Something at First Sight

At the end of the major street that split the subdivision, was a lake.  Next to the lake, were ball parks, a playground with picnic areas, a golf course and a sailing club.  When school was out, ball was on.  So, being healthy 15 and 16 year-old girls, we climbed in Mikayla’s massive family wagon (In my new color block top that had the tie on the side.) and headed down to the ball park.

All the usual suspects were there.  And someone new to me.

He was taking our dollar at the gate and selling the cokes.  Red hair, exceptional medium build.  Eyes.  Eyes forever. My heart still squeezes.

We hadn’t even been seated in the bleachers for five minutes, when someone told Mikayla he wanted to talk to me.

Being so young and so unused to that kind of attention, I didn’t leap right up and run over.

The game had barely gotten underway, but Mikayla was soooooo boy-crazy, she wouldn’t even leave me alone.  So it was get up the nerve or be gnawed to death by Mik, I had my choice.  I went with getting up and walking over there.

I went to the concession stand and waited quietly; while a BUNCH of our friends bought candy, interspersed with people who weren’t nosy; they wanted a snack.

Then some people came and needed to pay their dollars to get in.

Then he had to go unlock something.

Finally, he was free to chat a bit.

I stood there in the shade of the concession stand.  Our eyes met and held.  It felt promise-y and comfortable as broken in jeans.  Not silly or self-conscious.  Seen.

We’d barely started to talk, when Mikayla had to leave.

When we got in the car, she jabbered away in her usual style.  Completely unaware.  You didn’t tell her anything remotely confidential.

His family was moving.

That week.

I guess they must have.

That was 1982.

 

 

 

Halloween

She knew she had to work hard.  Not just any freshman was going to be able to hang with that crowd or keep Mike Mathis as a boyfriend unless she showed she belonged there.

Mom was gone to a work function and dad was…  Well, who cared where he was?  His new wife must care.  In his new life.  On the other side of the continent.  By the time Mom got home, she would have changed buses and might just be stepping off at the stop before Cannington Enclave, where the domestics would be stepping on.

She smeared her 14 year-old lips Cherry red. Deep black liner and accidentally perfect purple shadow formed the backdrop for false eyelashes. The hair she couldn’t appreciate shined perfectly, tragically, black, and down to her shoulder blades.  A tight black blouse with princess seams making curves where God had not, topped jeans that wouldn’t have been too tight when school started, but were tonight.  Because she was still growing, just a little.  There was a peaked cap and a long black cape of crushed velvet on the outside lined with satin of the darkest red.  In her black nails, she held a flat, corn broom stolen from the custodian’s closet. Her thrill, though, was the shoes.  Boots.  Laced up, pointed toe black leather in the foot, fabric in the barrel, a kitten heel gave the illusion of height without making her feel she’d fall down.  She had some walking to do tonight.

A check of the mirror pleased her.  A perfectly wicked witch.

The mirror lied.  It didn’t even mention the sadness behind the smile.  Or the beautiful, impatient, woman-in-waiting.

Mike had been anxious to take their relationship to the next level. He told her he’d have to be single rather than continue to be attracted to her like he was.  They had an agreement.  If she dressed as an angel she wanted to wait.  If she dressed as a witch…  She didn’t.

In the purple dusk, cape swirling, hair flying, boots clacking on the pavement; she could have been a character in a movie.  The bus was no joke tonight.  The usual cast of down and outers was seedy. The exhausted working poor were collected in a transport bin and dozing or reading or looking at her.  For the first time, her eyes were opened.  This, was no place for a little girl.

No one knew where she was.  She was dressed to magnetize and her mother thought he drove to pick her up and he thought her mom was dropping her at the gate house.

She felt very, very “vincible”.  Visible.  It was a two-edged sword.  Wanting so desperately to be seen, then realizing you are.  Not just by whom you would like to be seen, but by whom you did not choose.  She felt sick.

There was no escape.  She could only ride it out.  Enclave was the first stop on the other side of  the long, harrow corridor of urban decay dividing the city between the exclusive suburb and the middle class midtown.

