“Will she ever wake up?” a figure uncurled from a huge lounge chair in the corner.
“I don’t know, she might eventually but for the time being we must wait,” the doc said with no emotion or concern.
No one really cares if she does or not. Everyone is just reeling in their paycheck after paycheck. I know I’m only seventeen but I know that as long as she stays immobilized and unconscious they all continue to get money. That doctor is just one of those people, but her family has paid him handsomely over the years for her care, so he wouldn’t say no to an easy mark like this.
“You don’t have to stay in here Daniel, I will sit with her if you want to go outside for a while,” the doc said as he begun to drag a chair towards her bed.
“BACK OFF! You don’t care about her. Get out!” I’m young but not weak. I will defend her.
“Okay, okay, and you are wrong Daniel, I do care.” He gazed at her once again before leaving the room.
The room was quiet now, leaving the only sound to be echoed down the hall as the doc slipped away. “He doesn’t care, not like I do.” I creep towards her as she lay softly breathing in pattern to the light breeze. Everyone says I’m foolish to give her too much hope; that I should be outside enjoying the life I have. “How can I enjoy it, if she is not here?”
The day continued into night, and continued into days. The household continued to bring food, change her sheets, dust the room, and snicker to themselves about when the she will depart.
No one truly cares for her; no one here wants her to survive, besides me. She is the reason my heart still beats; I wish I could make hers jumpstart.
Months passed and still no change, the doc has given up hope. He just wants a higher pay grade before he continues to, “waste his time” his words, on someone who might never awake from their comma. “I’m sorry son, but I think we should just call it; she hasn’t made change these last eight months, it’s cruel to leave her in this state.”
“You touch her and you will die. I know you are only here for the money, you don’t care for her. You just want to fill your pockets before she goes. NO ONE CARES! Leave us!” I lost it, as his hand reached for the plug. I remember lunging and squirming with the doc; I know my fists made contact with his jaw more than once. I remember several voices, limbs, and bodies; then all went black.
…8 years later…
My life changed after that day. I guess I made real damage on the doc’s face because he pressed charges. I don’t know how, but I was sent to jail for the night; I was seventeen and they thought I deserved it I guess, because I wouldn’t let her go. I was released eventually; I guess they worried that my revenge for blood would cause me to hunt down and murder the man that put me here. But what was the point, my reason for breathing was gone. Since she was denied the ability to breathe, why should I waste my breath on worthless scum?
After that day, I swore I would fight for people who couldn’t fight for themselves. Of course I was a teenager and faced various fears and horrors but I kept protecting the “littler guy”. Which caused me to land in prison occasionally, but I couldn’t stand to see people treating loved ones so harshly. You should care and protect them, because they might be taken from you.
After the last time in the tank I decided enough was enough; I couldn’t be in prison for another moment. No matter the actions of people in the world, I can’t experience the brutal, harsh, environment as jail again; no one had my back, no one protected me from others, no one cared enough to sacrifice themselves for me like I had done.
I moved upstate away from everyone. I didn’t care if I never saw a familiar face again. A hermit’s life is the best way of life. I got a small putter job at a large estate as a gardener, good money and peaceful work. I became one of the plants; something alive but just puttering around waiting to be done.
You know when you can feel someone watching you, but every time you turn there is no one; that is when you know you have been alone to long.
“What are you doing?” a voice said.
The voice startled me, and I jutted backwards and stepped in hole as I tumbled backwards. “Crap!” Looking up I stare into the eyes of a child, a small girl. “What are you doing sneaking up on people?”
“Sorry, I’ve been watching you, and I was just curious what you planned to do with the rose bush?”
The small face glowed with laughter and excitement. I haven’t seen a child smile in many years. “You shouldn’t sneak on people,” or stock people I mumbled low enough she wouldn’t hear. “What do you care what I’m doing?”
“No reason, you just moved it there, then there, then there, then…” she continued on and on pointing at the various spots I did indeed move it.
