Story A Day for May, Day 11

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For WC

Stuck in the middle of one of her grandfather’s notebooks, Kate found a single sheet of lined paper with a poem scrawled onto it. “For WC,” read the title.

It was, loosely, a sonnet, though every line except the final couplet assiduously avoided iambs, a challenge in English. This made the final two lines of rhyming iambic pentameter all the more striking.

Like all her grandfather’s poems, this one was beautiful, musical, and sad, but it was filled with yearning, too. It was a love poem, filled with images of thighs, the backs of hands, the curve of a cheek, a straight nose, and “eyes, light, eyes.”

Kate had seldom thought of her grandfather as a man in love. Her grandmother had died before she was born, and, to Kate’s knowledge, he had no romances during the years she lived with him or after.

But clearly there had been someone. Who was WC?

She had sat with him one afternoon in hospice when he’d been time-jumping, as he often did during his last days. She held his hand, but his eyes were closed; he was far away. He raised eyebrows. He kissed the air. He giggled, and tilted his head, coyly. Kate grew embarrassed, intruding on that private moment he shared in time with someone else. She kept his hand in hers, but she looked out the window.

“I drifted off there,” he said, when he returned.

“And now you’re back,” said Kate, holding the glass of water to him, helping him with the straw.

“Thank you, Katy-Moon,” he said when he’d finished drinking. “Promise me something. Do you love someone?”

“I love you,” she answered.

He laughed. “Not what I mean. You know what I mean.”

“Not in that way, no,” she said.

“Then promise me something. If you do–when you do–promise me that you will tell that person. Don’t just sit there, longing, writing hopeless poems. But tell the person, ‘Your eyes. Your light. You’re all.’ Tell them in that way, so you don’t regret it when you are close to the gate.”

She nodded. “Was there someone you wanted to tell?” she asked, in the quiet room.

“There was,” he said.

“It’s not too late,” she said. “Would you like me to help you get in touch with this person?”

“Would you do that?” he asked.

“Of course,” she replied.

He closed his eyes again. “I would like that. I would like this person to know. ‘Your eyes. Your light.'”

But they didn’t have a moment to come back to this conversation. The following days were full of nurses, the great aunt, the cousins, always a buzz, never a second for them to talk again, in private.

It had been one of those wishes, not quite a promise, that had faded.

There are so many people we love who will never know what we feel, what they are to us. It doesn’t mean the feeling didn’t exist, that it didn’t buoy us somehow. It would be cleaner to share the gratitude.

Kate worked on, through that notebook and the next, transcribing her grandfather’s poems. When she returned to the closet for the next box of notebooks, she found a shoe box, tied with a strip of leather, so brittle, with the knot so fused, that she had to cut it to open the box. Inside, she found bundles of folded rice paper, each with a hand-written poem to WC.

She knew then she had to discover who this person was. Whom had her grandfather loved so? Maybe WC was still alive. Or if not, maybe a child or grandchild was.

She remembered her promise to her grandfather that she would tell someone if she loved them this way. She didn’t. But he had. And maybe it wasn’t too late to let them know.


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Prompt for May 11: “Write a story in which your hero wants something, tries and fails to get it, and eventually has their life-changing moment at the end of the story,” from StoryADay.org 

Author’s note: This story may not seem to fit the prompt, but if you check out the tips, you can see that it sort of does.

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GloPoWriMo: Day 24

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Bulbs and Roots

He was a hard man,
at times,
hard to talk to,
hard to please.

It was only
after the stroke
he grew
soft
and strong.

Then he called me
out of nowhere
to say the words
I’d waited a lifetime
to hear.

On his last visit
in the early spring
he dug out Bermuda grass
for me. I worried
over the roots
he missed, wiring
their ways between
stones of the pond.

But now, after summer
rains, when I dig out
stubborn green sprouts,
I smile,
remembering my dad.
Maybe he spared a few
on purpose.

