Monthly Archives: July 2013

The dawning of my new age…

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I have spent days in my head a prisoner of my own thoughts.

Spending days at that table trying to right the wrongs I had taught myself over the years.

As I have done this, the boxes have just started to disappear leaving me with clarity of thought.

It’s amazing how clear my head is after doing this.

But spending so much time lost in your own mind is never a good thing so I took my own good advice and yet again paused for rest.

This time at the top of a mountain.

Looking forward without the blinders on I can see the waste land of a world I had created for myself.

There is still much work to be done.

But I am proud of the work I have done looking back down at the road I have already traveled.

I have spent a lot of time coming to terms with the fact that being myself may hurt others but those that really care will love me that much more for it.

People who love you should not have to take down walls that other put up just to have part of your heart or a trunk in your mind.

All those unnecessary walls I put up have come down and even I can see it when I look into my heart.

The mirror holds no pain for me anymore because the person I see on the outside now matches what I see within.

A strong person who is worth it.

I have come to realize that my new-found strength is a reward in itself.

I feel like I can climb a hundred more mountains right now as I type this to you.

But I wont make that mistake as I have in the past.

Rushing into war only makes for a quick death.

What I will do is take my time adjusting to it all and focusing in on my goals one at a time.

After all, the devil is in the details.

Many boxes still remain in my head that cannot just be written off.

They will need to be sifted through one by one.

Note by note.

Photo by photo.

But first things first.

I must go find the girl and make peace with her first.

Keeping with my promise to her is key in making this work.

I cannot be whole if half of me is missing.

So for now I sit and prepare to face her knowing that I have the empty space in the rooms to show her I now understand.

Proud that I have cleaned up much of the mess I left for her and ready to prove that her strong words were not in vain.

Making me face the reality of myself alone was not a punishment.

It was the only way she could get me to see who I really was.

One good thing I have learned about myself in that time is that I am not a quitter and I do not walk away from a challenge.

But I cannot do it without her.

That is the next step.

Getting the girl to come back and see that my word is good.

…I cannot win this war alone.

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As I stand up from the table and take some time to look out the window I know that it is time to do what has to be done.

All I have to do is aim true and keep my head and heart clear.

I do not fear what is to come as I once did because I am stronger than ever.

The scars and pain may have changed what people see but only to make me a better person in the end.

You need to have a strong armor even in the smallest of battles.

Thanks to the girls harsh words, I now have it.

I take in the view from the window and know that through the change within me I have found my inner strength.

Today I realize that I truly am radioactive.

And as I prepare to head into the hall and up the attic stairs I know exactly what my battle plan is.

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And so a new trunk sits in wait part 3

I sit alone for a long time in that room filled with my forgotten dreams.

Leaning against the wall I spend a lot of time angry at myself for the mess.

Angry at myself for my ignorance.

Angry at myself for the lies and broken promises.

Those boxes where all lies I told myself….

All lies.

Every box.

…and this was just one room.

Hundreds more existed just outside the door to my left.

Now with the girl gone, I had no one to help me but myself.

I promised to help her…

I promised…

Another lie.

What a joke.

My promises were worth less than a pinch of dirt.

Looking up I took a good look at the room.

It was dark with no windows or color.

What the girl said about my promise to make more made so much sense.

No windows. No doors leading out…

My mind was closed off to the world.

And she was trapped in it.

I had made this hallway to hide all my hopes dreams and lies I told myself over time.

I realize as I sit there that the attic was supposed to be my safe haven.

A place to go deep inside when I needed rest.

But with time it became nothing more than just a dark scary place.

So I avoided it.

The real me was forgotten and neglected.

The girl had no place to go but the shadows.

I let out a sigh now understanding what the girl meant by leaving it all to her.

I am such a fool for being so blind.

So what do I do now?

Give up?

No.

…No more giving up.

No more boxes and no more broken promises to the girl.

I sit up and try to gain focus.

Where do I start and how do I get the girl to see I’ve realized the truth?

Fixated on this thought I look around for an answer.

Nothing comes to me.

Feeling an ache in my back I stand up and walk back over to the first box I opened.

I pull out the paper with the drawing from my shirt pocket.

My whole life, all I ever wanted to do is make people happy.

All I ever wanted is to make people feel love the way I wished I had.

All I ever wanted is to love and be loved…

I reach into a couple of boxes and read some of the slips of paper.

One box holds a slip that reads “I want to be a vet and save baby animals”

Another slip from another box reads “I want to own my own home with a doggie.”

The last slip I pull out says “I am going to save the world!”

A drawing of me in a wonder woman suit below makes me shake my head with a half-hearted giggle.

So many dreams but none of them realistic.

I wish I could just write off every box and start fresh.

Then it hits me.

I start to run up and down the hall opening door after door.

I enter each room searching for three things.

By the 10th door I find the first.

A table and a chair.

I take the white bandanna from my hair and tie it on the knob before I move to the next room to find the last two items.

I open dozens of doors till I finally find what I am looking for in a box labeled “My to do lists”.

A pen and a note-book.

I run back to the room with the table and chair and place the note-book and pen down.

This room, other than some old unused boxes is empty.