“I don’t know, it just isn’t thriving as it should be.”
A small giggle escaped her mouth, “It won’t unless you give it a chance.”
“What…” but the small figure ran up the driveway and waved good bye. “Strange…oh crap my ankle…”
It’s odd but I waited all morning for the small figure to return. I wanted to complain to her, about her being the cause for my ankle swelling. But she didn’t appear and there was no lingering feeling of being watched. Strange, her being the first person I have felt comfortable with since that day so long ago…
“What ya up to now?” a girlish squeal came from behind the tree.
At least this time I was clipping the branches of a different tree, “I’m just puttering along. My supervisor said to just do a little of this and a little of that…nothing too exciting. What are you up to?”
She popped out from the tree, skirted around the trunks, to my side, “I’m just out and about. I’m supposed to soak up as much sun and fresh air as I can before returning home, or at least that is what I’m told. Can I help?”
About to tell her no, or I work alone; however instead, I looked into her excited but longing face; I understood the feeling, “Sure, take the cut-off branches and throw them in the waste, but first go get some gloves.”
“Okay!” she scurried off to find some, then began to help me. It was nice to have help, but mostly the company was very new.
Not one peep of complaint came from her all morning, but I could see the strain on her face. I called her over to take a break and sat on the tailgate of my truck swigging back a coke enjoying the sweet summer air. “So do I get to know your name or what?” I asked her as she finished her last sip, “and also your age?”
“Gabriella and 9 ½, yours?”
“Daniel, and umm….blmfpf”
“Oh alright, 25.” And of course she giggled…
Again sitting in silence we just watched the leaves float through the air, and the birds soaring a hovering through the tall pines. “Should you be getting back home? Someone will be worried,” as I lifted her to the ground and closed the tailgate.
“Maybe, but I’ve never been missed. I just am…” a flicker of sadness trickled through her face, but disappeared as soon as it appeared.
“Do you want a lift? I’m driving that way anyways, I’m done for the day.”
“Sure. Your old body can’t take any more…” she roared with laughter.
“I’m not old, little missy, I am at my prime age; thank you very much.” Attempting to tickle her, but instead opening the passenger door.
She hopped up and yanked the door shut as well as she could. I sunk into my seat and we were off. Cruising down the road she stuck head out the window letting her flop of hair twist and fly about. To be young and carefree, I haven’t felt that way since I was her age. Her directions were not so much as directions as sudden go this way and that way, but we were driving for a while before she yelled, “Turn!”
Sharpest turn I have ever taken, “Little warning next time please.”
There on a small hill sat a small house. It looked familiar, like evoking a memory from a dream.
“Thank you mister, see you tomorrow,” she clambered out of the truck and started toward the house. I just watched her go, and then the front door opened…Her…
“Stephen! Can you see it?” William screamed across the field at his older brother who was off doing something…”STEPHEN!!!” The screams got louder, not urgent, but louder.
“I’m coming,” a voice came through the wind, tickling Williams ears. A figure hopped down out of a tree and started to scurry towards the small figure across the field. “What’s up William, I was enjoying my view?”
“Can you see it,” as a small hand points towards the tiptop branch of the giant oak tree, “Can you see it?” again William repeated himself.
Stephen looked upwards to see the wonder that his brother could see, but he only saw branches. “I can’t see what you see, what do you see?”
“I see a marvelous thing, its beautiful; but the word is escaping my mind. It’s like a home.” William said as his eyes glistened with imagination and wonder towards the branches above.
“Do you mean a tree house? We have one at home William, but yeah, it’s not quite as far up as this tree would be,”
“Maybe, but to me it should have a grander name…like a cozy home.”
Stephen gazed upwards again wishing he could see the sight his brother was seeing. So as to get as close as possible, Stephen crouched to be at William’s height; and there between the weaving branch puzzle he saw the glorious sight his small brother saw.
“Come with me William,” Stephen said, as he pulled his brother in tow.
“But I want to stay and look at the home.” William whimpered as the beautiful tree was drifting farther and farther away.
