was wiping down the half-moist drool off my lip, a whiff of bacon entered my nostrils and reminded me what I had eaten the last time I saw her. I looked past the scratched fiberglass of a window. The rain drops holding on for dear life, flying back up into the clouds. The train breaks screeching; my ears itching.
We have arrived.
The station was bustling with life. It was an early spring morning and shoes clattered on the wet pavement. The station’s diner seats were being filled by soon to be half asleep passengers. Grabbing my suitcase, books and notepads, I managed to set foot on the ground — a bit more alert, I adjusted my glasses. Akin to the landing on the Moon, I felt a cloud of dust behind me. Dust that has some time to settle before my life’s choices will be made.
The scent of her perfume floating together with the bacon, eggs and coffee.
She must have been here standing waiting for me; now probably fixing her hair up real nice in the ladies washroom.
I fiddled in my pocket to find the lipstick covered letter she had sent just a few months prior. She had included a recent photo. I should have been, then again was not, surprised to find she had changed the color of her hair. A brunette now a reddish brown with curls. Her smile just as infectious; making my heart tingle with a just a tad bit of joy.
A tap on my shoulder reminded me I was standing amidst the chaos of commuters. The security guard had directed me to step forward past the yellow line.
My heart beating faster with each step toward the diner. Scanning endlessly for a head of curls, I saw what seemed to be her. As I saw the curls in slow motion turning toward me, the blood in my throat began to boil. I couldn’t breathe. My eyes began to shut way behind a cloud of smoke. My thoughts disappearing into a tight soundproof shell that existed in my mind just for these moments.
Putting my best foot forward, my notepad fell into a puddle. My hand landed on a taxi door and I crawled inside asking to be driven to the nearest park. The rain started to pour as I saw a silhouette of curls in the back window, trying to wave me down. Mouthing words that were now washing away into the sewers of the street. I will never have known their utterance.
A callous on my heart grows daily as a build up of regret slowly kills me.
A floating dust particle always surrounds me.
We shall have never met again.
Tight like a Spring roll
Loose Wild and Free
A ringlet with sun kissed split ends
Let me Be
A bun full of dreads
Waves of Adventure
Infinite loops of joy
An air of laughter fills the room; celebration is often a slow-motion Kodak moment that suddenly dissipates into the air like a puff of cigarette smoke. Leaving an evidence of residue as everyone gathers their coats, shoes and flutters on home. Celebrations bring one person in the spotlight, receiving all the pomp and circumstance that one can afford in friends and fellow acquaintances. It’s a social matter practiced rather quintessentially.
Rooms brightened with ambient orange light, illuminating champagne soaked lips with a glistening of hope. Vibrating with heart beats whose joy is either equated or fabulated. For what is a lie if not a story we tell ourselves.
Stories shared and promises exchanged. Celebratory occasions bring the best of our intentions forward, everything appearing prim and proper, without conflict. Yet conflicting with our inner intentions.
Never, have I ever felt a flattering without then feeling flat – a doubt filled string of strong willed thoughts tied together by an emptiness so cold, a ghost would not even abide.
Memory is a stack of papers soaked with water, dripping black ink puddles of gibberish onto the wooden floor just mopped prior. Often time we try to dry out some of the pages, recall what was once written, mouthing out the words to ourselves as if our life depended on it.
We fail to retrieve its contents in its most purest form. Forever doubting the source from which it came, never knowing if the life we have led is truly the one we remember. Yet only knowing we are who we are because of the contents of our memories.
A paradox without a paradox.
A forever loop with an ending.
A flashback into the dark caves of flashlight lit moments.
I saw her outside the supermarket, just far enough to notice the ocean-blue green-moss eyes glistening, her grey gloved hand waving to me, as I biked away with a loaded basket of groceries. The brown bag crinkling was so loud, I barely heard her say “I like your hat.” To which I responded to, “thank you, I made it” as I wobbly navigated to a stop next to the sidewalk.
Then just like that in a moment of exchange we became appreciators of craft making. Right before my eyes, she unbuttoned her peacoat to reveal a talisman draping her neckline that she had made just the week prior. “I found the chain laying in the grass,” she said in what I finally heard as a London accent. “Isn’t it nice dear?” The pendant was round like the Moon with green emerald-like gemstones covering its cheese-holes. She smiled and asked me to guess her age. “Ooooh this is really a tough one”, I said wearily, “hmm.. maybe 65?”
She took a pause, put down her purse and did a yoga stretch, left to right and then touched her toes. “Honey, I am 87 years old.” She had a happy laugh, if there was one, this one was filled with joy. Having lost her husband a decade ago, she lives with her daughter in town. Not a twinkle in her eye lost, her life must have been a good one. I wanted this to be the end of the small, brief exchange. I did not feel like socializing that day. However she wanted me to come over her house sometime to see her craft work. I felt hesitant yet societally pressured to not refuse the kind gesture of an elderly woman.
What I thought of as I biked away from her is how I misjudged her. As I was waving good-bye, thoughts flared my mind realizing that some people are open to the possibilities of life, open to risk, to creativity and she did not even budge to question me, let alone hesitate when inviting me over her house. In an instant I felt as if there is a chance to feel equality, peace and hope in the world. She simply made me feel human, not asking where I am from, what I do and why I do it. Simply cause, I just was. Not many people can possess this quality and even more will not appreciate it when they see it.
Crackle and pop of a record plays into the the afternoon breeze. Windows wide open, the sounds of music emanating into the world. A sense of calm envelops the room, as he lay there, reminiscing about the past.
A doorbell rings. He springs up to put on his pants, buttons up crookedly, his last clean shirt. The buzz-“ZZ”-ing sound irritates his ear hairs, pinches his mood into a sour feeling. Stumbling over worn out shoes, cigarette butts and beer bottles, he opens the door.
There is no one there. His mind resting, trying to find meaning, when chaos tries to break into the home. When adventure seeks you out. When there is more to this day, than just this day.
His pupils dilated from excitement, he lights up a cigarette. The smoke as empty and meaningless as it started, waves itself out the room with the wobbly spinning of the vinyl.
Laying bare naked on a wooden floor of papers; unpaid bills, one-way letters. Coffee stained postcards. Rain drenched receipts. Pressing down on the cigarette lighter, a surge of endorphins swims in my brain; a mind still possessed by someone else.
Fiery thoughts of opportunities lost, money wasted. Time forgotten, memories deleted.
Totally clutterless, I will never be.
A white-wall room, feng shui-ed with tranquility.
We usually want comfort in our life: the word itself sounds like a warm blanket wrapped up around our mind, soft and fuzzy — it is a safe place. Life is already complicated with its own obstacles. We want safety and security, right? We battled enough in the world that we deserve a cave of food, warmth and enough money to keep the lights on.
Here are reasons why discomfort is good for you, too.
For the you that will shine and change the world. For the you that you were meant to be. For the life you dream of to become reality.
Whenever I think of examples where I went above and beyond my own capabilities, beyond my skill level, and kept going, pushing, believing in a vision that has not truly made sense yet — all of this happened in discomfort.
Discomfort challenges the mind.