Monday, October 28, 2013

Declaration

I will not let this destroy me!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Orange Girl

She has absolutely nothing to do with the brain damage. This I am certain of. The first time I saw her I was fine, absolutely, perfectly fine. Now she is my constant silent companion. Well, she is not really my companion. I just enjoy looking for her and feel like I have won some sort of prize when I find her among the other people. Her name is Amanda. Actually, Amanda is what I call her, just to keep things simple. To me she is Amanda the orange princess.

Baggy orange sweat pants that hang down over the elastic and onto tiny, white velcro shoes. Her clothes are clean, she is well taken care of. Not poor, no, she is not poor, not like some of the children who come into the hospital covered in dirt and little else. I have grown to like her silly leopard print sweatshirt. While shopping I find myself looking for that pattern, hoping to find my own silly shirt. I had a leopard print bathing suit many years ago. I think I was ten. I’ve seen pictures.

I suspect that Amanda is deaf, possibly also dumb. Whenever I have tried to talk to her my effort is met with a blank stare. She is always looking straight ahead. Could she be blind as well? Her little face holds the intensity and complacency of an eighty seven year old man. Endless possibilities for expression remaining blank, unseeing and uncaring. This may be how she would seem to the casual observer, uncaring. I am not a casual observer.

Amanda is always peeling an orange. What a strange occupation for a three year old deaf, dumb and blind girl to have! Occasionally I catch her placing a small sliver from one of those plump little oranges into her tiny mouth. I’ve never seen her chew or swallow the fruit. It is as if she places it on her tongue only to relish the flavor and not to sustain the body.

I go to the hospital almost every day. Sometimes I’m there to see one of the sixteen thousand doctors who want to fix me. Other times, I think the doctors only want to study me. Being studied sucks. I feel like a million piece puzzle in shades of gray. Those study doctors, they only want to put all the pieces into the right spot in order to create a flat gray surface.

Knowing how bad it feels to just be studied I try not to let Amanda know, I try not to make it obvious that she is my puzzle, my leopard print puzzle.
__________________________________________________________________________________
Thoughts of wizards, witches and buckets full of water penetrate my otherwise unpleasant thought processes, forcing my lips to smile. A can or two of yellow paint... Oz comes to Hong Kong.

The alley is between two fruit vendors, just beyond the meat & fish market. A deep breath confirms my aromatic preference for fruit and flowers over the mountains of flesh just around the corner. A tornado of color, disguised as people, produce, product, has been rushing past me for hours now. My feet hurt, I am seriously entertaining the thought of mutiny.

The camera in front of the man understands my pain. I can wait here while he goes back to the meat market for a few more shots. A quick kiss and he is off to immortalize the moment. I am alone in an alley and he is content with only his camera for companionship. What a perfect moment to be caught forever on film. I have no doubt the result will be a treat for the eyes.

Another deep breath and I begin to relax. I am standing there, watching the lives of hundreds, thousands, of people, pondering the essence of existence, mine and theirs, wondering what matters and what does not. I once saw a play, in Atlanta, I think. Faust. Toward the end everything moved so quickly that I was unable to comprehend the meaning. There was a message and I missed it. Could I be making the same mistake now?

There is a fair amount of foot traffic in my alley. Exotic people purchasing exotic fruit and those less than exotic moving toward the building at the end of the alley, many of them carrying recently purchased flowers. I am not alone, nor am I an any danger. As my eyes follow a basket of flowers leading a little old man and his cane I notice that there is a sign on the door of the building. Ruttonjee Hospital. My little alley is also a place where people come to for help.

Her leopard print shirt instantly catches my eye. As I watch she grabs an orange from a basket and looks up at the woman I assume to be her mother with a determination that is almost exclusively reserved for little ones. Suddenly the little thing turns, replacing the first orange, runs to the other end of the display and decides upon this, the perfect orange. I feel myself falling instantly in love. With the orange or the girl; perhaps a combination of the two? A princess and her orange!

I stand there trying not to obviously stare at the little girl pealing her orange. She knows I am watching her. Defiance reigns on that dot of a face. Each piece of rind falls to the ground once it is liberated from the fruit center, piling up at her feet. I begin thinking of the thousands of oranges before, wanting to know the thoughts of this princess and transporting myself back to a time when all that mattered was finding the succulent, sweet and tangy pulp within and savoring it.

"What type of orange is that?" I ask the returning photographic genius. "I don't know." he says and starts to walk away.

"No, look at her." and he does, and he sees. This is one of the things that matters.

What he sees I can not say. Perhaps he sees all the oranges of his past or projects all the future oranges in his life? Perhaps he is allowed a glimpse into the quiet determination of my little princess, a reflection of self? Perhaps he too falls instantly in love. Perhaps we two can find help in an alley that is also the entrance to a hospital.
__________________________________________________________________________________
He gave me flowers that day, beautiful tulips of white, pink, orange and green. Then he died. He died and I have brain damage. Not exactly the ending I wanted.

The doctors won’t let me leave Hong Kong. Something about the cabin pressure of an airplane worries them. So I stay. I had them put his body on a plane back to France and here I stay.

My daughter calls almost every day. Mostly I let the phone ring, she leaves a message: “Mom, mom, I know your there. Please answer. I’m getting so worried about you. The kids would love to see you. Please come to San Francisco. I can buy you a ticket, just to visit, so the kids can see you, so I can see you. OK, call me back and let me know, please.”

I’ve told her a hundred times that I’m not allowed to leave. She doesn’t listen, never did.
__________________________________________________________________________________
Some days I sit at the corner of Queen’s Road and Spring Garden Lane, where it happened. I can sit for hours. The Lady gave me a chair last time I was there. She said I could use the chair when I came to pray, I think she said pray. I can sit in the chair and watch the traffic as it passes by. All I have to remember is to put the chair back inside the wall of windows when I leave.
I love my new chair but sometimes I still like to sit on the sidewalk. I stay right against the windows so that no one accidentally runs over me.

Amanda is never here. I wish she would come here with me. I talk to her anyway.
Sometimes I count the convertibles, or red cars, or delivery trucks, whatever strikes me as interesting. I can count anything I want. Sometimes I just count the flowers across the street, so many beautiful flowers.