Stephen scooped up William’s body and shoved him onto the first branch he could reach.
William scooted a bit so his big brother could climb up the next branch and begin their journey up. William placed his foot where his brother did and grabbed the branches he grabbed. He always followed his brother no matter what. Especially since he put him in a tree.
They continued up ten feet, twenty feet, thirty feet, forty feet…”Stephen, I think mama wouldn’t want us to go up any higher…”
Stephen plopped his bottom on the branch, and agreed this is it. He reached out to grabbed William’s hand and pull him up to his level, “Wow, we are quite a ways up! I didn’t pay attention; I was just climbing and pushing myself, daring to go higher.
As William’s body was next to his own, they sat together on a comfortable branch. William gazed out to admire the field, the proud tall mountains, the peachy blue sky, the frazzled little trees, and listen to the sweet whispers surfing through the breeze.
And there across the field was the tree William stood beneath for the past few hours, but instead he could now see the tiptop branches. There placed within the various branches was a magnificent nest. It was huge! “Look Stephen! It’s the home I saw! I remember, it’s a nest. Who’s nest is it? Do you know? Did you see? Can I see?…”
His questions kept coming…never giving Stephen a chance, “If you stop talking maybe the owner will come back.”
To William they sat there forever, but in truth it was about ten minutes….but then they heard it soar…
Our tree swayed as the glorious animal swept pass the tree, the sturdy branched swayed. A large shadow panned across the mountains and covered the field. A call rang out, blaring but also soothing…
Wings vast like the horizon, and as brown as the darkest earth. A head white as a snow peak, but with an eye as yellow as the sun. Talons as sharp as a broken branch, but caring as it latches onto its home. The eagle was broad and strong as the mountains, but loving towards her children.
The boys sat their in silence not wanting their sight to disappear of fade, but William had to ask, “Is this what you were doing earlier,” He whispered as quiet as possible?
Stephen nodded, “We were observing the same sight but from different angles. Do you want to stay? Or do you want to go back home?”
The look in William’s eye said it all. They continued to watch the mother tend to her babies. The sky continued to fade to a soft dark blue, slowing changing from day to dusk. The magnificent sight was the perfect experience for two brothers to share. ❤
Stare accordingly without emotion,
Stand ridged without exuding feelings,
Sit proper without releasing breaths.
Always on your best behavior,
Never getting to rest.
Never wearing your true self nature.
Pampered is exasperation,
Wrapped in wealth,
While killing God’s creation,
Of life’s true uniqueness,
Creativity and Beauty,
In one’s personality.
“White dress…check, veil…check, flowers…check, food…check,” Emma whispers…
“How’s the list coming, Honey?” Emma’s mother chimes into her dreamland. Have you decided upon everything you want?
“I think so Mother,” as Emma recites it back to her, confident that she is finished.
“You forgot place. You don’t know where you will have it? Has Nathan given you an idea he likes?”
“A place…” Emma ponders… “Nathan wants it to be in a place up in the woods, he went there for his parent’s renewal. It sounds beautiful but I don’t see us being able to afford it.” Why must there be hints of sadness while planning a happy occasion.
“I’m sorry my darling, but it is good to have a budget. Without one you would plunge into your life savings and that money is for the future; you are allowed to be prudent with your earnings,” Emma’s mother says while embracing Emma, “All will work out my baby.”
I was happy with the idea of being married at City Hall then having a grand big reception afterwards. But Nathan had his idea of a ceremony in front of friends and family. I have also always dreamed about having my almost niece be the flower girl, while the youngest nephew is being a batman symbol thrower. Next, my sister in-law walking down, my second eldest sister, then my eldest sister. My mother would be in the audience with my other nephew, because they prefer to be seen but not stared at. Next would come myself and my brothers; they would be giving me away. Hopefully both, but my eldest brother might be sitting with my mom, because he like she are similar. But for sure my younger brother will, he is my best friend. So yes, I have thought about a ceremony, the idea of having my friends and family taking part in our happy occasion warms my soul. But then that is more spending. If the place and seating was taken care of, I would be able to do the rest, within my budget. We just cannot afford it all.