We walked
the back path
under the stalk
of a century plant.
He pointed up.
“It blooms!”
And he smiled like a kid.

I miss him
when I have to
do the grown-up stuff–
take the car
for an oil change.
File taxes.
Fix the leaking
faucet.

I miss him
when I see
a sudden dart
of a cardinal,
a branch of verbena
trailing over the path
that I want
to point to,
for him.

But those times,
I find him
still,
wiring his way
through the
stones of habit,
blooms of grace.

On a cloudy afternoon
in his last summer,
my sister, my brother,
and I
dug the grass from
his lawn so
he could plant
bulbs he’d ordered,
hundreds of them–
tulips, daffodils, narcissus–
flowers he knew
he would never see.

He planted
them, anyway,
smiling.

“What are you thinking,”
my mom asked,
“when you work in the
garden?”

“Nothing,”
he said.
“That’s the point.”

Daily Prompt:  “Write an elegy that has a hopefulness to it,” from the Na/GloPoWriMo site.

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Forgotten Art: Meadow – Kaitlin 12

A letter to Kaitlin

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Dear Kaitlin,

It’s been a while since we’ve written. So much has happened in our family–and in yours, too, I’m sure!

Congratulations on Reese and Brooke’s graduation! And even more congratulations on their wedding!

And, is it time yet to congratulate you on your divorce? (Does one even congratulate a friend on a divorce or offer condolences?)

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Well, since the divorce paves the way for you and Leroy to get married , I will offer congratulations. So, congratulations!

Norm feels terrible because he really laid into Newt when he found out about Newt’s past with you. He was furious when he answered Newt’s letter. I told him maybe it’s best to work through the feelings first, and then correspond, but that minor detail hadn’t occurred to my brother. I hope that Newt is OK. I mean, he’s got enough to deal with without having to deal with my raging-bear mode brother on top of it!

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How are all your kids and grandkids? Everyone healthy? Everyone happy? How is Ben doing?

We are great. Jena has grown into a big, confident, know-it-all five-year-old–and we love so much that our hearts burst! She has a terrific attitude!

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Nothing can stop her. I’ve read a lot about how girls lose their confidence when they enter middle school, and Mizuki Suzuki and I are already doing research to find ways to beat that trend with our girl. I hope she carries this strength with her all through her life.

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Remember when you first wrote me, years ago, and my house felt confusing and full to me with just one little two-and-a-half year old in it? Well now our home seems to be always full of children!

Jena is so out-going and friendly. She brings home loads of friends after school! It keeps me busy making cookies, slicing apples, and brewing hot chocolate! I love it.

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Mizuki Suzuki loves it, too.

Sometimes in the evening, I’ll see her sitting in the living room with one of Jena’s toys.

“Our house has space for more children. Don’t you think?” She used to always say.

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I always thought of your old two-room apartment, and how you filled it with children and teens. And I have to agree: Our home does have room for more.

And it looks like we just may be getting another!

One of my other pen pals told me about another group of refugee children who need homes. She’s sending me the contact information for the agency in charge of placing them, and I have a feeling that within a few months–if not sooner–we will have another little toddler, originally from somewhere very far away, filling our home with laughter and cries!

My life has changed so much, dear Kaitlin, from knowing you. You’ve shown me how to look outside of myself and notice others. I have always cared, but I have never known how to be caring. Now, all I need to do is think of you and how you are, and the road is clear to me.

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Thank you so much for changing me, Kaitlin. When the person I am now looks back on the person I was when I received your first letter, I can’t help but chuckle wistfully, the way we do at our younger selves. I have grown so much, and so much of it has come from knowing you.

Wishing you all the best, and sending you so much love!

–Meadow

<< Meadow’s Previous Letter

Aimless: Take a Breath!

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One year ago, I was put in charge of a big project at work that would take this entire year to complete. On the one hand, I felt inspired: It was a project we’d been wanting to do for over fifteen years, and we finally were able to! On the other hand, I felt some dread: This project would demand most of my organizational and creative energy.

