You have walked into my Diary. Welcome! Hopefully, my musings will touch you. Check out my novel "The One That Got Away" on amazon http://tinyurl.com/ljcj8xh

Flight

flight

Dear Diary,

 

You already told me

that I can fly.

The breathless beach day sky beckons

but the wings are not ready.

Impatience chafes

as the wings are dressed and redressed again,

fitted and groomed for distance flight,

not for short sprints.

Wings of strength and force

must be honed

to arc and soar instead of to flit and flutter.

 

You already showed me

that I can fall.

Stranded on the earth

until muscle and feather are reconstructed,

better equipped for future flights.

 

You will not enlighten me

where I will go or what it will take to get there.

But you have prepared me to fall and to fly,

to embrace the cycle

with fully extended wings.

To leap further than before

without reservation,

into the extraordinary blue.

The One That Got Away

book cover

Dear Diary,

Have you read my book THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY yet? Here is chapter one for you. On amazon the e-version is available for $9.99, paperback for $10.76 and hardcover for $22.95.  Please enjoy.

Chapter One

Did I ever tell you that I thought you were dead when you were born? I really don’t think that we ever got into that sort of conversation. Your birth was rather surreal to me. Of course, I had nothing to compare it to and they did give me something to calm me down because I was in a full blown panic when the contractions got intense. I think you would agree that this reaction seems quite out of character for me. I really don’t ever remember being in any sort of panic about anything before this incident. You know I’ve had to deal with crisis situations, but I’ve always been able to approach them with a certain detachment. I have thought this very clever and superior of me to be able to do that. So, I was quite surprised at myself when I experienced this burbling, spine tingling, overpowering surge of panic rising from some deep place within me. The initial rush choked me and my ears buzzed violently. A single thought kept searing my mind over and over: “My baby is dead.” I believed that I was merely thinking this gloomy thought, but apparently, I was screaming it. At this point it seemed that every nurse and doctor and any other available person had their hands on me trying to get me to lie down. Some voices were firm, others were kind but I couldn’t distinguish much of the murmurings because of the incessant buzzing. I do remember someone asking about your father. I believe you know that he was out of town on business. You took us all unawares as you were three and a half weeks early. I also remember my doctor asking for some sort of medication for me. And whispers that my baby was fine. I could not believe them. I struggled and wailed frantically and begged them to save my baby. When the sedative began slipping into my bloodstream the vision began. At first, the edges of my sight were studded with fuzzy, gray spots. I tried to blink them out of the way, but this merely changed their location. Then the people in the room began to blur and ooze some sort of colorful mist. Not all of the colors were the same. I was no longer panicking. I was frozen with fascination. I did not dare blink. I felt warm. And then hot. And then terribly hot. The acrid smell of blood and birth filled my nostrils. And dirt and sweat. I was slick with sweat. I couldn’t see anyone anymore. It was so dark. I could sense movement, that I was not alone. I couldn’t see…. Then I realized that there was dim candlelight. Candlelight?

“Ralf,” I heard myself whisper. My mouth was so dry. My spit stuck to my tongue like wallpaper paste.

“Ralf…”

“No, dear, not yet,” a vague female voice answered. “Soon.”

I felt reassured from her kind voice. She knew what she was doing. I would see Ralf soon and I would tell him how things would be different. How I wanted this baby. His baby. That I was determined to be a good mother. That I would not be selfish. That I loved him so desperately, like he loved me and the baby too and….

A hard, agonizing contraction grappled my body. I knew to push. I pushed hard. To see my baby. To love the baby like I loved Ralf, like Ralf loved me….

I heard the woman cry out. I heard her whisper something to someone else in the room. Her voice caught. Dear God. Something was wrong. My baby. Something…… She was holding the baby. Bloody. Still. Why didn’t she clean him? Why didn’t she wrap him? My nose burned with the smell. I felt vomit rise into my throat. My baby. I looked at the woman’s face. Her face was pinched. Her eyes sparkled with tears that were about to fall. She was holding my baby. Still. No breath. I started screaming. It was my fault. Ralf jerked the door open.