Understand that Emma has told her mother all of this before, so as Emma sits quietly debating these thoughts in her head, Emma’s mother is just holding her and giving a head scratch.
“What if we had it at Grandpa’s and Grandma’s? The space is big enough. It might not give us everything, and we would have enough within our budget for the rest of the occasion.” Emma suggests an idea, nothing is set in stone.
“I am sure they would love to have you there. But you must discuss it with your future husband, these choices should be a team effort. Everything will be perfect because you are marrying someone you love.”
“Thanks mama, I love you.”
“I love you too, my baby girl.”
“Left or Right?” I say, realizing it sounds like it will define my life.
“I don’t know you choose…” Peter says like its just another pathway in another direction.
Standing there wide-eyed, energized, and immovable at the top of the mountain trail after a long hard strenuous hike, I look out into the vast valley and I’m surprised at how far we have come; we did start today at six o’clock in the morning and it was now closer to ten. This is our last day of our journey. Even though I was dying because of the lack of coffee, I felt more alive today in the wilderness than I had these last few months in the city.
Peter on the other hand was a mindless zombie; he stood behind me, but only barely. If someone were to come bump into him he would probably topple over and roll down the hill. His eyes were closed at every point we weren’t moving; he would occasionally mumble something under his breath, usually about coffee; he looked like a lonesome tree, who just wanted to be left alone until Spring.
This trip wasn’t either of our ideas; our friends set it for us as a way to work on our problems. “We don’t have problems!” I remember saying this in unison once six months ago, to our loving and caring friends. “We just like to work, and it works for us.”
We have been married for almost two years; I wouldn’t say it has been easy, but it hasn’t been so awful we needed to go on a hiking trip to figure ourselves out. But still we went on this trip, just so that our friends would leave us alone.
The first couple days were terrible; we both hiked through bushes, branches, dirt, dust, muck. With every step we hated being here and we just wanted to run back home; but, if we did that then we would never hear then end of it.
Besides, I am now happy we did come on this trip. I have discovered something about myself, I love hiking. I love being away from the city; I love hearing the wind intertwine with its surrounds creating the wilderness’ song. Standing on top of this mountain I can see anything and everything. The journey upwards was hard, bitter, long, but the fact that we are standing here shows me, at least, that we can survive anything.
“Peter…” I say to the sky. No response. “Peter!” I turn and there he is sitting on a rock sleeping soundly. “Oh, Peter…” smiling to myself, because trying to arose him is pointless, once he is dreaming he won’t wake up.
Instead, I put my pack down and sit down beside him; I can hear his breathing. We haven’t been this close in months. I realize why our friends said we had problems; our jobs became our loves. I think I saw him once this last week, and until this moment I hadn’t thought anything of it. His breathing hum added a soft melody to the wilderness song; changing it into a lullaby. I rested my head upon his knee and dream my own dreams, but they all consisted of him.
I awoke to the rubbing of my head. I opened my eyes and the sky was a soft orange with the clouds still soaring through the sky. I lift my head up and there sits Peter staring off into the sky. The colors dance across his face making him more handsome than ever.
“Hey,” I say quiet enough to not spoil the moment.
“Hey,” he says with a smile, still looking off into the distance.
The wind danced, the birds sang, and my heart fluttered…
“Shouldn’t we be going?” Peter asked as his body spread stretching out his spine; with every moment some bone or joint popped or cracked.
He must be a bit sore from sleeping hunched over on the rock. I didn’t want to move from this spot, but he was right. “Yeah, we should.” I started to move and he jumped up and helped me rise. His hand on mine, made me feel like a teenager again.
“So, Left or Right,” Peter said now standing tall, refreshed, and strong.
