1. PJ says


    Over the past year, I have suddenly discovered how interdependent we all are and some of the benefits of seeing things as others see them. This is quite a leap for me as independence is what my gender and profession hold in very high esteem. 66 years of training is a lot of momentum and changing direction with all the emphasis on self is not conducive to learning some of life’s tricks and secrets from others. It must be just like a Missourian where show “me” is the catch phrase.

    The thing that differs between us mortals and angels is that I don’t see the angels with a hierarchal system that labels each angel as a little higher or lower on the totem pole instead of all being of equal status. The angels don’t have all of our hang-ups and constraints since they all seem to be in a collegial sort of way without following a higher ranked angel’s lead. Those angels fully focused on a common goal (flying somewhere) didn’t let egos and such interfere with that.

    Then there are the lessons taught and learned. Chances are pretty good that both angels will learn a valuable lesson to add to their repertoire. The feelings of trust that develop in military training will be enhanced and build up interdependence, mutual respect and other desirable traits. Our western religions (and others also) teach us to lighten the loads of those less fortunate, not end up with the most toys.

    Sharing some of life’s lessons and making a few friends along the way is just more fun and interesting to limit ourselved to “solo” flights.

    • says

      PJ, I loved the vulnerability and honesty of your response, and that you shared the ways you’re opening up in your life, here with us. Thanks so much for being part of our community. I look forward to hearing from you every week.

    • Judy says

      Love this line….’angels fully focused on a common goal (flying somewhere) didn’t let egos and such interfere with that.’ Enjoyable reading. Thank you.

      • pj says

        Thanks, Laura and Judy. I see things in a much different light than most of the others, not that one is more “right”, but that many of these thoughts have not even entered my mind. I grew up in a household of Mom, Dad, brother2 & brother3 and male dog- kind of a Mars/Venus thing noted in reading and writing on this blog.

    • Debbie says

      I enjoyed your last sentence “Sharing some of life’s lessons and making a few friends along the way is just more fun and interesting to limit ourselved to “solo” flights.” It feels like we have forgotten that it is okay to need each other – so much value gets placed on self-reliance. Thank you for starting us off on this post!

  2. Allen Berg says

    This is in reply to the “write about a scene in total darkness” prompt, but it also can relate to “co-angels”…

    I saw the sound I had only heard before
    It was whitely quiet, with my eyes closed

    It moved with a free fall so natural and undoing
    I rose effortlessly

    My bodily atoms evaporated into a domed lightness
    I was a whisper of music cooing the earth…

    Then a baby’s breath returned me
    wrapping what miracle I held in the snow’s curtain…


    • Terry Gibson says

      Allan, this poem is so beautiful! I love these lines: “I saw the sound I had only heard before,” “I was a whisper of music cooing the earth…” and “wrapping what miracle I held in the snow’s curtain…” Guess what? You just got me so excited about April being poetry month. Thanks so much!

    • Debbie says

      Allen – this is a terrific line!!!
      “I saw the sound I had only heard before” I am only one of those who commented on it. But I assure you these words will be floating around in my consciousness for days! Wow!

  3. beverly Boyd says

    Was it synchronicity that I had been working on organizing some old writing files when I came across one titled “Robb’s first plane trip” and was reading it when I decided to open the email and get the prompt. It seemed like the perfect story to tell but much too long. Here is the new version.

    On a late December morning in Los Angeles my parents took me to the airport for an early morning flight to Denver with a layover in Kansas City. My husband was being transferred from Long Beach to New London Connecticut and had left a week before to drive our 1958 Volkswagon. I was seven months pregnant and eleven-month-old Robb and I were flying to meet him. The weather in LA was sunny and pleasant but heavy snow had resulted in closing several airports. We were being rerouted through Chicago, which meant an airline change from United to American as well as a very close connection. I jokingly asked my Dad if we knew anyone in Chicago in case I needed a place to stay.

    “Why, yes!” he said with delight. “Dwight Loder is president of a Methodist seminary there.” Dwight was a seminary classmate of my father’s and we had been like extended family when they each had churches in northern Pennsylvania. “I don’t know the phone numbers,'” he continued pulling out one of the three by five cards he always carried in his pocket for just such moments, “but here’s some information that would probably make it possible to reach him.”

    The flight was uneventful except that strong headwinds were slowing us down and it was clear I might miss my connecting flight. I hurried through the airport dressed as we did in the sixties in good clothes including hose and heels; a crying Robb and his blanket on one arm, diaper bag and purse on the other and Morgan,a favorite stuffed animal, hanging over my wrist.

    The walk way was nearly deserted. I wasn’t sure I was even going in the right direction when I was suddenly aware that there was a United Airlines information booth in front of me with an agent standing with nothing to do. Maybe she could help me know if I had missed my flight. Before I poured out my story she motioned me to follow her, taking the diaper bag to carry.

    When we got to the American Airlines counter there were several lines about six deep. She went up to a gate and talked to an agent, then motioned to follow her, deposited us in a office where there was a comfortable waiting room settee and disappeared saying someone would be there soon to help me. A pleasant but very business like man hurried in, apologized for the problem and assured me they would take care of me for the night, either in a hotel or “Do you know anyone you might want to stay with?” I produced my father’s card. The man made several phone calls before reaching Dwight and soon I was in a taxi on my way to their house.

    The airline called in the middle of the night. Rochester was snowed in. They could get me to Detroit with no guarantees of what the next step might be. “You’d better take it,” Dwight said. As long as you are still a passenger they have to get you there if they have to send you by an Army Bus!”

    When I arrived in Detroit I was being paged. At the desk was again asked to follow someone who took me to a small lounge reserved for important passengers. There was another young mother already there who was also pregnant and with a toddler. “When you hear announcements for passengers to come to the ticket desk, just ignore them. Someone will come to inform you of any updates in flight status.”

    Carol, my new companion was exhausted to the point of feeling ill. Their trip had started from her husband’s army base in Japan on a bus over bumpy roads to the airport, a long flight to the States and then similar delays and diversions as we had. It was good to be with another person in the same situation. We were able to support each other. I watched her baby while she took a nap. We took turns going to the nearby dining room to have lunch knowing that the airport personnel would know where to find us.

    In about three hours we were on an airplane to Rochester sitting together with our children having forged that brief strong bond that happens when people find themselves in an unusual situation. We arrived in Rochester and called our families to let them know we were there. By the time her sister arrived I had not been able to get through to Dick and Pat. The telephone line was busy. Carol’s sister offered to take me. When I arrived, Pat was surprised that I was there. She had been so careful all day to keep the line free. Unfortunately she had not properly hung up the phone.