My mixed feelings stemmed from realizing that to give the project what it needed to succeed, I’d have to scale back my creative activities with SimLit. It wasn’t a matter of time so much as energy. Before embarking on this project, my work days were filled with detail-oriented work that asked for a tiny portion of my brain power–so while I coded and posted and proofread and resized and optimized, most of my mind was free to wander, and that wandering is how I create my SimLit stories.

In addition to the excitement of the project, I felt a bit of grief: How much of my writing would I have to let go of?

I reached out to my friends on the EA Forums who frequent the Kindness Bench.

The advice and suggestions I received from them filled me with hope, enthusiasm, and faith that I’d be able to make it through this, keep up with my writing as much as I could, and return when the project allowed.

I probably read more SimLit this past year than previously because reading was something that kept me going and fueled me before I headed into the office for the busy, stressful afternoon.

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And I made it through it! Often during this past year, when I was feeling frustrated by the stories inside me that wanted expression–but which I didn’t have the right energy to express–and even by those seed that were waiting to be watered, I remembered my friends and their advice.

If a busy high school student can balance her academic, creative, personal, and interscholastic activities with her writing, I could, too. If some of my friends gained energy and enthusiasm when they had to take forced breaks, maybe I would, too! If one friend is able to take advantage of the little moments that appear for writing each day, maybe that would work for me. If another friend assures me that readers will still be here if I need to take a break, I’ll trust her.  If yet another friend can manage to balance grad school with her creative SimLit activities, then surely I can handle this! And if my virtual sister is there to offer support and step in to help with our forum activities, then I knew I could get through it.

It was a tough year–especially the last few months.

But we made it. I kept writing. I found projects that worked with the quality and quantity of energy I had and that didn’t demand the energy I lacked.

And now, here I am on the other side!

For a year, I’ve been looking forward to this particular weekend! And here I am!

The project is a success overall–still tons more to do with it, and a million-and-one details to attend to, but it will work out, and I will likely not be fired, and the support from a handful of coworkers comes close to making up for the lack of support from the administration. And it makes a lot of people’s lives a lot nicer and it helps families and our organization, too. So, a success overall.

And that leaves me… here. I don’t yet know what I’ll focus on with my writing. My plan is to continue with Forgotten Art (which is part of the Pen Pal Project) and Vampire Code, while circling back and finishing a few projects that are close to completion, like Drifter. I’ve also begun a Murkland Starter Challenge, Through a Glass Murkly, which is hosted on its own blog.

I can feel that my creative well has been pretty well drained, but I can also feel vernal springs bubbling to fill it up again.

What a time for thanks! For gratitude for friends, and creativity, and life, and opportunities.

What a time to pause and breathe!

Vadish!  I look forward to whatever is next, and I hope you’re here to read with me!

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Forgotten Art: Norman – Mel 4

A reply to: A letter from Mel

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Dear Mel,

I’ve boxed up a treat for Gari and Zee and sent it in the mail. No need to wait for the birthday, though! These little guys will want to get out as soon as they arrive! I selected four: two ducks, one Bubba bear, and one cat. All but the cat are made of soft rubber. The cat’s made of vulcanized rubber. The ears feel good to bite on–not that I’ve ever bitten vulcanized rubber ears, I’m just saying.

They’re all from that organic, fair-trade toy company, so the rubber is natural, and even the dye is organic and biodegradable. Everything’s eco-this, eco-that. Get ready for fun.

I want to thank you for writing me back so quickly. Your timing was perfect.

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I got your letter right around the time I had a really tough letter to write. I mean, maybe the toughest letter I’ve ever written.

Before I wrote back, I talked with Ira. I sat with Aari. I talked with my uncle Jasper. I did some research, and I thought a lot. Then I got your letter, and I knew I could write my reply. I knew I could level up, take the high road, and write the letter that had to be written.

