500 Day Writing Challenge: Day 5

“Life is short…” (Prompt c/o 500 Writing Prompts by Barnes & Noble)

She stared out the window, through her grey-rimmed glasses, with her eyes to the sky. She was searching for something– Bailey could tell by her Nana’s thoughtful silence.

“Bailey…”

“Yes, Nan?” answered Bailey’s five-year-old voice.

“You see those two skinny clouds up there in the sky? The ones that make the cross?” She tapped on the glass of the car window in the direction of the clouds. Bailey turned her blue eyes to an even bluer sky and hunted for the cross. Her brow furrowed as her eyes darted across the sky in pursuit of the white image. When her eyes finally danced across those two clouds, she pointed at them jovially, completely pleased with her ability to win this game of I-Spy with her Nana.

“There!” she exclaimed with a smile, “There it is! I found it!”

Her Nana chuckled and turned around in her passenger seat to look at her granddaughter. She brushed a wisp of blonde hair from her face and said, “Whenever you see a cross in the sky, a cross like that one, just know that I’m thinking about how much I love you from wherever I am. Can you do that, hon?”

Bailey nodded happily, “I can do that Nana. Oh, and when you see the cross clouds, will you remember how much I love you back?”

With a smile, Nana reached for Bailey’s tiny hand and whispered, “Anything for you, hon. Anything.”

Nearly thirteen quick years have passed since that day. Not one day goes by when skinny crosses in the sky don’t remind me of my Nana, the invincible woman with the warmest embrace and kindest of hearts.

But today…today I didn’t see a white cross in the sky. I saw grey. The grey of Stage 2 Pancreatic Cancer. The grey of a 7% chance of survival. The grey of the question which has plagued my every thought: “Why her?”

I am no closer to finding my answer to this question; no, I find myself drowning in the golden memories of times-passed, counting the short days ahead with a cry for ignorance. Numbered days make for long goodbyes. I am not ready to say goodbye. So today I hid under my grey blanket of clouds and cried for ignorance, for relief, for a miracle. Today I needed those two white clouds to be perched perfectly in a crisp blue sky…but today God gave me the grey of uncertainty.

Advertisements

500 Day Writing Challenge: Day 2

What do you consider to be boring? (Prompt c/o 500 Writing Prompts by Barnes & Noble)

 

Tapping his pencil restlessly on his knee, John watched the scoreboard as the last few seconds on the clock began to dwindle. The squeak of sneakers and the sound of the bouncing ball had dulled as John’s senses focused on those few measly seconds standing between him and adventure. Quite frankly, his algebra homework had been more riveting than his big brother’s basketball game. As the final buzzer screeched, John shot up from the bleachers where he sat and made a beeline for the door, his mother slowly trailed behind him through the sea of fans. John couldn’t wait any longer. He needed to sit down at his desk with a fresh piece of paper and his favorite pencil, and write. While he had been “watching” the game, his imagination had poked and prodded at his dwindling attention span and showered him with restlessness. He couldn’t get home fast enough. When his mother pulled into the driveway, John leapt out of the blue minivan with Olympic determination as his need to write cheered him on towards the ultimate finish line: his desk.

He settled in his grey swivel chair, reached for his stubby yellow pencil and a blank canvas, and unleashed his mind to do its work. John’s pencil began to paint the pictures of times gone by, of medieval warriors and damsels in distress. He could almost hear the clink of swords with every impact between pencil and paper. The words galloped through his mind faster than his pencil could record. The times-passed seemed so short, so infinitesimally small in the grand scheme of things; nevertheless, the words proceeded to run at lightning speed. But he began to feel the electricity leave his hands as he wrote… the past began to seem dull and concrete.