I take the boxes and throw them all against the wall before I dust off the table and chair and turn the table to face them.

Ready to do what I need to do I realize there is no light.

I walk away from the table and face the blank wall opposite the door and boxes.

I take a deep breath and close my eyes.

“I hope this works or I’m screwed” I say.

Screwed meaning I’ve gone crazy.

I squeeze my eyes tight and think of a huge bay window.

When I open them I am relived to find the window has appeared.

Nodding my head in approval I take a seat at the table and open the note-book.

I pause to pull the slip of paper from my pocket with the dream on it.

I place it in front of me when I can see it.

“Time to take out the trash in my mind and finish cleaning up this mess.”

I look up when I hear another clap of thunder.

Rain, writing and thunder…

Who could ask for a better scenario?

Placing the pen to paper I write out the first sentence.

“With hard work comes great reward.”

I re read it several times before I add “and out of selfish reasons I have always tried to take the easy way out.”

I look up to the pile of boxes and see they have disappeared.

Its working…

I refocus and write another sentence.

“I have given all my effort to others for the lie that one day I would be rewarded. In the end the real me was lost in memory…”

I take a deep breath before finding the courage to finish my thought.

” …and all people see on the outside is fake.”

Dropping the pen I start to cry because I know the only way to get rid of a lie in your head is to clean it with the truth.

Admitting something to yourself is never easy but having to face and change it is a whole other monster.

I am the monster.

It was time to start getting real and face the truth.

I pick up the pen and write another sentence.

As I do I say to myself “Here comes those mountains and it looks like I’m making the trip alone…”

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And so a new trunk sits in wait part 2

Thinking this would be the easier of tasks for me was a huge mistake.

Having to relive every heart-break and lie was twice as painful as the other boxes.

Not to mention facing all the hell I put myself through to prove my “love”, only to be made a fool of in the end.

My confidence is shot.

My heart hurts.

And worst of all the line between truth and lie is starting to blur.

Each man who has stepped in my life and told me a lie has made it that much harder for the next.

I was a prize to them at one point but as time went one I was became nothing more than a burden.

So they left me for others seeking greener grass.

Stupid me stayed on the other side of the mountains.

At first I was able to pick out good memories vs. The bad but now I find myself just dumping more boxes into the trash.

My logic, if they could just throw me to the trash then why can’t I do the same?

I just don’t have the strength in me to deal with the hurt anymore.

Looking to my side I can tell even the girl has lost heart.

As I sit and slowly pick through a box she stands up and starts to push the new trunk back into the corner.

“It was a stupid idea to think we really needed another trunk…” She says.

I don’t protests because looking at it is just a reminder that it is yet another mess to be cleaned.

As I reach for the last couple boxes she walks over and stops me.

Shaking her head she says “No. That’s enough.”

I purse my lips and nod once in agreement.

Yes. I’ve had enough too.

I am sick of talking about love.

I look up to the beautiful window trying to distract my mind.

I have become very fond of it taking time to admire it in between each box.

I decide that this is a good time to go take advantage of the bench below it and rest.

Taking a seat in the far right side of the bench I look up and wonder…

How did I make this without even knowing?

Running my fingers over the glass again, this thought consumes me.

Is it possible to harbor such beauty within ourselves and not even realize it exist?

Even worse, to have a good reason to board it up and hide it?

This thought makes me sad.

So much about this place I don’t understand.

So much about me that makes no sense.

The girl decides to join me on the bench.

In her typical fashion, she pulls her legs tight to her chest as she sits.

She has aged again I notice as the sound of thunder rumbles softly in the distance.

The girl reaches out to touch a pane of glass with a single drop of rain behind it.

“I remember when you made this.” She says.

I pause and wait to hear her tell me her thoughts.

hoping one will tell the story of the window.

Her next words do not disappoint…

“Back then you spent a lot of time here. You made such beautiful things. You told me that day that I needed more light up here. Before was a large impressive window to begin with. But you said it was not pretty enough. You grabbed my hands and told me to think really hard of a happy place. I remember squeezing my eyes so hard it made my head hurt. Then when I opened them this was here. The light from the sun hit it just right and all the little colors reflected on the floor and the boxes. It was magical” she says as she pauses briefly to look up to me.

“We danced in the light for hours. Then it got dark. When I asked about the boxes you just told me we would have time for them later. Then that voice yelled for you to go home.” Her voice narrows as she speaks.  

“You promised to return and help me sort the mess. You told me that tomorrow we would finish it and then build more windows… All I ever wanted was a door.”

The girl looked over to me and I choked down a tear. She was so sad sitting in the window. The reflection of the rain and color glass touched her face to clearly show she was crying.

“Every time you came back the mess got bigger. Every time you promised to return and help sort it out. Then more boxes came and the less you did. Eventually you stopped coming…”

The pain was excruciating. Watching her tell the tale of this window was breaking my heart. I leaned over to place my hand on hers to signal I was sorry.

She pulled away.

Trying hard to prove my word to her I said “I’m sorry I did that. But look around you. I’m here sorting and keeping my word. And look, we are almost done!”

I stand up and wave my arms around to show how the attic has been more than three-quarters of the way cleared.

I stand with my arms held up waiting for her to smile or indicate that she sees my devotion and effort.