Now that I’ve sent it, I feel relieved. I don’t know if I said the right words, and I don’t know if my letter will help. But I stepped up as a friend to a guy who’s in a tough spot after doing some bad things.

Ira says she would’ve understood either way: writing him back or not writing him back.  Then she said some things about what it’s like to have me as a friend that made me feel pretty good. I’ve never thought of myself as anybody who had anything to offer anyone. I’ve got to admit: It feels good knowing at least one person is happy to have me in her life. And it feels even better knowing it’s the person who makes me happiest of all. That would be Ira.

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You mentioned you’re curious about her, her daughter Aaradhya, my sister Meadow, and my uncle Jasper. I will love to tell you about them! Of course it’s not crossing a line.

I think of you as something bright and positive in my life–you make everything better, like a new dishwasher. That sounds… not so exciting. But for me, an engineer who’s always looking for eco-this, eco-that, my new water-saving, low-electricity-usage dishwasher is the best thing next to my popcorn maker!

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Point is: You’re this bright spot in my life that makes everything better. Of course I’ll love to tell you about the people in my life. I just hope I don’t bore you to sleep doing so! I know I’ll go on and on.

Aari is something wonderful. She is very smart. She loves doing math equations. I’ve started showing her simple algebra, and she takes to it naturally. She’s got a logical mind.

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I wish you could see her smile. I swear: the room gets brighter.

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She gets a little sad sometimes. She had a rough few years before her mom took her and left her dad. Ira told me that Aari’s dad never hit Aari. But Ira has scars from what he did to her. I imagine that things like that scar a kid on the inside.

Sometimes when she’s sad, she likes to sit with me. We don’t say much. We just sit until she feels better.

mel402

Now and then, she has a tough time at school, when the noise and other kids’ yelling gets to be too much for her. She lashes out sometimes. We’re working on it.

The main thing, from what I’m learning at this support group I go to for partners of people who’ve experienced domestic violence, is to hang in there with the person. Don’t take their words or actions personally when they’re triggered. Just be there. Don’t give up on them.

It comes easy to me so far. I’d do anything for Ira and Aari. I’ve decided that even if it gets tough, I’ll level up, best I can. They’re worth it. I’m lucky I’ve got this group, my uncle, and my sister. And I’m so lucky I’ve got them.

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My sister Meadow, by the way, has just decided to go back to grad school. She’s already got a PhD, but she wants a practical degree. Her other one’s in folklore. I think I mentioned that. Anyway, my sister started volunteering at the transition home that Ira and Aari used to live at. It was Ira’s suggestion. So, Meadow’s been leading art classes. And now, she wants to be become an art therapist, combining art and folklore.

My sister has always been about helping other people make their lives better. That’s why she adopted Jena. My niece Jena is smart, and she loves to talk about super heroes. Huh. I just realized that Aari is Jena’s cousin, in a way. Maybe we’ll make it official sometime.

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My uncle Jasper is a character. He’s an old hippie, beatnik, retired college professor. He’s read just about everything and synthesized it all into his own version of the meaning of life. I don’t mind. I listen. It’s the questions he asks that’ll get you.

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I saved the best for last: Ira.

What’s there to say about her? She’s everything. She listens. She questions. She encourages.

She worked as a barista when I first met her. But she stopped that job. She’s thinking about becoming a teacher. She’d make a great one.

She’s got the gift of making you feel like you matter. It’s not just with me: She does this for everyone.

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The best thing is she makes me happy. She seems pretty happy herself, too.

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So how’s it all going in your life? Zee and Gari doing OK? Have you tried anymore painting? Ira and I both love to paint.

And how about your neighbors? Are they acting more neighborly?

Anybody who knows you is lucky to know you.

And I’m grateful to be your pen pal.

Take care–and let me know what the kids think of their package!

–Norm

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Shift 34: Invent-a-bration

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“It looks like the United Nations of Holidays threw up,” Luiza said.

We all laughed except Karim.

