more than a little

Vinnie was just a small boy when I dreamed an entire cake had been smashed into his face. Well, in the dream he was a boy—maybe 5 or so—but in reality we were already adults. A couple years later when we were celebrating his sons 3rd birthday with cake and ice cream and his son dove his face into his cake, I suddenly recollected the dream I’d had years before.

It made me smile.

Vinnie is a good brother to me and we were always quite inseparable. That’s why one dream that I’d had on more than one occasion growing up didn’t make much sense to me:

There’s a building. A school perhaps. I’m inside a car. Windows rolled down. Daddy is there, but not Vinnie.

I had the same dream more than once and I always felt a little off whenever I woke remembering it.

Does that happen to you? Do you dream about something vividly and then forget about it until something in real life happens to bring you back to that dream? Or is that just me?

Because the unsettling dream that Vinnie wasn’t a part of came back to haunt me recently: I was sitting in my Toyota with the windows open waiting for my daughter to exit school. It was Tuesday and on Tuesdays we have to band together so I can whisk her off to gymnastics. I heard the school bell ring, but instead of seeing the school building she attends, it was the building from the dream I’d had 15 years ago.

Daddy is there. He’s talking to little girls. And he’s walking toward me and the car with little girls by his side. The door to the school opens and a little girl looks directly at me and smiles and runs toward me.

It’s my little girl.

The flash from the past is gone, but I’m left feeling a little off… more than a little, actually.

 

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this bit of flash fiction brought to you by the fine prompts at

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the summer before sixth grade

The car wouldn’t start so Mama shoved a red gas can in my hand, along with a five dollar bill, and told me to go to the gas station across from my school several blocks away. We were about to pile into the car to go to Mama and Melinda’s work where we sat at long tables with telephones, big phone books, paper and pens.

I needed to hurry so we wouldn’t be too late.

Melinda, 7 years older than me, and Mama lit cigarettes and went back to the front porch of the house while I left for the gas station.

It was early so there wasn’t a lot of traffic or people walking about. The sky was clear and the hot sun was making its way over the houses across from us. I walked the sidewalk down our one-way street swinging the gas can in one hand while clutching the five dollar bill in the sweaty palm of my other hand. When I neared the end of the block where my friend Jennifer lived, I crossed the street and looked back toward my house. I noticed someone in a baseball cap crossed the street too.

I kept walking the four blocks to the gas station and every so often, I’d turn around to see if the person in the cap was still there.

He was and he was getting closer to me.

I made my way to the main street where there was a lot of traffic, and half a block from the gas station, I turned around one last time and that’s when it became clear that this man wearing a Chicago White Sox baseball cap was following me.

I quit swinging the gas can and started running as fast as I could.

Just as I turned into the gas station, I felt someone grab my arm that held onto the gas can.

The can dropped to the ground.

I turned to scream and under the baseball cap I could see a face clearly for the first time: it was a man with a mustache and green eyes.

It was my father.

“It’s okay,” he said in his thick Italian accent which added an Ah sound to most words. “I just wanted to see if I could help.”

“What are you doing here?” I asked Papa who hadn’t lived with us for months and should’ve been at his downtown job.

“I saw you were getting gas, I wanted to help.”

He took the can from me and filled it with gas, before paying the cashier.

“You keep that money,” he told me. “But don’t tell your mama you have it.”

“Why were you following me like that? You really scared me.”

“I just wanted to help.”

He gave me a hug and reminded me to tuck the money away so Mama wouldn’t see it.

“I miss you,” he said.

“I do too but that was really scary.”

“Hurry back so they don’t worry. Be a good girl.”

We hugged again and I turned around and walked back home alone where neither Mama nor Melinda could hold back their annoyance over how long they waited for the gas.

 

challenge120

sign of the times: #wah

I’m not even sure how many times I’ve come here today to write. Well, not really here so much as a Word document, but the point is that I want to write. I really, really do.

I’ve got a word I could use from the fine folks at Trifecta.

I’ve got up to 600 words I could conjure for the peeps at Yeah Write.

