One Ring To Rule Them All

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“I inhaled deeply, filling my lungs with air, slowly lifting the weight that seconds earlier was crushing my chest. My relief at hearing his voice didn’t allow me to focus on his words. In his endless string of hurried phrases strung together with pauses to catch his own breath, I could only make out a few words. Wedding. Flood. Ring. Elevator. Almost died.”

I Love You

My first contributor post is live on Felicity Huffman’s website, What The Flicka?

Head over and check out One Ring To Rule Them All and take a moment to look around.

You won’t be disappointed!

My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories Of Leaving And Losing Friends

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Have you ever lost a friend? Was that loss in some ways more painful than the end of a love affair? Women’s friendships so often come to a crossroads at which time two women can try to hold on to the friendship, staying connected, or the friends can take two completely separate paths without each other. Many of the essays in this book are about this moment in time, when both rupture and new beginnings are possible.

There are so many ways that friendships can end, and this book describes 35 of them, from each 35 talented and accomplished contributors. At the heart of each essay is the recognition from each writer that she has lost something very real and very personal, a connection that will never be forgotten.

I am proud to be one of the contributors to this anthology, alongside 34 very talented women writers. 

Today, I invite you to pre-order the book which I am sure will hit close to home for many readers

by using my special discount code: EX2014LV.

 

 

Pre-order the book and support our mission of sharing women’s voices, one story at a time.

Your autographed copy will be shipped on September 2, 2014, almost two weeks before its official publication date of September 15.

Pre-release sales profits will be spent on publishing and marketing expenses and on building our HerStories Project community.

The Hug That Has Lasted A Lifetime

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I cling to him, feeling the slippery slope of time catching up to me as the ticks on my watch drum in my ears like a tribal rain dance circling round my brain. If only I could freeze time and force it to turn around and head back in the opposite direction, even if it is against oncoming traffic. I know this is a route he is all too familiar with as he has spent his life on a similar road, always heading in the wrong direction, dodging incoming obstacles. It wasn’t always like this for us. There was a time when we traveled a different road, one smoothly paved with stones of hopes and promises. The uphill challenges on that road seem like small bumps compared to the mountainous climb that is his life now. I hold on tight savoring the hug, not knowing when I will have the opportunity to experience it again. My only thought being that it is the kind of lasting hug I will revisit time and again in the future, when he is out of my reach once more. It is the kind of hug that also makes me revisit the day I officially lost him.

Big Sister, Little Brother, First Meeting, Love At First Sight

I found him in his room. The youngest of three, he was the only one left with a room at home. As I approached, trying to connect words of comfort I didn’t believe existed, I realized he was putting on a shield of armor I would find impossible to break through. As he tied his green apron strings and adjusted his name tag, the look in his eyes showed turmoil more akin to a battle weary soldier than a nineteen year old stock boy. As my sister and I carried on with our distant lives in other states, my brother had lived the daily nightmare of slowly losing the man we all thought invincible, our father. He said he wished he could just go to work like normal…like none of this was happening. My heart understood his wish more than he would ever know. Still, I couldn’t let him leave as panic swelled within me and the minute hand ticked on the black cat clock on the wall, left over from our younger years and more innocent times.

I did what I thought was right at the time. I somehow convinced my little brother to stay and face our nightmare with the rest of us, and within a couple of hours of being home our father looked around him and took in each and every face in that room including my brother’s. He asked our mother if all his loved ones were there and when she reassured him they were, he took a deep breath and finally went home. I hugged my brother, grateful he had stayed by our side.

I would like to say that was the end of our nightmare, but for my brother it was the beginning of something much worse. For the next twenty-one years he has lived behind bars with visitation rights that are never long enough, and in a cell that doesn’t often see the light. He is trapped in darkness. Of his own making or mine?