“It looks nice,” he said. “Very pretty. We should keep it like this always. For inspiration!”

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It was Aadhya’s idea. She said at one of our Sunday dinners, which have sort of evolved into our YOTO meeting time, that she was thinking we should have some sort of winter celebration.

“Not Christmas, exactly,” she said, “for how many of us celebrate–or celebrated–Christmas?”

Donnie, Madeline, Luiza, Xavier, and I said we did.

“I had Christmas once or twice,” Marquise said.

“Our holidays fall whenever,” said Nadja. “They’re not seasonal.”

Aadhya said that she and some of the other staff members grew up Jewish. “But I guess if I’m anything now,” she said, “I’m Buddhist.”

“We should invent our own celebration,” said Xavier.

“Yeah! An invent-a-bration!” said Donnie.

So we decided we’d combine everything, put them all together, and that’s how we got the United Nations of Holidays in our foyer.

We started the day with yoga. Aadhya said that the end of the year is the time for letting go of everything we no longer need as we move into the new year. So as she led us through the practice, she kept saying things like, “Let your attention settle in your heart space. Feel all the blocks there dissolve as you let go of anything that no longer serves you.”

It’s the stuff she always says in yoga practice, but this time, for me at least, it felt like there was more energy behind her words. I felt space open up inside me, and it felt really sweet.

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We made French toast, fruit salad, tofu sausage, and hot spiced cider for breakfast, and then we went out and played basketball for a few hours.

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I came in early to make tacos for lunch. I really liked being inside alone, with music playing and all the decorations around.

Aadhya and everybody else connected with YOTO have really given us something. I can tell it makes Aadhya happy to do this work, too. I was thinking about giving and receiving. It’s kind of like flow. For example, I felt really happy making the tacos. I knew when everybody came in hungry and cold from playing basketball, the hot tacos would taste really good. So making them, knowing that they’d make other people happy, that made me happy.

And I bet that Aadhya feels like that, whenever she thinks about how she and YOTO are making a difference for us.

And in a weird way, if we weren’t here for her to help, she wouldn’t have that happiness, just like if the other kids weren’t around for me to make tacos for, I wouldn’t have this happiness.

But of course somebody would always be around. That’s just the way the universe works. Energy flows. So if it’s not me who’s being helped, somebody else would step in who needed help.

What I don’t know is if someone always steps up to help. It took all of us a long time to finally find Aadhya and make it to YOTO.

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Everybody was still outside when I ate my meal, except for the DJ who’d volunteered to come do our Massive Inventabration Celebration Dance Party that evening.

Before I ate, I sent out a thanks and a promise to the universe.

The thanks was for everybody that had every helped me in my whole long life.

And the promise was that whenever the universe needed me to help somebody or something else, I would step up.

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When the others came inside for supper, Luiza and Donnie looked sad. Neither wanted to talk. They were both inside their memories.

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I might know what they were feeling. Christmas has this whole myth around it about family and sharing times together. Like if you’re not with your family, it’s not even Christmas. From what they’d told me, I know that, like me, they’ve both had times when they were with family. And the times weren’t always bad.

I remembered Christmas back when Mom and Dad were still alive. One year, we went on safari–that’s what my dad called it. We really just packed up everything and traveled across country in our old VW camper for the two weeks around the holidays. We spent that Christmas on the beach, roasting hot dogs over the fire and watching the waves.

But we had some years, and they all run together, where Gran would come and we’d hang the stockings and sing the carols and all of that.

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After I ate, I went upstairs to take a long shower. I was feeling kind of melancholy, and I was hoping that maybe the water might wash it away.

When I got back downstairs, Sofia’s dad, Mr. Bjergsen, was there.

“I just dropped off a bunch of presents for you all,” he said. “Everybody at my office chipped in.”

I said something snarky about being charity cases.

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It was like I had forgotten everything I’d figured out over lunch. And all the gratitude and understanding my role of being the helpee had disappeared.

I apologized. I’m getting too old for moodiness.

