“And don’t come back in ’til I call you! You hear me?”
“Yeah, yeah,” Sammy muttered under her breath.
“Babygirl! I said, do you hear me?!”
“I am not a baby girl!”
“Do. You. Hear me?”
“Yes, Mama. I hear you,” she grumbled.
Sammy let the screen door slam behind her, took a few steps and sat down on the front stoop. She kept to her family’s side of the porch. Mr. Johnson, who lived in the other half of the duplex, didn’t like anyone on his side of the porch, especially little girls.
I moved 21 times before I turned 12. That makes 22 different homes and no, my parents weren’t in the military. 22 apartments but only two school systems. So actually, all that moving wasn’t as disruptive as you might think.
I mean, sure, it was draining. And we did reach a point where we stopped unpacking the essentials and lived out of boxes.
Boxes. Most of us live in them already: big boxes with doors and windows, divided into smaller boxes with doors and archways. And we live out of them too: cabinets, closets, drawers and shelves. And we create them: boxes in our minds and walls in our hearts. When I was a kid, some of our boxes just happened to be made out of cardboard.
I find the letter. Worn. Faded. The words still familiar.
Melodic whispers of another time, another place. Of two faces, close together, flushing beneath a thousand sunlit cherry blossoms. The blushing trees stretching endlessly in every direction, motionless…as if holding their breath, waiting, listening.
His soft, brown eyes already asked the question. Her heart beat out an answer. An answer. An answer.
He held her in his eyes. She touched his cheek. And for a moment they were one. They were forever. All that was, all that would be, colliding in perfect stillness…
Before I finish reading, I slip the yellowing paper back into its envelope.
I close my eyes and find that moment…crystalized, frozen in time…pink petals suspended in the air. No questions. No fear. No doubt.
No words left unspoken. No letters left unanswered.
Just him. And me. And my heart still beating out an answer. An answer. An answer.
As in, I should be…committed…somewhere quiet, soft, with baby pink walls and no sharp objects. Because otherwise I might hurt myself.
What was I thinking?! Signing up for an online 30 day writing class. And just three days in – three days! – they ask for a commitment. Commit to a writing practice, they say. Ummmm…ok? OK. Yeah, sure. Why not? I can do this. It’ll be good for me. And fun..no, yeah, it’ll be fun, I say. 15 minutes day, I say.
And so I do it. I write pretty freely on the topic of favorite songs and I don’t publish it because it’s rubbish and it was just a free write exercise anyway. For me, at least.
To my friends, readers and subscribers. I have been a little “stuck” lately in my writing and so, in trying to get “unstuck” I have joined WordPress.com’s Writing 101. As a result, I may be posting more than usual over the next month. My apologies for clogging up the inboxes of my subscribers. I debated not posting this one, but so many of you are my friends and while I write primarily to understand, I also write to be understood. So those of you who are my friends and family: Welcome to 20 minutes (or a bit longer) of my free-wheeling inner dialogue and thanks for being my friend anyway.
So after hours of agonizing over this “free” write assignment, here I am. Writing. How “free” it is, I’m not sure. The only way I can even do this assignment is to tell myself or at least pretend that I’m not going to publish it. Because the moment I think someone is going to read it, all freedom goes out the window. Which I hate. Because, honestly, I like to think of myself as someone who is rather free-spirited and not burdened by what others think. The reality, however, is that I do care what others think.