safe 2

This is a follow-up to “safe” and was written because Trent asked for more.  I don’t know if this will be the end of it or if I will continue to come back to this character.  We’ll just have to, as always, see where the words take us.

……………………………

She woke to the scratch of the sun on her hand, absentmindedly trying to brush it away with no success.  Her eyes cracked against the glare, to glare at the offending stray beam of light splashed across her flesh.  Scowling she withdrew her hand and curled away from the day but sleep would not come back to her and a few minutes later she sat up and took stock of her surroundings.

It was later than she had expected, which is why the sun had found her in the alcove of the now defunct store.  Not unlike the carts that used to be returned on a nightly basis, she found her way there most evenings to find her rest.  The world, people and cars, bustled nearby, visiting the shops that were still open in this dying strip mall.  Without the flagship, the others would close eventually unless a new grocer came in to fill the vacancies.  She had seen it go both ways before.

Her pack was where she’d left it.  She was grateful for that but had learned how to get by without her few possessions.  Her current pack, a purple and ragged affair, was not her first and would not be her last.  Things had a way of walking off in the middle of the night.  That truth was part of living on the streets.

Fishing a cigarette from her dwindling pack, she struck a match and pulled in the smoke, filling her lungs with warmth, before releasing it to the wind.  She watched the smoke disappear before taking another drag.  It was a nicotine breakfast kind of day again.  Her stomach hardly argued with her much anymore and this morning was no exception.  She had some coins rattling around in a pocket.  She’d see if she could find them a few more companions and maybe get some lunch in a bit, or maybe get a new pack.  Depending on how the rest of the morning went that could be a tough call.

Stretching, she crushed the filter of her now spent cigarette between finger and thumb, and then deposited the butt in the small pile of trash she’d move to a can when she walked away.  She liked to keep her space clean.  She didn’t see any sense in allowing her small nightly alcove to become cluttered with trash, especially when there was a can only a few feet away and she’d pass it on her way to the park.  Shouldering her pack, her muscles groaned her onto her feet, and she took a few timid steps until she found the strength and balance to stride onward.  Lunch seemed like it might need to win out over smokes.  Then again, the day was still young and almost anything could happen before she’d have the coins to get either.

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apart

He ran his hands along the fabric of their existence, caressing the invisible strings that connected all things and sending reverberating melodies strumming before him.  He smiled, sad and euphoric.  The song was beautiful, the song of life, of connectivity, but he would never get to share it with anyone else.  Long had he traveled the world looking for someone like him, someone who could see the threads of life, the connections and interdependencies, and had never met anyone who could see as he did.  The magic of who he was did little to quell the loneliness.

He stood apart, disconnected from the grid.  He could walk through it, manipulate it, and, with a brush of his hand, send a thousand songs cascading forward, but he was not a part of it.  In all his wandering, he was the only living thing he had come across that was not intertwined with the rest of the grid.

When he had been young, he had tried to tell his parents and friends about what he was seeing.  They all just said he had a vivid imagination.  When he got older he considered trying to bring it up again but had grown less naïve in the intervening years and was loathe to risk being labelled as something he was not or being drugged into conformity.  As lonely as it was to be the only thing set apart from the rest of the world, he didn’t want to give that up, didn’t want to lose his unique view.  Not to say that the world wasn’t beautiful for everyone else as well but getting to see how all things were joined and hearing the music that came with those connections must, absolutely must, enhance the experience of that beauty.

sticky

The web clung to his shoe, as only webs can, sticky and stringing out in tendrils.  He, of course, hadn’t meant to walk through it but he was terrible about such things.  With his mind always on other things, he tended to walk into things and trip over his feet, even when he was looking down at them.  His thoughts were rarely with his eyes.  Not that he was always working on world saving problems, his ambitions were not that lofty.  His mind simply never found it easy to be in the present, the here, the now.

The web presented an obstacle to that, though.  He hated spiders.  And removing the web would be a challenge.  He couldn’t brush it away with his hand.  The web would just transfer over.  He could try to scuff his shoe against a curb or wall but that might do nothing more than mar the polish.  He had no tissue or other paper handy he could sacrifice to the cause.  So, the tendrils continued to drag and stretch out behind each of his steps and his thoughts became so stuck on the matter that he missed the door opening in front of him until he had crashed into it.

After picking himself up, dusting himself off, accepting the apology of the person who opened the door – who wasn’t at fault but apologized anyway – he was pleased to note that the web had come free in the commotion.  The last of it drifted in creeps and crawls along the sidewalk until he caught on a grate and waved menacing taunts in the breeze.  Glad to be rid of the web, he continued on with his journey and his thoughts soon returned to other matters, some more pressing than others.

All things considered, a walk with only two unwanted bumps wasn’t bad.  He had suffered far worse in shorter distances.  He seemed to always run into a few things.  He had no intentions of being more mindful, though.  That wasn’t his way and he was too old to want to change.

rain

The rain cleared and the horizon stretched to where the mountains met the heavens, clean and clear and glorious.

There isn’t much I don’t like about good storm.  And, I would be hard pressed to give you the same answer every time to what my favorite part is, because that certainly changes based on time of day, my mood, how long it has been between storms, what day of the week it is, …  and on and on.

But, there is certainly something magical about letting my eyes cast towards the far off lands and feel like it is so close I could touch it.  It’s right there.  If I could just get my fingertips to push that much further outward…  If I could just keep walking, just keeping running, just keep driving…  If…

Well, that’s just it, isn’t it?  A storm, to me, opens up the infinite possibilities of that magical “if.”  The power behind it.  The way it sweeps the world clean.  The sense of rejuvenation of purpose and spirit.  The basic essence of life.  They combine into this one thing, a drop of rain, that can mean so much more, that can mean everything, if only we have the imagination to dream…

And then he was two, too

My Dearest Littler Prince,

How are you two already?  Where has the time gone?  And why is that we constantly find ourselves asking unanswerable questions about the passage of time?  For, surely, while these days have been lived, and lived well, there is no accounting for where they have gone…

You have come into your role as little brother in these past few months.  You know how to get under your brother’s skin and you often do so just to watch his reaction.  You laugh at his antics and egg him on, much as he does to you.  You hold your own, that’s for sure.  You adore him, too, of course.  You immolate the way you see him playing.  You parrot words back to him.  You ask for him first thing in the morning and then follow him around.

There has been a word explosion recently.  Counting.  Colors.  Names.  Your pronunciation of things still has a ways to go but you have no qualms about calling things out and asking for what you want and need, even as the Queen and I struggle to decipher the toddler code.

Oh, toddlerhood.  The triumphant return of the toddlerocracy under the rule of a new tyrannical toddler…  This is also a role you are quickly adapting to.  Demands and tantrums and making sure your whims or at least heard if not always catered to.  You had a good teacher in this, of course.  The Little Prince ruled the toddlerocracy well.  You, having taken over the prime position, will also do well.  Perhaps it is wishful thinking on our part, the Queen and myself, the Jester, to hope that your rule is shorter than your brothers…

I am excited to see you grow.  I am excited to watch you learn.  I am excited to see what the future has in hold for you, you bruiser, you jumper and climber, you explorer of all the things.

We used to say (and still do) that your brother doesn’t have a quiet bone in his body.  So far it seems that you don’t have a gentle bone in yours.  Not that you are mean and certainly not that you intend to be destructive.  You just are.  You are strong and boisterous and have no clear definition of personal space and that leads to bruises, mostly on the people around you.  You don’t need a splash zone so much as a bump zone.

You’ll get there.  You’ll get the hang of this life thing.  I have no doubt about that.  You are thriving and it is a joy to be along for the ride.

Love you,

Matticus, The Jester, Daddy