Monday, May 27, 2013

Trifecta: The Moments When Time Stops

The minute hand tick-tocked at a snail’s pace. She was early. And nervous.

To resist checking the car clock for the third time since 11:57am, she paced the sidewalk, twirled her keys, practiced yoga breathing, and struck up a conversation with a store proprietor then a stranger.

“How long do I wait?” she thought. The slightest bit of panic creeping in as she checked her lipstick in the side mirror. Again.

He was hardly late, just five minutes, but minutes feel like hours when you’re anticipating someone. And nervous.

When he finally turned the corner and she recognized his smile, the air rushed completely out of her lungs. An involuntary response. As each step brought him into sharper focus, she realized she was holding her breath. And more nervous.

He looked handsome though not exactly as her mind’s picture. And sweet. And nervous too.

“Can we hug?” she blurted out surprising even herself.

“Of course,” he said, his deep voice registering with her ears for the first time.

She draped her long arms loosely, at first, around his muscled shoulders. His strong hands crisscrossed firmly around her waist. They remained motionless (on the outside) for a very long time.

Collar to hip bones. Body heat co-mingling through their clothes.

Chests rising and falling in rhythm. Breathing in the essence of each other.

It was the kind of hug that made her forget, for a split second, they were “just friends” and in a public place and she needed to “appear” calm. 

And they stayed like that a little too long.

But there was no awkwardness.

And the touching seemed natural.

She felt his warm breath next to her ear whisper, “Let’s go do something fun.”

And she thought to herself, “As if there is something more fun than this.” 


This week, Trifecta’s one-word prompt (third definition) is:

1a : to be or come in sight <the sun appears on the horizon>
  b : to show up <appears promptly at eight each day>
2: to come formally before an authoritative body <must appear in court today>

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Yeah Write: Pinky Swearing a Pair of Shoes

I look down at them. These shoes. The ones I’ve spent the last month and a half breaking in for comfort. It’s been all fun and games so far. Some hiking, a lot of walking, and some errands thrown in just because they’re feeling good.

I’ve never spoken to them until today. It wasn’t until today that I became tentative. It wasn’t until today I needed reassurance. Does it matter that I was talking to a pair of hiking shoes? Not really.

“Can you support me on this journey?”

“We are helpful to anyone who wears us," in my mind, they say.

“Did I tell you yet how long we’ll be together?”

 “It doesn’t matter,” they answer.

“How do you feel about the unknown, walking for 500 miles, being my closest friends?"

"We're here for as many days as you tie these laces. Take care of us and we will take care of you,” they reply quietly.

“Are you as nervous as I am?”

“Not at all. Stop worrying. This is what we're made for,” in a comforting tone, they said.

"But am I?"

"We're doing it together, remember?"

Doubting, I went to the forums and message boards, to people I didn’t know, people with experience, and every single one answered, “The Camino will provide.”

“That advice is a little…ah, general! What do they know?”

“More than you. Do you have a purpose? Do you know why you are doing this?” my hiking shoes questioned.

“Yes. I think so. I think I know.”

“You have 35 days to figure that out. Your purpose. It may change; become clear. Don’t be hard on yourself," they replied.

“Pinky swear you’ll stick with me through all of this, through all of the unknown, for 500 miles?”

“Yes. Put one foot in front of the other each day. Look within yourself. Do your best. Remember your purpose. And we will finish this journey together,” they reassured.

“How did a pair of shoes get so wise?”

“We aren’t. It’s inside of you. It's where it's always been and where it will always be.”

“We” leave in a week and a half to walk the 500 mile pilgrimage called El Camino de Santiago de Compostela or The Walk of St. James. I’m nervous and excited and a million other things. And I have a purpose. It may be loosely defined but that’s okay for now. My hiking shoes told me I have a lot of time to figure it all out.


Hooking up for the last time until August with one of my favorite places on the web...Yeah Write!!! 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Stream of Consciousness Sunday: I Want the View!

I had no idea until five minutes ago that I would be participating in Jana’s Sunday Stream of Consciousness (five minutes of writing, unedited, published wherever the heck you want). And this is her optional prompt:

What have you fallen out of the habit of doing (or not doing)?

This is an easy one. Unfortunately.

I have fallen off the “writing” wagon.

It happened somewhere around February, I think. I have reasons. Several of them. Some will say one of them is lame. It probably is and I’m sorry about that but I can’t help it. 

I’m lacking motivation, maybe inspiration, possibly desire. Not sure yet.

I understand that writing takes practice and I’m out of practice and each day this continues my desire wanes. Almost to the point that I’m no longer caring.

Who am I kidding? Words have been elusive.

I am also trying to wean myself too. From the computer. From a chair in a study that faces in the complete opposite direction as a window with a lovely view.

I want the view!

I want to say “yes” every time someone I like asks me to spend time with them. I want to pick up every time my cell phone rings (okay, I will continue to screen my calls but I will be more available because only friends have that number) and talk to the person on the other end that was thinking of me enough to call. I want to call the person that I was just about to text (I’ve actually been doing this much more in the last few months.) I want to be present in moments without thinking first that those moments might make great stories to write about the following day.

Maybe I just don’t manage my time well enough but…

I want the view!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Trifextra: For the Love of Honey

Straddling his hips, she held the honey filled bear overhead laughing.

“You don’t have the nerve!” he challenged underneath.

Making a heart of golden drops, she slowly licked each one off his stomach.

