Thursday, July 18, 2013

Love and Skepticism

     And then there is morning. Excited morning. Abigail awakens wanting to send out invitations. To invite everyone; someone—into this place. To invite people to guess what’s on her mind; what language she is thinking in. She would love to invite everyone to share all of this. The coffee will be brewing shortly. Suddenly, almost simultaneously, Abigail decides to hoard this peculiar experience – the magic of the introverted—of the scientifically inclined home—the orchids, the glass, the skeletons—this. And yet.

     Abigail bunches her hands in her sweatshirt and feels the bird in one of the pockets. The creature has been in there for days. Abigail lifts the body out, takes it in her palm, and places it at the root of the lily next to the aviary. She had every intention of burying it there and holding a funeral until it started raining. She looked up and felt one drop splash below her eye, then another on her nose. Seconds later, the downpour consumed the little town. The grey clouded the sun; thunder clapped rather close. One one thousand. Two one thousand. Lightning bolt. Rather than running inside, Abigail walked to the stream behind the house. She had seen a heron rest there a few days ago, most likely on his way to the river to fish. Abigail kissed the little songbird in her hand and threw the body over to the rock where she had last seen the heron, thinking that the best place for such a small bird was under the care of a larger feathered accomplice. Perhaps he would reincarnate as something stronger, something which would be impenetrable to holes drilled right through a small abdomen.

     Walking back into the house she sees her uncle and waves, running up to warm up in a hot shower.

     Goodness, Rafe ponders, how this girl resembles his sister, Vivienne. Abigail has a habit of sweeping her bangs to the same side as her mother did. Look at that face. Slender yet without angles. Abigail is all love and skepticism. She even holds it in her gaze, her chin, up and confident. He can’t stand it. Such a rich soul. Vivienne was responsible for that.     “Cecilia, how will this work?” he asks his wife, married so long now he knows she is awake by her breathing patterns. Both lying on their backs, both staring up at the ceiling, both having the same worrisome thoughts.”She’s lost everyone. Never knew her father now Vivienne. How does one handle that?”

     “She’ll be fine. I think she needs to be alone for a bit. Besides, we aren’t leaving until August. And there’s Jack”

     “Jack?” Rafe asks, raising his confused little eyebrows.

     Cecelia laughs at her husband’s complete lack of observation over the past 12 years. “Haven’t you noticed those two? They have been attached for quite some time. Neither one may realize it yet, but it’s love. True and pure. She’s here to get him. But she doesn’t know that yet. And I’m not sure if he does or not. No matter. Love finds its place and settles right down in. In the meantime, we will go orchid hunting and look forward to the stories upon our return.”

     Such brilliance. His wife’s calmness made him fall in love just a little bit in that tiny moment. She could make a plan and relinquish control all in the same movement. No wonder, he thought, and then he said it aloud.

     “No wonder.”

     Cecilia looks over and stares at her husband, her eyes fully accustomed now to the dark.

“No wonder, yourself,” she says and rubs the back of her hand along his cheek.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Chapter 3

The Eiffel Tower

      Abigail is the Eiffel Tower.

     She is beams of rod and steal stacked exactly just so and engineered just right, just in time for the world’s celebration.

     She calls to rent house. She schedules Aunt to pick her up and drive her to Dunsmuir. She packs field guides and a copy of “Orchids for Dummies,” and refills a 90-day supply of Xanax, intending to stretch it out over the next year.

     She makes plans and arrangements in order to house-sit for her aunt and uncle and visit the hotel and drink coffee and mist orchids and pray to Mary in a dry skirt.

She makes toast. Eats. Prays.

     She stares at the ceiling.

          It could be a Tuesday or a Wednesday afternoon as Abigail lays on her bed for the last time, looking up at the ceiling, thinking about secrets. In her mind, there are all these untold stories that floated up and embedded themselves into the crevices at top of a room. She lay there, deciphering codes and clues out of grooves and lines, dips and peaks, of the plaster. And as night fell, her deepest and most dreaded time of day, certain sparkles came into view in the valleys of contusions – lighthouses or cities seen from afar. They all meant something. And each night for the past six months, she toiled in her silent way, attempting to crack the stories she never heard.

     It could be minutes or hours or days that she is here, on this bed she would soon leave, and most likely it was all three. When the heart breaks there are all these little things that spill out from the shards—memories and words and white ceiling flakes. And stars. And secrets. She will leave this room – this house – never knowing what the stories were. Science dictates emotion to a certain extent and because this is so, Abigail is of the opinion that her heart as an organ should be mended by now. But it isn’t and she had deduced the reason down to one simple cause: the ceilings.

     Eventually by morning, which will be a Friday or Saturday, her back is as sore as her heart and all the pretend topographical maps she traces are made and it is time to leave.

    Abigail stands, blows a kiss into the room, shuts the door, and walks downstairs where she stands, staring at the mirrors stacked backwards against the wall.

     Abigail is not the Eiffel Tower. She is a Jenga game played too long, stacked too high, with a player about to take the one piece out holding the tower upright.







Friday, March 29, 2013

victims and demons

A most important lesson to always remember:

Stay calm, and do not victimize yourself nor demonize others. Do the best you can, be kind, and shut up.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

money money money

"Why are you working so hard, and at so many jobs?" he asked.

She thought for a minute, then replied, "Because my dreams are expensive."

Friday, March 22, 2013


He breathed a small sigh of relief when the experiment was over, and smiled, a humble little half one. In his head, it was clear, the project had succeeded. What's interesting, is the audience knew it had failed. They had seen the collapse with their eyes, heard the disaster with their ears. But not to him. To the scientist, his controlled environment was a huge accomplishment.

Personally, I do not know if the thing failed or not. The clearest memory I have of the evening is the half-smile. Success is obviously relative.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


The cliché, "kids can be cruel," makes little sense to me. Aren't adults prone to spouts of meanness? And just as often, if not more? Yet, I've yet to hear after I've regaled a friend with a tale of how someone was unjust, "Whaddya gonna do? Adults can be cruel sometimes."

Saturday, March 9, 2013


Received an email today that was so curt and so full of assumption that my heart did that physical sinking thing it does when we are expecting one communication and recipients of another. Good reminder to self: be gentle and not-so-quick to assume. And go have a drink.