    So that was the end of that saga. Kurtz came and the next day we drove to Hornell where his parents lived. We were able to spend Christmas day with Grandma Kurtz and the relatives nearby. I was tired, but happy and Robb, the first great grandchild, was the star of the show. After that our trip to New London was thankfully anti-climactic.

    When I look back at the strange trip it seems to take on a “Twilight Zone” quality. Was it some kind of premonition that prompted me to ask if we knew anyone in Chicago? Was the small United Airlines information booth, situated so unexpectedly with an idle agent in a busy airport real. If I had looked back as I followed her would it have disappeared? Was the manager who made the calls to contact Dwight really there or had he occupied someone’s office? How about the people at the Detroit Airport who kept us update on our status?

    What about Carol…and her sister? They seemed real enough but we didn’t exchange addresses so I never would have seen her again. I do know we helped and supported each other. I was able to have company and get a much needed lunch. The fact that her trip had been even more harrowing made mine seem bearable.

    • Judy says

      What a tender telling, Beverley. The Twilight Zone graph was delightful reading. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Hazel says

      Thank you for sharing. Reaffirmation that we just need to trust the universe to take care of us and then go do the best we can.

      • beverly Boyd says

        Thank you, Hazel.
        It’s only in retrospect with a lot more years and a few “angel and guide” experiences that I can allow for the possibility for something more than good luck at times when things were going so badly.

    • beverly Boyd says

      I appreciate all of your responses, yet I am disappointed that no one seems to have gotten an important point. I sent it to a couple of my writing friends for their comments and they were able to put themselves in my shoes and understand what I must have felt during this seige from the details: Pregnant, carrying a toddler, hanging onto all his paraphenalia, and running in high heeled shoes through the airport, not sure I was even going in the right direction. Harrowing and saga were words I used to describe the the experience. One friend said, “It must have felt like a nightmare!” She got it!

    • Debbie says

      I enjoyed how you told us the story and then began to question that it ever happened. I could almost see the people and furniture starting to fade away in the distance. Thanks for sharing this very interesting story.

  4. Dianne Brown says

    Two Left Winged Angels

    This is a very deep and personal story I am going to share with you.

    When I first met and married my husband some 27 years ago, I was searching for something to fill this chasm of Spiritual void in my life. I didn’t know how to express it; I just knew that there was something more for me than making lots of money in sales and driving around in my brand new RX7 looking for . . . well, looking for whatever it was that was missing.

    Then he came into my life and swept me away with his tall, handsome, and spiritual self. He took me to his church, which was a Pentecostal denomination, of which I knew nothing. But I knew how I felt when he sang to me and took me adventuring in the Superstition Mountains and made exquisite love to me. I would have signed on the dotted line to join a snake handling church if that was where he was. (No offense to any snake-handlers out there—I just have never been fond of snakes.)

    He got me saved and involved. For ten years he flew my 6, for ten years I never felt that I lived up to his belief system. I learned to keep my mouth shut; you know, don’t start anything that could be referenced in the bible.

    Three years into our marriage, he wanted to move to California to hunt for gold—gold fever, and he had it bad. I quit my most excellent job of most excellent pay and moved to Northern California with him. For 3 years I worked two jobs (no most excellent paying jobs there) so that he could take his summers off and dredge for gold. And he did get gold, enough to break even, but no more.

    This went on for six years. Then we moved to Chile, South America to search for gold there. Those who were of the same belief (disease) funded him. We lived in Chile for a year. He no longer flew my 6 with his single angel-wing on his left shoulder. I felt myself falling into a slough of despond, to use Pilgrim’s term as he was making his “progress.”

    After coming back to Northern California, I found myself being rebuffed by my handsome not-so-spiritual leader. He told me to find a friend. (I never analyzed that.)

    I found myself at a loss. One day I took my faithful dog and we went up to a high bluff looking over the river. I knelt down and asked the powers that be to look kindly upon me and help me discover a better way. Amazingly, on my way back to my house, the words: “Go Write!” came to me in an insistent voice. And I ran all the way home.

    I did start writing, and the more I wrote, the stronger my left wing became. There were times when I could hover and lift off with just the one wing. But that did not fare well with my husband, and he dove deeper in the pit where he chose to reside.

    I gotta shorten this. Ten years later, he decided to change his attitude and I had to naturally adjust mine to keep the horizon in perspective.

    We moved in 2005 and left the Pentecost ways. I flourished in my pursuit of my spirituality and spoon-fed my husband. Soon after all that sipping, he came to notice my great left wing. “I wonder if we could help each other to fly?” he said. And so it is even today, we take off and sometimes hit a tree. Sometimes we soar over Mt. Shasta searching for the Lemurians . . . and gold, of course.

    It has been a long process for two left-winged ones. But we have learned that even in our fragile and somewhat patched up marriage, that we have always been saved, and we can, when face-to-face, make this left winged flight together—lopsided, yes, but we can fly.

    • Terry Gibson says

      I’m so happy you shared this story with us, Dianne. So much moving, change, and holding on. It makes me reflect on all that we’ll do for the loves in our lives, how — if we could do it all over again — we’d do it all over again. So glad that voice came to you that said, “Go Write!” Deliriously happy for all of us on that! Your last line is so poetic, “But we have learned that even in our fragile and somewhat patched up marriage, that we have always been saved, and we can, when face-to-face, make this left winged flight together—lopsided, yes, but we can fly.” A raw and elegant tale! Thanks.

      • Dianne Brown says

        Thanks for all your kind remarks . . . it helps when you bare your soul and show some of the scabs and scars. Knowing this is a safe place, I love all of you and appreciate your contributions and YOUR stories.


    • says

      Dianne, I loved this tale of evolution, slow growth and courage and feel real awe that you and your husband weathered all of this together. You two have a lot to be proud of. And your evolution makes for a powerful story.

    • Judy says

      Dianne, What a loving and tender story–those last two graphs are so powerful with images, emotion and wisdom. Very nice.

    • Debbie says

      Dianne – this is a special story of give and take between two people – not perfect – but growing apart and together over the years. I found it touching and written with honesty yet kindness. Good job!

  5. Ilana says

    This piece started out as a response to a prompt given to us at the Memory to Memoir retreat last November. Our own Terry Gibson lead her first group (if I’m remembering correctly) and she offered the prompt, “Someone who believed in me.” This is where I took it when combining it with this week’s prompt.

    “Proud, Not Surprised, But Proud”

    Zander said he always knew there was more to me than the woman he fell in love with. “Don’t get me wrong, I loved you so much, but I always knew you could do all the things you are doing now.” I look at our wedding picture, more than 12 years ago, and I see two children. I was 26 and he was 24. I thought I was so happy, all dressed in white. Looking back now, I realize I had no idea what untainted happiness was.