My shrieks abruptly halted. My eyes caressed his disheveled sandy hair in the candlelight. His wolfish gray eyes were dark with concern and fear. His slender jaw was tight with worry.

“Roese,” he choked.

I drank his presence with great thirst. It was so hard to speak.

“Ralf, please forgive me.” I barely breathed the words.

Sudden, stark brightness. I was numb everywhere. And very detached. I watched as the doctor cut your umbilical cord. You looked blue to me. Your eyes were closed. You were still. You were dead. But then you slowly arched your back and wriggled slightly. I gasped and began to cry with jagged gulps. You were not dead. You were alive! The relief was overpowering. The doctor gave you to me. A nurse was trying to hand me the phone to speak to your father. Other hospital staff bustled about importantly. I shook off the lingering dread that hung on me like a damp cloak and concentrated on holding you close. But Roese still hovered in the fringes of my mind.

Shiny Spot

friend

Dear Diary,

Today is the birthday of a longtime friend….

The first smile we took from each other
so long ago
grew into a radiance
that steeped and settled into a permanent warmth.
The melody of the laughter we have shared
echoes into the march of countless years.
The thoughts and words we have created together
have sculpted a treasure securely embedded.
Our friendship began in our springtime
and has laced its way into our autumn.
Across the miles and large gaps of time
You remain a bright presence.

Light On Dark

 

roses

Dear Diary,

 

Behind the crafted mask you wear

I know what’s really hiding there.

 

Within the silken threaded lair

Lies a not so clever snare.

 

I step inside from light to gray

Knowing I will likely pay.

 

Fragile flowers I will lay

On the dark and dense decay.

 

The flowers rest upon the stain

Wilting as they soak the pain.

 

Their dimmed brightness is not in vain

Dark is lighter where they are lain.

My Goodnight

IMG_2499

 

Dear Diary,

I am definitely well into the second half of my life at this time. Being in this place causes occasional musings about mortality, evaluation of past accomplishments and wonderings about what still needs to be done before the hourglass drops its last grain of sand so to speak. I am not going to reveal my age, but it is sufficient to say that I look much younger than I am. This is not due to any skin care product or particularly healthy living. On the contrary, I don’t put much of anything on my face at all and my dietary habits have actually been criticized. My age defying appearance could be chalked up to genes and luck, but I like to think it is due to the grace of God and my youthful outlook.

 

I have had a full life. I have several children, been to many places, participated in a large variety of activities, spent time with many lovely people and have had a plethora of interesting experiences. If I died tomorrow I would be satisfied with the canvas of what my life has been. I have lived with the mentality of putting my whole self into my endeavors, purposes and those around me. I have stayed true to the spirit of who I am regardless of setbacks.

 

During a low point in my life a few years ago I began to think that perhaps my turn was over, that I was getting older and needed to step onto the sidelines and let the rest of my time here ebb quietly outside of the mainstream. But at that juncture, something within me rose up and insisted that I was not done yet; that I would never be done while I still had breath. I now believe that life is a continuing journey that needs to be walked actively and passionately with the same spirit and goals until the very end. I must fill it with as much impact as I am able until then.

 

I recently installed one of those digital photo frames. It is a random slide show of two thousand moments in my life that are captured on film. It makes me happy to walk through the room that holds the frame to glimpse a piece of the life I have lived thus far. Sometimes one of those pictures will cause me to reflect on the background surrounding that moment. Some of these memories are joyful, others remind me that I was smiling through unseen tears. But the sadness that I endured shows me that I have persevered through difficulties to give me the edge I need to preserve my joyful spark. Perhaps the intense need for keeping that spark and the sense of continuing purpose is what keeps my attitude and countenance youthful. I insist on being positive and carrying on with verve.

 

I will close with an excerpt from Dylan Thomas’ poem “Do Not Gentle Into The Goodnight” which speaks to living fully to the end.

 

“Do not gentle into that goodnight

Old age should burn and rave at the close of day

Rage rage against the dying light.”

 

 

 

 

51ew8vkwbll

Dear Diary,

I will be concentrating on getting this novel completed. You can find chapters 1 & 2 in previous posts.

