Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Tainted Roses

Chapter 3
After deciding that enough of her closet was thoroughly went through, Amber realized that she had 15 minutes before she had to leave and meet Patrick.  Amber frantically hurried around her apartment as she attempted to get ready to meet him by seven at the restaurant.  She decided to dress in one of her favorite outfits.  A pair of gray corduroy pants that sat perfectly on her hips and a matching orange-toned sheer top covering a stark white camisole.  Her hair was put into a large clip and fell ever-so-slightly across her tan face, accentuated solely by some eye-shadow and shimmering lip gloss.  She slipped on her sporty clogs, the rave of the season, grabbed her purse and set off to the Marta station.  Marta was easier to take considering that her apartment was a three-minute walk from the station, and the train dropped her off right next to Perimeter mall.  She had also always loved the people that relied on the transportation; full of intrigue and mystery, each person held their own story.  She had often wondered some of the situational happenings that brought them into her life.  The reason may have been unknown, but the fact that there was a reason and purpose behind everything always made her smile and remember God’s unique work in everything around her.  She loved discovering it bit-by-bit each day.  As the Marta station came to a stop, she quickly exited and walked towards the Cheesecake Factory, where she would meet Patrick.
        She wasn’t surprised to see him standing there, looking all professional and punctual.  As she walked up, she could see the smile curving on his face and the slightly revealed bouquet hidden behind his back.
        “Hello darling, happy birthday.” he cheerfully greeted as he handed her the bouquet.  She brought the flowers close to her nose so she could take in the wondrous fragrance.  Composed of daisies, lilies, baby roses, and green foliage, the bouquet was exquisite.  She tried to ignore the feeling that had wretched her stomach earlier when she had found the undesirable memento.
        “Oh, by the way, did you get the flower I sent you earlier?”
        “I sent you a single yellow rose with a note saying “I Miss You.”  Did you not get it?  I gave the florist very explicit instructions.”
        She couldn’t move.  It was Patrick that had sent her that?  So many questions raced through her mind.  Why did he pick a yellow rose?  Why did he send her something this morning and say he missed her when she saw him yesterday and he knew she was meeting him today?  Where was Jeremy’s flower?  Had he stopped reminding her? Why?
        “Honey? Are you okay?”
        “Yeah, I just remembered something.  Don’t worry about it.”  She had to figure out what had just happened, and she didn’t want to bring up Jeremy yet.  He didn’t need to worry about her; he had enough cases of his own to worry about.
        The meal went smoothly enough. Amber tried her best to forget about what had happened and instead tried to focus on the future.  They talked about the weather, her organizing intrigues, his work schedule, and any other comments that slipped into their thoughts.  When the meal was over, Patrick walked Amber to the Marta entrance and gave her a long kiss and a soothing hug.  The sky was turning a dark purple-blue as their departing words were said.  She felt as if she had a thousand pounds of baggage on her head, and she wasn’t sure yet how she would manage it.  She paid the fare and walked the stairs to the loading dock.  The station was practically empty.  While she was waiting, she took notice of the ads that surrounded the platform.  One such ad caught her attention.  It was a picture of a bountiful bouquet of roses and a stunning diamond ring underneath.  The caption read, “Surprise her with a gift that she won’t want to hide in a drawer any longer.”  The ad for the jewelry restorer seemed to be speaking about her, as if it were a message to someone who would be on the train.  She considered the ad for a moment and then sent it to the back of her mind along with all of the other dealings that had happened that evening.  The trip took about ten minutes to get back to her station, and even though she had no idea about what to think about tonight, she got off and made the trek back to her apartment.  Her mind drifted in and out of reality as each step brought her closer to her home.  City streets are different at night.  The shadows are larger, the sounds are more accentuated, and the people are sparser.  It reminded Amber of one of those horror-slasher films where rounding the next corner would reveal an outrageously masked man carrying a huge dagger, but no, as she rounded the corner, she only found silent cars and a slight fog rising off the sleepy winter avenue.
        As the elevator doors opened and revealed her floor, she couldn’t help but notice the vase of a dozen yellow roses parked in front of her door.  She rushed over to them, her fear motivating her to discover what it was quickly, and immediately grabbed the card from the bunch.  Reading the card, she fell back against the neighboring wall.  This message hurt the most, out of all of the others sent so far.  “Hopefully, I’ve surprised you with a gift that you won’t want to hide in your drawer any more.  Aren’t ads amazing?  You can say one sentence and tell the whole world what you’re thinking, when, in actuality, you are only talking to one person.  I’m glad it finally found you.  You looked lovely tonight, by the way.  See you soon. Love.”