You see, the day my brother stayed and witnessed our father’s death he died along with him. Gone was the nineteen year old stock boy who played basketball with his headphones on because to choose between the two things that gave him the most joy wasn’t possible. Gone was the son who took pride in handing over the earnings of a grocery store employee to help with the bills at home. Gone was the light in his eyes. When I look into his eyes now I still see the turmoil of that fateful day and no medication has ever been able to erase it. So…I find comfort in revisiting these hugs, for it is the only reminder of the person I once knew.

Statement: Bank Account Low. Immediate Deposit Necessary.

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“If you think back and replay your year and you don’t recall tears either sad or happy consider your year a waste.”

This line has stuck with me for some time. I don’t recall where I heard it, but I’ve carried its meaning with me each year as I’ve looked back at my life and the string of moments that are now in my past. Moments I may not have fully appreciated at the time and others I vaguely recall fleetingly passing through time…my time, my year, my life. As is often the case, life’s little moments present the biggest lessons but too often we are so caught up in what we are feeling in that particular moment that we miss the full essence of its significance. The present moment stirs up emotions that slowly roll over our heart and mind like a cloud cluster across an expanse of sky blocking the light that could bathe us in warmth and wisdom. It is only when the clouds move on that we look back, not knowing what we are seeking but sure we’ve missed something meaningful.

Beach, Sand Art, Heart In Sand

Thus, if I could give my younger self a bit of guidance now that I’ve had some time to deposit moments in my memory bank, I would share the following.

  1. Life isn’t always what it appears to be. Always take a moment to look beneath the surface. It is when you dig a little deeper that treasures are discovered.
  2. There are moments when your heart will break into a million pieces. Know that another moment will arrive that will put those pieces back together and you will be the better for it.
  3. The moment you think you can’t do something is the moment you’ve allowed someone else’s negativity to cloud your judgment. Believe in yourself.
  4. There will be moments when your heart will burst with love. Cherish them. These are the moments worth living for.
  5. At times it will feel like you’re drowning, kicking your legs, burning your lungs, clawing at the surface. Keep going because the moment where you can shoot out of the deep water and break the surface, filling your lungs with air and feeling the sun on your face once more isn’t as far off as it seems.
  6. There will be moments when you will be so proud of your accomplishments, you will want to share them with the world. Share them and bask in the glory, never forgetting the journey that got you there.
  7. The moment will undoubtedly arrive, likely more than once, when you will be paralyzed by fear. Do not let fear dictate your outcome. Pray. Listen to your heart. Choose a direction. Take the first step.
  8. If the moment ever comes when you have to choose whether to forgive or forget, understand that the two do not go hand in hand. You can forgive without forgetting.
  9. You will have regrets. Do not let them define you.
  10. Moments of failure are necessary in life. In order to be a winner, you have to understand what it’s like to be a loser.

Beach, Sand Art, I Love You

Contrary to popular belief, filling your bank account with money shouldn’t be your ultimate goal in life. Money may make some aspects of your life more comfortable, give you a sense of security, and maybe provide some experiences you might not have otherwise. However a memory bank full of moments and each tiny detail that makes up a single moment in time is definitely worth your effort.  Don’t miss out on the many opportunities to fill your memory bank with “moments.” Good or bad, each moment will be one of many of life’s valuable experiences. It will be scary sometimes to think of what the future holds, but know that it will be filled with many many moments…some of which you will learn a painful lesson from and some of which you will want to relive over and over again. Just know that a memory bank full of “moments” will be more valuable than gold when you get older.

 

Feral Secrets Button

Paper Wedding Anniversary

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Glancing at the clock she moved toward the bathroom, aware of each tick announcing the passing of time, each minute bringing her closer to the moment her husband would pull into the driveway, wheels crunching gravel. He promised to be home early tonight, had even made reservations at her favorite little Greek restaurant. They would sit at “their table” tucked back in a cozy corner of the restaurant. The place where they had shared so many words over good food and a bottle of wine. Tonight they would celebrate their Paper Anniversary. Their first year as a married couple. She had flipped open her laptop earlier that afternoon and looked up the meaning to find the first year of marriage is like a clean sheet of paper, a new beginning upon which to write your passage through the years together. Also like paper, it is fragile and can easily rip, not having yet been tried by the fires of adversity and the storms of life.