When she rose from her seat for the first Enclave stop, she noted that a man and a woman also rose.  The woman she knew from taking this route since she’d been seeing Mike.  The man, she’d never seen, but then, she wasn’t in the habit of noticing men she wasn’t aiming her powers at.

Both of them made the stop with her, yet she forgot them immediately, as she focused on the evening before her.  A Halloween party.  The biggest moment in her relationship with Mike Mathis, National Merit Scholar, President of the Chess Club.  Valedictorian.

Tonight would change everything.

At last, she could no longer miss the looks.  Appreciation from boys who were there with other girls.  Jealousy from girls who were there with other boys.  And something strange from Mike’s Mom.  It didn’t look like the friendship she’d thought they had.

Mike didn’t look at her at all.  He really didn’t speak much.  To her.  He passed out refreshments.  Made sure everyone was comfortable.  Answered the door.  Passed out candy.  He was a great host.  A great guy.

She gazed silently out the breakfast room window, through her reflection to the waterfront. The last line of deep purple light was about to disappear behind a shimmering lake.

“It won’t be long now ’til we can be alone,” came the whisper.

She hadn’t seen or felt his approach.  She lifted her eyes to the reflection of his.  Drank it in with her heart.  Trying to buoy this heaviness.

“Why don’t you walk with me to carry this bag to the can?”

“How could I possibly resist helping you serve your guests?”

An intelligent man knows when he’s been chastened.

“I wanted to show you the dock.  It’s the same way.  Bad planning by the architect.”

She raised her face to see every change in his smile.  His eyes.

“I’ve seen it in the daytime.  What more could I possibly learn in the dark?”

“It’s an entirely new experience in the dark. I promise.”

Throwing a laugh over her shoulder, she ducked for the kitchen door, her boots leaving black scuffs and her hair a flying ebony stain in the thick party air.

In a minute, the cabana on the dock was swaying unsteadily.  She could sense it in the mirror dimly reflecting the half light.

She did love him.  He was smart.  And, God, was he good-looking.

She waited.

“The reflection of the moon on the water is a result of refraction.”

“No, it’s not.”

“Our ability to see things we aren’t facing always is.”

“What?  I don’t think that’s right.”

“You know, I love you.”

“Of course, I dressed as a witch.”

“What do you mean? Glenda, the good witch?”

“What do you mean?”

“You’re an angel.”

“No, I’m not.  I’m a witch.”

“Well, the wings and the halo make that a tough sell.  Not to mention the Clarence from A Wonderful Life that’s followed us everywhere all night.  Why didn’t you tell me you were bringing your uncle? Mom’s way bent.”

“Mike, You’re scaring me.  I am a witch with a broom.  Red lips, black nails.  I don’t have an uncle.”

He reached for the light and turned her shoulders to face the mirror.

 

In the mirror’s reflection, she saw herself.  A witch with terror streaming down her cheeks.

Behind Mike, through the screen she could see the man from the bus.

Who had wings.

“Mike, I am a witch.  I have no uncle. That is a man who got off the bus at the stop with me.”

“You are an angel. And I talked to him myself before he left.”

And he kissed her.

 

~Happy Halloween.  Since we don’t have a big celebration to share for #Blogtober, I hope I gave you a scare.  One way or another.~

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Almost Back to School Time

I am writing about things I want my kids to have when they go back to school, beyond new markers and jeans.

In my guest post at Mom It Forward.

Today.

Mom It Forward Contributor

Please, go look.

Tell me what you think.

Writer’s Workshop: Back In Time

1.) Recycle a favorite post from July of any year that you have been blogging.  This post is actually from the ‘now defunct’ adoption blog, with updates per the ones that are accomplished.

There are 100 things I’d like to do before I celebrate my 100th birthday.  Well, quite number more than that, and the fun stuff more than once.  But you know…I have to digress in some direction(the jury is still out on whether I need some meds for the ADD)  [In 2012,I have not one, but two doctors opinions.  It’s not ADD.  I’m just annoying]  .  Since encouraged to take a moment to contemplate the future’s starlit canvas ( what?), here is the list of things so I have it written down in a place I might be able to find it to mark things off.

