Camp Street

My naive idealism was a thing of the times. I thought I could change the world, one juvenile life at a time, if only I was given the chance.

I had no previous experience, but I was welcomed with open arms, despite the reservations about my age and small stature. While I spoke about the difference I wanted to make in the lives of others, my dream to make it back to school to finish my psychology degree, and my new experiences as a mother, I could see the director glowing with my infectious enthusiasm. I poured out my plans, and he drank them up with delight as if they were an elixir that would make him a young dreamer once again.

A cloud was cast as he warned me about the potential hazards for a woman of my size to be employed at his place of business. At 5’1″ and 95 pounds, I did not have a lot of force behind me to defend myself if I were to find myself in a…difficult situation. I did not heed his warning at the time, being caught up in my idealism and all, though I should have.

I got the job.

For three months to the day I worked all the shifts I possibly could. I feared work and craved it. I wanted to be there, I wanted to learn, I wanted to help… But I walked through the door each day, terrified of the potential for disaster that was always lurking overhead.

I was trusted with the lives of damaged goods that just needed someone to care. I felt I had found my calling at last.

I was troubled and fascinated by each girl’s tale about how they had wound up in such a place. I found each of them interesting and dark and demented… All of the things I saw in myself but had somehow repressed just enough to remain undetected. I wanted to understand them – to understand myself.

After three months to the day I had to put all of my training to the test.

The young girl, half my age but larger than I, could not repress herself as I had always done. She acted on every rage that had ever stirred in her abused body and sought out to inflict pain on anyone that stood in her way.

I was in her way.

I had never known such terror in all of my twenty-something years. I had never had my hair ripped out of my head in such sizable clumps. I had never been pushed or pulled like a rag doll from one room to the next, all the while trying to free the grasp from my hair and defend my scalp from being bitten.

I had never known I could scream like that.

I had never known that a child, so full of anguish brought on by others that should have cared, could also cause so much pain and destruction.

Three months to the day from when I met the girls, I spent my last day with them – my first Mother’s Day.

Once in awhile I find myself driving down Camp Street… I hold my breath as my eyes well up with the stale emotions I can no longer express. I can still look through the eyes of that moment, and I am washed over by the words and sights and smells of the place I had thought was a new home to me…

Just Open the Door

Why do I try when it seems I will just mess it up?

Each time I feel
Like he’s giving up,
Little by little
And one day…

He will simply stop loving me.

Maybe one day
He won’t return.

The things I try to do
To show I care
Don’t count to him.

They are not
The things
He had in mind.

I didn’t do the right thing.

I didn’t open the damn door.

It was one of those moments…

If I had simply waited
Another five minutes…

None of this would ever
Have happened.

Our night may have ended beautifully
The way we both wanted it to.

But…

I didn’t open the door.

And now the night
Is lost at sea,
Being pushed and shoved
By currents of Anger,
Disappointment,
Hurt Feelings,
Damaged Pride.

He sits there in the kitchen silently…

And I can hear the thoughts
Of regret
Over having ever
Met me
As loudly and clearly
As if he was
Shouting them
In my face.

I will forever remember
This night.

The night
When I let him down,
Again.

I cried and
He yelled.

All because
I didn’t open the door.

And now…
I’m afraid…
It can never be opened again.

The Answers to Difference

I wonder if we will ever take the leap, take the risk, into difference. I think we hold ourselves back in our own ways. Maybe me more than him… I don’t know. We struggle with whether we should just be grateful for what we have — as society has always told us to be — or whether we should nurture our discontent and strive for what we want, despite the challenges.

I don’t know the answers.

I don’t know if I ever will.

The Wounded

While walking alone
Amongst the bare trees
With dried tears
Upon my cheeks,
The frigid air burning my
Throat and lungs,
I meandered through
The quiet community.

I looked for nothing
Yet found so much
In the vulnerable forest.

Near a stream stood
The tallest, most Awe-inspiring
Sycamore
I had ever seen.