My heart was beating so fast, I now remember this feeling; the feeling of happiness from another person. I love him…I haven’t thought this in a long time. Remembering this feeling made my body surge to life, but also fall into the place beside him. I realized I had been to quiet and hadn’t given him an answer. “I…” I start as I turn towards him.
His eyes are staring into mine; his features calm and loving. I haven’t seen him like this since our wedding day. “I don’t know. You choose. I’ll go where ever you go” only squeaky voice came out; I’m surprised anything came out of my mouth at all. His stare left me speechless.
“Okay then,” Peter said looking both ways, “Let’s go this way.”
Our bodies turned together, and we moved as one. We are following the Right path, hopefully to a different branch of our lives.
…But also, hopefully, this path leads us to a nice, warm Cup of Joe…
Eyes sparkling with interest as millions of images dash across the screen. Those eyes catching each one as it dances away; not wanting to miss a single image. The eyes filled with excitement and wonder, but also a sense of sadness because the longing for these images will only ever be a dream.
“Mama. What’s that?” my beautiful little girl points at a image of a waterfall. A rare nature scene, one that I have not seen for many years.
“It’s called a waterfall, honey. Great amounts of water cascades over a hill of rock, spilling down over into a stream.” At least that’s what I remember at the age of six when my father told me.
“Have you ever seen one? Not on a screen. Were you able to touch it?” her magical eyes dancing with excitement knowing that this beautiful image is not just a fantasy.
“Yes, Honey. I saw it when I was a little bit younger than you. I stuck my hand into the downpour and it almost knocked me over. The water was warm and lite. It shimmered like the stars. I desperately wanted to dive into the water and submerge my being, so that I could listen to the noises underwater.” Remembering lost memories always have bitter sweet taste.
“Mama, in the future I will venture out into the world and find this beautiful snippet of nature!” she bounces up, taking up her normal explorer stance, and yells it into the air.
“Hush dear.” Checking around, hoping they did not hear her. “You remember the rules, we can look but we must be quiet about it.”
“Right. Sorry Mama.” She cuddle up beside my knee; then she continued to watch the images dance across the screen.
These small moments are what keep me going. These moments help me forget where we are and how our life has changed.
…12 years later…
A gush of wind stirs the dirt and grime into my mouth, “Eww, tastes like metal and dust.” I pull the bandanna up over my mouth again, because I will take not breathing before disgusting tastes. Sweat and mud mix over my skin; I probably look wild. Which is alright with me, I can’t be bothered.
The forest has become denser and the trees are closer than ever, “I’m close!” My pace picks up a bit. My steps are bigger. My heart is pounding…there…
It’s more beautiful than I ever imagined. It shines like crystals; continuously falling into a vast stream. I can barely see the top of the fall; I see the water spilling over the top, it seems to be spilling out of the heavens. The space around the waterfall is lush and green, small animals, bugs, and birds dashing over, in, and around the glistening water.
Standing in all the beauty I remember why…Setting my back-pack down I pull out the small screen which gave me dreams and wonders as a child. The now broken device, but it was stuck on the waterfall. “Mama…”
She has been gone nearly six years. She died in that place; she never got to explore the land of home. She gave me everything as a child. Love. Hopes. Dreams. Life. I am forever indebted to her. We lived in a small tent, on dirt ground, surrounded by hills of dirt. When she died I made it my mission to venture to the South, where all the images were from. Mama always talked about how she wanted to come back home and see the land that made her.
She is here; her love lives forever in my heart and soul. No matter where I journey she will relive all of it again with me.
I walk towards the waterfall, and just like her, I stretch my hand out into the water. The power behind the gushing water is impressive. I continue to inch forward until I stand firm under the fall, drench by the water. I slowly sink down and lay submerged. Its peaceful, yet chaotic. Losing consciousness I explode to the surface! I lay there floating in the pool of shimmering water. This place is like life…there’s always something trying to hold you under, but unless you dream and pursue what you want you will stay submerged. But if you fight back and live, like my mother, you will live fully and your dreams will never die.
I love you Mama!