CRAZYBELOVED ONE HUNDRED THINGS I WANT TO DO BEFORE I TURN ONE HUNDRED

  1.     Be debt free–all debt: credit cards,
  2.     Home
  3.     Auto. Did it, paid one off.  Bought a new one on Monday.
  4.     Save to pay for College,
  5.     Weddings
  6.      And retirement.
  7.      Be finished with this house, by renovation or evacuation.
  8.      Participate in the Neighborhood Christmas Tour of Historic Homes.  I volunteered, again.  Got my fill.
  9.     Find a vacation rental we can return to year after year…we are thinking Outer Banks.
  10.     Be well-read instead of just a reader.
  11.     Finish the story that lives on my shoulder and never skips a day of asking to be written.
  12.     Publish.
  13.     Become known for my hospitality (don’t think Martha, think iced tea in mason jars and laughing until 3 a.m; not moving from the dining room to the living room because it might break the spell).
  14.     Learn to like feta or some other objectionable trendy food.
  15.     Become a REALLY good cook.  Not a gourmet chef.  A Good Cook.
  16.     Own a little neighborhood coffee shop.
  17.      Enter the Pillsbury Bake-off.*
  18.     Figure out a way to share with others in a way that meets needs that are beyond shelter and food.
  19.     Get consistent with my nutrition and exercise.There are not really days off in life.
  20.     Lose 10 more pounds. Change this to twenty.
  21.      Be organized. Real life, finished singing the same old tune, once and for all.
  22.      Have a house that appears to have been decorated with any amount of deliberateness.
  23.      Have 15 minutes of fame for something pleasant.  Not for being a stupid idiot.
  24.      Be a good listener.
  25.      Visit the following: Grand Canyon.
  26.      Philadelphia
  27.      Washington D.C.
  28.      Alaska
  29.      Mount Rushmore
  30.      Kenya
  31.      Spontaneously jump into the car and take off for the beach.
  32.      Get an slr and learn how to use it*
  33.      Kick a bad habit– TV, caffeine, sugar.
  34.      Go geocaching*
  35.      Farm (you know, a garden and a goat and some hens)
  36.      Dress Fabulously
  37.      Have a “signature scent”.
  38.      School my kids to graduation. To the option to go to a really good college.  If they choose.
  39.      Get through this “teen” stage with my girls and move through to a fun healthy relationship.
  40.      Be the mom who has the fun ideas and executes them simply and economically.
  41.      Be the good grandma.
  42.      Have enormous great holiday celebrations.
  43.      Meet some of my favorite bloggers in person*  Met Shell, at Blissdom; sent by Jennifer.  Found a ton of new faves.
  44.      See some important relationships healed on both sides.
  45.      Invite my cousins, SILS, and nieces & nephews to come visit and have them come or want to come.
  46.      Get a cabin in the mountains for Christmas
  47.      Be the family with season passes for the good stuff (not the living history museum).
  48.      Have the courage and wit to stand up for the right so well that people are persuaded without being angry first.
  49.      Learn to scuba dive (from Lance who promised it to us for a wedding gift).
  50.      Learn to climb rocks.
  51.      Get proficient at some sort of textile related craft.*
  52.      Dance in the rain, again.
  53.      Take Mickey to see the Yankees.
  54.      Buy him a(nother) ’65 Mustang.
  55.      Be better at my job.
  56.      Hang out with the Fergusons, again.  Did it.  Last Mother’s Day…Already time to put it back on the list.
  57.      Win something big.
  58.      Own an RV.
  59.      And the big @#$ truck to pull it with.
  60.      See a miracle.
  61.      Visit Boston.
  62.      Know someone who eventually becomes REALLY famous.(Every Oklahoman who knew Mary Hart when she was on Dannysday.)
  63.      Help my kids search their heritage when the time comes.
  64.     Go snowskiing.
  65.     Spend Christmas in New England.
  66.     Do something that would make my aunts and cousins proud.
  67.     Raise beautiful flowers.
  68.     Keep a journal.
  69.     Have another transcendant friend.
  70.     Be really old and have people asking what the secret is and saying crazy stuff like eating bacon, smoking tiparillos, going without sunscreen, drinking a shot of cheap tequila every time I go #2.  Or whatever.
  71.     Build a home in the plan of either the 83rd street house or my Grandmother’s house.
  72.     Not skydive. So far so good.
  73.     Watch the sunset over a rocky shoreline, drinking wine, while my flat stomach peeks out the bottom of my camisole over the comfortable expensive jeans.
  74.     Visit all the amusement parks so my husband can ride all the roller coasters(I like a day at the park, but don’t particularly care for coasters.  Mickey and Diva E’s joy would be enough).
  75.    De-clutter my house.
  76.    Learn to speak Chinese
  77.    Stand-up at an Open Mic Night
  78.    Enter a Chili Cook-Off.
  79.    Win.
  80.    Love.
  81.    Help.
  82.    Sing.
  83.     Rejoice.
  84.     Be a cause for rejoicing.
  85.     Encourage others.
  86.     Teach my kids the same.
  87.     Teach my kids our family history and theirs.
  88.     Get the Thank Yous out in a timely fashion.
  89.     Get a niece from China. 
  90.     Move the washer and dryer downstairs to the right spot.
  91.     Have a collection of something interesting (-er than coffee mugs and cookbooks).
  92.     Have good hair and skin (please God, one time before I die).
  93.     Not end my 15 minutes of fame by being a stupid idiot.
  94.     Never EVER meet Tom Cruise (or Angelina Jolie or Kate Gosselin or Meredith Viera or Nicole Kidman).  Right on schedule.
  95.     Be prepared in case of an emergency.
  96.    Get a boy’s room ready with a cowboy theme.
  97.    Finish raising the funds for this adoption.
  98.    Pack well.
  99.    Fly to China.
  100.    BRING MY SON HOME!!!!

