Bejeweled

I take a break from reading, On The Road, and look up from the pages. I, too, once wanted a life where I can just pack up a bag and jump on the road without a plan. Now, my life cannot go a day without planning. My thumb between the pages, contemplating whether to go back to reading or to go to sleep, my eyes land on Lucas’s wooden cube learning center. The one where each side presents a different puzzle, instrument, or beaded wire roller coaster. It’s probably due to our fireplace, but the colors painted on this box never looked so vibrant. So rich and saturated. And so my eyes wander to the rest of my living room to notice the light from the fire bouncing off of all his toys like sparkling jewels. In the beginning, I dreaded filling our house with such colors. But now, the toys seem to blend into the room. Embedded within the sofa cushions, peeking from under the credenza. Piled high in a child’s treasure box. Then I search the room to find the state of our house. There’s clutter of various sorts- a pile of unopened mail, unfinished projects- half painted miniature sculptures, misplaced items- spatulas and tupperware lids on the living room floor, cat hairballs in every corner, and dirty dishes and milk bottles in the sink. I realize it takes a lot of energy for me to focus on just one thing. I’m on my way to pick up a lone sock, when I’ve already swooped up my toddler’s shoes and jacket, an empty water bottle and a crayon. Sometimes, I catch myself not knowing which to put away first because it needs to be in the order of conserving time and energy. My thoughts are always jumping around- I’m reading a recipe of toddler enriching foods and meanwhile I think about the pesky crumbs on my kitchen counter. Every day I think about the new books collecting dust on the bookshelf. The laundry that needs folding. The design projects that are past due. Cutting my long toenails and shaving my hairy legs. The rug that needs vacuuming. On top of that, how to plan the next day to stimulate an almost two year old who’s getting smarter everyday. And that’s barely scratching the surface of my brain. Beneath the surface, the ocean is a dark and cold place. It’s easier to just close my eyes. To find sleep. But I cannot deny that there is more color in my life. Lots and lots of bright bursting color in the form of music and madness, laughter and toys. It’s definitely overwhelming our other things. Covering and burying our adult things. But sooner than later, at the rate he’s growing, those toys will be put away forever. And then, what about the colors?

A Letter To Lucas – The Beginning

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My Dear Lucas,

I don’t know what took me so long to write to you. I’ve had this plan to write letters to you from the day you were conceived. I’ve been carrying you for almost twenty five weeks now and it seems as though I am just barely ready to tell you what’s been aching my mind.

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Land Of Nod

Every time I fall asleep into that Land of Nod, I trip back into my seat on the coach bus back to Amsterdam. It is impossible to sleep erect on these seats that can incline but only when there is no one behind me. Every seat is filled and dark. Everyone silent with their eyes closed. A cough, a rustling and squeaking of seats. Blue lights aglow above their heads, except for mine is a bright halo of white above my knees where my notebook and pen lay waiting. There’s no where else for me to look. The window beside me is dark with miles of country side and outside the lights in the distant no more than the fading twinkling stars in the sky. My own reflection glares at me in that glassy black void. It’s rude to stare.

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Silent Night

silent-night

Out of a kind of smoke that dreams seem to conjure, the invisible kind that blurs people’s faces and names of places, I recall an incident, told by Grandmother. Told so many times, that I can almost remember myself. When one cold silent night, still bundled tight in a pink cotton blanket, I cried out and woke my sleeping family.

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“Don’t Let Go”

Don't Let Go

I learned how to ride a bicycle in Alaska.

It was a warm summer day when I got my first bike. Turquoise and pink. And a hot denim outfit to go with it.

“Where are my training wheels?” I asked Grandpa. My younger sister had training wheels on her new bike.

“Yumi is still a baby. You’re all grown up.” I was six. I’d never ridden a bike before then.

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Exhibit D

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This guy stood facing the wall, like all guys do. Head forward, one hand holding his pants, the other steadying his penis. This is why I never park against the wall. During daylight, they wedge themselves in between parked cars. They spray down the rims and tires of BMWs and Audis. Sometimes they face the cars, pretending to have the keys in hand while getting their piss all over the door. Then they zip up and walk ten feet to the bus stop checking their phone.

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Dry Wall

I tried to blame my mother for what I did to you.

“Bull shit.” You told me. “You’re stronger than that.” You said.

We just laid there above your covers, staring at the ceiling. Mascara plastered to my cheeks. Your arm under my neck. The morning sun creeped in between the vertical shades, moving the shadows like bars in a cage. I wanted to give it a reason. But you pointed your finger at me.

“It’s ok. We can move past this.” You finally said.

You shouldn’t have bought me breakfast. You should’ve let me go. Now there’s a break in your dry wall from that burning in your fist. A crack to remind you, I was never strong enough for this.

Harmony’s Funeral

I don’t remember Harmony’s funeral. Wait, I lie. I do remember some things. Like the plain room, the color of churned butter. The metal chairs with carpeted seats. All aligned facing the open casket. The slow stream of weeping people, that treaded down the center. Reluctantly out of obligation, respect or whatever, to stare into her empty face. A mask. But this is every funeral. I wondered how many people were genuine. I tried to look into their eyes, but I was the one who looked away. I was her favorite and I didn’t feel a thing.

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Tree vs. Volcano

On good days, my father would walk through the living room, and upon seeing me on the couch would out-stretch his arms like a branch from a tree. I would run to him, jump up and dangle from his arms with my knees tucked under me, and he would swing me or spin me into another place and time. For that brief moment he would be mine.

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Behind Her Glasses

As much as she loved me, it was only the child I was that she loved. The adult that I had become had become a stranger and someone she did not recognize. Every visit since my move to California, felt more distant than the last and it was all in the way she would look at me. Not with love and pride, like she used to, but with hurt and reticence. She kept her feelings deep inside, hidden behind her eye glasses. But she would gander once in a while as quick as a flash like a ricochet off the gold of her rims. A moment revealed, too fast to hold onto, too quick to reflect on. So momentary and easily distracted by something else, a noise, a smell, a touch, or a laughter.

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