Well my dear friends, the book is written. However, it is still being painstakingly edited by yours truly. If any of you wish to read it, let me know. It is still rough in a good many places. Anywho, here is a piece from Chapter Two. Please, let me know your thoughts.
Sunlight elbows its way into every inch of my room. Impatient yet precocious it demands attention in spite of my best efforts to deny it. Before my eyes open completely, your face appears in the dark quietude of that half sleep, half awake, state. Such a wonder you were. How long has it been? Your grey-blue eyes beckon, the corners turned up the way a mouth does when it smiles. My body responds instinctively. Tears sting my eyes. Stop it! I don’t want to see you. Go away! I force my eyes open, squinting slightly, until the brightness erases you.
So day two has begun on a rather nasty note. Memories I do not want are at the ready, and yet, this is meant to be a week of memories; of reflections and reminiscing, a week to question my place in the world. Do I even have one? Well, of course I have one, I’m here, aren’t I?
I roll over and drag my computer onto my lap. Orin has replied warmly to my email. “Be brave” he writes. “Be courageous. Be fearless. Most of all, be honest.”
Drat. He wants honesty. Boundaries, divisions, solid walls of “let truth be told!” That is what day two is all about though. God, alleged to have created a messy ball of goo on day one, realizes in the light of the next day that more work is needed. The separating begins. If the All-knowing One had fibbed about being done and simply stated “Yeah, that’s really, really good. Amen”, who knows where we’d be now. So, to that end, should I look deeper, perhaps compartmentalize specific issues to look at? Nah, I know where my edges are. Plus, in reality, there’s absolutely no chance I’ll achieve transcendence in six days.
Coffee is ready when I get downstairs but I pass on it. I tie up my hair and throw on a sweater and wellies. I want the sea.
No one is walking the coast at such an early hour on a weekday. In this place, the city seems a long way off. The freighters are beginning to pull up their anchors but far enough from me that I cannot hear their engines’ drone. Along the hill across the strait, I can see cars travelling down and up the roadway, but I cannot hear them, either. What I hear is the squawk of gulls talking to each other as they fish. I hear other birds singing their morning songs. I hear the rustle of leaves moved by a breeze so soft it is almost imperceptible. Nearing the point, I see a piece of driftwood that will suffice for a bench and when I sit, I feel a tug at my chest. “I told you to go away.”
The water laps gently, inching closer to me as the tide moves in. The rising sun does its best to warm the chilly morning air. I consider how small I am in this vast picture before me that incorporates sea, mountains, and sky. Despite being speck like against the grandeur, I cannot help but wonder why I was always so afraid of so much. Here in this wild, and yet civilized and controlled place, even the smallest among us has potential and opportunity.
My father used to say I could do anything I wanted to, I just had to want to do it. What a ridiculous thing to tell a child. But, of course, for a time I believed it, because for a time, I believed him.
When I found my mother that day, slumped behind the wheel, veiled in grey, I did not fear the thick stinking smoke. I had come upon a situation I could have no previous experience of, but I knew what I feared the most and I could not bear it. I screamed at her and tugged and pulled at her lifeless body trying with all my might to get her out of the car and into the air. “Momma! MOMMA!” I shouted, “Wake up, Mommy, we have to get out of here!”
We tumbled out of the car door together landing in a heap on the garage floor. My head ached, I could barely breathe, but I forced myself to crawl out from beneath her. Coughing and hacking, tears racing each other down my cheeks, snot dripping from my nose, I dragged her out and into the day.
My voice was fading fast but I kept trying to revive her. “Mommy, please. Please wake up, please?” I begged.
I don’t quite remember losing consciousness, but I did. Just before the darkness consumed me, I heard frantic voices and running feet. Did I also hear a siren?
“Help her, please. Please, you have to wake her up…”
When I re-opened my eyes, I thought surely the afternoon’s events were nothing but a horrible nightmare and I relaxed a bit. Then, in the next second, I realized I had an oxygen mask over my nose and that I was in an ambulance. Reality. As I looked up, I saw my father’s tear stained face and quivering mouth rushing toward me. He scooped me into his arms. “I could have lost you, too!”
“Too? NO! I want to see Mommy. Please, where’s Mommy?”
“She’s gone, honey. She’s gone…” he moaned.
In this place of nature and beauty, my father’s words echo in my head, beating like an irrepressible drum. I glance longingly out to sea and breathe in as much of the salty air as my lungs can hold. I reach up to brush something off my cheek. It is a tear. That memory is a tough one, no doubt about it. I was so little in the grand scheme of things, and so innocent.
I breathe deeply once more, inhaling the pine scent. A coffee would hit the spot. So would something to eat, I tell myself. Enough thinking for now.
I wish you all love. That’s it. Just love. Chase it, ask for it, make it. It’s all you need.