His story quickly morphed and changed from the past to the future. John had become disenchanted with the things passed. The stories he had already written interested him about as much as this brother’s basketball game had. They were old news. So he and his trusty steed journeyed on into a chrome-colored futuristic land filled with high-tech houses and flying cars. He didn’t look back at the words he had written, he only looked forward. New sentence. New story. New. Fresh. Clean. Adventure. But these words and ideas flowed  slower and challenged John’s mind. He found himself grappling with a plan for his story, a cohesive idea, a realistic prediction of his story’s future. His mind ached with the strain of looking so far forward. Boredom began to take the shape of a flying car and  the color of chrome.

So his focus shifted once more, to the most riveting stories of them all: the story of Now. John wrote as the words flowed, steadily, unrelentingly, unstoppably. The present: that is the most important story to tell. It is the place where living is done, where love is found, where the heart beats and the lungs breathe. The ever-present Now. He shifted his tense and wrote about the tantalizing smell of his mother’s cooking in the kitchen, the sound of the basketball traveling through the net as his brother practiced outside, the comforting presence of the little yellow pencil in his hand and the not so blank page he held in front of him. This was the story he needed to tell.

The Now is the greatest story of all.

500 Day Writing Challenge: Day 1

While at the beach you decide to write a message in a bottle. What would it say? Who would you like to find it? (Prompt c/o of 500 Writing Prompts from Barnes & Noble)

She sat with her toes nestled in the sand, biting her nails (which was a habit she had meant to break years ago), unsettled with the thoughts rattling around in her mind like loose change in the bottom of a purse. The future seemed about as far away as the ocean which teased her toes from a few inches away; and yet, she had nothing to show for it. No plans, no commitments– only confusion and the ever-deteriorating appearance of her nail beds. With a contemplative sigh, she did the only thing she knew to do in times like these: let her pencil do the thinking for her.

Feeling a bit romantic, she reached for her journal, her worn down red “Say No To Drugs” pencil from school, and an empty beer bottle just a few inches from where she sat. She began to think of all the well-worn clichés she could cram in the belly of the bottle– but just as soon as she thought of one, she could just imagine the look of disappointment on the face of the lucky chump who would find the bottle as he read the same puke-tastic quote his mother had cross-stitched on a pillow for him. So she ventured out, into the deep recesses of her brain, for something original, something unique.

While nibbling on her thumbnail and racking her brain for her grand thought, she looked up to see the sun setting. It struck her– more accurately, it blindsided her– with the gravity of its descent. She was graduating tomorrow…and the time to begin her next chapter was fast approaching. A tear of bittersweet origins rolled down her cheek and onto the wrinkled paper she had torn from her journal and held tightly in her hands. She was no closer to deciding what her future entailed, but her unique words of wisdom serendipitously fell into her lap as she look down at the nails she had destroyed in her anxiety. She bit her lip, put pencil to paper, and wrote:

“Dearest Finder,

I have thought long and hard about what to say to you. After hours of pondering, I have decided to warn you against the perils of a certain self-destructive behavior. So, without further ado:

Do not bite your nails, dearest finder. They are not to blame for your neurosis.

That is all.

–E.M.”

And with a quick chuckle, and the satisfying image of the confused chump who would find the bottle on the shore of some beach and be greatly disappointed for a completely different reason, she rolled up the paper, shoved it into the heart of the bottle, and tossed it into the ocean.

“You definitely won’t find that cross-stitched on a pillow,” she said, completely satisfied with her message in a bottle. And with a smug grin on her face, she turned away from the sunset toward her cloudy future with a newfound sense of humor.

The Things Which Shackle

My tiny island paradise:
where I dance to the sound of my own thoughts,
where I dream to the whispers of my own happiness,
where I bathe in the warmth of my own sun…

my attic of jovial loneliness
my haven of beloved solitude:
my tiny paradise island.

& though the sea taunts
(with its salty blue seduction)
my heart is safe
swaddled in the the embrace
of the sands on my island paradise.

 

–bae

2.11.15

Memory

Lurid frustrations fade from view
until one day all that remains
is an idyllic shadow of what
used-to-be, whispering
nostalgias from a
land, oh so
far-away.

 

— bae

11.30.14