        Tears rolled down her face and she gasped for air as she turned her head up and down the hall to confirm her aloneness.  She could feel him.  It was as if, he knew what she was going to do even before she did it.  An overwhelmingly uneasy sense of discomfort came over her and she opened her door and clamored inside just as the elevator binged onto her floor.  She quickly closed the door and left enough room for her eyes to see who was coming into her territory.  Seeing that it was a man, she closed the door, locked the deadbolts and fell against the corner wall as whimpers of fear broke into the hysterical sobs already upon her.  The steps came closer and closer until finally they passed her door and continued down the hall.  She heard a knock, a murmured cheerful greeting, and then the returning silence as the stranger was welcomed in out of the hall.  It wasn’t for her.  She took a deep breath and wiped her eyes with the sleeve of her shirt.  She then picked up the card and the vase of flowers and set them on her kitchen counter.  She couldn’t deal with it right now. She was so exhausted that she went to her room and fell onto her bed and cried herself to sleep as her thoughts began to haunt her dreams.


True story. I've been "writing a book" for over a decade now.
The last edit was from Nov. 5th, 2006.
I've got a long way to go and even more editing and re-writing to do.

Sixth Avenue Heartache

Way back when, a friend told me that he always associated "Sixth Avenue Heartache" by the Wallflowers with me, but he couldn't tell me why. This was probably 12 years ago?
Ever since then, I would listen to the song, but my mind would mentally block me from hearing the lyrics. I'm not even kidding. It has been years upon years and I have had yet to really listen to the lyrics and figure out why there would be an association. The song would bring up memories and thougths of him, and instead of dissecting the words, I'd get to the end of the song and realize that I hadn't heard a thing.

Well today, on the way in to work, I finally made it to the "numbers" section of songs on my Ipod (thanks to my top 50 project) and this song started playing.
Sixth Avenue Heartache.
And low and behold, I was able to hear it.
The lyric that I can finally pull from it. 

I got my fingers crossed
on a shooting star
Just like me
Just moved on on on

And the same black line that was drawn on you
Was drawn on me
And now it's drawn me in
6th Avenue Heartache

I feel like I've had an epiphany.
And a semblance of closure that I had given up searching for a long time ago. 

Watch the video here.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Haunting of Playlists

I'm in the midst of a project.
I am compiling my Top 50 songs of all time.
And as a result, I've been collecting songs and writing them down at the back of my planner.
I've been feverishly going through all of the songs on my Ipod, haunting my Pandora playlists, and criticizing my Spotify songs list.
It's been fun, and so horribly nostalgic!

I can pinpoint the emotions, the persons, the environments that surround each of the songs that are starting to populate my top 50, and I am loving my compilation!

I think it would be interesting to look at the list holistically and kind of analyze it.
Or maybe it wouldn't. 
Don't get me wrong, it would be interesting.
But the analysis?? Do I want to know?
Or should I just enjoy the mix?

Some of the contenders...
Undone - Matchbox 20
Paradise - Coldplay
The Reason - Hoobastank
Some Nights - Fun
Float On - Modest Mouse

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

McD's Field Trip

By the time we got to Hogansville, we had been in the car (in awful traffic) for over 2 hours. Courter was fussy for the majority of it but was full-blown crying for at least the last 30 minutes of the journey. A product of Gary's energy and my stubborn, his refusal to self-soothe and sporatic distaste of car rides makes for rather cumbersome car trips. But he's a baby, so we don't hold it against him. Penny had been fairly content up until the end, but she was starting to complain about the night sky and that her ankle was hurting. So Gary and I, both equally annoyed and anxious at this point, decided to cut our losses, get a bite to eat and then head home.

Golden Arches FTW.

When we pulled into the parking lot, I asked him out of frustration "Where was the good in this?" There is a purpose for everything, but in that moment, it had only been stress and bickering.

We were making a last minute trip to Columbus to celebrate Jeremy's birthdate. I (naively) thought that traffic wouldn't be bad and road trips were so fun, always. But by the time we got to Hogansville and saw that we still had another hour in the car, we knew it wasn't going to be a smooth sail.
It was a smart decision to turn back.

The ride home was so much smoother!
Gary and I got to talk Black Friday plans and Christmas gifts. And we both relaxed.
Gary said that the "good" that I was looking for earlier was that we got to turn around. And I added that we got to converse.

And we made it home. And the kids are in bed and sleeping.

And tomorrow is Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Autumn Leaves

"It looked like the world was covered in a cobbler crust of brown sugar and cinnamon."
- Sarah Addison Allen

The autumn colors that have graced the trees around here have been absolutely spectacular this year and so vibrant over the past few weeks.
There were a few moments where I'd just sit and wonder over their hues and presence.

I missed the opportunity to document them when they were still on the trees, but I'm finding beauty in their falling.

"The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let the dead things go."
- Anonymous