End of a Series That I Started Over a Year Ago…What Happened to My Mom and Me Part IV

In case  you missed it:

https://ocdbloggergirl.wordpress.com/2011/10/04/what-happened-to-my-mom-and-me-part-i/

https://ocdbloggergirl.wordpress.com/2011/10/10/what-happened-to-my-mom-and-me-part-ii/

https://ocdbloggergirl.wordpress.com/2011/10/27/what-happened-to-my-mom-and-me-part-iii/

I try again on that red phone and this time we are allowed into the ICU. The third time is the charm. My mom is in room 14. The doctor I met in the ER asks me questions, the one with a European accent and wonderful bedside manner. 

“We  can keep the antibiotic drips going, which may let her live for a little while longer, but I’ve rarely seen anyone get better this far along. But it’s your decision.”

“How much difference would there be in time if I take her off the drips?” I ask.

“It’s hard to say. She could last a few hours or a few days.”

“But it’s near impossible for her to get better?”

“Less than a 1% chance, but if you say to keep going, we will keep pumping her with antibiotics and doing all we can.”

“I need to think about it a bit.”

He asks me about taking extraordinary measures to keep my mother alive, but I know my answer already. “No, my mother wouldn’t want that if she would be brain-dead. I’m certain I don’t want you to resuscitate and she’s told me before she wouldn’t want it.” Break my mother’s ribs so that she can be a dead woman breathing? No. NO.                                                           

“I don’t know if in her condition any of her organs could be used, but if they can, I want them to be donated. My mother wouldn’t mind. She had ‘organ donor’ on her driver’s license. It would be nice to know my mom hadn’t died completely in vain.”

They are going to do some other procedures to my mother, so Bestie and I go out to the waiting room again.  Bestie is on the phone with her mom and telling her about my indecision in keeping Mama on the antibiotics. And of course Bestie’s mom wants to give me her sage advice in the matter. I politely listen.

“She’s your mom. You can’t give up on her.”

“Yes, you’re probably right,” I reply. 

“What kind of insurance does your mother have?”

“Just Medicare.”

“Well, you know with people without anything but Medicare, they try to do as little as they can with them and get them out of there.”

I tell the doctor that he should keep the drips going just in case. Afterall, they are also keeping her on pain meds and sedation just in case. I probably would’ve made this decision anyway without the intervention of my bestie’s dear Mama, but…

I have to ask, though. How do you ask such a question without giving offense? “Um, I don’t believe this of course, you’ve all been so wonderful, but…my friend’s mother is a bit of a cynic, and she told me y’all don’t do everything for Medicare patients because of their insurance. Is there any truth in this?”

The doctor’s answer was no. “In fact, this is a teaching hospital, and most of the patients that come here don’t have any insurance at all, so we do everything we can for all our patients.”

Cool deal.

I decide to go home for some sleep. I am assured that the nurse would call me should my mother take a turn in the night. A nurse is attending my mom’s IV and I remark to him, This must be one depressing job.”

“It can be.”

“How much of the people who come in here live?”

“About 50 %.”

It is 10 pm when Bestie and I head home and I collapse into bed. I know no more until about 4 am when the phone rings.

“You might want to come now. She’s taken a turn for the worse,” says the doctor.

“Hearing the phone at this time of the night doesn’t give me a warm and fuzzy feeling,” says Bestie. She was sleeping on the couch and we go to the hospital in the quiet of the ear morning. This time I don’t have to  wait when I pick up the red phone. I tell Bestie that I want some time with my mother alone at times, but would check on her in 20 minutes because my friend is an anxious soul too. 

I tell my mother that I would understand if she has to go, that I would be fine, but if she could, please stay.  I make myself not beg her to stay for the sake that if she can hear me, I don’t want her last thoughts to be worry over me not being OK without her.

I see the chaplain when offered. He is a young Episcopalian and we pray together. I like him so much I take his number in case I need someone to preach a funeral (my mom and I hadn’t been to church in a number of years). I even end up asking  him if he thought my mom would be OK if cremated. My grandmother didn’t believe in cremation and I suddenly felt  the need for reassurance from a man of God. “God is bigger than that”, was his answer. My mother felt cremation was fine and to rid myself of the ashes in the sea was what she wanted.

I even saw an old high school friend and he was a nurse there. Small world. The last time I’d seen him he was a server at one of those steakhouses where they think it’s a good idea to use roadkill as decor. I guess the road to the original Texas Roadhouse was fraught with many an animal.

