Coming Home

nikewrites:

I have not done a Throwback Thursday post in a few weeks. I hope you enjoy this one!

Originally posted on Nikewrites Blog:

Your letter said you were coming home.
I’m not quite sure how I should feel.
I’m excited about your return,
but worried things will be unchanged.
Things have been quiet since you’ve been away,
life has been calm,
but I have so missed your presence.
I missed the sound of you getting ready for your day.
I even missed the sound of the door slamming behind you
as you rushed to meet the day.
Oh, how your rushing made me nervous.
How your rushing made me pray.
Your letter said you were coming home,
and other than the bags you will have in your hands,
I wonder what other baggage you will carry.
I’m hoping you left it all behind,
In a place never to been found again.
My heart can’t take the ups and downs
of you going in and out.
I hope you’ve found your center.
Somehow I…

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Uncle Arthur’s Chair

Today’s Throwback Thursday post is a tribute poem I wrote about a family member in 2003. My Uncle Arthur was a character! He always had a story to tell you. He was quick wit and an excellent tailor. He used to sit in a chair similar to the one below. We still have the chair and think about him every time we look at it.

Enjoy!

 

 

It seemed like it was built for him.

It was round like him.

It fit him like a glove.

It was dark like him.

It was solid like him.

We can’t refer to it

without thinking of him.

He worked in it.

He ate in it.

He drank in it,

told tall tales in it.

We’d stop by to see him

amongst the bolt of fabric,

behind the old fashioned sewing machine.

He didn’t get up.

He would greet us from it.

He measured dad’s inseam from it.

He would ask me to join him in it.

It held us both up.

After he passed, it sat empty for a while -

waiting for him,

expecting him.

None of us could fill it the way he did.

None of us could fill it the way he did.

Empty Chairs

empty chair

 

I was angry. Even though two years had passed, the pain was still deep. I understood her attempt at an apology was meant to bring closure to me and my family, but I felt like she was just trying to ease her conscience. It didn’t stop me from wondering what kind of animal she raised. There wasn’t anything that she or her son could say to ease the pain. I stopped short of wishing her son dead. I wasn’t cold enough or hateful enough to wish this kind of pain on anyone else.

There isn’t a word that describes the loss of child. There’s simply a void – a painful, sickening,  and overwhelming void. A piece of my heart died. The person that was a physical part of me for nine months, who I nursed and held in my arms, that looked up to me with loving and dependent eyes suddenly stopped being because somebody else didn’t value his life. It doesn’t make sense. It will never make sense.

I still mourn. Two years later and I still break down and cry when I think about the milestones he never achieved. He didn’t get to graduate from high school, he didn’t get to go to college.  He had a girlfriend. Maybe they would have gotten married one day. Maybe they would have settled down and started a family. He would have carried on the family name. Her son robbed us of that future, and now she stood before me and before this crowd and offered a heartfelt sounding apology. I admired her courage.

She talked about her son’s life, his desire to become a professional athlete, the scholarships he lost because of the murder he committed, all of his academic achievements and his regret for his mistakes. I listened as she made it a point to turn toward me and apologize for her son’s “mistake.” I would have been able to accept her apology and move on if she hadn’t said the following:

“I can relate to what you are going through. I’ve lost my son, also. His future is gone. We are forever changed by his mistake.”

I heard several gasps from the crowd. I remained still. She continued to speak with a pained expression on her face as she talked about her son. There was quiet applause as she sat down. The facilitator called me to the podium next.  I looked out into the crowd at the other families who were somehow affected by the violence that has overtaken our city. I saw politicians, police officers, and members of the media in the audience waiting for my speech.  I glanced down at the note cards in my hands. They were shaking. I wasn’t nervous. I was angry. I felt tears stinging my eyes. I let them fall.

“I had some statistics and other information I wanted to share with you today. I wanted to tell you a bit of my son’s story and about the process – the entire process of going through the court system to get justice for my son while mourning his loss. But, I think it’s more important to address a few of Mrs. Bellamy’s comments,” I began. I turned toward her and looked her directly in the eyes.

“I can understand that you miss having your son at home. But you get to visit him. He can call you. You still get to hear his voice in real-time, not on video or an old voicemail. He is still alive. He may not be comfortable, but where he is more spacious than the grave my son rests in now. How dare you attempt to compare the two. Your son is losing time ‘on the outside.’ My son’s life was taken. People have tried to comfort me by saying his death was ‘God’s will.’ No, it wasn’t. It was your son’s will. He took my son’s life, not God. I am respectfully asking you to never make that comparison again. Our losses cannot be compared.”  I took a deep breath and turned back to podium and tried to still my shaking hands. The audience began to murmur and I heard movement behind me. I looked back to see Mrs. Bellamy’s seat was empty. I turned back to the audience and shared the information I originally intended to share.

After the program was over, some of the panelist and audience members came up to me and offered words of support and comfort. I needed to find Ms. Bellamy. Even though I was direct and meant what I said to her on stage, I didn’t want her to leave believing I didn’t understand how her son’s actions changed her life. I found her in a small conference room with her husband and daughters. Her husband saw me first and moved towards me with a stern look on his face.

“You can’t come in here! You’ve said enough! My wife tried to apologize to you and you weren’t even graceful enough to just accept the apology,” he yelled as he shook his finger in my face and attempted to close the door on me.

“David,” she shouted, “You aren’t helping matters! Stop yelling at her! She was right. Girls, take your father out of here. Let me and Ms. Dreyer talk.”

