The Sanctuary Dream

9/24/21 (this is a recurring dream space. Do you recognize it?)

The first thing you notice is that the carpet is red. 

The sanctuary is carpeted in the color of red that is a rich, deep, red, full of hints of russet, ruby, and roses. The crowning on the ceiling is golden, and you notice the balcony is low overhead, not quite close enough to be claustrophobic, but still, close. The supports are gilt carved ornate pieces, that glimmer as you walk past. The pews are wooden, with cushions in red to match the floor. 

Your steps are dampened by the plush of the carpet.

You enter from the back, a gallery that opens down into the space, where the chancel is sunken, so that even the back seats from the floor can see clearly down to the center. Looking up, the chancel is warmly stained wood, setting the entire space in a warm glow reflecting from the light flooding the space where you are going to speak.

But that is not what you are doing right now. Right now you have to get your kid squared away, and that is up a flight and a half to the children’s wing above the back of the balcony. The staircase at the top of the balcony is wide, in mirror image to the stair up tp the back of the bottom floor of the sanctuary, where the gleaming lights catch your eye every time you pass by.

Sometimes there are people walking up the stairs, sometimes the space is empty and quiet as a tomb.

Behind the balcony is a narrow stairwell, the walls whitewashed and the railing a black wrought iron. The colors are jarring each time you transition, because it seems an after thought, an extra, a bit that doesn’t receive the same honor as the sanctuary. 

And the children’s hall feels… like a hospital, a bit. The light, especially in contrast to the sanctuary is cold, barren, bright—blue, almost. Glass doors are spaced evenly down the hall, and as you pass by, you see the children playing behind them on primary colored block foam flooring. You can’t hear them, the spaces are soundproofed. 

The door for your child is next, and you can’t tell if the careworkers are there yet, you look in, and check your watch at the same time.

You’re late. 

You’ve got to go. 

You start to move, and decide to … well…

The dream splits. Sometimes you have left your child to play. She is happy, you are fine, mostly. 

Sometimes you have to keep walking with them back down the cold white steps and into the back of the sanctuary. The sacristy perhaps. 

And the jitters of performance start in. There is no calming it, only going through it. 

The first words are a push. 

The space is full.

You weren’t ready. Not really.

But you’re here. 

And it is time.

You begin. 

The Bad Foot Blues

my foot hurts…. my foot hurts… oh my foot.

 

duh-na-ne-na-ne

early one morning, duh-na-ne-na-ne

or was it late at night, duh-na-ne-na-ne

I was tossin’ and turning, duh-na-ne-na-ne

with no sleep in sight.

 

I said I could stand it, duh-na-ne-na-ne

but it was a bit rough, duh-na-ne-na-ne

my foot kept on hurtin’, duh-na-ne-na-ne

oh what a bad rub!

 

this foot, this foot, just won’t stop a achin’, duh-na-ne-na-ne

you’d think it was bored, duh-na-ne-na-ne

for every time that I’m breathing, duh-na-ne-na-ne

it always seems worse!

 

my foot is just achin’

just achin’ it goes.

this foot just keeps achin’.

right down to my toes.

Mail me a Fish

I mailed a fish yesterday. It was sweet and sticky and brightly colored red. A Swedish fish. A gummy thing that I really don’t like, but I have seen others enjoy. And it’s fun.

One time, I was at a Ruby Tuesday, and I saw a drink with a fish, and I wanted to know what it was and so I asked and the waitress brought me one. The fish. Not the drink. I might have been fourteen.

I was curious and I wanted to know what was going on. It struck me.

And so I learned more about the world and how people put fish in drinks. Like I put a fish in the mail.

Mail myself to you? Send myself away? Was I wanting to be a part of the world and how it spoke up and drowned me out?

If I was a fish I wouldn’t be drowned.

But in the world I would be gasping and still unable to breathe because I was not in the water.

And the fish was in the box and so it couldn’t get out.