Shortly before 8 am, September 13, 2011 my mother took her last breath. I couldn’t restrain my tears now. She was gone and I held it together as well as I could to not upset her. I tried to calm myself again for the Bestie to not upset her more than she was. Who was that woman that shoved anxiety ridden Lisa into a corner and took her place in my body those two days? It wasn’t the me who had dreaded this day for years and went to extremes to prevent her death. It was the  Lisa that only comes out when I’m drowning and that Lisa swims.

 

 

 

Late, Late OCD Book Review: The Unfinished Garden by Barbara Claypole White

The Unfinished GardenTLC Book Tours BannerHi,

just a little note of apology to TLC Book Tours who gave me a chance to review this book, and to the author of the book, who rushed me a signed, gorgeous copy…I’m really sorry. First I fled my old apartment under extreme duress. Trying to salvage the friendship of my roommate, I pawned my netbook (only just got it back) and gave him the money. I found all the stuff to my desktop…except my surge protector (It either got lost in the shuffle, or, it was just one of a number things my roomies decided to keep while I was away a few months ago). Anyway, my new neighbors blew a fuse and my computer died. I began reading The Unfinished Garden the day it arrived and finished it in a couple of days it was so good. I’m very sorry and thank you very much.

The Unfinished Garden by Barbara Claypole White is a unique, beautiful book.  This is a romance novel for everyone: those of us that are dyed-in-the-wool romantics and those who projectile vomit whenever we read Danielle Steele (I swing more toward the latter). Many romance novels have flawed characters, but these often seem contrived and cut from the same cloth the other biddies in the romance quilting bee spun their characters from. Not so with The Unfinished Garden. Claypole White’s first novel lingers with the reader long after the story ends.

The Unfinished Garden recommends itself to me in reminding me of one of my all-time favorite books, The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett. The Secret Garden is a classic children’s book, in which the flawed characters heal themselves through the redemptive qualities of gardening. The Unfinished Garden is The Secret Garden for adults, particularly those with OCD or are mourning. Since I am a card carrying member of Club OCD and recently joined the My Mom is Dead T-Shirt Committee, this book recommends itself to me in its entirety. Through gardening, the two main characters begin the process of healing from their demons, one with OCD, the other with the death of her husband.

James Nealy is not the typical love interest in a novel. James is handsome, but has enough ‘baggage’ to sink the Titanic, iceberg not needed. He has obsessive-compulsive disorder compounded with generalized anxiety disorder.  James easily could become the bungling, hilarious OCD guy of popular culture, but the author’s sensitivity to James and his affliction paints an authentic portrait of someone struggling with anxiety and the past.

Tilly Silverberg is the heroine of The Unfinished Garden, a widowed mother running her own plant nursery. The death of Tilly’s husband three years ago is still in the forefront of her mind, along with regret and guilt. David, her husband, got into a terrible auto accident and was left in a vegetative state. Tilly can’t help but wonder, though, had she refused her husband’s wish to not be kept alive by machines, would he have recovered? She feels by letting the doctors know about her husband’s living will, she in effect killed him. Thanks to modern technology, this is a very believable scenario. I wonder at times whether I should have done more, tried everything to prolong life though it would have gone against what I knew my mother wanted.

When James and Tilly meet, it is due to James wanting someone to build him a garden. While James feels an intense need for it to be Tilly who landscapes his garden, Tilly doesn’t want to branch out her nursery for James or anyone else. James persists though due to his attraction to Tilly and the reason he, a rich software designer, wants a garden: to conquer his contamination obsessions, dirt being a major trigger. As in all good love stories (the ones that are neither too sentimental or about dudes shooting photos of bridges while committing adultery) love conquers all. In spite of having a debilitating mental illness, and even because of the tenacity inspired by his  OCD, James emerges triumphant.

I can’t recommend this book enough. If you have OCD, no matter what your particular obsessions and quirks, you will identify with James and the motivations of his actions in life. James has that sensitivity to the world that can be a blessing and a curse, where he is attracted to other troubled souls. He is afraid of everyday life situations, but has amazing strength at things that fluster or even terrify ‘normal’ folks.  I wish I knew James, and you will probably wish you did too by the end of the book. Shoot, if you just want to read a good book and are as normal as normal be, read The Unfinished Garden!

                                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                          

Tubesteak with Habanero Sauce; or, How OCD Killed My Love Life

About  a week ago,  I went with my friend on our second solo dining experience. You know who I mean, the one who likes showing affection with his tongue as the Continentals do. As I have said before, this guy has the distinct honor of being my first date and my first French kiss. My life before my mother’s death was a bit uneventful in its solitude.  