Going to the corner has a calming effect on me. If I am confused or sad or just lonely I can go to that corner and find peace. Before the accident I never realized the healing power that a building or piece of sidewalk could have on a person. I know so much more now.
__________________________________________________________________________________
It was hard when he died. It doesn’t get any easier, not yet anyway.

At least a dozen times I have thought about taking all of his things, clothes, music, furniture, everything, and getting rid of it. If I could somehow find the strength to do that, to move forward, maybe then I would feel better. Maybe then I would move on with my life.

Then I think about my face, the scar across my forehead where his camera hit me as it flew out of his hands. I imagine his body flying over the red convertible and slamming onto the ground just before the delivery truck ran over him. I didn’t actually see the delivery truck run him over. What I do remember is the sound. Thousands, possibly tens of thousands of pounds of steel rapidly decelerating as it obliterates one woman’s reality makes a very distinctive sound. I imagine a bullet sounding like that truck, a bullet the size of a small house.

I’m not certain I am ready to move on with my life. What is the correct amount of time for grief? I asked the lady at the library, I think it was the library, perhaps it was somewhere else. The lady was never able to give me an appropriate answer to my question.

I had a cup of mocha in my hand and an English newspaper on my lap, USA Today. Amanda was sitting across from me in an overstuffed, purple, leather chair. She kept hiding her orange in the massive folds of leather the color of eggplant. Leather worn and stretched over decades of use apparently makes for a good game of hide and seek.

The chair reminded me of my mother’s house, when I was grown. Nothing was perfect, everything was well worn, old, and, perhaps even tired, like me. In a place where nothing fits together nothing is out of place. __________________________________________________________________________________
Yesterday I was sitting on the floor in our apartment, putting together a puzzle of the Eiffel Tower at night. He gave me the puzzle for my birthday in November. 2,500 pieces. I find it strangely relaxing to sit working on a puzzle and listening to music, Franz Ferdinand. There are candles burning, their lavender scent reminds me of walking the streets of downtown Niort in the rain. It is almost like being transported to another time, another city, another me.

When you have brain damage you can never be certain if what you think is happening is really happening, at least I can’t.

I know it was fake, knew it as it was happening, my imagination playing tricks again. It has to be my imagination. After all he is dead. But, also, because just before he showed up, knocking at the door, I was wishing he would come home. Willing him to appear and make everything better again is what I was doing. Hoping for the impossible, wanting something so badly that my mind made it happen.

First there was just a tapping sound, as if someone were out there knocking on my door. The noise startled me; I was confused for a minute. I decided to just sit there and work on the puzzle. Sometimes if I pretend the illusion isn’t bothering me, if I focus really hard on reality, then the hallucinations will go away. Dr. Hun taught me that.

He is knocking hard now, calling my name, wanting me to open the door, wanting to talk to me, to see me, to know I am safe.

I scan for a single exterior piece among the two thousand plus pieces, looking for the one piece to finish the border. The border is the easiest place to start, because all the pieces have a single straight edge. After a few minutes of focusing on the puzzle with my back to the door I sense a presence in the room. I didn’t hear the door open, or close, the “presence” is just my imagination. I know that if I don’t focus all of my attention on the puzzle, the one thing I know to be true, I will become lost in another fantasy.

When I feel his hand on my shoulder heaven and hell collide within me. Heaven; all I want is his touch. Hell; I know this is not real. Tears fill my eyes, making it hard to focus on anything. I can see the lone straight edge among the thousands of jumbled pieces, as I cautiously reach for that special piece everything becomes a blur. My eyes are no longer reliable.

Five senses, people have five senses that, when properly utilized, make up their reality. Sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. “Melissa, look at me.” My eyes refuse to open as the music continues: “I know I won’t be leaving here, I know I won’t be leaving here, I know I won’t be leaving here, with you . . .” My ability to hear what is real, gone.

I think about Amanda. She lives life without being able to see or hear. This thought gives me strength. If what I see and hear is not reality then I will pretend not to. I curl up into a tight ball on the floor, as if I were sleeping. Dreams are easier than illusions.

I can feel his touch, a touch that can never be true. I hear his voice, whispering to me, causing the music in the background to fade into nothing. The scent of lavender that I found so relaxing is gradually replaced. Garlic and cigarettes. I can’t believe he is smoking again. Even death can’t stop that addiction.

The rest of the afternoon is mostly a blur. I know that my imaginary lover, my dead lover, stayed for a long time. I know that he talked of pictures, plane rides and accidents. I can vaguely remember him yelling at me, shaking me, holding me and crying. He said I should not love him. He told me to go back to America that I would never recover here.

When I awoke several hours later I noticed two things almost immediately. The first was not too surprising, my tongue was swollen. Sometimes, when the pain and confusion is too much, I bite my tongue. There is something about the localized pain combined with that salty flavor that helps me to put everything back into perspective. When I was in the hospital I learned that trick.
The other thing was that the television and radio were missing. How could I have been robbed while curled up in a ball on the living room floor?
__________________________________________________________________________________
Dr. Hun told me today that I’m getting better. He said that I don’t have to come to the hospital every day, I can come just when I feel confused and one of the nurses will help me. It was the only time I’ve ever seen him smile, smiling when he told me I was getting better every day.
I didn’t have the heart to tell him about yesterday. He was so proud thinking I was fixed, thinking he had fixed me. How could I ruin it for him? What kind of person would I be if I took that away?

The nurses don’t know what they are doing. I can never imagine a set of circumstances that would necessitate my coming to them for help. They are not helpful, they treat me like I am crazy. You would think that trained professionals would be better equipped to handle someone with brain damage in a way that doesn’t make them feel crazy! No, I will just stay away from the hospital for a while. I still have my corner.
__________________________________________________________________________________
It turns out that I wasn’t robbed. I had, somehow, taken all of his possessions out of the apartment. This wasn’t the first time something like this had happened, little losses of time are normal with my type of injury, but it was the first time I accomplished something useful while in that state.
__________________________________________________________________________________
I am not calm. The healing power of my corner is forever shattered. There is a poster taped to the window. Amanda as I always see her; standing before the hospital in that silly leopard print shirt, peeling an orange. “Who killed me?” written below the picture in six different languages.