It had been an amazing first year, this honeymoon phase of theirs, and she was sure there would be many more pages filled with happiness, hope, dreams and passion.

Feral Little Secret, Fiction is for Lovers

She stripped down and stepped into the steaming shower to ready herself for the evening. As drops of hot water singed her skin her nerve endings came alive and she threw her head back losing herself in the waterfall of feelings born of another time. Her hands instantly travelled over every inch of her body conjuring up another touch.

She was instantly back there again…the day she first laid eyes on him among the group of hikers on foreign soil. She had felt something stir deep inside her and as they found themselves side by side in awe of the waterfalls around them, she felt the need to put distance between them. The others held up cameras trying to capture the scene no doubt in hopes of returning home with images to accompany their stories as they recounted their trip to friends and family. She recalled being torn between the habit of seeing the world through her camera lens and the need to feel every bit of this moment, free of all that weighed her down.

She walked away from the group making her way to the far side of the opening and toward a smaller waterfall tucked behind its lush landscape. Surrounded by nature there was beauty all around, but the need to stand under that waterfall as it made its way down the side of the mountain was overwhelming. Dropping her backpack and camera, she quickly ditched her shoes and stepped forward into the gushing waters. Immediately, she felt more alive than she ever had as the water flowed over her, drenching her hair and traveling down her body to her bare feet. Eyes closed, head tilted to the sky, she allowed herself to be completely present in the moment.

Expecting a cooling sense of peace, she was surprised by how her body betrayed her, instead feeling heat emanating from her very core. Her heart pounded in her chest against her thin, wet shirt. Her feet couldn’t seem to ground her. She reached behind her to grab hold of the rock wall for support. It was then she opened her eyes and looked into eyes bluer than the sky above her, piercing her to the deep recesses of her womanhood. Gaze locked, no words were spoken, none needed.

He crossed the short distance to her and as his arms circled her waist, she knew what was coming and knew she wouldn’t stop it. His mouth covered hers as his body pressed her back against the rocks and water continued to fall over them, holding them captive in its downpour. She lost herself in his strong arms, her legs acting of their own free will wrapped themselves around him. He lifted her to him and as her arms held tight to his neck, he pulled her hair back and trailed kisses down her neck. Fire coursed through her veins. Her mind commanded her to stop, but her body abandoned all reason as it begged for more.

His strong hands came to her waist as the trail of kisses continued lower and lower. As her bare feet touched the wet rocks beneath them, she looked down at the water as it made its way over the rocks, positive if not for his arms on her that she would be carried away with the current – such was the feeling of floating this complete stranger had imprisoned her with. His lips rested on her bare stomach as his hands moved to the front of her shorts. He fumbled with the button and in that moment they were both startled back to reality by a flock of white birds that fluttered all around them. Looking up, she longed to take flight with them, to rise above this madness she suddenly found herself in. Yet, never having experienced anything like this, she knew the temptation to circle back would be too great.

He dropped his hands and she stepped around him. The moment was lost and not daring to look into those blue eyes again for fear of being lost once more, she quickly hurried over to her belongings stopping only to grab her shoes and backpack and rejoined the others.

Out of breath, she turned the shower off and stepped out. Her reflection in the mirror was one of sheer sexual satisfaction as even the touch of the towel stirred her inside once more. She took a deep breath and headed to her closet, knowing just the dress for tonight’s occasion.

The look in her husband’s eyes confirmed her choice as he admired her over the candlelit table that evening. Dinner was delightful and as they decided on dessert and her husband studied the wine list for a second bottle of wine, she excused herself to freshen up.

