Give It a Rest!

old womn

“Options are important,” she said. “Without them we’d all feel like caged animals looking for a way out, but never finding one.”

Nan shrugged. “I guess so. I mean, I can see what you’re saying, but I’m not sure it’s relevant to my situation.”

“Not relevant?” she answered. “How so? He’s putting up fences, locking you in, with no choices at all. How is that not relevant?”

“I don’t see what Lloyd is doing as restrictive,” Nan countered. “I see it as loving. He knows that I have a problem with decision-making and that given enough time, I can make any mole hill into a mountain of complications. He’s being loving by narrowing my scope.”

“You see that as loving?” Vivian said. “I see that as being controlling and not helping you work your way through the maze that is your indecision. Why can’t he explore some options with you, look at all the alternative, and then help you figure out which of them is the right one for you? Why can’t he do that?”

“It’s pizza and wine, Viv,” she answered. “Pizza and wine, nothing more. Sheesh, can you please give it a rest!”



“Truth is, I’ll never know all there is to know about you just as you will never know all there is to know about me. Humans are by nature too complicated to be understood fully. So, we can choose either to approach our fellow human beings with suspicion or to approach them with an open mind, a dash of optimism and a great deal of candour.”                                                                       -Tom Hanks

The Bus Stop

bus stop

He showed up at the bus stop every day. Sat inches away from her, every day. Smiled pleasingly every day, but she was leery. She hadn’t trusted a man in a long time; not for affection, not for protection, not for any kind of emotional support or feelings of belonging. He was on her mind as she sat on the sidewalk having coffee with Susan.

“I just can’t get him out of my head,” she said.

“And why do you think that is?” Susan replied.

“I suppose I’m obsessed with the idea of him,” she said. “But ideas about men have gotten me into dark alleys and unending trouble in the past.”

“Doesn’t mean this one is a bad guy.”

“No, but it does mean I need to tread lightly, wherever men are concerned. I’ve learned my lesson with them.”

They both fell silent for a minute, Lisa tapping her acrylic fingernails against the table first, then her paper coffee cup, and finally her spoon. She was deep in thought when Susan spoke again.

“Tell me again what he looks like.”

Dreamy-eyed, Lisa explained, “He’s tall. Salt and pepper on top with lots of hair. It’s swept to the side. He always has a rain coat with him, though it never rains here. He has a tan-colored brief case, too. No wedding ring; no hint of shadow on his ring finger either, like he’s removed the ring before he approached the bench. He looks like your average, moderately successful businessman on the outside, but when he looks my way and smiles, I can see something else underneath. Like a second guy, someone who is full of light and, I don’t know, glowing. Not really glowing, but radiant, ya know?”

“What does he say?” Susan asked.

“Small talk. ‘How are you? It’s sunny this morning, isn’t it? Are you ready for another week of changing the world?’ He always asks me that on Mondays, without fail. ‘Are you ready for another week of changing the world?’”

“Well, are you?” Susan asked.

“Tell you what, he almost makes me think I could. Almost, but then reality seeps back in as soon as I get on the bus, and another plain, ordinary, uneventful, I-did-not-change-the-world type of week begins.”

“Maybe next time he says it, you should say, ‘I just might believe I could, if I had someone like you in my life.’”

“Be serious!” Lisa replied!

Come Here!

“Come here, girl!”

His tone was stern, but his brow relaxed. She knew he wasn’t upset, but rather, in need of the affection she’d hidden away from him since he’d entered the house. It was hard having him back for the afternoon only. She hated herself for wasting a moment of this precious time nursing a sullen attitude and pouting about her needs not being met. He’d only be here an hour; two at the most. How could she waste it wallowing in angst over his leaving again?

“I’ve got something for you,” he said.

“And for every pretty girl.” She replied. He acted as if he hadn’t heard.

He rose from the chair and headed to the back yard, to the wood pile and the bench where he’d held her in the past. The view of the sprawling oak was obscured by lace curtains he’d given her as a wedding gift, twelve years ago now.

‘He’s such an odd man,” she thought. “Who gives his bride valences for her wedding?” Then again, he wasn’t like any man she’d ever known before, ever thought to know; ever heard tell of.

“Eliza,” he called, “Eliza, look, there’s a squirrel on the roof.”