I run, run away, run, running from Amanda, she is everywhere. Running down Spring Garden over to Cross Street, then onto Wanchai Road, I see her face. Even when I stop, hiding in an alcove on Johnston Road her eyes remain on me, forcing me to see what I had worked to hide.
__________________________________________________________________________________
He gave me flowers that day. Beautiful tulips of white, pink, orange and green.

It was turning into a sunny day as we drove down Queens Road.

We had just left our favorite coffee shop; Pacific Coffee Company.

We were driving his BMW convertible, red.

The traffic was fluid; it always is early on Sunday.
__________________________________________________________________________________
My mocha is still too hot to drink so I blow cool air into that tiny whole at the rim of the lid.

“Like a child” he says as he shifts gears and begins digging into his backpack behind my seat. “You look just like a child, a silly, beautiful child.“ I smile, I can do little else.

Finished rummaging through his bag, he pulls out his camera and turns it on. Laughing I take the wheel as he points the lens in my direction.

Screech.

It happens quickly, the blink of an eye, snap of the shutter.

Whack.

Blood running down my face.

“They will execute me, if I stay I die.”

“Go then, quickly.” My words are flat, mechanical.
__________________________________________________________________________________

Monday, July 6, 2009

A Streetcar Named Desire

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Auditions for Carroll County Community Theatre’s “A Streetcar Named Desire” written by Tennessee Williams, directed by Michelle, will be held Monday and Tuesday, July 20th and 21st at 7:00 at the Carrollton Cultural Arts Center. Production dates are September 24th through the 27th.

Parts are available for six men and six women, possibly more. We are also considering the possibility of having live music at certain parts of the production as well as pre-show and intermission, so, if you know any musicians please send them my way. Perusal scripts are available at the Cultural Arts Center.

There are still a few highly coveted technical positions still available at this time.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about this amazing play or your ability to help us make some more magic on stage.

Do, PLEASE, tell all of your friends and relatives!!!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Children

We went to Supercross this weekend... I had never been, due to my overwhelming fear of crowds and lack of enthusiasm for motorcycles, the kids and I had a blast.
Please, never, ever, tell me that I am too hard on my three children. One of the reasons they stay out of trouble, for the most part, is because they know what consequences feel like.
The Daughter requested a piggy back ride from the Youngest. I will never make "mother of the year" letting the Daughter wear new shoes, cute little heals with bows on them, we must have walked 5 miles that day/night, ouch!
Mine, the Eldest, the future beach bum-or-college professor, is the one in the middle... I can't wait to show this to his children a few decades from now!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

St. Petersburg, Russia February 7th - 15th, 2009






The most beautiful city I have ever been to! Would be interested to see it in the summer.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Dido revisited

I have a question about this one. Do you know the story I have decided to re-tell? I only ask because, apparently, my teacher does not, this concerns me. Should it?

This is not finished, no, not at all.

The lock sounds like an explosion1 in her head as it slides into place. She rests on the coolness of the door waiting for the pain to pass. Long ago the queen ordered the conversion of this cave into her own place of retreat. One brass door opening into the mountain, double doors lead outside to the cliff, fire and sea. Hundreds of hours she has spent here. Watching the water vainly attempt to break down the rocks below is the only meditation she knows.

Slowly she makes her way to where Anna has lit candles, their light casting shadows on wall and floor. Her feet strike the damp mosiac floor, slow beating drums. Smoke from the fire outside creeps through the opening and into the cave, crawling up the walls only to dissipate high above leaving behind its bitter sweet smell. Dark, spicy and masculine.

She finds a hastily written parchment near the candles:

“My sister, my queen,

You will find some theriac on the table next to the pitcher of water. I noticed your pain when we met in your rooms earlier today. My potion should only be taken in small amounts, too much could prove fatal.

Everything you requested, all that I found, is near the fire, as you desired. Perhaps here you will find some comfort and closure.

I hope you will stay, one day forgive me.

Your sister, your servant,

Anna”

She knows that she will not take the medicine, this needs to be felt, cherished even. Dido smiles. Anna always searched for comfort, even in the darkest of moments, especially for her beloved sister.

Her sister has done well. Next to the fire she has placed his effects in an orderly fashion. Sandals and sheets, his capes, cloaks and armor all separated and on display. At the end of the bench are his dagger and sword. The painting, commissioned by the queen herself, a man with his back to the sea, leans against the rock wall.

His dagger she places in her belt and absently fondles through the night as the fire burns and the piles, pieces of Aeneas, evaporate into smoke.

The fire is low, soft even. The moon is high, bright and almost full. Sailors would be safe on such an evening, if sailors there be. She feeds the fire long into the night; relishing the destruction of each item. Only while the pieces burn is there relief, then it is gone. Nothing remains where there once was flame.

As the painting turns to ash in the fire, her beautiful lover melting before her eyes, Dido removes the dagger from her belt and tosses it in the fire. Only now do the tears begin to silently roll down her face.

Once she was the flame, now, the nothing.

Revisions of an old one...

This is the metamorphosis of the opening scene from a short play that I wrote several years ago, and never finished. I started working with these characters, among others, after reading a small news blurb online about authorities in Columbia arresting the worlds most prolific serial killer. I became fascinated with the idea of an ordinary man hiding a much darker side, and what happens to that man, and those he loves, when his dark side is brought into the light. These questions and I are not yet finished.