    Back then I thought he loved me in spite of my failings. I couldn’t cook. He ate spaghetti out of a jar that I’d mixed ground beef into. I lived in fear of other people’s anger. He talked me down from each panic attack. I was terrified of getting lost. He taught me how to get to everywhere I needed to go with painstaking detail and hours of dry runs. (or just drove me there himself) The list goes on. These were my character flaws. That’s just who I was… a bad person. And I was so lucky to find a man who valued the little good that was in me so much that he could put up with these shortcomings. I could not have been more wrong. He didn’t love me in spite of my ‘failings’. He loved me completely. Sure, there were things that scared me but in time, if I wanted to, I would conquer those fears.

    “Proud, not surprised, but proud.” That’s what he says each time I overcome one of my fears. He always knew.

    It all started when I learned that what my brother did to me was wrong. He was wrong, not me. That was the first shocker. The second; it was in fact incest. It was not my fault and it had left me severely damaged. Each of these ‘failings’ or ‘character flaws’ was a direct result of the intense self hatred that grew from the abuse. “Well.” I said, “I’ll be damned if I’m going to let him take that away from me too!” Zander watched me make the decision. At that moment I felt him attach his wing to my shoulder. Securely anchored to this strong, safe and stable wing I began to soar. How exciting, how liberating, how wonderful to find that I can do anything I want, if I just let go of the fear and try it.

    “Proud.” He keeps saying. “Not surprised but proud.”

    “And you always knew?” The wonder surrounds me like the glitter in a snow globe. It swirls and sparkles gloriously, lifting me even higher, safer, free-er .

    “I always knew.” He says with a magnanimous smile. The thing that makes my Zander so safe is that he loves me, no matter what. If I fall flat on my face he will not get angry. He will not even forgive me. He will pick me up, dust me off and then wrap his warm arms around me. “It was a good try, Ilana. I am so proud of you.” How could a girl possibly feel more safe?

    Armed with that other wing, that safety net that gave me the courage to fly I set about attacking my fears one at a time. I defeat them utterly and completely. I beat them into the ground. Afraid to cook? Ha! I now make a whole chicken with a recipe I invented. I call it, “I-Need-To-Make-Some-Soup-Chicken” because half the reason for cooking it is so I can make homemade soup from the leftovers. Brisket, steak, farfel kugel, bagels from scratch, Italian chicken, lemon chicken, quiche… etc. You want me to learn something new, just hand me the recipe and I’ll try it. I’m not afraid of anything. Not with this wing so lovingly secured to my shoulder. Then, somewhere along the way, three other wings attached themselves to me. Tiny, loving little wings that are miniature copies of the first. I can hear them whispering in my ear as I soar. “My mama conquers her fears!”

    One by one I’m overcoming all of my fears. I’m doing it! There’s nothing to be afraid of with Zander and the kids on my side. No one else matters so I don’t have to be afraid of disappointing anyone. If you don’t like my writing, don’t read it. If you don’t like my cooking don’t eat it.

    I’m a new person. Really, I am. And the kids barely remember when Ramen Noodles were my specialty. I’ve got a long way to go but with these four other wings so willingly, so lovingly, attaching themselves to my back I don’t see how I can fail.

    • says

      I loved this piece the first time I heard it, and love what you’ve done with it here. Thanks for sharing this intimate story with us. I love that you trust us enough to share your heart like this. And it’s beautifully told, too.

    • Terry Gibson says

      Ilana, this is such a stirring story. I’m glad your husband is the love of your life and you’ve got that other arm so you can encompass each other in safety and love. It so looks good on you to be beaming at these fantastic days and weeks of wonder and joy. It makes me beam for you both and be happy about those precious kids of yours too. Enjoy every second. A big hug and much love to you all.

    • Janet says

      This is a beautiful story. I’ve read it several times. I loved the lines: “The thing that makes my Zander so safe is that he loves me, no matter what.” and “One by one I’m overcoming all my fears. I’m doing it!!” Such inspiration moves me. Thank you so much.

    • Judy says

      Ilana, Heartfelt, brave and full of life, that is how I felt reading this. There are so many vivid images: beginning with ‘armed with that other wing.’ I felt in flight with you. Thank you for sharing.

    • Polly says

      That kind of support is inspiring, and I love that it enables your courage to strengthen and grow. Thanks for sharing.

    • Debbie says

      Ilana – where to start – there lines were breathtaking:
      “Proud.” He keeps saying. “Not surprised but proud.”
      “And you always knew?” The wonder surrounds me like the glitter in a snow globe. It swirls and sparkles gloriously, lifting me even higher, safer, free-er .”
      And this – I can still smiling over these lines!
      “If you don’t like my writing, don’t read it. If you don’t like my cooking don’t eat it.”
      Yahoo! You are awesome!

  6. Janet says

    Every time I bend over, folds of skin droop onto my upper thighs. Even when I stand straight up my whale belly flops as I exit the shower every morning. I swim every day as I’ve done for two years now. I’ve lost almost fifty pounds and the skin just gets looser.

    My fingers ache from the way I grip the phone as I speak with the business manager for my plastic surgeon. She is telling me I am out of time. I must pay the fifteen thousand dollars for the tummy tuck surgery today. I tell her I will call her right back. “I need just a little more time to transfer funds,” I fib.

    I think about all the times I have dreamt of this surgery for the last five years. Then, my boyfriend, Felix, calls while on his thirty minute lunch break, “Did you pay for your surgery yet?” He says.

    “No,” I say, in a droopy voice. “Every time I try to pay it, I feel panic. I can’t even breathe.”

    “Did you check out the doctor?” He says.

    “Oh, yeah, every which way to Tuesday. He’s on every plastic surgeon board from here to eternity with no complaints anywhere and he has a hundred-fifty glowing reviews on six different internet sites. I don’t understand this. Dread keeps coming over me. I have to pay today or I lose my surgery date. I only have another hour before the manager is gone for the day.” I say.

    Felix’s calm voice hugs me as he says, “Well, it’s a big thing. The nausea doesn’t mean anything. This is just big, you know. You’ve been talking about this for years. You’re probably more ready than you know. Call me back later. Let me know what happens.”

    Bella, my golden retriever puppy, waddles around my legs and licks my bare feet. I think of Felix trying out for an Elvis impersonator gig in Vegas last year. He throws up just before taking the stage and I kiss his neck and tell him he will be great. He is. He doesn’t get that job but several offers for private parties come in for months afterward.