I’ve known this guy off and on since third grade and have off and on liked him since about the fourth grade. When he gave me the surprise kiss and even more surprising tongue, I thought, Hey for the first time someone I could like likes me back! Winning!

This last excursion began with  Mexican food, and I have a big  steak.  We both have a touch of Habanero sauce, a green pepper sauce that is hot as hell. We have blue margaritas, another new experience that are tasty for alcohol. The drink goes to my head and before long I’m exclaiming, “Oh shit!” – at what, I don’t  quite recollect, but I have enough of my wits to feel a hint of embarrassment. Neither am I so buzzed that the running commentary in my head doesn’t play. Why is he interested in me?, I keep asking myself. I’m so shy, my conversation isn’t funny or fascinating, and I am less than average in looks. Could he have liked me all this time and waited for a proper time to act on it?

We are home and  I know he will try to kiss me again when we get to the door. I try to suppress my giddiness on the way. “Come here,” he says, just as he did before, like he’s going to give me a hug. This time I know his modis and am preparing myself. I’m going to kiss him back this time or die trying.

Now we’re going to count down all the first times in this one…

I manage to tuck my tongue under his in his mouth and leave it there for a couple of seconds, all necessary and proper.  When I retreat to  my tongue’s natural station, I say “Heh, well at least this time I got my tongue in too.”

I find myself relieved when his tongue returns to my mouth in a way which needs no reciprocation from me. It is a kind dispensation of heaven for a socially anxious woman to have a kiss with a guy whose tongue would be the envy of the Geico Gecko. And herein comes another first, he’s copping a feel of my breasts. Cupping them  and pressing me against him, and then, he caresses my bottom – another first. I want to discern whether his pole is raised to attention, but short of grabbing him or applying continuous pressure with my pelvis, which I don’t have the balls to do in either case, I decide I must not look either. It’s as though he’s trying to lift me. “Um, I’m rather heavy and we’re practically making babies in the hall.”

His solution is to pull me under the stairway conveniently next to the fire extinguisher lest we get too hot. More kissing with his tongue. Oh look here, he’s nibbling on my ear. A first! And there he is kissing my neck, another first!  I dare to look into his eyes once or twice and he indeed looks as though he actually wants to have me, devour me even.

Then he asks that question every gal dreams of hearing: “Do you have a ‘fuck buddy,’ Lisa?”

“Um no…I’m still a virgin.”

“I have a couple of them.”

“Who are they?” I ask, thinking GERMS!

“Nevermind about that,” he says. “Do you want to be my ‘fuck buddy?'”

I am not aroused because I’m too shy to be aroused being pressed against the wall.   So that’s why he’s interested. Oh.

I actually think about it.  I’m 34 years-old and my flower is wilted and gathering dust.  I say that I might let him have dessert one day as long as he has protection to keep from having a  Junior running around. I am giddy and want to hurry off lest Wilt Chamberlain  here tries to gain entry  when a neighbor might walk by.

I’m excited and happy that I am desired, the margarita still numbing my senses. I tell Soul Bro and we are giggly. It’s after I wake in the night that the tears come. I thought he  had feelings for me. Nah, he just needed another fuck buddy to go with his harem. Waaaah!

The next day I talk to Soul Bro, crying even though we are having a bowl. I want to divest myself of my virtue, but by someone who doesn’t love me? I don’t want to die a virgin. I don’t want to die alone. I mail him with a “when and where,” but several hours later seeing that he hasn’t responded, I write,  “Nevermind, I’m chicken.” I hope he will write back, but he doesn’t. Feeling my impending old age and ultimate death, plus the fact that I want Wilt in my life whatever way, I make another bid on Facebook, declaring “Fuck it. I’m tired of being a virgin.” That gets an answer and he agrees to Friday night.

Taking my best girlfriend’s advice, as well as my therapist’s, and casting it to the wind, I am ready for my virtue to die. My girlfriend tried to convince me I’m not worthless and that  I will meet someone someday. Noted, but life is such a damn transient thing, and unless I start hanging out with mutes, I will be at a disadvantage in the dating world. My therapist also had similar objections, plus the whole ‘fuck buddy’ thing being crass. Yeah. But I am resolved.

Then Team OCD decides to ruin any chance of me ever getting any. Ugh. 

My Soul Brother has made me up nicely – eyeliner, sparkly eyeshadow, and everything…when I get the call. Wilt’s tire blew out on the way to buy condoms and he will have to cancel. “I’ll get it fixed first thing in the morning,” he says.  