“Good morning. My name is Angela Gonzalez.” Angela stands in the small room, at the edge of the table, holding out her right hand, giving him a few seconds, then places her hand on the table. “I'm your court appointed attorney.” Still nothing, the man in the chair does not even look up at her.
She decides to allow the silence to grow. Retrieving from her briefcase a pad of paper and pencil, the tools of the trade, Angela allows the seconds to stretch onto themselves, she is in no hurry and her actions are designed to relay this information.
“And you are Luis Ui?” She says absent mindedly, as she shuffles through the complaint. This is not an uncommon occurrence for Angela, the initial silence, at least with the pro-bono clients. She already knows the name he has given the authorities is an alias, she even knows his real name, these things will take time for him to recognize, if at all, and only if necessary.
Putting down complaint, Angela takes a minute to examine the man sitting in front of her. She is not looking for the specifics, no, hair color, eye color, age, height, weight, these things she already knows from his processing paperwork. “May I call you Luis?”
As it is with all of her clients, he is poor, which is almost always a synonym for uneducated. Along with a lack of education often comes a lack of trust, a lack of faith in their fellow man. His real name, Garivito, not the alias he still claims as his own, suggests Latino descent.
He is small, not just short, but small, there is no fat surrounding his small frame, yet muscular, just on a smaller scale.
“Are they feeding you well enough? Is there anything I can get for you?” Slowly he looks up, no longer is the corner demanding all of his attention. There are tears in his eyes, he is not crying though, nor will he allow himself to blink, not until the moisture is no longer a threat.
Their eyes lock for only a second, it is Angela who looks away. Somehow the combination of strength and weakness in that one look has taken her breath away. Unexplainable, yet, undeniable.
“Do you know why you're here?”
Luis holds his hands to his chest, covering the “Property of Fulton County” patch on the front of his jumpsuit and sighs. “Do I know why I'm here? Do you know why I'm here? Porque estoy aqui? Saves porque estoy aqui?“ As if holding a small child he begins to rock himself back and forth in the chair. His eyes are now staring in the direction of the corner, yet, unfocused. “Te dan sufficiamente comida? Sufficiamente? Well enough?”
Looking straight at him, both hands flat on the table, leaning down towards the chair where he is seated. A stance of power is necessary. A show of fear, even in the slightest, would escalate the situation. “I'm here to help you.”
He suddenly stops rocking and speaks plainly. “Don't patronize me.” Slowly he turns his head towards Angela, and smiles.
The smile is contagious “I'm sorry” she says with a lilt in her voice. “How old are you Mr. Ui? May I call you Luis?”
Enunciating each word, giving them purpose and meaning like never before. As though he were speaking to a ghost, looking in every direction of the cinderblock room. “Will you stop with the questions? Questions, questions, questions.” Slowly, purposefully, exquisitely he begins to sway in his chair once again.
She takes a minute to sit, shuffling through the pages of the complaint, searching her mind, her training, for the next step. Seeking the right combination of authority and curiosity, hoping to keep any trace of her previous condescending tone from showing through in her voice. “Answer one question for me and I'll ask no more today. Simple enough. Do you agree?”
Like an actor in a role far superior to her ability Angela finds that her hands have little minds of their own, attempting to convey meaning with their movements, fluttering above the table, in front of her face and shoving themselves into her jacket pockets.
The rocking simply continues.
“Do you know why you're here?”
“Do I know why I'm here?” He quietly returns the question and resumes his rocking, refusing to look at her.
“Well, do you?”
Slamming his right hand on the table, his hand glides along the rim as if searching for an imperfection. He then begins tapping his palm on the edge. Luis continues to rock, matching the rhythm of his rocking with the tapping of his palm.
“I'm frightened.” there is no inflection, real or perceived, in his words. “When I get frightened people get hurt.”
Rather than tears this time Angela notices a bead of sweat rolling down his face, tracing his hair line and becoming lost below his chin. She is suddenly cold and can not help but pull her jacket closer to her body. Perhaps for warmth, perhaps for security? The only trace of her fear is shown in a quick glance towards the door.
Slowing his rocking motion “Two plus two is four, that's what God is for. I know that one.” Again, he slowly turns his gaze to Angela. There is something disturbing in the purposefulness with which he produces this slight action.
“Do you remember that one?” Once more his lips slowly turn into a smile, this time the smile reaches his eyes where there is a glint of genius quickly glimpsed by Angela. “My turn to ask the questions.”
Desperately trying to stay on topic, attempting to reestablish control of the conversation, Angela asks once more. “Do you know why you're here?”
“Two plus two is four, that's what God is for. I can never remember the rest. Tell me how it ends.” Luis asks in earnest.
“How it ends?” The words forming the question come out of her mouth before she realizes they are gone.
Her loss of control, giving him the lead in the conversation, allows Luis to smile, with a nod of appreciation to Angela. “What comes next? After God? I can't remember.”
Hands flat on the table, knuckles quickly turning white from the pressure she repeats her question. “Do you know why you are here?”
“Yes.”
“Will you tell me? Why are you here?” She says as she breathes a, hopefully, silent sigh of relief.
His eyes drift off back into the corner of the room, the rocking begins again, as if the past several minutes had not happened, any signs of playfulness from him are long gone.
“Because men with hats and guns and those, what do you call them? Those black stick looking things, they hang on their belts. I don't know how, but they do, they hang there until someone needs a good bashing. That's what they call it, you know, a good bashing."
“A billy club?” Damn, she did it again!
“Yes, a billy club. You win the prize!” With that he turns to fully face Angela, elbows barely toughing the table he clasps his hands together. “I'm afraid I don't have much to offer you. Limited funds and all.” He has returned to that playful character, the one which Angela is quickly finding irresistible in a repulsive sort of way.
“O.K., so, they brought me in here. Lovely room, don't you think?” He pauses, waiting for Angela’s reply, daring her to look at the room with the swipe of his hand. “Well, it may not be up to your standards but, compared to the rest of this hotel, this room is lovely, simple and lovely.” Their eyes meet once again. This time Angela focuses on the details, the length of his eyelashes, his clean shaven face, all in an attempt to calm something within herself. “Yes, simple and lovely, like you.”
Angela shakes her head, stepping back, trying to escape his touch as he reaches out for her. “Not this room, this is a jail. Do you know why you're in jail?”
Impulsively she begins packing her items back into the briefcase where they came from. Quietly, almost to herself. “I'm not a therapist. I don't think I can help you. You need a psychiatrist not a lawyer.”
“Lawyers get psychiatrists.” Luis states this as a he begins to stand, forcefully spitting out each word.
For a second there is no movement, no sound, only two people, each standing at opposite ends of a table, neither wanting to move first, neither able to stand still.
Angela resumes her packing, throwing a pen into the briefcase, not caring where it lands. “I sent one. You refused to talk to him.”
“I like talking to you. Your psychiatrist is, is” as if searching for the right word, while searching her eyes “well he’s a quack.”
“Quack?” Is all she can manage in reply.
His eyes are searching for something from her, her expression is left intentionally blank. “I like talking to you.” His words glide through the air, attempting to seduce her, pleading for tenderness.
Finding the anger within her boiling, rapidly rising to the surface. “That is not the point. I am a lawyer not a psychiatrist.”
Luis sits and once again resumes rocking in his chair, his eyes once again, staring blankly in the corner. “Two plus two is four, that’s what God is for. Two plus two is four, that’s what God is for.” The words slowly turn into a low humming emitting from the back of his throat, no longer words, yet the meaning remains.
“You do know. Don't you? Why you're in jail.” Angela asks as she sinks back into her chair, once again pulling her jacket tight against her chest.
Again, as if stating the obvious. “Yes.”
Digging through her briefcase in search of a pen. “Tell me about it.”
Suddenly, the rocking motion stops and all is still.
“You're not a therapist.” As Angela turns from her briefcase to look at Luis, knowing before her eyes see, there is a smile, no, a smirk, there is a smirk on his face, and there is.
Perhaps if she will let down her walls, shows him something more than a struggle for power, perhaps then he will begin to trust. “No, I think we agree on that much, I'm not a therapist.
I am, however, your lawyer and if I'm to come up with a defense for you I need to know what happened.”
“What are the charges?”
“You know what the charges are.” She waits, one-one thousand, two-one thousand, three-one thousand. “Why am I wasting my time?” More to herself than the man sitting across from her.
“You have something better to do?” He asks as, in one graceful move, he puts his right foot up on the corner of the table, hands crossed in his lap.
Angela sinks into her chair, almost defeated. “I'm not sure. I mean, I do have other things to do.” Leaning forward she asks. “Will you talk to the psychiatrist if I send him back here?”
With his left hand he traces the arch of his nose all the way down and to his lips, slowly circling his mouth, deep within his own thoughts. “Questions, questions. I suppose that is what lawyers are for. Yes, I will speak with your quack. Under one condition.”
Angela snatches her briefcase off the chair, steps toward the door, quickly swings around to face Luis. Then, cautiously, she moves back to the table where she sets her briefcase in the chair and hisses at Luis. “You still don't get it! This is not a game.”
“Oh, but it is a game. All of this. Just one big game.” His voice booming across the table at her. Then gently now, “Just ask the Quack, Pedro, was that his name? Pedro the Quack. This is, we are, simply something to have fun with, something to make you laugh. Life, life is just a game. The more you enjoy it the more you do it, the more you do it the better your score. Are you ready for my condition?”
Angela can only nod.
“You will be here. That's all. You will sit right here next to me while I talk to that man. Do we have a deal?” He slowly rises from his chair holding his right hand out across the table toward Angela.
As if acting on its own volition Angela watches as her right hand slowly raises to shake the hand of a murderer. “Deal. Now will you answer my question?”
“Question?” He tilts his head to the side. “Two plus two is four.”
“Why are you in jail Luis?”
“Because, as your psychiatrist will inform you, I am insane. Nutty as a fruitcake. Nothing more, nothing less.” With that he sits in his chair, propping his foot on the edge of the table.
“What happened?” She can’t help but ask. Searching his face for some sort of answer.
“You'll know. Soon enough, you'll know.” That look, as if he sees straight into her soul. “Will you still love me?”
“Love has nothing to do with it.” As she straightens her jacket, retrieving her briefcase, as if it were a shield. “Listen, you are my client. Nothing more, nothing less.”
That smile again, no wonder so many people trusted this man. “Good girl. You're learning. When will I see you again?” He asks with a subtle pout and tilt of his head.
Angela again turns, this time motioning to the guard that they are finished. “With the psychiatrist. Soon. Good day Mr. Ui.” She says as the guard opens the door and she exits.
“Wrong again, my lovely friend, wrong again.” Luis whispers to himself, his eyes focusing on the corner of the room.