Then Deon called to wish me a happy day, and Mr. Bjergsen started telling me about a western snowy plover that he sighted on the beach near their home, and all my moodiness was forgotten.

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When I hung up, I thanked Mr. Bjergsen for the gifts.

We had a great dance party.

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And there were so many presents!

Aadhya had gone around to collect donations from the local retailers, so we got new shoes, new clothes, i-pods, tablets, school supplies. You name it.

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Luiza stayed pretty down the whole time. But Maddy and Nadja and everybody else got into the party and the dancing.

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Late that night, when the rest of the kids were in bed or upstairs playing video games, I found a forgotten Christmas cracker on the table.

I felt excited opening it. You never know what will be inside. All the feelings of the day: the letting go, the gratitude, the sadness and anger, the resolution, the happiness–they all balled up into something that felt like joy.

In spite of it all, we’ve got so much.

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Whisper 2.29

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Dear me,

Nothing–or at least few things–make me more nervous than opening the envelope that contains my grades.

And nothing–I mean, nothing–feels better than seeing those A’s staring right back at me!

Yeah! I did this thing! Master Controller!

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The ground was still blanketed in snow when I walked into the graduation ceremony, though the sun warmed the air.

“Congratulations, Marigold,” said Melvin Moon.

“Thanks for coming to see me graduate!” I said.

“Of course!” He replied. “I wouldn’t let my best friend graduate without offering my felicitations!”

I had to chuckle. My mind had been so full of Shannon lately that I completely forgot that Melvin and I were best friends.

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The ceremony lasted forever, and it was nearly dark when I got out. Plus, all the snow had melted!

But there I was, diploma in hand, my second degree! Phys Ed major, and summa cum laude!

Yes!

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Mom would be proud.

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Before I made it back to the dorm, I got a text from Shannon.

Congrats, babe. Party. Coming?

Hell, yeah!

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Shannon was nowhere to be seen when I arrived.

Instead, I was met by Becky Blackstone.

“Oh! I’d recognize you anywhere,” she said.

“Have we met?” I asked.

“You know me, right? I mean, no, we haven’t met. But Becky Blackstone? For sure you’ve heard of me. Famous like you, right?”

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“I’m not really famous,” I said.

She laughed.

“Get out! If you’re not famous, then how come I’ve been reading about you for the past four years in the same rags that have all the stories about my family?”

I had to admit, she was really cute. Maybe she was a little starstruck or a little full of her own status, but her enthusiasm was adorable. Plus she had the cutest mini-dreadlocks.

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We got to talking. She’d just finished her first semester as a technology major.

“I want to design video games,” she told me. While she was telling me about her idea for a game based on the jet stream, Shannon came in.

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She was wearing nothing at all. She looked kind of sad.

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“I see you two met,” she called to me. “I thought you might have something in common.”

“Right on!” yelled Becky. “Thanks for inviting me!”

By the time Shannon returned from getting dressed, I’d just given Becky my address.

We kind of decided that we wanted to spend more time with each other, and since I was leaving in a few hours, I invited Becky to come visit over semester break.

She seemed pretty excited.

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Shannon had disappeared again by the time I had to head back to catch the shuttle home.

Just as well!

I raced back in the rain, thinking about everything–about friendships starting and those that just continue. I thought about Shannon inviting over Becky so we could meet.

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All through the long flight home, I kept replaying my whole connection with Shannon, from our first meeting during my first time in college when we were so wrapped up in our own universe, then back to the time when I was home, writing her so often, to this up-and-down stint for my second degree, when it took me the whole time to figure out what Shannon meant to me and to understand what I meant to her. I thought about Becky, who’d be coming to visit in a few days. I felt like I was following through with Shannon’s wish for me.

When I got back home, the first thing I saw was the graduation gnome, tossing up his mortarboard in celebration.

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And then I noticed the plants! Did nobody tend the garden while I’d been gone?

Better get busy!

Me

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Aimless: Birthday Rambles

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The solar return offers a chance to look back and look ahead.

This is the day of my solar return, and so my thoughts ramble back through the year.

It was a challenging year, personally and astrologically. I lost a few friends (though I gained a few more!), and I’ve been moving through an uncomfortable and restricting astrological transit.

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Sometimes this year I felt under attack by what I loved most!

For the past seven months, Saturn’s been square my natal Moon and Venus, which are opposite each other in my natal chart. As the moon is the ruler of Cancer, my sun sign, and Venus is the ruler of Taurus, my rising sign, my energy flows through the pathways of these two planets.

So when Saturn passes square, the expression of my energy for communicating, writing, creating, relating, and even living is restricted. Add to this that Neptune is currently conjunct my natal Moon and opposite Venus, so there is a lot of extra numinous energy wanting to flow through these two channels. I often thought of river levees and sap running through constricted cells.

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Structure and growth side by side in a forest… it can be a good thing, right?

During the first pass, I found myself resisting everything. As this came to my attention, I developed the mantra, “Don’t resist the resistance!” I suppose it helped a little bit, as the internal structures where shifting and being reformed.

During the second direct pass, roughly a week ago, I was given a direct lesson and some new tools. The lesson involved trauma. One evening, I found myself feeling uncomfortably anxious, which is not a common state for me. As I felt the anxiety increase, the words came, “You are reliving past trauma.” Understanding that this was what was happening, I breathed my way through the experience and calmness came within twenty minutes or so. I had never thought of myself as one who’d experienced trauma, yet for the next few days, I realized that, like most of us living on this planet, I have.

In one of those beautiful gifts of synchronicity, a few days later, I learned that Doreen Virtue and her publisher, Hay House, were making available free e-book versions of Virtue’s Don’t Let Anything Dull Your Sparkle, a book that provides techniques to heal from past trauma. (Later note: the limited time e-book give-away was part of a promotion for an online class offered by Virtue. The book is no longer available for free.)

Reading the first third of this book prompted a shift in me: Virtue discusses the brain chemistry and hormonal changes that occur after trauma and the ways that people become addicted to these stress chemicals and hormones. That’s when they crave drama and fear boredom. Understanding this opened up space so that I could find my way back to peace.

She offers, too, useful tips for difficult relationships we have with others who have experienced trauma:

  1. Have compassion.
  2. Don’t take it personally.
  3. Take care of yourself.
  4. Know that you can’t fix or change the other.
  5. Be a good role model.

(Source: 5 Healthy Ways to Deal with Difficult People in Your Life – Note: this video is also no longer available for free.)

This week, leading up to my solar return, I’ve been practicing these techniques, and I like the way they make me feel: powerful, calm, loving, and peaceful.

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And when you feel good, you can laugh!

In a few months, Saturn will pass for the third time through this direct square, and then it will continue its course, freeing up the Moon and Venus energy pathways.  I hope that during the third pass, I’m able to integrate what I’ve learned–both about the structure of resistance and about trauma–so that the lessons of this transit become part of me.

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Integration: just look to nature to see how it happens.

And what will the new year bring? Once Saturn releases my energy, then Neptune’s gifts will flow unhindered. I’m open for a year of music, art, intuition, dreams, and imagination. It promises to be a busy year for me professionally, too.

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I no longer feel under attack.

The solar return offers an opportunity to set intentions. Here are mine:

  1. Continue reading and writing SimLit.
  2. Continue my involvement with the Simming community through Book Club, Reading Circles, and the Kindness Bench for SimLit Writers and Storytellers.
  3. Play cello. Play piano.
  4. Be the best partner I can be to my best lifetime (and beyond) partner.
  5. Be mindful in daily actions.
  6. Do my best with the professional projects that have come and will come my way.
  7. Have compassion for everyone, myself included.
  8. Practice yoga. Walk.
  9. Treat everyone with the kindness, patience, and understanding I would extend to a best friend, while being my own best friend.
  10. Greet each morning, each moment, each challenge, and the end of each day with gratitude.
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Could it be that gratitude is always enough?

