Changes of Color

Back by D. Bently 

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The trees change color around me

leaves fall and I feel that each

floats like a feather to the moist ground

gracefully carrying us to the new year

 

yellow, orange, and deep red

surround me in this foreign patch of

grass-tall fir trees tower above

 

they creak as the wind blows them

this and that way…

pacific northwest winds swoop in

the cool breeze brushes my bare arms

my grandfather’s military green sweater

oversized, itchy wool, a bit musty

wraps me in memories

 

barefoot I stand,

soil cold and wet

pine needles cover the path

McDonald Forest is my place

of solitude this morning

 

I look up to the sky

guarded by tree branches

eyes closed I can picture

beyond the pine needles

 

comforted by the silence

I walk for about an hour

and then back again

wind picking up and the chill

makes me quiver and shake

 

my worries swirl around me

stolen by the air

time comes to mind

I try to push it out

forcefully, I fail

 

the hustle and bustle not forgotten

I was unaware for hours

In the breeze, in nature

nothing seems to matter

where I can just be stand

in this moment

d.t.k

I am Happy for That…

 

Don’t Want to Miss a Thing by Aerosmith

There was a time in my life that I stepped away and pulled back from all the people who loved me. I felt stuck in the life I had chosen and couldn’t talk to anyone about it.  I was stubborn at my young age and was trying to convince myself that if I just pushed forward it would all workout.

I was falling deeper and deeper into an abyss of darkness and depression and unconsciously began to give up, thinking why would anyone want to hear me talk about this deep dark sadness that no one would understand in hearing.  I was so tired of people telling me to just go work out and everything would feel better and be better.

I had thought about my first marriage starting with this burden but had told myself it was the only way.  What a crazy thought right? I actually had to convince myself to go through with the wedding.

I sat in this beautiful white dress with a vail draped over one shoulder, eating apple slices, and I was in such a state of panic that I couldn’t contain my nerves and started to have a panic attack.  My dear friends and sister were in that room and after I took my anxiety medication, the chaos and stress seemed to slip away.  It was as if I was looking through rose colored glasses.  Everything was blurry but I felt okay. I was ready to walked down the isle.

When I look back now I wonder how many people thought that marriage was a bad idea.  On my side or his side, I am sure there were both.  His eyes were welled with tears when I walked to face him and my dad kissed my cheek and presented me to him.  Giving me to him and I stood there wanting my dad to say no but he did not.

We got through the vows, the rings, the first kiss, and back down the isle to sign the marriage license. The music swirled around us, people eating and enjoying the venue and love that filled the room that everyone was feeling made me dishonest.  I knew that I loved this man but there were too many barriers, too many reasons I should have said no, and they hurt we had caused each other already was unrepairable.

There was a scuffle about what to cut the cake with and why his mother had to be involved, and a gift was given to my new husband but not to me…it was only for him. I cried in the parking lot as his real father and step mom were leaving. Wasn’t this supposed to be the best day of my life?? Why was I hurting so much and why was I alone?

Soon after our married life began, after the honeymoon, we were home trying to fix the problems we had before.  They didn’t get better, easier, or go away.  They, in fact, got worse. We both tried to figure things out but papers were signed, Thanksgiving my family moved me out of our house in the pouring rain. The rain felt right on a day like that, I was exhausted with my own tears so the rain helped because I was numb.  I was numb and I was empty.

I would love to tell you that love won out in end, we had some amazing reconciliation, but we didn’t.  There is more to this story but today I’m not ready to go any deeper.  As I still feel this sense of loss for the mistakes I made, the part I took in breaking the “us” we once were. I can say, that he is happy and I am happy for that!

The Cassette Tape…

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As a 13 year old girl, I thought no one could hurt me. I enjoyed school, sports, band and hanging out with friends. I felt awkward at times as any new teen would but I felt secure with my surroundings, felt safe, and I felt invisible. My favorite thing to do was socialize with my friends and play sports.

I woke one particular morning in May, I got ready for school I listen to a mix tape a friend had given me, and I hummed and danced to the music as I picked out my clothes for the day. I remember putting on my favorite acid-washed jeans with a t-shirt and sweat shirts, I particularly remember that morning feeling like summer was coming soon as the sun broke through the curtains on the windows.

My sister yelled from the bathroom, “if you want a ride to school, you better be ready in five minutes.” I raced around my mess in our room, throwing things in my backpack, pushed stop on the cassette player that I had been listening to and remembered that my friend had wanted me to bring it back to her that week but I hadn’t gotten a chance to record it yet so, I left it on the player.

My sister and I drove to school, she dropped me that morning in the high school parking lot and I walked the short distance down the bike path between the middle and high school. The sun was out, warm on my face and I was excited for the start of a new week.

As I walked to school, I notice that just beyond the soccer field to my left, long yellow caution tape lined the tree line. It seemed to stretch almost the entire length of the field and I remember thinking it seemed strange and out of place but I didn’t really give it a second thought. I had been so excited to see the cute blonde haired, blue eyed boy I had a crush on.

I walked through the double doors at the end of the hall and I headed straight for my locker and as I fumbled with the dial to open my locker. A friend approached me with tears streaming down her face and asked me if I had heard. In my head, “I thought heard what.” I assumed it was something about her being dumped by the boy she liked. Why was she so hysterical?

Instead what fell from her lips, stopped time in my 13 year old life? I was still but trembling and I remember saying, “what are you talking about, how, why, what, where,” and my heart began to race. I felt light headed, sweaty, and nervous, my body was without response.

I walked to the band room and one of my favorite teachers’ was not in her classroom. I then walked the inner quad of the building and saw that on two walls outside my math room they were covered with white paper and I could see through the door that students and staff were inside her class. A few students retreated from inside, walked directly to the wall covered in paper and started to write something on the walls. Memories of …….. And on the other side they wrote, Feelings of ….. .