    It is summer in L.A. and the cold air from the wall unit in the living room of my one-bedroom apartment has finally reached my bedroom. I lie down on cool cotton sheets. I take a deep breath. My blond hair needs washing. I need to make the “surgery” call. There it is again. I feel my throat close and I’m barely breathing. Then, like a flash from the camera at last year’s Christmas party, it is twenty years ago, 1992. I remember, when feelings would seem to come from nowhere, I would do a kind of mental exercise where I would talk to myself.

    So I get more comfortable by sending my feet out to search the end of the bed for the coolest spots on the sheets. I begin to let fear filter in as I picture my body sleek, fit, and sexy. I see myself with the body of a woman who can enjoy attention and the heartbeat of attraction. It doesn’t take long. There it is, a ball of knots in my stomach, and I think to myself, “How old are you?” A second more, and, there I am, four years old, dad chasing me around the bathroom. The tickle game. I do everything I can to keep the game going so the scary part won’t start. I feel tears sink into my cheeks on both sides of my face. I hear the voice of the child I used to be tell me of the terror of being “small” again. I reassure her and comfort her. “We’ll wear big Hawaiian shirts, nobody has to know that we are smaller. It’ll be alright. It’ll be alright. No one’s going to hurt you. You don’t have to be fat to be big.” I say.

    Sobs rattle my head and shoulders like soft wind through the blind covering an open window. Slowly, my breathing evens out. A peaceful, even serenity and stillness eases through my whole body.

    I pick up the receiver of the phone. I give my payment information effortlessly to the doctor’s office. Then, I call Felix beaming with pride. That night he shows up with six, size 2X, Hawaiian shirts, a hug, and a smile. A new me is ready to emerge.

    • Diana says

      Janet, I was captivated from the first line. I liked how you structured taking us back in time to 1992 then when you were 4 years old. I loved the line “you don’t have to be fat to be big”
      I loved the ending with you scheduling the surgery and Felix showing up with the Hawaiian shirts.

      • Judy says

        Ditto to what Diana said. Hooked by many of your vivid images. And, to echo others…loved the very happy ending. Thanks for sharing so personal a telling. )

    • Ilana says

      Janet- What an amazing story. How long ago was this? Did you already have the surgery? I am hungry to hear the happy ending. It’s good to hear that you have such a supportive boyfriend in Felix. We, you and I, are both very lucky. If the story’s not over then, good luck to you. I will hope for the best. If it is then, congratulations! IM

      • Janet says

        Thank you for all your responses to, and support for, sharing my writing here. Update: I had the surgery in 2011 and I now live a much healthier life. Though Felix and I are no longer “a couple”, we are forever extended family angels for one another.

    • Gayle says

      Beautifully told…how many of us cover our pain with walls of fat, hiding that scared child. I loved how your inner conversation was so healing, allowing you to free yourself of the final burden of that extra skin.

    • Polly says

      Wow, Janet, thank you for this moving account. This was my bedtime story tonight. I just scrolled down and picked it at random, and I’m glad I did. I have made a habit lately of talking to my younger self when she “shows up” when I’ve had a trigger or flashback, trying to find the most comforting words I can for her. It’s an important skill and I think you nailed it. Well done.

    • Debbie says

      Janet – what a powerful and well told story. I can so identify with the powerful memories trapped in our bodies – holding us back from that which we desire. I was inspired by your insight and courage.

  7. Bill Herr says


    “Go get her, Willy. She’s wing-shot,” Waide said, saluting the blonde at the table across the dance floor at the Bluebonnet by raising the neck of his Lone Star to the brim of his XXX Stetson. In the din of our favorite honky-tonk there wasn’t any way she was going to hear him, and I wasn’t sure I had either.

    “Whadaya mean?” I asked.

    Even now, over 50 years later, I got to say Waide was the finest cocksman ever to come out of Ponykiller County. In fact, he don’t come up too short if I stack him up against all the guys I’ve known since I left the Llano Estacado that same summer at 19. He’d just danced with the blonde, to “Your Cheatin’ Heart” by Patsy Cline as I best remember, and had showed her back to her seat.

    He said, “I’d give Lourine, that’s her name, a go myself I wasn’t picking up Amanda after she gets off at 11:00 down at the Pig Hip. She was to find out, Amanda would scrag me sure.”

    “So what’s wing-shot?” I asked again knowing a big part of Waide’s secret was being able to get a gal’s lowdown and make his ‘will she/won’t she’ evaluation in the three minutes a cowboy song takes. Now I was impatient for him to give me Lourine’s story and tell me what he meant.

    “Her old man’s a flyboy over to the base and is shipping out to Pyongyang or some goddam place next week and she just found out he’s been porking some gal down at the Dairy Queen in Adobe Walls. Must be Doreen, don’t you imagine? Lourine don’t know whether to shit or go blind, to hate him or to love him. Meantime looks to have decided to get shit-faced. You best go on over to her, else one of these Saturday night cowboys is going to pluck her. Name’s Lourine, Willy, and she’s wing-shot. She’s a cripple.”

    So that’s how I broke into the adultery game. What I still don’t know though, is have all unhappy wives been crippled in some particular way? Or are they, like the rest of us who are awaiting triage, just victims of the random assortment of ways we manage to damage each other psychically. I keep on thinking if I could find a common thread, I might tease out my own story. Maybe understand the way in which I am wounded, how I’ve been wing-shot and can no longer fly.

    • says

      Bill, I was so delighted to see your first post here on the Roadmap blog. It brought me immediately back to that sweet room in Esalen where we met. I could immediately imagine your face and your fantastic droll voice reading your incredible stories during that great January weekend. I love your voice, your characters, the vividness with which you populate these very real (but imagined) places. I hope you come back and post your work here again and again!

    • Diana says

      Hi Bill,
      I loved you piece. It took me to another place and time. I loved the masculine voice of your characters and then ending with the question of how we deal with pain.

  8. Judy says

    Thrilled by this week’s prompt: I’ve written about my angel experiences over many years and share this poem written many years ago:

    First Angel on Earth

    Floating on a musical note
    Coming from somewhere to someplace
    Not exactly a longing
    But a tension:
    The merging of the five elements
    Wood, water, fire, metal, earth.

    As The Universe whispered Pachebel’s Canon
    Spirit gliding through The Void and
    Gently landing on The Solid.

    Images of strands
    Plunging deeply into a
    Sweet, moist smelling mixture:
    Is this bliss?

    An expansion
    A push
    A stretch seeking upward and out
    And, finally

    A vibration…just under the music…says

    We’ve landed.

    • Ilana says

      Judy- What beautiful imagery. You had me hooked from the start. The idea of floating on a musical note… and then it just got better from there. It felt like I was being shown an intricate painting, the picture coming clear as I read. Nice job! IM

  9. mariah says

    As much as I would love to write a masterpiece about this prompt, especially after reading some amazing responses, I’ll have to stick with freewriting and see how it flows!

