This moment of silence is just for me.
Cut out of a time when sleep is avoided,
I sit alone.
A bird chirps a song of morning dew,
and sometimes others join in.
A chorus ensues.
The sun has hours to arrive.
Once in a while, the hiss of a car zips through.
Moisture on tires ripping across asphalt,
then back to silence.
There’s something in the silence that can’t be engineered.
Because it’s more a feeling than a sound.
There are always sounds, but not always peace.
and peace is everything in a world where there is none.
So, I sit alone and steal this moment for myself,
while you lay and dream of better years,
or better moments to come.
I wait patiently inviting the sun to peek its curious eyes over that mountain
so when you wake, I can greet you with a peaceful start to your day.
Your smile is worth the deprivation I endured.
Remember To Feel Special, Alright?
It’s my tenth birthday. It’s a Friday morning, and I’m home alone. My mother is working downtown at the pharmacy, and my father is working right behind her as a conductor at the rail yard. She can see him out the window. When the store is empty, she used to tell me that she’d watch him and fall in love with him over and over again, every day.
I’m walking down the short hallway of my old house on Dover. My eyes are still concrete heavy, and I’m wiping them continuously with both hands. I have a faint memory of my father coming in my room the evening before to tell me he was sorry he wasn’t going to be home in the morning, but that he’d pick me up from school and we’d go get pizza at my favourite spot in town. He tussled my hair, and every year, like clockwork, the first thing he said was, “Can you do me a favour, kiddo?” I’d say “sure.” And he’d say “make sure you feel special today, alright?” And I’d say, “yeah, no problem, dad.”
Once a week, he had a night shift that bled right into a day shift, and for this unlucky year, it fell on my birthday. I heard him talking to my mom before I fell asleep the night before, and he told her he tried to get it off, but the new boss was making cuts anywhere he could, and my father, at that time, was low man on the totem pole. He said it pissed him off to no avail, but he was scared of being thrown into the unemployment line. So, he agreed to work it.
The house is quiet. I live only two blocks from my school, so my plan is to just grab a pop tart and hit the road. My buddy Chris lives four houses down, so I’ll stop in and see if he wants to walk to school together.
I turn the corner, and the dining room table is filled from end to end with comic books. In the center is an envelope with a red bow on the top. I rush over and scan the table. My eyes are going back and forth too fast to concentrate on any one issue.
I see Superman, Spider-Man, Gambit, X-Men, and even two Daredevil issues that we saw on a trip to see my grandparents a couple of months back. I knew those issues weren’t in the small comic shop on the corner of Main and Water. My father must have picked them up when I went to the car on our last trip. I remember him saying he had to run back in to use the bathroom as soon as I buckled myself in the car.
I open the envelope. There’s a blank white card with “You say it’s your birthday?” written in a small black font. I open it up, and The Beatles start singing, “You say it’s your birthday. We’re gonna have a good time. I’m glad it’s your birthday. Happy Birthday to you.”
Written on the bottom in my father’s barely legible handwriting, was “Sorry I couldn’t be there this morning, pal. But remember to feel special alright? I’ll pick you up at 3 and we’ll stuff our faces with greasy pizza. Love, Dad.”
I’ve had plenty of happy memories since then, but this is always one that sticks out. Having kids of my own it always reminds me of the power of memory. And that it isn’t always the grand gestures that stake their claim in a child’s mind, it’s often just the thoughtful ones.
I once fell in love with feeling free
I have chased the feeling ever since, it only lasts a second
I will stand on bridges above speeding cars
Climb to heights in the dead of the night
To stand above the city's sprawling lights
That chill breeze giving me goosebumps
I once fell in love with feeling like I could do anything
Wings have come to represent this with me
Because when I stand there
Rain running down my skin and my friend running barefoot
I feel as though I could grow wings and soar into the sunrise
Starlight strands in hair as dark as the night sky
Soft sunlight glowing from soft skin
Eyes the grey concrete that make the stairs to safety
Car headlights passing us by like tiny flashes of hope
A wire fence splits our vision into perfect parts
Pale fingers linking through the wires
Flushed cheeks, inhaling the air like it's the best thing
I look for this feeling in every song, in every movie, every place
Every face, will you give me that feeling in my chest
It makes me feel like I am, bigger than my form
I am more than this life, more than what I have done
And when I stand there with my arms out wide
I am finally free
Standing on top of a Cathedral, over looking a city I've never been to, pointing out the places we have yet to go to. The sun warming our bones, the music of the city playing on the cool breeze. Knowing my amigas, and a cold glass of sangria, is waiting for me at the bottom.