There’s the Daily Prompt thingie here on WordPress.

And MamaKat‘s writing prompts for Thursday.

But nothing is striking my fancy.

I’ve started and stopped and deleted and rewritten and backspaced so many words. But nothing is striking my fancy enough to hit that Publish button.

What’s the deal with that?

Life’s not miserable enough?

Seriously, I can bitch up a storm when the time arises, but if nothing’s “wrong” then I can’t seem to write.

So damn frustrating.

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I didn’t hit the Publish button yesterday for that there above little bit of nothingness. Instead, I tried sitting down today and putting pen to paper.

 hand write

(actual image of what I hand wrote)

Maybe that would inspire me?

 

hand write close

(close up of beautiful handwriting that took me several times reading to decipher what the hell I actually wrote)

 

Problem is just what I thought: a) my handwriting is atrocious, b) my hand is so not used to using a pen anymore that it cramps only after a couple sentences and c) I just don’t know what to write about.

#wah

hipster love

anelephantcant

source: anelephantcant

He glides in on a rusty bike, old enough to match the jacket he’s wearing. As he nears the frayed tree, he hops off the bike and drops the cigarette dangling from his lips to the ground, killing it with the sole of his Chucks.

“Why you gotta add to the array of butts?” she spits from behind the bar, tattoo-sleeved arm wiping the counter.

He rolls his eyes and sits on the stool, opens his book and starts to read.

“You gotta order somethin, man. Why we gotta do this every fuckin time?”

“Just marry me already,” he says to the book.

 

friday-fictioneers

at least it’s just that i’m middle aged

The past several months I’ve noticed that I’m doing that thing I always saw old people do—either take their glasses off when reading something or move whatever it is they’re trying to read far away from them.

It’s embarrassing because I realize that I’m now one of those old people (but really it’s “just” that I’m middle aged… right?).

Whoa.

I posted something about this on Facebook along with a celebratory status for my 6th wedding anniversary early in June. Someone was kind enough to private message me that the same thing was happening to him (he’s 47) and he finally gave in and got bifocals. He insists bifocals have come a long way and nobody has to even know that’s what I’m wearing.

Joy.

He also insisted I should really look into it as it was one of best things he’d ever done for himself—get bifocals.

Fun. Sign me up.

Truth is, I don’t really care if people know I’m wearing bifocals; I just want to be able to see things the way I’m used to seeing them. And I need to find the time and money to get myself to an eye doctor.

What’s bothering me more than this vision thing as I’m getting older is the Essential Tremors I think I’m starting to endure.

Earlier this year I noticed Mama’s head was shaking a lot, something my grandmother (Oma) had to deal with for most of my life. At first I thought maybe she was just anxious: Oma, whom she lived with and took care of, was dying. But then I realized it was more than that. Mama has tremors. Same as Oma. Same as Oma’s mother who passed when I was around 7. (I don’t remember much about my great-grandmother, but the image of her sitting in a chair shaking can never be erased.)

Oma’s tremors were quite noticeable. Naïve people like my nephew thought she had Parkinson’s disease. Nope. Hers wasn’t as degenerative. It just was kind of awkward because unless she was sleeping, her hands and head shook a lot, and it got to the point that she could barely sip coffee without it spilling out everywhere. Mama told me that it took Oma over an hour to sign the last birthday card she hand wrote—because of the shaking.

It was especially hard to watch near the end.

The days following Oma’s passing, Mama, my sister and I talked a lot about family. And the tremors came up. I told Mama that there’s medication one can take to stop them and then I told her I’d noticed she was shaking. Mama agreed that she was noticing it more and more too. Then my sister chimed in that she’s currently on the medication I was referring, it lowers blood pressure and controls these tremors which she (my sister) was noticing in herself!

At the time (only a couple months ago), I thought I might escape it—like I escaped the thinning hair (so far). But then, within the past month or so, I’m noticing that I can sort of feel the shaking. Like it’s coming from within. And when I hold a cup of coffee in my left hand (especially), the fucking cup shakes a bit. And if I try to concentrate on holding the cup, it shakes so much that it kind of freaks me the fuck out.