 

Strangers’ Angel Chapter 3

She saw Stephen before he saw her. He was seated at a small red checked covered table waiting for her. It always made her heart indescribably warm when she stepped into his presence. Anna studied her brother for a moment. His dark, wavy hair was always in a state of mild crazy. She found it endearing for some reason that he did not seem to know how to run a comb through it. She surmised that it would most likely get unmercifully stuck. He wore John Lennon style glasses well on his pointed nose. His sensuous mouth was currently pursed in concentration as he stacked creamers and jelly packets in a complicated structure. Anna smiled and stood by waiting for him to notice her arrival. He felt her eyes on him and suddenly lost concentration on the task before him. He turned towards his sister and promptly toppled the objects in a mass on the tabletop. Two creamers plopped unceremoniously to the floor.

“Really, Stephen, sometimes I think that I am the older one.”

“You are.” Stephen deftly grabbed the wandering creamers and placed them on the table. Then he stood and enveloped Anna in a bear-hug.

“I am still a teenager and you are now in your 20’s. Happy birthday Anna.” He planted a kiss on her forehead and released her. He motioned for her to sit. “Would you like some coffee, ma’am?” Stephen seated himself and lifted the faux silver coffee pot expectantly.

“Please.” Anna pushed the classic white coffee mug closer to the beverage source.

Stephen poured the steaming liquid inside. “You still drink it black?” he asked as he fished for a creamer in the scattered pile of condiments between them.

“Yep.”

“You’re a beast, Anna. I think I’ve increased my sugar portion since I saw you last. I’m up to three sugars and one cream.”

 

Stephen deposited the allotted sugar and cream into his mug before pouring more coffee into it.

“I only see old people do it that way,” Anna teased.

“I will not let your jibes dictate how I do things,” Stephen answered, pretending to be annoyed. “You do it your way, and I’ll do it mine.” He lifted his cup. “Cheers!” They clinked cups and sipped. “Next year I will buy you a beer for breakfast.” Stephen grinned and then became serious. “I’m sorry that I could only come for breakfast today. As I told you, I’ve got that seminar in Dayton this afternoon.”

“I understand. I’m glad that you came down this morning. That’s going to be a lot of driving today. What is your seminar about?”

“Mostly bones. How are your classes?”

“Almost done. I have a Psych. paper due and an Econ. final on Wednesday. I should finish with close to a 4.0, I think.”

“That’s my girl.”

Anna lifted her mug with both hands and blew into it before attempting to sip it. It was still too hot. She paused as a thought struck her and set the cup back down on the table. “Oh, this kiss is from Kate.” She leaned over and pecked her brother on the cheek. “And Viv says hello. Although, truth be told, she’d rather give you a really big kiss.” Anna smiled wide and her eyes sparkled.

“Yeah, well…” Stephen blushed and fiddled with his spoon.

“Stephen, why don’t you ask her out? You know she’s got the hots for you. Has for years.”

Stephen looked extremely uncomfortable and included his fork in his fiddling. “I think she’s a bit too much for me. She’s got so much…enthusiasm.”

“Why are you scared of enthusiasm? Enthusiasm is good. I’ve only been aware of two girls that you have dated and they both had about as much personality as a wet sock. Sorry, I don’t mean to offend you, but what’s up with that? You can do so much better!”

Stephen abandoned the fiddling and went into full organizing mode. He returned the creamers and jellies to their appropriate places in a more orderly fashion than he had originally found them.

“Can we just drop the subject?” Stephen looked completely relieved that Anna’s phone began vibrating impatiently indicating a text message.

“You’re off the hook only for a minute,” Anna warned as she pulled her phone out of her back pocket. She wiped the screen with the bottom of her shirt and read the message therein.

‘Are you alright?’

It was from Aunt Sara. Odd question. Anna was expecting a happy birthday greeting.

‘Yes, why?’ Anna typed back.

‘Good. I am glad you are okay. I felt something. Something doesn’t feel right. I will talk to you about it later. Happy birthday, dear. I love you.’ came the reply.

“That was Aunt Sara,” Anna said as she typed ‘I love you, too.’