Now wouldn’t it be fun to pass your list to the person on your right and help make each others lists happen?

 

This is my first time to choose a Mama Kat prompt to write on.  It is a load of fun. [I try to link up often.  It’s still fun.]

I am linking this post to Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop, still.

 

 

*some of these need to give credit to Jennifer @ Momma Made It Look Easy.  These are the ones I might not have remembered if I hadn’t read her list.  Any other duplication is because we seem to look forward to some similar things.

Don’t Tempt Me!!!

I am generally not a bare naked blogger, where I let it all hang out about my life circumstances and my joy and pain and medical needs and romantic disappointments escapades.  More and more I find that if I am going to move forward with the blog (and the cheap substitute for desperately needed therapy, it provides) I do have to be a little more candid.

Ima vent.

We used to live in a major city.  Gigantic house, for which we paid practically nothing.  Great relationships.
We now live in what I consider a small city. It considers itself ‘whatever-will-make-you-love-it’. Doesn’t meet the definition of ‘urban’.  We lived here right after Mr. S. graduated college and moved to be nearer to family after the kids came along(learned a lot…like, ‘family’ is ‘who has your back’). Through a series of circumstances, we moved back here in 2006.

Since then.

Dance Camp… My kids excluded from play at “free time” because of skin color.  Teacher’s reply, “Some babies are born yellow; some people turn green when they are seasick. Some people are blue when they are not getting oxygen. So, you just happen to be black.”  Official line to me, “We can’t dictate what is taught in this child’s home.  We are sorry for your daughters’ experience and hope you won’t hold it against us.”

Private School… My kids got put back a grade because of a math placement test.  They consistently had a hundred average and I was asked to speak to my children about slowing down in their work so that they didn’t have so much free time in class. Again, skin color was not a non-issue in class.  (Our fault for having been involved in a cross-cultural church before we moved and the girls really didn’t realize that skin color is a dividing line.  Fortunately, the schools are willing to teach values that are not taught at home.)

The Job… We had been back just about two and a half month, when a mom at the pool, asked me how was my husband liking his job.    As I considered how to answer, I realized hated his job and was trying to be the grown-up and give it a chance.  I told her I would have to ask because I didn’t know.  She looked right in my heart, and was as horrified as I was.  She’s cool that way.