The Horse

No worries. Incredibly busy with work, school, kids, holidays, and health.
Me

For the past 14 months Susan has taken the dirt path leading north into the pasture beyond the mare’s barn to retrieve her horse. Even on the brightest of days this four foot wide section of beaten down earth remains in shadow. The fresh and clean fragrance of recent rain is perpetually replaced with the scent of decay. In the fall the gold, red, yellow, green and brown leaves blanketing the ground simply sink into the earth under the weight of a foot. A low sucking sound that pops, like a bursting bubble, can be heard as the boot is lifted. Susan hates this walk.

Today the barn boy, Susan thinks his name is Lucas, excitedly told her the news, his voice breaking as he addresses her “Um, Ms. Harris, I’ve got good news.” His mouth is so full of tobacco he must spit before he can continue. Susan imagines the brownish black ball of mucus must be what cancer looks like, on the inside. “Vet said she was all better, good as new, so we put her out in the field with the big horses.” Little plumes of dust are created as he shuffles his feet from side to side. “Says you can even sit on her for a few” Raising his hand to illustrate a stop sign “Sit, not ride, just sit, that's what he said.” With that he turns and leaves the barn.

Halter, lead rope, a hand full of oats in a bucket and she is ready to go. As she steps out the barn door Susan instinctively moves her sunglasses into position, protecting her eyes from the brutal sun. The walk along the roadway scattered with fall leaves is a symphony of sounds as the colors crush beneath her feet.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Purse

“I think you should just take me to my mothers.” Caroline could not prevent the quiver in her voice nor could she stop he brown eyes from tearing up. A single tear runs down her face only to get caught at the corner of her mouth.

“I’m taking you home honey, we are going to get through this. Alright?” Taking his right hand off the steering wheel he reaches for her only to find dead air. There was a time when her entire body would have gravitated toward that hand as it reached out, that time is not now.

Almost in a whisper she say to him “He took my purse Jim.”