I decide to  ask him then the questions I felt must be asked before I let anyone into where no man’s ever gone before.

Perhaps if I had left it at “Do you have any STD’s?” this story would have a  happy ending. But no. I ask him if he has a medical encyclopedia’s worth of diseases, even if he has sores near his  genitals. 

Oops. Apparently, that’s not a turn on. But it  get’s worse.

“I know we’re not in a relationship or anything, but you won’t just drop me one day, right, or try to break my heart?”

AND, help us all…

“Maybe my mom is telling us we shouldn’t be doing this.”

Needless to say, he cancels the next day and says he’ll call in a couple of weeks. Let’s hope he calls before the world ends on December 21st.

Things I’ve Done in 2011

1. Decide to have a self-hosted blog in addition to my regular blog. Get money!

2. Decide self-hosting ain’t worth the trouble after my mom gives up the ghost (look out for posts coming here that were written there. You may not have seen ’em.

3. Watch my mother go from having a simple cold to being cold dead in the morgue in three weeks. I don’t recommend it.

4. Come to the fabulous conclusion that I am an orphan in every way, as my family  tells me in a nice way to F off. Thanks Mom  for alienating us, but whatever. I don’t recommend not having blood relations though, I really don’t.

5. Find that my “soul brother,” the kindred spirit  that I always yearned for lived just down the hall.

6. Having my life possibly saved by being invited to live in his apartment with my three cats. If I had to give up my mom AND my cats that would have been the knot in my noose. My mother loved those cats so much that I got my reason to live in caring for them. ( Talk about needing to get a life.)

7. I got to go to Washington, DC!

8. I got buzzed on a glass of semi-sangria.

9. I tried pot, tried pot, tried, tried…I try it every time I can. It numbs the sense of being in limbo that is my constant companion… My mom wouldn’t approve, but pretty sure my dad would.

10. I had a date, a genuine adult date for the first time in my life. 

11. I didn’t know it was a date until the guy walked me to my door, reached out for a hug but planted his lips on mine. Then,  what do you know, but I felt his tongue trying to get in. I gave it a thought, thought “Ah, what the hell” and opened my mouth. I let my tongue stay where the good Lord put it, because I was shy and stunned. Still counts as my first experience in the French tongue, non? A lady never tells, but I’m a blogger, so…

I’m sorry to everyone I haven’t responded to. Life has been hectic. It’s been bad, good, and definitely different. Stay tuned!

Thursday Poets Rally: Dear Adam and Eve

Adam and Eve
Image via Wikipedia Art Nouveau Carpet Matching Drapes

 

This poem was supposed to be for week 1 of the Poetry Picnic, but I didn’t get it done on time, so instead I humbly submit it to Thursday Poet’s Rally (two weeks later). Let me know what you think!

 

Dear Adam and Eve

 

Dear Adam and Eve,

 

Are you real or make-believe?

Did you exist in connubial bliss,

in a garden where only peace exists?

 

Or were you a seed implanted in

imperfect man’s head 

to explain all  the living and dead?

 

Myths spread to the ears of babes,

generation upon generation, 

a scribe writes and it passes to nations.

Did fiction become truth?

 

Was it 6 thousand -or 6 million-years ago,

you clothed yourselves in tree leaves

and from paradise told to go?

Why today your children suffer the same?

Our forebears’ sin forever our bane.

 

Or were you not Adam and Eve,

of dust and rib conceived?

Instead bang and poof, 

apes learn to live under a roof.

A new world constantly changing,

new insects for the naming.

Life made by God either way?

Only God and fossils can really say.

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Bluebell Books Short Story Slam: The Wheat Field

I got an invite to Bluebell Books’ Short Story Slam and all I  could come up with looking at this picture  was a description of a field and a girl. I figured if worst came to worst, I’d write this description and see where it took me, then slap it with the label of “flash fiction” if I run out of air. Short story writing is not my strong suit and I fear being all melodramatic, and as my writing teacher in college said, “archetypal.”

I wrote this in one sitting, yay! It does draw some from my

Standing in a field? Melodrama Time!

grandmother’s childhood, but I use it loosely. Anyway, tell me what you think and I decided to put it on this blog because my last few posts on the other blog were all creative writing. Tell me what you think for real, OK?

At a certain point mid-field, you can’t see anything anymore, just the wheat and the sky. In this endless sameness, you begin to believe you are the only person on earth. The dilapidated house and its occupants are gone, Your overworked mother, your teasing brothers, and your crying little sister are nowhere. Your father isn’t dying anymore of consumption, he just no longer exists. 