I felt at home.
Embracing the darkness, Finding the light
Once perceived, came confounded
for everything became gloomy
and the darkness, came resounded,
Compacted, finding the new me
Exploring in my wildest dreams
Wasn't so much that happened
thought it would be rainbows and streams
but that was something I imagined
Through darkness, came light
Caring less of it, became bright
the room became to glow
and life became to show
The light became so bright
that I lost my sight
but god still blessed
and I took everything at rest
A short detour from the paved stone floor of the main road lead to a bakery. Kurt frequented the bakery every seven days. The madame in charge made the best pastries in the whole district. Sara would rave to Kurt about them every time she had a craving for sweets. Their days were quaint and peaceful. When the sun rose, Sara would kiss her husband good morning before she left the warmth of their shared bed. She always said the best way to start the day was with a nice breakfast. One of their three hens in the yard would likely have laid a fresh egg. A sunny-side up egg was Kurt's favorite to have on a warm loaf of bread. Every evening Sara made sure to prepare a loaf to rise through the night so it would be ready in the morning.
While the egg sizzles in the iron pan as the bread bakes in their stone oven, Sara churns a cup of cream into butter. Like every morning, Kurt's large hands come from behind her and take the wooden spoon away. He'd kiss the back of her neck and thank her for her labors so far as he takes over the remaining workload. The two enjoy their breakfast as the sun rises, shining the pale light through their windows. After the meal is done, Kurt washes the dishes while Sara changes from her work attire to her outing dress.
"Tell the Petersons I said 'hello' dear." He says to Sara, kissing her cheek while she primps the collar of his jacket.
"I will my darling." She says, returning the kiss before reluctantly parting.
Ever since the two married, they've felt nothing but bliss. The busy but quiet mornings they would share a meal. Lazing about on a weekend with no work, with her cozied up in his lap. Catching a faint wiff of smoke in the air while they lay down for the night after she's blown the flame out of the candle. While others thought it was incompetent, Sara loved the way Kurt struggled to keep his sleeves clean until the end of the day. Her siblings always called it annoying, but Kurt thought Sara's humming while she cooked was the best melody to his ears.
Desperately, Kurt wished to hear the sound of his wife's humming one more time, instead of the incoherent yelling of the officers surrounding his house as it crackled in the flames. Explanations, apologies, nothing but excuses came out of their mouths. An intense pain throbbed in his temples as a storm of thoughts swirled in his mind. How could this have happened? Just this morning they were exchanging words of love to one another. Kurt was eagerly returning home after another day's work. Everything was as it should be.
He never would have taken those three minutes to stop at the bakery if he had known.
It is going to sound so cliché and I know it is entirely expected of people to write something relating to their partners but everything always feels perfect around him. I know, I know...boorinngggg. Hear me out, though, the perfection is found in the way that laughter erupts and breaks the silence in the room. His smile ignites a spark in my chest and every single time I hear his laugh I can't help but get lost in the flames. The joy comes any time and every time we're together. Yes, I know how cliché that sounds, but it is the happiest I have ever been.
Today, our perfect moment was having shared thoughts on the evening's movie date. It was a great film, and I think we agreed on that for different reasons but we were both on the edge of our seats almost the whole time. As connected as I always feel to him, this was just one of those moments. It was just like in the movies, when the two characters would glance at each other and smile because of some cute but slightly awkward scenario...except we were both stress eating popcorn and had our eyes glued to the screen until the end of the movie. We just sat there as the lights came on and the credits started rolling with huge smiles on our faces as we immediately began reflecting on the most nerve-wracking scenes. And then came the laughter. It was just that and whatever music came during the credits echoing through the empty theater. We kept laughing and talking about the movie as we went down the steps to leave. It is such a small moment but it felt so magical and it carried on until we made it out the theater doors. It was just one of those moments.