Returning to the table, she found a small, white paper bird, delicately folded and placed to the side of her glass. “Where did this come from?” Smiling, her husband looked up from the menu at the tiny white bird she was twirling in her hands.

“I have no idea,” he said and went back to the wine list.

She let out a tiny gasp and as she looked around the restaurant she knew. It had been years since she’d seen anything as blue and piercing as the eyes that now looked back at her from the man standing at the bar.

 

Feral Secrets Button

Island Boy Finds His Once Upon A Time

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The last few weeks this true story has come up on more than one occasion, so I thought I would dust it off and share it once more. Enjoy!

The sound of the waves, the sand beneath his feet, the warm ocean breeze were all a part of him, ingrained into his very soul. He was a true island boy, climbing palm trees in the blink of an eye to retrieve a coconut, catching fish with his homemade spear in the most primitive manner. It was the only manner he had ever learned…not from his father, as he had never met the man who had given him life. His mother never spoke of him. He carried his questions in his little heart, the one place they couldn’t cause the fleeting glimpse of pain he sometimes saw in her eyes…the pain she thought she hid so well.

Puerto Rico, Army Jeep, Black and White Army Military Photo

He studied the only photo of his father he possessed, memorizing every detail. Even when he closed his eyes he could still see the way his father looked in his uniform, the way he slightly leaned into his military jeep as though someone had caught him on his way somewhere. Where was he going? Who held the camera that provided the only piece of the puzzle that was his life, his story? He held the tiny black and white photo, yet held not a single memory of this man…a stranger to him.

Mike and Mom Rita early to mid-1950's

It came as no surprise when the little island boy grew to be a soldier as well. He and his mother moved to the United States so he could join the army at the age of eighteen. It wasn’t long before the island boy fell in love, married and had a family of his own. His young bride, wanting to know everything about him would ask him to tell her about his father. She wanted to know if he ever thought of him, if he ever wondered what became of him, if he was ever curious to meet him. His response never wavered. He had a good life, a loving family, and no need for anything or anyone else. After years of seeing the hint of pain in his eyes, she stopped asking him. Many years would come and go before she would tentatively broach the subject once more.

It was the age of computers now, when the internet was becoming all the rage and she had embraced the technology. She loved being able to communicate with all the friends she made during their numerous military relocations. And, she had become interested in a genealogy website where she could build a family tree. Once again, she asked her husband about his father. This time, he handed her the tiny black and white photo his own mother had placed in his small hand a lifetime ago. She scanned it, placed it on the site and listed her husband’s name as someone looking for his father. Neither one of them thought anything would really come of it. Yet, life has a funny way of making connections so intricately weaved, they leave us mere mortals astounded.

Across the ocean, a secretary at a military base happened on that very website. She gasped when she saw the photo and immediately printed it. Her boss arrived shortly after, and headed straight to his office. The first thing his eyes landed upon was a printout of a tiny black and white photo of a man in military uniform. There was no mistaking it was his father. He immediately took the contact information his secretary provided, and made the call that would forever change the life of a little island boy. He never doubted for a moment this man was his brother. Their father had shared a story with him, and the time had finally come to share it with his brother.

Their father had been stationed on a small island and had fallen in love with a young girl. He had returned home at the end of his assignment, but headed back to the island during the first military leave he had only to find that young girl gone. He questioned friends, family, neighbors to no avail. In the end, he found one person willing to talk. The news he was given was heartbreaking. The young girl died giving birth to a baby boy who also didn’t live.

Their father had refused to believe it. In the following years, he made several more attempts to find what his heart believed to be true, but all attempts ended the same. With a heavy heart, he returned home, went on with his life, married and had children, never returning to that island.

Somehow his heart knew what no one was willing to tell him when he sought answers so many years ago. His son lived, and one day he would know their story. He had hoped to look in his son’s eyes, and share this history with him, hug him and let him know he had gone back for them. While on his death-bed, coming to terms with the fact he would never get that opportunity, he shared this story with his youngest son. Their father requested when the brothers finally found each other, the story be shared with the son he never met.