“It’s fine, I’ll take care of it. You won’t have to do a thing. I’ll cancel all the cards in the morning, put a hold on our checking account and buy you a new purse. You may have to go to the DMV to get a replacement for your drivers license though. I really should have asked them about that at the police station. Anyway, that can wait a day or two.”

“I want to go to my mothers.” This she does whisper as she leans her head on the car’s window, pulling her long legs to her chest she wraps her delicate arms around them, locking her hands. Watching the streets as the car silently moves closer to home and further from her mother’s home. The one place she believes would grant her the safety and security she must have in order to survive the night.

“What honey? Come on, what did you say? Caroline? I want to know.” These words are said with the patience of a man scolding a five year old child for mumbling.

“He could have hurt me, I mean really hurt me. I was so frightened.” This time there is no stopping the flood of tears from exploding down her face. Suddenly every muscle in her body is shaking, as if she were the epicenter of an earthquake.

“Oh, baby, everything is alright now. He did not hurt you. Lucky for us that patrol car came by when it did, yes terribly lucky for us. Come on now, stop crying. You‘re with me now, you‘re safe.” This time his hand reaches her elbow, resting there as if waiting for some secret signal to continue.

Shifting her position in the passenger seat, his hand returns to the wheel. “He knows where we live. I would feel better if we went to my mothers, please take me to mothers.” Instinctively this is said with power and purpose. Her please comes out more as a now.

Waiting for the light to change to green, he turns to her. Seeing his wife, perhaps for the first time that night. The beginnings of a black eye, her face from cheekbone to forehead is swollen , appearing blue in the dark car. Without uttering a word her eyes speak to him. Telling him all he does not want to know, all he chooses to ignore.

“I don’t like sleeping at your mothers. Why don’t I find us a nice hotel for the night. Everything will look different in the morning?”

“Everything already is different. Take me to my mothers, then you can go home.”

Monday, October 20, 2008

Easier said than done.


She slowly walks now, she feels as if her body has stopped any forward momentum. Leaving behind that short, well rounded, which is to say slightly overweight, woman and moving toward the end. She wonders if she is having an “out of body” experience. The thought makes her smile. Staring straight ahead her essence continues, moving away from that woman, in slow motion, continuing down the street.

Occasionally she hears things, distractions really, sometimes distractions can be good. The sound of a car door slamming, perhaps a bird singing on a lovely spring day. She suddenly knows, without a doubt, if she were to turn her head to the right she would see a baby crying.

He always wanted a baby. This thought does not produce a smile. Three years since he died. Three years of absolutely nothing productive. She needs this, for her, for his memory. Twelve years ago today they met, exactly like this. Well, not exactly, then she was young and full of life. This, finishing this will help her, somehow, she just knows it will.

Hot, so incredibly hot. She should look for a nice pub, somewhere with air-conditioning and good beer. Wouldn’t that be nice, to sit back and drink a nice cold one? “Later.” she promises her taste buds, we need to finish this first.

The water is good, pure, refreshing. Never in her life has anything tasted, or felt, so right, so perfect. She has no idea where the water came from. The water would feel good on her head, to just have it pouring down and through her short red curls, and engulfing her sweat drenched back would be heaven. And it is.

Picking up some speed now, close to the end, too close not to give it one last push. He would say “time to turn on the afterburners.” The body is screaming now, begging for relief, yet her mind refuses to budge. There is no better feeling than overcoming something, finding the strength and power from somewhere deep inside to keep moving.

Her feet are still moving. All she has to do is look down and know that her feet are still moving, doing exactly as she commands. The feet still move while the rest of her body, from her little blue eyes to her cute pink toenails, all else, wants to stop.

Push, push, push. The finish line is now in sight. Just a few steps more and the rest of her life can begin, finally.

Friday, October 17, 2008

And it begins... I hope!

This is for a class, and a grade, so please feel free to tell me what you think:

Its not that anyone was listening, she simply could not resist talking. “Spinach, sprouts, other green stuff, cranberries, pears, some almond shavings, sprinkle of goat cheese, with dressing on the side. Raspberry Balsamic vinaigrette, if you please. This my friends, neighbors and fortunate co-workers of mine, is how you make the perfect salad.” This last part being said as Laurence’s pudgy hips gently nudge her out of the way of the salad station with the single mindedness of a four year old getting into his sandbox.

Laurence the lion, king of the weeds. Jolene wonders, and not for the first time, how he ever made it into law school. Then again, the West Georgia School of Law didn’t exactly have a reputation for a stringent admittance policy. “Money goes in, lawyers come out.” That’s what the locals thought of the school. Not being a local, and having recently received a full scholarship, Jolene still allowed herself to hope for better.

Laurence may not have been the most studious of pre-attorneys, nor did he have a talent for “this whole business of bringing people food and drink“, as he often called it, but he had a kind and generous heart. His parents owned Coeurs et Fromage, and insisted that he work in the restaurant every weekend. If only Jolene’s parents had pushed her towards that type of responsibility, pushed her towards anything at his age... If only, if only.

No time for that now.

“Look out, watch it there, perfect salad coming through!”

Three hours later the restaurant is transformed from a bustling place filled with the smell of garlic and the laugh of good drink into something more akin to an apple orchard, at night and with a full moon. There is still the gentle fragrance of good times and better food lingering, yet quiet, dark and sanitized. Jolene sits at the bar with Javier, the dish washer, Laurence and his mother, Michelle, counting money, cursing the economy and trying to stay awake.

Michelle only hangs out at the bar after she and Javier are finished with the dishes and obligatory kitchen cleaning. Javier downs the last of his beer, a treat for those who work until the doors are locked, rinses his glass at the bar sink and puts his jacket on.

“Come on Dorothy, I walk you to your car.” he says as he places his keys on the bar.

Jolene can’t help but laugh, Javier has called her Dorothy since the first night they worked together. “My car is in the shop, again, Mr. Tin Man.”

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

4840 Miles


Is one hell of a long distance argument. Man, that sucks!

Tomorrow is another day.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Home from Helen, GA

It was wonderful seeing Richard, Denny, Zonker, Georgia, Rick, Kelly, the Senior Chief, Dax, Velociman, Key, little Key, RSM, Eric, the better half of Eric, Charles, and they guys at Auto Zone!