I do not expect what happens next.

She stands up and I can see the anger grow in her face.

“Almost done? You think that this is all that is left to sort here?” 

She walks over to the small amount of boxes left and looks at them.

“This is just a very small amount of the mess you left for me. You have no idea the damage you have caused! You think these scars are for nothing?!”

I look at her totally confused and shell-shocked before I speak my mind.

“Damage? What do you mean damage? The attic is almost clear!” I say waving my hands around again in a sad attempt to get her to open her eyes to the empty room before us.

“You really don’t get it, do you?” She says with a look of disgust.

I look at her trying hard to understand what she is talking about till finally she snaps.

“FUCK THE ATTIC!”

She then starts waking to the attic door to make her exit.

Shocked at her used of words and a bit angry, I follow her to stop her.

“Wait one minute! I have busted my ass to clean this up for you and to make things right. For almost a whole week I’ve been doing nothing but! Now you want to tell me for my kindness to fuck it?!”

We stand-off at the door facing each other. Both angry and eager to have the other see our side.

More anger builds in her face as she speaks. “You really think this is all the mess that needs to be cleaned? Are you really that high on yourself that you THINK this is the only part of us that is a problem?”

I stand there silent wanting to answer her but so confused I can’t.

Finally, she grabs my arm and pulls me out the door and down the stairs.

Lost in the moment I allow her to take me where she wants to take me.

In all the times I entered the attic in my head I have always just appeared at the top landing of the stairs.

The bottom was always too dark for me to see.

I avoided it for fear it would be worse than the first sight of the attic.

As we enter the last part of the stair well the girl flips on a switch.

I can do nothing but stand with my jaw on the floor.

A long dark hallway of doors that seems to go on for days.

The girl walks over and opens the first two doors opposite of each other.

“You think the attic is all the mess you left me? Think again…” she says holding the knob to the door and waiting for me to look.

With no other options I step forward and look into the room to my left.

The room is fill with more boxes, crates and trunks.

Floor to ceiling.

I turn to the room across the way and find the same.

I then walk to the next set of doors and open them.

More boxes, crates and trunks.

I pause outside the doors and look down the hall in total horror when I realize the magnitude of the damage I had caused.

I look over to her as I lean my weak body against the wall.

“You spent so much time worried about everyone else in life. Always wanting to be loved that YOU left the rest to me! Every thought was dumped on me to clean and then you let the abuse get so bad I just could not do it anymore…”

Still standing tall the girl served me my last slice of humble pie.

“You say you love people. All you ever did was just take on their mess in an attempt to buy their love and left ME to die in it.”

Taking the breath from my body, she turns and walks away. Leaving me to face the reality that the massive job in the attic was nothing compared to the damage done to the rest of my body mind and soul.

No wonder the girl took so long to come out of that corner.

I made her promise after promise only to let her down.

Always so worried of breaking a word to others, I never kept mine to myself.

No wonder I forgot how to love myself.

How do you love such a selfish person?

…and to think I was scared of her…

I was, in fact her monster.

I take a second before I finally re-enter the one room.

Not really sure what to do I figure the best thing now was just to see what I was up against.

I walk over to a box labeled “My dreams”.

I pull out a slip of paper from the box written in crayon.

It reads “I wanna be a writer when I grow up”

Below the words is a hand drawn picture of me and the girl holding books and writing in them.

I look at the names on each box.

Every one in the room is labeled “My dreams”.

I lean against the wall still holding the paper in my hand.

I put it in my shirt pocket and then put my head in my hands.

I thought my time here was almost complete.

I thought I was doing what needed to be done.

Now the task at hand seems impossible.

How I view the people in my life was just the start.

I never paid mind to the fact that more than people are in my mind.

Over whelmed and horrifies I pull my hands up to grab my hair on either side of my head.

I whisper “What have I done?”

And then I finally say what I know is the answer out loud to myself…

“My mind is a total mess and its all my fault.”

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And so a new trunk sits in wait….

I slowly open my eyes and see nothing but the old tipped trunk before me.

It takes a couple of moments to gain focus and figure out where I am.

These days, I am having trouble figuring out what is reality and what is dream.

After a couple blinks I realize I am back in the Attic.

I reach my arms up way above my head and let out a long overdue yawn.

As I stretch my body I take stock in how I am feeling.

After I go down my check list I am pleased to say I feel very refreshed and ready to take on the next stage of cleaning.

…What ever that may be.

This thought reminds me that there is much work to be done and not time for sitting around.

I place my hands on either arm of the chair to pull myself up and remember how I thought it was a hunk of junk.

I am glad I gave it a chance anyway.

So soft and inviting.

It is a great evidence to the whole never judge a book by its cover argument.

As I let out another long yawn I remember the photos on the ground.

I take a second to see if the girl is close by before I make my move.

I do not hear a single sound.

Thinking I am safe, I slide to the edge of the chair.

As I start to slowly reach out for a photo I pause one last time before I lean forward.

Coast is clear…

I reach out just a bit further.

So close.

As my fingers touch the photo I hear a loud noise to my right that makes me jump.

Taking a second to listen for her distance, I decide I have come this far and go for it.