There was silence on the other end of the phone line as a lifetime of questions were finally answered. The island boy, whom my husband calls Dad and my children call Pappa, found a family he never knew he had and a story he never believed could be his own.

Island Boy Finds His Once Upon A Time

Island Boy Finds His Once Upon A Time

Lover

Goodbye Nightmare Lover!

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The nightmare took over. It came to me night after night, tiptoeing into my peaceful sleep and curling up beside me like a longtime lover. Quietly climbing into my bed, slowly inching over my body, not near enough to touch, but close enough to hover over my warm skin, its breath upon me. Beginning with a gentle caress, it traveled over me, inch by inch, plying my body to its will, allowing no resistance until the moment arrived when it entered me in my weakened state of slumber. At first came only a moan, barely audible, but enough for my brain to register it was happening. In denial, I ignored it and settled deeper into the mattress, rolling over, the universal sign for “not tonight, please…I’m tired” but with its one track mind it seemed to draw strength from my unwillingness to participate. The more I resisted the louder the moans came, until…

Lover

MOMMY!!!!!!!!!!!!! MOMMY!!!!!!!!! MOMMY!!!!!!!!

They were the screams of my daughter and they came from down the hall. The nightmares were hers, this routine one I was all too familiar with and one I was sure I could not physically keep up with much longer. While she had always been one of those children who didn’t require a lot of sleep thus never slept through the night, through the years her lack of sleep was taking a toll on my own. I like sleep. I need sleep.

Yet, every night after an exhausting bedtime routine of prayers, stories, and night lights, kisses and hugs, questions and comforting answers, more kisses, more hugs, more night lights, I dreaded allowing myself to fall into a deep sleep knowing it wouldn’t last. The nightmares would arrive, the fear would take over and the screams would begin.

I tried everything – night lights, prayers, staying with her until she fell asleep, each night putting a bit of distance from her until I sat in a chair right outside her door – Dr. Phil recommended it, claiming it helped to progressively reassure the child you were still there. Obviously, Dr. Phil had never met my kid!

As our daughter got older, my husband introduced her to one of his passions, Superheroes. He started telling her stories about his favorite Superheroes and eventually started watching some of the movies with her. He explained that in his dreams, whenever something bad was about to happen, he pretended he was a Superhero and changed the course of the dream, fighting off evil and sending villains back where they came from.

My Superheroes

One thing we never did was discuss her nightmares in the middle of the night, believing she needed comforting more than we needed a play by play in that moment. Thus, many a conversation over breakfast consisted of our dreams, nightmares, and ways we could control them. My husband insisted our brains could be trained to control our dreams as he described his often becoming quite animated. He depicted scenes in which he picked up a villain, dropped him on his head, and his cartoon teeth flew out. My daughter soaked it all up like a little sponge, but the sleepless nights continued.

One morning, I woke to the smell of toast and the realization that I had slept through the night. Not sure if I was in dream state or reality, I shuffled my way to the kitchen to find my daughter and husband laughing and hugging over breakfast. When she sensed my presence, she rushed over to me. “Mommy! Guess what?! I had the best dream last night!”

To me, sweeter words had never been spoken. Words tumbled out of her mouth as she described a dream in which terrible, scary things were starting to occur, fear tried to envelope her and she almost succumbed to it. “Instead, I became a superhero and flew above it all! They couldn’t reach me up in the sky and once I realized that, I flew around the city. You should see the view from up there!”

In dreams we set aside the rules of real life. We are in control and can be anything we want to be. Believing in superheroes cured my daughter’s nightmares. What tools have you used to control your dreams?

I Slept With Him For Years…featured on Erma Bombeck website

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I am honored to have my piece, “I slept with him for years for fear of being alone” featured on the Erma Bombeck website today.

Please check it out and share away!

Hope your weekend is filled with love and laughter wherever you may be!