Now a few quotes, not necessarily in chronilogicle order:

"Stump!", "A good goat will do that", "CSI Helen", "Keep your change", "it's just 1/2 a mile", "WTF", "You came back", and "What religion are you?"

One thing that should have been said, and yet was not:
Richard is many a splendid things, mechanic is not one of those things!

So, many thanks to all for not hanging me from a tree for being a: comunist; marxist; left wing fanatic; socialist; democrat; and for still drinking with me! Can't wait to do it again.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Tired, tired and a weeee bit sad.

So, it appears as if all of my "excitement and fun" is over for a few days. I can not even begin to tell you of all that has happened in the past 7 days..... but, I can let you see a picture or two.Honestly, did you think that I was joking about the ladies dancing in cages? No, it happened, it was there, it was wonderful.

The Eldest tried to get his revenge for not being cast. Luckily security arrived and escorted him from the building before the house was open.

Yes, I know, amazing, simply amazing!

These old guys were pretty gosh darn good too.

All in all, a very nice production. It makes all the difference in the world having an amazing technical staff and actors that know their craft! If you happened to miss it, try to make the show next time. I work very hard to make it worth the while.

Now, lets see what the Youngest was up to this weekend:



It seems as though his confidence has been restored this season! Turning into quite a good goal keeper. Did I tell you he is now running cross country just to improve his soccer skills? Well, he is.

Tomorrow we have a wrestling match, a cross country meet and a soccer game. I guess the Daughter could not find a horse show to attend as well, just to make it more fun finding gas!

I saw JJ off this afternoon and walked tiredly back to the car. The visit was very fruitful, new sink, new bathroom counter (almost complete), new shelving, yes quite the handy man he is. Best of all, I am now wearing a piece of clothing that once belonged to his great grandmother, how cool is that? Yet, I would trade all of these things to be next to him right now...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Death & Cages



I just wanted to share a picture or two of the set for our upcoming production of "Death of a Salesman":

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"Death of a Salesman" - Call for tickets, limited engagement.

Tickets are on sale now!

Carroll County Community Theatre presents Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, Directed by Michelle.

September 25-27 at 7:30 and Sunday September 28 at 2:00 p.m. in the Carrollton Cultural Arts Center Theatre. Tickets are $10.

Winner of the 1949 Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award for Best Play, Death of a Salesman revolves around the last days of Willy Loman, a failing salesman, who cannot understand how he failed to win success and happiness. Through a series of tragic soul-searching revelations of the life he has lived with his wife, his sons, and his business associates, we discover how his quest for the “American Dream” kept him blind to the people who truly loved him. A thrilling work of deep and revealing beauty that remains one of the most profound classic dramas of the American theatre.

Carrollton Cultural Arts Center
251 Alabama St Carrollton, GA 30117
Ph: 770-838-1083
Fax: 770-838-9686
Email: plewis@carrollton-ga.gov
Website: www.cprcad.org

The ladies are in the cage and the strippers are ready! Don't miss your chance to see a one of a kind production!

FREE opening night, Thursday, September 25, 2008, wine and cheese reception sponsored by La Fiesta Warehouse!
Seriously... Food, wine, sexual situations and a night of theatre all for $10.00!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Fannie, Freddie takeover - What does this teach?

Forget welfare, forget unemployment, pay no attention to bankruptcy, ignore any other bail-out you have ever read about, witnessed, heard about, or imagined, this is the one that gets my blood boiling like never before. This will cost the American people more than even I can imagine, wars can be won with less money, principles be damned.

What lesson are we teaching our children with this?

"Greed is good!"

Hell, that is the only thing this is teaching me!

Being an election year, with so many people on all sides effected, not one single politician that I have seen is saying "NO!!" Why? I honestly wish that I knew. Perhaps it is because the greed that is responsible for the current "housing situation" knows no bounds, crosses all political, economic, sexual orientation, racial, and fiscal lines, it is evenly spread and highly contagious. The simple greed that has caused this "crisis" comes from all walks of life.

From the builder and buyer, to the real estate agent, mortgage broker, mortgage company, appraiser, and secondary lender, right up to Freddie and Fannie, that is all it was folks, greed. Each and every one of them improved their lives via greed and now my tax dollars will finance that greed.

I never thought I would use that line "my tax dollars".

There was a system in place where everyone was making money hand over fist and those with the power to stop it either benefited from it or turned a blind eye. This was unique though, this system of greed was propelled from all angles and it disgusts me. Talk about the ultimate victimless crime, until now. Now each and every one of us will pay, even those of us who gained nothing from the crime.

The kick to the gut is this..... we will bail them all out. All, not just a few, those that knew how to work the system then, will work it now and continue to benefit to some degree. None of the criminals in this scandal will pay, there are simply too many of them. From the big mortgage companies down to the guy making minimum wage living in the 200K house, they will all get to keep the spoils.

What ever happened to knowing the difference between right and wrong and simply refusing to do wrong. Don't lie on the loan application, don't advise the buyer what not to disclose, stop pressuring the appraiser into raising the home value, stop caving to the pressure. Why did it just simply not stop, somewhere?

Jiminy Cricket is Dead, I will dearly miss him.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Train Stations

This is, admittedly, not the worlds greatest picture, it is, however, one of the first things I was privileged to see upon my arrival in Ostrava, Czech Republic. That little blob to the left is JJ running to rescue me, or rather my luggage.

I would have to admit to one minor flaw in my character... I am, still, at the age of 30+, incredibly naive when it comes to safety & the protection of valuables. That blob to the right, all of our luggage. I just wanted to get a picture of the walk-way before it filled up with people again...

This is the train station in Ostrava, I had just gotten off the plane from Prague and we were now on our way back to Prague via train. Which is another long story, one which I will save for later.

Yes, I had read in all of the travel books, brochures and web-sites to keep my belongings close to me, especially in train stations, so as not to loose said belongings to beggars and thieves. I just thought that information would only be pertinent once entering Prague. JJ thought differently. I am proud to report that, due to a more than diligent JJ, not one single item was taken from us during the entire trip.