But it was ok because it was a Swedish fish candy. And candy doesn’t care where it is. Candy is not an entity.

Phew. I can still eat it. But not the fish, because I don’t like it. Other candy, however, is ok.

And then I will mail it out and send it to you, because it is sweet. And you are sweet. Sweetish, not Swedish. You are dear and you care and so I will send you a letter that shows my care for you.

Because the place where we swim and play and fight and love and laugh and splash and spin and flip and twist and learn is the place where we live.

We don’t want to escape, because we cannot live with out the bounds of our selves. Thought we might want to change, we have the joy of being in this space with our fish.

Flash Fiction: Six Vignettes

In my writing group we had an exercise where we practiced writing flash fiction, trying to write a story in a paragraph. This is what came out. [This is all fiction. It might be a little odd. Consider yourself warned.]

I

The sun set that day on the other side of the house. It was a time when I was not aware that the earth moved in ways that it wanted. I didn’t know that I was not supposed to see the empty sky when the sun dropped out. But then when it fell that day, I was surprised that it went to hide in a new home. I hope it doesn’t find me again.

II

He asked me what my favorite color was. I said blue because it was an easy answer. How could I tell him the truth? It would be too much for him to hear, that my favorite color is the ocean after I have calmed the storm.

III

Quiet becomes you. You scream too much. I can’t stand it when you scream and you scream all the time. But now you don’t. I made sure of it.

IV

Trilby Hat.

That is a fine hat. Really, it is beyond fine. When you set it at that jaunty angle I can see that you get such strength out of it. Perhaps you will allow me to set it back after I shoot it off. It makes such a fine target.

V

I feel like a different woman with you. You understand my silences. You hold me in your embrace. I feel warm. But soon, you can stop licking my face. And that tail wagging is getting a little rambunctious.

VI

This space enables the macabre. I can’t explain it but at this point in the day after I have kept going and going and going it seems like the best way for me to blow off steam. I send chills down my back with what I write. Don’t take it the wrong way when I kill my characters, it doesn’t seem to hurt them. They are only wisps of fiction blowing through my mind. Their voices continue from the grave I have put them in, and they still sing.

The Secret: A Brief Story

I wrote this from a prompt literally pulled from my hat, based on a secret that someone else wrote.

I didn’t mean to. Well… kinda. I didn’t mean for it to get this far. All the times I was waiting and couldn’t seem to get us both on track, it just didn’t make sense. So really, what was left to do but this?

Ok. Back story.

But the thing is, it wasn’t supposed to be like this. I was doing my job and then this mess happened. I didn’t plan it this way. Sure, we weren’t getting along, and we had some problems, but this?

This wasn’t the way it was supposed to be. I was just trying to teach him a lesson. He had been bugging me. You know the way some people just get on your nerves? Yeah, he is one of those guys that just rubbed me the wrong way all the time. And so, I didn’t feel so bad about leaving him there, alone, false promises standing, because it would pay him back for annoying me so much all the time.

I told him I would meet him, and we would talk, and I didn’t want to do it somewhere where everyone would see me, because then what would they think, if I was seen with him. And so he went. And I watched. And we weren’t really supposed to go there, it wasn’t allowed, it was trespassing. And so he… He got caught. And now he’s in jail because of what I did. I promise, it was not supposed to be like this. I was going to teach him a lesson, get him to stay away from me. I had nightmares about him doing things to me, and now the nightmares are about what I have done to him.

Three years left… That is still such a long time. children learn to walk and speak in that time. people meet and get married in that time.

And he… He is stuck there for his time of punishment. Of re-education. Of justice so he can re-enter society.

He won’t. He won’t know how. He was already so awkward, and now it will just be worse, He really can’t handle it. Either he will learn and toughen up, or he will be beat up by everyone and their brother.

If he survives, I still can’t tell him, he would not know how to forgive me, because I think he doesn’t even know how to begin.