The preacher man shouts about being raptured  most Sundays. Being left behind, the person beside you literally goes to meet his maker and you’re about to be meted out eternal judgement by Jesus Christ on a white pony.  You don’t know about the hell-fire, a fire made from a lake, or when Jesus Christ will come along and make you jump in, but you do wonder about being left. Here you are standing in the endless wheat field and you do feel as though the world’s been raptured and you’re still here. Left behind. Forgotten.  And it feels like paradise to be alone, your personal heaven.

You aren’t in heaven or left behind. You have to go back home before dark.

 Your father dies a few days later. Around 3am you wake up to a scream. It’s your mother in the room you aren’t allowed in, the sick room. You can’t remember a time when he wasn’t sick. You can’t remember a time you were allowed to be near him.

It’s odd your father used to be married before, but indeed he was, and divorced! Everyone knew, but it wasn’t to be talked about, until the first Mrs. Harnett and her two grown daughters come for a visit. 

The house and property are sold and divided between the two Mrs. Harnetts. Your family’s possessions are loaded onto the back of a truck. Before you leave for the last time, an old lady of the neighborhood takes you and your sister aside.

“Y’all girls got to be good for your Mama, you hear? If y’all don’t, she won’t be able to take care of you and’ll have to put y’all in the orphanage.” You’re 12 years-old, but you, like your 7 year-old sister, believe her because old ladies you’ve known your entire life don’t lie.

You leave the home you and your siblings were born in and the wheat field. No matter where you go or how long you live you’ll never quite have the peace you found in that field surrounded by the unencumbered sky.

Poetry Potluck: “Passionate Nights of Love”

Please visit http://jinglepoetry.blogspot.com for better versed poets or to  join the meme.

Passionate Nights of Love (Ha Ha)

‘Passionate nights of love?’

Um, that’s what you want me to write?

Swine sprout wings and take flight.

 

Passionate nights of love?

Poison ivy becomes an aphrodisiac.

Maybe I’m just having a panic attack?

 

Passionate nights of love?

I hear rumors it exists.

In bed, in  shed, one gal with her cousin Ned.

 

Passionate nights of love?

I live with my mom, three cats, my doll collection.

And the consensus is I’m crazy.

 

Passionate nights of love?

What a joke!

I’ve never even been with a bloke.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

Victorian Valentine
Mama’s Old Home Style Stiffy Cure

Pic from indiana.edu

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Short Story: A Day in the Life of Mary Smith, Cliche

Three first editions of Barbie dolls from 1959...
Image via Wikipedia Choosing Mary Smith

This is the story of a cliché. Her name is Mary Smith like thousands of other women. She’s in her thirties and lives in a high-rise apartment in New York City, Boston,Chicago, or perhaps in Los Angeles. What does she look like? So many choices. We’re pretty sure she’s white though, the ultimate cliché color. Is she a ginger? No, too uncommon. We want something common in print. Golden strands of blond silk luminescent in the sun? Possibly. Brunette, her hair nearly as dark as her disposition? Also a possibility. Chestnut or mouse brown hair, tied conservatively behind her in a style reminiscent of a school marm?  Depends. Is Mary Smith a savvy professional woman with three or four friends trying to find love and sexual gratification in a city? Or is she the tragic soul who ends up throwing herself from a bridge in utter agony (Oh the demons! The demons of her psyche! Oh lost love!)?  Or is she that woman from whatever romantic comedy is in the theater every  other week, who by happenstance finds her true love? We think Mary Smith resembles the marm the most. But let’s read on, the obligatory scene before the mirror is being written…

Mary Smith stands before the mirror, a figure of brown. Her hair is mouse brown, her skirt tan cotton and slightly jutting away from her skinny frame. Her eyes –brown also- appraise herself with care, bringing her ponytail from her back to spread down to her small bosom.  A heroine.

Mirror spinning out of the way, she begins to sing a ditty:

Today, maybe today. Today!

Not yesterday, maybe today. Today!

Today!

Today could be the day. Maybe today!

Today, please today, something could happen today!

Todayyyy!

I feel it! Can you feel it? I think I feel it!

Maybe today! It didn’t happen yesterday, could be today.

Maybe love today, my destiny today. Today!

My life could change todayyyyyyyyyyyyyy!

 

This song is transcribed here for  inspiration and hope. But  a story needs a hint of pathos or some critic will criticize this as being too one-dimensional. Since Mary Smith is a cliché, we really shouldn’t care, though, should we? She reaches into her medicine cabinet and becomes the face in the latest anti-depressant commercial. I talked to my doctor about my depression and he gave me…

What should we say he gave her? Something easily recognized as an anti-depressant. Prozac? Paxil? Zoloft? Lets say Zoloft. Zoloft for the  so lofty dreams soaring over whatever clichéd demons Mary Smith subscribes to.