Stephen had finished with the condiments and was now perusing the menu. “Maybe you call her ‘aunt’, but personally I think she’s weird. And,” he added, “I don’t mean to offend you either.” Stephen went back to reading the menu. “I think I’m in the mood for French toast.”

Anna returned her phone to her pocket and picked up her menu. “I have to have chocolate chip pancakes, but what comes with it? You think she’s weird because you are not really ‘aware’ yet. Only just kind of ‘aware’.

“The only reason that I’m just kind of aware as you call it, is because of what you have told me and what mom wrote me before she died. Sara quite frankly gives me the creeps. I feel like she’s waiting and watching me.”

“Well, she is. She told me that you are a Bright Soul like we are. You just don’t know it yet. Anna paused and peered over the top of the breakfast menu at her older brother. “You still haven’t had any particularly vivid dreams?” she asked doubtfully.

“No.” He looked cross. “I don’t feel any of that or see any of that stuff you and mom and Sara have talked about. On one hand, I want to call all three of you crazy, but on the other hand, for some reason, I think there has to be some truth in it. It’s frustrating.”

Anna put the menu down and reached over to clasp his hand. “Stephen, thank you for humoring me. It will come. I promise you.”

Stephen squeezed her hand and then released it with a sigh. “Yeah, I guess. Maybe I’ll do an omelet instead.” He returned his attention back to the menu. “Bacon cheddar mushroom omelet it is.” He set the menu on the table and gulped some coffee. “Are you sure you girls are okay to drive all the way to Texas for Franny’s wedding? That’s a long drive. I’ll buy you a ticket to fly if you want. I know Aunt Leigh is not crazy about you and Kate driving down.”

“No, Stephen, part of the fun is the road trip. Besides, I’m not having Viv drive by herself.”

“Well, you make sure that you call me if you need me for anything. I’m not flying out until Friday morning. You know I worry about you.”

“That’s your job as my big brother.” Anna smiled sweetly.

The waitress appeared beside their table and offered them a rousing ‘good morning’ and asked them what they wanted to eat.

“A large glass of clarity to start off,” Stephen answered.

The girl looked at him blankly and momentarily ceased chewing her gum.

“Alright, then,” Stephen continued, “if you don’t have that, I’ll have a bacon cheddar mushroom omelet with extra crispy hash browns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

th-3

 

Dear Diary,

“Strangers’ Angel”, the sequel to “The One That Got Away”. Last week, chapter one, next week chapter three.

 

Strangers’ Angel Chapter 2

Walking always cleared Anna’s mind. It seemed to allow ideas and thoughts to blow in and out unhindered by whatever she had to concentrate on. Occasionally, she would grab a thought as it slid by and consider it a bit more closely before setting it free to circulate once again. Sometimes stray thoughts that did not belong to her would enter the mix when she would pass a stranded spirit. These thoughts were usually vague and unobtrusive and would drift right back out as she passed their vicinity. She always felt a touch of sadness for the stranded souls because they were trapped between the two states of being. She knew that this limbo would not last forever, but they all had some repeating thought that they were fussing over. This single traumatic event that occurred at their death would continually loop until somehow they pushed past it and would continue their journey. Sometimes they were aware of her as she entered their area. On those occasions she would make eye contact and nod politely to acknowledge their presence. Most of the time, however, the stranded souls would not notice her and would not interrupt their seemingly endless hand wringing about whatever it was that was agitating to them. Anna did not know why some souls got stuck and some did not. There were all sorts who got stuck- Bright Souls, Dark Souls and in-between ones. It seemed to Anna that it was kind of like swerving off into a ditch on the road of life.