I reach down and manage to pick up one photo.

Holding it at eye level, I stop my breathing.

Clear as day, it is a photo of my face.

My skin pale, my eyes blood-shot and empty.

I can tell I am facing a mirror.

My eye swollen and bruised.

Blood drips from my nose.

….I remember when this happened…

I start to remember that moment.

At that time, I was nothing but a shell of a person.

It was in second that I had given up.

I was ready to end it all.

…That was the first night I saw the girl.

I jump again when the figure of the girl appears in the near distance.

Quickly, she reaches down and scrambles to pick up all the photos.

Making sure to rip the one out of my hand as she goes.

“You don’t need to see those now.” She says with a look of a parent who has just caught their kid smoking.

Angry that I am being denied access to my own thoughts I protest.

“But those are my pictures too! I have every…”

YOUR NOT READY!” The girl screams.

I fall back into the chair, winded by her actions. 

She has never been so forceful or angry.

The trauma of remembering that day was hell enough…

My emotions get the better of me.

I start to feel the tears fill my eyes as my lip starts to quiver.

I fall back into the chair and begin to cry with my head in my hands.

Snapping out of her mood, the girl places the photos on top of the trunk and races to my side.

“I’m sorry. I’m so so sorry. Please, just trust me. Your not ready for the trunk or those boxes yet.” The girl says as she points to the two unnamed boxes to my left with her thumb.

She holds me close and brushes back my hair.

After a couple of seconds she pushes my shoulders back to see my face.

“You are just not ready. WE are just not ready.” She says now holding my face in her hands.

Startled but seeing her true apologetic stare I try to give her a half-smile.

Sensing my acceptance she continues.

“Your going to have to trust me a bit on this. Baby steps, ok?”

I look hard into her eyes and seek a way to confirm her words.

A habit I use in real life, it is the only time I am able to make eye contact with people…

I sniffle and give her another half-smile. She then smiles back as she gives me a huge hug.

I lean into her shoulder and take a deep breath as I close my eyes.

When I open my eyes next, I look up and notice the light in the room has grown brighter.

The dark corner is not so dark anymore.

The small window in the corner is not big enough to let off so much light.

Noticing my change of thought, the girl takes this opportunity to stand up and steps out of the corner.

“I took down some of the boards on the other window. It will make it easier to see what we are doing.”

“Other window?” I say inquisitively.

The girl steps out to the middle of the attic and points to her left.

I get up and walk out into the attic. As I step into the middle of it I look to my right and see a huge ornate stained glass window.

I look long and hard at the intricate details with aw.

Before it was just a wall of boards.

Now its a huge floor to ceiling window with a small day bench at the bottom.

Its beauty quickly takes my mind off of the photo and all that has happened.

It’s a scene of a woman sitting on a rock over looking a mountain lake. The vibrant colors show the time to be about sunrise.

How could something so beautiful exist in my mind yet I had no clue?

I am taken back by the sheer details as well as the fact that every bit of it sparkles in the light.

It almost seems unreal.

I walk slowly over to it and reach up to touch the glass to prove its realness.

With great care I place a single finger on it and run it across the glass and silver plated soder.

Who ever made this took great care in doing it.

Who ever it was, must have cared a lot about the girl to give her such a beautiful gift.

“Who made this for you?” I ask still running my fingers over the glass.

After a couple of seconds she speaks up…

“You did.”

About to ask her how that is possible she finishes her thought.

“You made this when you were very young. One day you will remember.” She finishes saying as I notice something written on one of the glass plates at the bottom.

Again the girl appears next to me admiring the work of art before us.

She holds up her hand and runs it over the lettering written in a different language.

Her hand falls to her side as she begins to speak.

Il n’y a qu’un bonheur dans la vie, c’est d’aimer et d’être aimé.

I look at her shocked with how well she could read the words.

“It says that there is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved”

She looks at me with a smile as I turn to face her.

To me, no truer words could be spoken.

The girl lets out a deep sigh as she walks away leaving me to think about those words and the window.

I hear the noise of boxes being moved behind me that breaks me from my trance moments later.

I see the girl holding one box.

Newer, it reads the name of someone I have known for a short time.

“Reading that gave me an idea. I think its time we start going through these.”

I lift the flap again to confirm its name.

I then nod my head with a sigh.

“To love and be loved.” I say thinking about that person in particular.

We walk over to the sorting table. The girl places the box down and walks over to a small brand new trunk.

I watch her with great interest as she pushes the trunk closer to the table.

It is absolutely brand new. No name and it is still in raw wood form without a drop of stain on it.

As she gives it one last shove she dust off her hands.

She then turns around and starts searching for another box. When she finds it, she places it next to the first one on the table.

I read the name quickly and see it is the name of one of my ex boyfriends.

“I think we need to consolidate some of the boxes by topic, don’t you?” She says pulling an old shirt from the one box and a bottle of water from the other.

Being as how this has been the topic of discussion for me lately, I am less than surprised that she chose now to do this.

I take another quick check of my body and mind before I decide that it is time to get back to work.

“Welp, you know what they say. No better time than now, right?” I say pulling out an action figure from one box and a deck of cards from another.

We both laugh as I throw the objects back into their boxes.