It is summertime and NYC, Boston, Chicago, LA, or wherever the hell our cliché lives. It is an oppressively hot day late in July. Mary Smith works in a paperback exchange, but will one day be the editor of a large publishing concern or maybe the romance columnist for a woman’s magazine. Some people are coming in, milling through the narrow aisles, not really interested in the mass market used paperback bonanza around them. Nor is Mary Smith interested in them unless they approach the counter, book in hand.

“Is it hot enough for ya?” is Mary’s attempt at being friendly with a book-clad fat woman in her 40s.

“Yeah. Hot.” A book called Savage Passion is  dropped on the counter. Typical cover in the Indian/White Heaving Breasted Lady genre: An American Indian  who looks like he lifts weights. He’s  wearing a feather, loincloth, and not much else. A lady, poofy blond hair like a 1980s porn star, with lots of green eyeshadow. A bit of tit and leg is showing from her Victorian gown, leaving enough to the imagination to be allowed at a grocery store bookrack. Mary Smith used to read such books, mainly when she was 14, and grew weary of the genre shortly thereafter, for even clichéd characters can only stand so much of the same. Mary Smith prefers the various yarns  spun by Danielle Steele. Now that is literature, is what Mary thinks, and that she need never vary in her choice of author, as Steele releases a new 400 page tome to indefeatable true love every three days or so.

And then he comes in. Mary Smith hears the refrain from that awful song she somehow made up on the spot this morning. Todayyyyy…

 

He’s the one, thinks Mary. He likes to read, he’s handsome, he’s perfect. Will he notice me?

What does Mary Smith’s future lover look like?  Hugh Grant ( He’ll look like Hugh Cronin by the time this story is over)?  We think he should look like perfection, the sort manufactured not by nature but by a Mattel factory. He is Ken articulated with the breath of life and perhaps looking for his Barbie in the flesh.

Mary Smith is a Barbie doll, Paperback Exchange Barbie, not manufactured by Mattel, but still ‘swell.’ She fantasizes about this man coming up to her, giving her a lengthy kiss rivaling a 1940s movie scene. I love you, Mary…

He’s  coming to the counter. He’s coming.

“Hi,” Mary Smith says for the first time in a long time without having to fake enthusiasm. 

“Hey,” says Ken, putting one hand in the pocket of his jeans. “You got a public rest room?”

 

 

The day progresses. It is around 3pm. The book store has thinned out and now Mary Smith is alone with a newspaper crossword. A mother comes in dragging her son by the hand. He looks to be about 6,  years-old, brown hair almost the color of Mary’s. Mary Smith thought as a young girl that she would one day have a child of her own. Maybe her phantom child would look somewhat like this little boy.

She goes back to her crossword puzzle. The boy is bored as his mom looks at suspense novels. The  owner of the bookstore likes knickknacks, the kind that have a sticker on the bottom that says, “Made Exclusively for Dollar Tree.” Cherubs, frogs, gnomes, and ceramic Jesus Christs all vie to be noticed on the tops of the bookshelves. One curio, a genuine African Mask (made in China of painted china), has caught the boy’s attention. His mother is oblivious to him though she is roughly 8 feet away. He starts to climb one shelf to get the mask. It would be fun to put over his face and pretend he is a masked superhero , we believe the child thinks.

The shelves only are about eye level to the average adult, so from the first shelf, the boy can reach…just reach. 

Suddenly a crash, the little African Mask now lies on the linoleum floor in several pieces. Mary Smith turns to look at what happened. The boy is still standing on the first shelf, one hand frozen in mid-air, the other clinging to the shelf. Before Mary Smith can reassure the boy’s mother that the mask was of no real consequence, the mother has gone red with rage. “Now what have you done? G—damn IDIOT!”

Don’t look, Mary.  Not your problem, Mary. Mary Smith resumes writing an answer on her puzzle. Her hand is shaking just a bit. She isn’t looking, but she hears. We see that the mother is small, blond, and in her early twenties. She doesn’t look capable of hurting her son, nor does she look capable of keeping him under control. Her frustration and rage is peaking. She grabs the boy off the shelf, but holds him kicking at the air 2 feet below him. Walks far enough away with him to clear the remains of the china African mask before dropping the child to the floor. The sound of the child’s body hitting the floor makes Mary Smith’s pen draw a line off of the paper as her shaking hand drops the pen.