I peered up to the top
Of the Grand Old Tree,
Standing strong against the
Bitter winds
And the gray winter sky.

My eyes scanned the height of the tree
From top to bottom.

When I stared
Straight ahead I saw
The markings
Of thoughtless
Humans…

Hearts and Declarations
Of Love
Littered the trunk
Of the Majestic Being.

I placed my hands
Upon the deep wounds
And transferred
All the healing thoughts
I could muster
Through my cold fingertips.

“I feel your pain as if
It were my own…”

How could such a
Beautiful Creature
Be harmed in such a way?

I laid my my cheek upon
The source of the tree’s
Strength
And tried to absorb its
Resiliency.

I admired how it wore
Its wounds, its pain, its vulnerability
And yet did not seem
At all phased by them.

I detested the lack
Of benevolence and respect
In this World.

I stood with the tree
Until the stars came out
And my body was numb
With the cold.

I could feel nothing
Of my physical self
Except my Aching Heart.

Tenderly, I wrapped and bandaged
Its wounds with
The gray woolen scarf
From around my neck.

I bid my companion a sorrowful farewell
And I promised to return
To the place that felt
Like Home.

Stepping away,
I looked back
For one last look at
The Being I had felt closer to
Than any other.

Tall Tales

The three of us rode in the sheriff’s cruiser to the morgue, no one speaking a word the entire way.

We passed through the sleepy town where gossip flies high and fast, casting its droppings on the heads and in the mouths of its inhabitants.

I wondered what I would hear from the grocery store clerk who only had love for the juicy tales she intercepted, and nothing else. I wondered if the old folks at the bakery would infuse all of their pastries with the secrets and lies of the town that drifted in with the cold December air whenever the door was opened.

I wondered what they would say about what came of my parents…

What sort of eccentric tall tales, or truths, would penetrate the ears of everyone around me. I wondered if the man next to me, too handsome and kind for his own good, was capable of guarding and defending me against the plight that was sure to come.

I was doubtful.

NaNoWriMo 2014 Conclusion

Guys, I know I’m a few days late at giving my closing statements for NaNoWriMo 2014, but I thought better late than never, right?

I finished the month at just under 30,000 words. That would be 20,000 words less than the NaNoWriMo goal, but I am considering it a success, nonetheless. I am just now engaging myself in the practice of writing “full time”, and I had never attempted such a large project before.

I have struggled with the instant gratification of short stories and free verse poetry — always dreaming of writing a novel, but never sitting down with the intention of dedicating myself to it.

NaNoWiMo changed all that.

Although I didn’t meet the word count goal within the month, I was able to realize that I can spend just a little bit of time each day toward a much larger goal.

I cheer for everyone that did finish and “win” NaNoWriMo by meeting the 50,000 word goal. I think they all did an amazing job! I am also cheering for all of the writers, like myself, that did not meet the word count goal, but gave everything they had to give in the month of November toward a fresh and big project.

I can’t say whether or not I’ll do NaNoWriMo again or not — it would all depend on where I am next November in my life circumstances and prospective projects. I think it’s a great thing for a lot of writers to try, at least once, but it certainly is not for everyone. And if you’re one of those writers that it didn’t quite work for – don’t worry! Don’t feel bad, you’re not alone.

I hope everyone feels accomplished and charged for all current and future writing projects – keep working at it!

Happy Writing!

Masterpiece

With her paring knife in hand, she set to work.

Alone in the bathroom she shared with her older sister, she expressed her pain in ribbons of deep red running down her arms and dripping onto the tiled floor.

Her writing on paper and painting on canvas helped ease the torment in their dark expressionism – but it was never enough.

She always felt the need to combine the two art forms into one…

To create a permanent masterpiece upon her own body.

She had not felt complete relief in so long… She had become convinced that it would never come.

There was no way to provide her with a different childhood, a different life.

So, she took matters into her own hands.

In secret, she published the pain – relishing the indelible impression it would make.

There was so much to say…

Yet so little space with which to tell her story.