We begin the sort and this song starts to play in the background.

“…I thought that you’d be here by now…” I sing as the girl grabs yet another box to sort.

“To love and be loved…” I say jokingly.

She giggles and then reaches out to grab my hand.

“Yes but only by those that deserve it. Lets get rid of the ones that never did and make room for someone who will.”

Taking in a deep breath I am ready.

Now that I have found love for myself and others it only feels right that I am ready to share it.

That unfinished trunk will be theirs and I have learned that not just anyone can take up space in my head.

To get a box you must be something special.

To get a trunk you must give me as much love as I give you.

And now…

I am ready to make a special space for them.

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Facing the Mountains we pause for rest.

 

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As worn out as I felt when I finally woke up today I am glad to say it was not enough to make me want to quit.

I feel strangely refreshed and renewed.

Yes I am drained in every sense of the word but when you finally start to clean up the messes in your mind, you just don’t want to stop.

Climbing one hill cannot stop me from heading to the mountains in the distance.

Not even for a second.

The dramas from the past week were hard on me and I know that they still have to be dealt with.

But I do not regret a bit of my suffering for them.

Why?

Because they helped me to grow a bond with the girl.

They helped me to love myself that much more.

The reminded me that the love I give should ALWAYS be equal to the love I get.

Taking time for me and putting everyone on hold was one of the best things I could have done for myself.

Silence was the perfect answer.

It helped me to gain clarity and understanding of what was really going on.

Why what I had been doing in the past never worked.

And most importantly, how to over come all the fears I have had in my head.

Very real fears that at one point in my life almost put me under.

But now after I started the sorting process I am stronger than ever in my belief that with hard work comes great rewards.

The surprise lesson in all this is how much deeper I have learned to love those around me that do care and what it feels like to be loved back.

Their boxes will turn into beautiful trunks at some point.

A simple squeeze on the shoulders from the girl reminded me how my Dad tickling the back of my neck as he passed by was all the “I love you” I ever needed.

The man never said those three words to me.

Not once.

But I know that he loved me more than the moon and stars.

He proved it by fighting for his life though his illness….

Just so he could watch both my children grow.

He could have given up many times and he deserved it for all his pain.

But for the love he had for us, to fight or not was not even a question.

His final show of affection was a gift of his last breath…

I only hope my death can be so noble when the time comes.

I loved my Dad very much and was proud to say that he was my Dad.

But now with my new views of love, I realize just how blessed I really was to have a Dad like him.

 

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This journey has shown me not only how to show real love to people but to accept nothing but.

I wonder. If I have already learned so much from the first step, imagine what I will gain from the rest?

I guess with time I will find out.

But not today.

Today is a day for rest and reflection.

Today, I am spending my day counting my blessings and taking a break from the massive job left in the attic.

For now, in my dreams I rest peacefully on that comfortable chair in the dark corner.

My mind is at ease knowing the girl is there watching over me till I am ready to continue with the sorting.

I thought my journey had begun many months ago but I now realize that is not the case.

When I placed that picture on the wall and realized that the girl and me should work as a team and not divided…

That is when the real journey started.

moutain

Dear readers, this is only the beginning.

The worst is yet to come.

Many roads and mountains are a head of me.

But along the way we will see beauty and proof that with love, all things are possible.

And it all starts with love from inside yourself first.

That is what powered the first steps of this great journey.

I hope you stick around for it and like so many who have already paid me kind words of hope and encouragement, I hope that you too will find what ever it is that makes you happy.

But most of all, I hope you find the love hidden within you for yourself.

Even if you have to climb many mountains to find it.

 

 

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A vision of redemption- Part 2

…I have been looking though all these boxes and at this point I am shocked at how much I have held onto over the span of my life.

Some boxes are big with only a dozen or so photos or notes in them.

They are taking up too much space. 

I even found a big box with my High school math teachers name on it with only ten things inside. Two of which are a slip of blank paper and a un sharpened pencil.

Shaking my head, I gladly throw it into the now over flowing trash can. 

Little things like that just seem irrelevant and I just do not have the mental capacity to deal with them anymore.

As I have started the task of this massive clean up I found that it was best to only go through a couple painful boxes at a time. 

After going though the first one or two major boxes, my nerves were shot.

With that in mind, I have filled my time with the lesser known boxes and ones I know really have no reason to even be here. 

Not only has this helped to make space but also given my poor mind a break from having to cope with every picture and note I see.

Looking back up to the photo on the wall reminds me that baby steps are best.

This whole time I bet I have spoken less that five words to the girl. She has not said a word since she gave me her two cents yesterday.

“…They are lucky to even have a place with us…”

She was right. This is my life. My memories.

Anyone that can be part of it should have to earn their place. Not the other way around.

but still, the task is daunting but her occasional glances to check in on me with a smile make the silence bearable.

As I finish sifting through a box with one of my old Co-workers names on it I take a second to brush the hair from my face with the back of my hand. 

I let out a deep long forced breath that only brings the hair back down to the front of my face.

Funny how this little problem reminds me that you can’t fix something the same way and expect it not to break.  But with no energy to find another way, I reach for the back of my hair and open the clasp. Allowing my hair to fall to my shoulders, I prepare to put it back up.