I leaned against the wall, felt my body collapse slowly down the side of the wall where I sat slumped over, my head in my hands. I was burning up, numb to everything around me. My favorite science teacher walked passed, he helped me up off the floor, hugged me with a tight long squeeze, he didn’t pull away and as my tears soaked into his light blue shirt, I said, “I need to see my sister, I need her, I need her.” In my heaving chest, racing heart, sweaty palms he aided me to the front office desk and gave me a pass, as I walked out the front door, he said “I will call the high school and let them know you need to see your sister immediately.”

I walked quickly to the high school, back down the bike path that I just walked earlier that morning and past the same yellow caution tape,. This time when I passed it, walking in completely parallel to whatever horror happened behind it, I noticed a few police cars and I started to run.

I made it to the high school, I threw open the door the students buzzed around inside, it seemed strangely loud and I walked into the office, announced who I was and through my hysterical state my sister walked to my side and I collapsed in her arms. I let go and the tears came like a heavy down pour as I tried to explain what was happening at the middle school and remember wanting an answer from her.  We moved into the principal’s office where we sat, she held me, and everything inside of me was empty.  I was so confused.

Did my friend really get murdered? How? When? Why? Who? My mind went to the mix tape I left at my house that morning that she wanted returned to her. The yellow caution tape told me where she took her last breaths and I looked to my sister, “Can we go home?”

We drove home, the car was silent, it seemed so hot but the heat wasn’t on and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. My heart was broken but even now I can’t find the right words or perhaps the full magnitude of how it felt. We pulled in the drive way, my sister brought me in the house and I went straight to our shared room. I sat on my bed and my eyes fell to the sight of the mix tape sitting on my cassette player.

I knew her laugh, her smile, her generosity, and how everyone always laughed when they were with her. And she was gone. I would never see her again, never hear her voice, see her smile or never laugh with her again. I was in shock. I felt numb, empty, and in complete disbelief.

I would never see life the way I used too, never feel free from fear, and I learned that day and still to this day that no knows what life has in store for us tomorrow.

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Out of protection of the family and friends that had  go to through this and all the surrounding people that had to deal with this and still do. I cannot share any more of this real-life story out of respect. I pray for this family every day think of them often and every year that passes I visit her grave with that same cassette tape early in the morning and play that song. Every year I shed tears for her and her family.  Many prayers to you all. She will never be forgotten.

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On her good days he is there.

When she feels like the weight of the world is baring down on her shoulders, when taking another step seems impossible, and when she feels empty inside he passes through her in her mind, her body, and her heart, she feels nothing.

There are a million little things about life to cheer for to be excited about and to be present in every moment this is required.  Let your shit go and just live. Who you are drifts – back like a heavy fog in the trees or across the highways and you slow to a crawl because you cannot see.

She can see but not in color. Everything is grey. Every once in awhile there are faded rainbow shades of color that sneak back in, then she blink and it’s gone.  There isn’t a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow but quick sand that pulls her deeper and deeper. She swims in cold water and something keeps grabbing her ankles and pulls her head under. She can’t breathe and  she is stuck in the darkness.

On her bad days he leaves her. Its been happening for years and he has lost something in her and she in him.  The heaviness in her chest bares down and she drops to her knees, holding herself up by her arms locked at the wrist in the rain covered cement.

Please come back her.

Metal Gate

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We drove for miles, tracing the road with one headlight. In the front of the car there was chatter of fumbles, passes, and touchdowns during that night’s game. The asphalt curved around a bend in the road beneath the 80’s Honda Hatchback.  A dent in the front bummer from rear-ending someone.

The night was so dark, the windows were down and I could see my breath in the crisp moonlight.  She sat next to me, long locks of blonde hair curled around each ear, she smiled and giggled at the conversation in the front seats.  I never knew why because the conversation wasn’t funny.

She was so much fun and for a shy girl who never really knew where she fit, this was the girl everyone wanted to be around.  She was something!  She was beautiful, she was my friend, and her energy and laughter were magnetic.

Maybe that is how I found myself in this car. She liked this boy so much and I came with “her” to keep her company. The driver turned his conversation to her and he reached back with one hand and stroked her leg.  I was so cold, the window still down and the first words I spoke were, “please, roll the window up.”

The other guy, there to amuse me, I assume, didn’t seem to want to talk but I guess, neither did I. The road turned to gravel and it felt like we were driving on uneven ground for miles but to tell you the truth I have no idea where we even were…at all.  I had this uneasy feeling as we started up a hill and around a corner, the car slowed and we stopped in front of a huge metal gate like the entrance to a spectacular home.

We all got out of the car, it was still and quiet. Tree branches crackled under our feet, overgrown with weeds we found our way around the gate. He held her hand and the other tried to hold mine but I pulled away. Bats above our heads and the wind blew threw the trees sending the fall leaves to the ground. We continued on the incline up the hill, I was shaking partly from the cold and partly out of fear.

We broke off into couples and as we walked further we found the foundation of what looked to be the beginning of a building. We stepped further, he grabbed for my hand and this time, I took his. We crested a hill and found what seemed to be three walls of a home.  We stood there on the wooden floor in the center of this building.  The floor was covered in leaves, branches had fallen, two-by-fours cast about…I looked up to the darkness and closed my eyes. Whatever this place was, it had been abandoned and it seemed like years since anyone had been there.

The Douglas fir trees whispered around me and I caught a glimpse of the moonlight. I heard giggling from somewhere in the darkness. I turned around to face him and before I could speak he kissed me.

We never spoke again.