Another year, another day, another moment: Vadish.

Wonder 39

Charlie

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“Charlie!” Luna pounced as soon as I arrived at the clinic. “Come! I need to talk with you!”

Immediately, I started running through everything that might have gone wrong. Was it the tests? I was sure that I’d left the incubator at the correct setting. Had I left it unplugged? Maybe I’d entered the records wrong yesterday. Oh, I bet I forgot to log out of the computer. It was the tests, I was sure of it. Something had gone horribly wrong with the samples.

“I’ll do better next time!” I said.

“What?”

“The tests?”

“The tests are perfect–revolutionary. But that’s not what I wanted to talk with you about. Well, I do. Just not first thing. First thing is: Congratulations!”

Congratulations? Turns out I’d won an award, and the person who nominated me had called the clinic to notify them. The Edgar Evans Community Service award is given to those who are helping to make the world a better place.

“But why do I get it?” I asked Luna. “I mean, I’m grateful. I’m just not sure I’m worthy!”

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If anyone at the clinic should get the award, Luna or Eva should. They’re the ones who’ve been serving as doctors in this community for years.

“Now about the results of your experiments,” Luna began.

Luna freed my schedule from doing rounds. She said it was more important for me to work on my tests. She’d looked at the results briefly during her break, and what she noticed was remarkable:  Agaricon, a very rare polypore, was wiping out the poxviruses. Not only that, Lentinan, PSK, and possibly a few of the other active mushroom compounds seemed to be hindering the adherence of viruses to host cells.

“This is important work, Charlie,” she said. “You stick with this, and you’re going to be earning a whole lot of other awards, too. Not to mention, preventing illnesses!”

I checked the samples. She was right! The mushroom complexes had slowed the growth of the viruses, and in some cases, completely eradicated them!

This was exciting stuff.

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Before I knew it, the day was over. I wanted to stay and keep working on my report, but the last ferry waits for no one, not even a scientist hot on the trail of the antiviral fungus!

As I was leaving, the receptionist called me over. “Dr. Capricciosa left this for you,” she said. It was a typed letter. I read it quickly–I’d been promoted!

I was feeling pretty good when I got home–tired, but happy-tired. So many good things: the award, the promotion, and most of all, the exciting results from the lab.

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I could hardly wait to share the lab results with Tia Berry. I wondered if she knew that it wasn’t just the echinacea and goldenseal but also the mushrooms in her remedies that had the power to knock out illness.

I wondered if I needed to tell Mãe, Tia Berry, and Pai about the award. For some reason, I felt bashful about having received it. I didn’t really feel like I’d done anything to deserve it.

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I mean, I’ve got faith in myself and my abilities–especially after the results of the test. But I just don’t feel that I’ve proved myself yet. In twenty years, after I’ve had a chance to make some changes–give me an award then!

I’d looked over my nominator’s acceptance speech, which included his reasons for nominating me. He mentioned my involvement in the Wonder Child program, as well as having founded Paint! and my decision to become a doctor.

None of these things seem special. I was in the program because Mãe needed health insurance. I formed Paint! so I could meet with other artists and kindred spirits. I want to be a doctor because I don’t like for other people to feel sick. It’s none of it rocket science, which is how the award originated, recognizing an astronaut’s contributions to his community. In fact, my nominator, the famous Daddy Bear, was an astronaut, too.

“Don’t look a gift horse,” I thought, with gratitude. I’d have to write an acceptance speech and nominate the next recipient. In doing so, I could turn this fluke into something good, if I can find the right words for my speech, and if I select a recipient who’s working for a cause that needs more attention.

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It’s a good thing, after all, and it came on a day that was full of good things. I crawled into bed, feeling tired and a little flushed. Unexpected success, especially when it comes in threes, can really wear a guy out!

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