“I’m right outside this door, Rita! You call me if you need me,” he made sure to plant me with an angry look before leaving and slamming the door behind him and his daughters. I sat down next to her at the conference table.

“Ms. Dreyer, I didn’t mean to make you angry with my apology, but I’ve been through something, too. I’ve been hurt by this and it continues every day. It doesn’t end.”

“It doesn’t end for me either! The person that is missing at your dinner table is still able to communicate with you! I don’t have that anymore! The empty chair at my dinner table will never be filled again! My daughter doesn’t have a brother anymore. I lost my husband and son in the same month, and to hear you say that your son being locked up is anything like burying a child…yes, it made me angry. I know you regret what’s happened. I accept your apology for that, but you cannot compare our losses.”  We sat in silence for a moment. There was more to be said, but I certainly didn’t want to add to the hurt with my words.

“I had to leave my job,” she said softly. “The firm was concerned about all the attention my son’s case getting. They didn’t want their name associated with my son’s case in any way. They offered me a package to leave. All those years I worked and fought to become partner…no one in town will hire me because people have the notion that I raised a murderer. I’ve read the comments to the news stories online. Everyone wonders how come I didn’t supervise my son better, why didn’t I know he had a gun, why didn’t we lock our weapons up better. His crime was my fault. I was on trial with him. He wasn’t a bad kid. You know that. He used to visit your house sometimes.

We’re struggling to pay bills. My husband lost his job. He got in a fight with co-worker who kept making remarks about our son being a gangster and a thug. David was charged with assault. We’ve gotten death threats, our home and vehicles have been vandalized multiple times. Neighbors that we once considered friends no longer speak to us. Our lives don’t belong to us anymore. The media practically lives outside our front door. This is no kind of life. I try not to let Ricky know everything that is going on. He’s going to be in that place for the next 18 years. But he knows – he hears about the things that are going on. He’s depressed about this. He realizes how much his actions have changed all of our lives. He tried to kill himself twice.

Even my daughters had to deal with bullying in the classroom and parents expressing ‘concerns’ about having the siblings of a murderer in class with their precious children. We’ve been home schooling them since the trial. This is the weight my family has carried for two years. It’s nothing like burying a child, you’re right. I should not have made that comparison. But it’s hard as hell to live like this.”

I watched her as she spoke. Her face was wet with tears. I’d been unfair in my judgement of her, just like everyone else. I took her hand and gave it a squeeze. Then I reached over and hugged her.

While He Sleeps

Today’s Throwback Thursday post is a love poem I wrote a few years ago called While He Sleeps. Enjoy!

I keep watch as he sleeps

And wonder what he dreams of

When his brow is creased.

What problem is he solving?

I gently caress his brow,

To wipe away his cares,

And whisper softly in his ear,

“Baby, I’m right here.”

He stirs a little

And pulls me close

With strong protective arms,

And rests his head against my breast,

I kiss his head

And stroke his back

And pray away his stress.

As he breathes so gently,

I know I have a treasure.

For I have been blessed

With a love so great,

It flows between us

And grows daily.

So, as he sleeps

And his brow is creased

I return his embrace

And thank God

For my blessing.

Dear Diary

nikewrites:

Certainly, this should be an acceptable dress!Today’s #TBT is about one of those moments when your entire life changes! Enjoy!

Originally posted on Nikewrites Blog:

Saturday, June 11, 2011

My Wedding Day, 8:00 AM

Everyone will be here 9 o’clock, and the process of getting me down the aisle with begin.  I’m so nervous, and it almost doesn’t make sense! Cash and I have been together for seven years. We’ve lived together for the last year and a half. We know each other well, so I don’t think I should feel so nervous.  I guess I feel this way because that walk down the aisle is a long, public walk into a new life. My feelings, the love, excitement, jitters, the eagerness, are going to be exposed. It’s going to show on my face and his. I’m going to be walking into a new life. I am going to be a WIFE! I’m going to be Cash Harrington’s wife! I won’t be a “girlfriend,” or “fiancé” anymore. Today, I get my promotion! I get a…

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Finished

bloody hands

FINISHED

there I stood

blood on my hands

screaming banshee sirens

flashing lights

closing in.

my breath was labored

your breath was no more

and I didn’t care.

I was rid of you

at last.

I stood over you

wondering

what made you think

I wouldn’t fight back

after I fought so hard to leave?

men in blue

screaming orders

I don’t move

they pull me down

now I’m kissing asphalt

cold steel on my wrist

where is the weapon?

why don’t they believe

I used my hands

the same way you did?

If you are a victim of Domestic Violence or know someone who needs help, visit http://www.thehotline.org/  or call 1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

Whippersnapper

nikewrites:

I really enjoyed this piece of flash fiction. I want to know more about the old man!

Originally posted on Don Miskel:

“I hate when it rains. Reduces visibility.” That was my uninformed, upstart of a partner running his mouth again, not knowing a damn thing about anything that mattered.

“You talk too fuckin’ much,” I said gruffly. Stakeout tête-à-tête made the time go by, but it was only when that conversation wasn’t for the sake of creating carbon dioxide. “What’d I tell you about that?”

He sighed like a frustrated little brat that’d been relegated to the nearest corner when all he wanted to do was play.

“Rain is a good thing,” I informed him. “Reduced visibility makes it harder for witnesses to make out detail…and it washes away evidence, too. Lemme see your piece.”

I didn’t particularly like breaking in the new guys, tagging along so they didn’t make the stupid mistakes not covered in class. However, it was us older cats—me being one of the most ancient still able…

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