I think there has not been one day that the job has been awesome. My husband’s personality is changed.  I think he is seriously depressed.  He is like a man in chains.  For fifteen of the last twenty months he has taken a 25% cut in salary in order to help the firm survive.  I am trying to teach the children that we need to be grateful Daddy has a job. We would be equally grateful for the ordeal to be over.

Digression, the first: One of the partners said, “People who blog are morons,” when I had been blogging about 9 months.  I did not flip her off tell her she is number one. One day, I will send her a link.

The House…historic.  Flipped by folks who had clearly never lived in a site-built/stick-built single family dwelling.  We were going to renovate/restore it.  WITH WHAT FREAKING TIME WHEN THE JOB DEMANDS HIS SOUL?  ‘Nuff said?  No.  We believed the drug house across the street would be swept away in the gentrification of the area.  But, no.  The non-resident homeowner makes more in a month than anyone is willing to give him for the property.

Digression, the second: We found out that our house was the scene of horrendous child abuse. A little girl used to crawl out on the roof to cry, so they would not hear her.

Why…Had we remained in the other city, we would not have our son*.  That, in itself, is a miracle story.  Miracles are made out of hard work and letting go.  We got the lesson…sometimes what looks like a terrible accident(clearly, you ‘screwed the pooch’ were mistaken.) is really accomplishing God’s design(bringing orphans into families.  Trials make us more mature if we let them).

Last week, our best friends, whom we left behind when we moved, told us they may be moving three hours away.  I failed to rejoice with them. Or even for me.  In my selfishness, all I could see was that they get to start fresh with a clean slate.  They are getting the only thing I want in the world.

What would it take for me to pick up and move?

Boxes.

This post was written due to the very welcome inspiration provided by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.  Everyone is welcome to participate.

Mama’s Losin’ It

*or a lot of other really great things like being a doula, the girls success in track,  or my dog.



Durn It, Ree.

Nine years ago, I was in an email discussion with an online friend with whom I shared an fascination with the tough gals of the old west, who did the same job we did, without the benefit of indoor plumbing and electricity, to say nothing of telephone and television.  Which is how I found myself searching for photos of the Pioneer Woman Statue in Ponca City, OK.

The second or third result yielded a “blog” (whatever that was) of a gal who had moved from the big city to the “isolated” country somewhere.  I rolled my eyes, thought,”kwitcherbitchin'”, and moved on to locate the object of my search.  The “real” Pioneer Woman.

I didn’t tell anyone about it.  Didn’t read all that much of it and didn’t think of it again until last Saturday, when I got my birthday present.

Shut up.

I have always been the girl who bucked the trend.  If someone said, “You have to…”  I would say in my snotty little heart, “Do I?”  I still haven’t seen the movie, Titanic.

So I get way down in the middle of memorizing every word reading my shiny new cookbook, and she tells about the day a few years ago when she started her blog.  Oh.  That Pioneer Woman.

Shut up.

Ree Drummond got the life I wanted.  Ranch, cowboy, basset hound ( I don’t want hers; I want my own.). I am from Oklahoma and I knew I wanted the dream life when Ree was in L.A. spending too much on shoes. She also happens to have collected on my current dream.  Her little simple blog grew to the point that when she published her cookbook, her fans went out and made it a #1 bestseller.  And demanded more.

Worst of all, I couldn’t find a single thing to criticize about the book.  It’s great.  I am a cookbook snob. I spent the entire weekend trying to find something to dislike.  There was nothing*.  It’s like she wrote it for me. Thanks, Pioneer Woman.

*Nothing I wouldn’t ask of every cookbook ever published. Is there a law requiring that every cookbook ever published include a recipe for artichoke dip?  I mean it; I need to know.

Yeah, and no, I am not being paid for an endorsement.  Or a review. Duh.  There is just not really anyplace but the blog where you can say you love someone you want to hate (ya stalker) and someone somewhere will go, “I’m cool with that.”



%d bloggers like this: