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"What is it? Alert! What is it?"
"Human! Alert alert alert!"
"GO HUMAN GO! This is our den, you are not one of us. GO!"
"GO GO GO! Alert! GO HUMAN!"
"Gone. We have done well. She will be pleased."
"She will be pleased."
"ALERT! PREY! CAT! ALERT ALERTALERTALERT!"
"GET IT! WANT IT! GET THE CAT! ALERT ALERT!"
"Need to get cat. Let us out we will take the cat, we will protect the pack, let us out!"
"ALERT! Wait. Is it gone?"
"Gone. We sent it away. She will be displeased."
She dug her fingers deep into the earth. Her back was screaming but she ignored it. Her thighs burned as she squatted down in front of the plant; she did not care. Scraping, shoving the soil aside, she dug, feeling minuscule pebbles slice beneath her nails. The soil was damp and cool. The perfect spot, always shaded, exactly where he had loved to hide from the oven blast of desert summers.
This was her labor of love, a finality. Satisfied with her effort, she reached for the limp form, lovingly wrapped, and placed him within.
The world exploded and the skies turned to fire and long, uncountable days and nights passed before people once again ventured forth, shrouded and wrapped against the poisons and the choking dust. Uncountable passages of moons before small communities found strength to protect themselves from the marauders. Uncountable cycles of the sun before those dark days were tales told by elders and through all of these days and moons and suns she wandered, unchanged. Every night now, he came to her and they twined in love, but every dawn he was gone.
In her ageless wanderings, she sought him.
"Everybody has their own Truth."
I know people who believe this. That "Truth" is relative to perception. In some senses it is correct because people do settle on a "Truth" that suits either their perceptions of events, or a set of incomplete facts.
Thankfully we recognize the fallibility of a system that depends on perception, and so require a consensus, presumably reached after examining all available facts. Sadly, we are still susceptible to spin.
Imagine if everyone really did hold to their own custom-crafted Truth, exclusive of the Truths of others, exclusive of any facts we chose to reject!
"Yes, isn't she?"
"She's blank, yes?"
"That's what we agreed on, yes. Completely blank and ready for imprint."
"If you don't mind my asking, just what is she for?"
"Oh, she's vital to our business growth. Extremely vital. This is why we chose not to go with one of your standard templates."
"Sir, we have many excellent engineering level ... "
"Yes, yes, I know, as excellent as your work is, our needs are, shall we say, quite specific."
"Not quite sure I grasp it."
"We need her to be a leader."
"Ah. Yes. Project Manager. I understand perfectly, sir."
In my world, there are few like me -- that is, "people who enjoy early mornings."
It comes from many sources, but one is a love of light. Let me tell you about the rush of pleasure I feel when, after the cold and dark of winter, I finally witness the eastern sky blush, and every molecule of air embellished with golden glow. It vibrates with promise. It bursts with birdsong. My heart grows big with joy.
My wish is to arise, to let the gilt air enfold me, enrapture me, and then return to your arms still warm with sleep.
She makes poor choices.
She wants her son to have the best, but she gives up food for herself so that at age two he can enjoy Easter chocolate (the good stuff) and attend a Montessori preschool. She has champagne tastes on a beer income.
The boy's father is no help. He supports the boy only to the letter of the court order. He's right when he says "she doesn't have to use Montessori."
We all agree.
Yet, we enablers take turns buying her lunch. We reason that the boy needs a mother that's not sick all of the time.
I am supposed to be worried. Emotional. In need of some comfort.
I am not, I suppose, "normal." Or perhaps my relationship with my father has always been a bit too distant, too disconnected. In truth, any emotion around my father's decline has more to do with wanting to comfort his wife -- externally a rock, yet inside lives in fear of losing him.
Still it causes me some small concern that I do not feel more fretful about my father's imminent passage from life. Everyone seems to expect it.
To appear normal to others, I find myself faking it.
Ageless. When the world ended she was changed and though time passed, evidenced in the cycles of cold and heat, night and day, she remained the same.
Repeatedly she paused her wanderings, settling, taking a husband who would grow old and die yet before any could question her eternal youth she moved on. Always childless. Always unsated.
In these times, she acquired such wisdom that eventually she became known as a woman of magic and great power. She alone could work the remnants of technology dug up by the descendants.
No one knew that her magic was simply knowledge retained.
I see that it matters less to others than to me. I see women who move with confidence and sensuality yet who have large soft bellies, broad asses, flabby arms. Their partners appreciate them nonetheless, and they show it off.
And you. You've reassured me in many ways that I am what you want and cherish. That you desire me and love me matters. But the fact that it's okay for you does not mean it is okay for me.
When I look in the mirror, I despise what's there. I was thinner. I can be again.
I was tired -- eleven days past the due date. Mom was here. The house was ready. Surely it was time.
I wandered outside. I had bougainvilleas to plant. I put the shovel to ground, but it proved too hard. I stood on the shovel and leaned into it. No movement. I hopped. Ah! The blade bit deep and I jumped harder.
I hoped for a hole sufficient for the plant but got instead a drenching sensation between my legs, a tightening of the bulbous extension of my belly.
Two hours later, she was born.
Happy birthday, my Princess.
Every month I'll have the dream. I have it one time only in the month -- rather within a twenty-six day span of time. As is usual with dreams, the details vary, but there remains one element that repeats.
I may start out doing an activity or perhaps on a journey. Or entering a home -- my own, someone else's. It doesn't matter. Somewhere along the way I will encounter a baby. The baby will be abandoned. I will pick it up, and spend the rest of the dream caring for it, looking for its family.
That's it. Period.
I wouldn't do that to her. It's not nice.
I have a co-worker who, out of her own pocket stocks bowls of candy for visitors to her cube. I am, needless to say, a frequent visitor.
This is not a good thing for someone like me who is struggling to cut back on needless eating.
Someone offered tips on how to handle this suggesting I ask the co-worker to police her stash. If she sees me coming, tell me "no."
This'd make her a Candy Nazi and, given my personality, entice me to sneak.
They should not have put a window by the printer.
Sara breathed toner tinged air, pages rising from the slot then nestling into the tray. There were eighty pages in all, forty copies to be distributed and that damnable window, the northern mountains dappled with snow gleaming in the spring sun.
"Sara, we're binding them. Scrap those. Need them in the boardroom in fifteen..."
Peebles' voice faded into the chunk of the printer hardware shifting to accommodate the next set.
She didn't remember how she got into the car and aimed north.
The printer chunked on.
Settling down has a definite set of mainstream connotations in the US. It means marrying, or, at its most liberal, shacking up. It is bundled with the notion of a couple set on living together and being or having a family and all the attendant responsibilities.
For me, though, it simply means acquiring responsibilities and pursuing them in a mature, thoughtful fashion irrespective of the presence of mates or offspring. Financial, social, and job-related responsibilities. Providing for yourself at the most basic. Making your own decisions, and living up to some set of standards.
Maybe even that's too complex.
Alone versus loneliness.
I consider myself a loner. Socially awkward, yet I can fake it and do well in social situations. I'm not entirely a hermit, either. I have close friends whose company I enjoy a great deal.
Being a loner means I get to experience loneliness more often than I would prefer. While not quite like those who crave company all the time or fear being alone, there are times I wish I had a button with which I could summon companionship according to my needs.
We would mutually enjoy togetherness, then mutually go back to our caves.
Polyamory is but a word. It's meant to classify a lifestyle. It captures the belief that we each of us can love more than one person at a time, and with work, with open, honest communication we can overcome the difficulties that come with sharing our loved ones with others.
It fits, as words go. If you dislike fancy made-up words, then consider it simply as loving, communicating, being honest, working to keep it honest and digging deep within to find understanding, sensitivity, and losing your own insecurities for the benefit of the relationship. For the benefit of love.
Rose sometimes felt life had fitted her with a spigot and two valves and that Fate, with the sort of caprice an idle and wicked child might exhibit, twists one knob, then the other.
Was it four days ago, her heart was at ease, she sang to herself as she went about her day's tasks? Today gloom filled her.
"It isn't going to work out. He's too closed. I never know what's going on in his life. And why should I?"
She knew shortly the valves would be twisted again and all would again be right within her world.
Her tissue paper thin nails were shredded nubs, the torn cuticles painful yet that did not stop her from shoving them into her mouth for another gnaw. They had to take her seriously this time! If she didn't get this right, my God!
She'd survived by floating beneath the radar and staying well-liked. She quietly, competently got stuff done and when she screwed up, well, it didn't matter. Small drop in a big bucket. Being a cog had its benefits.
Curse him for noticing her and for putting her in charge of this.
She was running out of fingernails.
I have never thought of myself as all that. I have pretty poor self-esteem, especially where my physical appearance is concerned. I'm not beautiful. I'm not thin. Not ugly, either. Best I can come up with for myself is "cute, and not bad."
My low self-esteem means I get bragging rights when someone makes it clear they think I'm hot.
Best I can figure is that they connect first on some level with my personality, my wit, my smile, my friendliness and easy-going nature. They notice I have breasts. Magic happens.
Then "bing!" I'm hot.
He had a hard-on for her. She knew it, but they both also knew it was all him. She had no interest, and he knew that, but they played the game because it was fun, and it was safe. He'd never step out, anyway.
It surprised him when Jim brought up her name, although his observation did not.
"I don't think I met her before."
"Sure, she's been out that way. You met her."
"Dunno. I sure met her last month. When she was walking away from me? Damn!"
He agreed enthusiastically but silently. Baby got back.
I spent my formative years with a neat freak. Vacuumed daily, we had to remove shoes upon entry, made us walk around the edges of the carpeting so as to not tread soiled paths across, rewashed freshly washed dishes, and nagged.
I'm not a neat freak.
I married a collector -- hoarder, if you will -- who has issues when it comes to picking up after himself. Could not see the piles of crap, nor the dirt.
Unsurprising to say I've developed my own neuroses somewhere between the two. Today I fret in cluttered environments, but can't be arsed to pick up.
Seems one glass of wine no longer causes light-headed loosening, but one martini was more than sufficient.
We talked. I did not fear. He responded with interest. A real conversation ensued, as though between friends and not between estranged, untrusting former spouses.
I dreaded the weekend and up until that moment, was feeling anxiety, wondering how I would broach with him the topic of "I do not want to involve you in my life any more, I am not strong enough to handle what you do to me inside."
It's in limbo, as a result.
Mel glanced toward her sleeping son. So vulnerable! Shuddering: how close she came to losing him forever, even as she sped a thousand miles distant, she could never again feel safe.
She reclined her seatback, closing her eyes. Images from the prior evening played across her closed lids. The door splitting apart, the hooded figure charging in slamming her against the wall before striding to the room where her boy slept.
She recovered quickly, and moved. Found the gun she kept. Found the bullets. Found the man leaning over the child.
Police later would find his brains on her wall.
Mommy is there. Daddy is behind. I am okay.
Mommy's over here now. Follow her, follow her.
Good, I am okay.
BIG SHADOW! HAWK! Where's Mommy? Where's Daddy?
Mommy's over there. So are siblings, must go. Follow follow hurry hurry, hawk will eat me! Where's Daddy?
Not okay, not okay, hurry follow Mommy.
BIG SHADOW AGAIN! HAWK! Running now, finding Mommy. Daddy's there to make the hawk follow him.
Running with siblings, following Mommy, going to big shade, no more hawk.
I am okay.
(Yeah, you try taking a photo of a bunch of baby quail)
"That's two of my really favorite people who you know nothing about and who you have indiscriminately shit all over. In about a month.
Don't do that again"
There are three problems with the statement above.
One is that I did not shit on any of his friends today. I made a rude remark regarding an article this man posted, and by extension insulted this man.
Two is that I am unaware of any prior offense. Which brings me to the third: he did not inform me when I first allegedly shit.
Can't learn what you don't teach.
I met with you the other day. Did you know it?
Did you hear us speak of many things:
Of politics, religion, of old age and sex,
Of movies seen and books we've read
Of fairy tales, and the rest?
Did you see the sunset as we watched it?
We were hand in hand.
Did you hear the music playing?
Yes, our favorite band.
Did you dream what I had dreamt?
Did you cry the tears I cried?
Did you feel my hair against your lips,
my breast against your side?
I met with you again today. Did you know it?
It's really kind of odd.
You roam up and down the grocery store aisles, mentally ticking off items in your brain ("Yes, need tea bags. Get milk. Yogurt. Mushrooms? Mushrooms). You pause at the cookie aisle, then shake your head. Not this time. Pause again at the ice cream freezer aisle and again shake your head. You pay for your purchases, head home, unload, and contemplate supper.
Nope, not now. Not particularly hungry. Maybe later.
You get the mail. Feed the dogs. Finished with that, you sit down at the computer, and suddenly:
WANT COOKIES! ICE CREAM! NOW!
The smiles that breed smiles play across your face striking a spark in your merry eye that is perfectly matched by the spark in my heart for you.
Can fire play with fire, and still remain untouched by the heat?
Life is so abundant in my breast. Could I not share a bit of it with you?
Laughter is my messenger; it carries my soul to you.
(These were the thoughts that ran across my brain during a class in college, in 1980. It's a bit amazing to me that words like these still fit, lo these many years hence.)
"Sure, you're more positive than your friend Rufus," she explained. "And I'm not saying you need to be all perky. But you're not truly a pollyanna."
"Sure I am. I mean, I don't see conspiracy theories everywhere!" He was rather shocked she didn't see him as being an optimist.
"No, actually, you do. When I mentioned that new feature that's supposed to protect the consumer? Without even investigating it, you started spinning a story about how advertisers would lobby Congress to outlaw the feature, so they could continue gathering our private information."
"Well, they will. They always do. Fuckers."
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