Friday, January 21, 2011
The feeling of love. The admiration of strength. The courage of overcoming. The brilliance of light. The drenching heat of the sun. The smell of baked cookies. The taste of success. The touch of laughter. The boldness of voices. The healing of a scorned soul. The drive of determination. The sound of triumph. The look of security. The joy of running free. The cleansing of rain. The comfort of thunder. The shock of cold water. The serenity of peace. The tranquility of nature. The warmth of a fleece blanket. The mystery of night. The appeal of temptation. The finality of overcoming tragedy. The endless end of life. The rampage of memories. The roar of thriving. The scare of success. The freedom of choice. The love of a great man. The fullness of motherhood.
The moment you know you have made it – priceless.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
There she stood beneath the ripped awning of the abandoned building that provided very little shelter from the elements. The temperature had dropped 17 degrees since sunset. The rain had been relentless for two days. One leg extended in front and the other bent at the knee with her tiny size seven-foot resting against the brick wall. Her toes extending beyond her shoes from the pressure of her body resisting the 6-inch heels. Her legs were bare and her skirt was so short and tight as if she had been poured into it – painting a canvas that showed a certain lack of nourishment. Her shirt was clingy and revealed her modest breasts and sunken shoulders. Although she had a plump smile, her eyes were tired and sad. She was beautiful, in spite of the drooping face that tells a story of a girl who has aged faster than the years. She worked hard to keep the smile on her face. Almost like a plaster statue, never changing. Attracting only one type of being. Supplying the service of a demand that would prove overwhelming at times, but a way of life. Many walked by with a judgmental grimace and glaring eyes, but she stood steadfast. She seemed unparsed by those that treated her as if she were no better than bubble gum scrapped off their expensive shoes on the sidewalk.
She knew she was not invisible, but the reality that wore heavy on her soul was she had been forgotten. No family, no friends, no allies, no hope. Well that is if you do not count the sleaze ball who on most nights would take almost all of the money she worked so hard to earn. She managed to barter enough to buy some artisan bread and a pint of milk from the nearby bakery. Each day the streets would fill with the freshly baked smell of goodness, an aroma she looked forward to each day. Something many would take for granted, but provided her with a small bit of comfort and a chance to feel the good in the world. She had visited the bakery every day, well every day since arriving in this city, she had been just 13 on her first visit. That was three years, 2 months, and 12 days ago.
But tomorrow, she would not visit the bakery. Little did she know, in a few hours her voice, her soul, and her life would be taken. Cut short of a deserving childhood filled with laughter. He drove a nice car, he said all the right words, even pulled from his pocket the prize she had become all too dependent upon. He stopped the car, got out, walked to her side, and opened the door like the perfect gentleman. She was impressed, no one had done that before. She was intoxicated from the blasting heat coming from the vents, permeating her skin, sinking right to the bone. She looked around his car, noticing the disturbing cleanliness of the dark, leather interior. He walked around to the driver’s side and slipped behind the wheel, pausing for moment to look over at her, satisfied with his choice. He gave her a soft smile and began to drive away.
At 6 a.m. like every day before, the bakery owner turned on his lights and opened up his business. Waiting for the girl he had only know by her first name, Shelly, to come for her daily bread and milk. She did not come that day or any other day thereafter. Shelly left this world with the last thought of being forgotten, visible only to those with bad intentions.
Two weeks later, they found Shelly’s naked body in a wooded area along an empty stretch of highway just outside of town. That same day the bakery owner would recognize Shelly’s photo from the back of an expired milk carton in his store refrigerator. Her pimp would grow weary at the thought of her absence and his lost profit.
From beyond the darkness, Shelly looks upon the world, unforgiving. However, she takes a small bit of comfort on this day, the day she would not be forgotten or invisible, even though her life meant more dead than alive.
A rainbow. It appears as light as the air we breathe leaving a trail across the sky for the imagination to run free. Wondering what is at the end. The colors are vivid. I am drawn to it, yet the closer I get the farther away it is – almost moving to avoid my touch. I would love to touch a rainbow. I think it would be warm and soft and wrap around me like a ribbon stretching to hold my encroaching frame. It would be the brightest in the center, sparkling like tiny, shiny bath bubbles, popping as my exhilarating exhale makes contact. I think it would taste like sweet, summer strawberries dipped in a bowl of love and serenity. It would be like floating with no gravity weighing down the aging parts of my body. I would try to reach the end of the rainbow to see if in fact there is a pot of gold. Or is the gold a metaphor for something else? The eyes see the pot of gold, but the mind understands the pot of gold really means having lived life and finding the treasures of life along the way. The rough nuggets of shiny metal symbolizes the bumps that one endures through the journey – never perfect, never round. Strong and solid, yet malleable like emotions – changing with each moment that passes.
Yet there is only one time to see a rainbow and it is after the showers cleanse the earth. It appears almost out of nowhere, without a prompt. I have not always liked rainbows, however. As a little girl I compared rainbows to bruises left on my skin that could be conveniently covered by cotton and nylon. See a bruise varies in all the colors as it appears and disappears, just like a rainbow, with red, blues, purples, yellows, greens. It has taken time, but I have grown to admire rainbows in spite of the monster that marked the skin of my former self – a child who grew to know that one cannot be compared to the other as one is made of innocence and purity and the other is of mayhem and cruelty.
I hope I see a rainbow soon, for in that moment I am reminded of my resilience and all that is in my pot of gold.