    First I would like to write about Pachamama. (Haven’t yet figured out how to do italics on this thing) Pachamama means “mother earth” or “cosmic mother” in Quechua, the indigenous language of several countries in South America; namely Peru, Bolivia, and parts of Ecuador and Colombia. Last year, aged 20, my best friend and I set out on an open-ended pilgrimage to South America, to expand our horizons and perspectives, and to satiate our desire for adventure. The energy of Pachamama was strong; I felt her gentle love and fierce compassion as I began my personal journey of tapping into my intuition and my Higher Self. Her presence was vibrant as a result of the indigenous peoples sticking to the old ways and exchanging blessings with the cosmos; those who refused to succumb to the Spanish brandishing their Catholicism like their many weapons as they invaded. The indigenous peoples fled to the Andes mountains or deep within the jungles of the Sacred Valley. I was lucky enough to spend a small amount of time with them as my best friend and I traveled through small villages in the jungle on our way to Machu Picchu, and in mountain villages on our way through the Andes to volunteer on a farm.

    The trip was full of unexpected wounds opening up, of issues barking at me face-to-face as I tried my best to give them all the attention they deserve. I consider Pachamama to be my second wing on that trip, allowing me to fly above my own limited perspective on life and myself and to see, truly, the buzzing vibration of all living things. At times it was her hand on my shoulder on lonely nights in Peruvian cafe’s, 20-hour bus rides, and painful resurfacing memories. Her ferocity and unconditional love was nestled in the beautiful and vibrant culture of Latin America of which I enjoyed but a slice.

    The second “wing” that I was considering writing about might turn out to be too painful to share in depth just yet. The wings of twin souls will always droop in a slight melancholy, for never will they grace the same set of shoulders. My sister, my other half and twin soul, bares the other wing between her shoulder blades. As life continues to whisk us along twisting roads and unexpected turns, our twin wings began to fragment, especially on the eve of our adulthood. Boyfriends were like bullets to flight; drugs ripped out soft down under-feathers with its sharp teeth. Distance settled like oil on water; our crystal-clear connection hidden beneath the sediment of Life and the mental instability we both grew up within and around.

    The last bullet struck, the jaws began to tire of chomping on our wings. Life paused, the eye in the storm, until my sister was flooded with Memory, drowning in pain. She began to fly, she had no choice, and I took off with her. Together we face the murky waters of betrayal and broken trust in anything, everything. We have returned to keeping each other afloat, wings overlapping, flapping in unison. Distance still settles, though we have flown through the oil into the sky. It drips from our wings, it’s heavy, and we’ve got to use all of our strength to remain in the air. But we face the storm together. Through the pain, our wings will always fly together, drift apart, always reaching for its counterpart.

    That’s all I’m able to write for now. Thank you for the prompt!

    • says

      Mariah, thanks for sharing your exploration with us. I was particularly moved by your piece because I have a twin sister who died (at only one day old), so the relationship between twins has always fascinated me.

      • mariah says

        thank you, Laura! although my sister and I aren’t technically twins, (she is eighteen months my senior) we share a connection with each other that I’ve only seen on paper when written about actual twins. I am very sorry for the loss of your twin even at such a newborn age. I am sure that he/she would be so proud of you. blessings

    • Judy says

      Maraih, What a powerful poetic piece. I was with you both on so many lines. Thank you for sharing such a deeply moving and painful experience(s).

      • Judy says

        (PS: Pat Monaghan’s book, Goddesses and Heroines doesn’t include Pachamama–you could write the update–just a thought).

    • Debbie says

      Mariah – this is a fantastic line “The trip was full of unexpected wounds opening up, of issues barking at me face-to-face as I tried my best to give them all the attention they deserve” I love the imagery of issues barking at me. Your post was full of deep emotion and longing. Thank you for sharing these powerful images and feelings with us.

  10. Judy says

    Oh, the topic of angels, whether one armed or two, I’ve studied the history of them, the physics of them, and have waltzed, quick-stepped and tangoed–melting into their protective energies throughout my 70 years. This is a sample of my dance card:

    ……..Finalizing departure details for the New Delhi Peace Conference, I suddenly realized that I needed more film; impulsively, I jumped out of my swivel chair, grabbed my house keys and yelled out, “I’m off to the drug store, back in a flash.”

    With film in hand, I headed back home but slowed down to take in the view of people on our front porch. My husband, along with our upstairs neighbors, Debbie, Rudy, their two young sons, and various neighbors were talking excitedly and pointing to the building next door.

    In our driveway was a police car and several cops. On the curb, a fire engine and ambulance; first responders were affixing yellow tape along the courtyard between our brownstone and the building next door.

    “What in the hell happened?” I asked my husband.

    People stopped talking, made a clearance on the stoop as he escorted me into the house. I suddenly felt in a daze and heard him repeating, “You are NOT going to believe this.”

    When I got to my office door, the first thing I noticed was that half the ceiling was missing—there was a hole maybe four-feet-by-four-feet just over my desk. As I stepped into my office, I could see an even larger hole in the ceiling above us, revealing a beautiful blue September sky. A rush of wind tunneled down around us as we entered my office. A whoosh filled the room; probably not unlike the sound accompanying the thunderous crash John heard sitting in living room not a half-an-hour ago.

    Then I saw it: a thirty pound decorative concrete parapet ensconced in the greatly misshapen swivel chair that had seated my fanny before I left for the drug store.

    I was dumbstruck gazing into and around the room. My chills increased tenfold while I fully comprehended the possible outcomes of concrete crashing through our roof, through the apartment above us and finally landing on my chair. I kept repeating, I could have been there, pointing to the chair. No one was hurt, I kept saying to myself before saying it aloud. Greatly shaken, I grabbed John’s arm, we embraced as the fire chief approached to ask me for my statement of the incident. “I’d just gone for film, officer. I was gone only minutes,” I said. He finished his notes and prepared to leave.

    At the front door, he looked at me, sighed and said, “Lady, that’s one fantastic Guardian Angel you’ve got.” I felt a smile arise in my eyes. I pursed my lips, shook my head, yes I said to myself, “Mister, you have no freekin’ idea.”

      • Judy says

        Thank you Diana & Laura, This is part of a ‘linked’ piece (working title) Dances with Angels. This experience (24 years ago) did ‘awaken’ me. I began to realize that I’d been sleepwalking through much of life (hummm, some dear person wrote of this in The Courage to Heal). So, I started writing. On the 2nd question: as Daphne Moon, (sitcom Fraizer) said when asked about her psychic abilities…in her Manchester nasal twang, responded, “Ohhh, it cumes and goooes!” Doing qi gong helps greatly.

  11. Diana says

    “Hey, want to go get some ice cream?”

    “Yeah!” I reply.

    I climb into my grandmothers 1954 Baby Blue Rambler. It’s the last day of school. I just finished 1st grade and my Aunt Jan just completed 9th grade. I settle into the front seat. This is the coolest car. The baby blue exterior is trimmed with gleaming aluminum trim and the vanilla cream upholstery is evenly stitched in a tuck and row design. The steering wheel is as big as the moon and shifts three speed on the column.

    I grin at my aunt. She peers through cat eye glasses and smiles back at me. We activate the 2/40 air conditioner (two windows down at forty miles per hour) against the warm late spring afternoon. She shifts into gear and tunes the radio to AM-KNOE playing my favorite song, “Hey, Hey, We’re the Monkees”.

    We cruise into the A & W and park in a drive up service slot. My aunt orders and the car hop brings the ice cream. Aunt Jan gets soft serve vanilla with chocolate dip. I like mine straight-up. I gingerly grasp the cone. The evenly spaced mile high swirls are topped with a delicate ice cream apostrophe. This has got to be the best day ever.

    We finish our cones. Aunt Jan reaches to turn down the music and says, “I have some bad news.” I look up at her, the ice cream curdles in my stomach and I fight down the nausea.

    “You’re Mom and Dad wanted me to talk to you.” she pauses.I stare back at her, silent panic rising up my spine. “You won’t be going into 2nd grade next year. You are being held back in 1st grade.” I look away stunned and uncomprehending. I have been blindsided.

    Millions of questions flood my mind and I cry. I cry until the tears dry and sting the perennial rash on my checks and then I cry some more. I am embarrassed and humiliated. My newly forming self-esteem is crushed. I know what “held back” means. I failed. I FAILED. Why didn’t my parents tell me?

    We get to my grandmother’s house. We spend the rest of the afternoon watching TV. I play with Aunt Jan’s Barbie and we cut pictures out of magazines. My parents arrive after work to take me home. We get into the car. The drive home is like any other. Our evening proceeds as any other mundane evening. My parents never bring up the topic of school or my failure to progress to 2nd grade. The summer rolls by and I start 2nd grade never having discussed my thoughts or feelings. I don’t know why my parents never talked to me about it.

    Thus began the pattern of difficult like matters being handled by Aunt Jan. Aunt Jan told me about menstruation and what to do about it. Aunt Jan took me to buy my first bra. Aunt Jan told me about boys. Aunt Jan gave me $200 for an abortion.

    I have come to realize that my dad is emotionally incapable of handling difficult situations. He can’t cope with the emotional fallout, so he simply avoids them. My mother thinks children are insentient beings made of Teflon. They were chicken shit.

    I don’t know if Aunt Jan was my wing, but she kept life from totally grounding me.

    • says

      Diana, this was a beautiful and sad story. It began with so much promise–the A&W root beer, the Monkees, the camaraderie between you. And then the devastating blow. I felt it in my gut, just like you did. That’s powerful writing!

    • Judy says

      Diana, I must echo L & M and say I felt the gut punch as well. Very powerful writing. Thank you for sharing this story–every word well placed and so vivid. .

    • Gayle says

      Great imagery. ‘Cat eye glasses’ takes me right back to that era. Sadly, I had to have my son held back a grade–this gave me a glimmer from a child’s point of view.

    • Hazel says

      How lucky for you to have “Aunt Jan”. Aunts can be a great help to girls I think. I had an Aunt Sylvia more companion than Aunt. But mother was still boss.

  12. Gayle says

    It is said that souls travel together through Life Learning Cycles, playing new roles to entice the lesson. When two souls want to learn about unconditional love, they are each given one wing and sent to the Earth School. When they reunite, they fly together, while separate, they struggle on the ground. Through service to the other, each learns this valuable lesson. It may take lifetimes to accomplish this feat.

    Two such souls embarked on a journey over 60 years ago. They met as teens and became instant friends. But, as it is in so many tales, their souls had much to endure before coming together again. Each went on their separate journeys, crisscrossing now and then. Years became decades without a word. Each fell into their own deep chasm–she, isolated on a tiny island, away from those who knew her; he, isolated in a beautiful seaside village, surrounded by many, yet all alone.

    He received a message from out of the blue, which led him on a quest to find her. When she heard his voice for the first time in 25 years, the evil spell that held her was broken. With his help, she left that island prison and didn’t look back. Their wings came together and they were able to take flight, seeing the world with new eyes and full hearts.

    When they landed in his seaside village, she saw that his rescue of her was only part of the mission. It was now her turn to rescue him from his isolation. They began a search for life in Community and deep connections with all resonating souls. Apart, they were broken, together, they lifted each other up, envisioning the lessons of true friendship, trust and service to others. They began to see life as an adventurous, joyful journey.

    They explored the world together until they were called back home.

    • Judy says

      Gayle, This is beautiful—wow! So clearly put forth; so lovingly told; and, a pleasure to read. Earth School–fell that you captured this week’s prompt, oh yes.

    • Michael says

      If I were to try for a hundred years, I couldn’t tell our story any better or more beautifully than you have here.

      The message out of the blue was a beacon to a life I thought was merely fantasy or, at best, wishful thinking. Now, I have my forever friend and and a reality that is the greatest blessing in my life.

      I thought I could fly before we reconnected but it was merely illusion wrapped in lost opportunities. With our wings working together we have soared to heights and adventures that were beyond my imagination. And the universe keeps showing us paths to the next discovery ahead. I have found a love so deep and meaningful and unconditional that I am filled with joy with every breath I take.

      It’s as if the veil of forgetfulness has been lifted and we have recognized each others souls and know that this is meant to be.


      • Janet says

        “Their wings came together and they were able to take flight, seeing the world with new eyes and full hearts.” This is it, the moment that all seemingly separated souls long for. Thank for a most exquisite story. I loved reading it.

    • Hazel says

      Thank you for sharing this story.

      It is told in the fashion of a fairy tale, but I am sure it is true. My favorite line is, ” When she heard his voice for the first time in 25 years, the evil spell that held her was broken.” I knew from that point on it was going to end well.

  13. Hazel says

    What angel ever flew higher than a bi-polar guy having a manic episode? Never gonna’ happen. The bi-polar guy will win every time.

    What angel ever fell any deeper than a woman in the deepest of severe depressions? Never gonna’ happen.

    They met one day in Ottawa, Canada when she was sitting on a bench in the park, soaked with the heavy mist/nearly rain. Tears ran down her cheeks and mingled with the collecting moisture on her face. She didn’t know how long she had been there and she didn’t care. The light had begun to fade and she had become aware of another being approaching her from the side. He was carrying a small branch of holly with some beautiful red cheery berries on it. He bent down and peeked at her; into her bent gaze and smiled.