Ugh.

This growing old shit is for the birds.

 

 

challenge118

 

Ant Soup

Every summer day after waking and eating whatever I could find in the empty house, I’d run over to Cheryl’s house and we’d use the huge, empty flower pot on her front stoop and fill it with water, dirt, rock, and grass. Then we’d start collecting ants and roly poly bugs and whatever else we could capture, and dump them in. I’d find a huge stick to stir the Ant Soup and we’d pretend to be making the world’s most precious delicacy—instead of the brown sludge it was. We did this a lot during the summer months when Ma was out working.

Since nobody was allowed at my house (we didn’t have electricity or much food most days anyway), I’d always end up at Cheryl’s or Jenny’s house (they lived across the street from one another) a couple blocks away. And if we weren’t making Ant Soup, we were always doing something that made us laugh.

Life was good when we were 9.

Cheryl or Jenny would usually sneak me some food, and I’d hang out with the Ant Soup or riding my bike through the alleys until they were allowed back outside to play. Then we’d ride bikes, serve the Ant Soup, play with Barbies, try acting like we didn’t want to play with the boys in town, etc until the street lights came on, telling us it was time to get home.

Cheryl and Jenny were the girls who taught me about the game where you couldn’t step on a crack in the sidewalk or you’d break your mother’s back. They’d walk the sidewalk, jumping here and there trying so hard to avoid stepping on a crack. I played along for the most part, but not as hard as they did. And when it was time to go home, when I was alone, I’d jump down the sidewalk when I wasn’t riding my bike. I’d jump so hard onto the cracks.

If Ma’s back broke, maybe she’d finally be home.

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ole, ole ole ole

As a first generation born American whose parents hail from Austria and Italy respectively, I grew up a huge soccer fan.

It was more than a love of the game, it was like the game was a part of who I was.

We went to professional games, we all played in the alley during summer nights. I even was the only girl in a soccer league (before they had girl teams).

I loved soccer.

I still do.

I still feel passionate about the game, but not so much like before.

Before, this story here wouldn’t be so shocking to me. In a way, it’s not so shocking because I know–I really know–how passionate people can get about this game. But the absolute horror that occurred? That’s pretty fucking barbaric and unacceptable. And a disgrace to soccer fans around the world.

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Daily Prompt: Fandom

“i want to fly like an eagle”

Scotty was in Ma’s life for a long time, coming by whenever he wanted to get laid. Or maybe when he was hungry… or needed to wash some clothes… or needed to get away from his other girlfriend(s?).

Ma knew this about him; she knew she wasn’t his only lover. But she always opened the door and her legs to him.

One time she did the same for a friend he brought over as well.

I’ll never forget the summer day when I came home from working at the grocery store, and walked in on this strange dirty blonde haired guy sitting next to Ma on the small loveseat while Scotty sat on the couch. There was bottles of Jack and cans of Miller on the coffee table, overfull ashtrays, and the ceiling fan was on full speed.

As soon as I walked in through the front door, Scotty jumped up and swaggered over to me.

“Heyyy,” he sneered. “Can I talk to you for a second?”

I felt tipsy from the stench of his breath.

He grabbed my arm and led me out the patio door before I could answer. He sat down on the steps leading off the dilapidated deck and motioned for me to join him. I wasn’t sure what was going on so sit down I did. He started mumbling about something in his drunken stupor and I turned to look back toward the living room whereupon I saw Ma’s naked body straddling the dirty blonde haired dude on the loveseat.

Mortified, horrified, dumbfounded and befuddled, I immediately turned away to find a cigarette to light.

Scotty mumbled something about how Trent was about to have to go to prison and needed some comfort.

I felt like someone had punched me so hard that I fell to the ground and I was looking up at someone starting to fly into the air before stomping down on top of me.

I would be stampeded to death unless I could disappear.

 

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both trifecta and the daily prompt are to thank for inspiring this post.