He pointed to the house, even as his eyes scanned the window pane in front of her for a glimpse of her figure standing at the sink. Her apron was fixed tightly around her waist, her hair falling down around her face, framing worry lines and catching tears. She looked a mess.

He knew her, knew she couldn’t hold out. Knew she couldn’t resist him; a creature wild, unkept, musky and uncontrollable. Against her better judgement, hungry now, she crossed the threshold of the cottage they’d built together. His eyes darkened with each step she took in drawing near. Near to the place where he’d lay her down. Near to the spot where she’d cry again.

A Girl, A Guy, and A Line

It’s Friday and I have some fiction for you this afternoon; an original piece by me, so be classy and don’t steal it.  Have a great weekend. Enjoy!

Like peanut butter stuck to the roof of her mouth, so was that Chesterton quote stuck to roof of her mind; “Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere.”

She had to draw the line somewhere, she knew this, but where?  Would it be drawn when he got out of the car and walked her to her stoop?  Would it be drawn after he’s entered her apartment and a night-cap had been served?  Should it be drawn long before either of those choices were birthed? The version of her mum living in her head said she shouldn’t even be going out with someone she met online.

“What if he’s a rapist?”

“What if he’s only after your money?”

“What if he ties you up, beats you, and leaves you for dead in your bed?”

It was this particular brand of crazy she’d lived with all her life.  Doom and gloom projections, that haunted her waking hours as well as her sleep.  She was afraid, of course, because she had been taught to be afraid. Trained.  Beaten with emotional whips if she had not adhered to momma’s rules when living under her roof.

“I’m out of there now,” she said, to herself. “She doesn’t rule my life anymore.”  It was true. Her mother didn’t rule over her anymore. Hadn’t for a long time. Had been dead and in the grave for three years now, so why, oh why, couldn’t she get past all this paranoia?

Her cell vibrated.  That would be him. What would she say?  How brave did she feel tonight?  Was she ready to roll the dice once more?  Only time would tell the tale.  Even she didn’t know what she would do next. That’s what came of being tormented for years. Under her thumb. Unable to move without checking with her first.  Again, with the voices of yesteryear. She was sick of it. Really, sick of it.

Friday Fiction-“A Tiff with Tiffanie”

“Okay, so what do you want me to do,” she sputtered from across the room, “tell him he can’t come over?”

“No, what I want you to do is have some self-respect!” Her mother’s retort was admittedly spoken at a volume she hadn’t intended to use.

“Fine!  If it’ll get you off my back, I’ll take ‘em,” Tiffanie said, referring to the capsules her mom had moments ago taken from her purse.  “They won’t stop me from loving everyone, will they?” she asked.

“No, I told you, they’re only going to help you be more selective in your choices for paring.”

“Selective, how?”

“Let’s try them and see…” her mom’s voice drifted off into a fantasy land of imagination where teenagers didn’t give sex away and parents weren’t forced to be gatekeepers for the rest of their lives.


Changing What You Can


Recently, I’ve been challenged by a personal relationship that has shifted sideways.  In my mind, a friendship has fallen apart.  Will something better fall into place, now that this friendship has shifted positions? I don’t know the answer to that question.  What I do know, or what I sense, is that what used to be a meeting of the minds and a joint effort has changed to something I don’t recognize.

I will admit that the altered state of affairs between me and this other is disconcerting, and a distraction I am having a hard time putting out of my mind.

I want to trust that the shift is for my benefit, and in some ways I believe that is true, but change is always challenging.

Even when it’s good change.

Even when it’s healthy change.

Even when it is an absolutely necessary change!

Habits are hard to break, which is why I love and hate them so much.  I love habitual behavior when it serves me. I hate it when it plagues me.

Here’s the thing:  I’m powerless to change habits others have adopted.  I can only change myself.

That is where my hope lies today, in changing me. 

Some day soon I will stop trying to figure out what makes others tick.  Right now, I’m doing this at about 85% of capacity.  I’m hoping to ramp up that percentage soon, as I can put this problem in my rear view mirror.

I can’t make others change their mind about me. 

I can change me!

What problems are you facing right now that have the power to change you in the future?  Who do you want to be tomorrow, and why?