    “Hi beautiful. What are you doing here, besides getting all wet?” She did not answer.

    “Would you like to go with me and get a cup of steaming hot coffee? I think you need it. You must be nearly frozen.”

    She raised her head. Before her she saw a beautiful young man with reddish brown hair, wearing a tattered leather jacket, bell bottom jeans and platform boots in the style of the day. He was tall and slim and exuded energy. She held out her soggy mittened hand. He took it in his gloved hand and gently pulled her to her feet. She hoped he knew the way to the coffee shop because she certainly didn’t, after all she had only lived in this part of town for a month. She had only been in this country for four months and she had lived on the other side of town until getting her own apartment this last month. He probably didn’t know how old she was, he looked very young, but he didn’t seem to care.

    From that time on, forty years ago, they have flown together. Through all the ups and downs; through psychological episodes, which have mostly been his, she has taken care of him, kept him grounded; through physical problems, which have mostly been hers, he has taken care of her, taken her hand and pulled her along.

    Although they are both Cancers and that is not supposed to work, they have become forever intertwined to a point sometimes it feel like Siamese Twins must feel. She could never have become the artist she is without his support and help, and he could never have accomplished getting his Ph. D. without her assistance and encouragement. Together they are more than the sum of there parts.

    They have tattered wings and tired souls but they are beautiful together.

    • Terry Gibson says

      This story makes me feel so happy. I can imagine the Ottawa park, the moment of meeting, and all that followed, seemingly from a magnetic beam. Weathering so much. Loving each other through it. And–especially inspiring to me–is all that can be accomplished by someone with a ‘mental illness’ (a term I loathe) who has support, encouragement, and an unconditional love through another; better yet, you can be ‘high functioning’ enough to return love, commitment, and a deep respect to that person. Your piece gives me hope, Hazel, especially for days when that is in short supply. Thank you so much!

      • Hazel says

        At the time this story began she thought her life was over. She could see his brilliance, even though it was not apparent to anyone else that knew him at that time. She made a commitment that above all else everyone would come to know what she knew, his family, his friends, and his co-workers. It has come to pass.

        It is interesting that everywhere they go they are known as “Hazel-and-Peter” as if it were one name. When they used to go to church they were always asked to join the singles for social events, and after service lunches.

        Now in their old age, she relies on him to help her. He is always there willing and extends a helping hand.

        He still flies, but not so high.
        She still cries, but not so much.

        Thank you for your comment.

        • Terry Gibson says

          Hazel, I have to ditto Laura on the beauty of this whole piece. For me, it is poetic, but not overtly so. The impact! My spirits still soar by re-reading it and then your comment, eyes fill with tears and my throat chokes up. All is so exquisite, only now tempered with a dab of reality, this spinning world and the dogged setting suns.

    • says

      Hazel, ditto to what Terry said. I found this so encouraging and positive. So much for people being “broken.” I love how this couple healed each other and have been doing so for decades now. Very moving story. Thank you.

    • mariah says

      Ms. Hazel, this was so beautiful and left me with a few sparkling tears as well. it fills me with hope and encouragement, thank you for sharing!

    • Judy says

      Hazel, Hooked by your opening lines and the reading pleasure just continued. What an honor to read your story. Your words paint a beautiful picture of inspiration, pair bonding, love and respect. May I echo the words of others here–your comments add greater depth. Thank you.

    • Hazel says

      Thank you everyone for your comments. I am always overwhelmed by the responses to what I write. I think that maybe no one is interested in me or what I have done and then, WOW!

      Thank you for the validation.

  14. Fran Stekoll says

    Cheerful Cherubs
    I know some Cheerful Cherubs
    They smile at me each day
    They brighten up my moments
    enlighten my path along the way
    They are cheerful cherubs
    their glow lights up the room
    They’re positive and happy
    not full of doom and gloom
    The cherubs who enlighten me
    are happy, positive and gay
    they make my life worth living
    and influence all I do each day
    Their light shines through every pore of their being
    And I’m enriched and fulfilled by their presence
    All I have to do is open my eyes and enhance my seeing
    They’re everywhere, they’re contagious, enhance my existence
    They’re such a positive influence on my life
    Because of them, I’m a Cheerful Cherub too
    And I hope I’ve shared their influence on you.

    • Judy says

      Hi Fran, Thanks for the Cheerful Cherub dust….we will walk lighter today because of your lyrical poem. Love these lines: ‘All I have to do is open my eyes and enhance my seeing . They’re everywhere, they’re contagious, enhance my existence.’

      Ahh, yes, ahh, yes!

  15. Suzanne says

    My sister has a badly injured wing. Because my wings are more able to fly I go about looking for ways to make my sister’s flight less painful for her. I fly ahead and look for safe places for her to rest. I scout about for food to nurture her. Because of my concern for my sister I adjust our flight to allow for creative kinds of healing modalities. I fly along side her and behind her singing words of encouragement and love.

    All the while I am focused on her and making her as comfortable and high-flying as possible something amazing happens. My sister’s wing mends and becomes strong before my eyes. And simultaneously our attention is drawn to my wings. While bathing in healing waters with my sister I notice festering wounds in my wings that I had not noticed before.

    How long has my pain gone unnoticed? How deep are these wounds that have been long-denied? Carefully, and with loving hands, my sister applies her hands to my wounds. While I was focused on our flight path she was dwelling in the world of pain, an apprentice to Love and Source and the healing arts of Divine Grace. Newly graced with healing power, together we laugh and celebrate the adventure of our journey. And then we take flight and fly higher than our grandest dreams.

    • Hazel says

      This is a beautiful story and I thank you for sharing it. I believe it is the power of the two hearts that allows the wings to take us higher when we are coupled.

      Loved it.

    • Judy says

      Suzanne, Sister bonds are truly remarkable and your telling is filled with love and deep meaning. Thank you for sharing it here.

  16. Terry Gibson says

    It was Friday night at the bar and I loved it. My team just won a baseball game and afterwards, we always danced until dawn. I ran down the steps two at a time, being so eager for a cold beer and friends for company.

    When I found a table, I plunked my pack underneath. A thin woman, with hair that rocketed in every direction, and a belt buckle to die for, headed my way. She dropped a clean ashtray in front of me. “Hi Trigger.”

    “How’re you doing, Terry? Did you guys win tonight?” She wiped my table.

    “You’d better believe it,” I replied, laughing.

    The place was filling fast and the music ran through my body in an instant. I wanted to dance.