I Slept With Him For Years For Fear Of Being Alone.

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He came into my life at a time when I needed him most and without a second thought I clung to him for many a night. It wasn’t like we had a relationship, the kind where you want to spend every waking moment together. It wasn’t like we would get lost in conversation, uncovering deep-seated feelings that connected us on an emotional level. We didn’t go to dinner. We didn’t catch a movie. We never went out – were never seen in public. Truth be told, I didn’t give him much thought as I went about my day, but as night would begin to fall I felt a yearning inside me I knew only he could satisfy. As I climbed in bed, I needed him with every fiber of my being. The thing is, I don’t regret a single night with him.

Stormy Night by Kalense Kid

For most, childhood memories of bedtime present images of favorite jammies, soft blankets, a certain bedtime story that could be told time and again before drifting off to sleep.

Not me.

Bedtime was always a tough time for me as my imagination without fail would choose that specific time to kick itself into overdrive, instilling fears in me so powerful I would hide under the covers ensuring not a toe or a brown curl was unprotected from what lurked in the dark shadows of night. I would stare at the inside of my Strawberry Shortcake blanket, focus on the pattern of my warm breath…inhaling…exhaling…inhaling…exhaling. Once drenched with sweat, gasping for air and believing I would face a fate worse than what existed beyond the safety of my blanket (passing out into permanent darkness),  I would peel a tiny corner of the blanket away from me, turn my head, and take in a large breath of fresh air before returning to my former state. At some point I would pass out, not from lack of oxygen or imagination but from sheer exhaustion.

It wasn’t until Louie came into my life that things changed for me.

Prior to Louie, I would choose one or two stuffed animals to join me each night, but with the innocent mind of a young girl I felt guilty each time I chose them. It was bad enough I would have to face all the night’s scariest creations, I was subjecting them to the same rather than leaving them cozied up in the basket with the rest of their friends.

Which is why when my grandmother presented me with Louie the Monkey on my tenth birthday I was relieved – no matter that I was probably well past the age when children cuddled up to a stuffed animal. He was soft and brown, and looked into my eyes with a hint of a smile on his face. He was about the size of those body pillows they sell nowadays, or maybe that’s how it seemed through a scared little girl’s eyes. With Louie, I no longer hid under the covers. Instead, I held on to him for dear life. The fears were there still, but somehow they seemed a little less daunting with Louie by my side. I breathed a little easier and found a bit of peace before drifting off to sleep each night. His presence helped me sleep better through my high school years and even some of my college years.

Some nights, after a particularly rough day, I still yearn for Louie. I miss him. Not in the physical sense, but in the sense of peace he gave me so many years ago. As grownups, we take so much to bed with us each night with no surefire way to let those fears, those worries, those feelings just sit on a separate plane while we relax and get the rest we so desperately need. Wouldn’t it be nice to find something that would ease our minds each night?

I still have Louie, though you’ll be relieved to know I no longer sleep with him. He is in a box in the attic which does make me a bit sad now that I think about it, but he served me well. Ironically, he was the first one I thought of when my daughter was younger and had nightmares.

He served her well too. How was I to know at the age of ten that my nighttime companion would one day ease my daughter’s fears as well?

Did you have a Louie in your life?

Final Toast

The Final Toast

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The first date read Sept 9, 1986 – Carmine’s. Being that it was their first date, they weren’t sure what to toast to exactly so they awkwardly raised their glasses while he mumbled, “to the future” and they both laughed thankful the waiter approached to take their order. They were young and hopeful, in love with the idea of love. Yet, by the time their Tiramisu arrived she had slipped the wine cork in her purse. Now, she rolled the cork around in her hand, not wanting to let go of the memory or the faint smile on her face.

