Forgotten Art: Norm – Mel 3

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Dear Mel–can I use your full name? Semper Ad Meliora,

Always onwards towards better things!

That’s what my life has become since we started writing.

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Did I tell you that my sister is a folklorist? Not just by training and profession, but naturally. She taught me how to listen to a story to hear it true.

It’s with half an ear and a whole heart, that’s what Meadow says.

That’s how I read your story.

Meadow always told me, “Truth comes through. Trust the story.”

She’s right.

I know she’s right because your story hit me that way. I see the difference in my life since I began receiving your letters.

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Do you remember how lonely I was when I filled out my profile?

I wonder if that’s why you chose to write me.

It was after you wrote that my life started always onward towards getting better.

That’s when I met Ira. She’s my best friend, and more. She lives here now, with her daughter Aaradhya.

Yesterday, at homework time, Aari griped, “Why do I gotta do algebra again?”

“Always strive for improvement!” Ira replied, half-hearted with tongue firmly in cheek.

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But Aari laughed. “OK, Mom!”

“No, she’s right!” I said. “That’s it! Always getting better! That’s life!”

I thought of you, though, Mel.

I don’t even consider your sister–I mean, why? When the other force is this–this movement towards improvement–why even give an ounce of attention to the other possibility?

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I am not a lonely guy, anymore. I guess that’s what I’m trying to say.

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And my best friend Ira has a home now.

And so does Aari.

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Do you know what sounds my house used to be full of? Crickets.

Now, my home is full of laughter.

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I’ve never been religious. Are you religious? Are you made of faith or based on faith?

I’ve never had much truck with faith.

I had science. I had business. I had the bottom line.

But now, I’ve got gratitude. And it makes everything else feel like a pale substitute for life.

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The funny thing: I don’t feel like I did anything to deserve this.

I filled out the pen pal profile. You wrote me. I wrote back. My life changed.

It’s like I’ve been playing a video game. (Well, actually, I have. Ira and I play all the time.) But it’s like I have actually been playing my life like a video game. One move. The next. It starts coming at you quick, quicker, you just respond–level up.

Always level up, that’s what it’s like, Mel.

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Always leveling up.

Thank you,

Norm

P.S. When are Zee and Gari’s birthdays? I can see if I can find you llamacorns–or maybe even something better! Aari’s got these sweet rubber ducks made of natural rubber and to squeeze one! I know it sounds weird, but truly. You haven’t lived until you’ve squeezed one of the eco-friendly, fair-trade, Spanish-natural-rubber ducks.

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Three Rivers 13.1

Thirteenth Sim of Thirty Sims at Three Rivers

13. The painting that expressed how she truly felt

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Red–the pain slashed through her womb when the door slammed. Leave. Take a piece, leave her behind with a gap where the strongest healing can never reach.

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Red. So dark it’s black. A single rose petal lay on top of the armoire, dried black. Touch it. Pick it up for safe-keeping, and it crumbles. Red to black. Crumbles to dust.

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Indigo. Blue. She thought the door would open again. He would return. Texts unanswered. Messages spinning through the air. She walks suspended through the days. This pain tethers. How long before she knows the door stays shut for good?

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Red to black to blue. Forgotten, while the babies cried and dishes filled the sink and bills came due and the door stayed shut. Blue. To abandon hope. The door stays shut.

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That year left its mark deep within. She felt it still, that tear inside, where he ripped her in two. She thought love was in the heart. But it was her womb that ached. It ached for her, and it ached for those two babies. Abandoned. She knew where abandonment was felt, deep in the womb where families are made.

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Where families are made, like the parlor where her brother played the guitar. Like the kitchen where her mother baked the casserole. Like the dining room where the children gathered after school with books and jokes and stories and laughter.

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Red to black to blue to green. A path stretches back from there to here. Laughter flows from gaps and fills the space with green.

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Where homes are made. Where families reside. Her son grabs his cousin in a bear hug.

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Her niece sings purple songs, and the sink fills with bubbles that birth rainbows.

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Red to black to blue to green. Yellow.

The bills were due and the babies were crying and the dishes piled in the sink and her mother called. “I’m coming. I’m bringing you home.” Hope returned. He was gone, but hope returned.

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And now her daughter learns from an aunt how to use her mind, how to be strong, how to grow to be a woman that can’t be torn in two.

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And it’s all right. It all worked out.

Red to black to green to blue, and yellow follows through, and the pain, still there, recedes until it’s something new.

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Gratitude. Green spills into gratitude. For a mother and a sister. Brother and little cousins. For a daughter and a son. And even for you. Gratitude even for you.

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For you live in them, the daughter and the son. And the pain does, too.

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Gratitude. You live in them. The daughter and the son. The door slams shut, the womb in two. The pain resides where the family grew. Red to black to green to blue. Gratitude?Look again, on a day that’s new.

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Red flows to black flows to green flows to blue. Follow the path to the center, through.

Cousins and a brother. A sister and a mother. These two gifts of babies that look like you.

Red to black to green to blue. A yellow arch in the center, the door to home we walk through.