The train was incredibly HOT, the air conditioner in our unit was not functioning, at all. Which is really not a big deal on a train, if the window in your cabin opens, ours did not. The perfect beginning to a dream trip? Well, actually, yes. I curled up in a ball and slept, leaving the "security" up to my trusty traveling companion. Trains are much easier to sleep on than planes.

Some several hours later, we arrived at the Prague train station, the wrong Prague train station...this we did not realize until the return trip. Another little piece of advise given in all the Prague travel related items we had been scouring through for weeks went something like this: "Taxi drivers are sometimes con artists, only use a reputable taxi service!"

So, we called a taxi. (This was only after following hand painted signs into a dark tunnel where sixteen men, were sitting at a table and enjoying a rousing game of cards. Suddenly, upon their seeing two obvious tourists, in unison, all of them dropped their cards and came running at us asking us, with sign language, passable English, and possibly other languages, if we needed a taxi. "No, no, we were just looking for someone, we don't need a taxi, thanks.")

So, out to the front of the train station.... where is the front, which is the front? There were two definite possibilities. We took turns "guarding" the luggage and checking the other entrance, and waited, and waited, and waited.

During one of my trips to "the other side" a young man approached me and said something like this: "Být příjemný darovat mne nějaký peníze , JÁ am hladový." In total frustration I began shaking my head and waiving my hands, much like the "fake taxi drivers" earlier. The boy just looked at me... I said "No, no, English, only English." with irritation, sadness and a touch of shame in my voice.

"Oh, OK, I was just wondering if you had a few crowns you could spare for a fellow traveler" says this young man in ragged clothes with dirty hand held out to me. Shaking my head and muttering no, no, I simply walked away........bilingual bums, who would have thought?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

My little construction workers!


I needed help measuring for the new shelves in September, how much help can one mother handle?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Prague, at a glance







No words........ just a picture or two.








Monday, July 28, 2008

Rehearsal - Day One - Death of a Salesman

WOW, I can not say more..... well, you talked me into it!

This is a wonderful group of actors!

The art work is wonderful.... for whatever reason it will not allow me to upload.. but you can go HERE and find it in and among tons of other really cool art, which you should buy, really you should!

I think I have freaked the actors out with my vision... belly dancing, sex scenes, more dancing, women in cages, flying footballs, not to mention nudity. (only three or four will make it to the final cut) Hey, I want this theatre packed! Sex sells, it really, really sells..... Marketing, I need a marketing guru to come and save the day!

These actors are true professionals. I am, yet again, a truly lucky lady.....

Mark your calendars: September 25, 26 & 27th at 7:30, 28th at 2:00, Carrollton, Georgia! Bring a friend or eight.... we may even be giving away some cool stuff... not really, just wanted more interest!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sex Sells?


After passing this billboard a couple of times in our travels we were left with only two questions.......... what are they advertising and where can we get some?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

David Cherny - Art? Heck yes.


As JJ and I enjoyed a nice cappuccino and Turkish coffee with some honey cake we spent a couple of hours watching people react to this fountain..... the reactions were widely varied and most entertaining. Most of the visitors wanted their picture taken in front of the fountain, some in rather erotic positions. Many of the women, and some of the men, actually "held" certain parts of the statue.

Here is a video that JJ took in the weeee hours of the morning, before the stinking tourists appeared.


video

I could not get the stinking thing to stand upright so you will have to turn your head....

The fountain, is that the proper term?, stands in front of the Kafka museum, which we did not take the time or energy to view on this trip. We must save something for our return!

I can honestly recommend to anyone Prague as a European travel destination. Many times I hear people use the language barrier as an excuse not to travel. In Prague this was not a concern! Everyone we encountered, even in some of the smaller towns, knew enough passable English to make things run very smoothly. So. Go. Just Do It.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Ostrava Bound!



I leave you with a picture of the picnic site awaiting me at my final destination this week.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Some pictures from the beach...



Although JJ was not there to do his photgraphic genious ... I think the Daughter did a fine job with my little camera here...

A new hat...

video
It is my honest opinion that Elisson has found a new hat...

Just listen to the laugh.

UPDATE:
I don't know why you can not see anything here, on my computer it is very light... close your eyes, picture Elisson in shorts, T-shirt and Dr. Seuss hat, all red, white & blue................... No, that does't work either.. hell with it, the post stays!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Oncologist Visit

On each and every visit I had been confronted with incredibly strong women looking death straight in the eye and laughing. Most of my visits were filled with laughter, around the tears at times, but laughter none the less. I have to tell you that if any of your mothers, sisters, aunts, lovers or mistresses happens to need an oncologist and lives in the state of Georgia, I know where I would send them. These people are wonderful.

We planned a picnic during one of my visits, honestly planned a picnic while in the waiting room. It will always, for me, be the picnic that never was. Fantasy picnic, if you would. Two ladies awaiting test results, one for a preoperative appointment, one mother there supporting her 52 year old daughter and me. We were going to have a picnic, one day.

One of the ladies was from Italy, another's accent screamed New York, in a husky whisper she spoke of balaclava. My mouth was watering just to think of all the flavors from all of the delicious recipes promised at our picnic. We even invited a couple of the nurses who laughed uproariously and promised to join us. I was in charge of desert, visions of cheese cake and lemon meringue pie danced in my head, I promised these deserts would be some of the best I had ever made, even if only to myself.

It was not so much that we wanted to have a picnic, or even to see each other again that was so exciting. It was the planning. When people plan like we did, they want to know that there is something the next hour, the next day, the next month, the next week even the next year, something. Something was all that we were looking for. A fantasy picnic is what we found.

I know that cancer is an enthusiast disease, that it can, and will, attack those from all walks of life, regardless of age, race, sex, education, religion, income, and orientation, sexual or otherwise. It was practically the only thing that these ladies and I had in common, it was enough.

Monday, June 23, 2008

2000 Volvo S70SE - and it is mine

Well, after much blood, sweat and tears I finally have a reliable car that I would feel safe taking anywhere! I am a happy lady. Want proof?

Show in June 2007

Show in June 2007
Daughter of the Year!