As I look up, I take a second to admire how young and beautiful the girl is. 

As I do, another thought comes to me.

I looked that way once. Minus the scars and bruises.  

Long beautiful hair.

Soft undamaged skin.

Perfectly normal body for her age…

…Her age. 

What is her age?

That is when it occurs to me that she has grown in the short time since I first came face to face with her only a couple years ago.

At the time I first met her, she was barely 6 years old child.

Now, she could easily pass for a pre teen.

I wonder how that could be?

I also notice that some of the scars have faded and her skin shows some color.

Now that I come to think of it, this was not the same girl who I ran from so many years ago.

She had changed. 

Grown older even.

At that point she must have felt my inquisitive gaze. She turned around, a box still in hand and gives me a questioning look.

I smile and let out a small giggle out of embarrassment. 

As I do, the hair falls back into my face.

I blow on it hard to try to get it to go away but it just comes right back.

Noticing my dilemma, she puts down the box and walks over to me.

As she does she pulls a white bandanna from her dress pocket.

Standing behind me she combed my hair back with her fingers before she placed the bandanna on my head and ties it in the back.

My hair is now free from my face and out-of-the-way.

Problem solved.

“See? All better.”

She placed her hands on either of my shoulders and gives them a quick squeeze.

Just as I had done to her before.

By doing this, I can tell she found me doing it to be comforting.

Just further proof that love is not just a word, it’s an action.

I reached up and placed my one hand on top of hers to return the jester.

“Thank you.” 

She gives my shoulders another squeeze as she stands up.

“I think you have had enough. You have been going at this for almost two full days without rest. How about a break?” She says to me as she walks back to what she was working on.

I looked over at the clock and realized she was right. I had worked through the night and it was already 9am!

I had not stopped doing this for over 48 hours!

Strange thing was, I did not feel tired. As a matter of fact I felt like I had many more hours left in me to go.

Then again, my body felt numb and my mind was kind of stuck on auto pilot but I did not notice the signs of fatigue that she mentioned.

Or did I?

I started to go down a small check list of body and mind to see if I really was ok.

Lost in this thought, I did not even realize she had walked over to kneel down in front of me.

When I finally refocused my attention and noticed she was there, I did not even remember what she had asked to begin with.

“Hey? Are you ok? You look pale?”

Feeling numb only seconds before I suddenly noticed that I did feel a bit weak after all. 

Not wanting to alarm her for no reason I moved the box off my lap and started to get up quick to prove my point.  I had a lot of work to do and no time to rest.

As I stood up, I started to feel very dizzy and almost fell back down.

It was like when I stood up, all the energy left in me just drained out to the floor.

As I tipped to the side, the girl quickly grabbed my forearm and back to steady me.

She had become just as much my caregiver as I was hers.

I tried hard to make it look like it was no big deal but I could tell she was not having it before she even spoke. 

“I think that is enough. You need your sleep. You don’t look well at all.”

I wanted to argue with her but at that point I had nothing left in me to argue my case.

I was tired and sore.

Mentally, physically and emotionally. I needed rest.

Looking down at my arm as we walked I could see my skin was indeed pale and my arms riddled with what could have been small bruises or dust. 

Not being able to focus my vision, I just assumed it was dust and let it go. No point if they did not hurt..

As we started to walk I wondered where she was going to take me.

I stopped when I realized that there was no place here for me to rest.

Where was she going to take me?

She looked up at me with a reassuring smile and tugged gently on my arm to move forward. She knew my every thought. And I did not have to say a word.

I trusted her and I allowed her to lead me over to the dark corner she called home.

I had never actually entered this corner, so a small fear grew inside as we made our way around what seemed like hundreds of boxes.  

I could barely stand, how would I find the energy to deal with this now?

Guess I was about to find out.

Once we came close enough to it I noticed that the wooden trunk that was tipped on it side was open but empty. 

It looked to have been left out in the weather for a hundred years or so. Even the latches on it had rotted and I would almost bet they could not close even with force.

Next to it sat two wooden boxes. Brand new and filled they sat just to the right of the open trunk. 

No name on any of them.

The small space in between them is where I found the silhouette of the girl so many years ago. 

But how was going into this corner that once scared the hell out of me going to help me rest?

As we walked between the trunk and two boxes and I gained focus, I noticed in the corner was a small living room chair. 

I was shocked to see how far back the corner really went.

And on top of that, fit a whole chair in it?

The whole thing puzzled me.

The chair was not huge and was placed as far back as it could go. 

I still found it amusing that a innocent chair was all that was back here.

I don’t know what I expected but this was not it.

As my eyes grew more acclimated to the dark I looked long and hard at it before sitting.

Worn out, torn and old it looked dreadfully uncomfortable. However as I finally lowered myself into it, I found it to be just the opposite.

Soft, warm, inviting. Almost like it was giving me a big hug. 

It was a welcoming feeling to my sore achy body.

“I am going to go take out the trash. You get some rest. We can work on all this when you wake up.” She says, waving her hands around to point out the huge mess before us.

As she starts to step away I noticed just down by her feet some photos and notes coming from out of the open trunk before me. 