    “Gotta light?” a young auburn haired woman asked. I reached into my right jeans pocket and produced a lighter; I didn’t smoke, but liked keeping one on hand, just to be helpful, you understand. Intrigued, I flicked the yellow lighter and held the flame up close to her cigarette. “No, you don’t do it that way.” Her gorgeous brown eyes flashed me a smile.

    Okay, I thought. Taking a breath. Who is this person?

    We tried again. “You hold the fire up … that’s right.” I’m amused. “Now, I rest my hand on yours, seemingly to steady us both …,” she went on, while I noticed her big radio-voice. I could hardly contain my huge smile. Were we on camera?

    “ … like so, but just before you do the actual lighting, stop a few seconds,” which she did. “… stare into my eyes,” which she did. “… and notice my lips.” She inhaled deeply as I exhaled. “Perfect!”

    It was all I could do not to dump a full glass of cold water right over my head.

    I never knew what hit me! This stunning woman–a dead-ringer for a young Liza Minelli– and I wrapped our slightly broken limbs around each other about a month later. Whatever was between us, we would lust and love it out, until the expiration of this gift, this loan.

    We held each other firmly, and with great care, for twenty-one years. Now? Our love and respect for each other is still abiding. An eternal flame. Change, however, has shaken us up. Is it in the cards for us to soar again?

    • Dianne Brown says

      Oh Terry, that was awesome! I actually held my breath and I held her hand as you described that moment . . . what a fabulous telling of an event that freeze-frames a part of our soul.

      Thanks, Dianne

    • beverly boyd says

      Terry, I loved this story, the pace was great.
      I particularly liked your description of the waitress with hair that rocketed in every direction…
      and…wrapped our slightly broken limbs around each other about a month later…
      As laura said…it sizzled!

    • Diana says

      Awesome story. I love the “hair rocketed in every direction” description. Intriguing and beautifully paced piece.

    • Terry Gibson says

      Thanks everyone. Must admit, last night we had an embarrassed but happy laugh at the whole story. :) Wish I left that last para. right off. Then everyone would say: So …? And …? :)

    • Debbie says

      Terry – what a fun, sensual and tender piece. It just flowed and I enjoyed it. Now to find a cup of cold water!

  17. Debbie says

    It was only the middle of August but already I was more nervous than a cat in a room full of rocking chairs! Anytime a calendar caught my eye, it seemed Labor Day weekend exploded off the page as if the whole weekend was being lit by handfuls of sparklers. There it was in big, bold letters – September 2nd & 3rd, almost screaming at me in defiance. As those around me began to speak excitedly of plans for the upcoming holiday, I could only shrink deeper inside myself struggling to maintain a semblance of interest in their conversation.

    These were the dates I had dreaded for the past twelve months. Ever since when , a year ago, my partner had casually announced that there were no special plans for this day that had always been special to us. In fact, it seemed the observation of our twenty-six years together had actually outlasted the relationship itself. Frozen in stunned silence it actually took a while for the words to sink into my reality. I remembering standing up, wordlessly, walking back the bedroom we had shared and slipping off my rings. Now only hollow reminders of the promises we made, fading dreams of the future.

    I didn’t cry. Actually I couldn’t cry. Everything was shut down, numb. “So this is really it?”, I remember thinking to myself. We are finally letting go. Our lives, as we had known them, were about to forever change. I was still sitting alone in the gathering dusk as I heard the sound of the her car, rounding the downstairs corner of the house and heading down the driveway. Away. She was driving away to something, or someone else.

    Now, twelve months later, the long running joke about our anniversary actually being two days versus the more traditional one only heightened the anticipatory grieving. We had always bantered back and forth about whether our formal commitment was consummated on the day we started or in the dawn’s light as the evening finally ended. Guess it really didn’t matter anymore. Like a lot of other rituals, that one, too, had fallen by the wayside. One day, two days – there were just dates on a calendar now stripped of significance, except to my heart.

    Worried that this first anniversary alone would be difficult for me, I had sheepishly reached out to my brother for support. It started innocently enough. Knowing he was still reeling from the recent, and unexpected death of his wife, I suggested he come to visit me in California. It would be far away from the familiar, a safe harbor from the memories that were haunting him. Agreeing, he asked me if there was a better time for him to plan to come. I only hesitated a moment before suggesting he come over Labor Day weekend. Both of us reeling from our losses. Both finding ourselves suddenly single at an age where we had envisioned the warm comfort of a long time companion. I was not equating my life changes with his by any means. It just seemed like we might fit together better now.

    He was due to arrive that Friday before Labor Day, midday. I spent the morning literally locked in my office at work. I could not speak to anyone without starting to tear up. Being vulnerable is not something I am particularly good at. It was easier to retreat behind a closed door allowing co-workers to think I was aloof than to break down in front of folks who had only known me for a few months. I can’t count the number of times I offered up a prayer of gratitude that Bill was actually coming and that I wouldn’t be spending the coming days alone. I cried all the way to the airport. Little did I know those were to be my last tears of the weekend.

    By the time we got back to the apartment, I was already feeling better. We put the top down and were laughing about family foibles, of which there are plenty! I had arranged an afternoon massage for him, as I had to return to work. Then later that evening we headed out to a comedy club for the evening, something neither of us had ever done before. Being a firm believer in the power of distraction therapy, I had booked us a whale watching boat trip for the next morning. Bill and I were enjoying each other’s company as never before. Both of us broken yet finding away to fly together, each with our single wing.

    And so, as we finally arrived back to the condo late on Saturday afternoon, we were pleasantly tired and sublime. Approaching the kitchen counter, I could see the dog walker had brought in a package. Even from a distance I could tell it was going to be full of flowers. Suddenly, my calm shattered, stomach twisting into knots, I opened the card fully expecting it to be from her, my now ex-partner, along with some special message that would once again tear my heart askew.

    But a wondrous gift awaited me instead. These flowers were not dredged up from my past, tying my energy to a relationship that had run its course. No! These blooms were from my present! From someone who had listened and, then, remembered my fear and anxiety about this coming “un-anniversary”. An “un-anniversary”. Somehow naming it made it less intense, no longer scary. I wasn’t invisible after all.

    Smiling and grabbing my brother in a huge hug, I gave thanks for all of the “broken” angels in my life who understood how it feels to hurt and, also, how much difference a simple act of kindness can make.

    • beverly Boyd says

      This was so beautifully told. I had a lump in my throat through all of it. Thank you for sharing this story about mutual support even with only one wing apiece!

    • Terry Gibson says

      Debbie, this story flows so naturally. I love the ease of your conversational tone and your descriptions (“more nervous than a cat in a room full of rocking chairs!”). Both outcomes were amazing! There is nothing better than getting a surprise that rocks you right out of your socks! And one so validating and self-affirming too! I love those. Thanks for sharing this. Sending you a hug.

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