This weekend’s Trifextra Challenge is exactly 33 words, 30 of our own and three of the following:

topple     paradigm     underneath     
nerve     honey     loop

Friday, May 10, 2013

Trifextra: Love at First Tear



Salty spills splash steadily


Flutter, thump-thump, kerplunk

Fallen fresh and fast


Binding closes on tear-warped pages.

Never sadder. Never happier.

More satisfied, more exhilarated, more awakened

Than before.


Inspired by The Perks of Being a Wallflower.


This weekend Trifecta's challenge is to give 33 words (exactly) that include among them at least one example of onomatopoeia.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Yeah Write: My Body Was a College Final

With her Cheshire cat smile already fixed and gray eyes sparkling in the way that always makes it hard for me to say “no”, my girlfriend announced,

“Finding a body for the semester final would sure score me some brownie points.”

Apparently, it’s tough competition for a spot in the Ultrasound program at our community college.

“Which body parts?” I asked anticipating the worst.

“Just your aorta, gallbladder and kidney.”

“That doesn’t sound awful. What is the proper attire for being the "final"?”

“Something comfortable. A shirt you can lift; pants you can roll down.”

I’m not modest and can generally pull off the whole confidence thing with a “Oh I’m not worried about it.” or “No problem, I’ll do it”. I never anticipated being as nervous as I was. And driving to the final I thought, “Why didn't you call on that poster at school all those years ago when the Art Department needed ‘models’?”

Arriving College of DuPage at 10:45 a.m., I was crabby (no coffee), hungry (never helps) and required to pass an organ scan by the instructors. They gave me the low down while applying cold goop to my midsection.

“Just lie there. Do what they say; they should know what to do.”

Honestly, I had butterflies but mine were no match for the apprehension with which these students approached me.

“Hi, my name is Autumn and I'll be your Ultrasound Tech today.”

Some seemed terrified, others were visibly shaking and not one exuded confidence. Their nervousness was palpable.

“Scan down the patient’s midsection transverse to the umbilicus and then to the patient’s right side. Lock on the kidney.”

And as one young man glided the probe down my middle, he headed to his right, not mine. I inconspicuously lifted my left hip rolling slightly to my right and cleared my throat. He quickly changed course. There was no way I was letting this poor, frightened boy fail if I had a say.

Some passed, others failed portions.

Some found my gallbladder (which is just below your ribcage on the right) while others locked on gas bubbles in my colon.

There were ten students in all. I knew their fate the moment they left the classroom. After cleaning off, I walked out into the hall and sensed true panic.

“We’ve got to get a “B” to be accepted.”

"I don't think I passed."

“If I don’t get into the program, I don’t know what I’ll do.”

I guess I hadn’t realized the direness of some situations. That this might be the end of the line; a true last chance before the reality of minimum wage set in. When a four-year college didn’t work out as planned, a single parent needed more than what a technical or beauty school education provided or two women (my age) needed careers later in life to support themselves.

These were real concerns, life issues, not who’d seen my belly, the bruises on my ribs from applying too much pressure or what I’d eat for lunch.

I remember the days when finals were over. It meant summertime, being carefree with “the world is my oyster” mentality.

This wasn’t that.

And I was extremely thankful I wasn’t in their shoes.


It's been far too long since I've hung out with my pals over at Yeah Write. You know, that thing called life beckoned. Click on the badge below and check out the awesome friends I have over there. Been missin' you all!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

SOCS: Dealing, My Way (With Anybody and Anything)

Wow! It’s been a long time. My fingers haven’t typed at this keyboard, sitting in my study, in weeks. I have no concrete reason or excuse except to admit I haven’t “felt” like it.

But it is Sunday and Sundays are my second favorite day of the week and in celebration of this fact and to put something down on paper before I bask in the very first day it has felt like Springtime in Chicago, Jana offered up a stream of consciousness (five minutes to type then immediately press “publish”) prompt of:

Dealing (with anything and anybody)

Oh BOY, has this changed over the years.

I remember being a young, gainfully employed adult, then young mother, and trying to control absolutely everything I came in contact with and I mean EVERYTHING. I thought if I did, I could determine (okay, force) a suitable outcome, which definitely translated into the one I wanted. It worked about 50% of the time (most likely with the same probability as accompanied by my extraordinary measures). The interesting thing about this approach is that I was almost always 100% stressed out. With worry. With pending disappointment.  With exhaustion.

A quick decision maker by nature, and very impulsive, I make mistakes continually throughout any given day. I am the first person to admit I’m incredibly and undeniably imperfect. I feel a certain amount weight lifted being able to acknowledge this.

But thinking about my approach to dealing this morning and being a gazillion years older than that young, naïve mother, I realize that control is almost one of the very last things I desire or need. In fact, I almost hate the feeling I get from forcing something. And who wants something you have to "force" anyway (and there is a difference between making something happen by working for it and using force to produce it especially against another's will, in my opinion).

I find much more peace from sleeping on things (decisions and issues!!!), reducing my expectations of others AND going easier on myself. I am the only person I can control. Maybe not my scattered thoughts so much but how I react or act on them.

I can’t control, nor would I want to, anyone else. Because I never want to make anyone do anything that they don’t want in their own heart.

Be YOU! Let me be ME! If we like each other, YEA!!!

It sounds so hands off but it makes it easier for me to close my eyes at night (who am I kidding; I never sleep anyway).