I give her a quick smile and wait for her to walk away before I made an attempt to look at them.

It was, after all her corner. I felt like I was kind of invading her privacy. 

Then again, it was my stuff too.

Convincing myself that I had the right to look, I leaned forward after I know she is gone.

 I struggled to let my eyes adjust to the lack of light in the room but without enough energy to reach out for them, all I could make out was a couple of photos with my face on them. 

Too far away and too weak, I give up.

I lay my head on a throw pillow laying next to me and close my eyes. 

I can always do it later when I wake up.

For now I just want to clear my head and go to sleep.

As I try to do this, a funny thought comes to mind.

I worked so hard to pull her out of this corner….

Now here I am in the corner and she is out there?

How the hell did this happen?….

I smile to myself.

My first real smile in days.

It feels good.

I repeated this thought in my head several times before the chair does its job.

Last thing I remember is the thought about the girl and me trading places and a mental note to check out the photos on the floor….

Then  I was fast asleep.

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A vision of redemption

Sitting alone proved to be a lot harder than I thought.  Seeking clarity I went to the only place I knew was quiet.

The Attic.

Walking up to the door I had my second thoughts. I mean, my mission was to pull her out of here. What message would it convey if now I was coming up to join her?  

Already standing at the door I let out a deep sigh and faced the fact that I had no other options. I was lost and alone. Taking on this promise to the girl would have to wait till I could make sense of all this myself.

I knew she would not understand but right now I was the one in need of help.

Cruel as it may sound, I did not really care if she needed me or not today. 

I needed to take care of me right now. 

Once I accepted my choice I bowed my head and then turned the knob. 

As the door slowly creaked open I prepared myself for the emptiness of space that I knew waited for me.  The attic was a hard place to be. So empty and dark.

Normally I dreaded entering it but today I strangely looked forward to spending time in a place with nothing really good to look at.

Less clutter means more time to focus on the things in mind.

As I fully opened the door I could hardly believe my eyes when before me I found total madness. 

Everyplace I looked I saw boxes, crates and trunks open and tipped over.

Photos and slips of paper lined the floor everyplace I looked. 

And amongst it all that was the girl, racing around sorting and dumping box after box.

I stood there for a long time before I stepped forward. Mainly because I was in such shock.

I expected to find her in the corner crying and avoiding the world. Not up and making a mess.  

Plus after only seeing a trunk and two boxes in the corner before I could not help but wonder where all the other boxes came from.

This was complete madness!

I could have walked out but out of curiosity I stepped forward to take a closer look.

Each box crate or trunk had a name on it. Some boxes looked over used and ready to give way. Some looked as though they had never been open. 

The nicer crates also had names on them but they too had looks of being old, half empty and under used.

The trunks were beautiful works of art. Hand carved with name plates and gold latches. 

I was glad to see two of the nicer trunks had my kids names on them.

As my eyes scanned the room I stepped forward to the first box tipped over on the ground and started to lift one flap to read the name. It was one of the people I was really struggling with in my head. I pursed my lips and as I reached for the pile of photos that had dumped out of the box.

That is when the girl noticed my presence. 

She stopped what she was doing and walked over to crouch down beside me. Looking up at me I could see the frantic and worried look on her face.  Her chest heaved from almost being out of breath and now waited to see what I was going to do or say.

As I started to pick up the pile she shook her head really hard in protest.

I was worried this would happen. As I said, I was in no condition to take care of her right now. 

Refusing to put the pictures down the girl Reached out to take the pile from my hand. With every bit of empathy I could muster I placed my free hand on hers and gave her a smile to indicate it was ok.

She tried to return the smile as she lowered herself to her knees. I was surprised she did not put up more of a fight but glad just the same.

I took a deep breath and started to pan through the photos and notes.

At first, none of them made sense.  Just pictures of rooms, items and faces of that person in mid speak. The notes and slips of paper had short quotes and words.

Some papers appeared to be fresh and new. Some weather worn and old. The photos had similar looks.

You could tell that many of them had been looked at over and over.

I look up at the girl briefly with this idea in my head. I could almost hear her confirm this was the case. Uncomfortable and not sure what to say, I go back to flipping through the pile in my hand.

The further I investigated the more the photos and notes started to make more sense.

I’ve seen this all before. I remember that time with them at my house. And the note that has the word “texting” on it, I get that too.

That is when I realized that each box contained the memories of each person it was assigned.  Each photo was a snap shot of a time with them.  Each note was something they said that I had carried in my memory since it left their lips.

As I continued to panned through the pictures and notes my heart began to sink.

With each picture and note I began to realize that this person had been a major source of pain for me. 

…out of all those memories of that person, I cannot find even one that stands for anything good.

Snap shots of happy times that I know led to nothing but lies. 

The slips of paper held empty promises and words that I kept because I thought they were being sincere. 

Truth is, they were all just lies to get something out of me.

Not a single picture in focus. Not a single note with a full statement.

How could this be? Such waisted space!

At that point, I too fell to the ground and the tears stared to roll down my face.

I started racing through each photo and note looking for just one time that this person was real with me.

Just one time that they were a true friend to me.

Just one time that this person, who I said just the other day I started to trust was worth anything to me at all.

