Waiting and Waiting

I am waiting and waiting for my ship to come in, for my mother to like me, to have enough, to know what I want and to seize it, to be a better wife, daughter, friend, nurturer of plants, saver of money, solver of puzzles.

I am waiting for the signal to burst free of my chrysalis with my fully formed wings on my back in need of stretching and drying before take off.

I am waiting for the perfect body to emerge from the one I have, for my hair to turn red on its own accord, for the fabulous me to emerge from this rubble.

I am waiting and waiting.

For the magical door to another dimension to reveal itself. To see plant spirits and people spirits and all that has come to be and passed away, like a major motion picture of the universe starting at the beginning.

I am waiting to understand the vast mystery of life, so encompassing it defies the definition needed as the basis to form questions.

I am waiting to return to the ooze from which my ancestors with webbed toes emerged, extending one toe at a time to feel the air out of water, out of mud, for the cautious first time.

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Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to introduce Patricia Bidar~

I am pleased to offer space on my blog to a good friend and a talented writer, Patricia Bidar. She has been an important motivator to me, challenging me to participate in the recent Round Robin through the Writing Salon, the inspiration behind the blog’s rejuvenation. Saturdays will feature Patricia’s amazing writing. 

Tender

With sand veiling down from the hills above, we have to stand and move our blanket and our things. “I feel like I’m in a monster movie,” I hear Ned mutter. His genitals are damp looking. City slicker genitals. His butt is paler than the rest of his body. Not tan like me. I grew up visiting nude beaches with my dad and stepmother. Never would have imagined back them I’d frequent one as an adult. People who don’t, think of it as a sexually-charged atmosphere. It’s really not. Well, clearly it is for the occasional fully-clothed guy crouched on the sandy bluff above.

Inviting Ned to meet me here was a huge mistake. Like me, he is middle-aged. Not fat, just comfortable. He is olive-skinned, his body hair contrasting with his city skin. Now we are lifting and gently shaking my orange and blue serape. We come together, minuet-style, and our eyes meet. Ned gives a little nod. It is not completely uncomfortable, our faces so close. Ned couldn’t know this, of course, but in the most mundane situations—usually with the very old cashier or an avuncular bus driver—I often wonder what would happen if we kissed. It is not because I am attracted to them; just more of a “what if?”

I am a little attracted to Ned. If we are in a monster movie, I somehow know he means the smart cookie in the high heels and pearls is me.

I am not what you would call sexy. I just like to read and sleep at the beach. Normally, I position myself near a family or an old couple. I do not venture to the water’s edge so people can stare as my nipples crinkle. I do not ask anyone to smear suntan lotion on my back. I do not play volleyball. I read. I eat my sandwich and my Flamin’ Hot Chee-tohs. I take a nap. I have a tan butt and boobs. No one sees them, except here.

Back at work, I have my routine. I eat my sandwich and chips fast, at my desk, then take a nice walk. I like letting my thoughts out to roam free. Once I saw Ned out there about a block from the office, but he ducked into a pet store when he caught sight of me. I didn’t mind.

Yet it was Ned who approached me at my desk yesterday just before five and asked what I liked to do on the weekends. I was thinking that sometime before the end of today, if things were going okay, I would ask him whether he even has a pet.

“I’m just feel like kind of sitting duck right now– and I don’t know why! It’s like when I was seven.” We have reset our serape and things.  “My older brother and I shared a bunk bed,” Ned continues. “I had bottom. One night I woke up. I remember thinking, ‘I have to move over right next to the wall, so when the bed breaks, I won’t get smashed.’

“What happened?” We are lying on our stomachs. His legs bent at the knees, crossed at the ankles.

“I pressed myself to the wall and then Teddy’s bunk crashed down,” Ned says. “I was in a triangle of space. Safe. Totally at peace. Anyway.”

And it does seem like we’re in a tender scene. The volleyball game, the gulls, the guy selling soda, all seem a layer removed. Tender in the sense of being vulnerable, and somehow sweet.

*********

Bidar means awake. Patricia Bidar is a writer and California native looking forward to life’s third act.

The road not taken

Had Macy gone east on Willow Road, her whole life may have been different. The fact is she went west and fate unfolded.

Traveling west, she drove into the afternoon sun. Had she gone east, the world would have been lit with warm golden tones and she would have marveled at the pain of intense beauty, at the sanctity of everything, at all she saw stretching out ahead of her like the finest tapestry.

She went west and her face soon ached from squinting. Rather than seeing what was there, she saw only that which blocked the setting sun. Shapes appeared as moving shadows that insinuated themselves rather than expressing themselves directly.

It was in this way that she hit the moose square on. The lumbering beast was taller than the height of her car by more than 18”, a fact she could not have known, nor would it have made a difference.

It was the time of day when the moose emerged from the wood and grazed along the sides of the road, where the grass grew salty from the winter snowplow’s runoff, and where the occasional apple core tossed out a passing window was a tasty surprise. This moose was crossing to the unforaged side of the road. It did not occur to him that he might be in danger, strong and virile bull that he was, and the air was absent any scent of predators or danger.

At the impossible distance of 25 feet, the moose loomed before her and stopped, startled by the screaming desperation of brakes, tires, and hot stinking blacktop. At impact his legs were knocked out from under him and his torso rolled over the hood. His rack of antlers bashed into the metal and bounced into the windshield where they found purchase, shattering what had previously been unbreakable. Rolling the moose again and sending 2 hooves into the windshield in front of Macy’s face, where they stayed.

Despite all the mourning that was to come, the sun continued to set and the earth continued on its journey toward darkness.

Blood was everywhere

The rat was dead at the edge of the sidewalk and there was blood everywhere. Apples were half-eaten and strewn around and chaos was king.

“Must’ve been one helluva fight,” some guy said over the top the fence.

“Yeah, but you should see the other guy,” came the ready reply.

Bada Bump Ba

Blood was everywhere, and so was chewed up gum, and spit, and shit, and there was no end to it. No wonder people don’t walk in this neighborhood. They’d have to burn their shoes when they got home each day. If they lived.

And the traffic roared by, and the sun baked the narrator’s brain, and the dead rat’s guts began to rot and the clock struck 9.

Across the street, two guys stood talking over the top of their car, not noticing the rat or anything else. The traffic raced and roared beside them, but the low-talking, men drew the ears of the women who sat on the other side, far from the rat, but in the middle of the nasty sidewalk, sipping coffee, trying not to notice the blood, and straining, ever so slightly, to make out the buzzing whispers. The secrecy was catnip, drawing them in, although in the end it was nothing and the men left, never seeming to notice the rat.

They were regulars here and they knew the coffee was strong and cheap, even if it was a health food store. The men filling the bulk bins with catnip had recognized them, shaking their heads, and they all slipped into a bantering game they had been playing for decades, with their hair thinning and graying, with rats coming and going, with people passing by and seeing only the filth on the sidewalk.

On Top

“On top of Old Smoky,
All covered in cheese,
I lost my poor meatball,
When somebody sneezed.”

The five year old voices were all within a certain pitch range, which was several levels higher than most adults. Although I had been going to the nephews’ ballgames now and again, this was my first concert. I had forgotten Old Smoky after all these years, but now memories were bubbling up like hot gasses out of swamp mud.

Kickball with most of the kids in our tiny school on one of the teams, the smell of spring mud—disgusting and glorious at once—games of marbles in the school yard, finding evidence of fairies and magic on the forest floor, under rocks, and in the center of clusters of white birch trees.

Their voices were angelic until you opened your eyes and saw them poking and pinching each other, and squirming like they had crumbs in their pants. The sound of them sent me back to my childhood and then forward into my nephews’ deep-voiced futures of first dances, kisses, and dates. It took me to the future when they would live through self defining moments of unexpected bravery or foolishness.

I blinked and the last note hung in the air. We all clapped, and the sound of our clapping brought us back to our seats, to the concert, to the day.

The First Time

The first time he saw the sun, he thought it was God. He stood in his nakedness and stared at the glowing disk until it recreated itself everywhere he looked, like a bright hole in everything.

The first time he saw her, she was standing next to a tree where serpents coiled around the large, solid branches when they sought safety and not the afternoon sun. She was staring at the sky, as he had done that time with the sun, but what she saw he could not tell.

At the time, they lacked the words to explain any of it or themselves to one another. It was a wordless time, simpler and also more difficult.

The first time she saw him was before he saw her. She crouched behind the dense undergrowth, scarcely breathing because he was like an animal, his senses alert to danger or food or anything out of the usual in his wood. She moved only her eyes, watching him hunt a small creature, like a serpent himself all sinews and long muscle, except for the hair in places she had never considered, a covering like moss on the forest floor.

The first time they saw the moon, they were together with their naked faces against the sky and his right side pressed against her left until it was her back against the sky and they saw the universe unfold between them like fire sparking into the night.

Texas

Kathleen’s ankle was swollen and throbbed when it didn’t ache. After the sticky day, she longed to float on a lake somewhere with cool water, cold at the deep bottom. She didn’t know, but she thought floating in the water would heal all aches.

Why would anyone think she should go to Texas? Did they even have lakes there? Did they have anything aside from half-witted governors with big ambitions, their lone star attitude, and oil rich ranchers with big ass hats? Why would someone born elsewhere sign on for that?

It was time to re-think the relationship with Cal, although the mere thought of that felt like a punch in the stomach. Looking at him made her dizzy, with his easy smile, the way his hair settled on his head, and the smell of him, like hot salty coco butter and sky. How could she not be with him? But Texas.

She leaned back in the creaky porch swing and looked across the field to where the moon was dangling. She wondered if it changed by state. What did it look like at the furthest dark point from this one. She wondered if it was red in Texas, a dripping red moon over a parched mouth with cracked lips gasping for water.