She was coming up to the sorority house where she often sensed a stranded soul. His name was Nicodemus and he was a famous ghost in her college town. The sorority house had long since replaced the modest home that existed in Nicodemus’ day. In the 1850’s 24 East Washington Street was a station for the Underground Railroad. Nicodemus’ story was that he had been an escaping slave that had taken refuge there. Unfortunately for him a group of angry townspeople got wind that the home was a haven for runaway slaves and raided the place. Nicodemus was shot dead while fleeing. Anna’s quick stride faltered as a sudden thought struck her. She hadn’t realized it before, but she now knew that as Ida Spencer she had known Nicodemus briefly. Hazy fragments of memories tugged at the edges of Anna’s mind. Pieces of conversation, a shared meal, obtaining a pair of sturdy boots for him…Nicodemus had stopped off at Ida’s farm during his Underground Railroad journey. A tight jolt of sadness shot through her. Ida hadn’t known that he didn’t make it to freedom. Nicodemus was a spirit that normally did acknowledge Anna’s presence if he was there when she passed. She wondered if this was because he recognized her. Interesting. She might have to risk seeming odd to passersby to try communicating with him more substantially. Anna searched her mind to ascertain whether she felt that she recognized any of the other stranded spirits in town. She did not believe that she did, and she couldn’t think of any of them that appeared to be interested in her either.

The sleepy town of Athens was touted as the most haunted place in Ohio. Anna never had anything to add to the topic if it ever came up in conversation with others. She had learned as a child not to talk about it. She was able to see these spirits as long as she could remember. It did not disturb her. She was used to it and accepted it. She used to try to speak to them, but later discovered that it was not necessary. The communication worked just as well silently. They usually only had that one looping thought anyway and were not particularly interested in conversation. Shortly after her mother’s death she learned that not everyone could see them as she did.

Anna was four years old when her mother died. She was sent to live with her Aunt Leigh, Uncle Jeff and their children Franny and Kate. Aunt Leigh became quite alarmed when her young niece would speak of random stranded souls that she was able to observe. Leigh attributed this oddity as Anna’s attempt to deal with the loss of her mother. She immediately put Anna in counseling. From her experience with counseling Anna learned to keep it all to herself, except for Aunt Sara.

Sara knew. Aunt Sara was a Bright Soul. But Sara wasn’t really her aunt. She was someone that her mother had met shortly before her death. Anna had always felt comfortable with Sara from the moment she walked into her life. At first, Aunt Leigh was hesitant to allow Sara to be involved in Anna’s activities but after a couple of full blown tantrums on Anna’s part, she relented. It soon became apparent that Sara had a calming and positive impact on the young girl who had lost her mother. Over the years, the relationship between the two of them continued and grew. Anna learned that Sara also dreamed of her previous pasts and could see stranded souls as well. But Sara seemed to understand much more about this other reality than Anna did. She would explain some things but had a tendency to be mysterious and talk in riddles. She was fond of saying that it was better to glean information than to be given information. It made the discovery a pure idea and unbound by the possibility that given information was skewed or not complete. She also insisted that she was not privy to the entire picture either.

 

It was going to be a hot one today. The air was muggy and not a breath of wind stirred the numerous trees lining the brick walk. Anna wiped a trickle of sweat from her brow and glanced over at the sorority house as she passed. She wouldn’t have time to stop there today or she would be late for her breakfast date. Nicodemus was there pressed closely to the side of the house. She silently called a friendly hello. Then, abruptly, she stopped. She seemed to have slammed into a wall of extreme tension and fear. It made her gasp suddenly with the force of it. Anna stared at the man spirit and he stared back at her. His eyes were frightened and his mouth worked wordlessly trying to tell her something. She could not understand specifically, but she could sense that it was some sort of warning. A warning for her. Then he hurriedly turned and ran away as though being pursued by a mob, which was in fact how his story had ended. A jagged wind began to blow.

“Are you okay?” A passing pedestrian stopped to query Anna.

Anna pulled her glance away from the scurrying figure and forced herself to manage her countenance before addressing the girl in front of her. She cleared her throat.

“Yes, thanks for asking.” The wall of anxious dread was subsiding and the wind continued to pick up. It felt good and fresh to her. It was going to thunderstorm.

“Well, okay, then. Bye.” The girl adjusted her backpack on her shoulder and gave Anna a small smile before trudging on her way.

Anna returned her eyes to the house. She couldn’t see or feel him anymore. She looked up at the sky that was becoming rapidly overcast. She had better hurry on to the restaurant before she was poured upon.

 

 

 

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