She listened for sounds down the hall, before reaching for another. This one made her blush before it even made it out of the jar. Dec 31,1987, Hilton Times Square- a night she would never forget. Not a big fan of New Year’s Eve celebrations, she’d always watched the ball drop while cuddled up on the couch in her favorite jammies. Just like him not to ease her into it, instead going all out for their first New Year’s Eve as a couple. He had made all the arrangements and delivered a magical night she would relive every year on December 31. Watching the ball drop amid a sea of people was a bit nerve-racking at first, but when they embraced and shared their first kiss of the new year it was like they were the only two people in Times Square. After a little too much champagne they stumbled back to the hotel where she was greeted with a trail of rose petals down the hall leading to their room. It was in that same hall, where he pretended to drop the room key and got down on one knee to propose. A sigh escaped her lips as she dropped the champagne cork back in the jar.

Wine Corks

She never tired of this trip down memory lane, one cork after another, though she seemed to do it more often these days.

December 31, 1988 – Wedding Toast

July 8, 1996 – 1st Cruise Vac

Dec 13, 1993 – Our son

Thanksgiving 1995 – Lake Tahoe

June 7, 1990 – Our daughter 

Feb 14, 1989 – V Day 

January, 2005 – Dave Matthews

May 1, 1991 – Promotion

So many memories contained in this jar, memories of love, of family, of perseverance. They weren’t all celebrations, but even the bottles uncorked after an argument led to a celebration of sorts in the end. Off to the side, she stared at the blank cork she refused to date. She pushed it with her finger, and over and over again it rolled back toward her. Mockingly, as if to say, “there’s no denying my existence.”

Final Toast

She had prepared a special dinner that night, his favorite. The kids were away at camp, and it had been way too long since they had a night at home alone. He was due any minute having left the office early for once. She imagined he was as anxious about their evening as she. As she heard his car pull into the driveway, she was overcome with a nervous feeling. She almost rushed back to her closet to change clothes, suddenly feeling silly for putting so much effort into her appearance tonight. As she went to greet him, she wondered if she’d gone too far with the new red lipstick she had spontaneously picked up today.

Seeing his face as he walked through the door, all those thoughts were replaced with a gut wrenching fear in her stomach. In a couple of steps, he had crossed the living room and wrapped her in his arms. Words tumbled out of his mouth no matter how hard he tried to keep an even tone. Doctor’s appointment. Test results. CANCER. More tests. Follow up. She knew he was providing details, diagnosis, and prognosis yet all she heard was CANCER and still somehow she refused to process what was happening. Walking away from him, she headed to the kitchen to pour them some wine, catching a reflection in the mirror of a woman she didn’t recognize…a woman who just hours before had dressed and primped without a care in the world only to have that same world come crashing down around her.

She remembered him standing in the kitchen doorway, leaning against the frame, quietly pleading with her to listen. If she closed her eyes, she could still hear his voice telling her there was hope…there was always hope. He was going to fight this, and he believed they would be okay in the end. It was the first time she had ever doubted him in the years they’d been together.

Jar of Corks

After many tearful promises, a forgotten dinner and empty bottle of their favorite wine, they had made love all night as though nothing could ever separate them.

She quietly slipped out of bed and into his work shirt like she had done so many times before. She stood in the kitchen looking out the window, imagining all their neighbors sleeping peacefully tonight while she faced the scariest day of her life. Inhaling deeply, she closed her eyes trying to stop the wave of tears she knew would eventually come. As she placed her hands on the counter, her finger brushed up against the cork. A sob escaped her as she reached for it and unlocked the dam that held her tears.

Months had passed, and many a night she had stood rooted to this very spot. Some nights she prayed, some nights she argued with God, some nights she felt nothing…so numb was she from the pain. The nights she journeyed through the corks providing her the strength she needed to face another day. Now, she stared at that blank cork once more knowing she would never date it, yet also knowing she would never throw it away.

She wiped the tears and took a deep breath. She dropped the single cork in her jar of memories. As the sun came up once more, she quietly walked back down the hall to wake her children for their father’s funeral.

Previous Stories by Little Miss Wordy: