rain

The ground was slick from the nearly invisible drops.  They were so light and tiny that he could barely feel them.  It was more like walking through a mist than normal rain but still was falling enough to accumulate on the concrete at his feet.  It had been a wet winter and he had been thoroughly enjoying it.  Rain was a special thing, a rare thing in his opinion, meant to be celebrated and enjoyed.  Perhaps that was a result of growing up in the desert where rain was scarce or perhaps that was just part of who he was, who he would have been regardless of where and how he was raised.

He used to go walking in the rain, let it pour over him, drench him, and exalt in the experience.  Then, frozen and dripping, peel off his clothes and take a warm shower.  Afterwards, he would curl up in a chair near a window and spend hours watching the rain, watching it catch the light, watching it slash sideways in the wind, watching pool.  He was enchanted by it.  In truth, he still was but no longer had the leisurely hours to spend in such a manner.

The sound of his steps echoed in the narrow corridor.  He walked under an awning, sheltered from the drizzle.  He longed to step out into the open and once again revel in the feeling of the water soaking into him but his responsibilities came first.  He had to finish his day at work.  Had to get home and spend time with his family and get his chores done.  Then, if it was still raining and all went smoothly, he might be able to carve out a few minutes to sit by the window and listen and watch.  In the meantime, his short walk around the building would have to suffice.  He was close enough he could reach out and touch the storm, even though he kept himself from it.

Advertisements

On being six

Dear Little Prince,

Though you aren’t so little anymore, are you?  With six years behind you.  With most of Kindergarten behind you.  With all of the adventures you’ve had in the last year.  Piano lessons.  Archery lessons.  Snowboarding in Mammoth.  Snowboarding in Colorado.  Growing into the role of big brother, champion of and for the Littler Prince.  I don’t have the right words to tell you how proud I am of you, but that won’t stop me from trying.

I catch glimpses of the person you are becoming and have no doubt that you will change the world.  You are fiercely passionate and, while that can get you in trouble from time to time, that drive will see you take control of your environment and shape it into what it should be.  You are a leader and will have the charisma to inspire.  You still ask thousands of questions a day, and that curiosity about the world, that drive to understand, will also work for you.  It already is as you grasp new concepts and better yourself, gain knowledge.  You happily tackle new projects.  You want to over-achieve not because you want to be better than anyone else but because you genuinely are interested in things beyond what society has deemed appropriate for your age.  Your passion and your inquisitiveness will help you succeed in whatever you choose to with your life.

You love your brother and want to see him succeed as well.  That too can get you in trouble when you try to be a parent to him but the two of you will figure that out over the coming years and will be friends for life.  That friendship will be more valuable than you know.  You are putting in the hard work now to build that relationship when he is too young to understand more than it is fun to drive you crazy.  Stick with it and he will support you in everything you ever do.  As a younger brother myself, I know this to be true.

We have our rough moments, of course.  You still have so much to learn about being a part of this family and being a part of this world.  Every single day, though, you surprise me with how much you’ve already learned and sometimes that makes me forget how much you still need to learn.  I do my best to be patient and to give you the space and time you need to figure things out and I’m sorry that I sometimes fail you.  We’ll get there eventually.  We’ll figure this thing out together.  I have no doubts about that.  We are both too stubborn not to.

So, I’ll continue doing everything I can to help you become the best person you can be and I’m looking forward to seeing what the next year brings for you.  New adventures.  New knowledge.  New wisdom.  I think your sixth year will be even more amazing than your fifth.

Love you,

Dad/Matticus/The Jester

safe 3

This is the third installment in the safe series of posts.

…..

The coins were strangely warm against her cold flesh.  She continued to smile and said, “Thank you.”  The man wasn’t listening.  He had already walked away after dropping the change into her cupped hands.  She gave thanks anyway.  She always did.  Her gratefulness was not contingent on him.  She didn’t need to know why they gave and she didn’t need them to know that she was thankful.

She moved the coins to her pocket and went back to rubbing her hands together.  The cold wind bit harshly that morning.  Even standing in the sun she was having trouble staying warm.  Soon she would need to seek shelter but she didn’t want to go in too soon.  She didn’t like hiding so early in the day.  It might set a precedent.  She didn’t need any more excuses to stay separated from society.  The further she got the harder it would be to return one day.  Though, she already wasn’t sure if she even wanted to return.

She’d lived on the streets for so long they had become the only home she remembered.  In the back of her mind, in thoughts she kept pushed away for several reasons, she had a vague notion of roofs and tables, refrigerators and heaters, warm sunlight filtering through glass panes and wind kept at bay behind shutters.  These were abstracts, though.  She didn’t know if she actually missed any of those things or if they would just be nice from time to time.  She could find the equivalent when they were absolutely needed.

Another patron left the store, pushing a cart overloaded with groceries, food she could live on for months.  She smiled and the woman avoided eye contact but then stopped and turned around.  After fishing through her purse the woman came up with some coins.  She cupped her hands and said “Thank you.”  The woman said, “You’re welcome,” but had already turned and the words were nearly lost on the wind.  A moment later, the woman and her stuffed cart were lost from view among the sea of giant cars.

A howl erupted from the parking lot, the wind whipping around tires in gusts and gales.  She shivered as the blast tore at her hands.  Not yet.  Not yet time to slip away.  Soon, though.  She would need to get out of the wind and cold soon or she would risk getting sick and all the money she had gathered that day would be spent on medicine instead of a meal.

She added the coins to her meagre collection and let her hands stay hidden.  The thin fabric of her worn pants did little to protect her hands from the cold but shivering tended to turn more people away.  That was a lesson she had learned her first winter on the streets.  If she looked miserable people avoided her more.  It seemed counter intuitive but people so often are.

The wind eased back and the sun returned to full strength for a moment.  The doors slid open and another customer pushed their cart out.  She smiled at them but they pretended not to see her standing there.  She kept right on smiling.  Their disinterest had no bearing on her hope.

bacon

He ran up hill to the smell of bacon.  Mist swirled off a passing car and he ducked under the cloud as if hitting it might have stopped his progress.  The call of breakfast hurried his pace but did nothing to quell the rumbling response in his stomach.  His feet slapped against the pavement and beat out a cadence, a rhythm, that heralded the coming dawn and the day that lurked beyond.  It was a song he knew well, a song he’d helped create every morning for nearly a year.  And what a year it had been.

New car.  New house.  New wife.  The smell of bacon was even coming from his kitchen.  He couldn’t believe how lucky he had been recently, though he didn’t even really believe in luck.  He worked hard for the changes he made in his life.  Just as he had started running miles every morning before work, he had made positive decisions and choices for the rest of his life as well.  Those choices had led, one by one, to the new car, the new house, the new girlfriend who quickly turned into the new wife.  They were all tied together and all resulting from him choosing to live healthier, to be happier, to demand more of himself.

That didn’t mean that all days started with bacon, that all days were perfect from start to finish.  All that “new” in his life required maintenance to keep them nice just as choosing to be happy and healthy required maintenance too.  Waking up early to go for his run, to set the tone for his days, wasn’t always easy but he did it anyway.  It was the right thing to do,  not the easy thing to do.  He regretted that it had taken him so long to realize the importance of that but was choosing not to let that regret shape his current outlook.  He wasn’t going to dwell on the past.  Each new day was a new chance for improvement.

He ran up the hill to the smell of bacon and looked forward to the adventures of the coming day while the song of his new life echoed up and down the quiet morning street.

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.