Mary Smith can’t open her mouth. Her lips are stuck together, her tongue sticks to the roof of her mouth. Her voice is paralyzed. A movie of the week scene and she can’t turn the channel or swallow. The woman grabs up her son so that he stands again. He is winded, shocked, and not crying. She grabs his hand and they leave the store as they came.

Mary Smith is alone now. The mask is in the floor in several pieces. One piece containing a hole for an eye and a bit of forehead is on its side. To Mary Smith it looks like the eyeless socket is staring at her.

There was a time when Mary might have said something. How long ago was that? Ten years ago, maybe fifteen? Since before she let life pass her by. Before she began just trying to get on with life. Before her ideals began to shrivel and maturity blotted them out.

Mary Smith begins to pick up the pieces of the china African mask until she feels a sharp pain in her palm. The piece that had pricked her conscience has now cut her hand. This is the high melodrama we hoped Mary Smith, cliché of the great American short story, would  give us. Emotional, physical pain, the kind that will translate well on the silver screen. Keep going,Mary!

Mary Smith drops the offending piece into a plastic bag she is using to collect the debris and then opens her palm. Blood, not  massive, but considerable enough is leaking from a small cut. She stares at the red fluid that pumps through her body as though entranced. Funny the thoughts one thinks. Look, Mary, you’re alive. You’re still a person. Can you feel it? (Mournful reprise of the “Today” song’s music should be placed here in the movie version).

Perhaps a potential vampire boyfriend should materialize like a shark smelling blood? You know, a nice pale guy, handsome, opens the door for his lady-love before draining her of her lifeblood. So popular now, but we decide we like this story sans Dracula, and…

Mary Smith bandages her hand in the bathroom, places the last piece in the bag, and makes her way to the wastebasket behind the counter. But for some strange reason she can’t toss the tied bag into the basket. Something, some force has prevented her from throwing the mask away. Perhaps the mask is cursed, right? Not likely. Hello, it came from the wild forest pf The Dollar Tree, not an ancient African tribe. Probably something else. It seems to her that to throw the mask’s remains away after what happened would be wrong…almost bordering on disrespectful for her phantom son’s pain.

It’s time to close. Mary Smith is glad. It’s been a long day. I’ll throw it away when I get home, and with that she stuffs the plastic bag in her purse. The ‘closed’ sign is hung on the door, she sets the alarm, and locks the door . She is out on a generic sidewalk in NYC, Boston, Chicago, or LA.

  The loneliness of a large city is something Mary Smith is used to, but something has happened. The late afternoon sunlight is almost like it’s not there to her. The oppressive heat seems to not bother her. She almost feels cold. The world is gray  like an anti-depressant commercial pre-pill. People are all around her and she feels invisible until she bumps into a man (OK, here must be the meeting of the male romantic lead. FINALLY. Such a tedious read).

“Why don’t you watch where you’re going?” a man in a business suit admonishes.

“Sorry,” Mary Smith replies in the same tone as the gent.

Everything is wrong somehow. People are so unkind and she is tired of it all. Mary Smith is relieved to lock herself safely into her apartment away from everyone. Suddenly she  remembers skimming through the  paper that day, the stories. Along with the daily dose of murder, mayham, and outed gay conservatives, there was the story of a man who lived in an apartment building not far from where  Mary Smith lives. He hung himself in his closet and wasn’t found for a week, not until someone smelled him. What if one day that happens to me?  What if I died one day by natural causes or by dispatching myself  and they only found me because I stunk? Would anyone wonder what happened to me? Would anyone care? Oh, knock it off,  Mary. Someone would call, your employer, your landlady sure would be  on the case if the rent  was late. Maybe a friend sometime.

  My life doesn’t matter.

Eat something, Mary. You’re just tired and hungry.

 

Would anyone remember me for anything? No one would. I’m nothing in this world.

Rinse off your face. Get a grip. Ugh, no wonder no one loves me.The mirror doesn’t lie!

The mask is still in her purse, which she has hung on the coat rack. She takes the bag out of the purse, empties the pieces on a tray, hunts down her super glue, and pieces The Dollar Tree African mask together.

Watch something on the TV.

Canned laughter, fake, beautiful people sitting on couches talking their humorous adventures in love and life. Oh kill me now. I’m going to bed.

“Maybe today? Fuck it. Tomorrow,” she sings as she slips into bed. Mary Smith covers her head with her pillow and drowns the out the world.