Just one note or picture that stood as a symbol of something.

reaching a breaking point I finally came to one note and lost it.

All it said was “I’m not like that. I would never do that to you….”

The hurt turned into a dark anger inside me and my mind went blank.

I stood up and as I did I picked up the box and threw it across the room with a loud scream.

It felt good so I went on to the next one. 

The name on it also someone I recently had in question.

I picked up that box too and started to rip through it.

Not a single note or photo held a drop of concern for me or my welfare. In fact, every photo and note clearly showed that all I was to them was a fool who did their evil bidding.

Throwing that box to the side I picked up yet another box and after only seconds ended up throwing it hard against the wall. As it hit I could hear other boxes falling and dumping. 

The whole time, the girl standing next to me with a shocked look on her face. 

I never wanted to show her this side of me but I was mad. 

I was hurt.

I was sad.

My heart was being ripped out of my chest with the lies I had told myself about all those people. 

My life was nothing but a lie.

Box after box, the same thing.. Just empty promises.

Empty words.

Emptiness filled with lies I had told myself to justify each and every one.

Finally as I picked up one more box, ready to toss it out the only window in the room the girl reached over and wrapped her arms around me.

Shaking her head no and softly whispering those words as she did.

I froze. 

Feeling her little frail arms wrapped so tight and her body shake next to mine brought me to my senses.

But she had never done this before. 

The heart ach was now only doubled by the idea that I had just acted this way in front of her.

None of this made sense and now I felt like I let her down to boot.

Confused and weak I dropped the box to the side and fell to the ground.

As I did I began to sob with my head in my hands.

Ashamed of my actions I just kept saying sorry over and over.

She held me for a couple of seconds before she finally pulled my hands away from my face.

I was eye to eye with her.

There she was and for the first time I saw a love and care in her that I had never seen. 

gently she brushed my hair from my face and with her wrist wiped away the tears from my cheeks.

Then she just sat there and waited while I calmed down.

Once I had she stood up and pulled on my arm to do the same. Then she walked me over to the first box I had tossed and picked it up.

She then placed it on top of a small table and dumped out the contents. 

Just the view of those pictures started to make my blood boil so I began to walk away.

She leaned over and stopped me.

This time her look changed to one of determination.

There we stood face to face on either side of the table. I started to open my mouth in protest and she quickly put her finger to her lips in a shhhh motion.

I did as she asked.

Then she pointed slowly down to the table with the same finger to indicate to watch what she was about to do.

I nodded slowly to let her know I was at full attention.

She leaned down and picked up two boxes. The one was the old now empty one she had just dumped. The other was much smaller and brand new.

She placed them down on the table and then started to sort through each and every picture and note. As she went Some went into a pile on the right. Some on the left. 

The left pile was much larger than the one on the right.

As she went I could tell the pile on the left was memories of either insignificant, pain or just straight out lie.

The ones on the right hand happier memories and some very big ones that even I could never forget.

After picking up the last slip of paper and placing it in the left pile she then looked up at me. 

“We can take all this and put it back into one box or we can start a new one with only the memories we need to keep.”

I had never heard her voice so clear. I was stunned and confused at the same time. 

My feelings must have shown on my face so she rephrased it but this time with more definition.

“This pile here is nothing but clutter. It’s all built up memories in our head because they gave us nothing of substance to hold on to. We created a person that does not really exist. So let’s get rid of that person, keep what we do know of them in a smaller box and then move on with life.”

She reached down and picked up one photo of a hair clasp sitting in a hall way in front of a black rose.

I knew just what it meant. My heart hurt so bad to look at it.

“This is not how we should be treated and you know it. If they were who they said they were, this pic should never have existed. They are lucky to even have a place with us as it is.”

My lips started to quiver but I knew she was right. I looked back and forth at both piles before me. I took the photo from her hand and looked at it long and hard.

This is not how we should be treated. 

I made this person out to be something good when all I was to them was a joke.

I placed that picture in my shirt pocket and then made one of the hardest choices I have made yet.

I grabbed the old empty box and with one arm swiped all the pictures and notes into one box.

The girl looked at me with anger and as she reached out in protest I stopped her by placing one finger on my lips to say shhhh.

I then walked over to the garbage can in the corner and dropped the whole box in.

I then turned to the wall and took a tac and placed the one picture on it. 

As I did I said to her “Its time to move on. We have a lot of cleaning to do.”

With that, I pinned my hair up and rolled up my sleeves. 

I placed my hand briefly on her shoulder and gave it a loving squeeze.

The attic was trashed and it was going to take some time to make sense of the mess.

Figuring out who I wanted to keep in my life and who was never really in it was going to be a painful task. 

That picture on the wall was to serve as a reminder that not everyone deserves space deep in your mind and heart. 

Even the girl knew that.

Just wish I had listened to her long ago.

I was so worried about helping her that I never thought to seek her own good advice.

Silence has proven to be more helpful than I thought.

Now as I clean I just wonder when I stopped saving her and she started to save me.

I look up from a box to see her smile at me while she pushes the broom. 

As we do this song plays in the background.

There is a lot of work to be done. 

Many more tears to be had.

But in the end, everything is going to be alright.

 

 

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