The next day she picks up the dried mask from where she glued it together. The mask falls to pieces again.  Mary Smith sweeps the pieces into the plastic bag and throws it away on the way to work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New Post at New Blog and Incidentals in Mon Vie

Hi again, loyal minions! I have a new post up at the new blog. This one is an interview with Jaco, my beloved friend from over at  http:// justwriteofleft.com. I injected my semi-comedic stylings throughout the interview to garnish it and give it   the “me marinade.”http://ocdbloggergirl.com/?p=1414  . Let me know what you think!

Now for incidentals. Ah, I see where it says equine encephalitis found in mosquitoes around here. Not good, but mainly stays with horses unless it feels like infecting humans.  Have you ever found a mosquito biting  you. and since it’s already biting you, you decide to observe it’s phlebotomy skills. The little belly fills up, you can see the blood inside, and then she flies away.  Me neither!

  

Anywho, yesterday, I decided to finally go out to the pool for the day, something   I haven’t  done all season because of Trevor the Terror, the scourge of swimmers. In fact, since one particularly annoying encounter    at the pool  I haven’t been as passionate a swimmer as i have in past years. I do have a post I’m writing about that,  and hopefully I’ll have it done in a year or two, the way that I write.  I swam 12 laps, on my 4th lap some youngins showed up and then the pool monitor’s kids, but wasn’t a big deal.  The father relieved me by saying hello to me first. It’s like I’m paralyzed in my voice box until someone speaks to me and even then I’m anxious. I like people a lot, but it’s like I need permission to just be…and it’s getting harder. The day before yesterday, I had a fit and went to bed and stayed there, just because I couldn’t get things just right. I start something and have to stop, but anyway back at the pool. I read a bit of the world’s worst detective novel, played my original green screen Gameboy, read a little on my WordPress book. Jumped back into the pool and did 12 more laps in that just below the surface frog-way. It takes 30 seconds to get from one end of the pool to the other without surfacing and I’m proud that  I at least have that achievement. I want it as my headstone one day: “She didn’t do much of anything, but she could swim.” By the time I was done with that other set of laps and marveling how during my fourth lap again children showed up, my eyes were hurting since I couldn’t find my goggles that day.  I stayed out of the water and ritualized my out of water activities until I began feeling sickly in the 99 degrees and hauled ass home because my eyes could not endure another round of laps. I can get by with 12 without pain in my eyes, but more than that and I am bound to suffer. And the award for best mom at the pool 2011 ” I’ll dunk you over if you don’t stop crying,” said to a child of 2 or so, then splash splash in the face of him. Yep, that should stop him from crying for sure.

 

We went to McDonald’s for supper and I scored the first 3 Smurf happy meal toys. I think I was too enthusiastic as I looked at the toy display. “Mom! Just look! How cute! I gotta have them all!” People looked at me, but I guess they can go smurf themselves. Today I went and saw the movie in 3D. The first movie I ever saw as a child was a movie about The Smurfs, and what do you know, the first movie I ever saw in 3D was The Smurfs. Very cool!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



PS, sorry to everyone about being slow to respond. My mind is going so many directions. 

 

Dr. Sana Johnson-Quijada Wants You To Be a Friend to Yourself

I met Dr. Sana Johnson-Quijada the first time she left a comment on my blog a few months ago, and she has been a dear blogging friend ever since.  Dr. Sana is the author of A Friend to Yourself, a blog she started to help people become  friends to themselves, a concept someone I know (::cough cough:: myself :: cough:: heave:: ) could definitely use.

 

Lucy Van Pelt, Peanuts, Charlie Brown, psychiatric help 5 cents
Unlike Lucy, Dr. Sana Quijada's advice is free on her blog. Image via wikia.com

 

Every day for a year Dr. Sana, a psychiatrist and mother of three, is writing on ways to be a ‘friend to yourself.’  Her posts, as she says on her About Me page, are from her life experiences and her training, but she often uses fictionalized characters to illustrate her point. She even writes about perfectionism (not that I have a problem with being a perfectionist or anything).

Dr.   Sana’s posts are always relevant to the human experience common in us all. Yesterday’s post was about how revenge often ends up hurting you more than the person on whom you avenge yourself. I can’t help thinking with such awful things going on now and those seemingly getting away with it that this is an important message. There is also the self-care tip of not hurting yourself  or others, reminding us emotional abuse can be as bad as physical abuse.

I strongly suggest you start reading Dr. Sana’s  blog for common sense tips on caring for yourself and those around you. I’m sure you will find her writing as useful and full of insight as  I do.

http://friendtoyourself.com/